The coronavirus crisis shows it’s time to abolish the family

The following are excerpts from an opinion piece by Sophie Lewis in openDemocracy on March 24,2020:

In the hopes of ‘flattening the curve’ of the pandemic, vast swathes of society have adopted contagion-slowing practices (be they mandatory, voluntary or semi-voluntary, depending on the local legislature) known as ‘social distancing’ and ‘sheltering in place.’

Nuclear households, it seems, are where we are all intuitively expected to retreat in order to prevent widespread ill-health. ‘Staying home’ is what is somehow self-evidently supposed to keep us well. But there are several problems with this, as anyone inclined to think about it critically (even for a moment) might figure out – problems one might summarize as the mystification of the couple-form; the romanticisation of kinship; and the sanitization of the fundamentally unsafe space that is private property.

How can a zone defined by the power asymmetries of housework (reproductive labor being so gendered), of renting and mortgage debt, land and deed ownership, of patriarchal parenting and (often) the institution of marriage, benefit health? Such standard homes are where, after all, everyone secretly knows the majority of earthly violence goes down: the W.H.O. calls domestic violence “the most widespread, but among the least reported human rights abuses.”

Queer and feminized people, especially very old and very young ones, are definitionally not safe there: their flourishing in the capitalist home is the exception, not the rule.

In L.A., state officials are providing individual trailers and pop-up isolation cabins for the houseless. But a far more logical response might be: open all the hotels and private palaces on the basis of airy and light-filled, sanitary (uncommodified) housing for all. Free all prisoners and detainees now, remake the care facilities as spacious self-led villages, and dismiss all the workers with full pay so they can leave their bunks forever, move in with their friends, and pursue laziness for at least the next decade.

In short, the pandemic is no time to forget about family abolition. In the words of feminist theorist and mother Madeline Lane-McKinley; “Households are capitalism’s pressure cookers. This crisis will see a surge in housework – cleaning, cooking, caretaking, but also child abuse, molestation, intimate partner rape, psychological torture, and more.” Far from a time to acquiesce to ‘family values’ ideology, then, the pandemic is an acutely important time to provision, evacuate and generally empower survivors of – and refugees from – the nuclear household.

And thirdly, even when the private nuclear household poses no direct physical or mental threat to one’s person – no spouse-battering, no child rape, and no queer-bashing – the private family qua mode of social reproduction still, frankly, sucks. It genders, nationalizes and races us. It norms us for productive work. It makes us believe we are ‘individuals.’ It minimizes costs for capital while maximizing human beings’ life-making labor (across billions of tiny boxes, each kitted out – absurdly – with its own kitchen, micro-crèche and laundry). It blackmails us into mistaking the only sources of love and care we have for the extent of what is possible.

We deserve better than the family. And the time of corona is an excellent time to practice abolishing it. In the always lucent words of Anne Boyer: “We must learn to do good for the good of the stranger now. We now have to live as daily evidence that we believe there is value in the lives of the cancer patient, the elderly person, the disabled one, the ones in unthinkable living conditions, crowded and at risk.”

We do not know yet if we will be able to wrench something better than capitalism from the wreckage of this Plague and the coming Depression. I would only posit with some certainty that, in 2020, the dialectic of families against the family, of real homes against the home, shall intensify.

Read more.

Dr. Sophie Lewis is the author of Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, and a “free-lance writer interested in queer communism.” She is obviously versed in feminist theory and a passionate spokespersxn for the goals of second and third-wave feminism.

From Lefticon:

Feminism – the struggle for women’s rights.

Feminism is a progressive movement that promotes the liberation, empowerment, agency, self-actualization, and equality of women in the workplace, classroom, faculty, and home. Accordingly, a feminist is a woman (or man) who advances the progressive agenda for women’s rights.

In their daily struggle for autonomous agency, feminists must be constantly alert and sensitive to overt bias and covert microaggression by white men who are constantly waging a war on women.

