The Death of Science, and of Scientific American

The great legacy publication, Scientific American, is dead. It’s still in print, but it is no longer either scientific or American.  In an article described by a friend as, “a hailstorm of impenetrable academic verbiage, dictated by a Ph.D. trying to outpreen the race and climate-change virtue signalers,” the publication has stepped through the woke looking-glass and emerged as self-parody.

How else can one explain “Climate Anxiety Is an Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon”? The nonsensical article’s apparent points are that “climate anxiety [is] just code for white people wishing to hold onto their way of life or get 'back to normal,' to the comforts of their privilege”, and “Climate anxiety can operate like white fragility, sucking up all the oxygen in the room and devoting resources toward appeasing the dominant group.”

It’s easy to write this off as the ravings of the Woke lunatic fringe, but to paraphrase Hannibal Lecter, the pathology on display here is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying, for it is classic Marshall McLuhan insidiously at play in the service of cultural Marxism:

The medium is the message because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human association. Indeed, it is only too typical that the “content” of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium.

Alas, the medium is indeed the message, and the message is grim for both science and America. The content isn’t the problem nearly as much as where it has been published.  This is Scientific American, a publication of such heft and import that it has been the poster child, for 175 years, for shaping and controlling the scale and form of human association and action in the realm of objective reality and inquiry.

Science is foundational to human existence.  It explains who we are and our place in the universe.  It adheres to the strictest of laws: physics, mathematics, chemistry.  All are disciplines that have but one specific answer to every question.   There is right and there is wrong. Such things, however, cannot be permitted to exist in Marxist society.

Just ask the Marxists about crackpot science.

Scientific American is the publication that offered accessible, and often essential, insight into fundamental elements of science and impact on society.  This is the publication that tried to answer what people were exposed to in the 9/11 collapse of the WTC, analyzed freezing ions in 1988, and how mammals make milk from blood in 1957.  Peruse the archive back to 1875 and be astonished at what the magazine covered in the even the most obscure realms of real science – and why it mattered to human beings.

Gone now.  Swept away.  The virus of wokism has infiltrated one of the great publications. Here’s how it breaks down.

Readers of this website have been provided actual science by real Americans, demonstrating “climate change” to be a richly-funded, dark money hoax with no basis in science.  Therefore, “climate anxiety” is itself fruit of the poisonous tree, a derivative fiction inculcated in the minds of those predisposed to fear. Thus, climate anxiety as supplanter of racial injustice is a fictional derivative of a fictional derivative of a fiction, a concept rivaled only by Goldman Sachs’ collateralized toxic mortgage obligations.

Think carefully about this.  Scientific American – the longest-running scientific publication in the world -- now publishes Marxist fairy tales.   The medium is indeed terrifying now the message.

The same inverted approach is on display in the publication’s COVID-19 articles. The September 25, 2020 article “How to Distribute a COVID-19 Vaccine Ethically” hand-wrings over countless scenarios that “unfairly prioritize rich countries,” and posit that

… a truly ethical proposal would treat all people equally and help countries get vaccines to people when they lack capacity to do so on their own, rather than accepting inequality in access as an unchangeable fact and bypassing the poor to help the rich, the weak to help the strong.

Yet this article and many like it completely bypass what was already known at the time and continues to prove out.  According to the CDC, in the United States, 81 percent of COVID-19 deaths are in people aged 65 and older.  Some 97 percent of deaths are those aged 45 and older.  Fewer than 600 people under age of 25 have died from COVID-19, which comes to under 0.3 percent of the entire U.S. virus mortality volume.  Kids generally don’t get the virus and even if they do, most don’t die from it.  Finally, 93 percent of virus deaths include an average of three co-morbidities.

The science, and therefore the ethical distribution of vaccine, is clear.  Treat those with the highest risk, because the science shows that much of the general population has very little to worry about.

The September 8, 2020 article entitled, “COVID-19’s Disparate Impacts Are Not a Story About Race: They’re A Story About Racism” makes the serious claim that, “in this pandemic, data are taking a back seat to racial prejudice.”   This is apparently true only in Scientific American and other woke-polluted publications, however, because the article incessantly finger-wags at the alleged impact of racism on COVID infection and treatment without a single example of supporting data.

This time, comrades, we'll get it right.

Cultural Marxists haven't stopped with Scientific AmericanPopular Science as well as Popular Mechanics went woke, as well.  The latter thoroughly and brilliantly debunked 9/11 conspiracy theories, including the deservedly-famous piece on Building 7. Yet articles like “How To Topple A Statue Using Science” and “How to Dodge the Sonic Weapon Used by Police” have now become staples of their editorial mix.

The incessant invasion of cultural Marxism through every institution of Western culture – schools, literature, art, film, sexuality, Judeo-Christian values – successfully penetrated the hallowed grounds of real science.  It continues to spread.  Who would have ever believed that there are 153 genders?  Or that certain die-hard feminists are now demonized as TERFs – “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”?

How long before 2+2 = 5?

Scientific American didn’t just step through the looking-glass. It stepped through fifteen of them and emerged from the rear end of a Christopher Nolan film. And it took science with it.

 

 

 

Slouching Toward the End Times

I recently received a note from a friend commenting on a syndrome he calls “Covid retardation,” which manifests literally as “a general across-the-board slowdown in everything—not merely cognitive, but walking slowly, shoulders slumped, looking at the ground, refusing to make eye contact with people, driving slowly (well under the speed limit) or reacting slowly at green lights, as if the person truly has nowhere to go and nothing to do.” The malady entails “dull conversation and lazy thinking, repetition of clichés and government/media-repeated falsehoods, and on and on. People have a choice. They're not yet in camps. They choose to behave that way.”

I know precisely what he’s getting at and have remarked on this distemper many times. I was observing the stance and posture of a procession of masked ghouls again from my balcony this morning. It's scary as hell and reminds me of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Younger people for the most part still enjoy a fund of natal vitality that keeps them reasonably vertical, but middle-aged to older people tend to succumb more readily to a visibly manifest despair. They mumble almost inaudibly through their masks and visors at shop counters or when they stop to chat. They shuffle and stoop, bend their heads and spines as they walk, as if slouching toward the end times. The scapular droop is palpable Bodily comportment is a pretty good sign of general depression and intellectual surrender. This is another consequence of the draconian and utterly misconceived response to the virus, almost never remarked but starkly evident.

