COVID-19: Science & Values
by John Spritzler
April 3, 2020 (with occasional updates)
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[Also see "The REAL Problem with Dr. Fauci"]
[Also see "THE APPEARANCE OF PANDEMIC PROTECTION AND THE REALITY OF BETRAYAL," by Dr. Nayvin Gordon]
[Also see "Covid-19 and School Openings?"]
There are both scientific facts and egalitarian values to consider regarding the covid-19 epidemic. First I will discuss the scientific facts, and then how egalitarian values relate to the epidemic.
Is the covid-19 epidemic what the establishment media are saying it is--a very dangerous disease that calls for as much social distancing as possible?
I AM AS SKEPTICAL OF THE MASS MEDIA AS ANY CONSPIRACY THEORIST
First let me point out that I am no defender of the establishment and its mass media, so if I say that on some particular point it is telling the truth it is not because I naively think it always (or even often) tells the truth. I yield to no anti-establishment skeptics of the mainstream media in my conviction that the ruling class (the billionaire plutocracy) of the United States does indeed lie to us big time sometimes. It does this for the evil purpose of making ordinary people obey it so it can enrich itself at our expense and dominate us unjustly. My sister website, for example, has lots of articles (click here to see them) by myself and others that make a very persuasive case that 9/11 was an inside job carried out to make the public go along with a War on Terror that was unjust and the purpose of which was to strengthen the power of the ruling class to dominate and oppress people.
Nonetheless, I believe that the establishment is correct this time in saying that covid-19 is a very dangerous disease and epidemic and that social distancing as much as possible is a necessary (until there is a safe and effective vaccine) response if we are to minimize the number of people who will die from it. Here is why I believe this to be so.
Briefly, my reasoning from observed facts (I will provide the evidence for these facts below in the section "Now For The Evidence...") is as follows.
There are a multitude of sources all reporting that the number of deaths from a lung disease of people who are considered to have the covid-19 disease has been, since the start of the epidemic until at least the time of this writing (April 3, 2020), doubling every approximately three days, which is an example of what is called exponential (also sometimes called "geometric") growth.
When a quantity doubles every X units of time, that is called an exponential increase. It is very different from when a quantity increases by a fixed amount, say Y, every X units of time.
Let's say that every X units of time a quantity is measured and the measurements double each time and are:
1, then 2 then 4 then 8 then 16 then 32 then 64 then 128 then 256 then 512 then 1024, etc.
That is exponential growth.
If a quantity, in contrast, does not double each time but merely increases by the same amount each time, then that is not exponential growth (it is called linear growth). Here is a quantity that merely increases by, say, 10 each time (which, you will note is more than the increase from the first to the second measurement in the exponential example above):
1, then 11, then 21, then 31, then 41, then 51, then 61, then 71, then 81, then 91, then 101, etc.
Note that when something increases exponentially it very quickly becomes much larger than if it only increases the same amount in each time period.
Mathematically, exponential growth happens when the rate of growth of some quantity at a given time is proportional to the magnitude of that quantity at the given time. When the more of something there is means the faster it grows, that's exponential growth and it means that the quantity is doubling every X units of time.
There are two key points about exponential growth.
a. What starts out small becomes HUGE very quickly.
b. If a medical condition is spreading exponentially in the population it means that it is caused by an infectious disease, i.e., caused by a germ that infected people pass on to uninfected people.
In particular, there is only one thing that plausibly explains the exponential growth of deaths of people with lung disease considered to have the covid-19 disease. The one thing that explains it is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person, so that the more people who have the disease the more people there are spreading it, which makes the growth faster when there are more people with the disease, i.e., produces exponential growth. Other causes of disease or death, such as an environmental toxin or 5G towers (as some claim cause covid-19 disease) or automobile accidents or suicides, etc., do not (or would not) cause the number of deaths to rise exponentially.
Therefore, the fact (as we shall see) that the number of lung disease deaths of people considered to have covid-19 disease has been increasing exponentially means that some infectious disease (caused by some infectious agent--i.e., germ) is the cause of the increasing number of such lung disease deaths. It doesn't tell us what the infectious germ is, just that there is one causing these deaths.
Three questions now come to the fore.
Question #1. Since very many people die each year from lung disease, how do we know that the people dying of lung disease who are considered to also have the covid-19 disease are not people who would have died of lung disease whether they were considered to have covid-19 disease or not? In other words, how do we know if the "covid-19 epidemic" is not actually making more people with lung disease die this year than in the past but is only causing more of those people (who would have died anyway) to be labeled as "having covid-19 disease"? As some skeptics of the establishment view put it: The deaths are of people dying with covid-19 disease but not because of covid-19 disease.
