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Public Health? What part of liberty or death was confusing πŸ”—

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A recent article in the Unz Review exposes a common divide I see today. Unz takes a "the government which governs best, governs best" "number go down/up technology" utilitarian view on whether emergency powers to justify health coercions are justified. Whitney's arguing for the other side is predictably a combination of siezing on what bits of the media narrative are false with constitutionalism. This naturally fails to convince, given laws are 100% arbitrary in the first place and the media narrative is essentially irrelevant to the doctrinaire utilitarian.

Ultimately the only thing that cannot be answered by the utilitarian perspective, which is largely the one advocated by the cathedral, is the hardcore freedom argument. Say this in Ernest Hancock voice: "AM I ALLOWED to decide what is to be done with my own body?" This gets down to the meat of the issue, because the mainstream utilitarian answer is essentially no. Misesian utilitarians disagree, but this is beside the point.

If we are not allowed to decide what goes on in our own body, then we are tantamount to children; mere wards of the state. Therein lies the rub. Are we being cared for as a parent does for their child by this government? By any government? The answer is obvious; their standard of care would result in an immediate protective raid were it private individuals.

If I am to have no say in my medical decisions but to have full responsibility for them this is sure to result in cognitive dissonance. Being held responsible for a thing you have no authority over is the reason why slavery is wrong. That said, if you look around you'll find that society has no problem with such enslavement in a variety of situations even if they find chattels to be hideous and abominable.

Employees are frequently considered fired "at fault" for things which are in fact of no fault of their own, and they end up paying dearly. Married couples split in a no-fault divorce end up with one partner paying out the nose for years for no greater cause than of the whim of their partner. "We" have to pay taxes to pay for a government to do things which repeated studies have shown have 0% correlation with our actual will. And when it comes to war, the enemy will not discriminate given the chance to kill us peasants who had nothing to do with the actions by our government which lead to war.

This sort of callous abuse is in fact the norm when it comes to public policy. The socialist argument is essentially that "they are gonna do it anyways" so you may as well get taken care of if they are going to take away your decisionmaking. Unfortunately, this did not work; real socialism has been tried. It turns out there is no substitute for self-actualization and actual adulthood.

Which ultimately gets down to the christian message for me. This is all "whipping the sinners into virtue". Can their repentance be held as genuine if they did not arrive at it themselves, free from coercion? Are we truly sheparding them into the kingdom of heaven if we did not allow them the opportunity to veer off into hell? Is free will real? Or, if it is real, should it be suppressed?

Here we can lean on the empirical utilitarian argument. All societies which embraced determinism (Islam under Algazel, Eastern Religions) stagnated. This should not come as a shock, given the cognitive dissonance involved. If we did not have the ability to choose to do otherwise from what we in fact do, law and punishment would be unnecessary. The only thing that matters there is baser instincts and feelings (which care not for dissonance), such as the desire for revenge. When reason is not required, neither is progress.

This in fact reveals the true operational imperative of the cathedral. Namely, that it's all emotional thinking smeared with post-hoc rationalization. This is how you get an orwellian system like ours where media opinion can turn on a dime, because it's all just rationalizations for emotions. Which should shock nobody, given the media dynamic -- it's all about pushing emotional buttons. Most of the time, the button pushes back.

This crazed world they present to the people for ratings became real for them. It then expanded to academia when they also internalized the lesson; getting grants for the most outlandish research possible. This is how we've managed to work ourselves into a replication crisis. The bureaucrats also quickly subsumed everything to their corn-pone. This is how we have a swarm of agencies which essentially create and sustain the problems they were built to solve. Post hoc rationalization rules everything around me.

We are adults being lead around the nose by emotional children. This should shock no one, given the sort of "cult of the child" we've been dealing with most of my adult life. It essentially is all the systemic result of rewarding bad behavior and punishing good behavior. Which brings us back to the central point.

The problem with the "government which governs best, governs best" is always a matter of perspective. Best for whom? This idea that we can "nudge" Cass-Sunstien style everyone into what is "best" cannot possibly work, as that necessarily varies from person to person. It should come as no shock that those at very little risk of death from COVID resent restrictions to save those already on death's door. They are at worst ambivalent about these people's survival and at best actively benefit from it. Evolutionary competition is still real.

Are the authorities incentivizing these refuseniks to act against their interests? Of course not. They are arrogantly accusing them and scapegoating them for all the "number of death go up". This cannot possibly work to do anything but harden their resistance, but it does make for good ratings.

Which is what ultimately makes the current situation so dangerous. We are at an inflection point where the majority of voters (read: TV viewers) eat this garbage up. They'll gladly say "burn them babies at waco, days of our lives is on" and justify any amount of tyrannical impositions on their own children to stave off death but another day. However the newer generations know it can't last much longer and grow increasingly restive of their parents' generation treating them like children well into adulthood.

Something obviously had to give, and has. The southern states will not lockdown again. Attempts to bring them into line will simply harden resistance at this point. It remains to be seen if this will in general result in a renissance of rational thinking.

Personally, I am skeptical. Both sides are fully emotional and doing little more than post-hoc rationalizations. Both have retreated into "broken record" debate technique, which eventually means national divorce when they discover how powerful this technique is. Which I suppose is the norm in politics; the only way to be right is for the wrong reasons.

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