Contributing to an atmosphere that does not encourage active coping or even simple curiosity, these people have been gradually but systematically deprived of agency. One wonders if they have not been “cancelled” in their essence. The data about the absurdity and harmfulness of the mask-and-lockdown mandates were always there to be found, even if the Internet is awash with partisan disclaimers and meretricious “fact-checkers”, even if Forbes, in an article plentifully larded with misinformation and false assumptions, has instructed us not to do our own research.

Moreover, the thoughtless rush to vaccines, which are not “vaccines” as we understand them but experimental mRNA strands injected into and systematically altering a person’s genetic code, may severely exacerbate the degree of catalepsy we are seeing. (Interestingly, Italy is presently launching a criminal manslaughter investigation against the BioPharmaceutical Company AstraZeneca, which uses a replicating vector-based vaccine as a delivery system that inserts genetic material into the cells’ nuclei.)

Of course, the slowdown we are witnessing is not only local or age-specific, so to speak, but cultural and national in its sweep. The economy has slowed to the point of near-irrecoverable stagnation. Entrepreneurial activity is sluggish. Small businesses are being decimated. The productive classes are almost paralyzed. Schools are closed. Elderly people are dying in nursing homes and senior residences. Prospects for the future seem positively narcoleptic. “Can do” no longer applies. A general sense of hopelessness has begun to pervade every aspect of common life, every major enterprise and plan for investment in long-term projects. 

Run for your lives!

One sees the signs of demoralization and lethargy everywhere in the little things: the way people avoid each other and isolate in their portable “bubbles”; the way people murmur and mutter behind their face swaddlings; the way some people drive, fully masked, breathing in their own drowsy-making CO2, idling at stoplights, executing unpredictable maneuvers, and oblivious of traffic merges—as I can ruefully attest; and, most emphatically, in the way people walk, especially though not exclusively among the older population, tilting downward, phlegmatic and heavy, like sagging bladders of terminal despondency. This is terrifying to see.

True, there are places that are coming to or have come to their senses. Even The New York Times admits that Florida, for example, an open state with many seniors, outperforms most other regions and jurisdictions in the anti-COVID sweepstakes. Nonetheless, judging from my observations and the reports I receive from other parts of the country, the general impression of something like perithanatic anomie, a kind of corporeal melancholy afflicting a large segment of the population, appears to be valid.

Where is responsibility to be assigned? The arrogance, stupidity and coercive power of the political class on the whole and of the so-called medical “experts” who conform to and abet their masters’ agendas cannot be forgiven. They have been wrong across the board and, along with their Big Tech and media collaborators, have caused vastly more harm than they have prevented, crippling economic and social life as well as generating an “excess” mortality count that is staggering.

A JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) study covering the period from March 1 to May 30, 2020 in the U.S. reveals that “the number of excess all-cause deaths was 28% higher than the official tally of COVID-19–reported deaths during that period,” owing to delayed medical care, economic hardship, substance abuse, emotional distress and “suicides of despair.” In my own country, Statistics Canada has belatedly concluded that “the number of excess deaths has been higher than the number of deaths due to COVID-19, and these deaths are affecting younger populations.” 

With a Great Reset on its way soon.

In fairness, however, it should be acknowledged that the majority of people, young as well as older, have accepted the diktats of government officials and their public CMOHs (chief medical officers of health) as oracles, without questioning the information they dispense or consulting independent, non-governmental-aligned epidemiological authorities, such as The Great Barrington Declaration, the American Institute for Economic Research, JAMA and many others. Public obeisance is at the root of the travesty of voluntary disempowerment, the effects of which are now on popular display. “Those who know the least obey the best,” wrote George Farquhar in The Inconstant

I have seen the identical syndrome my friend mentions at work in the members of my own family, who implicitly believe everything the lying media tell them about masks, lockdowns and vaccines, and treat my warnings as merely conspiratorial. The respect they have, amounting almost to adulation, for health bureaucrats and medical hired guns, who may not “know anything” and who have occasionally violated their own proscriptions, is quite discouraging. My relatives refuse to look up anything for themselves or credit the clear evidence when it is presented to them. The mental disposition of those I care for reproduces the physical deportment they increasingly exhibit, the signs of a profound distress which they cannot disguise. And it seems, despite my best efforts, there is nothing I can do about it.

All one can manage at this point is to bear witness and stay upright. Observing these legions of abulics shambling by, tentatively fumbling with their masks and looking wilted, I find this posture of desuetude truly appalling and ask myself, to adapt a phrase from Henrik Ibsen, whether the dead will ever awaken. For it is an exhaustion of spirit, a reduction of vital energy, a lasting expression of defeat and a morbid depletion of the will that may be among the greatest and most gratuitous harms the Covid panic has produced.

Sometimes, anatomy speaks.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Fleeing

I’m not sure what compelled me to do it but I think wanting to return to my very own house after more than a year's absence seemed a small request. I had tried to get back to Los Angeles many times—the worst of which was a month ago when I couldn’t make heads or tails of the new stricter mandate. And for that reason, I called Los Angeles County only to find this clarification…”It will be up to the officer”.

Officer? What officer is involved in my returning to a place where I live and pay taxes? There was a provision for “immediate” medical appointments and when I queried the meaning of “immediate”…they said ask your doctor -- who, I pointed out, is not a lawyer and will not be on speed dial as I face “the officer” at LAX.

A friend told me that a petition to recall the California governor, Gavin Newsom, had forced him to rollback some of the restrictions, but I can tell you the full explanation on the county website was a hodge-podge and I’d have used up two highlighters trying to mark the inconsistencies.

I’d Covid-tested in Dallas stayed in a hotel for three days, and had made my way to LAX where I tested again right at the airport. Negative—obviously (I’d already had the dreaded Covid) but I was still panicked about the very real risk of a false positive. Daddy told me not to go but I’d decided to make a run for it—and I booked a ton of doctor’s appointments so I wouldn’t break any rules!

This means you.

Walking through the terminal I found monitors of a sinister-looking man making very scary threats to all travellers. I don’t know how you can get more panicked when you’re already panicked, but I started to break a sweat though I’d committed no crime. The thought of calling my father loomed large and then I remembered that the last time I’d been at this very terminal -- and sufficiently put off—I’d re-routed to Hawaii without leaving the airport. Somehow I’d forgotten that bit.

