Practically every day now the drumbeat in the news, at your doctor’s office, your workplace, everywhere, to GET VACCINATED YOU IDIOT!!! gets louder and louder. I ask you, why?
I’m old enough to remember when doctors all agreed that the purpose of achieving a high vaccination rate in a given population was to protect those who could not get the vaccine. The number I’ve always heard bandied about is something like 80 percent. At this level, so few people haven’t been vaccinated that the disease cannot find another host to infect before the infected person’s immune system wipes it out, or they die. This makes sense and it always has. Because it hasn’t always been possible to vaccinate everyone. Not everyone could afford the cost. You had to go to a doctor and they cost money. There weren’t enough doses to vaccinate literally everyone, so you vaccinated as many as you could. In the past, the inability of some people to get vaccinated was a real thing.
But notice something here. The purpose of achieving a high vaccination rate is to “protect those who cannot get the vaccine.” So tell me, who in America, cannot get the COVID-19 vaccine? It is so widely available now that some states are offering to pay people to get it and setting up vaccine lotteries, while others are considering making it mandatory. And it’s free! And many businesses are starting to require employees and customers be vaccinated. There’s talk about vaccine passports. All this talk would be absurd if the vaccine was simply not available to everyone who wants it. (Or if, maybe, it doesn’t actually protect people? But that presents a whole different set of absurdities that make no sense.)
Therefore, my question to anyone who thinks they have the answer is, if everyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine has gotten it or can get it whenever they want, then why does it matter if there are people who choose not to get it? Seriously. If all the people who have gotten the vaccine are protected (and they are the ones shouting for everyone else to get it), then why do they care about whether or not anyone else gets its? The only argument could be that they want the voluntarily unvaccinated to get vaccinated so as to protect the other voluntarily unvaccinated. But the voluntarily unvaccinated either do not care if they get COVID-19 or they have decided that potential benefits do not outweigh the risks. If this were not true, they’d go get the vaccine. As everyone knows, it’s readily available to anyone who wants it. So this argument is idiotic.
If the unvaccinated are unvaccinated purely by choice, then they have accepted the risk associated with that decision and no vaccinated person who disagrees with that decision need worry about them, since they themselves are protected by the vaccine. So, to all you vaccinated busybodies out there that are pissed at those of us not getting the vaccine, mind your own damned business!
Freedom is dangerous. I don’t know about you, but I never spent much time considering the value or importance of freedom during the first 45+ years of my life. Nor did I think much about the implications of freedom to how we live our lives. It was easy to just enjoy the freedom I was born into assuming that life, as an American at least, would always be that way. Some said, “Oh, this is America. It’ll never change. Certainly communism will never happen here.” What is it they say about saying “never?”
When I was kid, we frequently walked to and/or from school over a mile away. We crossed six-lane highways by ourselves when we were barely 10 years old. We used to walk on weekends a couple of miles away to the soda fountain to get a coke. No parents. We didn’t wear helmets for anything. We rode our bikes all over town, by ourselves. I got my driver’s license at 15 and immediately started driving everywhere. No parents. We drank and drove and it wasn’t even against the law, at first. Then, when it was, nobody enforced it. Seatbelts? Who needed them? When I left home at 18 to go to college, I have no idea how I survived for the next dozen years or so without health insurance. The list of dangerous activities we participated in in those days goes on and on and on.
Then, something happened. Gradually, over time, people started focusing on the need for being safer. To be sure, curbing the drinking and driving was a good thing. Although we haven’t completely stamped it out, imagine how dangerous the road would be nowadays if there were no DWI laws and no social pressure not to drink and drive? But once we sort of accomplished all we could with that, then it was on to the next most dangerous thing. I’m not sure what that was, but certainly at some point, we decided it was safer to wear a helmet while riding bicycles. And safer not to let children roam so far from home without parents. Eventually, the phrase, “Safety is our Number 1 priority!” became a phrase heard from every business in America. Safety. Safety. Safety.
Fear as a means of control
An incident occurred at my church a few weeks ago. I wasn’t there and I don’t know what it was about, but I got an email from the pastor saying that everything was handled well and that there was never any danger to our membership or “the children.” Our pastor stated that as always, “safety is our Number 1 priority.” I thought to myself, since when??? I thought saving souls was our Number 1 priority! Safety? Pffft. Definitely not Number 1! And probably not even Number 2 or possibly even Number 3!
If you’ve turned on a TV and watched the news anytime in the last 20 years, you’ve undoubtedly been subjected to all kinds of news stories about how dangerous the world is and what we need to do to be safe. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Oh, and COVID! If you want a real measure of just how effective the TV is at scaring the living daylights out of people, just look at how we responded to COVID.
So what purpose does all the fearmongering and promotion of safety serve? I will tell you. It serves to take away your freedom. It serves to give those in power, more power.
What total freedom looks like
Let’s go back to North America pre-1492. There was no centralized government in North America. No government at all. No land ownership. No laws. No police forces. No armies. It was truly the definition of Anarchy. The people who lived here were tribal, because tribalism was necessary for survival. And yes, tribes fought each other, but it is a vast continent and horses had not yet been introduced from Europe, so travel was very slow. Interactions were necessarily fewer. And no telephones or even telegrams to communicate messages over long distances. All communication occurred by word of mouth. I submit that in the course of human history, rarely has there ever been a place and time where more freedom was enjoyed by more people than in pre-1492 North America.
Now imagine yourself suddenly being sent back in time to that era here in North America. You might not make it through a single day before someone or something killed you. Or you might survive long enough to learn how to protect yourself. Maybe. Jared Diamond says in Guns, Germs, and Steel that if you didn’t know anyone or weren’t related to anyone, you’d likely have been killed by the first person you encountered. Even now, when two people meet for the first time, they often try to figure out if they know anyone in common. And if they do, somehow that makes them feel better. Now you don’t have to fight to the death! But you might forget each other as soon as you walk away.
Regardless of how you’d fare, one thing is certain, without any laws or law enforcement, you’d experience a level of freedom you’ve never had before. Ever. But with that incredible level of freedom, you would also experience a level of danger like you’ve never had before. Anyone, at any time, could kill you without any repercussions whatsoever. That’s kind of scary. But the freedom. Oh, the freedom! That dude that just offended you? Stick a spear in him and walk away, if you want to. Or not. Total freedom. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing. I’m just saying that is a very, very high level of freedom.
One of my favorite books is Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides. The book is an historical account of New Mexico and the life of Kit Carson. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. In the book, Kit Carson lived a life of such amazing freedom as no American in the last 100+ years has ever even imagined. As a legendary Mountain Man he survived and thrived in the wilderness of the Mountain West. He killed anyone who attacked him and no one ever questioned it. It was a supremely dangerous existence. He didn’t have to live that way. He was born in Missouri in civilization. He bolted from an apprenticeship as a teenager for the west and never looked back. He lived by his wits and most importantly, he CHOSE to live the life he lived. The threat of possibly being killed himself did not scare him back to Missouri. And he wasn’t a particularly big man. In fact, he was kind of short and small. Not exactly what you’d think it would take to be a legendary Mountain Man in the early 1800s.
