The Liberals’ New Passion for Snobbery and Censorship: An Interview + Review of The War on Populism and Trumpocalypse by C.J. Hopkins

Yves here. At the end of the post, we’ve embedded C.J Hopkins’ talk with John Siman. We’re launching this post on a Friday in the hope that some of you might find the time today or over the weekend to listen to it as an antidote to election cray-cray, particularly the liberals’ version.

By John Siman

I’ve been reading C.J. Hopkins for about three years, but it’s a secret which, until now, I’ve kept pretty much to myself. For I had wanted to put some kind of a limit on the number of liberal acquaintances I was alienating by my ongoing enthusiasm for free speech and free inquiry. But in just the past few months things have come to such a disquieting pass that I think it’s come time to introduce intelligent liberals — or at least the liberal-adjacent readers of Naked Capitalism— to the essays which Hopkins has been publishing for over four years now, beginning in the annus miserabiliswhich was 2016.

Hopkins writes from the penetralia of what he calls the Consent Factory, which is located, he told me, somewhere inder Stadt Berlin. Matt Taibbi has fittingly described Hopkins as a post-Soviet version of a самиздат writer, fearlessly self-publishing critiques of unclothed little emperors which are so insightful that they will, quite likely, sooner or later, cause both the writer and his readers to be sent to prison. A very high compliment indeed!

I, unfortunately, missed this first year of Hopkins’s Consent Factory essays, which, he told me, he, then an established fifty-five-year-old playwright, felt drawn to start writing as he observed the unexpectedly potent outbursts of angry populist “resistance” (sic!) — including Brexit and Sanders and Trump — to the inexorable global corporate capitalist Conquest of Everything.

But soon enough I came across his searing review of the year 2017, the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, which Hopkins declared to have been “The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken.” Here is an excerpt:

“Look,” Hopkins wrote three years ago, “I know what you’re probably thinking, but it isn’t like liberals don’t actually care about fundamental liberal values like freedom of the press and speech and all that. It’s just that they desperately need the Democrats to take back the House and the Senate next year, so they can get on with impeaching Trump, and if they have to stand by while the corporations suppress a little leftist dissent, or, you know, transform the entire Internet into a massive, mind-numbing echo chamber of neo-McCarthyite corporate conformity … well, sacrifices have to be made” (from The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken, which first appeared in CounterPunch in December of 2017).

When I first read it almost three years ago, I savored this essay as delightfully ferocious satire. And I give credit to Hopkins and to a very few other independent writers for having helped me to become increasingly conscious notof the predictably spectacular failure of Donald Trump as President — I am old enough to remember how, going back thirty-five years, the cool kids at Spy Magazineused to tease the pompous blowhard douchebag on a weekly basis, tease him savagely — but rather of the ongoing collective decision by the so-called liberal media to enforce a policy of national censorship, a policy of, as Hopkins put it three years ago, “neo-McCarthyite corporate conformity.”

                                   

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As I begin explaining the work of Hopkins to my (remaining) well-educated liberal friends and neighbors, it startles me again and again that they are serenely oblivious to what to me is so balefully obvious: the rise of censorship in the USA — censorship by liberals! So let me review for their benefit (and for that of readers like them) what I consider to be the three most egregious recent examples of media censorship:

First, the memory-holing of the sudden outbreak of unprecedentedly destructive riots in dozens of cities throughout the United States. The neo-Orwellian terminology here has been “peaceful protests.” Only Michael Tracey, an independent journalist whose Tweets over the past year or so have been, in my opinion, our single best source by far of national news, has covered the riots as an actual eye-witness, no-nonsense, on-the-ground reporter.

I urge anyone unfamiliar with Tracey’s work to read, and as soon as possible, his essay Two Months Since the Riots, and Still No ‘National Conversation.’ Here is an excerpt and link:

“[It’s] clear,” Tracey wrote in July, “that the severe ramifications of these riots have been widely ignored — if not consciously obfuscated — by a media class that was near-unanimous in its approval of the accompanying protest movement. That they could have so quickly ‘moved on,’ particularly from the wreckage of Minneapolis/St. Paul — where residents commonly told me that their lives are still in “agony” — is galling…. [I]t doesn’t take some kind of profound journalistic acuity to walk around riot-affected areas, talk to citizens, record their stories and impressions, take some photos and record some video, and compose some tweets. And yet, I heard from hundreds of people across the United States and world who were shocked that they’d have never been aware of what happened in Minneapolis/St. Paul if not for my dinky little Twitter thread.”

Second, the memory-holing of the Hunter Biden laptop story and Twitter’s lock-out of The New York Post. “We saw incredible abuses before the election,” writes George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley in an article entitled Biden Aide Signals Push for Greater Censorship on the Internet — “in Twitter barring access to a true story in The New York Postabout Hunter Biden and his alleged global influence peddling scheme. Notably, no one in the Biden camp (including Biden himself) thought that it was a threat to our democracy to have Twitter block the story (while later admitting that it was a mistake)…. What is most disturbing is how liberals have embraced censorship and even declared that ‘China was right’ on Internet controls.”

Third, The Intercept’s censoring of Glenn Greenwald’s story on Hunter Biden. For readers who are unaware of the details of this debacle, I recommend Jimmy Dore and Aaron Maté’s analysis of it in this YouTube broadcast: Glenn Greenwald RESIGNS From The Intercept Over CENSORSHIP!

Greenwald himself describes the utterly “fraudulent” state of our national media in an excellent interview with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper: in this excerpt from it Greenwald becomes so impassioned and energized that he begins hitting the same analytical and satirical notes that C.J. Hopkins does when he describes the transformation of the entire Internet into a massive, mind-numbing echo chamber of neo-McCarthyite corporate conformity:

“There’s no question,” Greenwald says at 1:01:50, “that the white-supremacist white-nationalist fascist dictator Nazi-Hitler got more non-white votes — more votes from people of color in the United States by percentage — than any Republican candidate since 1960 — that’s … sixty years ago. How is it that you can reconcile this narrative that was manufactured by very wealthy, privileged, Ivy League-educated members of the national media — many of whom are African-American or Latino or LGBT or white liberals — how is it that you can reconcile the narrative that they shove down everybody’s throat about who supports Donald Trump and what the ideology of his movement is with the fact that huge numbers — huge numbers! — of voters who voted for him are not white or white males at all? In fact the majority of Trump voters are either women or people of color. And the obvious answer is that these people in the media — white liberals, African-American liberals, Latino liberals, LGBT liberals — have concocted this perspective, this theory of the Trump presidency for their own benefit … [which] completely excludes what predominately shapes people’s lives and the crucial prism through which they navigate the world: which is class, socio-economic status, and career prospects. And so you have this tiny number of people, these hyper-partisan elites, purporting to speak for an entire group of people with whom they have almost nothing in common — except these kinds of superficial demographics….”

Hopkins tells me that he saw all this coming four years ago, and his essays do bear him out. I would therefore urge readers to approach his work as being even more urgently prophetic than it is boldly satiric. Here, for example, is what he wrote on January 13, 2017, that is, seven days beforeTrump was inaugurated:

“The point of all this propaganda [especially concerning Russian hacking] is to delegitimize Donald Trump,” Hopkins observed almost four years ago, “and to prophylactically reassert the neoliberal ruling classes’ monopoly on power, ‘reality,’ and ‘truth.’ In case this wasn’t already abundantly clear, the neoliberal ruling classes have no intention of giving up control of the global capitalist pseudo-empire they’ve been working to establish these last sixty years. They’re going to delegitimize and stigmatize Trump (and any other symbol of nationalist backlash or resistance to transnational Capitalism), bide their time for the next four years, and then install another of their loyal servants … after which life will go back to ‘normal,’ and liberals will do their best to forget this unfortunate period where they pretended to believe this insipid neo-McCarthyite nonsense” (from Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works, first published in CounterPunch, January 13, 2017).

And here is the beginning of his recent essay, The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich, which was published just a few days before the 2020 election:

“So, according to the corporate media,” Hopkins wrote on October 27, 2020, “this is it for Russian-backed Hitler. Game over. The walls are closing in. It’s the last days of the Trumpian Reich. Get those vuvuzelas ready! Yes, apparently, the American people, who were all a bunch of Putin-worshipping, white-supremacist neo-Nazis when they elected Trump in 2016, have come to their senses…” (from The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich, first published by Consent Factory, Inc.).

Hopkins, however, is only tangentially interested in the absurdly fantastical smearing of Trump: his deeper investigative project is to show us the pitiless means by which those unexpectedly potent outbursts of angry populist “resistance” (yes!) that began in 2016 are being systematically suppressed.

Hopkins’s real theme, simply put, is what he calls the War on Populism. And this War on Populism is the most recent iteration of the ongoing global conquest of capitalist ideology. What we are witnessing in the larger perspective, what we have been witnessing on a global scale for over three decades now, is the triumphal onward march of global capitalism, which, as Hopkins emphasized in our conversations, has been essentially unopposed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, since the casting off of the yoke of communism by the nations of the Eastern Bloc, and, ultimately, since the utter implosion of the USSR. Global capitalism, or “GloboCap,” as Hopkins nicknames it, has thus been, for three decades now, expanding methodically, even logically, to capture every square inch of the planet.

So how and why has unchecked global capitalism resulted in this War on Populism? Hopkins has no enthusiasm for Marxist analysis; in fact, he celebrates the, well, populist victories that capitalism won in its early stages: the overthrow of the tyranny of kings and priests and the subsequent establishment of modern democracies above all. But capitalism is a universal solvent, Hopkins points out, and just as it unvalued the values of aristocracy and theocracy almost 250 years ago (to the people’s delight), it now proceeds to unvalue all remaining values, for its logical object is the establishment of a single universal value: exchange value.

For the triumph of exchange value, of market value, commodifies … everything, absolutely everything. As well as everyone.

So what will global capitalism’s Conquest of Absolutely Everything look like? A world of atomized consumers, stripped of their rights and of any allegiances to family or clan or nation or religion or even interesting tastes. Nevertheless, such a global capitalist world will be, for the few who can grow immensely wealthy in it, a place of uncountable, perhaps eternal, brute satisfactions. For the many, on the other hand, the global capitalist world will be a place of glorified slavery, lived in deserts of social isolation. To the extent that some of the many have seen what global capitalism has in store for them, and don’t like it, and have started to oppose it, they have become what Hopkins calls populists, that is to say, a real problem for the few:

“The problem is … well, the problem is people,” Hopkins writes in “The Last Days of the Trumpian Reich.” “Not rich and powerful people like themselves, or the people they need to continue working, consuming, and servicing the interest on their loans, but … you know, all those other people. Uneducated, un-woke, working-class people. Gun-toting, fanatically religious people. Racist, conspiracy-theorizing people. Deplorable people. Populist people. People they dont need anymore. These people have been a problem recently. Not only are they a drag on the system, they have been actively interfering with it, voting for Brexit, electing Donald Trump, refusing to abandon their traditional values and outmoded ideas (e.g., national sovereignty, freedom of speech, and mammalian biology) and get on board with global capitalist ideology, and have been otherwise being a real pain in the ass.”

This paragraph both illuminates and is illuminated by the work of Thomas Frank, who has so brilliantly shown — above all in his masterpiece Listen, Liberal— just how, since the election of our first Neoliberal president in 1992 (which was, significantly, the year after the collapse of the USSR), the Democrats have reinvented themselves as the party of the Liberal Learning Creative Professional Managerial Class, the party of the credentialed meritocracy, the party of, above all, the winners.  So, yes, as a matter of course, the Democrats have been taught to be openly hostile to working-class “deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton officially named them, to see them as “being a real pain in the ass,” as Hopkins writes.

