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The economic calculation problem nails communism

The economic calculation problem is the nail in the coffin of communist theory, and ultimately all statism.

The Problem

The economic calculation problem is not to do with incentives. We can assume a society where everyone is motivated to work for the collective (“Communist Man”), a society where there are no problems of abuse-of-power, and a completely reliable system of democratic decision-making.

We can grant all that, and communism is still doomed.

The economic calculation problem is practical: we have all different kinds of land, labor and capital, all communally owned, and now what are we going to do with it? What is the best way to employ our scarce resources, our means of production? Should we do Project A or Project B? Should we use Method C or Method D? Should we do it in Location E or Location F? There are zillions of such production decisions that need to be made, right down to the micro level within the structure of production.

Market v Communist Planning

These production questions are answered very easily in a free market system, because entrepreneurs can use prices, and then use the means of production in whatever way maximises profits, i.e. delivers the most benefits for the least cost.

These questions are unanswerable in a communist system, because there are no prices. Costs and benefits are unknown. The planners operate in the dark. Higher-order production activities become uncoordinated first. Resources are misused and squandered, not intentionally, but due to a lack of information. Opportunities are missed, risks are inaccurately assessed, adaptability to changing conditions reduces. Before long, unguided by price signals, basic needs go unmet because of failures in production lines to coordinate and adapt.

Conclusion

Any full implementation of communism in a society above primitive level will quickly collapse in calculational chaos. Communism completely fails in theory. Calculational chaos is a key reason why it always fails in practice too.

Mises delivered the final nail in the coffin of communist theory in 1920 with his economic calculation argument. The rest of the 20th century demonstrated his theory repeatedly wherever partial-communism was tried.

The coordination and adaptation functions of markets are essential for using resources wisely and achieving the best possible standard of living. In the marketplace of ideas, communism has been on life-support for a century and deserves to die.

Bibliography

Mises, Ludwig von – Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (1920, original paper)

Mises, Ludwig von – Human Action, Part 5, Chapter XXVI. The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism (1949, response to critics)

Rothbard, Murray – The End of Socialism and the Calculation Debate Revisited (1991, summary of debate)

Salerno, Joseph – Calculation and Socialism (LvMI lecture, 2019)

Bitcoin BTC has been co-opted

In the early days, bitcoin was used by a niche group of people who wanted freedom. The potential of bitcoin to help free society from the central banking system is why it became interesting and valuable in the first place.

These bitcoin pioneers saw that the main advantage of bitcoin, as a tool for freedom, is that it is *uncensorable*. As long as you have your private key and an internet connection, you can make a bitcoin transaction. No government or bank can stop you.

All transactions were also fast, reliable, and free. You didn’t have to pay a fee to get your transaction picked up by the validators, because there was always plenty of space within the blocks, so there was no competition to get your transaction picked up.

Then the “blocksize limit debate” took place, starting around 2013 and coming to a head in 2017. It’s really important to understand this debate to see how bitcoin was transformed from a tool for freedom into… something else.

The debate was about what to do now that bitcoin was becoming more popular, and the blocks were getting fuller, nearing the blocksize limit. With full blocks, you have high fees, because you have to compete to get your transaction into them, and the system becomes slow and unreliable

On one side of the debate were those who supported the obvious answer: increase the size of the blocks, so that transactions could continue to be fast, reliable, and cheap; these were the big-blockers. On the other side were those who wanted to keep the blocksize limit the same, deliberately crippling bitcoin, because they considered high fees to be good (they were quite open about this); these were the small-blockers.

In a situation like this, where there is no consensus between miners about what rules to follow, a chainsplit occurs. This happened in 2017. Where there was one bitcoin network before, now there were two. Anyone who owned bitcoins before the split now owned bitcoins on two separate blockchains. The majority of miners wanted small blocks and high fees, unsurprisingly since miners are the ones who collect the fees. So their blockchain retained the name bitcoin and the BTC ticker. The minority blockchain was rebranded as bitcoin cash with the BCH ticker, and immediately increased the blocksize limit to keep transactions cheap.

In my opinion, we are looking at a case of problem-reaction-solution here. The small-blockers broke bitcoin, caused fees to become huge, so they could sell their solution. The small-blockers intend to create a “second layer” on top of bitcoin, which amounts to constructing a banking system on top of bitcoin, and forcing all transactions to use that system. Who could be behind that, I wonder?

Bitcoin cash BCH became the tool for freedom that bitcoin originally represented. Bitcoin BTC must now be considered a coin that has been co-opted by the establishment.

The European Super League proposal was a staged event

The events of the last few days in football have been astonishing. There are red flags that suggest the event was staged from beginning to end.

The Inexplicably Incompetent Launch

Here is how a BBC reporter describes the announcement of a new European Super League (article 21st April):

It would be naive to think discussions around a European Super League (ESL) have not been happening for some considerable time. It was also fairly obvious criticism would swiftly follow the announcement of the proposed competition.

Given that backdrop, a swift, positive message had to be delivered early to counter the negativity.

Instead, after the first rumours began to surface on Thursday and then the first reports were published on Sunday lunchtime, there was nothing official from the Super League camp until 23:11 BST later that day. Then, Real Madrid president and proposed Super League chairman Florentino Perez gave an interview with a Spanish media outlet in the early hours.

There were no more statements or interviews given by executives of the 12 clubs prior to project collapsing on Tuesday night.

Instead, the vacuum was filled with negativity – from fans, media, players and managers.

Even Prime Ministers and Presidents condemned it, as did Prince William. There was no attempt other than from Perez to explain what the 12 clubs viewed as the positives. By Monday evening, the narrative was set and it already felt impossible to change it.

This is not some minor PR mishap. You would have to be a marketing idiot to think dropping one press release, with no supporting materials, and then being silent for three days, is a good plan for a product launch. These billion-dollar clubs have large marketing budgets and lots of highly-paid and highly-skilled people working for them. If this was a serious proposal, this must surely go down as the biggest PR blunder in history.

In reality, they would not launch it like this. Press teams at all the clubs would be armed with the party line, and ready to address the many inevitable questions from fans. They would be all over traditional media and social media defending the plan to the public. They would have football celebrities promoting it, brand ambassadors, adverts, FAQs, etc. The selling points of the proposal would be clear and simple, and repeated often. They would be pushing hard their message: this is good for football, and has x, y, z benefits, etc. They would be all over it, a marketing blitz.

The “drop a press release and then stay quiet” method of product launch being so incredibly dumb is strong evidence that this product was designed to fail.

The Worst Press Release in History

The 18th April press release from The Super League is here. It is badly written beyond belief. It seems to be deliberately confusing, leaving many obvious unanswered questions. Here is how it starts:

Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.

AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

What the heck does “anticipated” mean? Who are the other three clubs? Why aren’t they on the list already? Have they been chosen? How are they being chosen? What if they can’t find three more, will the league go ahead with 12? If this were a serious product launch, these things would all be resolved. There would be no uncertainty on something of this importance.

Then we get this strange paragraph:

Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole.

That almost sounds like a threat, or at least hints at some rivalry or antagonistic relationships at the heart of football. Maybe there are, but don’t put that in a press release of a new product!