Control and a lack of freedom go hand in hand
My point is, freedom and danger are inseparable. INSEPARABLE. Being free and living in a free society is inherently unsafe. The safer you make your world, the more you limit freedom. How many laws do we have on the books here in America now? Does anyone even know? And how many people are in prison? And how many law enforcement officers are there in America today? And people with cell phones recording everything that happens so they can bust you later if need be? We live in a surveillance state. We have instantaneous communications systems so we can call out whatever forces necessary immediately to handle any lawlessness we want to. (Notice I said “want to,” not “have to.”) There are so many laws on the books now, it’s as Stalin’s Deputy Premier Lavrentiy Beria said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” We see that going on now with the selective and politically motivated prosecutions being undertaken by various prosecutors across our nation.
The only way to make sure everyone is absolutely safe is to put EVERYONE in prison. Since that isn’t practical, the next best way is to control every aspect of your life. How do you do that most efficiently? By scaring people into conformity. Let fear be the driver. How do you scare them? You threaten their safety. How do you do that? You show them images of rioting on a nightly basis. You show them interviews of doctors talking about how deadly and dangerous some virus is. You talk about the crime wave. You talk about pedophiles stealing children and trafficking them. You post images of the lost children on milk cartons so everyone is constantly reminded of how dangerous the world is. You talk about war in the Middle East and you do everything you can to stoke it.
You also make sure the rich get richer and the middle class gets poorer. How do you do that? By printing money like it’s going out of style, thus causing rampant inflation, and pumping that money into the stock market so the rich get richer, while raising taxes on the middle class. You jack up the price of gas at the pump by shutting down pipeline projects and prohibiting drilling on public lands and placing a moratorium on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Then your news media reports all the bad economic numbers and stresses people out.
Finally, you fan the flames of racial tension every day. You highlight every instance of a white police officer causing injury or death to a brown or black person while ignoring the vastly larger numbers of black and brown people killing each other. And ignoring when a black or brown police officer kills a white person (yes, it happens). You make it so brown and black people hate white people and white people are scared of offending brown and black people. These are people who used to live and work side-by-side comfortably, but now look at each other with suspicion. Is my neighbor a white supremacist? Is that guy walking down the street a Black Lives Matter rioter? I’ve lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for over 20 years and now, for the first time, there are posters downtown shouting for white people to leave. Get out now!
The natural state of man
As the Founders of the USA believed, and I believe, the natural state of Man is to be free. God made us to be free. With that freedom comes great responsibility. You may have heard that before. But even more importantly, with that freedom comes great danger. And the more freedom you have the more danger you are in. That’s just a fact. The two are inseparable. Some people have a very high tolerance for danger and others have little or none. How do you create a society and a nation that accommodates everyone? It’s not possible. However, you can aim for the sweet spot. You create a system of extremely limited government, just enough laws to punish those who commit the worst crimes, and a police and justice system appropriate in size to carry out the punishment of those who violate the laws. You don’t selectively enforce the laws. You don’t create a political class that is above the laws. You make darn sure the rights of free speech, free exercise of religion, and the ownership of firearms and ammunition are protected absolutely. And people need to understand that they themselves and their families are primarily responsible for their own safety. The police are there primarily as back up and to arrest and charge those who break the laws. Not to be your personal body guard.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “Freedom ain’t free.” That’s true. But it’s also true that freedom is dangerous. If you want to live in a world where there is no danger, then I’m afraid you’re going to have a hard time finding a place to live. Certainly America is not your place to be. But if you want to be free to do whatever you want to do, to chase your dreams, and live your life according to your own moral standards, so long as it doesn’t infringe on others’ rights to do the same, then the America envisioned by our Founders is the best place in the world to be. Let’s hope the Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Political Elitists, Big Tech Oligarchs, and finally, the worst of all, the Globalists don’t succeed in tearing our country down and destroying the last best hope for freedom (and the inherent dangers and risks that come with it) the world has ever known, America.
“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek to develop whatever talents God gave me—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say – ‘This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an American.”
This article is published online by David Blackmon with the following disclosure:
[NOTE: I received the explainer below in an email from a friend this week. It has been making the rounds in email and social media for awhile now, and is the best tutorial on the concept of “Gaslighting” I have seen. Thus, I want to share it with the audience of DBDailyUpdate. Unfortunately, I have no idea who the author is – If I did I would give him or her proper credit.]
I found it, also, to be the best explanation of what the term “gaslighting” means and wanted to give it as much distribution as possible, so I have copied it here. Again, the author is unknown, but should the name of the author come to light, we will make sure to give the proper credit to them. -Devin
“Gaslighting – The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by her husband in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 stage play “Gas Light,” and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944. In the story, the husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes.
The play’s title alludes to how the abusive husband slowly dims the gas lights in their home, while pretending nothing has changed, in an effort to make his wife doubt her own perceptions. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimming lights, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting that the lights are the same and instead it is she who is going insane.
Today we are living in a perpetual state of gaslighting. The reality that we are being told by the media is at complete odds with what we are seeing with our own two eyes. And when we question the false reality that we are being presented, or we claim that what we see is that actual reality, we are vilified as racist or bigots or just plain crazy.
You’re not racist. You’re not crazy. You’re being gaslighted.
New York State has twice as many deaths from Covid-19 than any other state, and New York has accounted for one fifth of all Covid-19 deaths, but we are told that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled the pandemic better than any other governor. But if we support policies of Governors whose states had only a fraction of the infections and deaths as New York, we’re called anti-science and want people to die.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
We see mobs of people looting stores, smashing windows, setting cars on fire and burning down buildings, but we are told that these demonstrations are peaceful protests. And when we call this destruction of our cities, riots, we are called racists.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
We see the major problem destroying many inner-cities is crime; murder, gang violence, drug dealing, drive-by shootings, armed robbery, but we are told that it is not crime, but that the police are the problem in the inner-cities. We are told we must defund the police and remove law enforcement from crime-riddled cities to make them safer. But if we advocate for more policing in cities overrun by crime, we are accused of being white supremacists and racists.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
The United States of America accepts more immigrants than any other country in the world. The vast majority of the immigrants are “people of color”, and these immigrants are enjoying freedom and economic opportunity not available to them in their country of origin, but we are told that the United States is the most racist and oppressive country on the planet, and if we disagree, we are called racist and xenophobic.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Capitalist countries are the most prosperous countries in the world. The standard of living is the highest in capitalist countries. We see more poor people move up the economic ladder to the middle and even the wealthy class through their effort and ability in capitalist countries than any other economic system in the world, but we are told capitalism is an oppressive system designed to keep people down.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Communist countries killed over 100 million people in the 20th century. Communist countries strip their citizens of basic human rights, dictate every aspect of their lives, treat their citizens as slaves, and drive their economies into the ground, but we are told that Communism is the fairest, most equitable, freest, and most prosperous economic system in the world.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
The most egregious example of gaslighting is the concept of “white fragility”. You spend your life trying to be a good person, trying to treat people fairly and with respect. You disavow racism and bigotry in all its forms. You judge people solely on the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. You don’t discriminate based on race or ethnicity. But you are told you are a racist, not because of something you did or said, but solely because of the color of your skin. You know instinctively that charging someone with racism because of their skin color is itself racist. You know that you are not racist, so you defend yourself and your character, but you are told that your defense of yourself is proof of your racism.
So, we ask ourselves, am I crazy? No, you’re being gaslighted.
