The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion

One of the reasons I don’t believe in the global warming narrative is because its most strident and belligerent advocates appeal to “science,” and demand that we submit to “science,” even though they themselves know nothing about science. At bottom, then, it is an appeal to authority, and a specific class of men is put forth as having that authority.  But the class of men that are deemed scientists is actually a small subset of those with master’s degrees or above in the sciences. The vast majority of these go on to careers in engineering, programming, or management, and are not heard from again so far as their scientific training. The ones that get positions in universities or laboratories are (1) carefully vetted before getting their positions, since it is entry into a guild that guards its prerogatives and does not want too much dissent; (2) once in, they are involved in a life-long struggle for funding; and most funding comes from the government. So the appeal to the authority of science actually comes down to an appeal to the pronouncements of a small subset of science majors that have been vetted by the guild and who are largely beholden to the government for their funding. Even many that appear to be privately funded, such as in the pharm industry, are still tied to the government indirectly, since the government grants their product license. In short, the appeal to the authority of science is at bottom a circular reference back to the authority of the government, masked as an appeal to science.

I don’t mean the guild scientists are liars — though some are, provably. But I mean that what is going on with “science” is quite different from the mythos created by popular images such as Madame Curie sacrificing her health and her life in pursuit of truth. The majority of actual men practitioning science are subject to all the motives of fashion and conformity and self-interest that motivate men in any field, except perhaps even more so, because of the funding problem. Some can rise above it; some can’t. This is why we need wisdom more than “science.”

Instead of “scientists” delivering judgments that everyone receives obediently, they should be the ones doing the tedious work of dredging up and presenting the relevant facts. We have, probably, over a million men in our nation that can understand scientific arguments based on data. Let the data and the argument be presented, and let us decide if the conclusions are valid. We don’t want, we don’t need a new priestly class.

Coronavirus Mortality

It must be said that the publicly-disclosed facts do not support the Coronavirus (hereafter: the Big C) Panic. The numbers coming out of Italy started the panic, with terrifying talk of 3.4% mortality rate. Here are the facts, however.

  1. The average age of one dying from the Big C in Italy is 80.
  2. 99.2% of the deaths were people that had at least one other illness. Almost half had three or more other illnesses.
  3. Many of these 80 year olds with 1 or more life-threatening diseases would have entered the hospital and never come back out anyhow, but in the meantime would have been exposed to the Big C; but anyone dying in a hospital with the Big C was counted as dying on account of the Big C.
  4. The denominator in the mortality rate is greatly understated, since random testing has not taken place, and the people that are tested are already more likely to have it. To illustrate using an extreme example: if one person (say, not knowing he has it) infects a nursing home and all 100 inmates die as a result, but no one else is even tested for it, this would look like a 100% mortality rate. If 10 or 100 times more people actually have it than are known, the mortality rate goes down by a factor of 10 or 100.

See this excellent summary, done with Germanic thoroughness. (If there are subtitles other than English, turning off all subtitles will leave only the english.

Next, we compare the Big C to regular flu in the USA this season:

  • Flu:      39 million illnesses, 400,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 deaths (CDC)
  • Big C:  300 thousand illnesses and 8,000 deaths (Johns Hopkins)

Ordinary flu still has a 3x lead on the Big-C as of the date of my posting this. The number of illnesses is astonishingly different: a factor of 100 more illnesses from the flu. Note that the number of flu illnesses is not measured directly, but extrapolated from certain previously determined infection proportions. But in the case of the Big-C, only the “confirmed” cases are listed, with all the problems highlighted above. If the same extrapolation method was instead used, the mortality rate would come way down.

Fear of death

If I had a condition that made me more susceptible to dying from the Big-C, and someone asked, “Tim, would you like us to stop all the production of automobiles, shut down all the restaurants and coffee shops in the nation, as well as many other businesses, causing 15% unemployment, add 2 Trillion dollars to the national debt, shut down the churches, eliminate social intercourse, and destroy the ability of young people to buy houses for a generation, if by doing so you could live another couple years?” I would say “of course not.” “But would you give the go ahead if this applied to a thousand, or even ten thousand?” “No of course not: go away.”

There is something unseemly about this “we’ve got to do whatever it takes to save lives.” The wicked fear death above everything else. But the reaction is not rational even on their terms. You could save tens of thousands of lives by shutting down all the roads to driving cars. Assuming all this social distancing really works, you could save tens of thousands of lives already from the ordinary flu by doing it. You could save hundreds of thousands of lives by ceasing these meaningless wars in the Middle East.

For the damned, you can understand the fear, even if it is irrational. Such is their fear of death and judgement, they seem to be willing to saw off the branch they are sitting on! and take everyone else with them. Such is their hatred of Donald Trump, or the church, or America, or all of the above, that the agitators in press and politics are willing to bring the whole thing down.

Thus, I don’t think it is only fear that motivates them. Elsewhere

Augustine Updated: The Origin, Progress, and Destiny of the City of Corona

I have written about the memes and new realities they are creating, in service to their master Satan. There is a demonic triumphalism in their visage. Nevertheless, both the fear and the demonic smell of victory lead them to their own destruction. If the trucks stop rolling, most of us will die — including the men that are bringing it to pass. But apart from that, several of their idols are falling. The government schools are closed. Men are forced to break their addiction to ESPN, because there are no games to watch. There is less public blaspheming of our Savior’s name in the pubs and taverns.

I have often wondered how it came about that the Ammonites and Moabites, while attacking Jehosophat, rose up one morning and instead killed each other.