Then we have this:

The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.

The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid. In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions. The Founding Clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.

It is poorly written, and full of jargon and management-speak. It isn’t really saying anything at all. The last sentence is especially hard to parse. Are these supposed to be the justifications for launching this product? It’s just confusing. This whole press release has not been written with clarity of communication in mind.

The press release then has this section, titled “Competition Format”:

20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.

Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game.

An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter finals. Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

There are so many obvious questions about this that fans will want to know. Where are the 5 extra teams picked from? What is the qualifying mechanism? Will the clubs still field their best players in the domestic league? These things are quite obviously what fans will be asking, and no answers are provided.

Next we have this remarkable sentence:

As soon as practicable after the start of the men’s competition, a corresponding women’s league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop the women’s game.

As if it wasn’t already confusing enough, they now invite a whole load of questions about the women’s league. What does “as soon as practicable” mean? For maximum woke points, why not launch them both at the same time? If there aren’t concrete plans yet, don’t mention it, save it for an FAQ. A press release launching a serious product would stick to the product actually being launched.

Despite this being a press release about a new product, we haven’t actually been presented with any benefits yet. Next comes this extraordinary paragraph:

The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues. These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the Clubs. In addition, the competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all Founding Clubs signing up to a spending framework. In exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Solidarity payments are paid to the clubs in the league. They are talking about the benefits to themselves! They call bigger payments to the biggest clubs “support for European football”. This paragraph tells us the 12 Founding Clubs expect to be a lot better off because of this deal. Well, great for them! Of course you are going to get accused of being greedy if you brag in your own press release about how much extra money you are going to make from your new product. No benefits to fans or grassroots football are mentioned in the entire press release.

The final part of the press release is three quotes, from the heads of three of the clubs in the scheme.

Florentino Pérez, President Real Madrid CF and the first Chairman of the Super League said:

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

He presents this new league as a deliberate pivot away from local fans and towards a global audience, motivated by money. This quote seems designed to irritate fans.

Backing the new European league, Andrea Agnelli, Chairman of Juventus and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said:

“Our 12 Founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies. We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”

More drivel and jargon. Are “solidarity” and “role models” really what football fans think is missing from the game? Do fans want “a regular flow” of games between the same 15 rich clubs every year? Even I know the answer is no. “Amateur players” are mentioned, but without explanation how they might benefit.

Joel Glazer, Co-Chairman of Manchester United and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said:

“By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”

Finally, in the very last sentence of the press release, we have something fans actually care about: more money for the small clubs and the grassroots. But what does Mr Glazer mean by “increased financial support”? If this were a serious proposal, the entire press release would have been written with that as the headline and a thorough explanation of how exactly the new league is going to result in benefits for the wider football pyramid.

If this was a genuine product launch, this is quite possibly the worst press release ever written. It is beyond credulity that this is just incompetence.

An Unbelievable Political Gift

Another red flag that this was a staged event is the role played by the media and the politicians. The press release was made at lunchtime and this BBC article was posted at 4:57pm. It is a not a report about the new league, but about the reaction to it. No mainstream media sources I can find reported the announcement in a positive way, or even neutrally. No one was advocating or defending the product.

From the very beginning, the story was not “a new league is being set up”. The story was “greedy capitalists are choosing profits over the wishes of fans, and this will destroy football”. The story was political from the very start. The media were not primarily quoting football experts or fans on the matter, but politicians. The first person quoted in the BBC article was not Gary Lineker, but Boris Johnson. The article goes on to quote two more politicians: Oliver Dowden and Keir Starmer.

Why are politicians even involved? Because this whole affair is the most unbelievable political gift. A cause with near-universal support is an opportunity not to be missed. The politicians were falling over themselves to side with the fans against the “greedy capitalists”. It is too good to be true.

Here is Boris Johnson’s tweet:

In the context of increasing rebellion against the police state measures being imposed in the UK, this is a dream for Boris Johnson. His popularity will have gone up as a result of his “swift, decisive actions” on this issue. Many other politicians will have likewise benefited (and obviously none of them spoke in support of the new league).

In his tweet, Boris Johnson is clearly not just speaking as a fan, who happens to be Prime Minister. He is speaking on behalf of the government, and pledging the power of the state to support football authorities in “taking action”. Over the coming months and years, we shall find out what this really means.

The politicians keenly pointed to the German model of fan-ownership of clubs as the solution to this “problem”. Some, like Jeremy Corbyn, have been outspoken on this issue before and are now claiming vindication. It seems likely that in the near future the power of the state will be used to transfer control of the clubs from the existing owners to supporters trusts.

This action would, of course, be very popular. The danger is not how the power of the state will be used in this case (football), but how it will be used more widely. If there is a supposed need to enforce “community ownership” of football clubs, why not do they same in other industries, they will say. For years to come, politicians and statists will hold football up as an example of why we need more communism.

An Alternative Explanation

The mainstream story here is that these 12 multi-billion dollar clubs committed the most monumental business misjudgement in corporate history. The Super League will replace New Coke as the go-to example of a failed product launch. The biggest football clubs in the world apparently decided the best way to launch their new product was to announce it in a press release. It was probably the worst press release in history. They had no supporting materials and no ambassadors. Then they kept quiet for 48 hours, while outrage dominated the conversation. Then, supposedly “underestimating” how strongly the fans feel, they apologetically pretend they have listened to the fans and abandon the idea. This is an incredible story – literally.

I humbly suggest an alternative explanation. That this was a staged event, never a serious proposal. It was always going to be “abandoned” after 48 hours, once the announcement had had the desired effect. This explanation seems more credible to me than the “incompetence theory”. The details of how it was carried out will no doubt emerge as investigations are carried out. It appears the billionaire owners of these 12 clubs decided the damage to their reputation (and likely future loss of ownership of the club) was worth it.

What might the owners have been offered to do this? I don’t know. That would require more digging into who they are and what interests they have. I do not expect it will take long to find evidence of corruption and associations between these club owners and the billionaire global elites trying to bring about The Great Reset.

Conclusion

The “European Super League” was not a serious proposal. It was designed to fail. The clubs did not make a “mistake” that they rectified a few days later. It was designed to create exactly the backlash that it did create. It was planned to be “abandoned” shortly after the announcement. It was political. I see no other reasonable explanation for the events of this week.

Review of BBC “False vaccine claims debunked” video

This is a review of the BBC hit-piece video found here: Coronavirus: False vaccine claims debunked.

Claim 1: There’s a microchip or tracking device.

My Response: No one claims this. It is poisoning the well.

The idea of implanting a digital tracking device into all humans is an authoritarian’s dream. It has been speculated about as something the Elites may wish to do in the future. Given their goals and plans, the usefulness of having all individuals electronically tagged and tracked is undeniable. Plans to electronically tag all resources and devices, to create an “internet of things”, are already well-advanced. The real question is why wouldn’t they want to tag all humans in the same way?