Gaslighting has become one of the most pervasive and destructive tactics in American politics. It is the exact opposite of what our political system was meant to be. It deals in lies and psychological coercion, and not the truth and intellectual discourse. If you ever ask yourself if you’re crazy, you are not. Crazy people aren’t sane enough to ask themselves if they’re crazy. So, trust yourself, believe what’s in your heart. Trust your eyes over what you are told.
Never listen to the people who tell you that you are crazy, because you are not, you’re being gaslighted.
Sophocles said: “What people believe prevails over the truth.” And that’s what the media are trying to exploit.
If you have read this far let me say one thing. I did not write the above and I am not sure who the author is.
I sent this to you because you are hopefully smart enough to understand what is being done to you on a daily basis from many directions. I do not care about your political party affiliation. Just think through what you are being told. Don’t listen with a deaf ear, or see with a blind eye. Question everything — even things from people who you think you can trust.
Question why you are being told whatever, by whomever. Question their motives. Question who benefits. Question if there is a hidden agenda behind the propaganda. Question, Question, Question. Then do your own research, and use some of your own critical thinking skills to get to the truth. Listen with your heart and with your mind.
Sadly, 95% of the masses don’t even know that they are being gaslighted. At least now you do.
If this makes sense to you, then forward to your friends who you think might “get it”.
I would add, trust your own eyes. When what you see with your own eyes does not match what you are being told, don’t believe what you are being told! It is SO easy to just sit back in your chair and turn on the TV and watch and listen to whatever the talking heads tell you and they make it SO believable. STOP doing that! Get online. Go to every alternative news source you can find and READ what they have to say. Get on Youtube and watch alternative news sources so you can get BOTH sides, or even multiple sides, to the stories of the day. It takes more effort, yes, but there is NO value in just soaking in the lies you are being fed all day long by the major news media outlets.
If you are wondering where to start, I strongly recommend the news aggregating site: https://www.whatfinger.com/ This site provides some links to mainstream media sources, but most of the links come from alternative news sources. It also includes some video links at the top and occasionally down below. If what you see offends you, ask yourself, why? Why does it offend you? Most likely it’s because you have been so thoroughly gaslighted that you cannot believe it.
If you are more video oriented, and not so much a reader, try some of these sources:
If you spend enough time watching and reading from these sites you will begin to notice the gaslighting when you turn on your TV and watch the major news media outlets. I promise you that you will. And you will thank me when you do.
This article was written to provide an update to the original, which was published on August 14 in the Los Alamos Reporter. If you haven’t read that article, we highly recommend you go back and give it a read. Now we have 13 more days of data to add to the previous data set and given the impending expiration of the Governor’s latest orders, it seems prudent to give interested New Mexicans the most up-to-date information on the status of COVID-19 in our State. The data in this article, as in the original, are sourced from The COVID Tracking Project(https://covidtracking.com), sponsored by The Atlantic. Drilling down, the historical data for New Mexico can be found here: (https://covidtracking.com/data/state/new-mexico#historical).
If you read the original article, you will know that for New Mexico the main takeaways were: 1) the so called “spike” or “second wave” of the virus was not real because it was simply the result of a very real spike in daily new testing; 2) there was no corresponding “spike” or “second wave” of daily new hospitalizations or deaths; 3) the probability of a random New Mexican having died from COVID-19 by August 11, 2020 was approximately 2.1 in a million, and; 4) the numbers across the board were trending downward. The questions we want to address in this article are: 1) after 13 more days, do these conclusions still stand; 2) are the numbers still trending downward; 3) if so, by how much, and; 4) what else do the data tell us?
The great news is, the answers to these questions appear to be yes, yes, and see below.
What the New Data Tell Us
The Death Count
The historical data for New Mexico show that the daily number of deaths from COVID-19 peaked around mid-May with an average daily value of approximately 8 deaths statewide per day. Daily deaths continued to decline after that until early July when the average daily value bottomed out at approximately 3 deaths statewide per day. The daily average rose back up to around 5 by the end of July and lately has been trending back down. The overall average daily number of deaths since the first case was recorded in New Mexico is approximately 4.5. The overall trend through August 22 is basically flat, with a very slightly downward trend, as can be seen in the graph below.
Previously we talked about the number of deaths from COVID-19 in New Mexico for the purposes of comparison with the most recent two influenza seasons. Since those numbers are absolutes, it seems more useful now to talk about trends. Using the US Census total population data estimate for 2019 for New Mexico of 2,096,829, during the two-week period of peak average daily deaths, from May 3 through May 16, on any given day a random New Mexican had approximately 4.2 chances in a million of dying from COVID-19. For the most recent two-week period ending August 22, 2020 on any given day a random New Mexican had approximately 2.1 chances in a million of dying from the disease. Half the chances of the peak period. Breaking these numbers down further, by age group, consider the following chart and graph:
Clearly, older age groups have a much greater chance of dying from COVID-19 than younger age groups in New Mexico. In fact, in New Mexico, for all practical purposes, the chances of someone under the age of 25 are almost zero (since the data set is incomplete, we can’t say it is zero and we know that it isn’t). Those aged 25 to 64 years account for approximately 29 percent of deaths in New Mexico from COVID-19. Approximately 70 percent of deaths from COVID-19 are among those aged 65 and older. What this means is that on any given day during the most recent two-week period, if you are a New Mexican aged 65 or older, your chances of dying from COVID-19 were approximately 1.5 in a million. If you are aged 25 to 64, your chances were 0.6 in a million, or significantly less than one in a million. If you are under the age of 25, your chances were almost zero in a million. Not to diminish the value of every human life, but these are amazingly low odds.
There is also an abundance of evidence now strongly associating at least one or more comorbidity with dying from COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/evidence-table.html). What this means is that healthy young people are, for all intents and purposes, in no danger at all from COVID-19. Furthermore, healthy middle-aged adults are also in practically no danger from COVID-19. Finally, the highest risk people are those over 65 years of age who have one or more established pre-existing health conditions that have been strongly correlated with mortality from COVID-19. According to the CDC, these are: serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies; cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD; obesity (BMI>30); sickle cell disease; solid organ transplantation, and; type 2 diabetes. So if you are healthy and over the age of 65, your chances of dying from COVID-19 on any given day during the last two weeks were less than 1.5 in a million.
New Cases and Testing
Moving on to daily new cases, we continue to see a sharp decline in new cases being detected on a daily basis. Since the peak on July 28 at 460 new cases, the average daily number of new cases for the most recent one-week period, ending August 25, 2020 is 122, with 73 being reported on August 25. This is an average rate of decline of 12 new cases per day. If this rate of decline continues, in approximately 11 days, sometime around September 5, New Mexico may no longer be recording any new cases.
From our previous analysis, we found a directly proportional relationship between daily new testing numbers and daily new case numbers. The graph below presents the data for daily new testing. As you can see, daily new testing has slightly declined from near the end of July through August 25 (with a 2-day spike in new tests near the end of the period).
The following graph shows the weekly average new cases per test (in percentages) since testing began in New Mexico.