Historically, feminism progressed in stages analogous to waves:

    • The original, first-wave feminists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries struggled for suffrage (the right to vote) and were called suffragettes. Their efforts led to the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1920. They were also active in the temperance movement, which achieved the national prohibition of alcohol by another constitutional amendment (later repealed).
    • The postmodern, second-wave feminists of the 1960s fought for sexual liberation. They rebelled against male hegemony and the “family values” of an oppressive patriarchy. They lobbied for an Equal Rights Amendment of the Constitution but abandoned those efforts when the goal of equal rights in the workplace conflicted with the special rights they had already won.
    • In the later twentieth century and into the twenty-first, third-wave feminists, also called new wave, opposed heterosexuality and heteronormativity, questioned male-female gender differences, recognized gender as a social construct, espoused the behavior of lesbians and racial minorities as normative, and promoted the opposition to whiteness and especially white men.

Feminism now, whatever the wave of origin, struggles for many rights and privileges such as combat roles for women in the military, the promotion of women in corporate leadership, abortion on demand, free contraceptives and tampons in health insurance, paid maternity leave, and the rights of sex workers (prostitutes). It fights against male hegemony, patriarchal oppression, gender-based income inequality, the objectification of women, gender stereotypes, microaggression, workplace violence, date rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, manspreading, mansplaining, toxic masculinity, white male privilege, and white cisgender men.

Note:  Feminists support progressive politicians exclusively. As exemplified in the Clinton-Kennedy paradox, a politician’s serial sexual abuse of individual women is not a disqualifier if the same politician promotes progressive programs for social justice and the collective benefit of all women.

We’ve never made a successful vaccine for a coronavirus before.

This was reported by Jo Khan on the Australian ABC News website on April 17, 2020:

For those pinning their hopes on a COVID-19 vaccine to return life to normal, an Australian expert in vaccine development has a reality check — it probably won’t happen soon.

The reality is that this particular coronavirus is posing challenges that scientists haven’t dealt with before, according to Ian Frazer from the University of Queensland.

Professor Frazer was involved in the successful development of the vaccine for the human papilloma virus which causes cervical cancer — a vaccine which took years of work to develop.

He said the challenge is that coronaviruses have historically been hard to make safe vaccines for, partly because the virus infects the upper respiratory tract, which our immune system isn’t great at protecting.

And while we have vaccines for seasonal influenza, HPV and other diseases, creating a new vaccine isn’t as simple as taking an existing one and swapping the viruses, said Larisa Labzin, an immunologist from the University of Queensland.

“For each virus or different bacterium that causes a disease, we need a different vaccine because the immune response that’s mounted is different,” Dr Labzin told ABC Science.

There are several reasons why our upper respiratory tract is a hard area to target a vaccine.

“It’s a separate immune system, if you like, which isn’t easily accessible by vaccine technology,” Professor Frazer told the Health Report.

Despite your upper respiratory tract feeling very much like it’s inside your body, it’s effectively considered an external surface for the purposes of immunisation.

“It’s a bit like trying to get a vaccine to kill a virus on the surface of your skin.”

Read more.

A vaccine doesn’t have to be clinically successful to be financially successful to the developers, patent holders, and manufacturer. This is corporatism/monopoly capitalism at its finest. There will be a vaccine.

From Lefticon:

Corporatism the special, synergistic relationship between government and a specific segment of industry.

A prime example of corporatism is the so-called military-industrial complex, more aptly called the military-industrial-intelligence-Congressional-media complex. Other examples are crony capitalism and, of course, fascism.

Note:  In social science, corporatism has a more general meaning, referring to a community of groups with each having its own defining characteristic or function.

Monopoly capitalism – capitalism with minimal or no competition.

A monopoly is the market control of a product by one industry, duopoly by two, and oligopoly by a few. Monopolies, duopolies, and oligopolies often result from special relationships between corporations and government, such as public-private partnerships, crony capitalism, state capitalism, or fascism.

