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The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective
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I was running up the mountain the other day. A couple was walking down it. I quickly crossed over, so as not to expirate all over them. To my surprise, they thanked me profusely.

I’m healthy; they looked fit. Distancing may not have been necessary in this case. Yet, in this simple act of conscious distancing, in the epochal age of a terrifying, communicable disease—my neighbors and I had come closer than ever before. Fear gave way to fellow feeling.

Having lived in both the developed and underdeveloped world, I have always associated social distancing with civility and civilization.

Cultures that honor personal boundaries have always seemed better than cultures which don’t—more genteel, refined and respectful.

Ditto people who keep a respectful distance: They have more merit than those who get in your face.

Which is why the wish expressed by so many freedom-loving protesters to violate the personal space of others is vexing.

Which is why comments such as the following are anathema:

Your ‘health’ does not supersede my right.”

“Give me liberty or give me COVID-19.”

“I am not required to descend into poverty for you.”

In the absence of clinical therapies or a vaccine for coronavirus, the successful return to work rests, very plainly, on the willingness of the citizenry to cover up, keep clean and keep a distance. Why would anyone wish to infringe on another’s personal space, when the stakes are clearly so high?

Insisting on unfettered freedom to come and go as one pleases, sans protection, comes at a grave cost to others—it could constitute aggression against innocent others.

By the same token, the shuttering of private property by the State is an incontrovertible violation of private property rights.

“Without property rights,” wrote Ayn Rand, “no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life.”

Even more fundamental, however, is that without dominion over one’s self—self-ownership—there can be no property rights. Rights to the avails of your labor originate in the right of self-ownership. If you don’t own yourself, you cannot own anything else, or produce anything, the avails of your labor and the products of your mind included.

And if you are DEAD, DYING or INCAPACITATED—you own nothing (at least metaphysically; legally, you still own what you own).

In libertarian theory, private property rights originate in that most important of all titles: The title in one’s own body. That body, that fount of life whence all rights originate, is the legitimate object of government protection in a pandemic.

For, as I noted years ago, “Whether they are armed with bombs or bacteria, stopping weaponized individuals from harming others—intentionally or unintentionally—falls perfectly within the purview of the night-watchman state of classical-liberal theory.”

The volcanic anger is understandable. The heartbreaking calls from restive protesters to reopen the American economy come from across the country: California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Washington state.

ORDER IT NOW

Against this background, the natural rights of economically stricken individuals to reopen their businesses are righteous; they stem not from a state-created right or regulation. Rather, the right of ownership is the very extension of the right to life. In order to survive, man must—and it is in his nature to—transform the resources around him by mixing his labor with them and making them his own. Man’s labor and property are extensions of himself.

So, my countrymen are correct to protest the shuttering of their privately owned property, also their sole means of sustaining their lives.

All the same, there is another, equally compelling side to the ethics of this emergency situation. It is this:

Each and every individual is or could be, inadvertently, harboring a weapon of mass destruction. Yes, a WMD—for how many men and women have died and will still die because of the inadvertent actions of the coronavirus-carrying Index Patients, during the “seeding events”?

Each one of us could be firing off deadly virus into a defenseless population, bereft of immunity. Each one of us could become armed and dangerous, or be felled by someone who is.

In this case, individuals who willfully violate social distancing strictures can be viewed as willful aggressors against innocent others.

At once succinct and to-the-point, a reader whose online handle is “Mister Bigglesworth” summed it up: “I’m not a constitutional scholar, but you know what’s unconstitutional to me? Dying from some Oriental virus.”

If I appear to be struggling with the ethics of this emergency—it is because I am. I must. This is vexing stuff.

One thing I know, and it is that the sin of abstraction here is unforgivable—it is the propensity to settle for nothing less than an ideal version of liberty. Refusing to grapple with the political reality in which we ordinary mortals are mired is to dwell in the arid arena of pure thought.

In conversation with a colleague about the ethics of this situation, she remarked: “We live under a given political system, and we can’t just wish it away. Hence, there will be actions taken within that system that are relatively good or relatively bad. The thing we must always guard against is this:

Governments use crises to expand their power. Even when the crises are over, the expanded powers are often left in place, or certain key vestiges of these powers become a part of the institutions.

“This we must guard against.”

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook & Gab. Latest on YouTube

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Coronavirus, Libertarianism 
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  1. If I appear to be struggling with the ethics of this emergency—it is because I am. I must. This is vexing stuff.