This claim by the skeptics could, at least in theory, be true if, say, the SARS-CoV-2 virus--for which a positive test coupled with lung disease with a "ground glass" lung X-ray image is essentially the criterion for a diagnosis of "covid-19 disease"--were a completely harmless virus that just happened to be spreading (exponentially) in the general population including those with lung disease. It is a very reasonable question to ask if this is in fact the case.
Here's why I feel confident that the deaths of people with lung disease who are considered to have covid-19 disease are substantially (if not totally, of course) IN ADDITION to the number of people with lung disease who would be expected to die now based on how many died in past years, i.e., that the current covid-19 epidemic is killing people who in the absence of that epidemic would NOT be dying. The evidence for this (to be shown below) is that the number of people with lung disease (regardless of whether they are considered to have covid-19 disease) who are dying now is far greater than the number who would have been expected to die of lung disease based on past years. This would not be the case if the only thing that was happening were that an increasing number of people who would have died anyway happen to now be labeled as "having covid-19 disease." People, in other words, are dying because they have covid-19 disease and would not have died otherwise.
Question #2. How do we know that the infectious agent--the germ--that is causing covid-19 disease is the one that the establishment says it is--the SARS-CoV-2 virus? The answer is that we don't know for absolute certain. The way to know it for absolute certain is if an experiment based on a rigorous laboratory scientific proof, known as the Koch postulates, confirms that SARS-CoV-2 causes covid-19 disease. That rigorous proof experiment has been carried out in an experiment in transgenic mice (that had the human gene for our human cells' receptor that the virus uses to enter our cells), which did confirm by the Koch postulates that SARS-CoV-2 causes lung disease. (The rigorous Koch postulates experiment for SARS virus and SARS disease was done in 2003 when the SARS epidemic occurred and it proved that the SARS virus was the cause of the SARS disease then.) The high association between a) testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus's genome and b) otherwise unexpected, or unexpectedly worsening, lung disease (with the characteristic "ground glass" lung X-ray) is also a good reason to believe that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the germ causing the covid-19 lung disease. Until somebody comes up with a more plausible germ, it is foolish NOT to assume that SARS-CoV-2 is the germ causing covid-19.
The above reasoning is why I believe that the covid-19 epidemic is a very dangerous infectious disease epidemic that, left unchecked, will kill lots of people who would not otherwise have died.
Note that while it is of course extremely important to know the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in particular if it was produced in a laboratory and if so, whose laboratory and for what reason and whether it was released accidentally or on purpose, the fact remains that no matter what the origin of it--an animal or a laboratory--the germ that is causing covid-19 disease is a killer and we need to practice social distancing to save lives.
Yes Covid-19 Has A Low Case Fatality Rate. SO WHAT?
What makes an epidemic dangerous is if it kills lots of people, not whether or not an infected person has a high probability of dying (i.e., it has a high case fatality rate). In fact, if a germ kills everybody it infects very quickly, then the infected people will mainly die before infecting others, and the germ will therefore stop spreading to many more people; relatively few people will die. Germs that do this don't cause world-wide pandemics; they cause local epidemics that just fizzle out in a small geographical region, as Ebola did. In contrast, if a germ lets the people it infects live a long time and only kills some of them, then there will be lots of infected people spreading the infection for a long time and the germ will end up infecting many more people--possibly people all over the world in a pandemic--and thus killing many more people than otherwise. Remember, a small percentage of a HUGE number can be FAR more than a larger percentage of a small number.
A good estimate (the source is here) is that about 0.6% of people in general, and 5.6% of people over 65 will die if they are infected with the covid-19 virus. This translates to saying that 99.4% of people in general and 94.4% of people over 65 will not die if they are infected with the covid-19 virus. When it comes to people dying, 99.4% not dying is a LOT WORSE than the bogus number of 99.97% not dying that some people are posting on social media to deny the need for wearing a mask or practicing physical distancing.
Question #3. Why is it necessary to have as many people as possible (most of whom are not infected) "stay at home"; why not just have people known to be or suspected of being infected quarantined? At the very early stage of an epidemic, if there is very widespread testing of people to see who is infected and an aggressive effort to track down who they may have been infected by and who they may in turn have infected, and if all such people are quarantined, then--and only then!--it is possible to "nip the epidemic in the bud." But if this is not done at the very early stage of the epidemic (click here to read how it was not done in the U.S.), it cannot be done later, because it is no longer practical/possible to locate all of the infected people to quarantine all of them and only them. Only social-distancing practiced by as many people as possible (and hence including as many of the unknown infected people as possible) will slow the spread of the virus so that the doubling time of the number of infections is increased enough to "flatten the curve"--to prevent more people from needing ICU/ventilator treatment at one time than the health care system can provide.