The peaks on this graph are artifacts of the data set that resulted mostly in the beginning of the pandemic when data collection was still being organized and the initial challenges that go along with any major data collection effort is undertaken. As you can see, over time, as the data collection process became more streamlined, the line becomes more stable. The trendline, shown as a dotted line, provides a more accurate picture of reality. And the reality is, since the week of July 11 this average has either been flat or in decline. For the most recent week recorded, that average number of cases per test was 2.1 percent. What these two graphs mean when taken together is that daily new cases have been declining at a significantly higher rate than daily new testing; therefore, we cannot attribute all of the decline in new cases to reduced testing. In fact, it shows that very little of the decline in new cases can be attributed to reduced testing.
The following graph shows the daily hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in New Mexico since the first patient was admitted in April. Once the reporting procedures stabilized around the last week of June, the average daily number of new COVID-19 patients being hospitalized was approximately 17.4. This number trended up until the end of July, where it was averaging around 28.1 new admissions per day. Since then it has been trending down, with the average daily admissions for the most recent week at 8.1. If this trend continues on its current trajectory, hospitalizations may also reach zero in New Mexico within the next week to two weeks.
Our final graph of the data that includes new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations combined is shown here:
Although the lines for new hospitalizations and deaths are somewhat difficult to see, it is clear that all the trends are either flat or down.
Over the last three calendar years, fatalities from automobile-related accidents in New Mexico averaged 1.1 per day (https://gps.unm.edu/gps_assets/tru_data/Crash-Reports/Fatality-Reports/2019-fatalities.pdf). As a community, we have accepted the risks associated with driving on our roads and highways, knowing that every day, someone is going to die in a car accident. If that number were 2 people per day, or even three people per day, would we radically change the way live our lives? Would we reduce speed limits to half their current limits if that brought the number down and, if so, how much would it need to bring that number down before we would accept such a change? These are very difficult questions and everyone is sure to have a different opinion.
The current public health order is set to expire this month. The daily numbers are rapidly approaching zero. Given this information, the question before us is, how much longer do we need to keep the various restrictions in place, if at all? Given that there was no second wave or spike in cases in New Mexico to begin with, a very strong argument could be made for ending them right now; however, an extension of the restrictions still would not be justifiable beyond an additional two weeks. If, after an additional two weeks, the trends reverse, we could, of course, consider extending some of the public health orders further, but clearly, no public health orders are even now warranted by the data. What is certain is that if our leaders are truly allowing science and data to drive their decision-making, another full month of restrictions is completely unjustified.
For as long as I have been paying attention to politics, namely, my whole life, all I have ever heard from the Political Intelligentsia, is that politicians who want to get elected must lean to their party’s extreme to win in the primary and then move to the center to win the general election. If this is news to you, you definitely are new to American politics. This is because it is typically the party die-hards who show up for the primaries, who want to see a candidate get nominated that best reflects their party’s values, but a lot more people show up for general elections and those people are less idealistic than the party die-hards. To win these less idealistic voters over, it is said that politicians must soften their views so as not to sound so extreme and thus convince these so-called “Independents” that they are the best choice for the job. Hence all the negative advertisements during the general election painting opponents as extremists, with lots of pull quotes from their primary campaigning to prove it.
When the pollsters conduct a pre-election poll, they prefer to poll “likely voters.” After all, what point would it be to poll people who aren’t planning to vote? But to do so, they have to select a representative sample of voters from the population. Typically the pollsters will try to estimate the percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents that are going to vote and then make sure the polling reflects those proportions (or not, if they have a different objective). The farther off these estimates are from reality, the lower the accuracy of the poll will be, so they say. Exactly how they come up with these estimates is not a topic I have spent any time trying to figure out, but what I do know is that undersampling or oversampling a particular group will definitely throw off the results. That is how they got the 2016 Presidential Election so stunningly wrong.
One of the explanations for inaccurate polls that I have heard many times over the years is that the people who are polled cannot be relied upon to tell the truth. The theory goes that they may not want anyone, even a pollster who doesn’t know them, to know who they are really planning to vote for. Then, of course, there are those who just want to mess with the pollsters by giving them false answers. But I have a new theory as to why the polls, as this article is titled, are simply useless. Their premise about Independents, is false.
It occurred to me recently that anyone who pays any attention to politics, enough to participate in elections by voting, in 2020, and even in 2016, cannot possibly, by now, not know who they are planning to vote for in the Presidential Election. In fact, the USA is so incredibly polarized now, and has been since at least 2015, that it is impossible for me to imagine anyone who pays sufficient attention to want to vote, to be sitting on the fence between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Am I right?
But if this is true, then who really are all these so-called “Independents?” I have an idea.
For many years I called myself an Independent, but then I realized at some point that even though I called myself that, I always wound up voting Republican. (In middle school, I stood on the corner of a bypass holding up a Dick Riley sign in Greenville, SC, because he went to high school with my father. That’s my only brush with support for a Democrat.) So why did I call myself an Independent? Because I wanted to signal that I was open to voting either way, depending upon which candidate seemed to be the best choice for the job. Of course, that was mostly back in the days when there were still a few centrist Democrat politicians around. My wife, Amanda, also called herself an Independent for many years, even though she almost always voted Democrat (she calls herself a Libertarian these days). So it occurred to me that maybe people who bother to take the time to go to the polls and vote really don’t include a set of people who might vote either way. At least, not in significant numbers.
But if that’s true, assuming that party die-hards always get out and vote and do so for their party’s candidates, how to explain the shifts back and forth in various elections from one major party to the other? And the occasional landslide?Here is what I think. I think that there really aren’t any voters that are truly Independents. Okay, maybe a handful. A statistically insignificant few. But in fact, everyone, for all intents and purposes, knows what party they most closely identify with. Sure, this year it appears that there may be a fairly significant number of people who are changing their party loyalty, but these aren’t Independents. These are people who are fed up with the direction their party has taken.
So what does this mean? First, it means that the current polling methodology is USELESS. Second, it means something else is driving the outcomes of general elections. Something other than politicians moving to the center to capture the “all important” Independent vote. So what is driving the outcomes of general elections?
I wrote a couple of blogs back in 2016 that touched on this that are still up on The Gatherer. I went back and re-read them the other day and everything in them still holds true. I wouldn’t change a word. Enthusiasm completely controls the outcomes of general elections. It may also be true in the primaries, but each party has so much power to control the outcomes of their primaries, that it probably isn’t as big of a factor. Think about it. If your party’s candidate isn’t firing up the base, how on earth do you expect the less idealistic voters in your party to get motivated to vote? And isn’t that exactly what we see going on right now in the Presidential campaigns?
In my city, Santa Fe, New Mexico, you could potentially drive around all day and not see a single solitary campaign sign or sticker for Joe Biden, and this town is super left-wing. Of course, you don’t see that many Trump signs or stickers either, but then again, Trump’s voters don’t want to get beat up or have their car or truck get keyed. And they generally like their liberal friends and don’t want to be ostracized by them. Which is a very real possibility.
But I can assure you, there are plenty of Trump fans in Santa Fe and they will be coming out of the woodwork to vote for him on November 3rd. There may not be enough of them to overcome the Democrat die-hards, but their numbers won’t be insignificant. One thing is certain, there will be many, many more voters for Trump in New Mexico this time around than there were in 2016. When I speak privately with my conservative and centrist friends who plan to vote, they say they cannot wait for November 3rd to get here. Enthusiasm for Trump is sky high. Enthusiasm for Joe Biden is practically non-existent. It wasn’t that long ago that New Mexico was considered a “purple” state. If my theory is correct, it likely still is. And if that’s true, then Trump and the Republicans may very well just flip this state red this fall.