    How astonishing to see a self-described paleo-libertarian advocate in any way for the tyranny of the state, especially in the absence of any empirical proof that lockdowns of the healthy population to contain a respiratory virus are actually effective in the long run. You are the resident of a state where the imbecile of a governor instituted the lockdown without a shred of science behind it now proposes to remove the lockdown step by step “based on science.” Having begun without science, he now piously proposes to end with it. Where’s the science behind allowing abortions but prohibiting dentistry and knee replacement surgery? That’s right, it’s politics, not science.

    If you find yourself vexed in your double standard, return to the libertarian principle of the rights of the individual, because there, you can do no harm. If it is a choice between possible death from contagion, or poverty, that choice is properly ours and only ours to make, not the state’s. For some of us, the prospect of shuttering our businesses is shutting down our future. We might rather take our chances with the virus, cormodibities or not, than shuffle through an impoverished old age to a pauper’s death. I never thought I have to make that choice, but that is where I am now. Give me my business. Those who fear the virus may exercise their freedom to not patronize me.

    Just stop being conflicted. Stop allowing part of you to applaud the state’s pushing people around and shutting them in their homes. If we own our bodies, then we own the right, and the risk, to expose ourselves to the virus. Death rates from the virus appear to be much lower, through the recent testing, than previously supposed. The elderly and the vulnerable should always be isolated and protected, the rest of us should be free to continue the remarkable interchange of goods and services called the free market and a free society.

    • Agree: Realist
  2. There has been no advocacy for tyranny here and there is no applause for the State; only an honest examination of some complex questions and issues, without resorting to the smug self-satisfied SIN OF ABSTRACTION: “I’m so ideologically pure, look at me.”

    Actually, what the reader mouths is the simplistic Republican dogma, sounded by almost all creedal Republicans; BUT NOT necessarily by all libertarians.

    See: https://apnews.com/cfcdd563167c5ba60aa0e9011f4446cd

    When libertarians sound like Republicans, it’s time to “check your premises.”

    It’s odd that an honestly conflicted look at the COVID-19 issues from all sides elicits such outrage. Is this the “Closing of the American Mind,” or what?

    I recommend hearing from this New Yorker, who is in the thick of it. Warning: nuanced, closely reasoned thinking:

    https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002826.html
    https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002814.html
    https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002811.html

    https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002800.html

    https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002806.html

    all the best,
    ilana
    http://www.ilanamercer.com/biographical/

  3. Exile says:
    @Weston Waroda

    Ilana’s correct here.

    How astonishing to see a self-described paleo-libertarian advocate in any way for the tyranny of the state, especially in the absence of any empirical proof that lockdowns of the healthy population to contain a respiratory virus are actually effective in the long run. You are the resident of a state where the imbecile of a governor instituted the lockdown without a shred of science behind it now proposes to remove the lockdown step by step “based on science.”

    Just how much proof would it take for you, WW, to shut down your business voluntarily in respect for the right to safety/self-ownership of others? What about those who would require ever-more proof, even beyond a reasonable doubt? How is any coherent, consistent public response possible with a million separate standards of proof to meet on individually subjective criteria?

    Most importantly, how are we to distinguish between those who disagree with the standards in good faith and those being “tactically libertarian” merely out of greed and lack of respect for others’ rights – with all of them claiming “the evidence isn’t good enough” in real time, during the progress of a potential pandemic?

    Your kind of libertarianism leaves these foxes free to raid the henhouses while hiding under the camouflage of property rights. Simply hand-waving at the “court system” as a means of separating the predators from the sincere libertarians is a deflection, not a strategy.

    You would inevitably deem the court system’s rules and criteria arbitrary and tyrannical as well.

    Rand’s artificial and unrealistic distinction between preventative and remedial/punitive government action is wholly unworkable because of scenarios like these.

    You can’t have effective response to problems like pandemics based on post-facto government action alone much less pure voluntarism.

    The most fundamental problem you refuse to face is that on a certain level of reductive analysis, all government action is based on an arbitrary black line selected on partially subjective criteria.

    The reason I as an ex-Objectivist still read Ilana Mercer is that she is one of the few libertarians who know the difference between anarchy and a functioning government that still prioritizes libertarian freedoms.

    She’s still wrong-headed in many ways, but at least one can have a reasonable conversation with her on the topic and she and I often reach similar conclusions from different angles of approach.

