The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: December 2021 Page 1 of 4

Audio Recordings of “Political Concepts” to Chapter 3

An enthusiastic reader has made recordings of the first few chapters for those who prefer to listen rather than read.


Chapter 1: Politics Itself

Chapter 2: Legitimacy

Chapter 3: Ideology

If, on the other hand, you prefer to read the Table of Contents and Introduction, has links to all published chapters.


CDC Jumps the Shark & Experts Die Another Death

So, days after American Airlines asked for a reduction in quarantine length, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reduced recommended quarantine length to five days.


The CDC, the WHO, and many other health organizations have repeatedly disgraced themselves. At the start, they advised against masks. Masks clearly do help, and because, at the time, they thought that Covid was spread by droplets, masks were completely indicated. The CDC took too long to admit that Covid was airborne, recommended children go back to school, and so on.

In general, health authorities in too many countries have not recognized that airborne spread requires improved ventilation and filtering. School boards have forced teachers to keep windows closed. Vaccine approvals have been political — Sputnik V was an excellent vaccine pre-Omicron, but it was Russian, so, not approved in most Western countries.

Health authorities in many countries have not tracked and traced, have not quarantined properly, and so on.

All of this has broken trust with public health organizations and with experts in general.

People want scientists in organizations like the WHO and CDC to be non-political, to say what the best science says, and they haven’t and now trust is broken.

In general, the idea of expertise has been broken over the last few decades, because experts acted badly or weren’t experts.

This requires a bit of unpacking and “expert” is a bad word. Economists are experts, but they are not scientists, they’re ideologues. They study how the world should be and try and force the world to be like that.

Economists are moral philosophers, in effect — or theologians. If they presented themselves like, “We believe in markets and utility maximization and utility is a metaphysical concept for us, and we think this is the best way to organize society,” that’d at least be honest.

If they were honest, you could sort of trust them. “Oh, so macro-economists are like Christian preachers who say that society should be based on their beliefs of what an ideal society is like!!” That’s not at all the same sort of “expert” as a biologist or physicist.

Over 99 percent of economists didn’t predict the financial collapse. They didn’t realize there was a housing bubble. When economists, and other fake scientists, presented themselves as scientific experts (whose advice, when followed, was CRAP), they discredited the very idea of expertise.

Then actual scientists let themselves be politically compromised and now, they have completed the job.

I read a lot of people who say, “Trust the experts.” Shut up.

The experts disgraced themselves. The economists, the psychologists, the biologists, etc, etc. Too many of them have either presented themselves as something they’re not (scientists) or are actual scientists whom have fudged the science.


This even goes down to hedging things that are well agreed upon. Climate change, for example.

The consensus forecasts have almost been universally too optimistic, for decades, because scientists were playing political games and trying to be palatable.

Actual scientists need insulation from politics. People who are playing politics need to not be insulated from politics. Central bankers and economists are not scientists, they are political actors whose actions hurt some people & help others.

Central banks should be under direct control of elected officials. Scientists in the CDC and WHO should be heavily insulated from political power. Climate scientists need insulation as well.

Expertise has to be politically disinterested. For example, with the initial mask guidance, honest communication would have been:

The best science is that masks help protect us from Covid. Surgical and N95 masks are currently in short supply, so please use cloth masks right now. Here’s how to make them yourselves.

That’s honest, and it doesn’t break trust.

And that, along with not allowing people like economists, psychologists, and even psychiatrists, to pretend to be scientists is how you avoid loss of trust in experts.

Once you lose trust, you’re screwed. Real experts, who can be trusted, are now tarred with the same brush as those who have betrayed trust, and a plurality of the population has decided they don’t have to believe what the “experts” say, because in the past they’ve lied, been wrong, or perverted the science for political or business reasons.


Fundraising Update: Last Tier Reached

I’m going to leave the fundraiser open until the first of January, but we’ve made all the tiers.


I am immensely grateful, especially given how hard things were this year.

