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The Future is Always More Valuable Than the Past
Government Officials Forced America into Impoverishment and Ruined Children's Lives in Response to the Wuhan Hysteria
By Christopher J.A. Messina
31 March 2020
[I wrote this in March 2020 and publish it here on 3 January 2022 without alteration. I stand by my analysis and conclusions.]
A ship doesn’t sail on yesterday’s wind.
The only thing which will enable treatments and cures to emerge to deal with this virus is a free and functioning economy. Poor countries never save themselves from public health crises, yet Americans have demonstrated a bizarre and terrifying willingness — thus far — to permit the government to prescribe poverty as a solution to illness, and have declared themselves indifferent to the sufferings current and future of the children of this nation.
Nothing in human life is free of politics, and massive disturbances have long been the playthings of cynical politicians. This entire fiasco is the result of hysterical overreaction. There was never any justification for the craziness of shuttering an entire economy. The speed with which our elected officials transformed themselves into fascist dictators is horrifying. Even more horrifying is the sweeping silence with which the sudden destruction of the rule of law and American freedom has been met.
Until now, our society has consistently prioritized sacrifice in the present for the benefit of the future. Generations of Americans have striven hard to do all they can to enable the next generation to build on what came before and to surpass their parents’ achievements. That story of repeated sacrifice leading to greater success has been one of the wonders of human history.
Americans of course are not alone in proving time and again the immeasurable value of sacrifice. Throughout history, parents have made sacrifices large and small for their children. During the German Holocaust, thousands of Jewish parents put their children on trains bound for England, tearing their very hearts out in order to ensure that their children would have a future, even as they themselves faced the evil of mass murder. Those parents took the chance of sending their children off into unknown dangers, balancing the possibility of harm befalling them against the 100% certainty that to remain was to die. That pattern continues to repeat itself, whether in the form of terrified children banding together to brave the dangers of walking from El Salvador or Guatemala to make it to the United States when their parents heard an American President say “Of course we won’t turn away unaccompanied children fleeing danger,” or Syrian parents hoping that their children could slip through Turkey and Greece to find relative safety in Europe.
For the first time in American history, however, we are faced with a deeply immoral inversion of the proper order of things. For the very first time, selfish older Americans are not going bravely into that good night, in order to preserve the best possible future for the children of this nation. No — quite the opposite. In the face of a virus about whose spread and mortality we don’t have reliable data, the American people have acquiesced without a murmur to a complete fascist takeover of their lives.
American children are being damaged now by the terrifying police state into which we’ve been thrown. I don’t hear a single politician or stuffed shirt teleprompter jockey saying one single word about the insane psychological, mental, moral and physical damage “our” suddenly fascist government is doing to the youth of this nation by arbitrarily closing schools and forcing them to be imprisoned at home with parents whose stress levels are skyrocketing by the hour.
What about the suddenly omniscient Drs. Fauci and Birx? How come an entire nation who ignores medical advice on an epic scale — does any other nation have a series called “My 600-lbs Life?” — is suddenly hanging on every word and willing to follow every dictate of two unelected if well-intentioned physicians? Those two appear to care about staving off projected deaths from one disease while consigning everyone else suffering from something less trending at the moment to potential deterioration and death, all the while ignoring the insane levels of distress an unprecedented shutdown of the American economy is certain to bring.
Make no mistake. We have permitted fascism to take over this country with no debate at all, and all based on the premise of maybe flattening one curve of disease incidence at a certain cost of immense damage done to the future of this country, starting with massive harm being done to our children right now.
I’ve prepared this white paper using the best and most up to date data sets regarding not only the Wuhan Virus but other data sets of relevance for comparative analysis. While there was never a quantitative rationale to destroy the country over this bad virus, the qualitative aspects of the decisions that have been taken should concern us all far more than the quantitative analysis. On purely moral and philosophical grounds, destroying the very engine of the economy which will permit us to “win” against this new pandemic is as important as it is to keep the economy functioning during wartime — like it or not, everything that we try must be paid for in some way. The simplistic babblings of politicians or people who don’t understand that core basic fact pushed far to one side, no one rational believes we can just “stop” the entire US economy for weeks or months on end and then just switch it back on again.
There are sound quantitative reasons to instantly cease all this insane banning of business activity while simultaneously allowing at-risk populations to stay quarantined voluntarily and increase the focus on medical testing and ramping up of device production domestically. On the pure numbers of sick and dying alone, there is zero justification for destroying the economy.