And the deplorables really are a drag on the global capitalist system. (Most of them want free health care, for Pete’s sake!) A lot of them voted for the socialist Bernie Sanders, and, far, far worse, even more of them voted for the “white-supremacist white-nationalist fascist dictator Nazi-Hitler” (as Glenn Greenwald said!), i.e. Trump. They really are, bottom line here, losers with a big L.

The liberals, the bien pensants(as Thomas Frank has called them) — the winners, that is — who read The New York Timesand The Washington Post and listen to NPR and watch MSNBC and CNN, who went to good colleges and got all kinds of professional credentials, are certainly well-informed enough to know that the future is all about global capitalism. And they know that, if they play by the rules, global capitalism has a place for them. Furthermore, they know (or could easily figure it out) that global capitalism does not have a place for life’s losers. But that’s just tough shit, isn’t it?

Plus elite liberal winners have their own special problems now so they couldn’t possibly worry about deplorable racist losers even if they wanted to. Apparently, for example, their foundational meritocracy is being refurbished into some kind of a super-woke moralocracy, and it might be just a matter of time until all academic testing is abolished in the name of Kendian Anti-Racism. So how the heck are you supposed to get your kid into Harvard if she’s white or, heaven forbid, Asian? Paying a woke surgeon (or maybe insurance will cover?) to cut her breasts off when she turns sixteen is looking like a good option to some — Abigail Shrier writes about this in her new book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Shrier, however, is being systematically censored by liberals because she is a reactionary transphobic monster who dares question the female genital mutilation of non-African bodies. Because, come on, Abigail, white and trans might at least get you wait-listed at Harvard, while white and cis is, when you come down to it, repulsively Trump-adjacent. (Other promising options for non-black bodies in the emerging moralocracy: missing limbs or really conspicuous birth defects.)

So it’s no cakewalk being a newly-woke post-meritocratic member of the Liberal Learning Creative Professional Managerial Class, and Hopkins, a genuinely kind man, is sympathetic to the plight of these liberals — especially because of the vast amounts of sloppily-designed propaganda which they must ingest in order to (1) genuinely come to fear and hate the deplorables (Matt Taibbi’s book Hate, Inc. is essential for understanding this process) and (2) parrot the official narratives of global capitalism, which, because they are founded on a rejection of the very existence of truth, are quite difficult to embrace consciously or without daily intakes of heavy-duty prescription anti-depressant meds. So let’s consider another passage from “The Year of the Headless Liberal Chicken,” just to affirm Hopkins’s compassionate nature:

“[B]y January [of 2017],” Hopkins wrote, “the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the ‘Russiagate’ story. According to The Washington Post(which, let’s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US ‘Intelligence Community’), not only had the Russians ‘hacked’ the election, but they had hacked the Vermont power grid! Editorialists at The New York Timeswere declaring that Trump ‘had been appointed by Putin,’ and that the USA was now ‘at war’ with Russia…. This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered. It was like that scene in 1984when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia.”

George Orwell — oh hell yeah! And Hopkins: “This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously.” So it all really does come down to intellectual obedience to official narratives, that is, obedience to propaganda. The War on Populism is an Orwellian propaganda war, and its object is the furthering of the  Conquest of Everything by global capitalism.

Hopkins’s understanding of this propaganda is so profound that it makes him, I would argue, at this chilling moment in our nation’s history, perhaps the single most necessary writer for us to start reading. So let us conclude this essay with a summary of his analysis of propaganda in process:

“Chief among the common misconceptions about the way official propaganda works,” Hopkins wrote almost four years ago in his essay “Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works,” — “is the notion that its goal is to deceive the public into believing things that are not ‘the truth’ (that Trump is a Russian agent, for example, or that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, et cetera). However, while official propagandists are definitely pleased if anyone actually believes whatever lies they are selling, deception is not their primary aim. The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an ‘official narrative’ that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point.”

Factualness, a.k.a. truth, let me add here, is not merely old-fashioned and outmoded: it is woke-phobic, that is to say, a violent and reactionary challenge to the triumph of narrative. Incorrigible deplorables and other troublemakers (like me and C.J. Hopkins) will persist in groping for truth, but all successful members of Liberal Learning Creative Professional Managerial Class know that their success is in large part made possible by their enthusiasm for official narratives, and their collective hope is that narrative provides them with an enduring safe space. Thus Hopkins concludes his analysis:

“The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between ‘the truth’ as defined by the ruling classes and any other ‘truth’ that contradicts their narrative. Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is ‘normal’ society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and theres a place for you inside. Refuse, and … well, good luck out there.”

And here, dear reader, as the promised bonus, is a link to and embed of an interview I did with C.J. Hopkins for Naked Capitalism — we discuss his wonderful essay “Bernie the Magic Socialist” among many other topics:

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259 comments

    1. Redlife2017

      Eek, saw his article from 13 October. Not a good idea to view Sweden as what we should be doing at this point.

      This turn in the contrarian left (like OffGuardian) against public health measures is interesting. I mean, like it’s OK that people end up on ventilators, with long-covid or have organ damage (from mild or asymptomatic infection). It’s a weird stance for people who are supposed to be concerned about the wellbeing of society. I’d be at least kind of OK with the “covid is hoax” thing if these people were being very explict about what we should be doing to help people right now with the crappy response from our western governments.

      I’m sure the rest of his ovure is great, but this kind of turn is always facinating to me…

      Reply
        1. jsn

          Dimitri Orlov is off on this jag too. He’s been linking to the Swiss Policy Research Center data on Covid which more or less supports the claims he’s making.

          That document was last updated “October 2020”. Look at what’s happened in Switzerland since the start of October and you’ll look forward to the next update.

          I think this direction pops out as an open road for rhetoric when you look for support for the general population in the face of government acton on Covid. It’s like Modi’s de-monitization several years ago, those most impacted are essentially left to die. It’s hard to keep your critical faculties when your addressing real outrages, I hope Hopkins and Orlov both come to their senses.

          Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, used to really like OffGuardian (apart from its tiresome habit of pursuing personal vendettas against individual journalists), but it completely fell off the cliff with Covid. There are certainly things that can be said and warnings given about how a pandemic can be used as cover for the advance of malign agendas, but to argue that its not a huge threat to millions of the most vulnerable, shows a sad loss of both empathy and critical thinking. The virus, it must be emphasised, doesn’t have a political affiliation. It just exists.

        I’m always inclined to allow everyone one big mistake in their thinking (including myself). There are plenty of writers I admire greatly who have lost the plot on one or other issue (or have had to keep their mouth shut for career reasons), I think thats just human nature and I’ll give someone a pass if their other works are ok. But I think there is also a ‘man with a hammer’ problem on the left. Once you start seeing everything as a malign expression of western imperialism, or capitalism, or whatever, then you look at everything using that lens, even when entirely inappropriate. If you don’t apply the intellectual brakes and take a more critical view of your own prejudices, you just drive yourself into a corner marked ‘stupid’, and its hard to get out of there.

        Reply
        1. Thuto

          Re: “man with a hammer problem”. This is the pitfall that awaits many who set off on a mission to challenge the status quo/established order, they fall into the trap of losing the ability to apply the intellectual brakes as you say and along with that the ability to defend their analytical faculties against encroachment from idealogical zealotry. As the messiah complex takes hold, these people become so enamoured of their unique calling to “expose the truth and wake up the slumbering masses” that, hammer in hand, everything starts to look like a nail, and life itself like one giant conspiracy.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            My one test for public intellectuals is to see if they’ve ever said ‘I really don’t know’, or ‘I could be / have been wrong about….’. Anyone who has never said that in public should be treated with suspicion, no matter how smart they are. Those who claim certainty about every topic will always make terrible mistakes once they rove outside their true area of knowledge.

            Reply
        2. .Tom

          I think I have lost a friend in a disagreement over this. The friend thinks roughly as CJH, which is not that the virus doesn’t exist or that it is political, but that the governmental response is draconian, disproportionate, unnecessary and has malign purpose.

          But the man with the hammer thinking is still there. I was told to note that WaPo is Bezos and to follow the money. I answered that I don’t understand how WaPo influenced, say, the Chinese or Korean responses. I was asked to read Martin Kuldroff’s “Delaying herd immunity is costing lives” and I gave my response, as informed largely by reading NC.

          My friend expressed feeling socially isolated as a result of arguing these beliefs. I don’t mind having friends who disagree with me but that has to work both ways for the relationship to remain intact.

          Reply
          1. furies

            Same here. I’m sure it’s all the rage.

            In 2016 I lost friends because I didn’t vote for Hillary.

            Friends schmends…

            Reply
            1. John Ralston

              You likely did not lose a friend.

              More likely you have been relieved of an insincere social association.

              Faked affection is not just worthless; it is dangerous.

              No one can do more damage than someone who has undeserved trust.

              “I love you.”, and “You can count on me.” are some of the cruelest lies that can be uttered..

              Reply
          2. Dermot M O Connor

            Tom, your mistake was answering his second ‘argument’ before he had asserted his first (namely why his conspiracy theory fails to explain the actions of China, iran, etc).
            Just keep asking why he thinks China are acting in cahoots with Soros or whomever. Keep asking the same question verbatim, 100% verbatim.

            Reply
        3. Donald

          I haven’t read him on COVID,, so won’t comment on that, but the larger problem of contrarians who go off the rails is real. I think your approach is right— we can all be spectacularly wrong on some issue and still be worth reading on others.

          But there are two problems. First, when a dissident is wrong about something, the mainstream bashes him forevermore. Or fellow lefties do it. Caitlin Johnstone still gets called a fascist for thinking briefly that she could have common ground with one of the crazed right wingers online. I read her semi regularly and agree with her 95 percent of the time. She’s not perfect. Big deal.

          And second, as others point out, some people become irrational in their contrarianism. I think some lefties fall into knee jerk defenses of Trump when a liberal Resistance type attacks him. Russiagate was pure crap, IMO, but Trump really has been a terrible President. I would say others did more harm, but Trump has been bad in his own unique way.

          Reply
        4. Geof

          A quibble:

          a sad loss of both empathy and critical thinking

          Empathy is a two-edged sword. It bundles together affection for the in-group with aggression towards the out-group. It will tend to snowball into groupthink. I don’t think it has much place here.

          Reply
        5. CoryP

          As a rule of thumb, I think distrusting ANY dramatic official narrative will get one closer to the truth than assuming it is perfectly correct. (If you had to pick one extreme).

          CJ, John Steppling and Edward Curtin are the guys in this territory that I still enjoy reading. They’re also available on Dissident Voice without the comment section and editorial comments of the OffG crew.

          The whole situation is really vexing because a couple writers that have been instrumental in exposing eg. the White Helmets and the environmental NGO complex have jumped fully on board this train. I fear it detracts from their other work, or discredits it in the eyes of unsympathetic readers.

          The reason I think the groupthink problem and the “hammer and nail” problem is evident is because some of these writers have taken to tweeting essentially anything that disputes the official narrative. I’ve seen writers I respect say things like “how preposterous that viruses float through the air!” As if this was some theory that was invented at the WEF in 2019…

          Anyway, CJ isn’t one of those people. I regret what this comment section was destined to turn into, but at the same time I like to have this discussion all in one place. I’ll still probably buy CJ’s newest collection. I’m pleased to see the site hosts still including his work.