The final tier, which I didn’t think we’d make, was:

An essay on the effects of computer and telecom technology on humanity. Back in the 1990s, in his book Technopoly, Neil Postman predicted it would be bad for most people. I would argue it has, or will be, but we’ll take a look at the ups and downs, the effects on economics, geopolitics, and daily life. As with the advent of writing, printing, and firearms, the early results may not be the same as those in the longer term, so we’ll try and figure out some of those.

I look forward to writing it. Postman had an interesting, analytical framework for technology use, and how it controls social options which could easily be expanded beyond technology, as well.

The problem we have today is that even when I see things that could be good (if used well), I know that our society will abuse them. For example, there’s now an experimental vaccine which blocks some opiates. Could be useful to help addicts, but of course it will be forced on some people who don’t want it, especially in prisons, and by police and some mental hospitals and doctors. This will both leave people who need pain relief in agony and put some addicts into horrible withdrawals without their consent.

That’s just who we are, it seems: We can’t be trusted with any sort of power, technological or otherwise, because we will horribly abuse it.

Is that a permanent feature of humanity, or something we can overcome?


Why Ukraine in NATO Is a Red Line for Russia

The border of the Ukraine is 523 miles from Moscow.

Imagine if Canada allied with Russia, and Russian troops and missiles were on the Canadian border. Four hundred and fifty-six miles to DC. Close to other major cities and military bases.

Be hard to defend, wouldn’t it?

The Cuban missile crisis happened because the Soviets decided to put missiles in Cuba.


Because the US had put missiles in Turkey.

The agreement that ended the stand-off removed those missiles from Turkey, though that was secret at the time.

The Russians have noted that, if NATO moves further towards their border, they will put missiles just as close to the US. The new Russian hypersonic missiles are small. They can be put on small boats, as well as submarines, and kept offshore from the US, ready to go on command.

“If you can hit our capital and major cities in minutes, we will make sure we can hit yours too.”

(We’re coming towards the end of my fundraising. I write to explain the world and to help introduce the ideas that may change it for the better in the future. The more people who donate, the more I can do. Please DONATE OR SUBSCRIBE if you can.)

What Russia wants is a guarantee of no troops and missiles from the US in that close a proximity to them. (They say “US” because they consider NATO nothing more than a US cat’s paw, and NATO members are subject states to the US, which is accurate in most, but not all, cases.)

The US has had Cuba under embargo for over half a century now. They’ve tried to invade and they often interferes with Cuba’s internal affairs. The US has overthrown the governments of Latin American nations multiple times, when it didn’t like them.

Russia, which was told at the end of the Cold War that NATO would not expand past Eastern Germany, wants nations near it to, at least, not hold troops and missiles from its greatest enemy (which is clearly what the US still is, which is stupid, but there you have it).

Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, but Americans seem to think that behaviour that is okay when they do it is unacceptable from others.


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – December 26, 2021

by Tony Wikrent


Strategic Political Economy


Capitalism Didn’t Make the iPhone, You iMbecile


The creation of the entire new era of computers and information technology can be precisely traced back to one event, when U.S. Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratory and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research convened a seminar to deliberately share the technologies developed by various government programs and projects during World War Two:

August 1946: The Moore School Lectures


The Moore School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was at the center of developments in high-speed electronic computing in 1946. On February 14 of that year it had publicly unveiled the ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer, developed in secret beginning in 1943 for the Army’s Ballistics Research Laboratory. Prior even to the ENIAC’s completion, work had begun on a second-generation electronic digital computer, the EDVAC, which incorporated the stored program model. Work at the Moore School attracted researchers including John von Neumann, who served as a consultant to the EDVAC project, and Stan Frankel and Nicholas Metropolis of the Manhattan Project, who arrived to run one of the first major programs written for the ENIAC, a mathematical simulation for the hydrogen bomb project…. The 8-week course was conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Army‘s Ordnance Department and the U.S. Navy‘s Office of Naval Research, who promised (by verbal authorizations) the $3,000 requested to cover lecturer salaries and fees and $4,000 for travel, printing, and overhead. ($1,569 over this figure was ultimately claimed.)


