Saturday, June 26, 2021

Leftists motivated by 'malicious envy'

Chien-An Lin, Timothy Bates

While theory predicts fairness motivates support for redistribution, tests have yielded near-zero effects. Here we propose the relevant evolved fairness motive operates within the community sharing relation, experienced as a unity motive to treat “all as one and none as more than one”. Study 1 (N = 403) supported this model, with a moderate (𝛽 = .15 CI[.06, .23]) significant effect of a communal fairness measure on support for redistribution, incremental to effects of compassion, envy, and self-interest. Study 2 (N=402) replicated with larger effect (𝛽 = .25 CI[.17, .33]). As distribution involves means as well as ends, we tested support for redistribution by coercive means. In both study 1 and 2, support for coercion was predicted by “ends justify the means” intuitions (instrumental harm: 𝛽 = .21 CI[.12, .31)] and .16 CI[.08, .25]). Communal fairness also predicted willingness to coerce (𝛽 = .15 CI[.05 .24] and .32 CI[.23 .41]). These five psychological motives accounted for 45% of support for redistribution, suggesting considerable value for political, economic, evolutionary, and ethical theory.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Woke Ideology Mimics Precursors to Totalitarian Slaughter, Experts Say

Some of the core tenets of the “woke” ideology spreading around the country mimic ideas used to justify many of the most horrendous atrocities of the past century, according to several experts.

A recently released documentary exploring the topic, called “Better Left Unsaid,” concludes that the self-identified “radical left” endorses four fundamental “truths” that they “hold to be self-evident,” noting that these tenets have also been used to justify and incite many of the worst massacres of the 20th century.

The first of the four claims is that “the world is best viewed through a group oppression narrative lens.”

The “woke” ideology is based on a set of quasi-Marxist theories that divide society into “oppressors” and the “oppressed” based on characteristics such as race, sex, class, or sexual proclivities. “Woke” is sometimes used interchangeably with Critical Race Theory (CRT), which is one of the more prominent ideologies that operate within this framework.

The second claim is that “evidence of oppression is the inequality between groups,” the documentary says. If the designated “oppressed” group does on average worse in some regard than the designated “oppressor” group, that is taken as virtually unassailable proof of “oppression.”

The third claim is that “peaceful dialog and understanding between the groups is impossible since the dominant group’s strategy is to retain its power.”

Woke theorists have posited that the “oppressed” have a uniquely valuable perspective on reality unavailable to the “oppressors.” Meanwhile, they say, “whiteness” or “white heteropatriarchy” can’t help but to try to maintain its “hegemony.” Even if it does things that benefit members of other groups, such as by abolishing slavery or giving women and blacks the right to vote, it’s still done out of self-interest and in order to further entrench its institutions and norms and thus ensure the “privilege” of its members.

Proponents of the ideology engage in dialogue between themselves, but with everybody else the communication is supposed to generally flow in one direction—that of acceptance of their views. Any challenge to the ideology is labeled as self-serving or even as an assault on the “oppressed.”

Finally, the ideology at least implicitly acknowledges that “because of the above, violence is justified to eradicate the inequities,” the documentary says.

“From my experience, they (to the degree they can be grouped together enough to call them ‘they’) tend to advocate for violence against those oppressing and equate it to laudatory behavior; hence, ‘punch a Nazi,’” author of the documentary, Curt Jaimungal, told The Epoch Times via email.

“I have catalogs of tweets, written statements, and videos of people ranging from students to [professors] explicitly calling for violence and downplaying the violence of those on the left when compared to the right,” he added, not because of intensity or frequency of such violence, but because of the so-called “nobleness of the extreme left’s position.”

These four tenets, Jaimungal demonstrated in the documentary, are common to many of the most brutal massacres and regimes of the 20th century, from the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany to communist China and the Rwandan genocide.