          Reply
        1. Phillip Cross

          None of this is new, it’s just more people have been exposed to the ideas. Read the intro to Robert Anton Wilson’s “Everything is Under Control” 1998. Still germane.

          e-book here-> https://archive.org/details/EverythingIsUnderControlRobertAntonWilson/mode/2up

          He is not saying conspiracies don’t exist, but he talks about “Really Big Conspiracies” and how they benefit from a “Strange Loop”. Any evidence against a really big conspiracy can be dismissed as being disinformation, planted by the perpetrators of that conspiracy, and so further prove it’s existence to adherents, rather than refute it.

          “Against that kind of logic, the gods themselves contend in vain”

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        You do realize that there are a lot of people–many of them doctors–who don’t agree with you. The time for pronouncing sweeping certainties about Covid or Sweden is not now–maybe six months from now. In facr a zeal to denounce anyone who doesn’t toe the establishment consensus is exactly what Hopkins is talking about.

        As for Hopkins, I enjoy his stuff but think we don’t want to get too carried away with treating capitalism itself as the new Hitler. Arguably one reason everyone now seems to be so afraid of the truth and that journalists no longer act like journalists etc is that our TINA edifice seems to be crumbling under the threat of new technologies and disasters generated by the old technologies.The main takeaway about Hitler is that he ended up in a pile of ashes outside the Reich Chancellory (while taking millions along with him). Perhaps the job of the non hysterical dissidents is to try to keep capitalism’s decline from doing the same to the rest of us and not obsessing over sideshows like Trump.

        Reply
        1. ShamanicFallout

          I was going to write this under the Ticketmaster fiasco post, but it probably fits here better:

          I think one does not need to be a paranoid Conservative, or any other ilk, or to have “gone off the rails’, or be a ‘hoaxer’ to be worried that the gov and/or large corporate actors (perhaps even working in tandem) would up-play and exaggerate a threat in order to gain an advantage or push an agenda. I know, I know. This has never happened before…

          Put it this way- If you take the position that you are, vis a vis corporate media and gov, being lied to, manipulated, played (whatever you want to call it) nearly 100% of the time, you will never be disappointed. If you are smart, this is the only sane position. So why is this ‘current threat’ situation any different?

          Further, having been a regular reader and supporter of NC, it has been shown over and over that our ‘betters’, the elites in gov and the corporate world, do not care really at all for our well-being. But now suddenly they do? Suddenly they want to ‘lockdown’ and distribute a new, never-before-been-used-in-humans vaccine in order to ‘save lives’? Excuse me if some of us are at the very least skeptical of the narrative. Something, as usual, just does not add up.

          Reply
          1. Gregory Bott

            There are plenty of vaccines in the work. Not just that one. It isn’t being distributed anytime soon.

            Your point is irrelevant.

            Reply
            1. ShamanicFallout

              To be clear, I was referencing the Pzizer vaccine, and is most decidedly not irrelevant. This was from a linked quote posted in yesterday’s link by Carolinian:

              One of my MD correspondents recently sent me an email which encapsulates these concerns.

              “I’ve been reading about the Pfizer vaccine.

              I’ve known for a while that it is an mRNA vaccine but it just hit me that it will be the first mRNA vaccine ever approved for human use.

              If COVID was a ‘Steven King’ (kills-everyone) virus, sure, go for it–prevent the deaths and take what comes.

              But mortality is low, acute treatments are improving, transmission is preventable, and the greatest risk now appears to be longer term morbidity.

              mRNA vaccines by the very nature of their components elicit an interferon response that triggers generalized autoimmunity. This may, in fact, be part of the mechanism of longer term morbidity associated with COVID infection.

              Mass introduction of mRNA strands into the populations may indeed reduce acute COVID morbidity and mortality, but how many autoimmune complications will result?

              No one knows.”

              But actually my main point, which you have not addressed, is that why, after all we know and have learned, should we accept fully the official Narratives being spun right now? And further, if one pushes back on the Narrative, why should they be canceled or otherwise silenced? Who benefits? Who wins? After all, the business of America is the business, done with good ol’ American dollars

              Reply
              1. Lambert Strether

                > mRNA vaccines by the very nature of their components elicit an interferon response that triggers generalized autoimmunity. This may, in fact, be part of the mechanism of longer term morbidity associated with COVID infection.

                Oh, yikes. I have a study on interferons and autoantibodies in Water Cooler today (under “Health Care”). Can some kind soul knowledgeable in these matters go there and comment? Thank you

                Reply
                1. mike

                  Yves,Love the blog.

                  Lambert,
                  Most if not all vaccines work by inducing B cells to make neutralizing antibodies (for viral infections). The mRNA in the vaccine would lead to expression of the encoded protein (for SARS-2/COVID19 the viral Spike protein) and hopefully induce antibodies that block the S protein from binding to the viral receptor ACE2.

                  Any productive viral infection (sniffles etc) will result in viral mRNAs being made. mRNAs themselves are VERY labile, so any gene expression from an mRNA vaccine is likely to be short lived. You may have a little soreness but a high incidence of autoimmunity sounds unlikely. From a manufacturing standpoint, mRNAs are pretty easy to make, which would make them likely to scale more quickly than a protein or inactivated virus vaccine.

                  A more likely problem with the vaccine would be short-lived or low titer antibodies. This can be supplemented with additional boosters. Even a partially effective vaccine could provide major benefit when summed over a population.

                  Human stupidity being what it is, I think the most dangerous thing would be the assumption of immunity immediately after vaccination (antibodies take a month or two to really ramp up), leading to a window of time when the still-vulnerable assume the risk of infection is nil.

                  Reply
            2. Yves Smith Post author

              No vaccine has yet been approved for use in the US. Pfizer presented only partial data. A lot of people are upset that they haven’t disclosed their results.

              Reply
              1. Lambert Strether

                > Pfizer presented only partial data.

                A press release, in fact. The elites seem to have decided that Pfizer’s vaccine is it, in the absence even of a peer-reviewed article (let alone a cold chain). Funny how tendentious “listen to the science” has become…

                Adding, that doesn’t mean I think anybody “picked up the phone.” I think it’s a “madness of hive minds” sort of thing (with a healthy dose of stock market manipulation). Opportunist, greedy, and stupid, not planned by a Bond Villain, or even a committee of them.

                Reply
        2. GM

          You can go here:

          https://www.statmap.org/rankedcounties.html

          And look at the total mortality for every US country.

          You will see 340 of them with a PFR greater than 0.14%, which is what CJH was claiming in his most recent article on the subject that the IFR is. And it is far from the case that every single person in those counties was infected, nor is it the case that all of them have populations in the sub-10,000 range and the PFR is high because the numbers are stochastic (at the very least, NYC is on the list with a PFR of 0.27%).

          When this is all said and done at least 1% of the US population will indeed be dead, unless the vaccines work miraculously well.

          And that is assuming no reinfections, which is exactly the opposite to what the scientific reality is — if SARS-CoV-2 behaves like every other coronavirus known to man, we should be expecting everyone to get COVID once every year or couple years, and for people to get progressively worse with each round of it.

          Unless, again, a miracle vaccine appears.

          Or we eliminate the virus.

          The latter happens to be the only thing that is fully in our control. And it also happens to be what the oligarchy wants to avoid even contemplating as an option, because there is no way to do that without its wealth and power decreasing a bit.

          If a conspiracy is to be looked for in the whole mess, that is where it lies.

          Which is why I find it extremely puzzling that people on the “left” have taken up the “COVID is a hoax/overblown” nonsense. One would think that they would focus on the fact that the capitalist oligarchy sentenced millions to entirely preventable deaths and is in fact very strongly against lockdowns and restrictions — the only reason they are being reintroduced now is that “people should not be dying in the streets” is still a constraint for politicians as it is some rather bad PR (if, however, people die in hospitals at a rate at which they can be buried without having to dig mass graves, they are perfectly fine with that).

          Reply
      3. Mme Generalist

        He doesn’t say Sweden is an example to be followed re its Covid policy. He says that Sweden has been made a global pariah via media for its failure to comply with the nonsense of ever-changing Covid narratives and suggests that there is intelligence in resisting nonsensical directives.

        Also, I don’t see where he says Covid is a hoax.

        Reply
      4. Cuibono

        well there ARE reasonable public health perspectives that call into question our approach to COVID along the lines of the Swiss Policy Research Center,,not that i support them, but some of my smartest epi friends do.

        Reply
      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        And here’s a just-seen-by-me article about how the SwedenGov and Establishment may have guessed wrong about how its approach would work out.

        https://www.businessinsider.com/sweden-herd-immunity-second-wave-coronavirus-cases-hospitalisations-surge-2020-11

        This could still all turn out more or less okay. But if it gets really bad in Sweden, we should not make fun of Sweden over it. We should be thankful and grateful that someone decided to run the experiment. We should say . . . ” thank you, Sweden. You took one for the herd.”

        Reply
      6. SAKMAN

        Truth is hard to come by, it requires quite a bit of data and a depth of understanding in order to glimpse. Im from So Cal. Many doctors and nurses I know werent traumatized, in fact, many were unaffected.

        The fact that my epidemiologist colleagues in the north east were telling me it was a temperature effect, tilted my view a bit.

        No one is crazy, they just have different data to work with. It all depends on what you’ve seen and where you’ve been. It is rare that the truth matters (the widespread acceptance of religion teaches me this). The real truth about this virus is that we haven’t widely seen what it can do, so a person could believe a lot of things. When was the last time you heard of someone dying of influenza in the summer? There will be a lot more date for everyone by next April, and then there will be more agreement on what was a hoax and what wasn’t.

        Until then stay safe.

        Reply
    2. Romancing The Loan

      I mentioned on a comment thread here on one occasion that I stopped reading him over that, and to my great surprise he showed up personally in the thread to rant angrily at me in response.

      Reply
    3. paul

      Covid as a hoax is as certainly untrue as the idea that a particular CV strain is going to destroy humanity.

      I’m just waiting for a covid sensitive doorbell.

      Reply
        1. Phillp Cross

          In the UK as a whole, CFR has stabilized at around 4% with a sample size of 1,300,000+. So a confirmed infection in the UK is certainly something to care about, if you might be one of the 1 out of 25 that die. Are you feeling lucky…

          Reply
          1. Cuibono

            CFR and IFR are two completely different things.
            Presumably you know that.
            1/25 people who get this virus do not die in case you dont know it.

            Reply
            1. Phillip Cross

              Yes of course, but with such a large sample size, i think that CFR offers a meaningful response to the statement, “Infection, who cares?”. The fact of the matter is, of the 1.3m cases in the UK (confirmed infections), 1 in 25 have died. These are not odds I want to stake my life against.

              In the US the CFR has stabilized at 1.8% over 10m cases, so 1 in 55 of all confirmed infections, go on to die. I believe this difference is down to the testing criteria that is still a lot more restrictive in the UK vs. some states.

              Reply
    4. CJ Hopkins

      Thanks, UserFriendly, for misrepresenting/demonizing my criticism of the totalitarian overreaction to a virus that medical experts acknowledge causes mild-to-moderate symptoms (or no symptoms) in roughly 95% of those infected, and the overall infection fatality rate (IFR) of which, in the general population, is about 0.1% to 0.5% in most countries, which is comparable to the medium influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968. But don’t let actual facts stop you from smearing dissidents like me as “truthers” or, as Germany is now doing, “Corona-Deniers.” (Has a ring to it, doesn’t it?) Here in Berlin, they are now even threatening to revoke the medical licenses of doctors who dare mention the above-mentioned facts to their patients. So, bravo! Keep up the demonizing, and we will surely achieve global New Normal Gleichschaltung before the year is out.