To be collected at the airport requires you spend the big money on the big Uber SUV. Otherwise you’re packed like sardines into a bus to God-knows-where. How, I ask, is this good for the environment? Requiring a large vehicle and unnecessary buses? I made my way along the sidewalk and through the cigarette haze to the Covid testing station. My reservation code wouldn’t scan but it was only me, and one other man, shelling out $125 for the much-hyped “free tests”.

Home sweet home and between my housekeeper and groundskeeper, I didn’t know who’d been the biggest flop. Loads of un-forwarded mail and fallen leaves lie just inside my door. A/C not working, refrigerator not working, my car tires flat, and the battery dead.

UCLA Medical was mobbed… with no parking... as I circled round and round and polluted the garage in the process. When finally I made my way to the elevator there was a huddle of people all within inches of one another— so as to comply with the distancing rules that allowed a “maximum of four” per elevator.

All this and Covid too.

I rang up my bestie to meet for lunch and she said Beverly Hills was the only option for avoiding “tent cities” so we met at a place we’d often been—except now there was a handwritten poster of demands:

Do not stand without a mask, be masked when the waiter approaches, lower the mask only when actively eating or drinking… (meaning pull down the mask, take a bite, cover your mouth and chew) and more nonsense. For this we were sitting outside and paying Covid prices.

The next morning it was re-baptism by fire. My ENT converted my appointment to a “tele-health” visit, which is code for video call. I don’t know how he’s supposed to listen to my lungs or take a culture but, hey, Cedars Sinai doctors think they are gods anyway and who am I to argue with God?

So at precisely 7:45 am I opened the video link and… nothing. I tried re-boot, tried killing 5G, but then I remembered…it’s Los Angeles! Home of zero bars. I hopped on my bike (car still dead) and sped down the canyon narrowly avoiding death more than once. You can get killed here taking out the garbage let alone being a moving target around a winding curve. And trust me when I tell you—this is car-town! No one would have any empathy for a green-nik on a bike.

Down, down, down the canyon I pedaled… one bar, two bars… nope it’s zero bars. Bloody hell! I pushed myself up someone’s private driveway and…bingo! My phone is now blowing up with texts and calls that obviously didn’t come in last night so it’s a full two minutes before I can dial. That’s when I realised I’d left the house in a blazer and pajama pants. And I’m not wearing sunscreen.

I’m late, doctor’s pissed, and for some reason the video part isn’t working so I can’t even smile to bring him round. He’s gone full-jerk in the two years since I’ve seen him. WOW! I ring off and all I can think is I’m grateful I didn’t have to do yesterday’s PAP smear by Zoom.

Still in the private drive, I’ve been picked up by surveillance camera and the homeowner now comes to the gate to tell me—it’s a private drive.

Or not, as the case may be.

Two hours and two lattes later I met my friend at a Korean spa and truly I cannot believe my own eyes: it’s miles of homeless people lining a previously respectable boulevard. The Uber drops me across the street and I cannot walk fast enough to the front door. I don’t mean to judge…I’m just scared. Inside—the Covid-panic is so ridiculous I forget my zen-mindset and roll my eyes at their plastic-covered sneakers.

Now sufficiently steamed and scrubbed, we picked up sustainable salmon salads and ate in her car—mask free.

Heading back up the canyon and to my house I wondered if I’d be able to call daddy. He wouldn’t have much empathy but I was at my wits' end. That is until I turned the corner and found a tent village had sprouted up in the course of one day. How—without resource—had they managed such a feat? Of course one feels terrible for them but downwind the smell was already enough to knock one over and a stream of urine had crossed the street and pooled at my driveway. There was also the noise, and the sheer number of them.

And 45 minutes later I was back at LAX in an airport hotel.

I WILL be back Los Angeles, but as of tomorrow morning there’s a business class seat with my name on it.

Covid-19 and the Surrender of the Masses

What is most startling in the present Covid-19 circumstances is the massive public accommodation to the onset of the coronavirus and the draconian measures deployed to combat it. Everywhere we look we see crowds streaming by wearing utterly useless masks, some with equally useless plastic visors over their masks. (Interestingly, domestic masking has yet to be scientifically approved by the FDA.)

Obviously, I am not referring to those who must wear masks under legal compulsion: to shop, to visit the doctor’s office, or simply to keep their jobs. They are the reluctant—and sometimes vocal—minority who know that masks contribute to hypoxia, which leads to immune deficiency; inhibit normal, intelligible conversation; eliminate facial expressions that serve as semantic cues in verbal exchanges; and extinguish basic signs and elements of human personality. Aside from the medical N-95, masks have zero preventive value. 

Masks, however, are only the cutaneous surface of widespread supine compliance with authority. What is no less distressing is that the majority of people are gratefully accepting of the supposed deterrent efficacy of a lockdown strategy that has caused enormous suffering and destroyed the economy of nations. It has also been responsible for a vast number of “excess deaths.” Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grudgingly admits there have been nearly 600,000 excess deaths due to “changed mortality patterns”—i.e., untreated medical conditions, suicides of despair, and “other causes.” Masks and lockdowns caucus together, doing irreparable harm. 

We give up.

Even the president of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, in his COVID-19: The Great Reset described COVID as not an existential threat and “one of the least deadly pandemics the world has experienced in the last 2000 years.” Of course, this is not to say that the situation is not serious; even a papaya can test positive for the virus. (I have heard that said papaya has quickly recovered and is doing well.)

But common sense suggests that all a lockdown does is lead to another lockdown ad perpetuum, since the locked-down do not build up immunity to the virus but continue to harbor it, and open the door for the continued production of mutant strains. In the words of the W.H.O., “As lockdowns become more prevalent, family spread will become more common.” 

There can be littler doubt that something even more sinister is going on here. Lee Smith points out in a brilliant essay titled Thirty Tyrants that lockdowns have never been used before as public health measures because they are actually instruments of political repression. They do not prevent contagion but allow for civic demoralization and political control of fearful populations.  

As Schwab has written in his various books, the “pandemic” furnishes an excellent opportunity for a Great Reset envisioning a pliable and submissive population under the authority of a global techno-oligarchy. It should give us pause that in his recent book, Stakeholder Capitalism, Schwab praises Communist China as a shining example of state-controlled capitalism, which is really another name for fascism.

This serves as a model for the political future. The process is already in operation in the form of United Nations Agenda 2030. It is called “sustainable development,” which it manifestly is not. This should be obvious to any thinking person. Yet the question rarely arises, while masks have now become designer-wear and lockdowns proliferate like The Fast and the Furious film sequels.