So what are the main takeaways from this idea that there really aren’t any Independents to speak of? First, to get accurate polling, pollsters should be polling enthusiasm. Period. Anything else is going to give a poor result. Second, politicians who want to win, need to stop swinging back to the middle to try to capture the so-called, but really non-existent, Independents. Does Trump ever walk anything back and apologize for anything he says? No. He doubles down. If there were any truly independent voters out there, doubling down would be the kiss of death for a candidate. Instead, what we see is his supporters getting even more fired up when he does that. That should be all the proof we need.
Author’s note: My apologies to Libertarians out there, whom I have left out of this analysis, but they so rarely have an impact on elections, that I couldn’t see how to fit them in.
When a new SARS-type virus from China began to make the news this past winter, like so many others before it, my first inclination was to ignore it. It sounded just like all the others to me, much to do about nothing. But then it became much more apparent that this one was going to be different. As momentum started building and the disease we now call the all-too-familiar name COVID-19 was formally declared a pandemic, states and countries started mobilizing their health agencies to gather data on this novel coronavirus. Various organizations began compiling all this state and international data, collating it, and posting it on their websites. At this point I began taking a much greater interest in it. Looking around online, I found?The COVID Tracking Project(https://covidtracking.com), sponsored by?The Atlantic. Drilling down I was able to locate the historical data for New Mexico (https://covidtracking.com/data/state/new-mexico#historical).
The first thing I noticed is that the data are presented in a less-than-optimal way to understand what they mean. While the numbers for New Tests are given as a daily total, the numbers for Cases, Hospitalized, and Deaths are provided as cumulative totals going all the way back to the beginning of the data set. Cumulative totals are deceptive in that they are much larger than daily totals and they don?t tell the real story. In order to find the real story, you have to subtract the previous day?s total from the current day?s total to get the current daily total, for every single day of the data set. So I did this, and the results are very interesting.
As I did the math to get the daily totals, I typed them into three spreadsheets. The first spreadsheet tracks the daily deaths from COVID-19. These numbers are among the most important, because most people agree that the state of being dead is not particularly debatable and because ultimately, death is the worst and most feared potential result of becoming infected with this disease. The second spreadsheet tracks daily new cases of COVID-19. The key metric in this data set is not so much the number of cases, but the daily number of new cases per daily number of new tests. This value is expressed as a percentage since there are far fewer cases than tests. This value is so important because it removes the effect of variability in the daily new tests numbers. In other words, what we really want to know is not how many new cases there are, but are more people really catching the disease? The third spreadsheet combines the data for daily new cases, new deaths, and new hospitalizations, so that we can see how they compare.
What the Data Actually Tell Us
The Death Count
Starting with the daily number of deaths the first thing we notice is that deaths from COVID-19 peaked around mid-May with an average daily value of approximately 8 deaths statewide per day. Daily deaths continued to decline after this until early July when the average daily value bottomed out at approximately 3 deaths statewide per day. The daily average rose back up to 5 by the end of July and lately has been trending back down. New Mexico is currently averaging approximately 4 deaths statewide per day. The overall average daily number of deaths since the first case was recorded in New Mexico is approximately 4.5. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the most recent estimated population of New Mexico (for 2019) was 2,096,829, or roughly 2.1 million.
As of August 11, 2020 the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in New Mexico was 688. Given a population 2.1 million people, that means that we have experienced approximately 32.5 deaths per 100,000 residents for the entirety of the pandemic. By comparison, during the 2018-2019 influenza season (Oct.-May), New Mexico experienced 11 deaths from pneumonia and influenza per 100,000 residents and in the prior season, 14 deaths per 100,000 residents (New Mexico Epidemiology, Vol. 2019, No. 10). So far, that means that in New Mexico, the chances of a random resident dying of COVID-19 are roughly two and half to three times their chances of dying from pneumonia or influenza in recent years. Not to diminish the value of every human life, but these are not large numbers. On any given day, a random New Mexico resident has approximately 2.1 chances in a million to die from COVID-19. Those are pretty good odds. A graph of the daily new deaths from COVID-19 is shown here:
The dotted trendline approximates the running average and notice that generally speaking, the line is relatively flat and there is no spike in deaths corresponding to the ?spike? in cases. A very slight uptick, yes, but nothing anyone could realistically call a spike.
Moving on to daily new cases, what we see in the data are two things. First, from the beginning, we see a rise in daily new cases, which leveled off in early May at around an average of 140 new cases per day and declined slightly until the beginning of June, settling at around an average of 130 new cases per day. Second, starting in early June, we see another significant rise in daily new cases, peaking most recently in late July at around an average of 300 new cases per day. For the most recent two weeks, daily new cases have been trending downward with the most recent 3-day average as of August 11 being around 160 new cases per day. At first glance, these numbers would seem to support the claim that New Mexico experienced a ?second wave? of infections from COVID-19, which has now passed (see the graph below); however, a closer look at the data reveals the truth.?
First, as testing began, our testing capacity was extremely limited. As time progressed, our testing capacity increased; however, in order to make sure we had enough tests to go around, we limited testing to those who were experiencing actual symptoms of COVID-19. That made sense. If you?re not sick, you?re not in immediate danger of death from COVID-19. Second, in late April, our testing capacity increased dramatically and we opened up testing to anyone who wanted to be tested. A ?case? was redefined in the process from being someone who exhibited symptoms?and?tested positive for COVID-19 to?anyone?who tested positive?for COVID-19,?even if they were entirely asymptomatic. To find out the impact of increased testing and the new definition of a ?case,? we have to remove the effects of these variables from the data. To do so, we simply divide the number of daily new cases by the number of daily new tests performed. The result is startling. As you can see quite clearly in the graph above and the graph below, the daily number of new cases correlates very closely to the number of daily new tests performed since the beginning, with very minor small-scale variations.
The next thing to notice is the difference in the scales of the two graphs. The scale for New Tests is approximately 23 times as high as the scale for New Cases! To see what that means visually, the next graph, below, shows the two data sets on the same scale. It is difficult to see a spike in new cases in this graph.
And now, the most important graph of all, the graph that tells the real story, is the graph showing the weekly average number of new cases per test, below.
The peaks on this graph are artifacts of the data set that resulted mostly in the beginning of the pandemic when data collection was still being organized and the initial challenges that go along with any major data collection effort is undertaken. As you can see, over time, as the data collection process became more streamlined, the line becomes more stable. The trendline, shown as a dotted line, provides a more accurate picture of reality. And the reality is, since the beginning of June, when the ?spike? in new cases began, the weekly average number of cases per test has not exceeded 5 percent and for the last 4 weeks this average has been in decline. For the most recent week recorded, that average number of cases per test was 2.9 percent. The bottom line is, the ?spike? in cases was caused by the spike in new testing and the testing of people who were and are asymptomatic. The reality is, fewer and fewer residents of New Mexico are coming down with COVID-19 and at some point no amount of testing will give the appearance otherwise. This also means that there isn?t going to be a third wave, because there never really was a second wave. If you start hearing about a third wave, follow the data. Therein lies the truth, but that?s not the end of this story. We have one more data set to look at: Hospitalizations.