      Reply
        1. CJ Hopkins

          No worries, Furies … most of my former friends and colleagues will no longer speak to me. There are, after all, serious personal and professional consequences to being associated with a “Corona Denier” … or, you know, someone who keeps mentioning those above-mentioned facts and pointing out how they don’t warrant or justify the totalitarian “emergency measures” that have been implemented or the relentless propaganda campaign we have been subjected to for nine months.

          Reply
          1. furies

            How many people have to die for you to take this seriously then huh?

            How many people will end up with long term health implications?

            How many will be bankrupt due to medical expenses?

            It’s all a hoax, you say.

            Tell that to my dead brother.

            Reply
            1. .Tom

              There’s the rub. Even if we agree on a set of parameters that characterize this virus and its effects on humans, and thereby eliminate the argument about who’s a Corona Denier, what to do about it remains a moral choice.

              For example, I’ve read that most contagion happens at home and that old people are especially vulnerable to the disease. So households with grandparents and either resident or visiting school or college students are an obvious concern. So there’s a problem. The well being of the younger generation depends on their study, socialization and gaining real-world experience. The well being of the older generation depends on them not being exposed to the virus. What are the options without a satisfactory virus? Isolate old people from their families. Isolate young people from life. Let old people die.

              Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                I suggest you read up and read more carefully. Superspreader events are a major contagion vector. Covid creates all sorts of serious health problems in all age groups, including infections that kill very young people, long Covid, which regularly occurs among the young with no previous symptoms, mental health problems (in 1/5 of the people who had Covid six months after the infection), brain inflammation, and lung, heart, and kidney damage. Just on the brain damage issue:

                The list now includes stroke, brain haemorrhage and memory loss. It is not unheard of for serious diseases to cause such effects, but the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic means that thousands or even tens of thousands of people could already have these symptoms, and some might be facing lifelong problems as a result.

                https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02599-5

                According to the CDC, the increase in excess deaths from Jan 26 to October 3 (which many consider to be a proxy for Covid deaths, since a lot of people die at home and their death isn’t recorded as Covid-related) was greatest among Hispanics and those 22 to 44.

                https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6942e2.htm

                Reply
                1. .Tom

                  I try to keep up but it’s a lot and in any case the technical specifics of the example wasn’t my point.

                  My point was that designing strategies to mitigate the pandemic involves making moral choices even if we somehow could all agree on the technical understanding.

                  Hence it’s not sufficient, imo, for CJH to quote technical parameters in his defense. Certain strategies (choices) will lead to different allocations of suffering and death than other strategies.

                  Reply
            2. Mme Generalist

              My heartfelt sympathy for your loss.

              However, I’m surprised this comment is left to stand. It’s classic straw-manning.

              It is obvious from your comments that you—and most of the commenters here, it seems—didn’t read the linked-to piece he wrote. Which, btw, wasn’t about Covid. It was about propaganda and global authoritarianism.

              Reply
              1. furies

                I have this rule, now that I’m old and all. I don’t waste time on people who have proven themselves to be willfully ignorant.

                No. I don’t read Hopkins anymore. He’s lost my ‘trust’.

                Sorry for ‘strawmanning’…I was simply demonstrating my solidarity with those in the trenches.

                Reply
          2. Phillip Cross

            I found the relentless propaganda campaign telling us that, ‘Covid-19 is nothing to worry about, and so we should get back to work and go out and spend’, far more insidious and worrying than the one trying to save some people’s lives.

            Reply
          3. James P.

            Our host used an entire article to try to convince us that we should be following your work. And I was almost convinced. Then you show up with these two posts and convince me that I should not.

            Reply
          4. John Ralston

            You are not alone in suffering from ostracization over factual reporting CJ Hopkins. The gas-lighting of a vast portion of the citizenry has not only been highly effective; but, many who know better have fallen silent or taken defensive positions of assent to save their economic and/or social capital from arson.

            This mass psychosis will abate sooner or later.

            While the propaganda complex persists in dominating the narrative and manufacturing unrealistic perspectives those with free minds and rational processes will suffer some consequence. All we can do is persist in communicating facts and maintaining our composure in the face of these managerial class induced herding tactics and the savagery of the deluded and fearful dupes..

            Reply
            1. Basil Pesto

              Aren’t you the guy that said yesterday that certain election results were commensurate with a guy laying down phat beats on garage band? Free thinking of a sort, I suppose. Free associative maybe?

              Reply
              1. John Ralston

                I just ate some home made basil pesto for lunch.

                I also once had an iguana named Dom Pesto Pasquale. He is buried in the back yard.

                That is free association. Kinda..

                Describing the uncannily similar algorithmic processes that are commonly used in digital audio compression software algorithms and the distribution of statistical results output from Dominion voting machines is not free association.

                It is a discussion as to how similar output characteristics can be generated from software systems running similar algorithms on different types of inputs.

                Altering one data input with a linear process yields a similar data output to any other, whether the input is audio data or voting data. Data can be shaped by algorithms whether audio or votes.

                Similar algorithms are often used for disparate purposes.
                Software programmers and statisticians use the same math and same scripts for different data sets all the time.

                Reply
          5. Keith Newman

            Hello CJ. Nice to be able to exchange directly, perhaps. I am well aware of the facts you note and remember mentioning a version of them to a neighbour last May adding that it didn’t make sense, nor was it sustainable long term, to shut Canada down due to Covid. I have repeated that to others since, including the newer understandings which reinforce my point. Interestingly, some who disagreed months ago agree now. Nonetheless I too have been disappointed by your Covid denial. Covid may have been opportunistically used by some elements of our elites to suppress our freedoms but I think most find it very inconvenient and would have preferred it just go away. This is from my observations in Canada.

            I prefer to recognise Covid is a serious problem for a significant part of the population and figure out what to do about it without the disastrous effects of lockdowns. Craig Murray has discussed this in an interesting way (url below). Mr. Murray is a former UK diplomat, friend and defender of Julian Assange, believer in free speech and fierce critic of our brutal neoliberal world. In his own words he is also “a prime example of the kind of person least likely to survive” were he infected by Covid. I recommend this: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/10/covid-19-and-the-political-utility-of-fear/

            Reply
            1. John Ralston

              How can a rational discussion about how to confront NCoV-19 exclude the effects of the lock-downs?

              How can a discussion be open and reasoned if it is predicated on the categorical exclusion of what some participants would assert are the most relevant issues?

              Reply
            2. CJ Hopkins

              Hi Keith … yeah, I usually stay out of the BTL stuff, figuring I’ve already has my say. However, given that 99% of the comments here have nothing to do with the piece in question (i.e., the piece they are appended to), and in light of the fact that folks, including yourself, have referred to my “Covid denial” or “hoax trutherism”, or whatever, I thought I should chime in, for the record. You referred to my “Covid denial”, and then set forth your own view, which I share, mostly. It’s pretty simple, actually, my view: (1) there is a virus (2) it can be dangerous/fatal to a small percentage of the global population (3) it does not remotely warrant the totalitarian “emergency measures” that have been imposed, or justify the damage that has been done, and is being done, to society or the propaganda-driven mass hysteria that leads people to denounce other people as “deniers”, “idiots”, and “granny murderers” for citing facts and documenting totalitarian government edicts and mob mentality/behavior. (For example, think about your use of the epithet “Covid Denier.” Do you remember when you started using it, and where you first heard it? Do you even have a clear idea of what you mean when you use it against someone, or is just a means of delegitimizing anyone who deviates from the official narrative, for any reason?)

              Reply
              1. Carolinian

                Thanks. Unfortunately “impeach the witness” is a long time practice on comment boards as a way of bypassing, as you say, the main thrust of your writing. After all you are a satirist and playwright, not a doctor and not dispensing medical advice.

                Cancel culture itself is a tendency to try to shut down contrary views by labeling them as “fake news” or “hate speech.” It’s the weaponized Responsbility to Protect missile aimed at speech instead of Third World countries. Some of us would say Cancel Culture is where the fascist impulse really resides and I believe that is your main point as well.

                Reply
                  1. Gregory Bott

                    Who doesn’t cancel culture???? Look at conservatives and anger to Facebook over getting “moderated”.

                    Dialectics controls society. I am a socialist and a social conservative. This angers modern dialectics, causing it to collapse.

                    Reply
                    1. John Ralston

                      I defend your right to speak as you see fit.

                      All I demand is reciprocal freedom.

                      This seems fair enough to ME.

                1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                  LOL and the funniest part about the resounding success of the “Trump is Orange Hitler!” narrative is how completely duped “the left” is by it. But Oh Look, the Biden cabinet is jam packed with right wingers, right wing policies, and actual card carrying Republicans, LOL. “Biden is Grey Hitler!” is a much more accurate call, with the relentless propaganda, blanket censorship, black lists, secret police (FBI), and wars on foreign soil.

                  CJ gets demonized above for one of his views that has nothing to do with the article being discussed. Now, “American Left”, it’s your turn to get the same treatment. Maybe you wanted peace, health care, climate action, racial justice, and corporate accountability? Sorry, chumps, you’ve been the victims of the most cynical manipulation campaign imaginable, the people you “elected” have absolutely no interest in any of that and never did. AOC? Bernie? Warren? BLM? Don’t make me laugh. They were just lying to you and all of them to get power and money. And the cherry on top? What they do actually want, and have been grifting on for years, is their highly successful program to raise the standard of living of the Chinese working class. Given the hundreds of billions of dollars at stake no wonder they unified to oust the one man calling that out.

                  Grey is the new Orange. And you are now absolutely powerless to do anything about it.

                  Reply
                  1. Phillip Cross

                    Absolutely powerless to do anything about it now, or as always?

                    You aren’t seriously suggesting that this power to change course was ever at stake in the 2020 general election are you?

                    Wakey wakey!

                    Reply
                  2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                    Hunter Biden’s secret $400K investment in the “Bohai Harvest” fund is now worth an estimated $50M, pity his partner in that is currently in jail. What did you get? A dementia patient who can’t even read a teleprompter and a sneering IdPol queen with the billionaire tech monopolists quarantining you from the information you need on speed dial. That gurgling sound you hear is America disappearing down the porcelain bowl, and you pulled the handle. But my final emotion is not scorn. It’s pity.

                    Reply
                    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                      With extra pity reserved for people like Phillip above, who have lost any remaining shred of hope for humanity. It must be hard to be you.

                    2. Phillip Cross

                      Yes, there are down days if you let the big picture get to you, but picturing you all puce faced and delirious, high as a kite on far right Koolaid, as you knock out these bonkers posts makes it all worthwhile! This absurd caricature you have developed is comedy gold! Thank you! *chefs kiss*

              2. Ghost in the Machine

                This is a very interesting thread for me. Regarding the content of the current post, I believe that most here would agree with its content. I doubt there would be much debate. Your writing is exactly the kind of perspective I would send to my friends and family. However, when I send commentary like this to them, many are going to look you up and find out about this Covid position, and your main point here will be inevitably wrapped up in the Covid views. It is unavoidable.

                “But capitalism is a universal solvent, Hopkins points out, and just as it unvalued the values of aristocracy and theocracy almost 250 years ago (to the people’s delight), it now proceeds to unvalue all remaining values, for its logical object is the establishment of a single universal value: exchange value.”

                I agree that many are harmed from the lockdowns. Most of the harm is due to our system that requires the sale of wage labor for life’s necessities and debt service. We will not help adequately those affected in our system during lockdowns (or reduced economic activity due to fear) even though we could because of the reasons you outline above.
                It is also known that with more open counter measures more will get sick and die. It is unclear know how severe the repercussions will be for all the survivors. And then there are the surviving loved ones. I do know that talk of protecting the vulnerable during openings in such a system is bull#$@% for the same reasons we will not significantly help the unemployed. So it seems to be utilitarian argument about the least harm in this current global capitalist system.