Another Crisis Surrounds Us: Life expectancy drops almost two years in the U.S., and it’s not just from COVID-19.

[The American Prospect, December 23, 2021]

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy in the U.S. dropped 1.8 years from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year drop since national statistics were made available in 1933. The U.S. totaled 3,383,729 registered deaths, more than 500,000 higher than the year before. And that’s not even the worst statistic from the newly released mortality data.

Death rates for every age group 15 years and over increased from 2019 to 2020. The increase continues across men and women, regardless of race. However, rates sharply rose most among Black and Latino men.


Strategic Geo-Politics

Russia’s ultimatum to the West

[The Saker, via Naked Capitalism 12-20-2021]

Because most of the “international community” which “supports” (well, obeys) the USA is the EU, which itself is in a terminal crisis on too many levels to count here!

Compare the red and the grey zones on the map, and ask yourself these questions: which zone has the most powerful military? which zone has the most natural and human resources? which zone has the most promising trading routes? which zone has a real GDP, as opposed to a purely FIRE one?  Which one is literally dying spiritually under the trans-national “Woke” ideology and which one has retained the willingness and ability to fight for its spiritual, cultural, and civilizational values?  Finally, which zone has a viable vision of the future?

I could go on and on with many more such questions, but I think that you see my point: the USA is not only losing militarily, but it is also losing on all fronts!

Merry Christmas—

and all that rot, as my Dad used to say.

May it be a happy day and season for you.

Taking Omicron Seriously

Omicron is insanely contagious. Where I live, cases are doubling every three days. There are places where the doubling rate is two days.

It appears optimized for blowing through vaccines and natural immunity, which is to be expected. We partially immunized the world, but didn’t wipe out Covid, and it mutated to adapt. Because, in many places, a majority had vaccination and natural immunity, the virus adapted to this.

I quoted this May 2021:

The first big breakout variant, the UK strain, was specifically adapted against masks. It was much more contagious, so minor mask lapses were more easily exploited. It spread more evenly, relying less on super-spreader events, and was more infectious to children, who mask poorly.

The next big breakout was the South African strain, which was part of the family of Covid strains that contain a mutation colorfully labeled “Eek,” which evades antibodies, especially from natural infection or weaker vaccines, because that was/is becoming a bigger impediment than masks.

Now that MRNA vaccines are becoming the tool of choice, if the virus is allowed to continue to circulate in a partially-vaccinated Western population, it is only a matter of time before that becomes the biggest impediment to Covid’s success, and viruses are selected for resistance to it.

(Cue swelling music). LIFE, LIFE finds a WAY!

So, that prediction (not mine, but adopted by me because it made sense), came true.

Now, it’s still unclear how virulent Omicron cases are, because there are a lot of confounding factors. While vaccines don’t protect nearly as much against it, they do make you a lot less likely to die or wind up hospitalized. My sense is that it’s probably about as virulent as the original strain, but not as virulent as Delta.

Omicron appears to be excellent at re-infecting. Odds are you can get it multiple times.

(We’re coming towards the end of my fundraising. I write to explain the world and to help introduce the ideas that may change it for the better in the future. The more people who donate, the more I can do. Please DONATE OR SUBSCRIBE if you can.)

We also don’t know, yet, how much Long Covid it produces. Bear in mind that, in about half of those people with symptomatic cases of original or Delta, there’s lung scarring even if they don’t have “Long Covid” symptoms. Brain damage is pretty common too, and Covid often damages kidneys. People who are young and fit have gotten this; I have an acquaintance whose brain damage was so bad he got aphasia — he now sounds like a stroke victim and is in speech therapy.

