The Garden Gnome Gambit

Everyone is familiar with the garden gnome, the little ornamental figurines that look the dwarfs from children’s stories. Most people assume they originated in Germany, but they have their roots in ancient Rome. Small stone statues depicting the Greco-Roman fertility god Priapus were placed in the garden of Roman citizens. Like many Roman customs, the use of garden statues spread throughout the empire and eventually we got what we now call the garden gnome.

Of course, we use garden gnomes to keep the giraffes out of the garden. Not just any giraffes either. Normal giraffes are not a problem obviously. It is the albino miniature giraffes that attack the suburban garden. The liberal use of the garden gnomes has kept the miniature albino giraffes from terrorizing gardeners for generations. The proof of this, of course, is that we have no problem with miniature albino giraffes. In fact, it has worked so well no one has even seen one of these giraffes.

That may strike you as ridiculous, but it is something to keep in mind over the next few weeks as our leaders figure out how to unwind this virus panic. You see, a month ago they had two possible outcomes. One was the virus spread and killed a bunch of people, which would be very bad for the ruling class. The other possible outcome was a mild spread that got little notice and then it petered out. Heads they got blamed for ignoring a pandemic and tails they get no credit remaining calm about it.

That’s a bad gamble for a politician, which is probably why Tucker Carlson talked Trump into declaring total war on the virus. If all efforts were made to stop the virus, even if it craters the economy, the possibilities get much better. If the virus runs its course without much trouble and goes away like every other virus, Trump can declare war and throw himself a triumph. If the virus turns out to be the Antonine Plague, then Trump can fairly say it would have been much worse if not for his efforts.

What just happened is Trump has flipped the odds on what happens after the panic subsides this summer. In the do-nothing scenario, one outcome was neutral and one outcome was terrible. In the do-everything scenario, the outcomes are reversed. There one great outcome and one mostly neutral one. If it is the Antonine Plague, civilization collapses and none of this matters. Since the most likely outcome under all scenarios was closer to the Honk Kong Flu, this is a neutral result.

This is where the garden gnomes come into the picture. Just as we know that garden gnomes keep miniature albino giraffes from attacking our gardens, we know flattening the curb keeps this virus from becoming the Yellow Death. Anyone questioning these assertions is on the side of the miniature albino giraffes or the virus. The fact that these assertions are nonsense is beside the point. If people can be made to believe it, then these claims are true, as far anyone needs to know or care.

Now, the only way this works is if they can plausibly say they pulled out all the stops to prevent the worst pandemic in human history. If it was a bunch of talk and half-measures, they could get blamed for not doing enough. If the virus was a dud, then they would be accused of over-reacting to a minor event in order to politicize it. The only way to make the garden gnome gambit work is to go heavy on the response, regardless of the consequences. There can be no moderation.

The extreme measures also have the added benefit of swaying the public that the virus is Godzilla attacking Tokyo. This unprecedented shutdown of civic life, which is really just getting started, is the real monster of the story. At this point, you have a better chance to be struck by lightning than to know a virus victim. Even the girls on social media have not started faking infection yet. People look at the massive disruption of daily life and just assume the threat must be genuine.

Now there is one flaw with this approach. The shuttering of the country is going to come with a massive price tag. Current estimates, for example, suggest the rosy scenario for the economy is a 5% contraction in quarter one followed by a 25% contraction in quarter number two. It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen in the second half of the year, but those are numbers that dwarf the first year of the Great Depression. Maybe after the quarantine is lifted, a massive recovery starts in the summer.

Of course, as soon as the coast is clear and the virus has been defeated, Trump throws himself a triumph and launches a new war on the depression. The people in the breadlines will not be impressed, but if the economy starts to recover in the summer, he can plausibly say the sacrifice was worth it. He can do a bunch of campaign stops at retirement homes to pose with octogenarians spared by the virus. That all sounds terribly cynical, but politics is a cynical business.

Another side benefit of this is the alarmist can claim to be vindicated. Like the people claiming their garden gnomes keep the giraffes away, the alarmists will say these extreme measures headed off an extinction event. By the end of the summer, they will be telling tales about an anthropomorphized virus that was eating men whole. Even if they hate Trump, they will celebrate him for taking their advice. The garden gnome gambit lets everyone be a hero, no matter the results.

Finally, Trump came to Washington as a chaos agent. He created chaos in the primary and the general election. His arrival in Washington set off panic among the establishment that has never subsided. This response to the virus and the ensuing panic it has caused is best suited for someone, who thrives in chaos. The garden gnome gambit is also best employed by someone, who relentlessly boasts about his achievements. Trump is now fully in control of Washington.

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I Am Legend

The lock-down, at least around here, really got going on Monday and has accelerated through the week. The weekend saw the hoarding, as public officials started acting hysterically in front of the cameras. On Monday, businesses started to wind down, sending people home if they were not needed or could work from home. The parking lot at my office was very light on Monday, but there were still people in the building. By Thursday the parking lot was just about empty of all cars.

There’s some traffic on the roads, but it like a Sunday morning, rather than a weekday or even a weekend afternoon. People are staying home, for the most part. Not happy with their work, the government is talking about a nationwide quarantine. They are talking about grounding all passenger air traffic for up to 30 days, halting stock trading on Wall Street, and imposing a shelter-in-place rule. Presumably, if one more person gets sick after that, they will begin bombing American cities.

Yesterday I realized that I had not had a face-face conversation with another human in a couple of days. I’ve spoken to people by phone and had e-mail exchanges, but I’ve not talked to anyone in person for a while. For whatever reason, I was reminded of the old Vincent Price movie The Last Man on Earth. There was an old Twilight Zone episode of a similar nature. Of course, there was the crappy Will Smith version on this theme, in which you end up rooting for the monsters to get him.

In my fortress of solitude, I started thinking about another science fiction classic, The Mote in God’s Eye. In the book, humans finally meet an alien species for the first time and discover something called the Crazy Eddie. This is a mythical character the aliens use to explain the inevitability of repeated cycles of collapse of the alien civilization and the pointlessness of trying to prevent them. Anyone who thinks they can solve the inherent defect in their society is called Crazy Eddie.