The statistics describing the spread and mortality of the Chinese Wuhan Flu Virus show clearly that the danger of the virus is heavily weighted towards people who are already sick from another cause and among those with preexisting conditions, primarily older people. As of 30 March, 2,860 Americans have died of Wuhan Flu, compared to a range of 24,000–62,000 deaths from influenza.
Italy was hit very hard by infections and deaths, every one of which is sad on a personal level. The fact that mortality is heavily weighted (99+%) to people with preexisting medical conditions and the average age of death is 79.5 for men and 83.7 for women is encouraging on a population level.
These distinctions matter, because our hysterical political class have been screaming “Italy!” at the top of their collective lungs as a justification for implementation of martial law.
A calm, rational thinker, Dr. John Ioannidis wrote a wonderful piece  on 17 March 2020. It is worth reading in its entirety. Below I have copied a section of his piece, which should admonish everyone making policy to be wary of leaping to panicked conclusions.
The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300. Three months after the outbreak emerged, most countries, including the U.S., lack the ability to test a large number of people and no countries have reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in a representative random sample of the general population.
This evidence fiasco creates tremendous uncertainty about the risk of dying from Covid-19. Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the World Health Organization, cause horror — and are meaningless. Patients who have been tested for SARS-CoV-2 are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. As most health systems have limited testing capacity, selection bias may even worsen in the near future.
The one situation where an entire, closed population was tested was the Diamond Princess cruise ship and its quarantine passengers. The case fatality rate there was 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population, in which the death rate from Covid-19 is much higher.
Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). It is also possible that some of the passengers who were infected might die later, and that tourists may have different frequencies of chronic diseases — a risk factor for worse outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection — than the general population.
Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.
It is worth pointing out who the author is. John P.A. Ioannidis is professor of medicine and professor of epidemiology and population health, as well as professor by courtesy of biomedical data science at Stanford University School of Medicine, professor by courtesy of statistics at Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, and co-director of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) at Stanford University.
So for a possible fatality rate of those infected of between 0.025% — 0.625% we’ve decided to destroy the country? And those numbers must be the upper bound, because of the failure to understand exactly the etiology of this disease. Do 98% of infected people show few to no symptoms? 76%? 16%? We don’t know. But the sample size is large enough to know what the upper boundary is likely to be, and it does not justify the madness we have plunged into.
Public policy and individual decisions are made based on statistics and probability all the time. Despite all the emotional handwringing by journalists and politicians with myriad agendas about the “infinite value” of one human life, in reality no one believes that. People place a dollar value on their own lives every day in the form of buying life insurance.
We balance marginal risk for expected benefit constantly. All the rules around safe construction of automobiles and the range of laws relating to speed limits on highways versus side streets are all a balancing act designed to maximize the usefulness of motor-powered travel while minimizing the unpleasant side effects of accidents and deaths. 33,500 people died in automobile accidents in the US last year. No one has suggested banning cars, nor has anyone suggested a universal speed limit of 5 miles per hour everywhere in the country, even though forcing cars to drive at 5 mph from Boston to Miami would be “safer,” assuming away of course all the violence committed by wildly-frustrated people driving more slowly than some people jog.
Based purely on average life expectancy figures in the United States, even if the Italian death statistics in relation to age and preexisting medical condition hold true, there is no compelling public policy or public health rationale for doing anything other than suggest at-risk folks self-quarantine and everyone else pay a great deal more attention to personal hygiene.
Closing the barn door after the horses have bolted is pointless. I have no interest in pointing fingers and assigning blame. I am willing to believe that politicians have done what they think best in succumbing to irrational panic. The madness of crowds led to the crazed totalitarian restrictions we are seeing not only in the United States but around the world in Australia and other supposedly free countries under the rule of law.
The blame game in America will have its denouement in our November elections. All that matters now is to realize how damaging and insanely disproportionate it is to ruin our children’s futures across a range of factors — psychological, development, educational, financial — all due to a perpetuation of these pointless draconian strictures.
Even if this Wuhan Virus turns out to be as devastating as the Spanish Influenza of 1918, the destruction of the American economy and the concomitant destruction of a prosperous future for America’s children is morally indefensible. 675,000 Americans died of that avian coronavirus, in a time when there were no vaccines, no antiviral medicines and no antibiotics to combat bacteria in secondary infections.
Crushing the economy by the ridiculous, totalitarian dictatorship steps that have happened with sudden speed brings with it a 100% certainty of massive economic and social damage. On that basis alone, these draconian and unconstitutional dictates regarding the summary closure of legal businesses and the home imprisonment of millions of formerly-free Americans are unwarranted.