The third spreadsheet includes daily new hospitalizations from COVID-19 along with daily new cases and daily new deaths. A graph of these data is shown here:
This graph clearly shows that the number of daily new hospitalizations and deaths did not dramatically increase with the number of new cases. This is further evidence that the ?spike? in new cases was caused entirely by the extreme increase in new testing.
So what does all this mean? The number one justification for all the public health orders mandating the closure of ?non-essential? businesses, social distancing, mask wearing, self-quarantine, and staying at home except for emergencies and absolute necessities, was the oft repeated mantra of a spike in cases, the ever growing number of deaths and hospitalizations, and the rationalization that if these measures ?save just one life? they will have been worth it. The question before us is, is it worth it? Has it been worth it? I?ll leave that for you to decide for yourself, because as New Mexicans, that?s what we’re going to do anyway!
If you would like to have a copy of the Excel spreadsheet file from which these graphs were derived, you can download it here:
Okay. Big topic! Yuuuuuuuge topic! Only many, many thousands of words, pages, and books have been written on this one. So why am I writing yet another one? Well, are there still any atheists out there? Yep. Even after all that has been written on the subject. So why not add a few more words to the mountain of words that have already been written? Why not, indeed?
Let me begin by saying that I came to the conclusion that God definitely exists, late in life. The reason for this is that although I had been churched in my youth, no one had ever taken the time to lay it all out for me in the way I?m going to do here. Furthermore, I did not want anyone to lay it out like this. I did not want to know the truth, because I feared that the truth might give me sufficient reason not to live my life the way I darn well pleased. In short, I was willfully ignorant. Blissfully ignorant. Until one day, I wasn’t.
Then, I wished with all of my being that I had not ignored the truth for so long. So many years of my life, wasted, chasing personal goals and getting nowhere fast. And more and more miserable with each passing year. Until finally, I could no longer ignore it. I had to get to the bottom of it. No more putting it off. No more agnosticism. No more excuses.
So I did. And here is what I found:
Reason 1: If there is no God, then I am just a bunch of molecules behaving in a highly organized manner according to the physical laws of chemical reactions that were initiated with the Big Bang. And if that’s true, then I am unaccountable for my behavior, I am merely doing what I was bound to do the instant the Universe exploded into being (which means I cannot be judged by anyone for anything I do). Furthermore, I will continue to do what those chemical reactions cause me to do, whether I like it or not. And when I say do, I also mean think. The decisions I make, everything, are just chemical reactions. I have no soul. I have no reason for existing. No one is greater than me. No one’s opinion is any more valid than mine. And finally, there is no right or wrong. No good or evil. Just physics and chemistry doing what the laws of nature dictate.
Now stop and think about this for a moment. It isn’t really an argument for the existence of God. It is more like a reason to want God to exist. Because if God does not exist, and if everyone knew it, imagine what kind of hell this world would be then! Anything goes! If it feels good, even if it harms someone else, who cares? Do it. After all, you are just doing what the laws of physics and chemistry dictated you would do long before you ever came into existence.
And if this is true, then why do so many people choose to aim for being, at least to some degree, good? Why do the concepts of good and evil exist? Why are children born with an innate sense of justice? Chemical reactions again? And where do we get the desire to live from? Why do we care? Chemical reactions? And what about one of the fundamental tenets of Evolutionary Theory, the desire to reproduce? Where did that come from? Chemical reactions, again?
This last one is particularly difficult because if there is no God, then there never was any reason for any cluster of molecules to “want” to reproduce. Go check your chemistry and physics books and see if you can find any of them that say anything about molecules or matter “wanting” to do anything. You won’t find it. Matter behaves according to the laws of physics. Molecules behave according to the laws of chemistry. Period. Done. There is no law in either of these disciplines about anything “wanting” to do anything.
While Reason 1 still does not prove the existence of God, let me just say that it provides a very compelling case in favor of hoping God exists. The existence of God makes the Universe a whole lot more tolerable.
Reason 2: Back to the Big Bang. The one question that scientists unanimously agree can never be answered is what existed before the Big Bang? It is unknowable. No one is even working on it.
So why does this matter? It matters because according to Big Bang theory, the entire Universe was once completely compressed into a single point. A volume-less point. A singularity as mathematicians and scientist call it. In other words, it did not exist. So, from out of nothing, total nothingness, with nothing existing, no God, no nothing to cause the Universe to come into existence, somehow, we are supposed to believe it just did. And not only that, but why it did can never be known.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t really sound like something a real scientist who is being honest with him or herself could believe. I would say it takes a bigger act of faith to believe that than to simply believe that God exists and he caused the Universe to come into existence. Even if you go no further than that in your belief.
Reason 3: No one has yet even come close to causing life to spontaneously arise from inanimate matter.
Okay, this reason has only been available to us for the last few decades, because we have only recently achieved the level of knowledge of microorganisms and how they work that we should be able to, in the laboratory, under the most highly controlled circumstances imaginable, cause inanimate matter to come to life. Think about this. We are told, and are supposed to believe, that life spontaneously arose in our Universe simply because the odds were that on at least one planet among many billions of planets in one galaxy among many billions of galaxies, just the right conditions under which the sequence of events necessary for life to spontaneously arise were sure to occur. And furthermore, that those events did occur simply because the right conditions were present.
Okay. Fine. What, exactly, were those conditions? There have been a number of theories postulated on this one. One that most people are familiar with is some kind of primordial soup or muck where the right combination of naturally occurring organic molecules happened to be in the right place at the right time with just the right application of energy and other conditions that suddenly, just the right chemical reactions occurred and something remotely resembling life suddenly came into existence. That thing, whatever it was, was somehow motivated to make more of itself. Furthermore, it had to already have some sort of scheme for doing so, therefore it had to be a pretty complicated molecule or cluster of molecules!
But, supposedly, it was bound to happen due to the incredible number of opportunities that, by the law of averages, existed and yet still exist in a Universe that still, no one, can explain why it exists in the first place, and no one is even attempting to explain, because everyone agrees that it is unknowable. And on top of that, if it could conceivably happen by accident under the right conditions, then why have we not simply demonstrated it in the laboratory? We don’t need to wait for it to happen again in nature so we can observe it. We should be able to simply recreate those conditions in a controlled environment and make life spontaneously arise from inanimate matter. But we can’t. Even with all of the incredible technology available to us in this amazing day and age, we can’t do in a laboratory what we think happened simply by accident in nature! Really??? But don’t take my word for it, watch this:
Right. Seems to me that it is a whole lot simpler, although maybe not nearly as much fun to contemplate, to believe that God made it happen. For those of you out there that are adherents to Occam’s Razor, God is right up your alley!
Reason 4: Geologic time isn’t even remotely enough time for random mutations and natural selection to take us from inanimate molecules to human beings. Sure, four billion or so years is a LOT of time, but it turns out, if you do the math, that it would take many trillions of years just for an extremely simple 200-component organism to evolve by random mutations and natural selection. The math has been done. The jury is back. The verdict is in and the case is closed. The fundamental tenets of Evolutionary Theory are so flawed they don?t even begin to account for the complexity of living organisms on Earth. The belief that eventually all the remaining unknowns and missing components of Evolutionary Theory will be discovered is a vastly greater act of faith than simply believing in the existence of God.