Note that there is another important reason to flatten the curve. Even if hospital beds and staffing were infinite, it is better to delay as long as possible the time when people get very sick. Why? Because the later in the game when somebody is sick with covid-19, the more likely there will have been discovered by then better ways of treating the disease, either better procedures (such as having people lie down on their stomach instead of using a ventilator in some cases, as was recently discovered) or possibly better drugs for treating the disease.
NOW FOR THE EVIDENCE...
Here is the evidence that the number of deaths of people with lung disease and covid-19 disease was initially increasing exponentially, based on monitoring these numbers of deaths in the United States at https://ncov2019.live/ :
On March 13 there were 42 covid-19 deaths in the U.S.
On March 17 there were 100 covid-19 deaths.
On March 19 there were 217 covid-19 deaths.
On March 21 there were 306 such deaths.
On March 22 there were 412 such deaths.
On March 23 there were 601 such deaths.
On March 26 there were 1,303 such deaths.
On March 29 there were 2,451 such deaths.
On April 1 there were 5,110 such deaths.
On April 4 there were 8,741 such deaths. (This is finally less than a doubling in three days and maybe indicates a flattening of the curve having its good effect.)
On April 7 there were 12,796 such deaths. (Substantially less than a doubling in the last three days, but more than a doubling in the last 6 days.)
On April 10 there were 18,725 such deaths. (This is more than a doubling in 6 days; the doubling time has increased but it is still doubling in less than a week.)
On April 13 there were 23,463 such deaths. (This is a bit less than a doubling in 6 days.)
On April 16 there were 34,384 such deaths. (This is a 2.69 fold increase in 9 days, but less than a doubling in 6 days. The deaths are clearly increasing but no longer exponentially.)
On April 19 there were 38,664 such deaths. (Now I'm using https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality because the previous website no longer is online.) (This is more than a doubling in 9 days, which is still alarming although better than doubling in only 3 or 6 days as earlier.)
On April 23 there were 46,583 such deaths. (This is about double the figure on April 13 ten days ago.)
On April 26 there were 53,755 such deaths. (This is 1.56 times the figure ten days ago, so the doubling time is now more than ten days. The total covid-19 death count is still rising but not as fast as before. When the number of covid-19 deaths essentially stops rising altogether then the epidemic will be over at least until a possible second wave emerges.)
On April 30 there were 62,860 such deaths. (The rate of increase has clearly slowed since March. This is an increase in 4 days of 9,105 deaths, or 2,276 deaths per day.)
On May 4 there were 68,922 such deaths. (This is an increase in 4 days of 6,062 deaths, or 1,516 deaths per day--less than earlier.)
On May 8 there were 77,180 such deaths. (This is an increase in 4 days of 8,258, or 2065 deaths per day--an increase from earlier.)
On May 12 there were 82,356 such deaths. (This is an increase in 4 days of 5,176, or 1,294 deaths per day--a less than earlier.)
On May 18 there were 90,347 such deaths. (This is an increase in 6 days of 7,991, or 1,331 deaths per day--about the same as earlier.)
On May 28 there were 101,616 such deaths. (This is an increase in 10 days of 11,269, or 1,127 deaths per day--about the same as earlier.)
On June 11 there were 112,924 such deaths. (This is an increase in 14 days of 11,308, or 808 deaths per day--less than earlier.)
On June 23 there were 121,232 such deaths. (This is an increase in 12 days of 8,308, or 692 deaths per day--less than earlier.)
On July 6 there were 130,430 such deaths. (This is an increase in 13 days of 9,198, or 708 deaths per day--about the same as earlier.)
On July 16 there were 138,358 such deaths. (This is an increase in 10 days of 7928, or 793 deaths per day--a bit more than earlier.)
On July 26 there were 146,935 such deaths. (This is an increase in 10 days of 8,577, or 858 deaths per day--more than earlier.)
On August 5 there were 158,250 such deaths. (This is an increase in 10 days of 11,315, or 1,132 deaths per day--substantially more than earlier.)
Up until April 1, there had been a doubling in number of deaths approximately every three days, i.e., exponentially. At this rate there would be at least a 2^(30/3) = 2^10 = 1024 fold increase in a month, and in a year the projected number of deaths would be far more than the entire world population, so obviously this rate of growth cannot continue that long. But this makes the point that small numbers initially, when growing exponentially (i.e., doubling every x number of days), imply huge numbers very quickly.
If anybody has actual evidence (not just a suspicion!) that these figures for lung disease deaths in the U.S. are bogus, tell us in a comment what your *evidence* is. Please don't just say you don't trust them. Note that these mortality reports are the sum of mortality reports from many different hospitals in many different towns and states, and there are numerous people independently aggregating these data, and that it is very difficult to generate bogus local data day in and day out that so consistently show a total that grows exponentially, as the current mortality reports do.
Note that the number of deaths--in contrast to the number of cases (people testing positive for the virus) and hence, also, in contrast to the case fatality rate--does not depend at all on how many people are being tested for the virus.