Competition is said to be a hallmark of capitalism, yet nearly every business enterprise makes every effort to suppress it. Capitalists complain about the unfairness of monopolies, unless they themselves are a monopoly. It is every capitalist’s dream to become a monopoly or at least to have a “niche” in a larger market. As a business grows, every merger or acquisition means one less competitor. Every new product of research and development means more protection from competition by patent law and trademark, or, if an intellectual property, by copyright. The purpose of lobbying, rent-seeking, and all the other practices of crony capitalism is to get a competitive advantage, and the ultimate competitive advantage is the total elimination of competition.

Note:  Arguably the most hated (or admired) corporation in the world was Monsanto, of Agent Orange fame, with its patent-protected, GMO seed monopoly in the United States. Most other large corporations must be satisfied with being oligopolies, like Coca Cola and Pepsi, or Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Monsanto was acquired by its European competitor Bayer AG in 2018 for $66 billion.

Call It a Ponzi Scheme: the diversity bureaucracy

In the City Journal of April 10, 2020, Heather MacDonald wrote about the diversity bureaucracy in higher education.

As American unemployment mounted by the millions in March and April, the dance of the college diversity deans kept up its usual brisk pace. On April 1, Harvard University announced that its acting associate dean for inclusion and belonging was moving on to Denison University. But the Harvard associate deanship will not be vacant for long. On May 1, the current head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus will step into the Harvard position, to direct the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion team within the Dean of Students Office; the Office of BGLTQ Student Life; the Office of Diversity Education and Support; the College’s Title IX Office; the Women’s Center; and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations.

Elsewhere, campus diversocrats enjoyed similarly enviable mobility while the rest of the country was shutting down. The vice president for inclusion and diversity at George Mason University will become chief diversity officer at the University of South Carolina at Columbia on June 15. The former occupant of the South Carolina position decamped to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on March 15 to serve as its community and equity officer. On March 1, a former associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Iowa became associate vice president for inclusive excellence at Georgia Southern University. The first diversity, equity, and inclusion librarian at the University of Florida assumed her position in February.  […]

Higher education today resembles a massive Ponzi scheme. Colleges desperately recruit ever more marginal students who stand little chance of graduating. Before their inevitable withdrawal, those students’ tuition dollars fuel the growth of the bureaucracy, which creates the need to get an even larger pool of likely dropouts through the door to fund the latest round of administrative expansion. Administrative positions at colleges and universities grew at ten times the rate of tenured faculty positions from 1993 to 2009, according to academic consulting firm ABC Insights. By the 2013 school year, there were slightly more campus administrators nationwide than faculty; spending on the bureaucracy was equal to spending on all educational functions, including faculty. Tuition rose to cover those bureaucratic expenses, regardless of whether families could afford to pay it. Tuition at private four-year colleges grew 250 percent from 1982 to 2012, while the median family income rose about 18 percent, adjusted for inflation, according to ABC Insights. Since the 2008 recession, tuition at four-year public colleges rose 35 percent.

The coming higher-ed crisis would, in an ideal world, take out the student-services bureaucracy—that dizzying edifice of associate vice chancellors for student engagement and assistant vice presidents for student development—starting with its most destructive component: the diversocrats. Their job is founded on a patently false proposition: that colleges are filled with racists and sexists who impede the advancement of females, blacks, and Hispanics. To the contrary, virtually every college today is trying to admit, hire, and promote as many females, blacks, and Hispanics as possible. Belonging to those identity categories confers a large advantage on the academic job market and in admissions. Nevertheless, the diversity bureaucracy spends its days devising new ways to promote the culture of victimhood, at the cost of millions of dollars in student loans and private tuition.

Read more.

Heather MacDonald, obviously a traditional rightist, does not share the progressive belief in the strength of diversity and its value in higher education.

From Lefticon:

Diversity – racial, ethnic, or cultural heterogeneity of a population group.

The promotion of diversity is one of the highest goals of the progressive left. Diverse social and cultural identities set the ideal milieu for identity politics based on a coalition of culturally diverse but politically unified minority groups.

On the other hand, there is a strategic value in maintaining a controlled level of conflict, a simmer or slow boil so to speak. Diversity breeds discord between the haves and the have-nots, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, which leads to the societal unrest and chaos that allows revolution to take hold. It is essential for the final transition from a homogeneous, white, hegemonic society to one that is less white, more dependent on government, more receptive to collectivization, and no longer white-hegemonic.