Many “ordinary people,” writes former police officer Jack Dunphy, have “for nearly a year…  been conditioned to submit.” But a combination of anecdotal and hard statistical evidence would strongly suggest that voluntary and even enthusiastic compliance is a far more significant factor. A recent IPSOS Reid poll reports that 93 percent of Canadians “say they are doing their best to abide by public health recommendations regarding Covid-19,” and that more Canadians “are wearing a protective mask than was the case just a few months ago.”

Our way or the highway.

Americans seem only marginally less passive and deferential than Canadians. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “two-thirds of American adults support mask mandates [and] just over half support lockdowns of nonessential businesses.”

Such people are unaware of the Great Barrington Declaration, signed by more than 54,000 independent public health scientists and medical practitioners, proposing the proper way of treating the pandemic and balancing “the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity.” This would allow “those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.” It concludes:

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures…should be practiced by everyone…Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume…while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.” Reports from highly respectable sources such as this or the CDC—and innumerable others—are easily found by any inquisitive mind interested in data and evidence.

The Declaration makes many sensible recommendations, which have been piously attacked by “authorities” who are vested in the perpetuation of punitive measures. Such is to be expected of our dictatorial elites, who have their own interests at heart, but one might have hoped for insight and pushback on the part of an exploited public. After all, studies like Great Barrington and indeed many other similar documents are readily accessible on the Net. And a simple perusal or mere scan of any of Schwab’s very affordable books would have given the political game away.

The strategies of manipulation adopted by our Schwabian elites and techno oligopolies can work only among populations that have experienced a watered-down and indoctrination-driven education system, that have been influenced by the postmodern and progressivist campaign—now called “wokeism”—against the usages, traditions and core moral principles of Judeo-Christian civilization, that are no longer accustomed to reading—the army of the unlettered is vast, laments the intellectually formidable Theodore Dalrymple— and that have been materially distracted by a digital culture resulting in dwindling attention spans and intellectual deficits. In this latter regard, Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains tells a distressingly familiar story.

Which is another way of saying that the lockdown from which we are suffering is not only physical, it is also cognitive and cerebral, and antedates the virus by decades, if not longer. It is the prior lockdown of the mind that ensures our passive and obedient assent to the lockdown of the body. It is now well known that IQ scores in the West are in worrisome decline. The decay of IQ was studied systematically in a 2006 landmark paper by Richard Lynn and John Harvey, detailing country by country a period of both declining genotypic (genetic source) and phenotypic (societal metrics) intelligence in the modern world. Innumerable studies have since followed confirming these results, many of which I detailed in this article.

It is no stretch to suggest that the compliance with the dictates of authority regarding Covid is a determining sign that the features we generally tend to associate with intelligence—wide-ranging curiosity about the world, independent judgement, analytical perspicuity, intellectual skepticism, the valorization of and search for objective truth, and the passionate desire to know—are in critical abeyance and likely what the depression in IQ scores is tracking.

This was the great fear of José Ortega y Gasset, who in his landmark The Revolt of the Masses anatomized the tendency of the modern masses “to win for themselves the right to despise intelligence and to avoid paying it any tribute.” Ortega saw intelligence as an obligation—as something to be striven for through autodidact learning and personal integrity and esteemed wherever it may be found—along with courtesy and truthfulness. The absence of these qualities, he felt, rendered us “half ridiculous, half disgraceful.”

The apparent enthusiasm… for the afflicted and for social justice, serves as a mask to facilitate the refusal of all obligation.

Analogously, Australian political theorist Kenneth Minogue in The Liberal Mind, a crucial text for our time, explored the “moral and political evasions” from which modern liberalism suffers, focusing in part on “the successive and rapid enfranchisements of large and inarticulate masses of people” who represent the popular will.

Unfortunately, the popular will is “confused, immoral, inconvenient or otherwise defective.” As such, Minogue argues, people are susceptible to the “propaganda function of needs doctrine”; in the current context, for example, political authority declares that masks and lockdowns are survival needs, and a ductile and frightened electorate accepts the “vise-like grip which nothing will shake” of “needs conceptions.” Intellectual clarity is required to weigh and balance different conceptions of need and to assess which needs are real needs and which are deceptive.

The face of the New Normal.

How the masked and the locked-down can interact with people, hold down jobs, process information and contribute to the preservation of society remains a mystery. The best hope for the approximate revival of a spirit of pragmatic discernment and intellectual clarity lies not in the general public but in the emergence or return of responsible and astute leadership.

Despite the decline in IQ, or common intelligence, there may yet be a course correction to forestall the terminal collapse of everyday life and the total devastation of the economy. As Samuel Beckett famously concluded The Unnamable, “you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” But the future will remain always problematic. For the complicit, the fearful, the virtue-signallers, the shamers, the informers, the submissive, the unwitting, the poorly educated and the credulous—in short, the compliant masses that Ortega and Minogue despaired of—are a significant part of that future.

Did 'Climate Change' Cause Coronavirus?

It's shocking how often the Wuhan Coronavirus seems to confirm the priors of our elite governing class. Or it would be shocking if they weren't the ones who control the Covid narrative.

Take, for instance, this article, which reports that researchers now believe "[c]limate change may have played a 'key role' in the transmission of the novel coronavirus to humans by driving several species of pathogen-carrying bats into closer contact." Which is to say, our newest enemy -- the virus behind the present pandemic -- is, in reality, our old enemy -- climate change. "Always has been," to quote the popular meme.

According to the article, "[r]esearchers... used temperature and rainfall data over the last 100 years to model populations of dozens of bat species based on their habitat requirements." And what did they find? That, in the course of that time, as many as forty species of bat "had relocated to southern China, Laos and Myanmar," where the virus is thought to have originated.

"Our paper is a long way away from saying the pandemic would not have happened without climate change," lead author Robert Meyer... told AFP. "But I find it difficult to see that this climate-driven increase in bats and bat-borne coronaviruses make something like this less likely to happen."

He goes on to claim that "changing climate and habitat destruction in Asia had driven virus-carrying species into ever closer contact with human populations."

That's a pretty big jump. Even the widely accepted “zoonotical" claim, which holds that Covid-19 evolved organically -- i.e. that it wasn't engineered in a lab, but developed in nature to the point that it could jump to humans -- has tended to reject the idea that the virus moved directly from bats. That's because Covid-19, while similar to a variety of bat coronaviruses, differs in several key ways which are the difference between a virus that's dangerous to humans and one that's not. Consequently, the current operational theory is that it passed to humans not via bat but through a pangolin, perhaps one that was sold at one of China's notorious wet markets.