                I am reminded of the short story by Ursala K le Guin’s short story “Those who walk away from Omelas.”

                I do not think the sides of this argument will likely convince the other because there is no moral solution to this problem of who to sacrifice given this fundamentally unjust system. I guess there is a utilitarian ‘exchange-value’ argument to be made which is the context of the system we rail against.

                “the measure of society is how it treats the weakest members”
                Even though stated by a slaveholder, I believe this is true and a condemnation of the society of the author, as well.

                Their are weak on both sides of this argument. Personally, I wish I had the ability and then the courage to walk away from Omelas.

                Reply
              3. clarky90

                AIDS is an Infectious virus. In 2019, about 690 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide. In 2004, about 1.7 million people died …..

                The entire world did not lockdown during the AIDS pandemic.

                Reply
                1. French75

                  AIDS doesn’t have nearly the transmission rate of the flu (let alone covid), and thus never threatened to overwhelm the hospital system.

                  Amidst all of the moral hand-wringing about “risk killing or causing serious harm to other people,” I think people lose sight of the truly actionable public health concern: hospitals no longer being able to care for patients.

                  This is the metric uses by epidemiologists, in their modeling of Covid progression, as the trigger for lockdowns: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6493/860

                  The other considerations all seem, to me, quite secondary.

                  Reply
                  1. Harold

                    What French75 says +++

                    It’s not only the death rate, it’s also what happens when thousands of people get sick (and some die) all in a very, very short time — like a week or a month or two, including and even primarily, health workers, teacher, parents. Hospitals and cemeteries are overwhelmed. People drop dead on the street, as we saw in Wuhan. They cower and die at home, as happened in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. Supplies run out. Food runs out or rots on the vine. It can bring all of society to a halt. That is what happened here in NYC and it is starting to happen in the rest of the country.

                    Reply
              4. French75

                I have found it useful, in conversations with my peers, to ask questions like:

                “How low would the fatality have to be in order for you to feel that the current response is unwarranted?” (Or, on the flip side, how high until it is warranted).

                If the response is some variation on “even one death is one too many” (or, on the flip side, “as bad as smallpox”) you know that a serious discussion cannot be had.

                In the absence of feedback loops (like: the less deadly the disease, the less voluntary compliance with basic measures, therefore higher transmission), I’d slap the “unwarranted” term at maybe 50% as deadly and 30% as many severe side-effects — basically when the hospital system is unlikely to become overwhelmed.

                Also — by way of segue — I hope your essays (which I have just purchased) touch on “propaganda-driven mass hysteria that leads people to denounce other people” as a more general bolshevistic trend. I’m starting to see — particularly in the shrill twitterati — a community who, not being content with consent, seek to manufacture *compliance*. (“You cannot question our views, nor hold your own.”)

                Reply
              5. ArvidMartensen

                Off the subject of Covid, and more on what your piece is about. I wrote somewhere else yesterday about how its not the post-truth era, but the post-reality era. All this furious fact-checking is missing the point.

                “Alternative Facts” are just a symptom of the wholesale dissolving of any shared reality. Now the Democrats have their reality and the Trumpians have their reality. There is no meeting in the middle.

                I was reading a fairly recent paper that the US Government puts out periodically on military strategy etc, – frustratingly I just can’t find it right now. But it detailed a whole lot of threats to the US including foreign actors and climate change as big ones. Might have also included internal social factors. And when a suggested “wargame” was to be run, the suggested bad guy was not a large and menacing overseas country, nor a bunch of religious, self-destructive terrorists.
                No, the bad guy was a socially active group in the US, wanting better outcomes for citizens, going feral and threatening to bomb stuff.
                This to me seems to indicate that of all the malicious actors in the world the one that the US military is most afraid of is at home, in the guise of socially active people.

                And to me this gets to the heart of populism. To those who run the country by virtue of having almost all of the wealth and therefore influence, populists/socially aware people are the ones who are most likely to take that all away. You have military to deal with all the non-US threats. But dealing with organic homegrown threats is a few orders of magnitude harder while you are trying to maintain the fiction of a “democracy”.

                So you have to get the people to police themselves, and how better than to co-opt the well-educated and their spheres of influence (business, media, politics) to despise and delegitmise and control those who might rightly be fairly p***ed off because they have very little and even it keeps being taken away (jobs, houses etc).
                So you have to skew reality to make meritocrats believe that they have all the virtue, and that they stand between civilisation and the mob. The mob being the “deplorables”. When you are the guardians of virtue, then you have the right to ban, censor, rule doing whatever is necessary. The ends justify the means. And so you have the Democrats.
                I think therefore that what is happening in the US is tied to intelligence operations, and that Russiagate was just one example of it in action.
                In the late 40s/early 50s the wealthy in the US were very exercised about losing it all to a popular uprising just as in Russia. Since Russia probably was the winning factor in WWII and so had demonstrated military power and ran an influence operation. So McCarthyism was devoted to rooting out all left wing thought. Then McCarthyism died away because it became obvious that Russia was not that much of a threat to the wealthy.
                Now that the wealthy feel threatened again, the whole witchhunt has started over.

                Reply
          6. Pelham

            Here’s a legitimate question from someone (me) who is unfamiliar with your work: What do you have to say about the long-term consequences of even mild Covid infections?

            Various numbers I’ve seen indicate that anywhere from 10% to 30% of Covid sufferers — notably including many who suffered few symptoms — end up with very long-term or possibly permanent damage to major organs, including their brains. (This factor does get reported but, oddly in my estimation, doesn’t enter very prominently into the Covid debate, either on the side of the fervid lockdown advocates or the disbelievers.)

            Separately, I’ll grant that the death rate now is fairly low.

            Reply
      1. upstater

        Infection Fatality Rate shouldn’t the end-all measure of Covid-19. Obviously medical practices have advanced considerably since the influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968. Those pandemics would have similarly low IFRs today. We see dramatic reductions in fatal traumas as well. Unfortunately there is such a thing as “long COVID” and trauma victims that were saved to suffer life long severe disability. Just because something is medically possible to save a life does not mean it is desirable or cost effective; an ounce of prevention is surely worth a pound of cure.

        It should be noted when it becomes necessary to rent refrigerated trailers to stack bodies, the system is obviously overloaded. Do we really want a second wave that denies the mostly elderly victims even palliative care, as happened in northern Italy and NYC in winter and spring? Sweden and New York State have done exceptionally poor jobs protecting the most vulnerable and it has only improved moderately. Community spread from asymptomatic young and middle aged continues to infect the elderly.

        This is not to say that opportunists have not milked the pandemic to solidify their gilded positions of power. The opposite is true. That’s an artifact of the western neoliberal system and not the disease.

        Sorry, but it is not yet time for “business as usual”.

        Reply
        1. John Ralston

          Some 40% of the deaths in the US are attributed to Nursing and Care Homes. What steps were taken to mitigate the problems in nursing homes since they became evident in February? List them.

          Hospitals and morgues required assistance? What did their management invest in and what assitance was requested that was not provided? What steps were taken to provide infrastructure and improve logistics to the hospitals and morgues? List them.

          In NYC the Javits Center was converted to a triage center and few if any patients were ever taken; -although Cuomo used it for his lengthy daily press conferences despite the fact that unused and fully proper professional media facilities litter NYC: Metropolis, NEP, SilverCup, Kaufman Astoria, All Mobile Video, ABC, Manhattan Center, etc., etc…

          Criminal malfeasance and medical malpractice might be to blame as much as anything in the mounting death toll of the elderly from NCoV-19. How are closing schools and businesses actually helping the elderly, those in care homes, and/or people with awful pre-existing conditions such as cancer, HIV/immune dysfunction, hypertension, diabetes, organ disease, obesity, etc. whether in their homes or when admitted to hospitals?

          I’m not in denial that there is a virus. I fail to see what rational and concrete steps are actually being taken to protect those specifically endangered by it.

          Reply
          1. Gregory Bott

            Right, but younger people requiring hospitalization is your missing piece. It’s part of why Covid is a issue and rattling the medical system.

            Reply
          2. upstater

            What is your point, John?

            Community spread is by far the greatest driver in my area. K-12 schools are not. But workplaces, bars, restaurants and college parties are the drivers. Halloween parties gave us exponential growth, including 30 resident MDs at the medical school. Can’t wait for Thanksgiving!

            Locally we had been < 1% through September with robust restrictions and now some days are 8% with business as usual until this week. There are 200 positives a day, up from a dozen. The county executive says that sustained positives over 100/day will gradually overwhelm hospitals

            The fact Cuomo loves grandstanding like Trump, got a late start, sent positive elderly back to nursing homes until May, rented morgue trailers and didn't fill up Javits doesn't negate there is such a thing as long Covid and a huge second wave is hitting.

            None of the western neoliberal elites have responded well. I didn't defend the elites then or now. Why are you asking me to List them?

            Obviously the only way to protect the vulnerable is by a functioning public health system that isn’t designed to feed the beast. And Biden, Cuomo or Trump surely won’t deliver.

            Reply
            1. John Ralston

              Sequester the elderly and those who administer to them.

              ‘Long Covid’ has not existed for even 9 months, so we cannot even know what that means. Some people never recover fully from all manner of illnesses and that is nothing new. -Tuberculosis, chicken pox, polio, encephalitis, herpes, pneumonia, etc., all have known long term damage syndromes.

              I am a realist.

              IMHO, NCoV-19 is now a feature of our world; just like the common cold and the traditional seasonal flu. NYC cannot rid itself of lice or bedbugs or rats; so, I realistically cannot expect it to expunge Covid.

              Just answer this:

              Would you shut down the economy and bankrupt the world to try and eradicate rats? How -and for how long would you expect to persist in this endeavor, and at what cost to everyone in the entire world?

              I posit that we cannot kill off the rats or we would have.
              I posit that we cannot kill off the flu or we would have.
              I posit that we probably cannot kill off NCoV-19 either at this point as not only do people have it; but, cats, dogs, ferrets and mink, rodents, and god knows what else..

              Protect the vulnerable who wish to be protected with full determination. Let the rest of the world get back to living as they wish..

              Reply
              1. Jos Oskam

                @John Ralston,

                I fully agree and admire you for this candid post. After all, saying things that are not fully compliant with the established COVID narrative tends to invite all kinds of nasty reactions. From snarky or nasty comments to outright cancelling and demonizing.

                No, I’m not a COVID denier, I fully appreciate the impact of this virus and the nasty effects contaminations may have, and I do feel it should be taken seriously.

                But sorry, telling people that putting a piece of cloth on their face and not go outside after 21:00 is going to stop a pandemic is not “taking things seriously” in my book. It’s ridiculous nonsense masquerading as science-based measures to make politicians feel that they are Doing Something.

                Reply
                1. John Ralston

                  Thank you, Jos, Oskam.

                  I don’t consider myself a ‘covid denier’ either.

                  My most charitable answer is that the society is experiencing the socio- political equivalent to a cytokine storm. The response is not only exacerbating the health crisis; it is inducing a wide range of detrimental damages on every level from the personal to the macro-economic.

                  The response to NCoV-19 is far more damaging than the virus itself.

                  So much so that suspicion the virus is being used by certain persons and organizations for ideological and political purposes, and/or for financial gain, just cannot be dismissed.

                  Being a realist I cannot but wonder if the Cancel Culture and ‘The Resistance’ factions are using the virus as a handy weapon with which to attack their perceived opponents.

                  I also don’t have much faith in the benevolence of BIG Pharma putting my health before their profits.