Open borders and a permissive immigration policy can achieve this optimally diverse and divisive social mix. During the phase of mass immigration, any assimilation into the dominant majority is clearly counterproductive; just as diversity without discord has no revolutionary value, diversity with assimilation is no longer diversity.

Academia, the educational establishment, the media, and the entertainment industry are essential at all stages of the diversification process for the indoctrination of the young in acceptance of the interim benefits of diversity.

Once the dominant population is no longer a majority—having been replaced demographically by politically allied progressive minorities—assimilation of the former majority into the newly-dominant progressive majority can begin. Genetic hybridization can take place through racial intermarriage. When societal, cultural, ideological, political, and genetic transformation is fully achieved, homogeneity of the masses will again exist, but as a hybrid of multiple races, and any remaining diversity will become counter-revolutionary or reactionary.

These changes, which are now in progress in Western Europe and North America, are in fulfillment of the Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan envisioned by the biracial visionary, Count Richard Nikolaus Eijiro Coudenhove-Kalergi, whom many consider the father of the European Union. It is a phase in the political transformation from nationalist capitalism to globalist socialism.

 

AOC backs drag queen ‘patriots’ to ‘push society forward’

As reported by Spencer Neale in the Washington Examiner on April 11, 2020:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took a moment to celebrate the drag queen “patriots” who will “push society forward” as the coronavirus ravages her New York district, killing hundreds.

In a Saturday morning tweet, the New York Democrat shared a clip from a roundtable meeting with drag queens who dished “tea” on their least favorite person in the world: President Trump.

“Electoralism has limits,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “Elected officials often don’t lead our most impactful societal changes, they follow them. The heroes who lead true change are the activists, artists, organizers & others who educate + push society forward.”

In the clip, Ocasio-Cortez is surrounded by drag queens who express admiration for how she daily stands up to Trump.

“I see you standing up to that man everyday,” said one drag queen. “And how can we all even, like, complain about anything when you literally stand in the face of what I think is the most … the worst parts of our nature as humans. You stand up against him and say ‘no.’ That’s so hard.”

Other drag queens interjected that Trump was “evil” before Ocasio-Cortez praised their efforts to “change the way people think.” […]

“It starts with you,” Ocasio-Cortez told the drag queens. “I mean, you’re patriots, you are, you are, you are patriots, and I’m so proud of you all, and I’m so proud to live in this country with you.”

Read more

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th Congressional District. The youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress, she exemplifies the progressive ideals of the Democratic Party.

From Lefticon:

Drag – a term for a man doing female impersonation; can also refer to a woman impersonating a man.

Drag apparently has a special place in the amusement of elites and is seen in the performing arts of various cultures, as in Shakespearian drama, ballet, opera, Noh, kabuki, the amateur theatrical productions at Ivy League schools such as the Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard, and the high jinks of the powerful at the Bohemian Grove.

Most Hollywood actors and television personalities have appeared in drag at least once in their careers, either in their performances or at one of the social events of the entertainment industry.

Cross dresser – a cisgender male who dresses as a female, or a cisgender female who dresses as a male.

Drag queen – a man who combines cross dressing with exhibitionism, wearing women’s clothing and cosmetics and affecting exaggerated female mannerisms, often in a grotesque caricature.

Drag queens are a popular form of entertainment with gays and are featured prominently in Gay Pride parades. Many serve their local communities by reading stories to little children at public libraries.

Trump voters ‘are less likely to practice social distancing’ in pandemic, claims analysis of phone data ‘scoreboard’

This article, by Keith Griffith for the Daily Mail on April 11, 2020, reported on the article by Professor Sharkey for VOX, which was the topic of my other post today. It is an example of the use of selective emphasis for political purposes and, in this case, for virtue signaling.

A new analysis of nationwide cell phone location data suggests that counties which voted for Presidentin higher proportions are less likely to practice social distancing measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The location analysis, by Princeton sociologist Patrick Sharkey for Vox, also found that attitudes toward climate change are ‘one of the strongest and most robust predictors of social distancing behavior.’