Considered in that light, with bats in the wild infecting pangolins in the wild which are eventually captured and eaten by humans, the Bats-Dispossessed-by-Climate-Change theory seems a lot less plausible. Bat displacement throughout the 20th century, whether or not it had anything to do with climate change, didn't increase contacts between humans and animals, human agency did.

Speaking of human agency, it is funny that New York magazine's extremely persuasive article from the beginning of the year on the possible lab leak origins of Covid-19 never seem to get the same attention as these far-fetched hypotheses.

The argument of that piece is complex, but the basic idea is that we should not discount the possibility that the Wuhan Institute of Virology -- which houses "the most comprehensive inventory of sampled bat viruses in the world" and is quite close to the wet market originally identified as the original source of the outbreak -- had some hand in engineering this virus. Its author, Nicholson Baker, reports in painstaking detail the idiosyncrasies of this virus which make such a possibility more likely, including the famous "spike protein," which doesn't appear in any of the bat coronaviruses, but which is triggered by furin, a protein found in human lungs.

Adding agents like this into animal viruses to make them more contagious for humans is one of the main activities of BSL-4 labs, like the one in Wuhan. But talking about this possibility will get you labeled a crank. Meanwhile, positing that climate change caused Covid-19, that nature is punishing us, that will get you research funding.

Go figure.

Not Healing Nature But Controlling It

Political environmentalism frequently warns about the dangers of meddling with nature,  warning against the encroachment of human settlements on wilderness areas, mining, fishing or drilling for oil. However it neglects the impact on nature by scientists and environmentalists themselves.

Nicholson Baker's article in a recent issue of New York Magazine soberly examines the pros and cons of the proposition: did the coronavirus escape from a lab? The answer of experts? Maybe.

For decades, scientists have been hot-wiring viruses in hopes of preventing a pandemic, not causing one. But what if … there were laboratory accidents. By 1960, hundreds of American scientists and technicians had been hospitalized, victims of the diseases they were trying to weaponize.

In the U.S., “more than 1,100 laboratory incidents involving bacteria, viruses and toxins that pose significant or bioterror risks to people and agriculture were reported to federal regulators during 2008 through 2012,” reported USA Today...

And then consider the cautious words of Alina Chan, a scientist who works at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. “There is a reasonable chance that what we are dealing with is the result of a lab accident,” Chan told me in July of last year...

Not only that, but they’d figured out how to perform their assembly seamlessly, without any signs of human handiwork. Nobody would know if the virus had been fabricated in a laboratory or grown in nature. Baric called this the “no-see’m method...”

What began as a high-minded effort to heal humanity also became the deadliest endeavor on earth. Scientists wanted to anticipate nature by inventing the pathogens first enabling them to create a vaccine template that could deal with most if not all threats. That effort included American funding for bug hunting and amplification in Wuhan.

It wasn’t only AIDS that changed the way the NIH funded research. The War on Terror also influenced which diseases got the most attention.... Vaccine development had to progress much faster, Fauci believed; he wanted to set up “vaccine systems” and “vaccine platforms,” which could be quickly tailored to defend against a particular emergent strain some terrorist with an advanced biochemistry degree might have thrown together in a laboratory. “Our goal within the next 20 years is ‘bug to drug’ in 24 hours.”

In fact, WHO sent a fact-finding team into the origins of the virus to China is  because nobody knows for sure what the side effects of that effort have been. At least Fauci has his vaccine platform development. "You may be surprised to learn that of the trio of long-awaited coronavirus vaccines, the most promising, Moderna’s mRNA-1273, which reported a 94.5 percent efficacy rate... had been designed by January 13 [2020]."

The Moderna vaccine design took all of one weekend. It was completed before China had even acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted from human to human, more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the United States. By the time the first American death was announced a month later, the vaccine had already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health for the beginning of its Phase I clinical trial.

The bad news: reliance on the vaccine platforms is likely to become permanent.  Edward Holmes, one of the two scientists to first publish the genome sequence of SARS-Cov-2 said in an interview that vaccination will become a fixture of future life:

My guess is that as immunity [to Covid] rises in the population, hopefully by vaccination, you will start to see immune escape gradually. That will happen. That's an inevitable consequence of natural selection. It's been played out for millennia, and it's going to happen again. We will very likely need to update these vaccines at some point. That may take 2 years or 5 years or 1 year; I don't know.

Round and round we go.

Perhaps the most candid admission that modern environmentalism is about controlling nature rather than leaving it alone comes from discussions around the Paris climate agreement. It is becoming the foundation stone of climate engineering.

Under article 3 of the Paris Agreement, states are required to identify a range of contributions (NDCs) to address climate change. So long as these contributions are consistent with the underlying articles, there is no express restriction on including climate engineering measures as part of an NDC in order to achieve net emissions neutrality (a balance of emissions and removals) by 2050. The definition of “mitigation” includes sinks, which appears to include CDR [carbon dioxide removal] technologies as they are defined broadly under the UNFCCC to include “any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas.”

Two of the most prominent climate engineering proposals are now politically visible and therefore fundable. The Hill writes: "Climate change has been viewed as a national security threat multiplier. To offset its damage, scientists in the United States and other countries are working on technology to manipulate the climate. This is known as geoengineering that is divided into two types, which are carbon dioxide removal to take out carbon from the air and solar radiation management to reflect a small fraction of sunlight away from the earth."  These are gigantic engineering projects. The Oxford Geoengineering Programme has a more detailed description of what "healing nature" involves:

Solar Radiation Management (SRM)

  1. Albedo enhancement. Increasing the reflectiveness of clouds or the land surface so that more of the Sun’s heat is reflected back into space.
  2. Space reflectors. Blocking a small proportion of sunlight before it reaches the Earth.
  3. Stratospheric aerosols. Introducing small, reflective particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect some sunlight before it reaches the surface of the Earth.

Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR)

  1. Afforestation. Engaging in a global-scale tree planting effort.
  2. Biochar. 'Charring' biomass and burying it so that its carbon is locked up in the soil.
  3. Bio-energy with carbon capture and sequestration. Growing biomass, burning it to create energy and capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide created in the process.
    Ambient Air Capture. Building large machines that can remove carbon dioxide directly from ambient air and store it elsewhere.
  4. Ocean Fertilization. Adding nutrients to the ocean in selected locations to increase primary production which draws down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  5. Enhanced Weathering. Exposing large quantities of minerals that will react with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and storing the resulting compound in the ocean or soil.
  6. Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement. Grinding up, dispersing, and dissolving rocks such as limestone, silicates, or calcium hydroxide in the ocean to increase its ability to store carbon and directly ameliorate ocean acidification.