    • Replies: @ILANA Mercer
    , @animalogic
  4. @Exile

    Thanks for the polite comment, in general, and this sharp observation, in particular:

    The reason I as an ex-Objectivist still read Ilana Mercer is that she is one of the few libertarians who know [sic] the difference between anarchy and a functioning government that still prioritizes libertarian freedoms.

    Your observation comports with my consistent attempts to avoid “that sin of abstraction.” Reality is the ultimate adjudicator of truth, in my thinking.

    I presume, then, that you’ve read “Libertarian Anarchism’s Justice Problem” (2015):

    http://www.ilanamercer.com/2015/04/libertarian-anarchisms-justice-problem/

    Thanks for your thoughtful feedback.
    ilana

    • Replies: @Exile
  5. It’s odd that an honestly conflicted look at the COVID-19 issues from all sides elicits such outrage. Is this the “Closing of the American Mind,” or what?

    When you advocate two positions simultaneously, you are surely conflicted, but you are not dispassionate. You are not nuanced. You are confused.

    That’s fine, rail on, I’m sure my faults are many. What I wrote wasn’t so much disagreement with you anyway as my own personal anguish. Read it again. When the state curtails your ability to write and vlog due to the coronavirus, you can give me lessons on what is and what isn’t libertarianism. Now, I’m in too much pain to care.

    • Replies: @ILANA Mercer
  6. KerryC says:

    “Having lived in both the developed and underdeveloped world, I have always associated social distancing with civility and civilization.” Right off the bat this jumped out at me. It’s such a common sense observation, I’m surprised more haven’t made it. Well, maybe not …

    Also, I’m amazed that people have to be reminded to wash their hands.

    While it’s true, as the commentator “Exile” wrote – “we own our bodies, then we own the right, and the risk, to expose ourselves to the virus,” we don’t have the right to infect others. So, using the my body, my rights argument gets a little foggy.

    • Replies: @Rich
    , @Exile
  7. Exile says:
    @ILANA Mercer

    That’s another good piece on the “is-ought” dilemma of libertarianism.

    I like your citations above re: Republicans as well. The GOP has co-opted many libertarian concepts in the “tactical” fashion I mentioned to WW above, to the discredit of serious thinkers and the concepts themselves.

    It’s in the common interest of all anti-establishment thinkers from libertarians to sincere Leftists to nationalist-populists to discredit and ultimately marginalize both major U.S. parties. The GOP is the lowest-hanging fruit. GOP delenda est, then on to the Democrats.

    • Agree: ILANA Mercer
  8. Quebecer says:

    In the absence of an effective vaccine, a measure of social distancing acts as a buffer to allow a progressive buildup of ‘herd immunitity’.

    I don’t think anybody with an once of sense advocates for a prolonged lockdown, but the effects of repeated waves of Covid-19 infections
    cannot be ignored or wished away.

    High marks to this libertarian author for not being shackled by her long-held beliefs.

  9. Traditionally we say your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. You are conceiving this virus spread as a form of swinging your fist.

    Swinging the fist is an objective reality the consequences of which are immediate and can be discerned by all. Can you really say that coming near another consenting person, with a small possibility of transferring a virus to them, rises to the level of swinging your fist?

    • Replies: @Sean
  10. @Exile

    I like tbis comment:
    “Your kind of libertarianism leaves these foxes free to raid the henhouses while hiding under the camouflage of property rights. “

  11. Number of good points.
    Interestingly: ” I have always associated social distancing with civility and civilization.” There’s something to this. Invasion of personal space does suggest a lack of manners. Of course, this is a cultural, indeed familial issue. Simply, some cultures, families have different “instincts” towards personal space. Pre-virus, there was a continual push to a more “touchy” culture — ie kissing or hugging even between strangers. Personally, i do not like men, unless they are close friends/family hugging. No doubt this would be now considered a “hang-up”. (I’m not all that keen on cheek kissing women of mere acquantance, or indeed strangers). I cant explain why — is this behaviour possess a kind of falseness ?
    Does it devalue these actions in the case of real affection/friendship ?
    Or is it just a hang-up ?
    I also like her points around the “sin of abstraction”. Liberty comes with conditions: duties & obligations. But so does government (& private power). Unfortunately, the more powerful any entity becomes the more it will deny that its power must be conditional. Ms Mercer points out what we should all know: governments’ use crisies to assume powers which they then refuse to give up post crisis. Thus, the absolute need to make personal liberty prior to & more fundamental than Government “liberty”-power.
    The current “Virus” struggle between Power & Liberty is extra vexed because of complexity & ignorance. Time seems to not have clarified anything — everything about the virus seems vexed & confused — not helped by the inevitable politicization of every single particle of the Virus issue.