In parts of the country, a recalcitrant minority of people continue to openly blow off stay-at-home orders, defiantly congregating for recreational events in the midst of the pandemic that has infected more than 500,000 Americans and killed at least 18,798.

Read more

From Lefticon:

Virtue signaling – the outward display of one’s righteousness, compassion, and ideological or moral superiority.

Not too long ago, virtue signaling was limited to the moral posturing of organized religions: Catholics confessing their sins, attending Sunday mass, and receiving Holy Communion; Protestants attending Sunday services, studying and quoting the Bible, and tithing; Jews observing the halakha and lending their names to hospitals, museums, and endowed chairs at universities; Muslims praying five times a day, studying and quoting the Koran and hadith, and practicing jihad. With the postmodern decline of religion in the developed world and the rise of atheism, ideologies filled a moral void, and a new set of progressive virtues and norms emerged to replace the religious ones that were lost.

The main virtue signaled by the progressive left is the virtue of compassion, specifically for minorities exploited and oppressed by a bourgeois, capitalist, cisgender, white, male, heteronormative, dominant majority. Compassionate concern for said victims is the main motivator of the progressive struggle for equality and social justice.

Virtue signaling can take place in normal activities of daily living—from shouting, chanting, and displaying posters while demonstrating and protesting; to quiet messaging on T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, and shopping bags; to everyday conversations with friends and strangers, face-to-face or via the social media. It can be expressed through body language, facial expression, eye rolling, finger signals, choice of avatar in social media, sitting or kneeling during the national anthem, burning the flag, using public transportation, supporting National Public Radio, driving an electric car, riding a bicycle, eating a vegan diet, recycling, wearing a pussy hat, using reusable canvas shopping bags instead of paper and plastic, and living a life of virtuous concern for one’s carbon footprint.

The world has never lacked victims of oppression and exploitation, nor have the victims been limited to human individuals and groups. Nonhuman animals are also victims of oppression and, indeed, the planet itself is a victim of white man’s despoliation and exploitation. Accordingly, concern for animal rights and the environment are also legitimate progressive virtues worthy of signaling.

Only the left can engage in virtue signaling. The political right, with its legacy of exploitation and oppression, has little if any virtue to signal.

The US has a collective action problem that’s larger than the coronavirus crisis

Patrick Sharkey is a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. On April 10, 2020, he reported in Vox on statistical correlations he observed between mandated social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain sociopolitical beliefs, and the willingness to accept collectivism. The following are excerpts from his report.

As nations like China and Singapore with more centralized governments and public health systems have been relatively effective in enforcing social distancing and containing coronavirus, the response in the United States has been fragmented and incoherent.

Even as the last holdouts gradually give in and order their residents to shelter in place, data tracking mobile phone locations suggests that many Americans have not fundamentally altered their behavior.

Containing the spread of the coronavirus requires collective, unified action, but data on social distancing makes it clear this isn’t happening everywhere. The question is why.

Analyzing the data reveals that social distancing behavior is related to education; race and ethnicity; to political identity and social capital; and to the impact that this virus has already had on the residents of particular counties.

One of the strongest and most robust predictors of social distancing behavior is found in attitudes toward another major challenge facing the United States: climate change. Places where residents are less likely to agree that global warming is happening, that humans are the cause, and that we have an obligation to do something about it are the places where residents haven’t changed their behavior in response to coronavirus.

Social distancing is simply impossible for some segments of the population who need to move around for work or for essential food and supplies, and daily travel looks very different in rural areas where residents are spread out. Yet similar counties exhibit very different patterns of behavior, suggesting that some degree of choice, guided by local norms, is influencing behavioral change.

Higher levels of social capital — a combination of voter turnout in federal elections, response rates in the 2010 census, the number of associations and the number of nonprofits per capita — is associated with more social distancing.

By contrast, counties with the greatest share of votes for Trump in the 2016 election were least likely to practice social distancing.