That’s the thing that does not get addressed in the tales of apocalypse like I Am Legend or the many movies that spring from it. The plague movies usually have a story line where the good guys can stop the plague or maybe come up with a miracle cure for it afterward. In the post-plague stories, after society has collapsed, the characters never think much about how they got to that place. It’s just bad luck. The collapse itself has no meaning other than as a devise to drive the plot of the story.

Maybe what we are seeing here is the inevitable end of all human society. From the perspective of time, the end point looks like a fizzling out of a dying people, but to those in it, it looks like mass insanity. Maybe this is what it looked like for those living in the late Roman Empire or even the late days of the Republic. Then, as now, the people speaking out against the gathering madness were dismissed as madmen, as everyone set about pulling the roof down on civilization.

On the other hand, one has to consider the possibility that it is not the world going mad, but you are the one going mad. It’s possible. There are a lot of people looking around and wondering why we are doing this, but maybe all of us are suffering from madness and the rest of the world is acting sober minded. It’s possible, but that would mean they have a secret way to feed people in a nationwide 30-day lock-down. Maybe turning America into a hermit kingdom is the path to the Promised Land.

For the curious, if they can get past however they are responding to the what’s happening right now, this is an amazing time. We will see things that no one could have imagined seeing just a few weeks ago. No one can know what follows a 30-day quarantine of a continent sized country. No one really knows what will follow just this one week halt to the global economy. No one knows what happens if the plague fears are wildly overblown, which seems inevitable at this point.

Regardless of what follows, we are living in a time without precedent. A century ago, we had a real plague, but the world did not stop. The stock market collapse in the 1920’s did bring a closure, but it was not for a month. The bank run that happened in 1933  resulted in a week-long bank holiday, but the rest of society kept going. The past provides some samples but nothing close to what is being contemplated. Heck, we are already into uncharted territory with the one-week lock-down.

Maybe I am the crazy one, but crazy or not, messing with big complicated things always has unanticipated results. This is an iron law of systems. Even if the response is appropriate to the danger, taking a sledge hammer to the very complex system that is American society will have consequences that no one can anticipate. Another rule of complex systems is you need to understand the iron law of systems before you are allowed to even tinker with the system. That rule has been violated.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Stitcher for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Cochran & Sailer
  • 12:00: Permanent Crisis
  • 19:00: The Boomer Question
  • 25:00: The RV Community
  • 30:00: The Truth Still Counts
  • 46:00: Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect
  • 49:00: Economics
  • 56:00: Leaving A Record

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On Monday of this week, I had a conversation with a client about the normal stuff we talk about on a regular basis. Of course, the panic was a topic, as every business is figuring out what they need to do to keep the doors open in the panic. This person is generally sober minded and skeptical about most things. He is one of those guys, who can get wound up over little things, but those little things are stupid things. Otherwise, he is not the sort to mindlessly join the herd in the latest fads.

Anyway, I just assumed he was as skeptical as I was about the panic, so I said something along the lines of this being madness. To my surprise, I got a lot of push-back about how this is super serious. He did the old “my wife knows a doctor at some hospital and she said 70% of people will get this.” It is the Ferris Bueller gambit, in which a mythological expert several steps removed from the person, is the most reliable source of information on the planet about the subject.

Of course, I made the mistake I often point out in politics and that is I countered his claim with actual facts that anyone can look up. I pointed out that there are eight billion people on the planet. I told him more people have died from suicide in China than from this plague and China is the epicenter. My client listened, but it was quite clear he was on the side of strangers he reads on-line. Those people are much more convincing to him, because of something called abductive reasoning.

Abductive reasoning is where you start with an observation or set of observations and then you find the simplest and most likely, or what feels like the most likely, explanation for the observations. Greg Johnson talked about this in his review of Ben Novak’s Hitler & Abductive Logic. In this case, my client sees the panic and the outlandish actions of government officials and thinks, “What could be causing this?” The best answer, the one that is the simplest, is that the virus is the Plague of Justinian.

Later in the week, I had an e-mail exchange with someone, who is most certainly on this side of the great divide. The e-mail was about the cancellation of this year’s American Renaissance and other dissident events due to the panic. I once again assumed he was on the sober minded side of this issue, so I freely called it a panic. What I got was the old line about “If we can save just one life.” In this case, he thought staying home for a couple of weeks was a perfectly reasonable measure.

The mistake I was making here was in not talking to someone where they are rather than where I would like them to be. That is, this person is a non-technical person working in a non-essential part of the economy. He will get paid to stay home for two weeks, so this is a nice unexpected vacation. He also has kids, so he feels he has to be extra cautious, as people literally count on him for their existence. He’s never going to respond to facts and reason on this issue. He’s being justifiably selfish.

Both of these examples are useful in thinking about politics. The whole point of politics is to persuade people. Being right is a nice side benefit, if you are into that sort of thing, but it is rarely an essential element. People, even smart people, respond to emotional appeals and moral appeals before appeals to reason. Critically, only left-wing lunatics put politics ahead of their personal safety or the well-being of their family. “For the children” is a cliché because it was highly effective.

In this case, after the panic has subsided and we are evaluating the wreckage, most of the people who supported these measures will be right there with extreme solutions to remedy the fallout. The curve flatteners will be demanding a New Deal to restore the economy and boost the stock market. Many may even howl about the foolishness of destroying the global economy to save a few extra people this year. People are funny that way. They forgive and forget their errors first.

It will be tempting to remind these people that they were warned about the trade-offs, but supported the panic anyway. In six months, a lot of curve flatteners are going to be complaining about the downstream consequences to this. Just as facts and reason are of no use in this panic, they will be of no use in the aftermath. It is a lesson dissident need to take from this current crisis and put to use in the next. Like animals, people must be led, exploiting their naturally tendencies, not their reason.

That’s the hard part of politics for the sorts of people that naturally find themselves on this side of the great divide. The bigots and anti-Semites, of course, end up over here because they have nowhere else to go, but most people are led here, because this is where the facts led them. It is the rejection of emotional appeals and herd thinking that opened their eyes to alternative explanations for observable reality. It’s asking a lot to then resort to emotional appeals in order to do politics.