  12. der einzige says: • Website

    No one has the right to eat away my obligatory life towards the state and such nonsense. This article is the same propaganda as this one.If you are afraid Ilana, you can hide even in the black ass, but fuck off from my life! Do you understand fucking gatekeeper?

    • Replies: @Quebecer
    , @Exile
    , @ILANA Mercer
  13. Rich says:
    @KerryC

    The problem with your logic is that at all times, all of us have the potential of carrying a disease. This Chinese virus or any other, which can cause the elderly or those with preexisting conditions to die. World governments have proven that they can now suspend all civil rights by proclaiming a “medical emergency “. In this same world’s history there are few examples of governments not holding onto, and abusing, every new power they’ve taken.

    Maybe you believe the used car salesmen that run most of the Western World are honest and know what they’re doing. I don’t think so. We have given up our very hard earned freedoms too easily, we won’t get them back as easily.

    • Agree: john cronk
  14. Quebecer says:
    @der einzige

    You may not realize it, but you’re practicing your very own form of social distancing !

    With the kind of language you’re using, people no doubt make sure they keep a safe distance from you. I imagine them backing off slowly, showing open hands

    • Replies: @der einzige
  15. der einzige says: • Website
    @Quebecer

    And very good, people like Ilana should stay away. What she writes is nothing but propaganda and manipulation. You were so offended by my words, but you don’t mind that the government fucks your rights. And people like Ilana try to justify and rationalize this “fucking”.

  16. I think Ilana is here confusing civilized, respectful behavior with the strange, distant and unnatural type that’s exemplified by rigid conformance to misguided official dictates. They are different animals, and she would be better advised to know more about the science prior to promulgating moral judgements about how we should behave in this scenario.
    Given the way corona virus is being handled, one would think we don’t realize that people die quite regularly, especially when they’re in bad condition. Now, we’re practically demanding that nobody should die from catching a microbe – that we should stay home and hold our breath until everyone is guaranteed to survive. Since when have we ever believed that? Is that how we built civilization? The civilization that we’re now destroying?

    There’s little reason for insulin-sensitive people – with healthy immune status and without metabolic disease – to stay home, wear a mask or ‘social distance’ themselves. Since they won’t be getting seriously ill, their staying home wouldn’t help ‘flatten the curve’ of sick people overburdening the healthcare system (as usual, to the expense of all of us). On the contrary, active healthy people can contribute something to the economy.

    The main benefit of herd immunity is that it will allow the country to function again. And that would be good for everyone, healthy and sickly alike. The metabolically/immunologically compromised will be vulnerable to catching the corona virus from anyone who’s contracted it and is temporarily contagious, no matter whether the carrier’s general health is good or poor. And that’s the same fix that people with poor immune function are in, always and everywhere. The answer for protecting these most vulnerable people from COVID – which is only one of the many dangers to their health that they face – can be one of two things; the best one being that they start eating right. And/or, we can build as much equipment and medical facilities, where they’re most needed, as they may require. Either of these solutions is much more viable, less disruptive and less expensive than what we’re doing now. And with either solution, healthier people would no longer be punished for possessing normal human vitality.

    While governments, health agencies and scientists take steps to upgrade the availability of care facilities, equipment and treatments, individuals should follow this
    CORONA VIRUS PROTOCOL
    Part A (Everyone)
    Begin a therapeutic diet to quickly upgrade and regulate the immune system. This consists of, wholly or mostly:
    Home cooked meat, oily fish, eggs (especially yolks), animal fat, bone broth, collagen or gelatin, and liver, and the elimination of corn, soy, canola, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed and rice bran oils as well as flours, sugar and prepared foods.

    Part B (those most at risk for COVID complications- individuals with high BMI or chronic health issues, or taking prescription medications, etc.)
    While following the part A protocol, take reasonable precautions to limit your exposure to possible infection from others, such as limiting time or wearing a mask when in close contact with other people.

  17. Exile says:
    @der einzige

    Spoken like a true anarchist.

    Who wants to be part of any society that includes these people under any terms?

  18. Exile says:
    @KerryC

    That was Weston’s comment, not mine. His sentiments are pretty much the opposite of what I’ve written here – or anywhere at any time.