All these challenges require a collective, unified solution, and difficult decisions to protect the entire society and future generations. Yet we are a nation that has become increasingly divided along spatial lines. For decades, Americans have been encouraged to respond to major challenges like urban decline, social unrest, and environmental degradation by isolating themselves in areas that are increasingly segregated by class and by politics.

Covid-19 is exposing the limits of that response, but it also raises a question that is crucial to answer if the United States is going to prosper in the coming decades: In a divided nation, how do we come together — figuratively, for the time being — to solve collective challenges?

Read more

Professor Sharkey offers statistical correlations which are consistent with the contrasting behavioral differences between collectivists and individualists.

From Lefticon:

Collectivism – a socio-political philosophy that values the collective over the individual, collective rights over individual rights.

Collectivism emphasizes the power of the individual when acting collectively with other individuals to achieve collective goals. Every individual in a collective has the right to express an opinion and cast a vote in a democratic process, but also an obligation to abide by the will of the majority without opposition or dissent.

Socialism is based on collectivism, with Communism the fullest expression thereof. In Communism, there is no private property, since everything is owned by the people collectively in their “dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry,” as so eloquently expressed by Lenin. Since there is no individual ownership of anything, there is no property tax, inheritance, inheritance tax, nor accumulation of wealth from generation to generation.

Sometimes strong measures are necessary to maintain a collective system. These include the control of the media for news and entertainment; mass surveillance to detect unacceptable behavior or thought; and separation of dissidents from the society-at-large to prevent their infecting the masses.

Individualism – a belief in the autonomy, rights, and responsibilities of the individual.

With rare exceptions, individuals function within groups, which vary in size from family to nation state; individualism is encouraged in some groups and restrained in others. The antithesis of individualism is collectivism, which places greater value on the group than on the individual. While socialism is based on collectivism, capitalism thrives on individualism.

In the United States, the interplay of individualism and collectivism has changed over time. The original American colonists, after their successful revolution, appreciated what their small group of individuals had accomplished over the power of the state, albeit collectively. They created a country that was based on the rights of the individual over those of the state. The Bill of Rights was the rare product of a government protecting its people from itself. The high ideals of the founders were tainted, however, by their practice of slavery and the many blacks they imported from West Africa to work their plantations as chattel slaves without human rights.

Another kind of individualism came from the pioneers and homesteaders who set out in wagon trains to tame and claim a wilderness from coast to coast, often battling indigenous tribes along the way. They lived the concept of rugged individualism, did not philosophize on the meaning of individual rights and certainly did not bestow them on the tribes they displaced. To their credit, they endured much hardship, did not rely on slaves to harvest their crops, and prevailed through their work ethic, strong family units, and the support of neighbors like themselves. The collective power of the state, however, provided the decisive military force that assured their success.

Eventually, the native tribes were pacified and confined to reservations. The slaves were freed, blacks gained full rights of citizenship, and affirmative action gave them equal rights. Many of the social programs created to help them, however, created native-American and black subcultures of welfare dependency, drug abuse, and crime. From the black subculture came a pop culture in the 1970s called hip-hop that celebrated criminality and denigrated women, a culture of gratification through any means, flaunting a kind of primal individualism.

The hip-hop message was in no way intellectual but it was in many ways like the existentialism and moral nihilism of the young white elites of that era. Known as the “me” generation, they were the Baby Boomers after the Second World War who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s. Their kind of individualism arose out of affluence, parental indulgence, and lots of free time. It was a selfish individualism, with the self as the center of the universe and self-realization the goal. The counter-cultural Boomers were celebrated by the media and encouraged in our top universities to reject traditional norms and values and replace them with the progressive values of the Critical Theorists from the Frankfurt School.

Out of the counter-culturists of the “me” generation came our political and academic leaders of the eighties and nineties and into the 21st century. Though they prided themselves on their individualism, the politics they embraced was collective, with heroes like Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Gramsci, and Marcuse. Many became successful capitalists within existing corporations or created their own technology, media, and financial corporations without abandoning their socio-political collectivist ideals.