Covid-19 versus the flu?
Note that the CDC reports 34,200 deaths in the United States from influenza (even with a vaccine!) in the 2018-19 period. If covid-19 deaths keep doubling every three days, however, one can see that they will FAR surpass the number of influenza deaths before the year ends. Social distancing is the only way presently available (since there is no safe and effective vaccine yet) to prevent this from happening.
THE EVIDENCE THAT COVID-19 DEATHS ARE NOT A SUB-SET OF, BUT IN ADDITION TO, THOSE WHO WOULD HAVE DIED ANYWAY
In 2018 there were 159,332 lower respiratory tract deaths in the U.S. Are the "covid-19" deaths a sub-set of the lower respiratory tract deaths that would normally be occurring, or are the covid-19 deaths IN ADDITION to those normally occurring deaths? It's hard to say for absolute sure, and maybe we won't know until 2021 when we have the data collected and made available. But it is extremely likely that the covid-19 deaths are in addition to the normally occurring lung disease deaths we would have expected absent the covid-19 epidemic. Here's why.
If the number of people dying of lung disease is spiking higher (and at an exponentially increasing rate) than in previous years, this alone would indicate that something--presumably covid-19 disease--is indeed causing the unexpectedly large number of lung disease deaths. When you see hospitals reporting such a spike, it suggests that covid-19 disease is not about simply being infected with a harmless virus that happens to be spreading among people who were going to die anyway.
There is evidence that the number of people dying of lung disease during the covid-19 epidemic is in fact greater than the number of people with lung disease who would ordinarily be expected to die.
"There were 161 deaths each day on average in Massachusetts in 2017, with cancer topping the list at 35, followed by heart disease at 33, and respiratory deaths at 16. By comparison, DPH this week reported daily new COVID-19 death tolls statewide of 70 on Sunday, 88 on Monday, 113 on Tuesday, 151 on Wednesday, and 137 on Thursday." [ ]
For example, in one town in Italy:
"Gori said there had been 164 deaths in his town in the first two weeks of March this year, of which 31 were attributed to the coronavirus. That compares with 56 deaths over the same period last year." [ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-homes-insigh/uncounted-among-coronavirus-victims-deaths-sweep-through-italys-nursing-homes-idUSKBN2152V0 ]
This is evidence that the covid-19 deaths are NOT a sub-set of those who would have died anyway, but are additional deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2.
Another example is a NYC hospital:
"The number of very sick COVID patients coming in is tremendous. I don’t know if the word is exponentially or logarithmically, but the curve goes up steeply. ...The emergency department is just patient-to-patient lined up and packed in....Three weeks ago when we started to plan for this we came up with ideas like, This is the room that we’ll put a [seriously ill] coronavirus patient in. And then if there are a bunch of other patients, maybe four or five who are slightly sick, we’ll put them in this area where we close the door and keep them separate from everyone else. We were thinking about this room and that room. And now I’m up to 27 patients in my emergency department who are positive, waiting for beds in the hospital, and another 24 who are under evaluation. Those plans are ancient history now. In an ideal world, everyone has their own room, they would have negative pressure airflow and a face mask on and a dedicated nurse to care for them with a moderate ratio of patients. We can’t do that. No one can do that right now. Every hospital in New York is a variation of mine....I would say 10 to 15 percent of the staff is out [sick with COVID]. Many of them have been tested, while some have just had symptoms and we know clinically that they’re positive. Some of the employees that are at higher risk for contracting the illness are our respiratory therapists. They’re putting people on ventilators and working around the part of the patient where they might get some aerosolized particles. They are uniquely skilled employees, and they’re dropping like flies. Normally I would have five on during a shift. I have two today, at the exact time I have more patients on ventilators than before. I think we’re seeing three to four COVID deaths a day now. And that has changed in the past couple of days." [ https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/inside-a-brooklyn-hospital-during-covid-19.html Read the entire article please; the evidence is even more striking if you do!]
Another NYC example:
In a matter of days, the city’s 911 system has been overwhelmed by calls for medical distress apparently related to the virus. Typically, the system sees about 4,000 Emergency Medical Services calls a day.
On Thursday, dispatchers took more than 7,000 calls — a volume not seen since the Sept. 11 attacks. The record for amount of calls in a day was broken three times in the last week.[ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/nyregion/nyc-coronavirus-ems.html ]
An example from Paris, France:
Officials in the Paris region have been scrambling to locate more intensive care beds, ventilators and medical staff and spread the load of patients across the capital and its broad girdle of suburbs.
“The wave is here. The numbers are dizzying,” said Aurelien Rousseau, the Paris regional head of the Public Health Authority, adding that efforts were being ramped up to meet the surge in infections.