                  It appears evident to me that the unscrupulous are perfectly happy to abuse the horrible situation to further their agenda whether they would admit to it or not…

                  Reply
                2. Lambert Strether

                  > But sorry, telling people that putting a piece of cloth on their face and not go outside after 21:00 is going to stop a pandemic is not “taking things seriously” in my book.

                  I don’t think you’re all that sorry, because that “piece of cloth” trope is stupidest and most delusional trope I’ve seen in some time, and I see a lot. See Hong Kong. Or South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan.

                  Or China. Just because the capitalist West turned Covid into a shit-storm of mass killing doesn’t everybody did. And “pieces of cloth” were part of China’s strategy:

                  Green is China. The provincialism, shall we say, of Americans who assert that Covid cannot be controlled is stunning.

                  Reply
              2. Martin Davis

                It is not the world of East Asia. Is that only a temporary exception to the rule, or merely something you have over looked?

                Reply
              3. Yves Smith Post author

                I’m losing tolerance, since you are running tropes that have been repeatedly debunked in linked articles and by me and others in the comments section. You are way into Making Shit Up terrain. And this follows your Making Shit Up yesterday on the spurious correlation (even if accurate, which I doubt) between audio patterns and voting data meaning something nefarious.

                You can’t isolate the elderly. Did you not work out that they are cared for by younger people when they are in retirement homes? Or is your proposal that they be garrisoned to die?

                Moreover, you are also Making Shit Up in treating the only people at risk from Covid as the elderly. Aside from considerable evidence of many types of serious damage after Covid cases, even asymptomatic cases, even among young people in excellent health, those at risk of death goes way beyond the elderly. One of our aides here had a boyfriend who has three relatives under 40 who died of Covid. Anyone in a setting where they are exposed to high viral loads is at more risk that the rest of the population, starting with doctors and nurses. Did you manage to miss that there have been Covid clusters at meatpacking plants? Or are you going to try asserting that meatpacking plants have a disproportionate representation of senior citizens as workers?

                We also linked early on, and repeatedly, to studies that show that trying to limit the activities of the elderly only does close to bupkis to reduce disease propagation.

                Reply
          3. Annieb

            Was the Javits center outfitted for patients around the time recovering covid patients were sent to nursing homes? In other words was the Javits center available for patients but not used in favor of nursing homes?
            If the answer is yes, then many other questions need to be answered.

            Reply
      2. Ghost in the Machine

        It is possible for Covid-19 to be both something we need to be very worried about and something that will be used to further advance the neoliberal agenda (“The Shock Doctrine”). Even here in our conservative state the ICUs have now filled to an extent that it has got our conservative governor spooked. My wife is a physician (not front lines as she is currently immune compromised) and it certainly has them stressed and worn down. The future Covid-related health burdens are appearing like they may be substantial. A co-worker has had long Covid for months and has difficulty working. I think a good area of critique would be how utterly insane it is that we have as system, that even as material rich as it is (food surpluses etc.), we find it impossible to slow down for a year or two without collapsing the system or ruining millions of lives. This, of course, is related to maintaining current class relations. It is also sad and weird to me that it is a society where children’s futures are taken to be seriously harmed by missing a year or so of structured learning. The kiddos would catch up or learn things a little later and move on in any sane system. Certainly, great minds have come from many backgrounds, and societies, healthy societies, in the past have muddled through some pretty terrible events intact. Is it world ending if the next version of windows or the iphone 52 or whatever the latest version is is delayed a year? Maybe in the eyes of shareholders and execs, but not really. This is a fragile system. As powerful this potential all-encompassing dehumanizing system seems right now, I feel it is ultimately doomed from this fragility. It is a matter of how much pain we suffer in the process.

        Reply
          1. Cuibono

            CM fails to do what others spouting similar arguments have also failed to do; tell us how precisely you go about protecting the vulnerable. And he fails to acknowledge the reality that his disease has disproportionately killed and affected minority populations for whom isolation is not a possibility,
            frankly this does not seem to be well argued or well thought out. It was interesting he deleted reference to the GBD in the comments section as he said he said this was not his argument, when in fact he is making the same argument.
            He also fails to acknowledge that it not primarily lock downs that have created economic chaos.

            Reply
            1. aumua

              He also fails to acknowledge that it not primarily lock downs that have created economic chaos.

              Exactly right. It’s really hard to say what is causing more economic damage, the lockdowns and other imposed controls or the pandemic itself. Especially early on, I think that if we had made no changes to our behavior that the infection and death rate would have spiked so hard that the resulting panic would have shut things down more and caused even more damage than what happened. Now maybe we have a little better handle on it and once again it’s hard to say where that balance is. But I prefer to acknowledge where I don’t know the answer, instead of acting like I do know which is what I see a lot of on the “lockdowns are totalitarian and unnecessary” side. You don’t know that they are unnecessary, you’re just guessing.

              And the half-assed measures that have been taken in the States at least are far from totalitarian.

              Reply
        1. Keith Newman

          re Ghost @10:18.
          I too believe doing nothing is a very important intellectual and spiritual activity. But Covid-time is more than that. It means avoiding others. One of my children is a first year phd student. Covid restrictions are undermining his learning by limiting exchanges with profs and other students. I hear the same from friends who are profs.

          Reply
        2. Cuibono

          wonderful post. thank you!

          it is sad to see the divisiveness on this thread as symptom of our inability to craft better more healing narratives…you are on the right track here

          Reply
        3. Lambert Strether

          > It is possible for Covid-19 to be both something we need to be very worried about and something that will be used to further advance the neoliberal agenda (“The Shock Doctrine”).

          Of course. Our elites are highly opportunistic. “Something like this” was bound to happen, and no doubt elites had a portfolio of options ready to deal with it, but nobody picked up the phone and made it happen.

          Reply
      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        “comparable to the medium influenza pandemics of 1957 and 1968”

        This is remarkably disingenuous. Already more people have died in the current pandemic than in either of those two: we are closing in on 1.3 million dead worldwide with no end in sight.

        The death toll of the Asian Flu in 1957-58 was 1.1m and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968-70 was 1m.

        Within a single calendar year we have outstripped them both. If this is a two- or three-year pandemic as many epidemiologists have suggested, there will be millions more dead. Not to mention the additional millions who will suffer severe long-term and life-altering brain, lung, heart, and immune system damage.

        Please make your argument without putting forth spurious “facts” that insult the intelligence of the commentariat.

        Reply
        1. Aumua

          From early on I have estimated 10 to 20 million deaths globally, when all is said and done. And given an estimated IFR of 0.5% plus the apparently high infection rate of COVID-19… let’s say half the world’s population eventually becomes infected, then the result would be ~20 million deaths. Not the worst case early scenario, but certainly not nothing. Certainly worth taking measures to mitigate.

          Also no matter how many times Hopkins (or others) use the word totalitarian to describe things like public mask wearing mandates, that doesn’t make it any more true.

          Reply
        2. Shiloh1

          World population in 1958 about 3,000,000,000, in 1969 about 3,700,000,000, now about 8,000,000,000.

          I know I didn’t miss a day of school, 2nd and 3rd grade, in the 68-70 episode.

          Reply
      4. Basil Pesto

        Please do not be afraid of totalitarian overreaction in Germany or Europe generally. Europe’s post-war human rights institutions, formed in the reaction to the totalitarian excesses of the 20th century, are quite robust. It is imho very unlikely that any Council of Europe country would be able to get away with runaway, untrammeled totalitarianism as a consequence of Covid.

        Consider this Council of Europe fact sheet from March. It’s not very long but it sums up the issues quite well.

        Baked into the convention is the principle that in an emergency, including a health emergency, derogation from rights may be permitted, as a balancing act may be required of rights may be required (with certain non-derogable exceptions as outlined in Article 15).

        While it’s true there’s a considerable
        margin of appreciation (a technical human rights law term which basically pertains to the scope of state parties’ governments to act in their best interests based on the idea that they would have a better understanding of the various factors in play in their country than the Court), when it comes to derogations from the Convention in an emergency, it’s by no means a casual, willy-nilly thing:

        A derogation is also subject to formal requirements: the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, being the depository of the Convention, must be fully informed of the measures taken, of the reasons therefore, and of the moment these measures have ceased to operate (https://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/webContent/62111354).

        Moreover, as the fact sheet indicates – and this is where the balancing act of rights comes in – there is a very real possibility that states which fail to adequately take the disease seriously may be in violation of the Article 2 right to life. They refer to this fact sheet on states’ treatment of prisoners which has some interesting cases – although nothing about an epidemic/pandemic per se because there hasn’t really been one like Sars 2 in Europe in the post-war period.

        You may disagree that Covid constitutes a health emergency. Maybe in the fullness of time you’ll be shown to be correct, though I’m not convinced. But I find it hard to accept that the plurality of
        governments in Europe (or around the world, for that matter) are acting in bad faith by taking this virus seriously – keeping in mind their feedback comes not just from above, but from below (medical workers, victims and survivors, their families etc.) In lieu of more decisive evidence than you possess that the threat of Covid is overstated, I think the precautionary principle is warranted, because if you’re wrong, the consequences would be disastrous.

        Although there is no Covid jurisprudence in the ECHR yet (much too soon – before anyone can bring a case before the ECHR they must exhaust the appeals process of the domestic courts of their own country first), there surely will be. I think, though, that it’s extremely unlikely that it will license a new totalitarian order. Please, please do not be unduly afraid.

        Reply
        1. anon y'mouse

          fatality rate is not a static thing, either. it changes over time and due to circumstance.

          it depends upon the treatments received, how timely, and so forth. which depends upon many other factors (time to develop treatments, test out options, availability, and even idiocy in high places).

          we all know that our medical system is highly iniquitous.

          even if the “fatality rate” is extremely low, as they keep quoting, that still means in a country with a few hundred million, hundreds of thousands to a few million dead.

          all of this spew of “fatality rate” is to try to get us all to think like actuaries. in other words, sociopaths willing to sacrifice “others”, and make it seem the hard-nosed, rational option.

          i don’t see any of these “IFR” quoting types running out to get the virus anytime soon. and i would very much bet none work in a meat packing plant, nor in retail.

          Reply
  1. RP

    As someone who is in neither echo chamber of the left or right. I lived in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this article exemplifies the liberal attitude. The Democratic Party has been hijacked by in my opinion closet racists and fanatics. They pay lip service to supposed liberal causes as disguise from their true contempt. As long as those people live over there but not to close to my boutique lifestyle neighborhood.

    Reply
  2. GramSci

    I was a fan of CJ Hopkins and Paul Craig Roberts until this summer, when both showed their deep-seated belief that property matters more than Black Lives.

    Reply
    1. Mme Generalist

      Get them to the gulag post haste! Along with Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Coleman Hughes, et al. for being out of formation.

      Reply
    2. John Ralston

      My view is that IF BLM cared about Black lives they might consider mobilizing in cities such as Chicago to police their own and bring an end to the Black on Black violence or to reorganize and rebuild their communities via their .

      The proper response is to take back the streets from the thugs and gangs in your own neighborhoods.
      The proper response is to produce and build: not to take and torch. Building and rehabilitating property ala Habitat For Humanity is a better answer than looting and arson.

      They can prove they have the ability to manage your own affairs responsibly rather than threatening and stealing and destroying and put our fears to the contrary to rest.

      Reply
        1. John Ralston

          The only pictures I have seen of BLM swinging hammers is when windows and cash registers are being smashed.

          When these people start installing windows and acting to protect people and property I will adjust my attitude towards the ‘movement’.

          Reply
            1. John Ralston

              Where are the mobs of BLM cleaning up the mess and rebuilding the damaged property?

              Show me evidence of BLM condemning and countering the violence as a matter of policy.