So I’d take this seriously, especially since we don’t know Long Covid works. It may be that your chances of getting it increase each time you have Covid, or just that you have a chance each Covid infection. While Omicron does defeat vaccines better than previous strains, mRNA vaccines (ideally three doses) do provide protection; ventilation will work, etc.

Omicron should never have happened. There should have been a coordinated global effort to eradicate the virus, using basic epidemiological principles that have worked where applied, like in China and New Zealand, combined with travel bans, quarantines, and worldwide vaccine rollout.

Sadly for you and me, but not for our lords and masters, Covid was hugely profitable to the richest people, so it was allowed to spread. Billionaires have seen their wealth double and you just can’t pass up that sort of profit event, certainly not for something as trivial as millions of people dying and possibly being crippled for life. “Hard decisions,” y’know?

(One silver lining of all this is that Omicron is so contagious it seems to be busting through elite cordons. Bill Gates is in isolation now, and if he gets it and dies, it will be exactly what he deserves.)

The deaths and suffering are about a lot more than Covid, as well. To use the simplest example, a lot of surgeries and procedures have been delayed during the plague, and people are suffering and dying because of that. Where I live, I’ve seen response to cancer discovery go from about two months from initial finding to surgery/treatment to well over four months (not sure how much over four months yet, finding out the hard way). That will turn some people’s treatable cancer into a death sentence. The same is true of heart issues, and so on.

This is what our elites do. They make themselves richer and more powerful, and they do so by hurting and killing other people. Whatever you think of the CCP, and there’s a great deal I do’t like, after initial denial and foolishness, they treated Covid seriously and not primarily as a profit event. Since a few Western states did likewise, we know this isn’t a case of “only totalitarian governments can,” but it’s still an indictment that a single party authoritarian state has handled the plague better than almost every “democratic” nation.

Grim news for the Christmas season, and totally unnecessary, but like with climate change and ecological collapse, it’s where we are. Because we let our elites kill us, but never even consider returning the favor.

Be as well as  you can be, and I hope you remain untouched by all this.


On Respirators, Masks, and Getting Through the Pandemic

With permission, I’ve elevated this comment, as I think it may be helpful to those trying to get through Covid.

Here’s how you get through this pandemic:

I buy N95 from Uline in bulk 300 respirators (15 cartons) at a time. It works out to less than a $1 per day for a fresh respirator everyday per person. The link is right here: . Where I live, Uline delivers in 1-2 days direct from their warehouse.

These Uline respirators are a ‘manly’ man’s respirators. They are itchy and rough but are a very tight fit on my face and I can endure. Working without taking time for sickness is important to me (+ I perform mentally very challenging tasks and can not lose any IQ points to COVID even if I otherwise have no severe symptoms). If you are not into that, these Korean DOBU respirators are the softest thing you will ever find:

They are as soft as a plush toy but a bit too small for me. Women and children love these respirators.

We have tested close to a dozen of brands of respirators (blowing between 2-3K to purchase samples), and most were wanting in one aspect or another. LG health Patriot Mask ( just has this nasty plastic smell that I can’t stand but otherwise is rather soft and well-fitting. Some are willing to overlook the smell (or air the respirator for a couple of days before using it).

I have a shelf on the inside side of my home door where I keep boxes of respirators. Before I step out I put one on, always. On the outside side of my home door, I have a trash bag, when I come back, I put the respirator I have on in the trash bag. Always and everyday, by now it is an instinct, a reflex, like putting pants on. I also have special glasses but I wear those only in transit. I do not take the respirator off outside of my home — never. So, no eating in restaurants, no lunch. I also discourage and shut down any parties at work and minimally participate in parties or events thrown by the superiors (which luckily the superiors seem to be on the same page) . When I get home, I wash hands and face, spray hair with 70% alcohol and change into home clothing. Too much you say? To me, it is better than being sick, even mildly. I hate being sick, I am never sick, I don’t remember when I was sick last time. Plus, as I point out above, what my colleagues and I do is intellectually taxing — any IQ point counts.

Ian – please use the comments to discuss getting through the pandemic.

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