September 1, 2023

Posted by orrinj at 3:00 PM


Bombshell: New Study on Long COVID in kids and young adults FAILS to link COVID to Long COVID (VINAY PRASAD, MAR 31, 2023, Observations and Thoughts

A new paper out now from the Norwegians on Long COVID in kids and young adolescents takes a sledgehammer to the media narrative of the condition.

TL:DR - Long covid has no link to prior COVID19, instead, initial symptom severity (of whatever virus you get), loneliness and poor physical activity are linked to the "post covid conditions"

Posted by orrinj at 7:03 AM


Liberalism's sin was born in the Cold War: Himmelfarb disabused the Right of naive progressivism (Samuel Moyn, August 29, 2023, UnHerd)

Like many other Cold War liberals, Himmelfarb had a particular (and mistaken) diagnosis of how liberalism could easily self-destruct. If liberals called for too much emancipation and progress, she thought, they would connive with evil forces to bring them about. They would, in other words, easily fall for the communist promise to achieve good things through immoral means. And if they neglected Christianity's insight into the endurance of original sin, liberals would treat the state as a workable device of liberation and progress, rather than regarding it as a malignant expression of eternal depravity. The consequences, she warned, would be devastating, giving people who are tarnished by original sin the capacity to use state power to kill millions.

Though a Jew concerned about the abuse of minorities, Himmelfarb laid extraordinary emphasis on this point, in turn making Christianity integral to Cold War liberalism. While liberals had spent the prior century often viewing religious forces as an enemy, she called for a new liberalism based on Acton's Christian vision of sin. Acton, who had rejected "integralist" forms of Christian Right-wing politics that longed for a return to medieval theocracy, was principally important for reforming secular liberals who sought to secure freedom against secular totalitarianisms such as Nazi and Soviet tyranny. He recognised, Himmelfarb wrote, "the presence of eternal and absolute" morality, in contrast to liberals who "had no sense of the religious sanctity of those principles" and compromised away freedom.

Indeed, it was liberal Christianity, Himmelfarb wrote, that might turn out to be essential in a Cold War world that knew the threat of religious authoritarianism even as secular revolution could bring even worse oppression. "Clerics are not alone in carrying the banner of religion," she wrote. "They have been joined by a multitude of those who, in Acton's own time, would almost certainly have been in the camp of the opposition." Liberals needed to get over their anticlericalism, was the message, and use religion to save themselves.

It had to be the right kind of Christianity, of course. Acton was an Augustinian, and his vision of sin forbade excessive optimism. Humanity couldn't save itself; man's fallen nature made power a permanent threat. Instead, the Christianity useful for Cold War liberals saw God as the external judge on history, where the notion of secular progress supposedly leading to human emancipation was little more than an alibi for crime. For Acton, Himmelfarb explained, "history did not have a meaning or purpose in itself; it acquired meaning only by comparison with a fixed moral standard outside it, and purpose by fulfilling a moral end imposed upon it".

This Augustinian core of Cold War liberalism is often conveniently forgotten. In an otherwise excellent recent book, for example, Louis Menand paints a portrait of Cold War liberalism as a utopia of innovative modernism, rather than one rooted in the religiosity that suffused the Forties and Fifties.

Among the many gifts of Liberalism, few are more important than the understanding that the ideology of the Left/Right--their belief that they can use state power to impose Utopia--is at odds with immutable human nature.

Posted by orrinj at 6:31 AM


PODCAST: The century-long war for American conservatism, with Matthew Continetti (Niskanen Center, AUGUST 29, 2023)

In this podcast discussion, Continetti talks about the principal themes of The Right, including the proliferation of different varieties of politics that have appeared in right-wing intellectual and activist circles over the past century, the ongoing struggle for influence between the libertarian and traditionalist factions of conservatism, and the tensions between populist outsiders and governing-minded insiders. He analyzes the present political moment and the intellectual attempt to "reverse-engineer" Donald Trump's impulses and instincts into a coherent ideology through institutions like the Claremont Institute and Hillsdale College as well as the National Conservative movement. Continetti also describes the reasoning behind his decision to begin his account with the 1920s, the end of the Cold War's impact on the conservative movement, and the reasons why he thinks the political center-right and its institutions are following the same pattern of decline that the center-left underwent a decade ago.   [...]

Geoff Kabaservice: It seemed to me in reading your book that there was maybe a refinement on that last binary of more establishment conservatives versus populists. And that was that the "establishment" conservatives, if you can call them that -- that's a loaded term -- were interested in governing. That meant putting forward coherent policies. It meant building up national majorities to approve of their programs, and it meant some level of intellectual respectability as well. And those were not concerns of the opposing populist side, who tended to be anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian, maybe even nihilist in their desire for a complete break with the past and a fresh start. Does that sound more or less accurate?

Matthew Continetti: I think another way to characterize it would be to say that the conservative intellectuals were interested in basically playing by the rules of twentieth-century American politics and media, and so they did care about respectability. They did care about being able to go toe-to-toe with the best minds on the Left. They did care about persuasion of the middle that has decided elections in the United States in order to reinforce their governing majorities.

Whereas the outsiders, the populists, they were much more interested always in changing the rules or even substituting a new set of rules for the ones that we have had over the last hundred years. And so that gave them a radical touch that was missing from many of the intellectuals.

Given the hostility of the Deep State (AKA: the American citizenry, our system, and our institutions), it is natural for the Right/Left to be nihilist.  

Posted by orrinj at 5:57 AM


Chart: Renewables are on track to keep getting cheaper and cheaper (Alison F. Takemura, 9/01/23, Canary Media)

By 2030, technology improvements could slash today's prices by a quarter for wind and by half for solar, according to the authors of a recent report from clean energy think tank RMI. (Canary Media is an independent affiliate of RMI.)

These remarkable and ongoing cost declines have made clean energy so attractive that it now outcompetes fossil fuels for new investment: 62 percent of global energy investment is expected to flow to clean energy technologies this year.

That cash is helping push renewables to new heights. According to estimates from the International Energy Agency, global clean energy capacity is expected to jump a jaw-dropping 107 gigawatts to more than 440 gigawatts this year -- its largest increase ever.

What we're living in ​"is an energy technology revolution," said report co-author Kingsmill Bond, an energy strategist at RMI. It's obvious from the data, yet the point is often lost in ​"a consistent drumbeat of counternarratives" about how difficult it is, and will be, to leave fossil fuels behind, he added.

"U.S. fossil-fuel demand peaked 15 years ago," Bond said. ​"This is happening; people have just missed it."

It's the economics, MAGA.  [Emphasizing the need for energy independence could change the views of climate deniers, study says [University of Exeter, 8/30/2023)]