  19. Anon[385] • Disclaimer says:

    Thoughtful discussion here, but so much abstraction away from a central premise only touched on: just how unique and dangerous a flu are we talking about? Updated data suggests only the response is novel. Therefore imagine we’re back in the comparable flu season of 2017-18… are we even having this discussion?

    • Agree: john cronk
    • Replies: @john cronk
  20. @Anon

    Many researchers and doctors have realized the fact that it’s mostly cohorts of metabolically and immunologically compromised individuals, many of whom have comorbidities and are on prescription medication, who are susceptible to severe complications from corona. These conditions are the result of the Standard American Diet.
    But no, as you suggest – if we’re getting our news and basing our thinking on TV, and on the dictates of scientifically uneducated, virtue-signalling politicians, we’re not having this discussion.

    • Replies: @Anon
  21. Anon[385] • Disclaimer says:
    @john cronk

    John, your earlier comment was on point re. the flaw in Ilana’s core premise of the existential danger we represent to others in this situation. As for the discussion, nothing wrong with that. What I meant was, it should be an academic one, not crisis-fueled to impact the lives and livelihoods of everyone on the planet. Why? Because compared to the “old normal” of yearly infectious disease, this crisis is more manufactured than real. I am appalled at how many so easily have come under this hypnotic sleepwalk into “the new normal” so caringly prescribed for us. But no blame on the sleepers, in that so-persuasive TV glare.

    • Replies: @john cronk
  22. @Weston Waroda

    Glad you admit, at least, that you are “railing,” and that, what you wrote, to quote, “wasn’t so much disagreement with [me] anyway as [your] own personal anguish.”

    The unfortunate state of “thought” on this thread is that it demands a certain dogma to cheer on.

    To thinking libertarians, the pandemic presents dilemmas. To tinny ideologues it doesn’t. I’m not a tinny ideologue. Too easy, too dishonest.

    I could offer up rah-rah dogma to those who feel anguish and anger. I won’t.

    In addition, I am not “advocating” any position, as you asserted; I am explaining positions. Distortions of my text are of a piece with the hysterical tone that develops on the threads to my articles.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Weston Waroda
  23. @Anon

    anon, I of course agree with your assessment of this manufactured ‘crisis’.
    But I think that Ilana’s essay is faulty. She first mistakenly equates the ridiculous way in which people are avoiding one another by 6 to 10 feet with masks on their faces – as they’ve been instructed – with considerate normal behavior based on normal human psychology and the desire for, on average, a minimal area around our person for physical comfort.
    This is typical for those of a philosophical bent – first they take a real-world situation which has some variables and then they make simplifications so that philosophical analysis can engage without taking those untidy factors into account. It’s nice, sterile reasoning from that point on. But since the simplification has divorced the issue from reality right from the start, the subsequent inflated analysis and its conclusions are fairly useless, if not downright misleading or wrong. No matter to a philosopher, though, who feels she has accomplished something.

  24. @der einzige

    What do we have here? Pointless, filthy, foaming at the mouth, directed at a writer; foul cuss words and hysterics utterly unmoored from the text “addressed.”

    This is what my impartial examination of a “vexing” situation from different angles did to you.

    The advice of Humphrey Bogart, playing Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” should be considered: “I never saw a dame yet that didn’t understand a good slap in the mouth …”

    You (male or female) qualify. Settle down. Give yourself that slap in the mouth. I write a column. You stepped into its space. Step out. Bow out. You have nothing reasonable or well-reasoned to add. Never will.

    But no, you would rather anything that causes YOU cognitive dissonance be removed.

    • Replies: @der einzige
    , @Liberty Mike
  25. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @ILANA Mercer

    If you’re “not a tinny ideologue,” please explain the Chinadidit bandwagoning (“Kung Flu”) a couple columns back. Something that Derbyshire, Kersey, and Malkin apparently have rethought, too.