Bill Gates is among these Elites, as explained in Who is Bill Gates?. One of the organisations funded by The Gates Foundation through GAVI is ID2020. This organisation plans to create a digital identity for every person on the planet. They have an article about their strategy for achieving this goal, literally called Immunization: an entry point for digital identity. They say:

“In order to enable digital identity at scale, we will need to identify and leverage many entry points. Immunization service delivery presents a tremendous opportunity to provide children with a durable, portable and secure digital identity early in life”

So, within the plans of the Elites, there is a connection between digital identity and vaccines. They consider vaccines an opportunity to advance the digital control grid they are creating. Vaccines, digital identity, tracking devices, and nanotechnology are all part of The Great Reset agenda. They are all crucial elements in their plan to “fuse our biological, physical and digital identities”.

No one claims there are tracking devices in the Covid vaccines or any other vaccines that currently exists. It is a future concern, not a present one.

There is no honest reason to bring this claim up in this video. The video is presumably aimed at people with doubts about the Covid vaccines, who may be concerned about “dangerous information” they have “heard online”. The choice not only to include this claim about tracking devices among the five claims, but to put it first in the video, shows that this video is BBC propaganda. This claim is prominently placed to smear all dissenters, and conveniently put them in the bracket of “conspiracy nuts”. The same old trick works every time.

Claim 2: The vaccine contains pork or beef.

My Response: No one claims this. It is poisoning the well, again.

The ingredients of the Covid vaccines can be found on the Information for Healthcare Professionals documents produced by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Approval (MHRA):

The Covid vaccines do not contain pork or beef. No one claims they do.

Does the BBC really think this is what is of concern to people? Or is it more likely they decided to include this claim for propaganda value? This claim seems to have been included to stoke animosity between groups. This is a standing order at the BBC, to make every issue into a war between groups: genders, races, classes, religions, etc. By including this issue about pork and beef, they are associating questions of vaccine safety with the cultural wars. This is part of the BBC’s campaign to paint vaccine refusers as not just wrong, gullible, and stupid, but also selfish, bigoted, and evil.

Claim 3: The vaccine will change my DNA.

My Response: No one claims this. Some have claimed that there is an unknown (and likely very small) risk of damage to DNA through reverse transcription. This is a far cry from “will change my DNA”.

In their November 2018 corporate prospectus, Moderna describes mRNA as “the software of life” and declares that:

“We are creating a new category of transformative medicines based on mRNA.”

The Moderna and Pfizer mRNA-based products are not vaccines by the definition of the term up until 2020. They contain no antigen. All existing vaccines contain an ingredient that directly triggers the immune system. The antigen is either “attenuated live” (e.g. MMR, Rotavirus, Varicella, BCG) or “inactivated” (e.g. DTaP, HepB, Hib, Polio, HepA, Influenza, Pneumococcal). In contrast, these new mRNA-based products contain code for the body’s own cells to create the antigen. In this case, coding for the cells to create the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Vaccines directly trigger an immune response; these products are designed to create a temporary auto-immune condition.

The delivery system for the mRNA is a particular safety concern. The mRNA is encased in a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG). The idea of the PEG-coated LNP is to get the mRNA to the cells intact. Once in the cells, the mRNA gets transcribed into the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The longer the mRNA endures in the cells, the more SARS-CoV-2 spike protein the cell produces. It needs to endure long enough to trigger an immune response significant enough to induce immunological memory, but not so long that it causes a long-lasting or permanent auto-immune condition.

This is brand new biotechnology. The Pfizer and Moderna products are best described as software being installed into the human body via injection. The software is written in the code of mRNA. The definition of vaccine has been expanded to make the novel seem familiar. Risk of altered DNA is one of many concerns raised by medical professionals about the safety of this new biotechnology. How can be we be sure that the mRNA will get broken down before it gets reverse-transcribed into DNA?

This new biotechnology had a troubled development. In 2017, Moderna was forced to abandon development of an mRNA/LNP-based treatment for a rare disease called Crigler-Najjar syndrome. In animal trials, there were serious side effects, and it was not proved safe enough to test in humans:

“the safe dose was too weak, and repeat injections of a dose strong enough to be effective had troubling effects on the liver… Several major pharmaceutical companies have tried and abandoned the idea, struggling to get mRNA into cells without triggering nasty side effects”.

Despite this setback, Moderna persisted in trying to develop mRNA-based biotechnology. Their November 2018 corporate prospectus is open about the signficiant risks associated with their strategy:

Most of our investigational medicines are formulated and administered in an LNP which may lead to systemic side effects related to the components of the LNP which may not have ever been tested in humans. While we have continued to optimize our LNPs, there can be no assurance that our LNPs will not have undesired effects.

Our LNPs could contribute, in whole or in part, to one or more of the following: immune reactions, infusion reactions, complement reactions, opsonation reactions, antibody reactions including IgA, IgM, IgE or IgG or some combination thereof, or reactions to the PEG from some lipids or PEG otherwise associated with the LNP.

Certain aspects of our investigational medicines may induce immune reactions from either the mRNA or the lipid as well as adverse reactions within liver pathways or degradation of the mRNA or the LNP, any of which could lead to significant adverse events in one or more of our clinical trials. Many of these types of side effects have been seen for legacy LNPs.

There may be resulting uncertainty as to the underlying cause of any such adverse event, which would make it difficult to accurately predict side effects in future clinical trials and would result in significant delays in our programs.

So, the mRNA delivery system biotechnology had to be abandoned in 2017 due to failed safety studies in animals, and still had all these risks associated with it in November 2018. What happened next? Was there some remarkable breakthrough made in 2019 or 2020? How did all these issues just disappear overnight? Are we supposed to believe that these risks are now understood and mitigated? Where are the studies that demonstrate that?

Why is it treated like heresy to raise concerns about this new biotechnology that had so many admitted problems before Covid happened, but which are now being ignored or dismissed? Is it possible that being granted legal immunity from adverse events to Covid vaccines influenced the decisions made by Pfizer and Moderna around safety testing? Could it have tipped the balance and made them decide that the previously showstopping risks of mRNA technology are now worth taking?

An article by Mercola about issues related to LNPs is here. Children’s Health Defense has a comprehensive and well-resourced article about issues related to PEG here.

Given these strong reasons to doubt the safety of mRNA products, can we be absolutely sure that the mRNA will not be reverse-transcribed and alter our DNA? There is a plausible biological mechanism for it to be happen. Even if the risk is a million-to-one, if everyone on Earth gets the vaccine, that is eight thousand people with altered DNA. More research is needed to quantify the risk, and to reveal specific groups vulnerable to this happening.

The health consequences of altered DNA are unknown. It is also unknown whether the altered DNA would be passed to future generations, potentially creating the first bloodlines of genetically-modified humans. Is this an acceptable risk? How sure are we that the odds of this happening are too low to worry about?

Claim 4: The vaccine contains aborted fetus cells

My Response: No one claims this. Use of fetal cells in production is a non-issue for most people, and for those who do oppose it, it is typically on ethical rather than health grounds.