Covid19 Death Figures “A Substantial Over-Estimate”

Kit Knightly wrote in OffGuardian on April 5, 2020:

A few weeks ago we reported that, according to the Italian Institute of Health (ISS), only 12% of Italy’s reported Covid19 deaths actually listed Covid19 as the cause of death.

Given that 99% of them had at least one serious co-morbidity (and that 80% of them had two such diseases) this raised serious questions as to the reliability of Italy’s reported statistics.

Prof Walter Ricciardi, advisor to Italy’s health minister, explained this was caused by the “generous” way the Italian government handles death certificates:

The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.

Essentially, Italy’s death registration process does not differentiate between those who simply have the virus in their body, and those who are actually killed by it.

Given the amount of fear and panic Italy’s comparatively alarming numbers caused around the world, you would think other nations would be eager to avoid these same mistakes.

Surely all the other countries of the world are employing rigorous standards for delineating who has, and has not, fallen victim to the pandemic, right?

Wrong.

In fact, rather than learning from Italy’s example, other countries are not only repeating these mistakes but going even further.

In Germany, for example, though overall deaths and case-fatality ratio are far lower than Italy’s, their public health agency is still engaging in similar practice.

On March 20th the President of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute confirmed that Germany counts any deceased person who was infected with coronavirus as a Covid19 death, whether or not it actually caused death.

This totally ignores what Dr Sucharit Bhakdi calls the vital distinction between “infection” and “disease”, leading to stories such as this, shared by Dr Hendrik Streeck:

In Heinsberg, for example, a 78-year-old man with previous illnesses died of heart failure, and that was without Sars-2 lung involvement. Since he was infected, he naturally appears in the Covid 19 statistics.

How many “Covid19 deaths” in Germany, fall into this bracket? We don’t know, and will likely never know.

But at least Germany is actually limiting itself to test positive cases.

In the United States, a briefing note from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Service read as follows [our emphasis]:

It is important to emphasise that Coronavirus Disease 19, or Covid-19, should be reported for all decedents where the disease caused or is presumed to have caused or contributed to death.

“Presumed to have caused”? “Contributed”? That’s incredibly soft language, which could easily lead to over-reporting.

The referenced detailed “guidance” was released April 3rd, and is no better [again, our emphasis]:

In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as “probable” or “presumed.” In these instances, certifiers should use their best clinical judgement in determining if a COVID–19 infection was likely.

Are careful records being kept to separate “Covid-19” from “presumed Covid-19”? Are the media making sure they respect the distinction in their reporting?

Absolutely not.

Whenever the alleged casualties are referenced we are fed one large all-inclusive number, without context or explanation, which – thanks to lax reporting guidelines – could be entirely false.

Read more

It is amazing how they were able to pull off this “pandemic” panic with no evidence whatsoever. Who are they? Cui bono?

From Lefticon:

Cui bono? – a Latin phrase asking, “Whose benefit?”

This is a useful question to ask when trying to make sense of a suspected false flag event or manufactured crisis.

The answer will often be unspeakable.

Note:  When there are many parties benefiting from a specific event or crisis, they can be filtered by financial means, organizational support, compliance of the media, and evidence of prior knowledge and planning.

 

 

Imagining a Justice-Based Health System

On March 31, 2020, Isaac Chotiner of  the New Yorker  interviewed Jennifer Prah Ruger:

Jennifer Prah Ruger, the director of the Health Equity and Policy Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, studies national and international public-health policies through a moral lens, examining the ways in which world leaders can insure more just health outcomes for their fellow-citizens, as well as for citizens of other nations—and how those two things necessarily intersect. Prah Ruger’s work is influenced by her former teacher Amartya Sen, whose “capabilities approach” to economics—developed with the philosopher Martha Nussbaum—envisions a broad definition of human flourishing, one that transcends indicators like G.D.P.