Reason 5: No one has ever managed, under the utmost controlled circumstances, to cause one species of animal to evolve into another. Think about this one. Humans have been using breeding techniques for thousands of years to modify successive generations of living organisms in such a way as to give them certain desired characteristics. So why is it that no one has actually started with one species of animal and continued to modify it through successive generations until the result is a new species? Forget about causing life to spontaneously arise in a laboratory, we can’t even do something so simple as taking an already living organism and accelerated natural selection by using human selection to cause it to evolve into something so different as to be an altogether different species. And yet, we are supposed to believe that it happened millions of times by chance in nature. Brutal.
Reason 6: Ever thought you had a question about God, the answer to which, no one could possibly conceive? Guess what, it has been answered. Yes. Not only has someone already thought of it, but someone really, really smart, and often many really, really smart people, have already done all the work for you and answered it. After thousands of years, rest assured, there are no new questions to be asked about God. And after just as many years, those questions have all already been tackled and answered. Just because you don’t know the answer, and can’t imagine one could exist, doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t know the answer and hasn’t already answered it. The internet is an amazing tool. Google it.
If that doesn’t satisfy you, then I suggest reading the works of some of the greatest minds to ever tackle the most difficult questions imaginable about God and world we live in. One of them is C.S. Lewis, but if you prefer someone more contemporary, try Tim Keller. Or just walk into any Christian bookstore and you will find shelves of books written by prominent Christian apologists who have answered every question of which you can think. The only reason anyone can give for not knowing the answers is not trying (or wanting) to find out.
Reason 7: The proof is out there. Yes. That’s right. If you need proof, it exists. More than one book out there has been written for the average reader that assembles all of the known information about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and presents the evidence in a logical order such that by the time you reach the end of the book, the proof cannot be refuted. At least, not by any reasonable person. And if you consider yourself a reasonable person, then you are left with no choice but to believe that not only is there a God, but that Jesus was God incarnate. And after all, if Jesus really existed and really was who He said He was, then it follows naturally that God must exist. Two books I know of on the subject are: The Case for Faith, by Lee Strobel and Cold Case Christianity, by J. Warner Wallace. I?ve read the second one and seen the movie (The Case for Christ) for the first one. Both are excellent.
There are many, many more reasons than these, but they are reasons that, as time has gone by, I have come to adopt as a result of my continuing search for the truth. Reading about and discussing the teachings of Jesus with Christians that I admire and respect, as well as listening weekly to sermons by pastors who have vastly more knowledge than I, have greatly broadened my understanding of God and Christianity. I would encourage anyone who wants to get to the bottom of this matter to do the same. Discovering God is a journey. You follow a path. Everyone is not on the same place on that path. You don’t have to believe everything all at once. Maybe you only decide one little thing might be true and pursue it. Over time, you gain more confidence in your belief that that little thing is true. Then maybe you start to see other things that you might be able to believe. As you investigate those, in time, you grow in your new beliefs. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes a desire to know the truth.
Maybe you are still not convinced. I get it. Letting go of something you have believed for so many years is a hurdle far too high for most people to jump. Furthermore, it is likely that not only you hold your beliefs, but you also associate with others who believe the same things you do. They are your friends. You love them. Most people don’t want to give up their friends, which is what frequently happens when someone reverses their position on this particular topic (it’s just that hot). This topic is of such a magnitude and of such great import that people don?t just wake up one day and say, “Hey, I think I’m going to believe in God now!” It takes time. For some people, it takes a LOT of time. (And for some people, time runs out first.) Don’t worry. God has plenty of time. He can wait. He is patient. He invented patience! He knows you. He loves you. And He is willing to wait as long as it takes for you to discover Him. He wants you to discover Him. But you have to come to Him. He is assuredly pursuing you, but He is God, after all.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
I wish you the very best in your journey and I am simply glad that maybe, just maybe, you are on the path to discovering the truth.
When I was younger, say, about 10 years younger, or more, I used to read from and listen to media outlets on the left regularly. I found it to be a siren song sometimes, particularly NPR. Those NPR voices are the most soothing I’ve ever heard on radio. And the musical jingle they play for NPR News is so nerdy sounding, how could any self-described intellectual not love it? And, of course, NPR has some great programs. Who could resist listening to Dick Estell, the Radio Reader, if he or she has the time? The only person on NPR that ever irked me was Daniel Shore, who was the most overtly, egregiously, over-the-top left-wing-nutcase commentator ever to be heard over the NPR frequencies. He didn’t even try to hide his political leanings. And his analysis, well, it just plain sucked. Anyone with half a brain could see that. But there he was, every day, dropping great pearls of left-wing commentary and real jewels of political analysis on NPR’s listeners. I figured he must be there to make the rest of the news folks seem balanced, both politically, and psychologically. He passed away a few years ago, and I, well, I was still listening to NPR when it happened and I, well, I have to admit, I thought to myself, I hope they don’t replace him with another nutcase just like him!
But in the end, I just quit listening to NPR entirely. I also quit listening to the few other left-wing talk radio shows that were still trying to survive, but were so horrible they didn’t make it. I also gave up watching the news on TV. For several years I had already given up watching anything but FOX, but then I realized FOX isn’t all that conservative, either. It just seems like it is because compared to the other television news media, it is. But the truth is, it doesn’t take much to be to the right of CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, or CBS. Or even ESPN, although people don’t normally think of ESPN as a news channel. But if you watch it long enough, you may discover that ESPN is so loaded down with left-wing propaganda, it hardly seems like a sports channel anymore. So, I quit listening to non-conservative radio and I quit watching television altogether, and as for reading, well, I get all my news online these days. The Liberal bias in the media was really starting to annoy me in a big way. Mostly, I just never heard anything new or worth adopting.
About 10 years ago I starting educating myself on Conservatism (in America) because a liberal friend of mine challenged me to define it and I found that I couldn’t. You can imagine my consternation when I realized I had no good way to articulate my beliefs. Seriously. I couldn’t do it. I have since discovered that this is actually a real problem for people who refer to themselves as conservative. Go ask a politician to define it sometime. See what you get. And then there are the commentators, even Rush Limbaugh, who will tell you that it is easy to define Liberalism, but no one seems to be in agreement as to what is Conservatism.
So, for several years I kept trying to define Conservatism in terms of policy positions, but that was ridiculous. Trying to do that is like picking colors to paint your home without ever seeing your home. You have nothing on which to base your color selections. Just a bunch of feelings about how you think it should be. Of course, that is flawed because everyone has different feelings about what policy should be, depending upon the issue. It is my firm belief that the VAST majority of people who identify as conservative, do so because they realized at one point or another, that where they come down on policies is more closely aligned with those typically held by people who call themselves conservatives, or often just as Republicans, than with those held by liberals or Democrats.
The problem with going about it this way is that there are as many different combinations of policy positions as there are people who hold them. It’s a sort of circular logic. Many people who call themselves conservatives do so because they align with so-called conservatives, who call themselves conservatives because they, too, align with other so-called conservatives. What you get after enough time, with this way of defining Conservatism, is a mess!
That is when it hit me that policy positions are best defined as the emergent property of a set of values. The values themselves being something entirely separate. When I say, “best defined,” I do so because if they aren’t based on something besides personal feelings, on something concrete, separate, and well defined, then they are based on nothing to which anyone can point to and defend. So then I started trying to define conservative values, but that, too, I found to be ridiculous, because values, I realized, are the emergent property of an ideal. So then I started trying to identify such an ideal.
