A Case-Study In Groupthink & Mass Cognitive-Dissonance

The evidence is overwhelming: poverty creates disease and death. It sickens and kills over the short and long term, and brings higher rates of morbidity and mortality. Things crucial to our day-to-day lives (medical and otherwise) come from healthy inventive economies – or they don’t come at all, as many people are only now discovering. Ask yourself: who makes, uses, and replenishes these things? 

I’ll give you a hint: it is not government bureaus — not faceless, inanimate “factors of production” (per economists’ jargon) but real, live, self-interested, ingenious, productive people: entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, lab technicians, doctors, nurses, medical specialists, EMT crews, hospitals, health insurers, and pharmaceutical companies.

Claims about the “net benefits” of mandatory lockdowns and shutdowns are farcical and horrifying — because they’re woefully unequipped and dangerous, especially when used to justify destructive policymaking. In the words of economist Richard Salsman:

“An economy is an intricate, delicate system, a stupendous, comprehensive latticework of interconnected contracts, of plans and sub-plans, markets and sub-markets, calibrations and expectations, retail chains and supply chains, prices and profits – a mosaic of real lives and livelihoods.”

As of 4:00pm yesterday (April 8th, 2020), a total of 14,696 U.S. residents have died from Covid-19, and death is never something to be treated lightly or disrespectfully — and I know people who do both. 

Here are some other figures for context:

Deaths from Covid-19 are right now 7.1% of the annual fatalities from the flu and accidents. 

The main reason the flu takes tens of thousands of lives every year is that the these particular viruses — as opposed to Covid-19 coronavirus — mutate in ways that prevent people from becoming immune to them. Quoting the Journal of Infectious Diseases: 

“All viruses mutate, but influenza remains highly unusual among infectious diseases [because it mutates very rapidly]…. New vaccines are [therefore] needed every year to protect against it.”

Much is still unknown about the mutations of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, but there are the indications that it doesn’t quickly mutate. This means it’s less likely to be an ongoing problem. From a March 2020 paper in a molecular biology journal called Embo, Michael Farzan, co-chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research, wrote that once a vaccine for Covid-19 is developed, it “would not need regular updates, unlike seasonal influenza vaccines because the part of the virus that the vaccine targets is protected against mutation by a feature of its genetic material, or RNA.” The same point applies to naturally acquired immunity.

The Atlantic, Vox, and even Forbes promptly turned the truth of this matter on its head by confusing the general nature of coronaviruses with that of Covid-19. There are different types of coronaviruses, of which Covid-19 is caused by just one.

“Coronaviruses are a family of RNA viruses that includes some common cold viruses. These viruses tend to mutate rapidly, but Covid-19 does not share that trait. [It] does not mutate rapidly for an RNA virus because, unusually for this category, it has a proof-reading function in its genetics” (ibid).