Prah Ruger’s most recent book, “Global Health Justice and Governance,” published in 2018, examines international crisis responses to past epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak of 2014. “Public health and health care systems capacity and governance vary considerably across the globe,” Prah Ruger writes. “Like rapidly spreading contagions and global inequalities, this arbitrary patchwork of health systems is morally troubling.” That work is especially relevant today, with the coronavirus pandemic straining health systems around the world, from China to Italy and the United States. In the U.S.—a country that is infamous for the unequal outcomes of its health system—hospitals find themselves overwhelmed with patients and short on medical equipment.

I recently spoke with Prah Ruger by phone. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed how different types of health systems have responded to the current crisis, the area where the U.S. shines in keeping its population safe and healthy, and whether health care should be understood as a universal human right.

What have you been thinking about for the last couple of weeks, as this thing has spread, and how does the coronavirus fit into what you study and write about?

The first thing I’ve been thinking about is the underlying principles of justice and equity that we’ve been working on in our approach and in our lab. In the recent book that we just published, the underlying philosophy of human flourishing and the attempt to create the global and domestic conditions for people to have the ability to flourish is very relevant for the current situation. Flourishing is about enabling people to do and be what they want to do and be, and health is an instrumental and an essential part of that. So global public health that protects people’s ability to flourish is an essential part of a just society—a global society and a domestic society.

And so what I’ve been looking for and trying to understand better, as you look globally but also domestically and in our own country, is how are we going about effectuating that or not. So I’ve been advancing a particular approach to that called provincial globalism, in which we look at the intersection or the commonalities between provincial or state or nation or local-based norms and values about equity in public health, and global foci on health and equity.

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In this interview, Prah Ruger discusses responses to the coronavirus pandemic from the point of view of equity and justice. In this context, she is obviously referring to the kind of equity that stems from equality, and to social justice rather than other kinds, e.g., criminal. The world certainly needs more of her capabilities approach to achieve these prerequisites for human flourishing.

From Lefticon:

Equality – sameness; a word with many meanings, depending on the context.

In socio-politics, equality can apply to equal rights, equal treatment, equal justice, equal care, equal ability, equal pay, equal housing, equal opportunity, and equal outcome.

Equality is or was the slogan or rallying cry of many ideologies and political movements. In the Declaration of Independence of the United States, the founders declared that all men are created equal, yet many of them owned slaves. In the French Revolution, Liberté, égalité, fraternité was the slogan of the Jacobins; Robespierre implemented égalité during the Reign of Terror, when aristocrats and common people were equally guillotined.

The only true equality is abstract and mathematical. Identical manufactured products can come close by being dimensionally and functionally equal. Biological equality is essentially impossible except for identical twins at conception. Yet we are told that all men are created equal and have the same rights. In a free society, this is true in the abstract sense of equality before the law, but even that never happens in real life because of judicial bias and inequalities in access to quality representation.

Social, educational, economic, racial, and gender equalities of opportunity and outcome are laudable but not fully attainable in any society inhabited by imperfect, unequal, and corruptible humans. Realizing these limitations, it is still necessary to strive toward the most equality possible in the area of civil rights and the aspirational goals of social justice.

Note:  Even the USSR, hailed as a benchmark of equality, had an unequal, elite ruling class of bureaucrats, an apparat of nomenklature and apparatchiks who enjoyed special privileges such as automobiles, dedicated stores, and dachas in the countryside. These perquisites were decried by Trotsky and Schachtman, who were apparently more dedicated to equality and the concept of a classless society than Lenin and Stalin.

Social justice – a term with many meanings, among which are: equality in rights and privileges; equality in wealth; equality in pay for a unit of work; equality in outcomes as well as opportunities; and the righting of previous wrongs.

Social justice focuses on correcting the inequality every minority faces in a white patriarchal society. It requires proactive amends for the victims of bias, capitalism, classism, climate change, colonialism, cultural appropriation, discrimination, genocide, homophobia, imperialism, marginalization, microaggression, oppression, patriarchy, racism, segregation, sexism, slavery, transphobia, white hegemony, white privilege, and white male privilege.

Ultimately, social justice depends on the power of a progressive government to determine the rights of individuals, establish them legislatively, and enforce them by whatever regulatory and judicial means are necessary.