That said, it is not impossible. Midweek I had a chat with another client and this subject naturally came up. This person is a self-actualizing beautiful person. Having been bitten twice earlier, I was prepared this time. I mentioned that I was worried that about how the lock-down would keep the tens of millions of diabetics from getting their insulin. This person then told me their mother was on insulin. We chatted a bit about how shutting down the economy would stop all sorts of essential items.

I could tell his sense of well-being shifted on a dime. He went from being comfortable with the lock-down to suddenly being worried it would cause him real harm. The number of insulin users is less ten million. The number is less than half that, but we all know someone that takes the needle. We can feel that without thinking about it. The ten million number is meaningless. What resonates is the one, the one person we know, who is dependent upon insulin to remain on this side of the grass.

Ultimately, this is the age-old lesson of politics. Politicians are trained to personalize issues as best they can, because that resonates with people. The town hall debate is really just a form of the AA meeting. The politician is the counselor, leading the participant in telling their story. The politician provides affirmation and encourages the groups to share in that affirmation. This is the ideal environment for the relatable sociopath, which is why democracy loves the town hall style debate.

For dissidents, there will be loads of open doors in the coming months, as the public comes to terms with what has been wrought. Suddenly, there are going to be a whole lot of people looking for the simplest and most likely explanation for what they see happening around them. The normal political construct is not going to be enough to explain it. That means there is an opportunity to provide a personal and reasonable sounding answer that emotionally connects with them.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

No, It’s Not The Flu, Bro

After the Saudi attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, we had a week of panic and confusion, mostly in the ruling class. Whether it was true or not, they carried on as if they were caught completely unawares by the attack. They shut down the airlines and closed the stock market for a week. Many people stayed home to watch the news and get their heads around what was happening. Most of America got back to normal within a few days and everyone waited for the ruling class response.

More than a few people have noted that the vibe in certain parts of the country has the same feel as the days after 9/11. Then and now, the northeast was most affected by the aftermath of the event. New Jersey shutdown after 9/11, but North Carolina carried on pretty much without interruption. We see a similar pattern now. The mad scramble by the rulers is also similar. Even the propaganda organs have been disrupted, having to depart from their normal barrage of hatred for the rest of us.

The important thing about this comparison between this event and the days after 9/11 is what followed it. Twenty years ago, the first step was to increase the importation of Muslims into the country. Immigration across the board increased in the aftermath of the Saudi attacks. Then, of course, we launched a never-ending crusade against concepts like terror and extremism. This necessitated a roll-out of the surveillance state and the expansion of domestic spy agencies and domestic spying.

This trip down memory lane is a useful corrective to the claim that this panic is just a two-week lock-down in response to the flu. The one-week shutdown that followed 9/11 brought with it a massive reordering of American society. In 1999, we did not have secret courts and warrantless surveillance. Before that event, no one thought they would ever see the FBI and CIA conducting domestic espionage against politicians, much less trying to overturn an election.

This month-long lock-down, and that is what they are planning, by the way, will bring with it a massive re-ordering of society. Think about what is happening. The government is willy-nilly telling businesses to shut down. People are being locked into their homes on the orders of local officials. In the fullness of time, what we see happening will make Julius Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon river in January 49 BC look tentative. In a decade, the world of just a few weeks ago will be a foreign country to us.

If this sounds alarmist to you, consider this. When Bush launched the forever wars, there were two camps opposed to it. The Left suddenly discovered its anti-war attitudes and responded with parades and puppet shows in major cities. It was an extended holiday for their freaks to go wild in the streets. The leadership, however, chanted absurd slogans about multinationals like Halliburton, but otherwise went along with it. The bipartisan uniparty always hangs tough during tough times.

The other opposition came from the paleocons. They correctly pointed out that this was worse than folly, as it would take generations to fix. The roll out of the surveillance state would probably require a revolution to overturn. The wars themselves would end in tears, as the people in those countries were incapable of sustaining modern liberal democracy, even if they had an interest in it. Then, of course, there was the price to paid for handing over foreign policy to our greatest ally.

It should be noted, the same people mocking skeptics about this current panic, the people derisively chanting “It’s the flu bro”, could not wrap their heads around why the paleocons were so upset with Bush. Back then it was “better to fight them over there than over here.” It was not an answer to the skeptics, but a signal for the herd to come closer together in mutual defense against a threat. Then as now it is the sound that sheep make as they are being herded into a new pen.

Barring a collapse or revolution, no one reading this will see an unwinding of the changes that resulted from the panic of 9/11. This panic is orders of magnitude worse than what followed 9/11. The one-week shutdown of the economy gave us a nice recession that required lots of government intervention. A month long shut down of the economy will change the world forever. Just look at what is planned after a few days of this panic. The Republicans are now devotees of Andrew Yang.

The crusade Bush launched against concepts like terrorism and extremism is still with us, because you can never beat an imaginary enemy. The war against unapproved microscopic life forms will also never end, How can it? Just as every snow storm brings demands for people to shelter in place, every flu season will result in school closures and demands for people to self-isolate. Just as corporations harvesting your personal information has been normalized, what we are seeing now will be too.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We have no way to know what comes from stopping a 20 Trillion-dollar economy in its tracks. It’s never been tried, because no one has ever been so insane as to contemplate it. Then you have the corresponding global shutdown. Maybe everything fire back up like new starting in May, but that means everything the experts have been telling us about the economy was wrong. There will be massive government intervention in the economy.

We are back to the point the paleocons unsuccessfully made back in the Bush years regarding the war or concepts. The trade-offs involved were monstrous and unacceptable. In order to keep the free flow of Muslims into the West and protect Israel from her neighbors, the American Empire would become a police state. Whatever benefit could possibly be gained from the war on concepts was dwarfed by the cost of it. 9/11 was terrible, it was not worth destroying the country over it.