In each case, an entire class of society is painted as unfairly privileged and as such inherently oppressive, with little regard to specific actions of the individual members of the group. Meanwhile, disagreement with or mere disinterest in this classification is taken as support for the perceived oppression. With reconciliation through dialog taken off the table, the only remaining recourse is conflict—a “revolutionary” action where violence is seen as inevitable and, ultimately, preferable.

“Too few people know about the ceaseless carnage that took place under the masthead of the isomers of equity,” Jaimungal narrates in the documentary.

He said he avoided using examples of atrocities committed as a consequence of the totalitarian nature of the various regimes.

“I am careful to only list or only talk about the deaths associated with the philosophical doctrine of group guilt and class guilt,” he said.

Proponents of socialism commonly argue that the movements that led to these tragedies were commandeered or hijacked by people that didn’t really believe in the ideology. But they have tended to level the argument retrospectively, after they or their like-minded predecessors initially endorsed the movements and nascent regimes, the documentary points out. Also, proponents usually stop short of detailing how the next attempt will prevent any supposed nonbelievers from taking over.

The comparison between the preludes to past massacres and the current manifestations of the woke ideology is a fair one, as long as it’s not taken as an absolute, according to Erec Smith, associate professor of Rhetoric and Composition at York College of Pennsylvania.

“We’re not saying [a massacre] is definitely going to happen, but we need to be cognizant and remember our history and be careful about what’s going on here,” he told The Epoch Times.

Jaimungal’s conclusions were also recently endorsed by several scholars of totalitarianism, all of whom are critical of woke ideology. They were invited to comment on the film by Pat Kambhampati, chemistry professor and head of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship at McGill University in Canada.

“The same ideas that gave rise to Curt’s movie and the discussion of communism, we see a lot of parallels and isomorphisms taking place in the West and within academia,” he said during a May 31 panel discussion on topics raised by the documentary.

Janice Fiamengo, retired English professor at the University of Ottawa and self-declared anti-feminist, backed Jaimungal’s argument during the panel discussion. She was also featured in the film.

“As soon as one establishes these oppressor groups and oppressed groups, then when you are speaking supposedly on behalf of the oppressed, you can do nearly anything,” she said.

Gad Saad, evolutionary psychology professor at Concordia University, put forth the point during the panel that people professing utopian goals have a tendency toward eliminating those who oppose them.

“Utopians believe that the world could be a perfect place except for this one group that is stopping the world from becoming a perfect place,” he said.

Another panelist, retired New York University professor of liberal studies Michael Rectenwald, linked the woke ideology’s potential to unleash totalitarian force to its postmodern roots.

Postmodernism introduced the idea of fundamental relativism, professing that there is no objective truth, but instead the powers that be establish as true whatever is in their interest.

While the documentary notes that this notion is itself a “truth claim” and thus undermines its own validity, Rectenwald pointed out that adoption of the notion has serious real-life implications.

“The problem with this is not simply that we have no criteria for truth claims with this kind of notion, but rather it leaves open the possibility that when it has the requisite power behind it then anything can be asserted and can be asserted with force,” he said.

He gave the example of the ideology behind the transgender movement sweeping through government institutions.

“The force of the state is behind it and they can say that if you don’t accept that your child is a boy or a girl when they are the other then you could go to jail for this … or you could lose custody of your child,” he said.

“So when my truth becomes as good or better than any objective truth then we get to this point where the requisite power is applied and therefore we get the kind of authoritarianism and totalitarianism that we saw in the Soviet Union where people were forced to maintain things they knew to be false.”

Jaimungal defended in his film not only physical truths, but argued that just as there are “preserved genes” in human DNA that stand virtually unchanged through time and would be catastrophic to meddle with, there are also “preserved memes”—ideas that stand true throughout history and are similarly crucial to maintain, timeless lessons one can find in many religious scriptures and ancient stories.

These ideas are ingrained in humans, but have also been “externalized,” meaning imprinted on the external world in the form of the written word, art, rituals, and so on, he says in the film.

“Our survival depends on these ‘externalized memes.’”