These will potentially cost trillions. Twenty-first century environmentalism has already become the province of big pharma and gigantic engineering firms. Climate politics is not about leaving nature alone but subordinating it to the diktat of governments. The Hill glimpses the incipient danger.

If the moral and ethical frame of geoengineering should shift from one of global benevolence where all stakeholders have a voice and international law applies, to one of national security and international law is dismissed, a climate arms race becomes more likely.

At some point the idealists will be shoved aside and the power players will take over. Like the current biosecurity crisis the world is now living through,  a climate arms race is virtually certain.

The Mask of the Red (Covid) Death

Just this morning I was looking out my window at the esplanade that borders the Fraser River when a couple strolled by and paused for a moment beside the guardrail. They were, of course, fully masked, though as a couple they were exempt from the Covid distancing rules. As they turned to leave, they embraced and exchanged a long kiss, mask to mask, which would have made a charming scene were it not so grotesque, two masks glued together in surreal intimacy.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam would have felt vindicated. “Like other activities during Covid-19 that involve physical closeness,” she advised, “there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus.” The safest strategy is to “skip kissing, avoid face-to-face closeness, wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.”

Of course, Tam’s counsels were meant for casual encounters, but why stop there? Safety first—and second, third, ad infinitum, the Covid way of life. In fact, you can’t be safe enough. According to this expert, the sexual activity with the lowest risk “involves yourself alone.” Talk about self-isolation! 

Be fruitful and don't multiply.

Similarly, the provincial Center for Disease Control advises people, among the “tips and strategies [and] protective steps” sexual partners should adopt, to “wear a face covering or mask,” which cuts down on “heavy breathing,” or to “use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.”

One should also consider that “video dates, phone chats, sexting, online chat rooms and group cam rooms are ways to engage in sexual activity” without taking risks. Most important, recognize that “you are your safest partner.” Best to go it alone and avoid close contact with others. However, “If you’re feeling fine and have no symptoms of Covid-19, you can still have sex.” Permission has been granted. 

It is obscene that unelected officials in the sublimity of their wisdom can tell us how and when to perform intimacy. The idea is not only hideous, but on a human level fundamentally alienating, an antidote to the normal expression of human passion and romantic feeling—especially when the risk for younger and asymptomatic people is vanishingly low.

As the American Institute for Economic Research reliably reports, cutting through the panic and the hype, there is “a mortality rate of 0.01 percent, assuming a two-week lag between infection and death. This is one-tenth of the flu mortality rate of 0.1 percent.” Sucharit Bkakdi, a leading microbiologist at the University of Mainz and, unlike Tam, a genuine authority on the virus, gives an estimate “of 0.1 percent-0.3 percent, which is the range of moderate flu.”

No matter. When I venture out for my afternoon walk along the esplanade, I feel as if I’m entering a carnival horror arcade or a grade-C zombie flick. Nearly everyone is masked, not only the elderly who may be in the statistical danger zone, but the middle aged, families, bicyclists, joggers, younger people, children and even toddlers, who are effectively immune.

True, very few are kissing or engaging in indecorous activity, but that is no consolation. The sense of the eerie, of something morbid and freakish this way coming, is deeply distressing, no less than the abject compliance with government mandates in the absence of common sense or intelligent reflection.

A recent IPSOS Reid poll finds that 93 percent of Canadians “say they are doing their best to abide by public health recommendations regarding Covid-19.” The poll reports that more Canadians “are wearing a protective mask than was the case just a few months ago,” and that “support for safety measures remains high.” Support for critical scrutiny and independent inquiry into the facts does not.

Home sweet home.

We are living in the Age of Covid, enjoined or compelled to stay in our “bubble,” to practice “social distancing” (six feet is the officially designated distance, the same as the typical grave depth), and to wear those ghastly medical ornaments, multi-ply masks, over half our faces.

Over time, coercion has turned into willing consensus and self-enforced mutilation of the spirit; a fearful and pliable public has surrendered its autonomy of judgment to a statistical reign of terror practiced by ignorant and power-hungry politicians and their self-serving health officials. People have suffered a mental lockdown, a form of cerebral morbidity. As Stephen Kruiser writes:

The lockdowns ruined far more lives than they’ve saved—if they’ve saved any at all. The data on wearing masks has been kind of all over the place too. Those who’ve been spreading the pandemic panic porn for political purposes treat the masks as if they have super powers. We will more than likely find out that wearing them was all just so much useless theater too.

The mask has become the major symbol of a time when human relationships, what we used to call face to face contact, are relics of a receding past. Facebook was bad enough, when personal reciprocity was replaced by digital transmissions and friendship became “friending.” Now Facebook has become Facemask, eliminating the human smile, articulate speech, normal conversation and personal expressions while transforming sexual and romantic intimacy into a lurid caricature of communion, affection, affinity and warmth—the empty husk of human presence.

In a poem delightful for its insouciant humor, Canadian poet Michael Harris wished to be “among the essential kissers of all time.” The volume, New & Selected, appeared in 1998. He would have had another think coming had he written his poem today.

What COVID and 'Climate Change' Have in Common

There’s a line in the original “Star Wars” movie where the Grand Moff Tarkin says, “Fear will keep the local systems in line.  Fear of this battle station."

Leftists use the same weapons  all totalitarians do when it comes to pushing their policies: lies and fear.  We’re used to the lies.  They happen all the time.  The past year has given the Left the greatest gift they could have ever desired: an excuse to push fear onto the population.

Less than a year ago, we could all walk around our cities normally.  Today, everything has changed. We see the same sorry sight everywhere: healthy people walking around outside wearing a mask.  They wear masks even when alone.  If they pass by someone who isn’t wearing a mask, they give them a wide berth.

Fear of Covid-19 has been seized by the Left and weaponized in a way we have never experienced before.   Fear is now celebrated, while being cloaked as merely “following the science.”  The Left has successfully brainwashed people into believing the restriction of their liberties, which they apparently didn’t value in the first place, isn’t actually fear but a rational response to the situation.

We know the fear surrounding climate change is unjustified because we know climate change is a lie.  Is the fear surrounding Covid at all justified or is there a larger lie behind it as well?