              I have seen the BLM stealing. Where is the BLM sharing?

              I have have seen the BLM destruction. Where is the BLM building?

              I have heard the BLM demands. Where are the BLM promises?

              Reply
              1. lyman alpha blob

                How do you know who all the official members of BLM are? You are making a lot of generalizations regarding a complex on the ground situation where it’s not easy from a distance to tell who is really part of what group, if any,

                And it’s not a fair argument to move the goalposts after someone answers your question.

                There are hangers-on who use the movement to virtue signal and advance their own interests – BLM slogans combined with corporate branding for example. There are elements of the authorities who infiltrate the movement in an attempt to discredit it, often being the instigators of violence themselves. There are others on the streets during protests not affiliated with the movement who show up for reasons known only to themselves. I knew people during the Seattle WTO protests who jumped into the fray just for the excitement of it all. But my belief is that the vast majority of protestors want justice and to be treated equally, IMO a very legitimate, important and righteous stance.

                Reply
              2. Yves Smith Post author

                In NYC, the looting was done by gangs that had nothing to do with the protestors. Numerous business owners confirmed that their establishment was cased by bike during the day, and trucks came in the evening with teams to smash windows and cart goods out.

                In Minnesota, one of the early window-breakers was a white supremacist.

                Reply
        2. farmboy

          Chicago police assassinated the leader of the Black Panthers in Illinois. At every turn minority communities are suppressed in their efforts at self-care. To quell the unrest in the sixties the ex-CIA were bringing in heroin to innercity communities to quell unrest. see Gary Webb. California passed strict gun laws prohibiting open carry when Black Panthers started doing it. Endemic for years.

          Reply
          1. John Ralston

            I don’t see why the police would assassinate a group building homes ala Habit For Humanity.

            Lets be honest: the Panthers were not a bunch of angels busing themselves with painting old ladies’ houses and fixing fences..

            Heroin..
            Did they hold down people and stick the heroin in their arms every few hours until they died? Who is responsible for using the stuff?

            I’ve dried out more than my share of hung up musicians and artists, etc..
            One thing I do know with certitude is that no one forced them to start shooting or snorting junk in the first place.

            Eventually each person must assume personal responsibility or admit they are incapable of it. No one ever quits who doesn’t want to no matter how much time and money and support is provided. I KNOW.

            Gun prohibitions are obviously not stopping the black on black crime in Chicago and other cities. I support the 2nd.

            Maybe it would be more transformative to disband the ATF and CIA than the local constabulary..

            Reply
            1. Mme Generalist

              Although I agree with your overall point, you should read about the murder of Fred Hampton and the organizing he was trying to do in Chicago so you can “see why the police would assassinate” someone doing good for the community.

              Reply
        1. John Ralston

          It is revealing that the people that claim to be organizing to protect do not.

          It is revealing that you waste time parsing my language for perceived dog whistles to pounce on instead of defending the actions of those in question.

          When BLM builds and protects it will be something more than destructive and dangerous.

          Reply
          1. Saffa

            Expecting people who suffer and continue to suffer multi-generational systemic trauma to be 100% exemplary is simply not realistic. There will always be young people who 1. Are simply too dysregulated (amygdala etc) due to desperation and rage to take the high road.
            2. Who may start off with good intentions but get triggered which leads to #1 or 3. Become targets of pathological personalities who then exert undue influence in the wrong direction. Usually this is still by far the minority of cases given what Flora said re news.

            Expecting post-card-perfect-safe-for-dinner-table-discussions-political resistance is not only a bit naive and rich (even if sweet and understandable), it is simply woefully unaware of the reality of trauma and how it influences and plays out in culture.

            This is not to deny the real fear and sadness about destruction and violence. But it takes a bigger perspective to be willing to understand the greater context of people’s rage. Anyone’s rage for that matter.

            Reply
  3. Chris Herbert

    It is a muddle, I’ll admit. But the most dangerous threat comes from global corporate hydra networks. They are very real and they infect both Democrat and Republican parties. To tear down Democrats is not an effective response. Just another ‘gotcha’ in the never ending political swamp we not only inherit, but encourage. Tear down the hydra networks. Dismantle them. It’s not that we don’t know who and what they are. I’m just a hick legislator, but I can read. So read Sarah Chayes “On Corruption In America: And What Is At Stake.” She’s not a clever humorist/critic/journalist, she’s a professional investigator who has worked to expose these networks. Trump may have been a caricature come to life, but his lessons for us are not the same as those exposed by Chayes. There are distinctions. There are differences. Some threats are far more insidious than adopting the ‘you are not a real populist’ meme. Manipulative information campaigns like ‘Conspiracy Scares’ have been with us since, at least the 1890s. As historian Thomas Frank has documented. Eating your liberal young is not the answer.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      Re ‘Conspiracy Scares’:

      “Not too long ago, I watched the Taliban lose major offensives in Afghanistan and yet infiltrate the same zones afterwards, gaining strategic ground. Now I am watching Moscow do the same, inside the American homeland, and the national security establishment is hardly reacting. It is time for us to counter this threat with appropriate force. That means mounting a public campaign to harden targets throughout our economy, including hedge funds and their investments, educational institutions, and the public at large. And it means publicly demanding the impeachment and removal from office of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apologist in chief, President Donald Trump.”

      https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/12/russia-waging-asymmetric-warfare-against-united-states-and-were-letting-them-win/161981/

      Like many Establishment liberals, Sarah Chayes has done some good work. And like many, she is excellent at describing problems but stopping just short of getting at their fundamental cause. “Corruption” — in the US, Ukraine, Afghanistan, etc. — is described in vivid detail in her writings. But the role of the Establishment itself (of which she is a part) in both perpetuating and benefiting from this corruption is just missed. Some relevant questions can be asked, while others are avoided.

      And like many liberals who have done good work in the past, she has been exposed by the Raging Orange Bull.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > harden targets throughout our economy, including hedge funds and their investments, educational institutions, and the public at large.

        Why am I little nervous about a mindset that considers the public a “target” to “harden”? Yikes.

        Reply
    2. tegnost

      “Politics ain’t beanbag” is a phrase that might be found in the archives of NC. The democratic party/corporation got elected with the votes of people whose views do not match their own, BUT TRuMP!!!!, so those people who disagree with the corpodems policies were cajoled to vote in biden and then burn his feet off. If the dems don’t/didn’t want to be “torn down” they could have thrown a bone to the people who they relied on rather than drawing a bright red(as in republican) line between themselves and those with alternative viewpoints, most of which involve selling out to corporations and feeding them the greater population of the usa (prop 22 was definitely written by a “smart person/cabal, as was the ever lovable ACA). Since Biden et al. are part and parcel a critical element in the hydra, they deserve to be torn down and they would expect it if they were not so tone deaf. As an aside to non regular readers at NC, the laptop story registered as a minor blip in the timeline as this story really is just an extension of the biden and sons global grift from early in the demons presidency when it was laughably put forth that it was just normal (unsaid of course normal in an abnormal way). See college admissions scandal, see how many of your pmc friends who don’t want to be torn down are enlisting their kids in the armed services to man the front lines in the imperial march. Certainly one of the objections to M4A is that they’ve got their kids in biotech and the med industrial complex. I for one am looking forward to disrupting the ossified structure of the Corporation known as the Democratic Party.

      Reply
  4. Fox Blew

    ” Hopkins has no enthusiasm for Marxist analysis; in fact, he celebrates the, well, populist victories that capitalism won in its early stages: the overthrow of the tyranny of kings and priests and the subsequent establishment of modern democracies above all. ”

    …sounds like Mr. K. Marx to me if I recall. Karl paid huge compliments to the bourgeois capitalist class in their victories over monarchy in the early days. (Readers, correct me if I’m wrong).

    While I like this post a lot and very happy to be introduced to Mr. Hopkins, I am getting a little bored with writers who seem to go out of their way to distance themselves from Marx or “Marxism” as if it’s some disease (Covid-1848). Maybe I’m reading too much into this and simply need a cup of coffee.

    Reply
    1. Darthbobber

      No. You are not wrong. My first thought when I looked at the quote was “written by someone who either never read Marx or assumes their readers haven’t. “

      Reply
      1. John Ralston

        Maybe some people, having read Marx and Marxist philosophy, have simply come to their own thoughtful conclusion that it is little but misguided and ill conceived.

        Where are the strong fruitful Marxist nations?

        Russia has recanted and reformed. Chinese Maoism has evolved into Party feudalism after 50-ish years of relentless capital investment. Are the hungry people of Venezuela having depleted their zoos of stock for dinner months ago and presently dismantling their petroleum infrastructure for scrap metal the model?

        Please do show us all the great shining Marxist examples with all of the happy, healthy, sated, contented peoples beckoning us to come learn their ways and share in their grand bounty and success..

        Reply
        1. Bazarov

          Sorry, John. You gotta count China and Cuba.

          Xi has a PhD in Marxism. He loves Marxism.

          China’s strategy is classic Marxism–which remember says that a society must undergo a bourgeois phase that can progress the forces of production before that society can further evolve. Even the Bolsheviks were, at first, in favor of a parliamentary Republic for Russia so that the bourgeois could progress the forces of Russian production, without which communism, per Marx, could not be achieved.

          The strategy China is carrying out is to allow the bourgeoise to do its work *under the auspices of the communist party.* If the bourgeoise gets, uh, too uppity, they execute a few billionaires.

          So far, China has “progressed the forces of production” nicely. Xi’s vision is one of China achieving “socialist modernization” in the coming decades.

          We’ll see if China can do it. If they can, it’ll be a vindication of Marxism.

          Reply
          1. John Ralston

            It sounds to me as you are defending the harvesting of a long cycle of capitalist improvements by a cadre of Chinese Party Oligarchs.

            How can it be a triumph of Marxism to seize the fruits of the great Chinese capitalist investment cycle and institute a modern feudalistic police state?

            How could that economy and the infrastructure, etc. have been built without the improvements instituted by capitalist expansion in the first place?

            When the Marxists expunge the capitalists how do you propose for renewd social expansions be funded and managed for the Party Oligarchs of tomorrow and elsewhere?

            Oh, I get it alright. I contend that it is a SCAM.

            Reply
            1. Bazarov

              Uhh, Marxism is about “seizing the fruit” of the “Capitalist investment cycle.”

              As Marx said, the bourgeoise is a progressive force in the sense of “progressing” the forces of production via capitalist means.

              Deng understood this–so he decided to use bourgeois dynamism for communist ends: namely, to progress the forces of production in China.

              In fact, Marx believes that such progression is a pre-requisite for communism.

              Your moralizing is irrelevant–capitalism viciously destroyed feudal societies all over the world and replaced them with repressive “party of order” style rule. No one’s crying for them! Capitalism doesn’t care much about human life at all, much less whether a state is a “police state” or not, as long as it facilitates investment.

              I’m afraid I’m not at all convinced that the the Chinese mode of production is “feudalistic”–it has resulted in far too much growth to be anything like a feudal circular economy.

              I’m afraid I won’t budge on my original contention–that Chinese development is indeed compatible with Marxism.

              China is a Marxist country, following more or less Marx’s blueprint to socialism.

              Now, will China achieve the transition to “socialist modernization” in the near term?

              The jury is still out.

              Reply
              1. John Ralston

                Foreign capital and technology were paramount to constructing the modern Chinese economy; and it is still predicated on mercantilism with other wealthy capitalist and technology rich nations.

                China is a cheap ‘Marxist’ paint-job on a Ford assembly line..

                Reply
              2. Kasia

                Thank you for your comments. I was shocked by the original author’s statement on Marx. People seem to think that Marx is “anti-Capitalist”. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything he is “hyper-Capitalist” wanting to exploit the productive power of Capitalism towards conquering nature to such a degree that Communism will be possible.