The actions of our governments — State and Federal — threw at least 3.3 MILLION people out of work in one week. As it is hard to know how much lag there is in that, or how many people working informally didn’t bother to file or how many people in gig-type or consulting type jobs who are not qualified to file for unemployment insurance, that number is most assuredly higher. I don’t need to get into quibbling fights with anyone who will argue with a 2x estimate — it doesn’t matter. 3.3 MILLION PEOPLE thrown out of work in one week is appalling and indefensible. Whether it is 1.2x that or 3x that number is irrelevant.
This $2 trillion farce of “stimulus” is not even a band-aid on an annual $21 trillion economy, never mind the inefficient, biased ways in which these checks are to be handed out.
The Chinese Communists are already on their own State media talking about the final chance for the renminbi to replace the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency while Chinese companies can grab global market share as a result of the US and Europe choosing to shut down our economies. That is on top of senior Chinese government officials claiming that the American military brought this virus to Wuhan in August or September of last year.
And I’m being scolded by the Western media that it’s “inappropriate” to call this disease by its proper name, the Chinese Wuhan Flu?
It is truly disheartening to be a member of a society that is volunteering to commit group suicide. At least President Trump had claimed to realize this unprecedented shutdown of the economy cannot continue. He had previously put “Easter” as a target to “reopen” what’s left of our economy. I myself think that is insane and that everyone should have gone back to school and work on Monday March 30th. Two more weeks of this will do massive damage, and his opponents are all busy shouting that that is “too soon” 24/7 throughout the various media echo chambers that the chattering classes inhabit.
I am wildly disheartened as of Sunday night March 29th to hear him talking about extending this appalling destruction to May 1st. The American people should demand that every single person in politics be stripped of all their assets and deprived of their accommodations. It is appalling that people immune to the economic reality of their actions are destroying American lives with so far as I can tell absolutely no legal authority to do so.
I can only assume these people are all independently wealthy; I’d suggest as a matter of “being in this together” that all the teeth-whitened stuffed shirt talking heads on TV telling poor working folks how we should “stay home” for another six months have all their assets and salaries taken away to distribute to those Americans thrown out of work. There is always time for gallows humor in any situation; my favorite rib-cracking, gasping-for-air hilarity is that the innumerate idiots posing as journalists have been dubbed an “essential business” while my gym and state parks have been deemed “non-essential.”
Throughout human history, humans accepted death as lurking just outside the door. Many religious practices and prohibitions and most folk tales from every culture on the planet concern the hidden, invisible terrors lurking literally anywhere. Death could spring from the shadows, from inside a mushroom fairy ring. Pre-industrial society, infant mortality was high and the odds of children living to adulthood was not remotely 100%. As recently as 1935 in the United States, approximately 6% of children did not survive past their first birthday. Life expectancy in 1935 was 60 years of age.
We have made enormous strides in both medicine and public health. We have done so to the point, I would argue, that during a brief historical hiatus of perhaps 60 years of antibiotics and vaccines, we have come to believe insanely that disease was conquered and any viral outbreak was an abnormality to panic about. That wildly ahistorical reading of the relationship between the human animal and the millions of viruses out there has led to the dumbest of outcomes.
Everyone in positions of political leadership in United States is handwringing about the vulnerability of older people. Our children are being bombarded with messages saying “If you are selfish enough to want to go to school, or swim in your pool or play with your friends outside, you are killing your grandparents.” Not only is that nonsense, it is immensely psychologically damaging to young people. One nine-year-old girl we know has been waking up from nightmares because she thinks the Nazis are back and are going to be rounding people up any day now.
We’ve thus far permitted the imposition of martial law and unprecedented and irrational destruction of the national economy — the only engine of wealth creation that can possibly help us recover from this self-imposed stupidity. We can’t change the past, so we can only act today and into the future.
Once we’ve shaken off this moment of national hysterical fascism, we should demand the government address actual issues as they present themselves, in as focused a fashion as possible.
Let’s focus on this “hospital shortage” theme, because it forms the root of the narrative we’ve been presented, which supposedly justifies destroying the country. The Great Excuse we’ve been given as to why we “needed” to permit an elected government to become a fascist junta able to shut down the entire economy was to prevent one sector of the economy from being “overwhelmed.”