The first thing we must do is look at the latest data to make sure we are being ruthlessly honest with ourselves. The more information we have, the more we can determine our own individualized risk, and then adjust our behavior.

There is supposedly a “surge” in Covid-19 cases, yet this claim alone should tip us off that things aren’t quite right in the reporting.  All we get are case counts, yet we are never provided context for those counts.  For these numbers to be analyzed we must know all of the following:  Who is testing positive?  What are the precise demographics of those testing positive? What are their ages?  What are their ethnicities?  What exact locations, down to zip code, are they in? Do they have any co-morbidities and if so, which ones? Have they given information as to where they might have been exposed to the virus?  Just how many of these cases are asymptomatic?

We are offered none of that.  Perhaps it is sheer incompetence of the media that prevents us from getting that information.  Perhaps the reporters are intentionally obscuring it.  Or maybe both. Here is what we do know, and this is where we learn fear is not justified:

So, no, the fear isn’t justified.  That brings us to the question of why the fear is being perpetuated. I actually do not believe this is a mad power-grab by the Left.  That implies our Betters are actually intelligent.  I believe what’s generating the fear…. is fear itself.

It’s easy to forget that our vaunted elected officials are basically nobodies.  They are just crafty hacks with nothing better to do who've figured out how to work the political system instead of getting a real job.  Most don’t actually have much knowledge about anything, much less expertise in anything useful.  God knows, none of them have a lick of understanding concerning viruses.

The first rule of politics is that all politics is about getting power.  The second rule of politics is that all politics is about maintaining power.  There is no third rule.  Power is itself an end.  While ideology is driving climate policy, along with countless thousands of parasites gobbling up funding from offshore accounts to enrich themselves, Covid policy is driven entirely by the need to maintain power.

You'll take it, and like it.

Ideology does drive the desire to get and hold power, but power is the gateway to pushing policy forward, and more effort and attention is necessary to maintain power than to push policy.

So when it comes to such mediocrities as California governor Gavin “Lock It All Down” Newsom and his equally mindless counterpart, L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, the lockdowns are all about their own fears of losing power.   Blowhards like them only see a binary choice: lock it all down or open it all up.

The latter is what they fear, because if lots of people die, they fear they will be blamed and be voted out of office.  So they reactively leap to the opposite end, and lock it all down, thinking that couldn't possibly result in a worse outcome.

The irony, of course, is that the data from Florida and other open states is nearly identical to California’s.  In fact, the data all over the world is virtually identical.  Yet because of the very fear they have instilled in the public, politicians generally cannot move off the lock-down position.

Nor do they have the vision to generate common-sense policies that quarantine and provide for those at high-risk, and let everyone else go about their business and make decisions about their own level of risk tolerance. So they rely on the “experts” who are equally fearful about being blamed, so they err on the side of insanely unnecessary caution. This is why you see Newsom and others breaking their own rules.  The rules aren’t actually based in science, but fear of losing a job.

This leaves us with a question.  How does it play out?  Sadly, it appears many Americans choose to go along with the fear-mongering and others aren’t fighting back as we’d expect.  That’s where the real danger lies.

This isn’t about a power grab.  But as more malevolent forces realize nobody is fighting back, it’s the next crisis that will become the power grab.

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Celebrating

Happy New Year from Lyford Cay! I can’t imagine being anywhere else but here—away from border closures and shuttered shops. We are proving that there is life during Covid. Common sense would tell us that commercial flights and large resorts are a recipe for shutdown. Here… we wisely have none of that.

After big fireworks last night we ended up dancing on the beach, but it was mostly the guests of residents who don’t know the way of things here and stayed out late. That’s the thing with the non-residents… even if they weren’t frightfully easy to spot, one can always sense them nervously tugging at their pockets for vibrating cell phones that are a big no-no in this club and so many others that they obviously haven’t frequented.

The residents are of course mostly all lovely people, who’ve made their mark and can now focus on the things that matter. Speaking of just that sort, I had so wanted to talk to philanthropist Louis Bacon about all things environment. We’ve a strong contact in that one of my clients -- well, my former client -- is a big to-do in the Audubon Society. And Louis has received the actual Audubon Medal.

There's life after Covid.

I haven’t had the chance to talk to him owing to the fact that my hosts are on the Nygard side -- that’s Peter Nygard, who shares a property border with Mr Bacon and for whom a once-peaceful adjacency eventually led to duelling feuds and some sort of federal racketeering suit in Manhattan. I had hoped to at least bump into his wife but she’s a second wife and… well you know how those things go.

I've heard whispers that he's not really as committed to the environment as he seems to be,  and he did sue Wikimedia for publishing some bits he considered libelous, and there was even some suggestion of foul play when his estate manager was found floating naked in a hot tub, but I refuse to believe that someone who gives millions of dollars and thousands of acres for easements and wildlife could be in it for the wrong reasons.

I have to assume such a beef was bound to happen as their houses (the Bacons and the Nygards) are on the beachfront where the homes get quite close to each other, and in that area, one man’s dining room is only 200 feet from the other’s revolving acrylic discotheque.

As for Mr Nygard, my hosts maintain there is mostly nothing to the FBI raid and arrest at his fashion empire on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering. Here in Lyford he’s mostly disliked for his efforts to dredge the sea floor around his estate that eventually caused his cay to be seized by the Bahamian government. And then something caused a puddle that caused a feud between neighbours and here we are. As I’ve heard daddy say, one man’s cocktail party is another man’s sleepless night. Whatever the ruckus—he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Happy New Year to you too, Ma'am.

Which got me to thinking… I should just go and chat up Her Majesty’s newly remarried (and newly gay) cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten. He and daddy are quite chummy, and I met him with his daughter Ella at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Surely he’ll make the introductions—landowners tend to be big environmentalists.

This year, rather than silly resolutions I’ll be making significant intentions that support, empower, and manifest a joy-filled existence. I think it’s so important.

I made my way down to the New Year’s brunch in the pink tented dining pavilion. I was seated with some Austrians and I got excited that they might know Mr Bacon. Yes I know he’s an American but he obtained Austrian citizenship due to a special treatment for celebrities who have provided notable achievements for Austria. No one seems to know what the notable achievement was, but I hoped they were his guests. Sadly they were not, and didn’t know the least thing about him despite his celeb-status. 