Today we are seeing the same argument. In order to “flatten the curve” we need to obliterate what’s left of civil life. We have to hand to the state the power to shutter businesses, lock people in their homes and reorganizes society as they see fit. The price of flattening the curve will be a never-ending war on civil life by a thoroughly corrupt ruling class. So no, it is not just the flu bro. It is not about the stock market or the economy either. It is about what comes after the flu decades after it is gone.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

Drama In The Time Of Corona

First, I want to thank my family for being with me through all of this. I could not get through this without them. This has been a trying time for all of us. I’m here today to announce that I have tested positive for the coronavirus. I’m coming forward in the hope that I will continue to inspire people suffering from this horrible burden to keep bravely fighting and dreaming. I also hope this will help break the stigma white men have attached to this condition and the sufferers of it…

That is a little taste of what will no doubt be a feature of our lives in the coming week, as famous people take turns staring in their own corona drama. It has already started a bit, with people like Tom Hanks and others announcing they have tested COV-positive, but the flood gates will surely open once we run out of hoarding stories. You can be sure that musical performers are plotting some sort of corona-aid performance, perhaps done on-line, to draw attention to themselves.

We live in an age in which everything is a performance. Not just any performance, of course, but a morality tale. The “famous person making the dramatic announcement to the public” version is pretty common. Twenty years ago, famous homosexuals would have dramatic coming out ceremonies. Some would make a drama of announcing they got the AIDS. The point of the performance is for the actor to get both sympathy and admiration for being a heroic victim, bravely fighting on.

Our politicians got in on the act in a serious way back during the Exploding Mohammad pandemic of the last decade. Whenever a random Mohamed would detonate in a public place, the politicians would organize a public piety festival. They would lock arms and march around symbolizing unity. Maybe there would be a candlelight vigil. The candle makers really boomed in the exploding Mohamed times. The media would show a few cute white girls crying and hugging at the event.

Ceremony and ritual, of course, are essential elements of every human society, even the most primitive ones. The point is to reinforce and refresh the shared reality we call our common culture. Ceremony reminds us of the rules that define us as a people and the ritual ties us to the history that made those rules. The point of them, often the explicit point, is to strengthen the rules that not only bind the people to one another, but legitimize the social order and the people at the top of it.

Those dramatic arm-locking displays by politicians after a Mohamed exploded were about making sure no one questioned the people in charge and the logic of importing these exploding Mohameds. Similarly, the celebrity announcing that they are the victim of something, real or imaginary, is about social signaling. The celebrity is free-riding on some trend in order to bolster their status as a famous person. They are a good person and deserve to be rich, famous and influential.

We are seeing a version of this as local officials compete with one another to see who can impose the most outlandish conditions on people. First someone banned public events, which led to everyone doing it. Then it was public gatherings, even private ones, then the forced closure of retail establishments. Now you have this loon banning gun and alcohol sales. Not to be outdone, San Francisco is banning people from leaving their homes. The city’s bum population is exempted, of course.

The people doing this put on their best concern face and bravely march to the nearest bank of cameras to perform their serious act. You see, they really don’t want to do this and they regret having to make such a big deal of it. It’s just that events have forced them to bravely impose a huge cost on others so they can get some public adulation and the dopamine rush that comes from it. You haters out there snickering are just running dog lackeys of the coronavirus!

Of course, the reason we have a panic right now is the politicians have been influenced by the expert drama queens. These are the people who play experts on cable chat shows and internet sites. They come up with impressive looking claims about how this will be an unprecedented plague, not seen in human history. Never mind that these people have been wrong about everything in the past. We don’t have time for that. The world is at risk unless we act now! The crowd cheers and the curtain closes.

If the lunatics in charge do manage to pull the roof down on civilization this time, it will be a fitting final act to our Dionysian age. Politics is always about morality, but in a democracy, it is a never-ending morality play. The various actors appeal to our emotions, rather than our reason or even our self-interest. The winner is the one who gets the loudest applause. That always comes from wringing as much emotion from the crowd as possible. The good pol always leaves them in tears.

Compounding it, we live in an age of plenty. Well, we used to. The post-scarcity age removes the obvious reasons for having a ruling class. That means the people in charge, especially the petty tyrants of local government, must always find reasons to remind the public that they are still needed. That means manufacturing crisis and drama. Every change in the weather is now anthropomorphized. Light rains storm Harvey now requires schools to close and people to shelter in place.

That’s what we are seeing with the corona show. Public officials and their suddenly famous science people are performing their role in a live action role playing game called pandemic. Instead of having a paintball retreat, the ruling class is forcing the rest of us to skip work and hoard toilet paper. They get to feel like heroes, while the rest of us wonder if we will be standing in bread lines next month. Rest assured though; our nations actors will be okay. They are brave and concerned.

Part of what makes this work is that some portion of the public is willing to play the role of concern troll, the usher that tells members of the audience to behave. When someone points out the idiocy of a curfew in San Francisco, a city with tens of thousands of bums crapping in the streets, there is someone in the crowd to lecture him about the seriousness of the situation. Over the next weeks, everyone will be hectored by these idiots on social media and in their daily lives.

In the end, something that has been obvious for a long time, but is now becoming quite clear, is that this process ends with a real crisis. The final act leads to a real threat to society and the real need for competent leaders. If they do manage to crash the system this time, public tolerance for girl politicians suddenly drops to zero. Everyone suddenly figures out what things really cost and the price of the public drama queen makes them a prohibitive leisure item in a time of want.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

The Steely Truth Of Stalin

Imagine you are engaged in a fight against the alien battle cruiser Briggs, off the Cochran nebula, and you are informed of a civilian vessel in the area. It is in distress and unless something is done to rescue the passengers, they will all die. If you disengage from the battle to save the people on the passenger ship Steve Sailer, you will most certainly be destroyed or captured by the Briggs. If you remain in combat with the Briggs, you will win, but the Steve Sailer will be lost.

Clearly, the intent of the problem is not to test the ability of the captain to solve a problem of fact, but rather one of morality. The choice is to sacrifice yourself, your crew and your ship, the John Derbyshire, in order to save a passenger ship full of people. Or, you let those people die and continue on to defeat the alien enemy. There’s no puzzle to be solved or information to be discovered. The challenge is to arrive at the correct moral decision given the described parameters.

The moral answer is obvious. You and the Briggs are moral actors. Presumably, you are a positive actor and the Briggs is a negative actor. Otherwise, what would be the point of engaging in battle with the Briggs? The Sailer is morally neutral. It could be full of future Hitlers for all you know. You have no way to evaluate fully its moral position, so it does not have one. The only logical answer is to continue to engage the Briggs and let the Sailer perish. It is the only way to ensure a morally positive outcome.