Cloned human fetus cells are used in the production of many vaccines, like the MMR, varicella, Hepatitis A, and polio. The main two cell lines used in vaccine production today (WI-38 and MRC-5) were derived from two abortions in the 1960s. New lines were started later, such as in 1973 (HEK-293), 1977 (IMR-90), and 1985 (PER.C6). As the serial numbers suggest, these were the successful attempts among many during the development of each new line. According to Stanley Plotkin’s 2018 deposition, there were 76 aborted fetuses used in the development of WI-38 alone. All the fetuses were all over three months old and obtained from women in psychiatric institutions.

For all vaccines that use fetal cells in production, they are not meant to be in the final product. But they are still listed as an excipient. There is always a risk that some fetal cells do end up in the vaccine, due to imperfect isolation techniques. For example, the Havrix (Hepatitis A) vaccine excipient list includes:

“residual MRC-5 cellular proteins (not more than 5 mcg/mL)”

The Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines are not produced this way. As discussed above, these products are not really vaccines, because they contain no antigen, which also means they have no need to use fetal cells in production. Fetal cells from the HEK-293 line were used by both Pfizer and Moderna during testing, but are not used in production of the final product.

The AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is produced using fetal cells from the HEK-293 fetal line. The MRC-5 line was also used in testing. The BBC video assures us that:

“the UK regulator [the MHRA] told us that no fetal material ends up in the vaccine”

I don’t know what evidence they have for making such an absolute statement. If it is the same as with other vaccines, there is a risk of residual fetal cells at trace amounts in the AstraZeneca vaccine. I do not know of any specific health risks associated with this, so this is really a non-issue for me and most other people.

Claim 5: The vaccines can make women infertile

My Response: This one (finally!) is a genuine claim that is made by some of us opposed to the Covid vaccines. The claim is that there is a reason to be concerned about the risk of infertility, and there has not been enough testing to rule it out.

This claim was first brought to wide attention in a petition submitted to the EU Parliament. The petition requested an immediate pause to the vaccine rollout to allow for more safety testing to take place. The petitioner was German politician Wolfgang Wodarg, and the co-petitioner was Mike Yeadon, former Vice President and Chief Scientist at Pfizer. Here is a brief description of the petition, written by Wodarg. Here is a long interview of Mike Yeadon by James Delingpole (from before the petition was created).

The risk of infertility is briefly mentioned in this part of the petition:

“Syncytin-1… which is derived from human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) and is responsible for the development of a placenta in mammals and humans and is therefore an essential prerequisite for a successful pregnancy, is also found in homologous form in the spike proteins of SARS viruses. There is no indication whether antibodies against spike proteins of SARS viruses would also act like anti-Syncytin-1 antibodies. However, if this were to be the case this would then also prevent the formation of a placenta which would result in vaccinated women essentially becoming infertile. To my knowledge, Pfizer/BioNTech has yet to release any samples of written materials provided to patients, so it is unclear what, if any, information regarding (potential) fertility-specific risks caused by antibodies is included.

According to section 10.4.2 of the Pfizer/BioNTech trial protocol, a woman of childbearing potential (WOCBP) is eligible to participate if she is not pregnant or breastfeeding, and is using an acceptable contraceptive method as described in the trial protocol during the intervention period (for a minimum of 28 days after the last dose of study intervention).

This means that it could take a relatively long time before a noticeable number of cases of postvaccination infertility could be observed.”

Within a few weeks, there were several responses to the proposed biological mechanism – such as this article, this article, and this Twitter thread. These responses argue that the similarity between syncytin-1 and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is minimal, so there is no risk of the immune system being triggered by the placenta. They also argue that if they were similar enough to confuse the immune system, having SARS-CoV-2 itself ought to cause infertility, and there is no evidence that it does.

I cannot find any response Yeadon or Wodarg have made to these counterarguments. It appears that Yeadon is no longer on Twitter. On the basis of the responses above, and the lack of a comeback argument, I do not think the biological mechanism that Yeadon proposed is plausible.

Here is the response in the BBC video to this claim of a risk to fertility:

“None of the data studied so far indicates any harmful effect on fertility. The UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there is no plausible biological way for the current vaccines to cause any impact on fertility. Even after trials are done and vaccines are approved, their effects are continually studied.”

The “data studied so far” refers to the pre-approval clinical trials. Here is the MHRA Information for Healthcare Professionals paragraph on Developmental And Reproductive Toxicity (DART) testing for the Pfizer vaccine:

“Reproductive and developmental toxicity were investigated in rats in a combined fertility and developmental toxicity study where female rats were intramuscularly administered with the COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 prior to mating and during gestation (receiving 4 full human doses that generate relatively higher levels in rat due to body weight differences, spanning between pre-mating day 21 and gestational day 20). SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody responses were present in maternal animals from prior to mating to the end of the study on postnatal day 21 as well as in foetuses and offspring. There were no vaccine-related effects on female fertility, pregnancy, or embryo-foetal or offspring development. No data on the COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 are available on vaccine placental transfer or excretion in milk.”

The FDA reports the following about DART testing for the Moderna vaccine:

“A combined developmental and perinatal/postnatal reproductive toxicity study of mRNA-1273 in rats was submitted to FDA on December 4, 2020. FDA review of this study concluded that mRNA1273 given prior to mating and during gestation periods at dose of 100 µg did not have any adverse effects on female reproduction, fetal/embryonal development, or postnatal developmental except for skeletal variations which are common and typically resolve postnatally without intervention.”

While it is reassuring to be told that no adverse effects on fertility were found in the animal studies, such studies are too small to pick up low-probability adverse effects. Furthermore, what is safe in animals is not always the same as what is safe in humans.

From the Phase 3 human studies for the Pfizer vaccine, we find the following reported by the FDA:

“Female study participants of childbearing potential were screened for pregnancy prior to each vaccination, with a positive test resulting in exclusion or discontinuation from study vaccination. The study is collecting outcomes for all reported pregnancies that occur after vaccination, or before vaccination and not detected by pre-vaccination screening tests. Twenty-three pregnancies were reported through the data cut-off date of November 14, 2020 (12 vaccine, 11 placebo).”

The same exclusions applied for the Moderna vaccine Phase 3 clinical trials, and we find the following reported by the FDA:

“Thirteen pregnancies were reported through December 2, 2020 (6 vaccine, 7 placebo).”

It is mildly reassuring that there was no difference between the pregnancy rate in the vaccine group compared to the placebo. But like the animal studies, this study is not large enough to detect low-probability adverse effects on fertility. In this case, the limitation is the length of the study period. There simply hasn’t been enough time since the vaccines and placebos were administered to properly assess whether the vaccine affects fertility. 23 pregnancies from the 38,000 test subjects is not enough to make a comparison between pregnancy rates in the vaccine and placebo groups meaningful.

The pre-approval studies have now effectively ended, because the researchers and subjects have been un-blinded and many of those who received the placebo are being given the vaccine.

Fertility is not going to be picked up by either of the two early monitoring systems in the US. These systems are VAERS and V-Safe. A slide summary of the data for the Covid-19 vaccines up to February can be found here, including the rates of miscarriages and stillbirths in vaccinated women. 15% of pregnancies reported to V-Safe ended in miscarriage, but this result is dismissed as being in line with background rates. 29 miscarriages have been reported to VAERS, most occurring within days of getting a Covid-19 vaccine, but this has not triggered a safety signal.