Clinical psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson touched upon this topic during the panel discussion, noting the damage to the Western mythos inflicted by certain scientific theories, particularly Darwinism, and the subsequent substitution of the religious underpinnings of Western culture by an ideological ersatz.

“I could say to the atheists among the group, you know, ‘You’re not too fond of religion. How are you feeling about its replacement?'” he said.

In an “intact culture” a person is “inculturated” by the age of about 18 into “a religious belief that saturates the entire culture,” he said.

“It’s granted to you, it gives you an identity, and that’s what your identity is.”

Western culture has become in this sense fragmented, he argued, as it now lacks such a comprehensive unifying ethos.

Students still come to universities with a “messianic” urge, craving an initiation of this sort, but what they’re offered instead is an ideology, which he described as “a parasite on an underlying religious structure.”

“A proper religious structure gives you a balanced view of the world, there’s characters for that negative part of nature, there’s characters for the positive part of nature, for the negative part of culture, for the positive part of culture. [It] gives you a view that enables you to look at the world and it’s existential permanences, I guess, in a manner that allows you to live a balanced life.”

Ideology, he said, doesn’t serve this purpose.

“You get indoctrinated into an ideology and you find where Satan is, you know, it’s not in you, it’s out there in the patriarchal oppressor, let’s say. And the thing about that is that it rings true mythologically and it is also true because every culture is oppressive to some degree and we’re all crushed as individuals by the dictates of arbitrary society. And kids get into the university and they’re taught this one-sided, lopsided doctrine with a utopian end and it matches their developmental needs perfectly,” he said.

If an ideology is accepted as an intimate part of one’s identity, it becomes difficult to let go of as it provides the person’s life meaning, Fiamengo noted.

“They would actually rather die than admit that they’re wrong,” she said.

Part of the solution, the panelists agreed, would be to restore universities to their original purpose of pursuing objective truth.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Israel faces fresh Covid surge and calls for teens to be jabbed as even the fully-vaccinated catch Delta variant of the virus

Israel is facing a fresh surge of coronavirus cases leading to calls for teenagers to be given jabs as even the fully vaccinated are catching the Delta variant of the virus.

Israel recorded 125 new cases on Monday - the most per day since April, in a country where more than half the population has been fully vaccinated.

The country's latest outbreaks were identified in several schools during random testing and came after Israel rolled back nearly all of its coronavirus restrictions.

According to local newspaper Haaretz nine fully-vaccinated teachers in two schools were among those who contracted the virus, as were three fully-vaccinated members of the military, the Israeli Defence Forces announced.

At the peak of the country's outbreak in January, Israel was recording some 10,000 daily cases but has since been able to get it under control thanks to its world-leading vaccination programme.

On Tuesday, newly-elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned of a 'new outbreak' of coronavirus in Israel after the rise in infections, that he said was likely due to returning travellers carrying the Delta variant.

'Our goal is to end it, to take a bucket of water and pour it on the fire when the fire is still small,' Bennett said at Ben Gurion airport, where the government announced an expanded testing facility would be set up.

Bennett noted that a recent spike in infections appeared to be due to the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus that likely came from overseas.

An outbreak in the town of Binyamina, north of Tel Aviv, saw more than 1,000 people quarantined and appeared to be due to travellers returning from Cyprus, he said. 'Whoever doesn't have to fly abroad, please don't,' Bennett added.

Israel remains largely closed to non-citizens.

Last month, the country expanded its vaccine eligibility to include teenagers, but left the decision up to parents.

Defence minister Benny Gantz has ordered the military and the civil defence to renew its efforts to test the population and to keep the contract department open that was shut down.

On Tuesday, the health ministry announced that 49,044 tests had been conducted over the past day, with a positivity rate of 0.3 percent.

Bennett, who ousted former premier Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month, said he was reconvening a 'corona cabinet' to handle the challenge.

'We reached an initial decision to treat this as a new outbreak,' Bennett said.