That familiar, but fictional, scenario is useful in thinking about what our rulers should be doing in the current crisis. The coronavirus epidemic has created a scenario for the rulers that has no right answer. There’s no heroic 30-something women in a lab about to formulate a vaccine for the Chinese Flu. There’s no handsome germ detective hunting down the mad scientist that created it. The choice is either bring civilization to a halt for as long as it takes or let the virus run its course.

Now, the “flatten the curve” people will claim there is a third choice, which allows for the virus to run its course more slowly, giving health services more time and resources to treat the sick. This will also buy time for a potential vaccine. There are variations on this, but that is the general idea. We can only evaluate this option, however, once the initial options are fully evaluated. To assume both are unacceptable is to violate the parameters of the problem, so we will evaluate this option last.

The first choice is to do nothing and let the virus run its course. It’s not exactly doing nothing, but public awareness assumes people will assess their risk tolerance and take whatever measures they think make sense. In this scenario, the rulers simply inform the public about the basic ways in which to avoid the contagion and perhaps put resources into the healthcare system. The underlying assumption, however, is that everyone that could get the virus will get the virus over the next year.

What does that mean, as a practical matter? Some experts are saying 50-70% of people will get the virus and up to 5% will die. This is not based in much, other than wild speculation. We have no examples that are similar or facts on the ground to suggest these numbers are probable. Every year the influenza virus infects about 10% of the public, using no precautions against it. Many more people get the common cold each year, but the number that actually get it is unknown.

The fact is, we don’t have an example of a serious contagion, one that kills with any significance, that infects 70% of the public. The Black Plague probably infected 40% of the people of Europe. The Spanish Flu is the best comparison to the Chinese Flu and it infected about 20% of the public. Swine Flu infected about 10% of the people. It is a really good comparison with the Spanish Flu, as both were H1N1 and both killed younger people, which is always a more serious concern.

We actually have a good test of the infectiousness of this particular virus. The Diamond Princess cruise ship was infected and remained in lock-down for two weeks. The people on the ship were allowed to mingle and party while they waited to be set free. The final numbers were 700 infected out of 3,500. That’s 20%. That figure seems to turn up a lot when examining the infection numbers of deadly viruses. Again, the Spanish Flu seemed to hit about 20% of people world-wide and in the US.

Now, we have some parameters to evaluate the first option. The infection rate is probably going to be about 20%, like similar viruses, but it could be the first universally infectious virus in the history of the planet. Everyone gets it. The death rate, based on current data, could be as low as one percent or as high as 3.4 percent. Those experts say the ensuing collapse of the health care system will lift the number to 5%, even though we have no evidence to support that claim.

There you are. The first answer for the ruler in this position is that somewhere between 20% and 100% of his people get the virus and between one percent and five percent will die from it. In the United States, it means between 600,000 deaths over the course of a year to a high of 16.5 million deaths over the course of the year. Here you see why the rulers are panicking about what to do. No one wants to allow millions to die from a virus, no matter what the cost of saving them.

Now, it must be emphasized that all of our experience with this virus and similar virus outbreaks points to the low-end estimate being the worst-case scenario. Other than the Black Death in the Middle Ages, we have nothing worse than those low-end estimates of infection and death. A lot of people really want to believe the high end is plausible, but that’s what it is, a desire to believe. In reality, the worst-case scenario from this virus for the United States is a million additional deaths.

Now, what about the other option? We can quarantine the nation in an effort to slow or even stop the spread of the virus. It means closing down most business, forcing people to stay home and preventing gatherings of people. Whether this is even feasible is a good question on its own. Getting people to stay off the roads in a snow storm is impossible, so this option looks like a fantasy, more than reality. On the other hand, this is more serious. Maybe enough cooperate to make it work.

What does that mean, as a practical matter? First off, it means the economy plunges into an unprecedented depression. We have no examples of what happens when you simply stop almost all economic activity. The stock market will be closed, financial systems will be closed. The use of money could very well cease. Either people hoard cash like they hoard food or it simply becomes worthless in a world where no one is working and all commerce has come to a halt.

In such a scenario, there are two ways forward. One is civil unrest that topples over local authority and perhaps the national government. The other is the imposition of martial law and a takeover of the essential services by the state. Your food market becomes a food distribution center where you get your allotted supplies. That sounds absurd, but how else can you feed 300 million people when the economy has been shut down by a quarantine? There is no other option.

Let’s pretend there is some magical version of this shutdown that both halts the spread and keeps portions of the economy up and running, such that food and essentials are distributed, but we enter a depression. The last depression was a 10% contraction of the economy over a year and 30% over three years. We still talk about that even today as it led to the second industrial war of the century. What happens when the economy contract 50% in a year? No one has any idea.

There are real consequences to an economic collapse. Essential medicines stop being produced and essential services cease to exist. A shortage of insulin would threaten millions in a month. The collapse would take the health care system with it, so millions would be at risk right away. The risk of civil unrest would threaten untold millions, mostly from local police. We simply have no idea what such a collapse would do in terms of death and destruction, because it is unimaginably horrible.

There you have the parameters of the problem. Now, the flatten the curve folks would have you believe that a long vacation of playing video games and watching Netflix will allow us to avoid the stark choices in front of us. Sure, the economy will take a hit, but it will come back just as soon as the virus is slowed down and the miracle cure is ready for human use in a year or two. In reality, they are just wishing away the problem in the hope of violating the parameters of the problem.

That’s why the talk of flattening the curve is actually more dangerous than facing the reality of the situation. The end result will be worse than picking one option or the other, because you end up getting both. No quarantine can last more than a couple of weeks, because people will never obey it, the state can’t enforce it and the society could never afford it. That means we get the full brunt of the bug, plus the full brunt of the effort to shutter civil life for an extended period.

Getting back to the fictional space battle, the right decision is ultimately the one to have the most certain morally positive outcome. The captain of the Derbyshire defeats the alien ship and goes on to be a positive force in the universe. In this case, putting all efforts into maintaining the civil life of the people has a clear set of costs. We can plan for a million deaths. We cannot plan for the unknown economic cost of collapse.