It may take years before evidence emerges either way about whether the Covid vaccines have an effect on fertility. Safety studies can now only be retrospective cohort or case-control studies. This is an inherently weaker form of study than the pre-approval Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). It was a big risk to end the pre-approval studies so early, and to approve Covid-19 vaccines with such limited safety testing.

Given that Covid-19 is low-risk in women of childbearing age (and younger), and that the risk of infertility from the Covid-19 vaccines has not been ruled out, I think it would be wise for them to delay taking it.

Conclusion

The BBC aimed to debunk five claims supposedly made by those of us who oppose vaccines. Four of the five claims are not made by anyone; they are strawmen, included only to poison the well. I hope in this post I have shown why they are strawmen and have responded to the kernel of truth within each of them.

The only claim that is genuine is about the risk of infertility. Although in my assessment the biological mechanism proposed by Mike Yeadon does not seem plausible, there is a lack of safety data to be confident that the Covid-19 vaccines do not cause infertility.

Most Covid Cases Are False Positives

How reliable are Covid test results?

The most common way of testing for Covid has been PCR testing. PCR testing has been estimated (in Cohen 2020 meta-analysis) as having a false positive rate (FPR) of 2.3%. This is the percentage of known negatives that will receive a positive test result. The interquartile range on this estimate was 0.8% to 4.0%. The same study estimated a false negative rate (FNR) 0f 20%, with a wide range of possibilities from 0% to 40%. This is the percentage of known positives that will receive a negative test result.

This may not sound too bad. However, these two rates alone do not tell us much about the reliability of the test results. The statistic we want is the Positive Predictive Value (PPV): the likelihood that a given positive test result is accurate. We can derive the PPV from the FPR and FNR, but it requires making an assumption about the prevalence in the population being tested.

High Prevalence

For example, in the table above, we have assumed a prevalence within the population being tested of 20%. If you are testing for SARS-CoV-2 and your test population is people sick in hospital with a respiratory illness, this may be a reasonable assumption. We test 1000 people, so 200 are real positive cases. The FNR means 40 of the 200 real positive cases will get a (false) negative result. The FPR means that 18 of the 800 real negative cases will get a (false) positive result.

Now we can calculate the PPV by dividing the number of real positive results by the total number of positive results: 160/(160+18)=89.7%. If you get a positive result, there is a 90% chance that it is accurate – so take it seriously. We can also calculate the Negative Predictive Value (NPV) by dividing the number of real negative results by the total number of negative results: 782/(40+782)=95.1%. If you get a negative result, there is a 95% chance that it is accurate – so rest easy.

Medium Prevalence

So far, so good, but now look what happens if we assume the prevalence in the population being tested is lower.

In the table above, we have assumed a prevalence within the population being tested of 1%. If you are testing for SARS-CoV-2 and your test population is anyone in the general population with symptoms, this may be a reasonable assumption. Here, with the exact same FPR and FNR as before, we find a Positive Predictive Value of only 26%. If you get a positive test result, there is a 74% chance that it is inaccurate, so it can’t be relied on.

Lower prevalence in the tested population is what makes the test unreliable. In the example above, there were only 10 real positive cases to find, so any good the test did in identifying the real positives was overwhelmed by the 23 false positive results coming from the many real negative cases. A positive result is not reliable, but a negative result is highly reliable, with a NPV of nearly 100%.

Low Prevalance

With the government now planning to test 3 million schoolchildren twice a week, the prevalence within the population being tested is going to be even lower than 1%. How many schoolchildren are showing symptoms of covid right now? It will be more like 0.1% than 1%, so let’s use that. Let’s also increase our test population size from 1000 to 3 million.

Now it can be seen that a positive result is virtually meaningless. There is only a 3.4% chance you are among the 2,400 true positive cases; you are much more likely to be in the 68,931 false positive cases.

Not only is an individual positive test result almost meaningless now, it also means the reported case numbers are vastly overestimated. In this example where prevalence was 0.1%, there were 3,000 real cases, but 71,331 positive test results, i.e. reported cases. The reported figure would be 24x higher than the real figure. The accuracy of the reported case numbers is thus largely dependent on how many people are being tested and who they are. They can be manipulated at will by changing the testing regime.

Lateral Flow Test

An alternative to PCR testing is the Lateral Flow Test (LFT). This is a viral test like PCR but gives quicker results. The UK government is now planning to test 3 million children aged 11-16 twice a week to see if they have SARS-CoV-2, and they will be using LFT.

The FPR for the LFT has been estimated as only 0.32%, which is much better than the PCR test. The FNR is estimated as 23.2%, which is worse than the PCR test.

However, as we can see from the table above, this does not help much. Even when a test is very good, it doesn’t help much when the prevalence is low. A positive test result is very unlikely to indicate a real case, with a PPV of only 19%.

Conclusion

The government’s new expanded testing regime says that any schoolchild that tests positive (in either of their two weekly tests) must isolate for a fortnight. This is despite a 80+% chance that a positive test result is wrong. Even a very good test cannot give reliable positive results when the prevalence in the tested population is low, as it is in schoolchildren.

The costs of this policy will be huge: not only in the disruption to the lives of the individual children falsely testing positive (and their families), but by conditioning all schoolchildren to believe that their freedom is dependent on compliance and permission granted by the state. It is dangerous to create a generation of children who passively accept that the state can take away their freedom at any time, simply based on the result of a medical test.

All mass testing for SARS-CoV-2 should be stopped immediately, especially this absurd policy of testing all schoolchildren twice a week.

Short Answers to Big Questions

Covid-19 is a big lie. It is a crisis manufactured as a pretext to justify lockdowns. We are surrounded by big lies.

If you are only now recognising this truth, this post is for you. You probably have a lot of questions, such as:

  • What is going on?
  • Why is this happening?
  • How is this happening?
  • What else are we being lied to about?
  • How do we change this?

I may be able to help. Below are my short(ish) answers, based on many years of research, to these five big questions.

What is going on?

A small group of enormously powerful and ultra-wealthy individuals are covertly influencing world events through their control of political systems. These Elites – in a multi-generational project going back at least 150 years and planned out for at least the next 100 years – have moulded society so that it works primarily to benefit themselves, rather than the broad masses. Their goal is permanent world domination.

2020 was a transitional year in their long-term project. They carefully planned to lockdown every society in the world, and they successfully executed their plan using Covid-19 as a pretext. This new phase of their plan is being branded as “The Great Reset” and is described in Klaus Schwab’s book of that name, with Prince Charles as brand ambassador for the plan. It is a new name for a vision and plan that used to be kept secret and known as “The New World Order”. UN Agenda 2030 (formerly UN Agenda 21) is the Elites’ inventory-and-control plan for this decade.

Why is this happening?

The ideology that unifies and motivates these Elites is eugenics. They believe that through selective breeding, the human species can be “improved”. They also consider themselves to be genetically superior to everyone else. Once they have achieved their goal of world domination, their plan is to take control of all human reproduction, so that they can limit and reduce populations of the groups they consider to be “unfit” – everyone but themselves.

Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” (1932) is the long-term vision of the Elites. We have already moved a long way towards it in the time since the book was written. In the story, there is an elite group of World Controllers, who have created a highly efficient form of slavery. The Elites control the masses by making them love their own enslavement. The clever use of mind control (conditioning, brainwashing, propaganda) enhanced by pharmacological methods (vaccines, medications, drugs) means there is no need for physical force to be used against the slaves, and no risk that the Elite power structure will ever be challenged.

The most striking element of Brave New World is that the slaves are perfectly happy and have no desire to free themselves, if they even notice they are slaves at all. They have easy jobs, accommodation, and access to all the food, drugs, and entertainment they could desire, it all being provided “for free” by the State. They enjoy their lives too much to value abstractions like liberty. The truth is not concealed from them; there is no censorship of ideas or information, because there is no need for it. The conditioned masses do not care what the truth is, and do not see any reason to read or learn or think outside their specialisation. They consider broad learning to be complete once their conditioning period (youth) is over.

The Great Reset is designed to shift the world another step toward the kind of society in Brave New World, by initiating an age of transhumanism. Central to the agenda is to create “a fusion of our physical, digital and biological identities”. The Covid-19 “vaccines” are part of this process. They are not vaccines, because they contain no antigen. Moderna describes its product as mRNA software for the human body. It is the first of many “vaccines” that will be produced in this decade to transform the human body into a new form, augmented by technology.

We are living through the creation of a global control grid designed to enable the Elites to rule indefinitely, with no chance that the enslaved masses will ever be able to challenge their power. We are being conditioned to love our servitude. We are being modified by biotechnology and pharmaceutical methods to make us easier to control.

How is this happening?

The Elites carry out their agenda by promoting ideologies that allow them to achieve their objectives. They transmit these ideologies to the masses through the universities, the mainstream media, and the schools. Eugenics itself was openly promoted and popular in the early 20th century; some states, including California, passed forced sterilization laws, explicitly to prevent the breeding of the “unfit”. After 1945, eugenics had to be promoted more covertly because of its association with Nazism. Some of the ideologies that were created by or heavily promoted by the Elites to covertly control and reduce the growth of the human population are: environmentalism, feminism, egalitarianism, abortion and birth control, transgenderism, unrestricted migration, and veganism.

The interests of Elites have changed over time because different ideologies are needed to achieve each step in their plan. For example, prior to 1945, nationalism was heavily promoted by the Elites. This was to bring about two world wars and the establishment of a global government: the UN and its specialised agencies the World Bank, WTO, WHO, FAO, ILO, and UNESCO.  Once these global government power structures were in place, the Elites no longer benefitted from nationalism and they switched to promoting globalist “one world” ideology. This enabled a gradual process of transferring power from national governments to the global government, some via regional political unions like the European Union and African Union.

The political ideologies of the 20th century that we are told were in opposition to each other were all controlled by the Elites. They were ultimately experiments conducted by the Elites to figure out how best to control a society. A mixture of socialism and capitalism with heavy state intervention emerged as the most successful system of control. Democracy and the political party system, along with an elaborate system of vetting, bribery, and blackmail, is how the Elites ensure that all national political leaders are loyal to them. National elections are used to create the illusion of choice and control by the people; the real power resides in the Deep State. State regulatory agencies create cartels in industry (big banks, big energy, big pharma, big tech, etc); a permanent partnership between the state and the corporations.

What else are we being lied to about?

Scientific myths are deliberately created and promoted by the Elites because they allow them to execute key steps in their plan to dominate the world. The natural/physical sciences – especially human biology, nutrition, health, and reproduction – are heavily corrupted to promote the interests of the Elites. Some of these scientific myths include: that humans are causing climate change, that carbon-based fuels are running out, that an animal-based diet is unhealthy, that vaccinations are safe and effective, that diseases are caused by germs, and that gender is a spectrum.

The biggest myth of all is that the Earth is overpopulated – conditioning people to believe that population reduction is a good thing, and that human sacrifices are required in order to “save the planet”.

The Elites have programs actively poisoning us. These include the fluoride in the water, the aluminum in the vaccines, the many poisons used in food production, and the chemical spraying of the air. These toxins are responsible for chronic diseases and mental disorders, and create chemical dependency on pharmaceutical products sold as cures and remedies. Meanwhile, natural methods to prevent illness and cure diseases are ignored or ridiculed in the mainstream.

The humanities – economics, political philosophy, sociology, psychology, and especially history – are even more heavily corrupted by the Elites.  Much of mainstream history – at least of the last 150 years – is fake; the key events of history did not take place in the way we are told, or for the reasons we have been given.

For example, President John F Kennedy was not assassinated by a lone gunman; there was a conspiracy involving the Elites to murder him, because he was becoming trouble to them. The President’s brother Robert and son John Jr were also assassinated by the Elites. Many people have been assassinated over the years when they threatened the power structure too much, such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Princess Diana, Benazir Bhutto, and David Kelly.

The New York World Trade Center was destroyed by explosives in 2001 to begin the War on Terror, the next step in the Elites’ plan for world domination. The Madrid (2004) and London (2005) bombings were also engineered by the Elites to maintain the terror. The Elites also executed many earlier terrorist attacks, such as the Bologna (1980) bombing, part of a campaign of CIA/NATO-led terrorism in Italy and Western Europe, and the World Trade Center (1993) and Oklahoma City (1995) bombings.

Wars are almost always started using either a false flag attack (such as the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 that started the Third Arab-Israeli War), a facilitated attack (such as the sinking of the Lusitania in 1917 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 that got the US into the World Wars), or a fabricated attack (such the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1963 that started the Vietnam War). Sometimes lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction are all that is needed. All wars are conducted to benefit the Elites.

How do we change this?

The most urgent action is to protect ourselves from the chemical warfare that is being used against us. This means taking care of our bodies and our minds. Eat a healthy diet, including lots of meat, fish, eggs, and butter, and avoiding sugar, vegetable oils, and processed food of any kind.  Avoid toxins as much as possible: filter your water, avoid cleaning products, and stop using any prescription drugs or any harmful addictive drugs.  Spend time outside in the sun and fresh air. Exercise. Get plenty of sleep. Meditate. Reduce your exposure to electro-magnetic frequencies. Socialise. Do not restrict your breathing by wearing a mask. Refuse all vaccines, mRNA software injections, and implanted microchips, nanobots, and neurolinks. Nourish your body in every way you can; nature designed it very well, but if it is starved of nutrients or overloaded with toxins, it will not function properly.

The way the Elites took control was by influencing the ideas of the masses. Their evil plan for world domination can only succeed if they continue to have widespread support from the masses; they can only enslave us because we have been manipulated into demanding our own enslavement. Therefore, we win by taking back control of our own minds, replacing bad ideas with good ideas. We must help each other to escape the mind control: to stop supporting the ideas that enslave us, and to start supporting the ideas that will set us free. Ideas shape the world. It is up to us to ensure that good ideas prevail over bad ideas. When the people stop demanding slavery and start demanding freedom, it will inevitably come about.