France has already increased the number of intensive care units (ICU) from 5,000 to about 8,000, but doctors say the Paris region is close to its limit. The capital itself is trying to increase current capacity from 800 to 1,200 ICU. [ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france/france-extends-lockdown-to-april-15-as-coronavirus-wave-swamps-paris-idUSKBN21E1AT ]
An example from Boston:
On Thursday afternoon, Dr. David Brown stood in the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital and took in a troubling indicator. One after another, sedated patients in the glass-doored bays were hooked to ventilators to help them breathe, thick tubing disappearing into their throats.
Doctors here normally intubate one or two, maybe three, patients a day, before sending them to an intensive care unit.
“We’ve done 10 so far today and it’s only 4 o’clock,” said Brown, chief of emergency medicine. “These patients can’t wait until they get to the floor.”
A senior resident dressed in a light blue gown, Dr. DaMarcus Baymon, raced by, and Brown asked how he was doing.
“Busy, very busy,” Baymon said, the steady rhythm of beeping monitors nearly drowning him out. Asked about the intubations, Baymon said, “We’ve never done this many, back to back like this.” [ https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/04/04/metro/dispatch-mgh-emotional-limbo-front-lines-caring-very-sick-with-covid-19/?s_campaign=breakingnews:newsletter ]
This video is a NYC ICU MD who has been treating covid-19 making the point that covid-19 is a "disease different from any we have ever seen" (time point 4:57). [h/t E.P.] [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9GYTc53r2o ]
This does not seem to be a case of people who were going to die anyway of lung disease dying at the same rate as in past years. It seems like more people are dying of lung disease now than in the past. This indicates that there is a new cause of death, on top of the "normal" ones that killed people with lung disease in the past. It surely seems that the new cause of death is covid-19 disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
More reports of an otherwise unexpected upsurge in patients needing ICU beds and ventilators (for more days than usual, also) are as follows: here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here (a video) and here .
This upsurge in patients with severe lung disease cannot be explained by saying it's just the normal number of such patients we've always been seeing in past years except now many of them are being called "covid-19." Nor is it credible that all of these reports of what is happening inside hospitals are bogus. If they are bogus one would see hospital workers reporting they are bogus on social media. But they are not doing that.
There is, furthermore, a spike in the number of people dying at home, which would not be the case if the only thing happening was that people who would normally have been expected to die are now being labeled as a "covid-19" death:
"In recent weeks, residents outside Boston have died at home much more often than usual. In Detroit, authorities are responding to nearly four times the number of reports of dead bodies. And in New York, city officials are recording more than 200 home deaths per day — a nearly sixfold increase from recent years." [ https://www.propublica.org/article/theres-been-a-spike-in-people-dying-at-home-in-several-cities-that-suggests-coronavirus-deaths-are-higher-than-reported?fbclid=IwAR2SGz0XOPCKiMQSlqc775cJuO_P26HplTQCNB1JAF3F_cvZMlqtlCRg8qw ]
Around the world, more people are dying in 2020 of ALL CAUSES than before when there were the "normal" flu epidemics. [ https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/21/world/coronavirus-missing-deaths.html ]
Think about this.
First, deaths from all causes is one of the most reliable statistics. It is the same number no matter how wrong the cause of death given in the death certificate.
Second, the same story of more deaths in 2020 than previous years emerges from MANY nations. Are all the governments concocting phony death counts?
What, other than the current covid-19 pandemic, could plausibly explain why more people are dying this year than previous years? (Hint #1: Deaths shot up in Indonesia this year but 5G is not going to be installed there until 2022. [ https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2019/11/28/indonesians-can-expect-5g-connectivity-in-2022-association.html ] You can check other nations about this to your heart's desire. Hint #2: Deaths shot up 12% over past experience in Sweden where they had only minimal and voluntary "lock down" and so the hardship of "lockdown" can't explain it.)
Forget the problems with the test for SARS-CoV-2. Forget whether doctors are being pressured to call a death a "covid-19 death" even if it isn't. Forget what the true "case fatality rate is." None of these things matter; they cannot explain away the fact that more people are dying now than last year.
If you can come up with a plausible explanation for something other than covid-19 causing the increase in deaths, and provide actual evidence for it (i.e., data collected and analyzed without bias, not just suspicions or hunches or YouTube videos by some "expert" bloviating about the [irrelevant!] problems with the SARS-CoV-2 test and about what the real case fatality rate is, etc.), then let's hear what it is.
But if you cannot come up with a more plausible explanation than covid-19, please don't pontificate about how covid-19 is "just another flu," OK?
EGALITARIAN VALUES AND COVID-19
Social Distancing is Not Fascism!
The willingness of people to make personal sacrifices for the good of the larger community (or society) is a good thing, not a bad thing. It is not something to be denigrated as what "sheeple" do. It is not a "bowing to fascist authority." It is not a failure to appreciate the importance of individual liberties. It is an expression of the egalitarian value of MUTUAL AID.