The great Russian leader Joseph Stalin allegedly said “a single death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are a statistic.” Whether he said it or not is hard to know, but it is both true and something Stalin likely would have grasped. When a ruler is faced with this sort of problem, it is not about saving one life. It is about preserving a people and what makes them a people. A million deaths from the Chinese Flu is terrible, but it pales in comparison to the costs of preventing it.

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Be Prepared

Older readers will surely recall being taught as children the importance of being prepared for the various emergencies that are a part of life. Before the usual suspects destroyed the Boy Scouts, preparedness was a central part of the Scout ethos. People used to regularly make sure they had things like candles and matches in the house. Every equinox we were told that it is a good time to check batteries, test out flashlights and portable radios, as part of general preparedness.

Being prepared fell out of fashion over the last few decades, as technology made the supply chain a marvel of timeliness. In a world where you can order something on-line and have it the next day, being prepared takes on a different meaning. Today, a weather event means having the latest games on the Xbox and your watch-list ready for a day of video entertainment. In modern America, emergencies are an excuse to have a party and enjoy the emergency unfold on television.

This is probably why some people panic and buy ridiculous things like toilet paper and bottled water before storms and now before the plague. The emergency triggers something in people. The items they buy are symbolic. At some level, people know they are dependent on a system that they don’t understand very well, or trust all that much, to be there when it counts. The panic buying is a reaction to the sudden reminder that we are not as prepared to make it very long on our own.

Putting that aside, people need to be prepared for what will unfold over the next weeks or longer, depending upon how the virus spreads. One thing you should do is get to know your neighbors. Most people have limited contact with their neighbors, as most moved from somewhere else. Take this opportunity to introduce yourself to the other people in the neighborhood. Give them your contact information. Simply being a good example like this does a lot to prepare for what’s coming.

Here’s the thing. If the alarmist are right, Netflix will not be available, because the stack or bodies outside the cable company offices will keep the techs from entering the building and keeping the grid running. Playing cards with the neighbors will suddenly have real meaning in your life. Even if this is not the zombie apocalypse, taking the opportunity to build a little community with the people around you will do more for our people than a million lectures from activists.

For young guys, take this opportunity to call the old people in your life. You will quickly realize the internet banter about the “Boomer Remover” is childish when you start checking in on the older folks. You’ll learn the joys and being a man and what it means to be responsible. The first duty of every man is to protect the vulnerable. Old people, women, kids, they are your duty. Now is a good time to practice that habit. You’ll find that it is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Sadly, the generations of plenty means we have an unsightly build-up of maladapted mutants¹ in our ranks. Everyone has a nutty wine aunt or screeching AWFL² in their life these days. These people don’t get better under stress. In fact, they will seem worse, because your patience for them will be lower. Since we are not allowed to burn them at the stake just yet, you need to plan for them. Remember, they feed on your irritation, so the plan must be designed to starve them of what they crave.

There’s also the fact that many high functioning maladapted mutants will go haywire during this crisis. Remember back to the 2000 election. Think about how that sort of loopy liberal person in your life suddenly turned into a lunatic. That election triggered something in these mutants that sent them around the bend. The 2016 election made many people in our lives so unpleasant we had to cut them off. The mutant is most volatile in times of high social stress and uncertainty.

That means you have to be prepared for some people in your life revealing themselves to be totally bonkers. The social media ghettos are already full of mutants hoping Trump gets the coronavirus. They will no doubt be going on about how Orange Man made the virus situation worse by doing something or not doing something, as the case may be. Remember, you are not good to anyone if you are sidetracked by these crazy people in your life. Prepare for a mutant outbreak.

Now, to help with that, here’s a bit of good news on that front. Maladapted people, like that AWFL in your office, tend to be lower in overall fitness. Their numbers are mostly a product of good times. That means they will be more vulnerable to this virus than normal people. Think about it, these people tend to be sick more often in general, so nature is probably going to clean up the mess in aisle crazy for us. At least it is pleasant thought, as you prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

Finally, prepare for that moment when you heard someone use the phrase “flatten the curve” for the six millionth time. Ritualized recitation of popular incantations are a part of modern life, but they will get really bad in this crisis. At some point, you’re going to hear “slow the spread” one too many times and the fist will instinctively ball up. The counter to this is to unplug from the media. They are useless anyway. The first duty of the prepared is to keep their wits about them.

¹Ed Dutton

²Affluent White Female Liberal

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Modeling Failure

A suddenly popular hobby for the statistically minded is the modeling of the coronavirus pandemic that threatens to sweep the West. The statistician to the stars, William M. Briggs, has been modeling things like the utility of testing. Steve Sailer has been promoting a person blogging under the name “Arguably Wrong”, who has been modeling the cost of different containment strategies. Of course, the CDC is taking this opportunity to whip up a panic with their models.

The right word is panic, as we have hoarding of useless supplies like toilet tissue and bottled water. Starting this weekend, tens of millions of America will be sheltering in place and self-isolating over fears of the plague. Schools are closing and will remain closed for six weeks. Entertainment like sporting events and public gatherings has been canceled indefinitely. America is about to go into an unprecedented shut down of the economy and civic life based on what could happen.

That is a very important variable. The numbers thus far are trivial, in terms of infections and deaths from this virus. Italy has the highest per capita infection rate. That infection rate for Italy in the chart below means there are currently twice as many dwarfs in Italy as there are virus victims. In the United States, almost as many people have been struck by lightning this year as have contracted the virus. More people have committed suicide this year in China than have died from this virus.

Now, the experts all say these numbers will explode in the near term. Just as the flu or the common cold starts small, person to person contact causes the infected population to grow quickly. Currently, the claim is the infected population will double every five days, with no end in sight. Italy, for example, could have 200,000 cases by the end of the month, if that prediction is correct. By May a little under one third of the population would have the virus and by June everyone is infected.

This is, of course, exactly what did not happen in China. In fact, we have no reason to think this will happen at all. We have examples of prior infections, some very serious like the Spanish Flu. We even have a good sense of the infection rate from the Black Death in the middle ages. As far as we know, there has never been a virus with an infection rate like what is being predicted. Maybe this is different. Maybe modern urban life makes us unusually susceptible to a pandemic. Maybe.