The priority must be to educate ourselves and each other. We must learn to see the world as it really is, to see through the big lies. We must accept the existence of the Elites and the extent of their control over political systems. They are fighting a war against us, but most of the population remains oblivious. We must all learn who these enemies of free humanity are, what they want, how they operate, and what their plans are. This is all too much for any one individual, so we must help and support each other, share ideas, discuss, and debate.

In my opinion, the following four strategies to decentralise power are good ideas that can be implemented right now, to help turn things around:

  • Unschooling. Educate children outside of school and reject the methods of schooling.
  • Agorism. Covertly engage in peaceful forbidden activities.
  • Disobedience. Openly engage in peaceful activities that undermine the state.
  • Secession. Support any group that wishes to declare independence from a larger political unit.

Conclusion

That might be a lot to take in. Escaping the mind control matrix can be dizzying and terrifying. I know because I went through that process, and in many ways I am still going through it.

To choose the red pill, to escape the matrix, is to begin an intellectual journey of enlightenment. It means unlearning a lot of what you previously thought was true, and reforming a worldview based on a solid foundation of truth. The hardest part for some of us was giving up views and causes that we once firmly and vocally believed in, and leaders we once followed. But the process of escaping the matrix is worth it in the end. As scary as it is, it is better to know what is really happening in the world today, so that we can prepare for what is coming next, and resist it.

P.S. If you think anything I’ve said above is “nonsense conspiracy theory” or “pseudoscience”, let’s discuss the arguments and the evidence, without making appeals to authority or ad hominems. We have been lied to for so long that it can be hard to figure out what is real and what is a lie. I have found the best way to discover the truth is to discuss it with others and learn from each other. Let’s talk.

The Big Lie Effect

The broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.  Even though the facts which prove this to be so, may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

The concept of the Big Lie, described in the above quote, explains why so many people are willing to believe that small lies/conspiracies exist (such as a snooker club being deliberately destroyed as insurance fraud), but are unwilling to believe that big lies/conspiracies exist (such as the World Trade Center being deliberately destroyed as a pretext for the war on terror).

They can conceive of small lies/conspiracies, because they can imagine themselves doing it, or something similar, if they were desperate, and not quite so morally upstanding. In many cases, they will accept the existence of small lies/conspiracies even with no evidence at all, relying purely on their intuition about human nature and the motives at play.

They cannot conceive of big lies/conspiracies, because they would personally never be evil/bold/shameless enough to tell and maintain a big lie, and they assume the same is true of everyone. They cannot conceive of any big lie/conspiracy being possible to maintain, so they assert that no big lie/conspiracy exists, without considering any evidence. The effect is so powerful, they will go to great lengths to avoid looking at any evidence that contradicts their faith that Big Lies are impossible.

The Big Lie effect is part of the explanation of how evil conspiracies can be and are successfully maintained. The moral goodness of the masses is what makes them vulnerable to the Big Lie effect.

Lockdowns Kill More People Than They Save

In March 2020, when the WHO declared covid-19 a pandemic, there was understandably a lot of fear and uncertainty. We feared that covid-19 might be severe. We feared that the NHS might get overwhelmed. It was an unprecedented situation. It could have been an existential crisis for our species.

The state offered us a solution: a 3-week lockdown, to slow the spread of the virus, protect the NHS, flatten the curve, and thereby reduce the number of deaths to covid-19. We were assured that the number of deaths caused by a lockdown (from excess deaths due to heart attacks, suicide, etc) would be relatively few. So, based on an implicit utilitarian argument, lockdowns were recommended as the safer and wiser option.

Now, eight months later, we are still in lockdown, but with none of the fear or uncertainty that we had back in March. In those eight months, we have learned a lot about the benefits and the costs of lockdowns. It turns out that lockdowns save few lives, if any, but they kill many people. Consider the following evidence.

Lockdowns save few lives, if any 

This can be seen in international comparisons, like UK v Sweden.

The magnitude and trend of the deaths-per-million are similar between the UK and Sweden. The UK has a 40% higher peak in Covid death rate than Sweden. There may be confounders that need to be adjusted for, but if lockdowns were effective, the difference should be obvious. Sweden was supposed to be a pile of corpses by now. The Ferguson model predicted 96,000 deaths in Sweden by July with no lockdown; thankfully the actual figure was just 5,530.

The burden of proof is on those who claim that lockdowns were effective to demonstrate it using data. In my assessment, from comparing the death rates between countries and between U.S. states, there is no clear evidence that lockdowns saved lives. If lockdowns saved any lives at all, then it was few.

This is backed up by multiple studies of the question:

  • “Our analysis shows that this is a constant pattern across countries. Surprisingly, this pattern is common to countries that have taken a severe lockdown, including the paralysis of the economy, as well as to countries that implemented a far more lenient policy and have continued in ordinary life.” Ben-Israel, Apr 2020
  • “We provide estimates of the death toll in the absence of any lockdown policies, and show that these strategies might not have saved any life in western Europe. We also show that neighboring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures (as opposed to police-enforced home containment) experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic” Meunier, May 2020
  • “A Bayesian inverse problem approach applied to UK data on COVID-19 deaths and the published disease duration distribution suggests that infections were in decline before UK lockdown, and that infections in Sweden started to decline only a short time later” Wood, Jun 2020
  • “We found that closure of education facilities, prohibiting mass gatherings and closure of some nonessential businesses were associated with reduced incidence whereas stay at home orders, closure of all non-businesses and requiring the wearing of facemasks or coverings in public was not associated with any independent additional impact.” Hunter, Jul 2020
  • “Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people.” Chaudry et al, Aug 2020
  • “I find no clear association between lockdown policies and mortality development” Bjornskof, Aug 2020
  • “Most of the slowing and reversal of COVID-19 mortality is explained by the build-up of herd immunity” Colombo, Sep 2020
  • “The United Kingdom’s lockdown was both superfluous and ineffective.” Kuhbandner et al, Nov 2020
  • “Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate.” De Larochelambert, Nov 2020

Lockdowns kill many people

Lockdowns kill in a number of ways, and victims of lockdowns tend to be younger and poorer than covid-19 victims. In the first two months of lockdown, there were significant excess deaths from dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, and strokes.

Delays in cancer screenings, referrals and treatments will result in excess cancer deaths in the coming years. Richard Sullivan, professor of cancer and global health at King’s College London, said “Most modellers in the UK estimate excess of deaths [from cancer] is going to be way greater than we are going to see with Covid-19”. Cancer patients being generally much younger than Covid patients, he added that “years of lost life will be quite dramatic” on top of “a huge amount of avoidable mortality”.

The mental health cost of lockdowns has been huge. Anxiety, depression, stress, substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicidal ideation are all on the rise. Research estimates “deaths of despair” (suicide, drug overdoses, etc) in the U.S. due to lockdown at between 28,000 and 150,000. A study from Australia estimated that suicide deaths due to lockdown are likely to exceed covid deaths.