Of course oppressive ruling classes always try to take advantage of ordinary people's mutual aid value, by trying to persuade people that in order to implement mutual aid they need to do something that is not REALLY about mutual aid but is really only of benefit to the oppressive ruling class.
The oppressive U.S. ruling class, for example, told us that every one of its unjust wars was to implement mutual aid--to protect innocent people abroad from a "bad guy." It used lies to do this.
Of course when we are being LIED into making personal sacrifices (e.g. accepting limits on our personal liberty) then that is bad. What's bad is the LIES and the evil purpose for them, not people's willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of the larger community (or society)!
If you think we are being LIED into doing social distancing, then expose the lies if you can. I personally think the covid-19 epidemic is *truly* a dangerous one (for solid scientific reasons I have given above) and that we should--for the sake of all of us!--practice as much social distancing as possible. Below I provide evidence that covid-19 is NOT a false flag.
If you disagree, say why you think we're being lied to about the epidemic. State the lie, and give the EVIDENCE (not just your suspicion) why it is a lie. But for crying out loud, show some respect for the admirable mutual aid value that most people are expressing by their social distancing behavior. OK?
The Government's Relief Law
Before criticizing the government's recent $2 Trillion relief law to help out people who have lost income as a result of the stay-at-home policy, let's see what the egalitarian approach is for economic justice in times like the covid-19 epidemic.
GOOD VERSUS PHONY REASONS WHY PEOPLE SHOULD BE DENIED SOMETHING THEY TRULY NEED
When lots of people are staying home instead of working there will inevitably be less goods and services produced. This will cause a shortage of things people need. How ought this to be handled?
The only good reason that people (I'm referring here to people who contribute reasonably according to ability*) should be denied something they truly need is because there is a real scarcity of something they need, such as food or medicine or shelter or clothing, etc. In this case these scarce yet needed things should be equitably rationed according to need, and because of the scarcity some people may rightly have to do with less than what they need.
But NOTE! When it is necessary to ration scarce things that people need, it is ALSO morally necessary to do everything possible to produce whatever is required to end the scarcity of needed things, and this means shifting productive labor AWAY FROM PRODUCING LUXURY GOODS OR PROVIDING LUXURY SERVICES and towards providing more of the needed things.
IT IS IMMORAL for labor that could be ending the scarcity of needed things to remain employed in the production of luxury goods or in providing luxury services.
THEREFORE, when a politician says we have to ration some needed thing (such as ventilators to keep people alive!), but does not call for ending the production of luxuries (like luxury private jets and yachts and F-35 military jets) when that labor could be shifted to ending the scarcity of needed things, then that politician is an anti-egalitarian SCUMBAG.
Our politicians have for decades been telling us, "The economy is finite. There is only so much health care we can provide and still have schools and roads and bridges and other needed things. So we have to ration health care."
Our reply should be this: Yes, the economy is indeed finite. And yes this means health care must be rationed. But the question is, WHEN? The time to tell a sick person, "We're sorry, we cannot provide you the expensive health care you need to be kept alive because we have to ration our finite social wealth so we can also provide other things that society needs," is AFTER, not before, we have stopped providing multiple mansions and private luxury yachts and jets and "personal entourages" and servants (fitness trainers, etc.) and mink coats, etc. to the very rich. THEN and ONLY THEN is the time to tell somebody we as a society cannot afford to provide the expensive health care it would take to keep them alive.
To ration health care BEFORE then is what anti-egalitarian scumbags advocate. We need an egalitarian revolution.
Click here to read in a bit more detail how we ought to be mitigating the covid-19 epidemic economically, the egalitarian way.
THE REAL REASON CONGRESS'S RELIEF PLAN IS NOT JUST STINGY BUT ALSO ABSURD
The ruling class had to do something to make it seem as if it truly cared about the hardship that the covid-19 epidemic is inflicting on people because otherwise, as it knows full well, it risked sparking a revolution. Let us never forget that the ruling class is afraid of We the People!
When the ruling class and its politicians--be they a Trump or a Cuomo--do something that purports to be for the welfare of the general public, sometimes it really is--as far as it goes--for the welfare of the general public because the ruling class fears what would happen (revolution) if it didn't do it.
For example, Hitler ended the evil euthanasia program because of intense public anger at it. This doesn't, obviously, mean that Hitler was a good guy, just that he knew what he had to do to remain in power. Likewise, the members of Congress, who are for the most part beholden to the billionaire ruling class and who want to maintain the evil and oppressive class inequality, know that they need to enact some kind of relief plan(s) to keep that ruling class in power.