For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. II Chr. 20:23-24.

Of course it was the hand of Jehovah. But that is only (admittedly most important) half of the story. With the Panic of the Big-C, we can finally get a glimpse as to how it might have come about. Doubtless, every soldier had a very good reason, he thought, for why he was justified to slay his neighbor. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times to stop that loud snoring: but you did it again. Take that!” and off flew his head.

What should have been done

Pretend that the official account of the Big-C were accurate, contrary to the facts.

Then, what should have been done was an absolute quarantine of the elderly and other categories at risk. The youth could have been organized into teams to do shopping and chores for the quarantined, getting a small amount of pay and perhaps some college credit for social service. This is how a real nation behaves. (In Dresden, this was done to serve the refugees pouring in, before the Allies rained down fire from the sky.) With near zero exposure to those actually in danger from the virus, everyone else would continue his work, letting the normal herd effect slowly take over.

Israel Defense Minister Bennett explains.

But the Church

This is the time for strong men to see the signs of the times and lead in the church. It is the time to speak, and perhaps take a confrontational stand against the unlawful diktats and furthering of irrationality by our rulers. But at least speak, even if you can’t act.

But what do we see? Just the opposite. They speak, but in terms of a school-girlish acceptance of the priestly class’s propaganda, even in the teeth of what they can see with their own two eyes. It is utterly unseemly to see Christians capitulating. In a subsequent post, I will analyze the published positions of OPC pastors as well as of supposedly rock-ribbed orthodox Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

They appeal to the will of God, but it seems to me that what we can say about the will of God in this connection is that such men be replaced.

 

Ten or twelve life-changing books: #11

11. 1994 The Vanderbilt Agrarians, I’ll take my Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition [1930]

The delay in writing this piece on life-changing book #11 is that I wanted to go back and skim and the book for concrete ideas and have found it hard to do so. Instead, I will try to describe in broad strokes a vision of the world that has blossomed and ramified from the roots laid by the book.

What makes the book powerful is that each of the dozen authors is a high-quality intellectual, and each approaches a separate aspect of culture, whether it be history, literature, sociology, or fiction, but all to the end of a common thesis: that unchecked yankee industrialism is ruining our quality of life.

The starting point is that a people must be rooted in the land. For growing food, yes, but much more than that. There is a whole aesthetic of human relations, architecture, relation to animals, and daily life that is tied up with living close to the land.

There is a place for towns, provided these are not just places to jam bedroom developments. Towns must have a townish basis, but this should include the cross-hatch of agriculture markets and services.

I am sort of a city-boy myself, and I have adapted the agrarian vision to include cities. The mindless capitalist industrialization that these authors warn about has eaten up the cities as well. It used to be that every town and city in America had a unique, local stamp. This was partly due to the geographic layout — the physical location of hills, streams, rivers, or coastline —, and partly due to idiosyncracies of free expression — colorful townhouses here, little houses crammed into nooks and crannies and spacious houses on boulevards for the rich folk there, darkness here, gaslamps there, brick emphasis here, wood there. Nature and Nurture. There was a sharp boundary leaving the town and entering the country. But what do we have now? The country hardly exists properly speaking. The approach to the city is a mindless faceless congeries of corporate restaurants, big-box stores of identical brands, and the McDonalds-BurgerKing-Wendies guantlet that slowly increases in density. What were once estate farms are now crammed with neat, cookie-cutter tract houses and McMansions. There is no ‘there’ there — anywhere.

They say it is economic progress, it is inevitable — but how is it progress? A working man of my grandparents’ generation could buy a snug brick house and single-handedly support a wife and four children at home. Who can do that today? And for all that, no has true leisure today. Women do not throw tea parties, and men scarcely have time to meet you at a pub for a relaxed beer. People don’t pursue hobbies. What passes as leisure is largely spent passively consuming garbage on a flickering screen.

People feel it and are resisting. My town has several farmers’ markets; zoning chiefs require “green belts” and organic foods have made a big comeback. As such, these things are commendable, but there is also something affected about it — a kind of yuppy chic permeates even these efforts. It doesn’t go to the root.

Globalism is the external enemy and covetousness the internal one. International banking, the stock market, options, lotteries, and gambling must all be destroyed; but can’t be as long as turning a quick buck is a bigger motivation for our people than family, clan, and folk.

I wish I could say that the gospel is the answer. In one sense it is of course: the relentless stomping out of beauty and grace is a natural concomitent of rejecting God. But zionist dispensationalism in the Christian South has contributed its fair share to the mess. It seems like conservative Christians never see a war they don’t love. Televangelists and mega-churches feed the problem. It is personal salvation, feeling good, and prosperity — where prosperity is defined right in harmony with the thing we are critiquing.

Conversely, it is often the areligious Left that sees the problem I am describing more clearly. Not the leftist Masters, but the dazed street leftists in your local college town.

So yes, “the gospel is the answer,” but some of the questions need to be reformulated before the gospel properly understood can be called an answer.

This is a big subject, indeed, an all-encompassing one. I can’t do it justice in a single essay, and in fact even my brief summary is admittedly painting with a broad brush and lacking nuance. I commend this book as a starting point to begin the discussion, to start thinking about these things.

Stereotypes

Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies

One of the few benefits of living in an era of insanity is that it makes the peddlers of the most prosaic and obvious truths appear like sages. The banality I will defend here is that almost every stereotype you have ever heard is true. Continue reading