    • Replies: @ILANA Mercer
  26. Binyamin says:

    We are not faced with a binary choice of saving the lives of older segments of our population versus saving the economy. The lockdown has been imposed so that our hospitals are not overwhelmed and this has been done by flattening the mortality rate curve and therefore spreading the deaths from novel covid 19 over a longer period of time. The tradeoff is really between having a very large number of deaths over a short period or having a similar number of deaths over a longer period. Until a vaccine is developed, deaths will continue to occur and those who are going to die of covid due to underlying health reasons or other causes would die anyway. I think it is a pity that major governments across the world, with the exception of Sweden, rejected the ‘herd immunity’ strategy and decided to crash the economy. Those economists who had tried in vain to point out that artificially causing another great depression would result in a greater number of deaths in subsequent years have effectively been shouted down. Rocketing unemployment, poverty, business failures, high unsustainable personal debts, would result in greater deaths due to poverty related diseases and suicides and with the economy in meltdown less money would be invested in health care.
    I have a hunch that few generations from now, when historians analyse this calamity with the emotional detachment which only time can provide, they would be astonished at how world governments got so overwhelmed with collective hysteria that they decided to crash the world economy, thereby ruining the life chances of tens of millions of young people and millions of small business owners.
    Anyway this is a moderately respectable reflective piece although I do not see how one can equate libertarian principles with government enforced social distancing. If an antisocial libertarian decides to practice social distancing by barricading themselves inside their property or by becoming a hermit, at least they would remain true to their libertarian principles.

  27. The dietary advice given by American authorities including doctors, government, the FDA, AMA, ADA, Big Ag, the food industry, Big Pharma, medical associations, hospitals, insurance providers and academics is precisely that which causes the conditions leading to death from COVID.
    Grains, seeds, flours, sugar and corn syrup, polyunsaturated vegetable oils, processed foods and a low fat, low meat, high vegetable content, high carb diet – the very one we’re told is healthy, is the culprit.
    This results in high blood sugar and hyperinsulinemia, metabolic syndrome, dislipidemia, immune system dysregulation, and comorbidities such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. 88 percent of Americans are metabolically dysregulated in this way to varying degrees. When the people with the most dysfunction contract corona, they are overwhelmingly the patients that end up dying from it as the proximate cause. But corona isn’t the root cause.
    And changing the diet to eliminate these harmful ingredients begins to turn these chronic conditions around surprisingly quickly. But instead we’re advised to ‘social distance’ and ‘stay home and save lives’.
    Speaking of ethics, there’s an essay here somewhere that I think would actually be meaningful.

  28. Sean says:
    @Jedi Night

    Can you really say that coming near another consenting person, with a small possibility of transferring a virus to them, rises to the level of swinging your fist?

    Depends if when doing that you are the only two people around. Standing on one’s right to cough near a companion and thus sending a miasa of viral particles numbering in the billions several metres and probably into the personal space/ nasopharynx of a possible vulnerable diabetic who has not consented, may become considered akin to spitting on them; a recipe for getting into a confrontation. Laughing uproariously in public I am not sure about, but it is a respiratory virus so people may object inside buildings. How long before someone gets shot for it?

  29. der einzige says: • Website
    @ILANA Mercer

    “writer” ha ha ha next to the writer, you didn’t even stand. You’re just a propagandist of the system.

    People like you consciously or unconsciously associate only within systems … counting on what can be provided by the system … such thinking is a form of mind control …

    Social distancing with facial masking is a psychological ploy to disrupt social bonding by warping the innate instinct of the apex social animal – the human being.

    Social distancing, using the ruse of a “life threatening contagion” supported by fake news, scare mongering, medical martial law and arbitrary arrests and incarceration, creates suspicion, distrust and fear, and as a result humane feelings and human relationships get destroyed (by social distancing) using a fake virus as the weapon.

    Covid19 is wholly a psychological weapon created by the Globalists to capture power, to bring humanity to its knees and to gleefully preside over a broken socioeconomic world structure that will never ever be the same again even if curfew is largely or partially lifted.

    The damage to the collective human psyche has been done and humans no longer resemble social animals but a bunch of quivering creatures each aloof from the others and deliberately cut off from all economic and recreational activities to doubly damage the psychoemotional apparatus.

    “Give yourself that slap in the mouth.”

    • Replies: @Fidelios Automata
  30. @anonymous

    OK, dear reader, I will take the time, since you are being polite, to show you the way. Hopefully, you will examine what I write and, in future, “check you premises,” as Ayn Rand was wont to say. Or, at the very least, do a tiny bit of research.

    Let me unpack your assumption above:

    1. The least silly of these assertions is to equate “Kung Flu,” a title I think is funny (funny is good), with an anti-China bandwagon. Your comment indicates you have not really read the column, for it makes little reference to China.

    http://www.ilanamercer.com/2020/04/kung-flu-killer-right-bureaucrats/

    The Asian wet market is an abomination. There is excellent empirical RNA sequencing evidence for zoonotic transmission of this and other corona viruses (some, I believe, originating in the US, too).