Once they heard I lived in Los Angeles they wanted to talk election stuffs and rant about Trump. I wasn’t sure what he’d done to them specifically but they seemed in favour of the Paris Climate Agreement. Well, so am I! Very much so, but I wasn’t stupid enough to think anyone could slip it past the Americans and hope they wouldn’t realise they had to comply more and pay more than anyone else.

I was quiet for a bit. Where were the Austrians who stood on principle so very many times? Not to mention they were the first to say there was “no path back” when one of their stupid teens ran off to be a brood mare for ISIS. This was a puzzlement. And so I began:

“Is it Americans you dislike? Or do you simply share an all-consuming love of our planet?” I asked in the queen’s English. What followed was such nonsense I wondered how they could claim to stand for anything. I changed the subject so deftly I’d have made even Judith (mummy) proud. I just don’t get the blanket hatred for America thing… all things considered-they really are good caretakers of our earth.

Top this, Europe.

I asked them where they stood on Austria’s drastic move away from coal? They had no informed opinion. On their very own MAGA (Make Austria Great Again) rockstar Sebastian Kurz? Didn’t know. Nygard vs Bacon? (OK that was totally unfair but these two were getting on my nerves). But they somehow knew they were right to hate America for pulling out of the Agreement and didn’t have to be the informed sort of haters.

I lied about how much I’d enjoyed talking to them and excused myself. These two were such boors and were hardly going to help me manifest my higher purpose to save the planet. And no sooner had I focused on my destiny than I found a handsome hedge fund billionaire to chat up. Happy New Year Everyone!

Beware of the Mask Police

If I’m calculating this correctly, we’re about to enter our forty-second week of “Two Weeks to Stop the Spread.” I’m just a cop with no claim to medical expertise, but if I may offer a layman’s opinion, weeks three through forty-one don’t seem to have been any more effective than the first two. What would lead anyone to believe the next two, three, or forty-one will be?

And we’re still being inundated with grim news about how the worst is yet to come. Every day at the top of the Los Angeles Times website one finds a collection of stories presented with the apparent intent of arousing dread in the reader.

Here’s a sampling of recent headlines: “New, potentially more contagious coronavirus variant found in California, Newsom says,” “L.A. County mortuaries struggle with rising toll from COVID-19,” and “‘Super-spreader’ event feared in L.A. as singer defies health order for concerts.” And it’s the L.A. Times, of course, so there’s the obligatory bit of class- and race-mongering thrown in as well: “L.A. hospitals serving the poor and people of color hit hardest by COVID-19,” and “How race factors into decisions about who should get priority for vaccines.”

After such a long period of lockdowns, not to mention mask mandates, social distancing, and the ever-shifting goal posts, people are understandably getting fractious. We should expect to see many more scenes like this one from Dec. 22, in which a Texas man was arrested at a San Antonio mall while participating in an anti-mask protest.

Who is that masked man?

Which places the police in an uncomfortable dilemma. There is a growing and seemingly irreconcilable divide between those who still believe these measures can be effective and those chafing under the restrictions.

I witness this divide daily as I walk the dog or ride my bicycle through my own suburban neighborhood near (but not too near) Los Angeles. I wear a mask when required by whichever local business I visit, donning and doffing it as I cross the threshold, but I never wear one while outdoors. I’m taken aback by all the people who do, especially those who veer into or even cross the street lest they cross paths with me and inhale some deadly molecule I may have expelled.

I’m tempted to ask these people (but do not ask them) what they think they’re accomplishing by behaving this way. One reason I don’t ask is that I’m afraid they’ll call the police and accuse me of trying to infect them. Another is that I haven’t time for a lecture on the errors on my maskless ways.

Not long ago I was in a grocery store in which the aisles were designated as one-way, thereby, one supposes, facilitating the proper social distancing. I was properly masked and proceeding down an aisle when I realized I had passed a needed item. I turned around and walked back about ten steps when I was upbraided by some clucking harridan who, I must note, chose to come within six feet to harangue me on my misconduct.

Joe Biden has premised to enact a national mask mandate upon taking office, though it’s unclear how he can do so under existing law. But then, the law itself has been shown to be far more elastic than one might have imagined prior to the arrival of the Wuhan virus, so heaven knows what he might pull off with the cooperation of like-minded state and local officials.

Who is this masked man?

Beginning last March, governors, mayors, county health officials, and every brand of petty bureaucrat took it upon themselves to impose whatever measures they saw fit in the name of protecting us from the virus, and the collateral damage -- lost jobs, ruined business, increased drug and alcohol abuse, to name just a few -- be damned.

If such a mandate were to be enacted, how big a leap would it be to see supermarket one-way aisles decreed into law, thus inspiring people like the traffic monitor mentioned above to summon the police when they witness a violation? And how will the police handle such a situation?

Not long ago I assumed police officers would ignore these petty disputes, but now I wonder if I haven’t been too sanguine. The sight of the man being manhandled and arrested in San Antonio, along with stories like this one in Oregon and this one in Ohio serve to warn us that police officers are not immune to mask hysteria. Granted, the officers in these cases were technically enforcing trespassing laws when the alleged offenders failed to wear masks when required to do so by businesses and schools, but by now it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see these confrontations become commonplace under a Biden federal mandate.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal helps to illustrate why this is so. Writing in the Dec. 24 issue, Tunku Varadarajan introduces us to John McAuliffe, who has just retired after a 38-year career with the New York Police Department. McAuliffe told of a lesson he learned as a rookie in 1983: “Never embarrass a guy in front of his kid.”

It was once commonplace for older cops to pass on such wisdom to those they are charged with training. I join McAuliffe in lamenting this is no longer so. Police work has changed a great deal since 1983, not all of it for the better. I joined the Los Angeles Police Department at about that same time, and I was taught by some wise and worldly seasoned cops, some of whom were veterans of the Vietnam War.

I was trained to seek out and where possible arrest the people who made life miserable for their law-abiding neighbors. Robbers, burglars, and violent gangsters were a priority, and there was a measure of shame attached to hauling in some average Joe who had committed some minor transgression.

Sadly, focusing one’s efforts on violent criminals only invites trouble for today’s police officers, for to do so brings the risk of violent confrontation with people whose conduct is readily ignored or excused by their sophisticated betters in government and the media. The result is as predictable as it is tragic: a rise in violent crime and more deaths by homicide among those these same sophisticated betters purport to champion.

Until the pendulum swings back, as it surely will someday, more robbers, burglars, and violent gangsters will be getting a pass, and more mask scofflaws will be brought to heel. If you thought 2021 would be an improvement over 2020, think again.