The figure describes the percentages of U.S. adults struggling with mental health or substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the developing world that is hit the hardest by lockdowns. The UN has reported that 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty, and 132 million people are at risk of starvation, due to lockdown-induced disruptions of supply chains. The NYT reports that there will be 1.4 million excess tuberculosis deaths, 500,000 excess HIV deaths, and 385,000 malaria deaths due to lockdowns. UNICEF warns of over 6,000 child deaths for every day of lockdown, equating to 1.2 million child deaths for every six months that lockdowns continue.

The WHO itself now advises against lockdowns as a primary means of controlling the virus. Over 12,000 medical and public health scientists and over 37,000 medical practitioners have now signed the Great Barrington Declaration, calling for an end to lockdowns.

A global repository for research into the collateral effects of lockdowns has been created: Collateral Global. Here are some of the studies:

  • “Lockdowns were desperate, defendable choices when we knew little about covid-19. But, now that we know more, we should avoid exaggeration. We should carefully and gradually remove lockdown measures, with data driven feedback on bed capacity and prevalence/incidence indicators. Otherwise, prolonged lockdowns may become mass suicide” Ionnadis, Jun 2020
  • “The costs of continuing severe restrictions are so great relative to likely benefits in lives saved that a rapid easing in restrictions is now warranted.” Miles et al, Aug 2020
  • “A national lockdown has a moderate advantage in saving lives with tremendous costs and possible overwhelming economic effects” Shlomai et al, Sep 2020

Conclusion

The decision to lockdown was made in circumstances of fear and uncertainty. There was a reasonable utilitarian argument that a 3-week lockdown was going to be the best course of action; in terms of saving lives, not locking down appeared to many to be the bigger risk.

The fear and uncertainty are now abated, and we know a lot more about Covid-19 and the effects of lockdowns. There is a growing body of evidence that lockdowns kill more people than they save. Indeed, lockdowns kill more people than Covid-19 itself, and the victims of lockdowns are younger and poorer than the victims of Covid-19.

Lockdowns are immoral, destructive, and dehumanising.  To this list we can now add unnecessary, ineffective, and deadly.

If you supported lockdown on the basis that it would save lives, please review and consider this evidence of the devastating effects of lockdowns. If you still think lockdowns are a good idea, make a counterargument.

Hoppe and Block on Immigration

Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Walter Block are our two greatest living libertarian intellectuals.  Naturally, they agree with each other on 99% of topics within libertarianism, because they are both geniuses starting from the same foundational principles, who rigorously apply them all the way to their limits. These two men are the most libertarian of libertarians.

But they do not agree with each other on everything.

If these two titans of libertarianism disagree about a topic, then that surely must be the hardest topic in the whole of libertarianism!  It is such a difficult topic that even these two geniuses have completely opposite positions on it.

It is worth remembering this when us mere mortals are discussing this topic.  Whether you agree with Hoppe or Block, do not claim to be more libertarian than someone with the opposite view.  Do not claim that your own position is the only principled one.  It is a hard topic.  We are all doing our best to apply libertarian principles correctly and, like Hoppe and Block, we are reaching different conclusions.

So… what is the topic?  The hardest topic in libertarianism…

Immigration!

Walter Block takes the more traditional open borders or free immigration position.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe thinks free immigration is actually forced integration, and that therefore a restricted immigration position is the correct one for libertarians.

Which side are you on?

Here are a couple of useful overviews by Jeff Deist:

The Block-Hoppe debate started when the following two papers were published together in the Journal of Libertarian Studies:

The debate continued. Here are four subsequent pieces by Hoppe:

And here are four subsequent pieces by Block:

P.S. The mentor of both Hoppe and Block was Murray Rothbard, the godfather of modern libertarianism.  Rothbard was in favour of open borders his whole life… until 1994, a year before his death, when he changed his mind!  Hoppe’s argument convinced Rothbard to switch sides… that is why Block refers to “Rothbard II” in the title of his 2011 paper.

Giving Up On Finding Out The Truth

“Flood the zone” is the name of a communications strategy that seeks to overwhelm people with information so that they give up on finding out the truth.

The following are excerpts from the Vox article “Flood the zone: How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy”.

We live in a media ecosystem that overwhelms people with information. Some of that information is accurate, some of it is bogus, and much of it is intentionally misleading. The result is a polity that has increasingly given up on finding out the truth. As Sabrina Tavernise and Aidan Gardiner put it in a New York Times piece, “people are numb and disoriented, struggling to discern what is real in a sea of slant, fake, and fact.”

The core challenge we’re facing today is information saturation and a hackable media system. If you follow politics at all, you know how exhausting the environment is. The sheer volume of content, the dizzying number of narratives and counternarratives, and the pace of the news cycle are too much for anyone to process.

One response to this situation is to walk away and tune everything out. After all, it takes real effort to comb through the b*******t, and most people have busy lives and limited bandwidth. Another reaction is to retreat into tribal allegiances. There’s Team Liberal and Team Conservative and pretty much everyone knows which side they’re on. So you stick to the places that feed you the information you most want to hear.

The foundation for shared truth… has collapsed. We’re in an age of manufactured nihilism. The issue for many people isn’t exactly a denial of truth as such. It’s more a growing weariness over the process of finding the truth at all. And that weariness leads more and more people to abandon the idea that the truth is knowable.

I call this “manufactured” because it’s the consequence of a deliberate strategy… For most of recent history, the goal of propaganda was to reinforce a consistent narrative. But zone-flooding takes a different approach: It seeks to disorient audiences with an avalanche of competing stories.

And it produces a certain nihilism in which people are so skeptical about the possibility of finding the truth that they give up the search… Putin uses the media to engineer a fog of disinformation, producing just enough distrust to ensure that the public can never mobilize around a coherent narrative… The goal, he told me, wasn’t to sell an ideology or a vision of the future; instead, it was to convince people that “the truth is unknowable” and that the only sensible choice is “to follow a strong leader.”

One consequence of pervasive confusion about what’s happening is that people feel more comfortable siding with their political tribe. If everything’s up for grabs, and it’s hard to sift through the competing narratives to find the truth, then there’s nothing left but culture war politics. There’s “us” and “them” and the possibility of persuasion is off the table.

2020 has been the year when the flood the zone communications strategy really came to fruition. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, because it was discussed at the covid dress rehearsal in October 2019. The globalists had a plan to deal with the inevitable dissenters from the narrative they intended to promote (a deadly pandemic)… they rejected the idea of limited internet shutdowns (restricting information), boldly opting instead to flood the zone (overwhelming people with information).

Victims of the flood the zone strategy have given up on finding out the truth and therefore:

  • believe they must “stay in their lane” and “trust the experts”, and that to oppose the view of the experts presented by the state and mainstream media is irresponsible or immoral
  • make no attempts to assess arguments and evidence for themselves as the basis for their opinions and feel incapable of doing so
  • believe the only opinions that have value are those of people with the highest credentials in the relevant subfield
  • have no opinions outside the narrow politically-correct range presented in the mainstream media
  • have no interest the vast range of opinions, arguments and evidence to be found in the intellectual dark web and alternative media
  • have redefined truth as whatever the highest authority says, and may even explicitly deny the existence of truth, believing everything is a matter of “perspective” and that each of us can have our “own truth”.

Friends, don’t give up on finding out the truth!