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098031/

    You won’t get conspiracy from me.

    2. The more egregious illogic you commit here, easily dispelled, is the fallacy of the Argument from Authority. You assert, once again (for you do not argue), that Derbyshire, Kersey, and my sister-in-arms, Michelle Malkin, changed their views on some topic (China). This change, you further assert, compels me to join that collective. From the fact that I have allegedly not joined a collective that you’ve conferred with mystic authority—you “deduce” that I am a tinny ideology. Sir, I hope can do better, to put it charitably. This is worse than shoddy.

    Hopefully, dear reader, you will correct your illogic in the future. A few other readers here think that because they use a word like “premise” they have advanced an argument. Hopefully they will “check their premises,” too, before I do it for them. SMILE.

    More empty assertion: I’m definitely not anti-China as a rule. And I don’t have to “change my views.” They’ve always proven solid. Scroll down to “On China and Sinophobia”:

    https://everipedia.org/wiki/lang_en/Ilana_Mercer

    This is too funny for ya, but pretty pro-China back in 2008. No eureka required.

    http://www.ilanamercer.com/2008/05/bomb-them-with-bimbos/

    Against “yellow-peril fever” in 2012:

    http://www.ilanamercer.com/2012/10/perils-presidential-yellow-peril-fever/

    Against “Deifying The Dalai Lama” in 2008:

    http://www.ilanamercer.com/2008/04/deifying-the-dalai-lama/

    Lots more here:
    http://www.ilanamercer.com/category/china/

    But you could have done some research before you spouted utter nonsense.

    I really do have to do some work, y’all.

    LAY OFF THE LYSOL.
    ilana

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    , @anonymous
  31. Chip says:

    Consider this a follow up to the comment I recently posted on your previous article “Coronavirus and Conspiracy: Don’t be A ‘Covidiot’”.

    You seem to have taken to insulting those who have a differing opinion than you. First we were called “Covidiots” and now we are “tinny ideologues”. What a great way to build a readership. I have been reading your columns for 15 years or so, but I am beginning to wonder why.

    You listed three statements that are anathema to you. The second one I’ll grant you is cringe worthy, however you failed to make your case as to why the others should be considered anathema.

    “Each and every individual is or could be, inadvertently, harboring a weapon of mass destruction. Yes, a WMD—for how many men and women have died and will still die because of the inadvertent actions of the coronavirus-carrying Index Patients,during the “seeding events”?”

    This is clearly the most histrionic statement I have ever read from you in 15 years. It’s laughably covidiotic. You are saying a virus that — if the stated cause of morbidity is accurate, which is far from certain — is running a fatality rate roughly that of a bad flu season, is akin to nuclear weapons. I think the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would gladly rather risk going to the store during COVID, without a mask, then the incineration that they ultimately suffered.

    People live their entire lives running the risk of infection from others. It’s called life. Most of us have always practiced social distancing when we, or others we know, are ill. Still we get sick. I myself have had the mumps, measles and chickenpox, all of which have been the focus a pandemic at one time or another. Why is this one different? You like to quote some dude in NYC who is right in the thick of it. Too bad for him. Why should that cause anyone here in Ohio to lose their job? Tens of thousands die on the highways each year because of other people. Should we mandate only one car per ¼ mile so as to mitigate the possibility of an accident? Of course we don’t. We each decide what risk we are willing to accept. If you don’t like me walking around without a mask these days then stay home.

    This should be a no brainer for a “paleo-libertarian”.

  32. Norman O. Brown: “The dynamic of capitalism is the postponement of enjoyment to the constantly postponed future.”

  33. @ILANA Mercer

    China-did-it trolls are all paid to be that way. There are no exceptions.

  34. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @ILANA Mercer

    Ah, so “Kung Flu” was just to be funny?

  35. @ILANA Mercer

    To thinking libertarians, the pandemic presents dilemmas.

    I wouldn’t worry about that much, serologic testing in the US and around the world demonstrates that the virus is much more widespread in communities than previously believed, and therefore the corresponding death rate is much, much less, more in line with a bad flu year. Thinking libertarians will see the premises supporting your dilemmas as fading away in the light of this recent scientific evidence, while ideologues and others with vested interests in keeping the death rate and fear at high levels will find ways to deny even the facts before them.

  36. I was running up the mountain the other day.

    Ilana immediately has my respect.

    “Without property rights,” wrote Ayn Rand, “no other rights are possible.