The media is trying to whip us into a permanent panic by shouting “hospitals will be overrun!” Maybe some will, maybe some won’t. But whether a given medical facility faces a spike in demand which it cannot accommodate doesn’t mean that the government should do anything more than address the amelioration of that unexpected demand.
It’s madness to destroy the national economy based on some disturbing scenes outside a hospital at overcapacity. Any hospital administrator who tried on her own to maintain that spare capacity through normal times would have been fired as recently as December 2019. In fact, Medicare, Medicaid and ObamaCare rules would likely stipulate that an “illegal” proportion of patient fees were not going to actual care, so that such spare capacity couldn’t be maintained, even by the most paranoid prepper hospital administration.
As a (for now) wealthy country, we can deploy emergency measures in the form of temporary military hospitals and quick conversions of hotels and dorms and the like to accommodate quarantine measures should that become necessary. Right now, the market for medical workers is still functioning — unlike many other sectors that formerly-free Americans had suddenly yanked away because of their “non-essential” nature. Nurses are leaving Florida for New York City to get paid $100/hour while staying in the Four Seasons with all meals catered. Good for them. How nice it must be to be permitted by Our Dear Leaders to have a choice about what to do with one’s time and skills.
Perhaps there will be a new M*A*S*H to emerge from this, about a wisecracking doctor (this time with #MeToo sensibilities, so a lot less handsy and probably popping performance-enhancing amino acids rather than swilling gin from a homemade still) who performs heroic work on the frontlines of the Wuhan Pandemic in the massive mobile hospital that covers 50% of Central Park.
As to the looming shortage of hospital masks and pharmaceuticals, sadly in this world, crises expose flaws which have been evident to the few for years but are now suddenly clear to many more people. As someone who has been focused for years on improving national security through investments in US domestic production and critical supply chains, my team and I have been insisting to both government and private investors about the serious risks to American national security. I am not happy to be proven right by this crisis.
While all of that is fodder for a serious change in American policy, in the here and now, emergency ramping up of production of materials and deployment of hospitals is the right reaction. The wrong reaction is to destroy the economy in the hopes of lightening demand load on the medical system.
Generations of Catholic school students can relate how the nuns always made sure during class prayers to pray for “a good death.” Every religious tradition has a view on death and often highly intricate views on what goes into a good versus a bad death. In certain strains of Buddhism, adherents believe that the thoughts in your mind at the time of death determine the quality of your next incarnation. Since the time of death is uncertain, maintenance of positive emotions and thoughts is a constantly aimed-for state of being. Irreligious characters and philosophies throughout history also opine on the “quality” of death or the quality of life and how — or indeed if — one is to choose between the two.
I myself would very much prefer to be around to see my children grow up and — hopefully — get to irritate them by spoiling my grandchildren. But even before the Chinese Wuhan Flu Panic of 2020, I have taken repeated calculated risks. I travel for work, often to places of heightened risk for foreigners. In traveling, I have risked encountering novel viruses and dangers. I have done so to build a better future for my children. I am not now inclined to hide inside like a whimpering puppy scared of the world; it’s not the example I want to set for them.
One of my favorite stories comes from the Fertile Crescent, where humanity began our grand adventure of agriculture leading to centralized government:
There once was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, pale and trembling, and said, “Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that had jostled me. When I backed away, she looked at me and began to reach towards me! Lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.”
The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop, away he went.
Then the merchant who was out a horse and still short of his desired provisions went down to the marketplace. When he saw Death standing in the crowd, he walked up to Death and said, “What are you doing? Why did you make a threating gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
Death replied, “That was not a threatening gesture. It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
Watching our “leaders” for the past two weeks as we became a totalitarian state devoid of the rule of law has reminded me of a conversation a friend had with her daughter a few years ago. She had gotten her ears pierced a few months prior. One of the ears had developed an infection which was being treated. She was faced with a choice: 1. Bear some pain to put the earring back into the swollen ear right now, or 2. Wait until later when the swelling was gone at which point the earring hole would have closed up again, requiring a new hole be poked.
She listened to those two scenarios and cried, “But I don’t like either of those choices!”
Sometimes in life, we must choose between choices that each have their downsides. A part of raising functional adults used to be equipping people to make those choices. Our dear leaders seem paralyzed into trying to avoid hard choices. Any happy politician whose own salary and benefits will not be affected by these draconian changes will wring their hands for the cameras about these “hard choices,” but their pocketbooks and housing situations are not being impacted one whit by all these business closures. The number of them who are showing just how much they love the taste of dictatorial power that comes from being a “leader” in a fascist state terrifies me a thousand times more than the chance of my dying from one virus or another.