Further, we don’t know as much about pandemics as the army of experts in the media would have us believe. Most of the model makers are assuming the experts on this stuff have their facts right, but there is no evidence to support that claim. For example, the Spanish Flu remains a mystery. We know the strain of H1N1 and we have some sense of where it started, but we have no idea why it ended. We know it ended long before it reached the infection rates predicted for this virus.

In the fall of 1918, 4,597 people died in Philadelphia in the week ending October 16th from the Spanish Flu. By November, deaths dropped to zero and by mid-month the flu had disappeared from the city. No one knows why. Maybe it mutated into something very mild. Maybe it simply ran out of victims. Maybe limiting social contact finally stopped the spread. No one knows. That’s an important thing to keep in mind about these predictive models. They as yet cannot predict the past.

This is something that must be plugged into any model for this virus and models for predicting potential outcomes. The models being used will all be wrong and wrong in ways no one can predict. For example, what if there really is an ethnic component to these infection rates. The part of Italy being hit with the virus has a lot of Han Chinese for all the reasons we have non-Europeans in the West. The city of Prato Italy, population 200,000, has been overrun by Han Chinese.

Could there be an ethnic element here that would explain the numbers in China, Italy, Iran and the reaction by Israel? The Chinese seem to think they are particularly vulnerable to this virus. They have been studying coronavirus for some time, because they have suffered more than any country from it. Lance Welton at VDare has been cataloging the studies on this topic. The media experts dismiss this stuff, but that’s mostly because of the fear of being called racist, which is worse than death.

The point is the models that are driving the great shutdown of the West are based on assumptions that are most likely wrong. That means the models themselves will turn out to be wrong. Modeling the wrongness may turn out to be the most important project over the next several months. Right now, the public is grudgingly giving public officials the benefit of the doubt. The people have little trust in them, so when things are not as predicted, those public officials better have answers ready.

For example, what happens if we learn that the outbreak in Italy is centered in their large Chinese community? That’s going to have an effect on public policy, because it will have an effect on public attitudes. Even if lots of actual Italians gets sick, people are going to wonder why this fact was not made clear straight away. They may also wonder why there is a Chinese community in Italy. A whole range of prior assumptions are going to come under new scrutiny with new information.

How about something simple like the great spread of the virus does not materialize over the next few weeks? Public officials will no doubt claim that the lock down was a success, but that’s like claiming the reason there are no giraffes in your garden is due to installing a garden gnome. Very few people are going to buy it and the more so-called experts push it, the more the people will reject it. The already low faith in public officials will fall even further. There will need a better answer.

It may not even take a few weeks for the public to grow both weary and skeptical of the state of emergency. A very large chunk of society thinks this is a hoax. Young people are calling it the “Boomer Remover” while taking advantage of cheap airfares. Short of more data to fuel the panic, the public could get tired of this by next week. This approach to the virus can only work with public cooperation, so public officials should assume great public resistance within the next week.

There’s also the idiot factor. The fact is, America has rounded up most of its imbeciles and put them on government payrolls. Under normal conditions, they do a limited about of harm this way. Under these conditions, they can do a lot of damage. Red Flag laws have already embolden imbeciles on the local police forces to randomly open fire on people in their homes. The staggering incompetence of public safety units must be part of any model predicting what comes next with the lock down.

That’s the thing about a public emergency. Societies are systems with lots of hard to define inputs and sub-processes. The outbreak is one input that has set off a range of other inputs, which in turn has altered the behavior of many sub-systems. These sub-systems interact with one another, so the system we see, what we call daily life, is changing in unpredictable ways. All of these linear models violate the basic rule of models in that they assume things about the world that are false.

Life in human societies does not happen sequentially. Instead it is millions of lives operating in both parallel and in series. It’s very complicated. We see that with how public officials in America have reacted to the virus. When it was a Chinese problem, public official ignored it. When it became an Italian problem, suddenly it resonated with Americans, because we are familiar with Italians. It turns out that the input value of one dead Italian is exponentially more important than one Asian.

Over the next few weeks, public officials better be ready for being wrong about all the things they have been saying. Trump’s first instinct, like most Americans, was to dismiss the alarmists. The reason is they have cried wolf so often, only a fool would believe the alarmists at this point. If this turns out to be a big to-do about nothing, we suddenly live in a world where 300 million people feel like they were taken for a ride. There will be a price to be paid for being that wrong about something this big.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!


I penetrated the infection zone at 0900. For several miles I expected guards or maybe a traffic jam, but instead the road was clear with no signs of activity. In fact, I was not even sure I was in the infected zone until I started to see the abandoned cars. Some of the cars had been set on fire for some reason. It was more abandoned cars and then I started to see the bodies. At first it was a body slumped over in a car. Then it was a corpse in the road and then too many to count.

The road became impassable near what used to be an old roadside stop. A set of stores on one side and a gas station on the other. I stopped and got out of the car to look around. I spotted a big fellow, with blond hair sitting against a wall. He was shirtless and looked like he had been in a fight. He was holding a dove or pigeon. I’m not good with birds, but it was white and the size of a pigeon. Looking around, he appeared to be the only living thing, so I approached him and asked him what had happened.

He looked at me and asked if I liked fries with mayonnaise. It was a bizarre question, but I am familiar with the Dutch, so I understood his meaning straight away. In his final moments, he was thinking of futures past.  After some back and forth, he said to me, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

Ah, what might have been. My trip to Old Blighty was scuttled by the Chinese plague, so instead of doing travelogues this weekend, it is an impromptu podcast. I did not have a lot of time to put it together, so it is a little ragged. I figured since I was not going to be on the road, I had no excuse for skipping this week. It’s weird, but it bugs me when I skip a week for some reason. I feel like I’m shirking my responsibilities. A man should stick to his commitments, no matter how trivial.

Along the same lines, I feel bad for having to cancel the trip. I was looking forward to seeing Mark and his folks. He is one of the better speakers and organizers on this side of the great divide. It’s always a pleasure to see him work. But, I think I made the right call by staying home. This virus is serious and we need to do what we can to limit our social interactions for the time being. Even if the alarmist are half right, we have a very serious public health crisis on our hands.