Israel launched a sweeping vaccination campaign after obtaining millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

More than 55 percent of Israel's population - some 5.2 million people - have received both doses of the vaccine.

Nearly a third of the new cases recorded in the past week have been found in vaccinated people, with many of the new infections being the delta variant.

Hezi Levi, the health ministry director-general, speaking to Israel's Channel 12 on Monday said that most of the cases among vaccinated individuals are mild, but called on parents to have their children vaccinated.

Bennett urged parents to get their children vaccinated too, calling for children aged 12 and older to get jabs 'as quickly as possible'.

Health ministry figures show that young people aged 10-19 were the most affected by the virus last month.

On June 15, Israel lifted its requirement to wear face masks in enclosed public places - one of the last measures in force to fight the country's outbreak.

IN total, the country has recorded over 840,000 novel coronavirus cases, including 6,428 deaths.


New Study Links Ivermectin to ‘Large Reductions’ in COVID-19 Deaths

The use of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin could lead to “large reductions” in COVID-19 deaths and may have a “significant impact” on the pandemic globally, according to a recent pre-print review based on peer-reviewed studies.

For the study (pdf), published June 17 in the American Journal of Therapeutics, a group of scientists reviewed the clinical trial use of ivermectin, which has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, in 24 randomized controlled trials involving just more than 3,400 participants. The researchers sought to assess the efficacy of ivermectin in reducing infection or mortality in people with COVID-19 or at high risk of getting it.

Using multiple methods of sequential analysis, the researchers concluded with a moderate level of confidence that the drug reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients by an average of 62 percent, at a 95 percent confidence interval of 0.19–0.79, in a sample of 2,438 patients.

Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the risk of death was found to be 2.3 percent among those treated with the drug, compared to 7.8 percent for those who weren’t, according to the review.

“Moderate-certainty evidence finds that large reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease,” the authors wrote.

Since the start of the pandemic, both observational and randomized studies have evaluated ivermectin as a treatment for, and as prevention against, COVID-19 infection.

“A review by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance summarized findings from 27 studies on the effects of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection, concluding that ivermectin ‘demonstrates a strong signal of therapeutic efficacy’ against COVID-19,” the researchers wrote, referring to one recent review, which was based on data from both peer-reviewed studies and pre-print manuscripts.

They cited another recent review that concluded that ivermectin reduced deaths by as much as 75 percent, while noting that neither the National Institutes of Health in the United States nor the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of ivermectin outside clinical trials for use against COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a note on “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19,” warns that it has received “multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.”

“Using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm,” the FDA said in the note, adding that it hasn’t reviewed data to support the use of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients.

The WHO said in March that “the current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients is inconclusive” and that, until more data becomes available, the agency recommends that “the drug only be used within clinical trials.”

The authors of the efficacy study argued, however, that the drug has an “established safety profile through decades of use” and “could play a critical role in suppressing or even ending the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.”

“The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally,” they wrote in the study abstract.

The authors noted in their publication that all the studies on which they based their conclusions have been peer-reviewed.




Tuesday, June 22, 2021

UK: Asthma inhalers can speed up Covid recovery by three days - boosting hopes of an end to lockdown

Using an asthma inhaler can cut the amount of time it takes to recover from Covid, MPs have been told.

Ministers say doctors have prescribed the respiratory aids in some circumstances which has shown in some cases to reduce recovery by three days.

As a result Sir Graham Brady, from the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, suggested the Government should make more use of them, according to the Telegraph.

He said in the newspaper: 'If the average length of stay in a hospital is now eight days, and you can reduce that by three days typically by using inhalers, why the hell haven't they done that?'

Health minister Jo Churchill replied guidance has been given to clinicians to consider prescribing inhaled budesonide, a drug most commonly taken through an inhaler to treat asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, on a case-by-case basis.

She said: 'The department will continue to monitor the results as more detailed data and analysis from the trial becomes available and stand ready to adjust guidance should this be appropriate.