As one reads in the news about the details of the Congressional relief plan(s) (sending checks to people and making loans to businesses, etc.) that are being debated presently, two things stand out:
1. The plan(s) are stingy towards the people who need help the most. And generous to the big corporations that "need" it not at all.
2. The plan(s) are absurd. (Why pay lower income people less; they're the ones who need help the most? Why pay people an amount based solely on their income and number of children when people with the same income and number of children may differ enormously in their needs and expenses (such as health care)? Why pay small businesses just a small amount per employee who can't work when those employees need much more now? ETC, ETC.)
The stinginess and absurdity are quite evident to most people who are paying attention to this. Most people think that the RATIONAL and morally JUST principle for the relief to be based on is the egalitarian one: Those who contribute reasonably according to ability (which includes those who are willing to work even if, for no fault of their own, they are unable to work, and includes children and those above retirement age considered unable to work) should be able to have what they need (housing, food, clothing, medical care, education, etc.) or reasonably desire (fun stuff) with scarce things equitably rationed according to need.
But HOW can this rational and morally just principle be implemented?
Can it be implemented in a money-based society like ours?
No. Here's why not.
In our money-based society in which everything is bought and sold, the only way for people who contribute reasonably according to need to be able to have what they need or reasonably desire, but not have far MORE than this (which would be unjust hogging!) is for them to have just enough money--but no more than this--to buy these things. Since two people might differ greatly in how much they can reasonably contribute and yet have the same needs, it doesn't work to pay people simply according to how much they contribute, does it? So, in a money-based society, it would be necessary to somehow pay people who contribute reasonably according to ability the exact amount of money they need--no more and no less--regardless of what their ability to contribute is. But how is this even possible?
It's not possible!
This is why a Congressional relief plan is doomed to be absurd even if public pressure forces Congress to be less stingy.
Congress dares not even acknowledge that the morally just and only non-absurd economic principle is "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." Why not? Because the rich upper class, to which Congress is actually beholden, exists only due to the VIOLATION of that principle. Congress dares not acknowledge what most people know full well.
The egalitarian economic principle is PRACTICAL too. It is practical because:
a) It worked wonderfully in Spain in 1936-9.
b) Most (not all, most) people, when they know society is based on the egalitarian principle, are perfectly happy to abide by it, meaning they will work reasonably according to ability and take (for free--money is not used at all!) only what they need or reasonably desire. Most of those few who are not perfectly happy to abide by the egalitarian principle will, due to public shaming if they don't, nonetheless abide by it.
c) The very few who refuse to abide by the egalitarian principle--i.e., freeloaders and/or hogs--will stand out and be obvious, so they can be dealt with (forcibly if necessary) easily.
Read more about how an egalitarian economy works here.
We cannot make things be right unless we have a clear vision of what is right. When lots of people have that shared vision, then there will be a massive movement--an egalitarian revolutionary movement--to make it so. Let's promote a huge public discussion of this egalitarian vision.
SOME GOOD NEWS RE COVID-19
There is at least one good consequence of the covid-19 epidemic and of the economic hardship imposed on many people who have lost their source of income from the necessary mitigation (social distancing).
The good consequence is that lots of people now have gained much greater confidence that they are not alone in thinking that a) we need a fundamental change in our society's economic structure AND b) that such fundamental change is indeed POSSIBLE.
Before the epidemic mitigation, lots of people privately knew that our society's class inequality economic system (in which money is power and only a few have it) was a huge problem. But these same people had no way of knowing that MOST people--not just a tiny and hence powerless minority--felt the same way as they did.
But today, there is an obvious need for some kind of financial relief for people involuntarily out of work, in particular allowing them not to pay their rent and stay in their rented home, AND allowing landlords not to pay their mortgage and continue to own their property, AND paying everybody who is--through no fault of their own--unable to earn their income as before the money they need to live. And LOTS of people are talking about this. THE KEY THING IS THAT NOW LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE *SEEING* THAT LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS! If this keeps up then eventually people will gain the confidence (that they are not alone) required to take action to make the big changes we need in our society.
And what people are saying OUT LOUD should be done always, in one way or another, amounts to saying (implicitly if not explicitly) that we should make our society be closer to an egalitarian one that is based on the economic principle of "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." The egalitarian idea--implicitly if not explicitly articulated--is being talked about as never before.
Furthermore, the POSSIBILITY of making a fundamental egalitarian change in our society is, as never before, seen by lots of people now as a real possibility. Why? Because people are seeing the federal government politicians debating things such as TRILLION DOLLAR relief bills that would do unprecedented things such as giving people money and allowing people not to pay rent and even not to pay mortgage payments! People are seeing that big changes, previously seen as "pie in the sky," are quite possible indeed.
What is needed is an explicit egalitarian revolutionary movement that knows what it is aiming for and won't be satisfied with anything less. Read about this here.
COVID-19 IS NOT A FALSE FLAG
Please click here to read more about why covid-19 is not a false flag.