    She grabs me even harder. Recently I alluded in a comment here on the Unz Review that what is happening is that the motor of the world has been stopped. This is a reference to Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged.

    I have always associated social distancing with civility and civilization.

    Me too. Gee, I’m in love, but I am faithfully married.

    Where I diverge from our hot author is in regard to the balance between the measures taken vs. the potential damage from Corona-chan. I err on the side of fewer draconian measures and more Liberty. This thing will run its course, and it is most definitely NOT the Black Death.

    We are right now killing the livlihoods of tens on millions of people here in the United States to fight an illness that kills mostly infirm people. What more proof do you need that we have erred on the side of collectivism and support of the weak at the expense of the strong? “To each according to his need” INDEED!

    Ilana is tougher than this, but she has not realized it yet.

    — Hank Reardon

  37. No government has the right to ban economic activity because of a theoretical risk. The now-overwhelming evidence that this risk has been vastly overestimated (to the point of outright fraud) is unfortunately cold comfort for the cause of liberty.

  38. @der einzige

    I’d say we were fools to buy this Covid nonsense, but when the MSM lays on the lies non-stop for 3 months, it takes a pretty strong anti-establishment personality to oppose it.

  39. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    You disagree with what she said, but told her that she “grabs [you] even harder” and that she’s “hot.” So …

    • Thanks: ILANA Mercer

    You’re a lady killer, Buzz.

  40. @Weston Waroda

    Ditto. Beautifully said. I am sure the author is not ignorant of a NWO agenda trying it damnedest to succeed on this front, or that many people who are gripped with fear over this “pandemic” also chose to eagerly swallow the pablum of propaganda spewed out by mainstream media when there are more than copious amounts of alternative material available on the Internet. Personally, I’m far beyond conflicted, I am totally ticked.

    • Agree: Weston Waroda
  41. @Buzz Mohawk

    But what is going on here in regard to government response to CV can be found in dozens of other examples of elite liberalism in action -basically the tail wagging the dog. You find this a lot in schools, where the majority want to do A, but because a lone person, or an extreme minority of a few people want to do B, all those in the majority are forced by the “authorities” to succumb to the wishes of the minority for fear that said minority may be triggered or perpetually placed in a state of emotional paralysis by not getting its way.

  42. @Buzz Mohawk

    But what is going on here in regard to government response to CV can be found in dozens of other examples of elite liberalism in action -basically the tail wagging the dog. You find this a lot in schools, where the majority want to do A, but because a lone person, or an extreme minority of a few people want to do B, all those in the majority are forced by the “authorities” to succumb to the wishes of the minority for fear that said minority may be triggered or perpetually placed in a state of emotional paralysis by not getting its way.

  43. @ILANA Mercer

    What made the most romantic scene in film history (“if you don’t get on that plane, you will regret it; maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and forever”) was Ric’s voluntary act, an act that underscores how liberty, and free will, tends to foster the best in men.

  44. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Weston Waroda

    If it is a choice between possible death from contagion, or poverty, that choice is properly ours and only ours to make, not the state’s.

    The point she’s making is that it’s not a case of an individual deciding to take the risk of infection. It’s a matter of individuals imposing that risk on others. If you want to play Russian roulette go ahead (I’m sure Ilana Mercer won’t try to stop you). But she’s talking about individuals forcing others to play Russian roulette. That is a very different matter. Risk your own life as much as you want. Don’t risk other people’s lives.

    I think she made the point pretty clearly.

    • Replies: @Weston Waroda
  45. @dfordoom

    People are playing Russian roulette all the time with the coronavirus by going into grocery stores, hardware stores, visiting their doctors or even ordering takeout food. Who is forcing anybody to play Russian roulette? They own their bodies and they own their decisions, including the risks thereof. If you don’t want to risk exposure to contagion, isolate yourself. You are allowed to do that. Nobody is forcing anybody to do otherwise.

    The only forcing going on is the state’s mandatory lockdown. There isn’t a scintilla of science behind locking down a healthy population to contain an airborne virus, it’s only the frenzied, panicked attempt “to do something.” And just today the WHO announces the Sweden did it right, Sweden with its relaxed approach is now the model, after months of the WHO pushing for lockdowns and months of the world heaping opprobrium on Sweden for going its own way.

    So, no, you and Ilana Mercer did not get it right. And the empirical data will keep building, and continue to erode the ground from under your feet. You will find your positions increasingly harder to maintain in the face of real science.

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