'Clinical guidance has been issued for on a case-by-case basis, but inhaled budesonide is not currently recommended as the standard of care in the UK.'

The news has boosted hopes of an end of lockdown for good on July 19.

Earlier this year it was reported Coronavirus-infected Britons can now be prescribed inhalers on the NHS after experts found a commonly used asthma drug can help patients recover faster.

Budesonide will be the first treatment specifically for Covid patients to take at home – all other medical breakthroughs so far have been for hospital use.

Oxford University academics said recovery time was three days shorter, on average.

Professor Richard Hobbs, one of the experts running the study, called the discovery a 'significant milestone for this pandemic'.

Professor Gail Hayward, who worked on the trial and also works as a GP, said in April: 'This is the first time a treatment has been shown to be beneficial for patients in the community – and the majority of patients with Covid are in the community...

'For the first time in this pandemic I now have evidence for a treatment to offer my patients at home.

'If I was trying to think of a treatment for the community it needs to be relatively cheap, easy to use and have few side effects – budesonide has all of these.'

Professor Bafadhel told a briefing: 'What we know with inhaled budesonide is that it works at the site where SARS-CoV-2 is likely to be causing its biggest effect.

'Corticosteroids are widely known to reduce inflammation and that's known from studies of other viruses...

'In the lab they've reduced the viral replication of SARS-CoV-2 specifically and we also know inhaled corticosteroids reduce expression of the ACE-2 receptor, and that's an important receptor for SARS-CoV-2.

'The findings are something we should be excited about.'


Trump's top ten 'we were right' list: big tech is awful at identifying 'fake news'

Trump just released a video listing TEN examples of either true stories Big Tech deemed “fake news” and censored – or fake stories Big Tech allowed to stand and be spread.

Please read this list. And as you do, think of the millions of lives lost and harmed as a result of these lies and this censorship. The trillions of dollars of wealth destroyed. The election outcomes lyingly warped.

The list:

Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment of – and prophylactic against – the China Virus.

The Virus came from a Chinese lab – not a bat in a wet market.

Hunter Biden’s laptop was real – not a Russian hoax.

Trump did not clear Lafayette Square Park for a photo-op.

The Russian bounty story in Afghanistan was a lie.

Trump said the Virus vaccines would be ready in less than a year. Big Tech and everyone else deemed that “fake news” – and that it would take 3-5 years. Multiple vaccines were ready in less than nine months.

Blue States entered into extreme virus lockdowns. Red States did not. Big Tech et al preemptively declared the lockdowns the only way to go – the more virulent and all-encompassing the better. That Red States were putting millions of lives at risk.

Now the data is in – and none of Big Tech’s declarations were even remotely true. The Red States were right.

Trump and Republicans have all along said schools should be open. Because the science right away showed almost no children got sick – and none transmitted the virus. Big Tech declared this heresy and “fake news.”

Trump’s southern border policies were declared to be ineffective and anti-human. Even though illegal border crossings diminished dramatically – leading prospective crossers to decide not to come.

Biden reversed Trump’s regime. And we now have a massive border crisis. Illegal border crossings are up 1,400%. Tens of thousands of children are living in squalor in makeshift housing – with tens of thousands of more surely coming.

Because Biden’s policies are tacit approval of their doing so. And entering along with the people – are massive amounts of narcotics.

We are FINALLY beginning to actually audit the actual voting in the 2020 election – beginning in Arizona. After months of Big Tech et al censoring any concern about illegal voting because it was “fake news” – does anyone who’s paid any attention at all totally dismiss the possibility that vote tally reversals will follow?

These are ten HUGE examples of Big Tech warping the news. And American life. All in the last four years – most in just the last year.

And it doesn’t include the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. The far-and-away greatest political scandal in US history.

Big Tech did all of this lying and censoring – in the name of their allegedly addressing “fake news.”

Big Tech should get out of the “fake news’ business. Because they are AWFUL at it.