The ideal I found is the same ideal that our nation’s founders had. Freedom. Maximum possible individual freedom for all. Such freedom is only limited at the point where it infringes upon someone else’s freedom.
From this ideal flows all of my political values and from those values all of my political policy positions. Well, with one small caveat, I view freedom from a Christian point of view, just as most of our nation’s founders did. And those few who didn’t, still believed in God and had no problem with those who also believed in Jesus.
So, if you ask me what is Conservatism? I can easily tell you now that it is the belief in the exact same thing our nation’s founders believed, which was that humans were created to be free. And that governments are, most unfortunately, a necessary evil, that must be devised in such a way as to keep their power and interference in our lives to an absolute minimum. The Founders intended to create a federal government that served only the absolutely most essential functions necessary and no more. They were bent on writing a constitution that would accomplish this goal. It had never been done before. They had no past experience creating such a government to guide them. No ability to look back and see where the previous attempt went wrong. They did their best. They were tremendously successful, yet, they ultimately failed. What we have today, in America, is an utter failure in the eyes of our nation’s founders.
A true Conservative in this day and age is someone who wants to restore the original intent of America’s founders. Maximum possible freedom for all.
A good friend of mine was musing the other day about how a President Hillary would proceed on foreign policy and Obamacare, in light of how badly those two things have gone for her predecessor and where they seem to be headed. I replied to him before I had a chance to watch the last debate, but Hillary just confirmed my expectations in the debate. Here it is.
So, assuming a Trump loss, which I still don’t think is going to happen, in spite of the polls and prognostications, and particularly in light of his performance in the second debate, I am sure a Clinton II presidency would double down on Obama’s foreign intervention and policy. It has been her policy to go around the world messing in everyone else’s business and there is no reason to think she is going to change.
Obamacare would probably be amended by the Republicans to say whatever Hillary wants it to say, since the Republicans are just lapdogs for the Democrats. It would continue to fail ever more disastrously, but I doubt she would go along with any kind of replacement that might improve the situation, because such improvements would be to admit failure. So our healthcare system would continue to implode in slow motion just as it has been for some time now. Watching that one happen would be downright humorous, if it weren’t so tragic.
Now, if you know me, you know I am an eternal optimist. And my optimism sometimes leads to errors in judgement. Sometimes. I’m working on that. However, I am looking hard to find any other evidence besides polling that Trump is losing. That is all there is. Virtually every other indicator there is is saying landslide for Trump. Or at least a win. Also, I have no stock in Trump. I’m a Ted Cruz supporter. It would be fine with me if he just barely wins, so I have no reason to be so optimistic about his chances.
Since I don’t live in SC, I can’t accurately read the public political sentiment there as well as those who do, thus this past spring I failed?to recognize the superglue hold Lindsay Grahamnasty has on his Senate seat and called it wrong in the primary this year. But I do have a firsthand read on one of, if not the most, left-wing cities in America, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This city is a professional cheer leading team for Democrats. As I wrote in a recent blog post, the cheer leaders are sitting on the bench staring at the scoreboard?with long faces, wishing their team had a different quarterback and wanting it to hurry up and be over with. Zero enthusiasm. Zero energy.
Since the bomb dropped last Friday about Trump and his “locker room talk,” there has been no discernible uptick in enthusiasm in Santa Fe. Just a lot of dirty looks as though “that brutish man isn’t going to grab my p***y!”
You can’t see that, because you live in a state that is totally behind Trump. But I can. And if apathy for the election is this bad in Santa Fe, imagine what it is like elsewhere around the country where Dems are generally in lower concentrations than they are in Santa Fe. Demoralized. Defeated. Sure, they may be getting a little boost from the media frenzy over the “locker room talk” issue, but they aren’t about voting against Trump, they are about voting for their nominee, except that they aren’t this time.
Everyone knows that it is historically rare for the party in the WH to get a third term. Doing so is an uphill battle for anyone going up against that. Last time was GHW Bush riding Reagan’s popularity. Obama has nothing like that kind of popularity. I totally understand your argument about demographics, but for demographics to matter, people have to be excited and get out and vote. We watched the conservative majority in this country get defeated year after year by a liberal minority, because the liberal minority was far more energized. The demographics may have flipped, but the ability of a minority to defeat a majority has not and never will flip, until the minority becomes so tiny it is no longer a significant player.
Maybe I’m wrong, but a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate, along with increasing Republican majorities in over thirty state legislatures, seems to indicate that at least the Republican party hasn’t gotten that small, yet! Conservatives, on the other hand, may well be done for. Hard to say, yet.
Finally, as I have pointed out before, Obama had huge excitement and energy behind him and he barely eeked out victories both times against horrible Republican opponents. Don’t pay any attention to those idiots in the Republican party who keep endorsing, then unendorsing, then endorsing, then unendorsing Trump. They are just trying to calculate which position might best favor their chances of re-election. Endorsements have been shown by extensive research to have almost no impact on campaigns. They have mostly to do with benefitting the endorser, by riding coattails. And after flip flopping so many times, no one is taking them seriously anymore.
Anyway, I’ve already been over this ground before. You probably know all the other reasons I have for anticipating a Trump victory. If you don’t, I invite you to read other posts on this site! My prayer?now is for Trump to have the ability to not defeat himself before 9 NOV. I have little confidence there, but seeing how he has responded to?the latest two blows gives me hope!
Since the day I wrote this, the media has been calling the election over. Done. Trump is finished! His poll numbers are in free-fall (even though we don’t yet have any numbers from the second debate)! The Republican Establishment folks are looking for every excuse possible to abandon him and anxiously awaiting a Hillary victory! And I am thinking to myself, where have I heard all this before??? Ohhhh yeeeaaahhhh! Just a few months ago during the Republican primaries! After each and every debate and public appearance where Trump opened his mouth, the genius prognosticators in the media and the Republican Party proclaimed, loudly, “this time he’s finally done it!” He’s finished! NO ONE will vote for him now! And then there would be another primary and he would win by a greater margin than the last one.
As painful as it is watching all this take place, it is putting a spotlight on the turncoat, liberal Republicans (like Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and their media admirers like never before. Any other time, and hardly anyone would be paying attention. But this time, FINALLY, people are paying attention. All those folks who have been chuckling and rolling their eyes at the term “Republican Establishment,” as though the looney right-wing fringe really must have some kind of incredibly creative imagination, are now finally starting to have some inkling of what those who truly hold fully to conservative values have been saying for so, so long. Those Republican Establishment politicians, RINOs if you will, HAVE GOT TO GO! But in the primaries, not against Democrats!
I’ll take this opportunity to provide you with a link to a website where you can see for yourself who these people are:
And by the way, Conservative Review is a conservative website. If you think National Review is conservative, let me just bring you up to speed on this, they are not. I’d give them a grade of C-, at best. And definitely an elitist crowd that thinks it is far above you and everyone else you know. Somebody needs to take George Will to the woodshed. Just saying!
Chin up, fellow lovers of America! It ain’t over ’til it’s over! The fat lady ain’t sang, yet! Trump may be down, although I’m not so sure he is, but he ain’t out! The media is going to do everything in its power to demoralize Trump voters and make them think it is game over. Take my advice. Ignore the media. And when I say “media,” I am including FOX News. A RINO media outlet if there ever was one.