A brave, resolute seven-year-old girl who valued her symmetrical earrings made a choice after she protested her distaste for both options. Can our “leaders” adult-up and act similarly?
This appalling, selfish, nationwide temper tantrum thrown by people willing to harm younger generations out of fear of perhaps dying sooner than they’d prefer will be remembered as one of the lowest points in American history. I read my children The Emperor’s New Clothes repeatedly when they were younger. They certainly took its lessons to heart and they know that the insanity of the Federal or State government mandating our tennis courts be chained shut in a sparsely-populated county with 3 people hospitalized from confirmed cases of a viral infection is a priori lunacy of the first order.
The current serious damage we are doing to children alone demands we stop this craziness. I sit on various boards for our local school district. I know how many at-risk kids there are who not only rely on school for food but — far more importantly — for distance from abusive or otherwise dangerous home lives. When you get into the details, the misery and dysfunctional horror rise to the surface.
For example, everyone knows that there are “school lunch” programs for kids in need. The problem with legislation written by rational adults is that rational adults cannot conceive of the horrors behind the need. To qualify for school lunch, a parent or guardian must sign a form for the school declaring the need. Many parents are too stoned, too crazy, too abusive or — here’s my teeth-gritting favorite — too “proud” to sign that paper. So the kids in need don’t get the food. Now, in normal times before America became a fascist police state, other parents and adults in the community stepped up to contribute food and money so those kids most at-risk got help.
As those who volunteer time, money and food are suddenly stripped of their ability to earn income, by sheer numbers alone, those so impacted are going to retract their generosity in order to look after their own families first. So at-risk kids are now not eating and are stuck at home with abusive adults who are going to get more abusive as the opportunities for making money dry up. Oh, and to distribute food to kids, the school district has set up centralized centers for people to collect food, leading to no social distancing and no food for kids already saddled with indifferent parents, who cannot or will not bother to go to the collection point.
Children in stable homes who are fortunate to have loving parents are facing bizarre stresses that we’ve never asked them to bear, with amorphous boogeymen outside the door forcing the adults in their lives to be trapped like prisoners and stripped of autonomy. This is all awful. It is appallingly immoral that the children are not our primary focus in this manmade crisis. Every adult who supports this destruction of the future and the damage to our children should be deeply and permanently ashamed of their role in stoking this hysteria.
This insanity must end immediately. I would hope my Governor would shake his head free of the nonsense everyone else seems to be infected by, have a press conference tonight, saying, “Whoops! OK. We took some radical steps based on model predictions which are already proving false. We thought we were acting in Floridians’ best interests. We were wrong. Disney and Universal are opening tomorrow and everyone else should get ready to go back to school and work. We will work with affected workers and businesses to try to compensate them for the wildly disproportionate impacts this government-caused depression will have. Sorry. We meant well.”
I will close by following my own advice. I always tell employees and colleagues that I don’t want to hear about a problem unless you’ve given some thought to possible solutions. Otherwise, you’ve just laid the burden at my feet to come up with ideas and I am already busy enough.
My recommended next steps:
o Instantly reverse all business closures and home imprisonment martial law dictates.
o Everyone under 55 go back to school and work immediately.
o Everyone 55–69, think carefully and watch for updated information.
o Everyone 70+ should probably self-isolate another couple of weeks.
o Accelerate deployment of mobile hospitals run by the military to impacted zones.
o Test a statistically sufficient number of Americans, to secure a defensible denominator for the Wuhan Flu infection and mortality rates.
o Refocus the US domestic supply chain to revive US manufacturing of both pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
The British were admonished during the blitz to Keep Calm and Carry On. That did not mean to shelter in place and hide from danger. It meant that adults should continue to go about their daily business, knowing that a bomb from the Luftwaffe could snuff one’s life out at any moment.
Paralysis in the face of danger was then and is now far worse than carrying on and doing one’s part to keep the economy and country going. The only thing which will enable treatments and cures to emerge to deal with this virus is a free and functioning economy. Poor countries never save themselves from public health crises, yet Americans have demonstrated a bizarre and terrifying willingness — thus far — to permit the government to prescribe poverty as a solution to illness and have declared themselves indifferent to the sufferings current and future of the children of this nation.
Let’s get past this aberrant panic and do the right thing for the next generation.
Everyone must shake their heads to get rid of the bad ideas that have crept into their skulls in the last few weeks and once more prove that we value the future over the past.
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