If Covid-19 Is a False Flag, How Come Billionaires Want to Call It Off?
9/11 was a real false flag. That is why the entire billionaire plutocracy backed up its phony absurd official story unanimously, and why all of the billionaires--and their politicians of both parties and ALL the mass media--backed up the War on Terror full hilt. ALL of the billionaires stood to gain by having a War on Terror, and the 9/11 false flag was the way they got the public to go along with it.
But Covid-19 is not a false flag. Some of the evidence for this is that many of the billionaires want to call it off. Here are excerpts from a LA Times article titled, "Some billionaires want people to go back to work. Workers aren’t so sure":
#1. The billionaire Tom Golisano was smoking a Padron cigar on his patio in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. He was worried.
"The damages of keeping the economy closed as it is could be worse than losing a few more people,” said Golisano, founder and chairman of the payroll processor Paychex Inc. “I have a very large concern that if businesses keep going along the way they’re going, then so many of them will have to fold.”“You’re picking the better of two evils,” said Golisano, who wants people to go back to their offices in states that have been relatively spared by the coronavirus but to remain at home in virus hot spots. “You have to weigh the pros and cons.”
#2. Trump, guided by a group of hedge fund and private equity titans, wants the country up and running again by Easter, though public health officials warn that’s too soon for a virus that’s killed more than 20,800 and infected at least 450,000 worldwide. [FLASH: Trump just extended stay-at-home till April 30.--JS]
#3. Dick Kovacevich, who ran Wells Fargo & Co. until 2007, wants to see healthy workers younger than 55 or so return to work late next month if the outbreak is under control. “We’ll gradually bring those people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don’t know,” said Kovacevich, who was also the bank’s chairman until 2009. “Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you’ll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose.”
#4. Lloyd Blankfein, who ran Goldman Sachs Group Inc. until 2018, helped kick-start the calls to get back to work on Sunday when he tweeted that “extreme measures to flatten the virus ‘curve’” were sensible “for a time” but could crush the economy: “Within a very few weeks let those with a lower risk to the disease return to work.”
His longtime deputy, Gary Cohn, who left the bank to become Trump’s top economic adviser, asked if it was time “to start discussing the need for a date when the economy can turn back on.” Without clarity, businesses “will assume the worst,” he said.
#5. Tilman Fertitta, owner of Golden Nugget casinos and Bubba Gump Shrimp, is calling on authorities to let businesses reopen at limited capacity in a couple of weeks to avoid a long economic disaster. Fertitta, who also owns the Houston Rockets and is worth $3.2 billion, said his company was “doing basically no business.” His demand goes against a school of thought that says prematurely reopening the economy could kill more people and eventually cause more economic harm.
THE RULING CLASS IS TORN BETWEEN TWO CONTRADICTORY NEEDS:
On the one hand the ruling class must respond to the covid-19 epidemic in a way that will not destroy the minimum amount of public support and legitimacy (as acting for the public welfare) that any ruling class needs to remain in power. This means it has to do at least some of the things that the health experts say are necessary to avoid a catastrophic number of deaths.
On the other hand it does not want to suffer the great loss of wealth that results from its workforce (the source of its profits!) staying at home.
Some of the billionaires are more focused on the first, and some on the second of these two conflicting concerns.
In the 1930s there was a similar conflict among the billionaires. Some realized that FDR's New Deal was necessary to avoid a revolution and others objected to it because it cut into their profits (some even tried to remove FDR with a coup.)
This covid-19 disease is not a false flag designed to make the ruling plutocracy wealthier and stronger. It is a real epidemic that is forcing the ruling plutocracy to choose between making sure to be perceived by the public as acting in the interest of the public welfare, versus enriching itself at the risk of hastening a revolution.
Yes, the ruling class will take advantage of the covid-19 epidemic to try to increase its wealth and power, just as it tries to take advantage of EVERYTHING for that purpose. It took advantage of hurricane Katrina, for example, to carry out changes in New Orleans that it had wanted before the hurricane but was unable to implement. A New Republic article reports:
In the aftermath of Katrina real estate mogul Joseph Canizaro said the clearing out caused by Katrina represented some “very big opportunities.” A Republican representative from Baton Rouge said, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” He later said this was a misquote and offered a more carefully worded version.
But this does not mean, obviously, that the ruling class caused hurricane Katrina, or that the hurricane was a false flag!
* People are considered as contributing reasonably according to ability even if they are contributing zero if they are a) children, b) elderly past retirement age who contributed reasonably when younger, c) people who for any reason are unable to contribute, such as being involuntarily unemployed or mentally or physically unable to contribute, d) people who are taking care of children or the sick, etc. , e) people who are in school or apprentice programs to learn things they will use to contribute later. This is why the word "reasonably" is used.