There’s also the fact that in stressful times, reasonable people need to be reasonable and level headed. I have people counting on me to do the right thing, so setting a good example is important. If everywhere we look the sober minded are taking precautions against infection, the less sober minded will be inclined to follow. If you always assume you are an example to at least one other person in this world, you are always reminded to set a good example.

There’s also the practical issues. It’s pretty clear that the UK government is less prepared for this than the US government. By Sunday Boris Johnson could be locking down the country. We are not only into uncharted territory in terms of the virus, but we have no idea what our ruling class idiots are going to do. All we know at this point is they don’t know what to do. I’m much more concerned about that than the plague, for the simple reason I trust the plague more than our rulers.

That really is the main issue at the moment. In good times, you can have idiots and girts in positions of authority. The last time we had a serious crisis, there were serious men in government, who knew what to do. Whatever you may think about the massive bailout of the banks during the mortgage crisis, it prevented a collapse. This time, I fear we don’t have serious men in the room. We may be about to learn why it is a bad idea to stock government with entertaining nitwits.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Stitcher for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: Cancelling Britain
  • 12:00: Panic
  • 22:00: The Reality Of The Virus
  • 31:00: The Financial Impact
  • 41:00: What Shall Be Revealed
  • 51:00: Should We Be worried
  • 57:00: Closing

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The Time Of The Golden Agers

Major social events are often a lot like moving furniture around the house. Moving the bookcase from one side of the room to the other is a mundane task. What you find behind it, however, can be quite interesting. Sometimes you find something you searched high and low for at some point. Other times you find something that you never knew was missing. Maybe just moving things around a bit gives you a new perspective on your living space that leads to other changes in your environment.

That’s how big social events feel sometimes. The event itself is not as important as what it reveals. Maybe you find out your neighbor is a bit of kook, who quietly has been stocking the basement with dried food and ammunition. Maybe we learn that the local government is more useless than anyone imagined possible. The Chinese pandemic is one of those events that will be more important for what it reveals than for the impact of the virus itself, unless you die from it, of course.

For example, we are getting a glimpse of what the great Baby Boomer retirement is going to look like in the coming decade. If we execute all of the people, who like debating the precise dates of generational divisions, we can agree that the cohort in question is roughly those who came of age in the late 1960’s and the late 1970’s. Two waves of the post-war baby boom. Right now, the number of elderly people grows by an average of 2.8 percent annually. It will peak at about 80 million.

For as long as anyone reading this has been alive, Baby Boomers have driven American politics. In the 80’s, they wanted to make money, so we financialized the economy and gave everyone a 401K. In the 1990’s, better schools were all the rage then better access to college. Health care became an issue, first because Boomer parents were getting old then when the Boomers themselves got old. Cheap health insurance was the most important political issue until now.

Notice that Bernie Sanders promising free health care got no senior support. The reason is seniors have Medicare. Blacks have Medicaid. The only people who care about health insurance premiums are younger white people and no one cares about them anymore. In fact, Bernie’s Medicare for all probably scared the crap out of older people, who rightly assumed it would mean longer lines for them. Worse yet, it could mean taxing their retirement to pay for it.

This brings us back to the Chinese Flu. Otherwise sensible people like Greg Cochran and Steve Sailer are clanging the bell, trying to get people to declare a war on the Covid19 virus. What they are suggesting, short of some miracle cure or a vaccine, would require rearranging American society. It would need rounds of universal testing, mass quarantines and testing of every human crossing the border. North America would have to become something like North Korea, in terms of travel restrictions.

Keep in mind that polio is still around, despite generations of eradication efforts. We have vaccines for a lot of nasty viruses. For the most part, these have been eradicated in the West, but they still exist in the world. If stop vaccinating people, those viruses will reemerge in the West, which is why we remain vigilant. We have no vaccine for the Chinese Flu and no one is sure we can get one. In other words, eradicating this virus, without vaccine, will require a massive reorganization of society.

What we’re seeing is the first glimpse of what democracy looks like when 20% of the population is elderly. Baby Boomers have always voted for stuff they want and soon, they will want to be insulated from the dangers of old age. If it requires us to turn America into a hermit kingdom in order to prevent a Boomer Pox from getting loose, then that’s the price the younger generation must pay. The salient political issue of this decade will be how best to guard the old coots from the Grim Reaper.

Now, this is the part where angry oldsters stop reading and post a comment about how not all Boomers are like that. This is true. In fact, it is plausible that no Boomers are willing to crater society to get a few extra days. This is a variation on the Simpson’s paradox. That is, this trend is uncommon in small groups or individuals, but appears when looking at the cohort as a whole. This turned up with education, abortion and health care. The data says Boomers collectively vote their interest.

Now, there is another angle to this. The sorts of collective action proposed by people like Steve Sailer and Greg Cochran can only happen in a cohesive, high-trust country with lots of social capital. The sorts of communities where people like Cochran and Sailer grew up had those qualities. Modern America, in contrast, is a multicultural amalgamation of low-trust clusters. The store of social capital has been burned up a long time ago in order to have cheap stuff.

This raises the question as to whether this cohort will suddenly have a come to Jesus moment over demographics. Most of those Trump voters in comfort fit slacks, carrying over-sized constitutions to the rally, think we can get back to the way things were when they were kids. If you dispute this, look at the comment section of Breitbart or Conservative Treehouse. For those people, it is always 1985.

What happens when they find out that ain’t happening? Will it make any difference if the oldsters finally see their interest are threatened by the great brown wave that is washing over America? We’ll soon find out. This panic, and that what we are seeing, will change things far more than the virus. We’re about to learn just how much social capital is left and the answer is probably not going to be encouraging.

The fact is, all the snarky comments about the Boomers and the irreverent mocking of the Zoomers is not changing the reality on the ground. America has operated like a young country for a long time. It still does in many ways. It is an old country now, a country run by old people just coming to terms with their mortality. The psychological revolution in American culture that is upon us will make the past decade seem like golden age. Instead, it will be the prelude to the time of the Golden Agers.

For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!