                On China I would go a step further and state that they are a synthesis of Marxism and Fascism. Obviously Fascism itself is a branch of Marxism but China through its corporatism and Han Supremacy have in some way finally resolved the “Nationality Question” and are creating real existing Socialism with Chinese fascist characteristics.

                Reply
                1. drumlin woodchuckles

                  I have myself tried encapsulating and expressing the basic implications of China to the rest of us in the phrase One Ball One Chain Great Han Lebensraum Co-Prosperity Sphere. Under the leadership of the Great Han Chauvinist CommuNazi Party regime.

                  Reply
                  1. Glen

                    I’d shorten it to –

                    China is kicking the USA’s a$$ up one side and down the other thanks to the American CEOs never ending ability to sell Americans out for a quick buck.

                    Reply
    2. Keith Newman

      Indeed. A writer who does not flee Marx as a mark of social leprosy is Bill Mitchell. It is one of the reasons I like his blog. Mitchell treats him as an important contributor to economic thought.

      Reply
      1. Keith Newman

        My previous was for Ghost @ 7:44.
        With respect to John Ralston @ 11:11, Marx had little to say about the shape of future governments so he cannot be blamed for people using his writings to their ends later.
        He was a historian and political advocate for the working class. He focused on the importance of social class in the past and in his own times. That is the part that is most interesting today. He also wrote about many other things e.g. the labour theory of value but in my opinion they are of less interest in today’s world.

        Reply
  5. Kris

    I’m a longtime Hopkins reader. I was nonplussed when he suddenly adopted anti-Covid narratives, as did others on the tiny refusionist left margin, mainly, afaict, because it dovetails with an overall stance against government control and authoritarianism – legitimate concerns that somehow became Manichaean and trumped all nuanced or complex thinking; but perhaps understandable within the pressures of such a dogmatic and all-encompassing official reality.

    Reply
    1. flora

      He was wrong about C19. Does the mean his descriptions of the war on populism and msm failures quoted in this article are therefore wrong?

      Reply
  6. Sean Brodrick

    It’s a shame to see Naked Capitalism give any credence to the laughable Hunter Biden bullshit. It really hurts your brand.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      I and I suspect most regular readers here would disagree. Corruption is not OK and we know exactly what the payoff was here. Neither is trying to censor stories about corruption by ostensibly but not really neutral platforms to benefit one political party over another.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith Post author

      My goodness. No one has disputed that the information from the hard disk wasn’t from Hunter. Glenn Greenwald, who is an expert on this topic, further described at some length that the tests used to verify the data (like checking that specific individuals who supposedly sent or received e-mails recognized them) panned out for the Hunter laptop, to an extent similar to or greater than other “leaked” materials published by the press in the past. In addition, the “hacked” pretext for suppressing publication was baloney, since the laptop was abandoned and that made it the property of the repair shop.

      Now one could argue that the information on the laptop was a big yawn, but that sure wasn’t the reaction of the officialdom. They went into suppression and demonization mode, like you.

      Reply
      1. John Ralston

        …Which is exactly why the Hunter Biden laptop is likely far more damning and dangerous to many more people than Joe Biden. The suppression of the laptop contents by the FBI also seems to indicate collusion.

        IMHO, the suppression of the laptop is now a political imperative to keep it the contents from incriminating not only Biden but Obama, Kerry, and a host of other powerful persons.

        The only reason for such a highly choreographed suppression is that the contents would plunge the nation into a full blown constitutional crisis as ranking members of Congress and high level bureaucrats from both parties would be thrown out of office if not into prison with a full exposition…

        The Hunter Biden laptop may be the strongest evidence of widespread corruption than any single cache of evidence since the Nixon Tapes..

        Reply
        1. rusti

          The Hunter Biden laptop may be the strongest evidence of widespread corruption than any single cache of evidence since the Nixon Tapes..

          Or it might just show pretty unspectacular “acceptable” levels of D.C. corruption that coincided with elites in the media and tech world not wanting to be accused of helping Trump right before the election.

          Reply
        2. Phillip Cross

          Schrodinger’s suppression! The content is out there on 4chan and all over the net for all to see, and here we are freely talking about it, seemingly not being suppressed from doing so. Yet Biden, Obama, Kerry, and a host of other powerful persons, you allege to be implicated, are walking around free and not indicted. Did you notice we have a far right A.G., and President, with everything to gain from making those people do a perp walk before the election? Do Facebook and Twitter decide what Bill Barr and the Federal authorities do now? If there is evidence of a crime then arrest and prosecute. Otherwise ess tee eff ewe.

          Reply
          1. John Ralston

            I see. No corruption in the three-letter agencies?

            Trump can just get that laptop and round up a posse?

            You are neither naive or without ideological preference in these matters.

            The desperate suppression of the contents of the laptop fully exposes the commensurate value of that information.

            Don’t worry. I’m not.

            I fully expect that much sooner than later, just like Trump’s tax returns and Clinton’s emails: we will see everything that is on Hunter’s laptop.

            Too many people have already..

            Reply
            1. Phillip Cross

              It is funny you should put it like that. Trump rounded up a posse pretty fast when he wanted Michael Reinoeh dead. Clearly he is quite capable of taking all kinds of legal & extra-legal action when it suits him.

              If there is evidence of these high crimes you allege in among the pictures of Hunter’s bell end, why do you suppose the legal experts at the disposal of the president have taken no action against the perpetrators? They have had many months, and full access to the data, to make a case.

              What seems more plausible?
              1) Trump’s own men in the DOJ refused to cooperate for 6 months without Trump making a complaint on Twitter, or firing anyone.
              Or
              2) There is no evidence of anything criminal (by US standards), so no prosecutions were possible.

              Sherlock Holmes might notice a clue from “the dog that did not bark”.

              The data is freely available online to anyone that cares to look. Apparently you know all about it, despite this “blackout”. We are able to discuss it freely without being censored. *They* really need to up their suppression game, if it’s to have anything other than the Streisand effect!

              Reply
        3. Shiloh1

          If Hunter and The Big Guy want to shake down foreign pols or have d/ pics on a laptop, that’s one thing. When their actions lead to putting mine or anyone’s kid on the spot to die in a war about Crimea, Syria or some other Pipeline-A-Stan, that’s entirely something else.

          Reply
    3. km

      What does “laughable Hunter Biden bullshit” even mean? What exactly are you objecting to and what is your basis for doing so?

      The fact that you discuss this in the context of “brand” may well be telling here.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > What does “laughable Hunter Biden bullshit” even mean?

        It means that anonymous intelligence officials quoted in the Washington Post and the New York Times are the only sources of true and unpolluted information.

        Reply
  7. Mel

    So do it. Stop using the forces of order to gun down black people in their streets and in their kitchens and their beds. Restore Rule of Law: no execution without a trial and a verdict and a sentence.
    Line those things up and people will stop burning down cities; they just won’t be mad enough. Simple.
    Then you and Paul Craig Roberts and C.J.Hopkins can be pals again.

    Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Problem is that any protests are often considered wrong by the authorities and dealt with using illegal and violent means.

        Peaceful protests are ignored or often suppressed while violent protests invite illegal brutality and murder by the police. The police then continue their increasingly violent, illegal, and lethal ways on the whole community.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Have the police ever been known to tear-gas and mass-beat a peaceful protest to try turning it violent . . . so they can then accuse it of being violent?

          Did the police try engineering any of the recent violence in order to give the Trump Administration some telegenic violence footage to campaign on?

          How many of the Black Bloc riot instigators might be secret policemen in Black Bloc disguise? For that matter, how many Antifas and BLMs might be secret policemen in Antifa and BLM disguise?

          Anyone here know anything about that?

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Don’t know any details, but it seems that most of the protests were peaceful until the police attacked and the protests morphed into riots as people fought back. This is a common occurrence even when the authorities are not trying to start a riot. People often return violence with violence. Also, much of the violence that did occur before the police attacks seems to be done by people who were not with the original protesters or were completely unknown. There appears to have been a few crews that used the chaos to efficiently clean out stores. As in drive with multiple SUVs and just strip a store out. Like a military operation.

            All this does not mean that some protests might have turned into looting and burning all on their own. I don’t see any saints. It just seems like a comparatively rare occurrence.

            Reply
          2. Saffa

            Indeed. I have at least some anecdotes from 2nd generation Spanish anarchists of ex-military infiltrating local groups. And an old hippie from Brooklyn mentioned to me along similar lines from way back when. Strange that it isn’t the first thing people think when they are aghast at the violence on the other side.

            Reply
      2. Mel

        You guys are making this complicated again. You could have solved the problem in the time you’ve spent beebling about right and wrong, but no. More fun to beeble, I guess.

        Reply
  8. Off The Street

    the triumphal onward march of global capitalism

    runs headlong into

    the long march through the institutions

    A whole lot of marching going on, and who conscripted all those people anyway? How many acknowledge that, or consent to it? I bet not many read the fine print. Cui bono? In the meantime, I’ll enjoy reading more Hopkins.

    Some just want to live and let live, without demonization of the other, any other. Others say that can’t be allowed.

    Reply
  9. David

    The problem with contrarianism is that it’s not an intellectual position, it’s just a knee-jerk psychological reaction to Authority. It comes from the teenage slogans I remember from the 60s (“Don’t believe anyone over 30!”) and the urge, which some of us never outgrow, just to be overtly different and rebellious for its own sake. If you consistently challenge the “conventional narrative” then, in true stopped-clock fashion, you’ll be right from time to time just on the law of averages. But when you have no analytical tools except “cui bono” and “the government always tells lies”, you have no way of persuading people, all you have is assertions.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether

      > contrarianism

      Seems to be the new word used by liberal Democrat enforcers. These words come and go. Often combined with the tactic of infantilizing one’s opponents, as we see in this comment.

      Thank The God(dess)(e)(s) Of Our Choice, If Any, that the “adults in the room” are never contrarian!

      Reply
  10. pjay

    I’m always happy to see a John Siman appearance at NC. And I’m a long-time CJ Hopkins fan. But when I saw this article I was saddened before I even read it, because I knew what would happen. The discussion would not be about the subject of the article at all, but about Hopkins’ stance on COVID. Guess what?

    This is a polarizing subject – as are all subjects these days. I am not a covid “denier” at all – my brother had it, and people I know have lost friends or family members. But there is definitely room for debate on some of these issues. Unfortunately, we can’t.

    Reply
    1. DSB

      Agree. I too think the subject of the essay is important. It brought out multiple voices, one of which is Mr. Hopkins. The topic is of long-term importance.

      Thank you for the comment.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      I think the debate over covid is precisely an example of the narrative dominated information environment that we now live in. Caitlin Johnstone also talks about this. Which is to say it’s possible for there to be debate about a new disease without one side being in the pocket of the Koch organization and the other a cats’ paw for Big Pharma. It’s also quite likely that the politicization of the discussion has had more than a little to do with the election and Dem obsession with getting rid of Trump (which seems to have achieved its goal). Given that people are dying makes it particularly easy to claim that anyone who disagrees with you is a callous killer. Perhaps that’s why doctors, who have to deal with death and dying on a routine basis, are among the dissenters. Often those of us who have had a loved one in decline do see doctors as callous, but that doesn’t make their scientific approach invalid. The Precautionary Princlple doesn’t mean you are supposed to throw your entire society out the window “just in case.” Medical decisions are often being made by politicians who have only their jobs at stake rather than those with a better understanding of the risks and how much is possible in avoiding them.

      Reply
      1. .Tom

        This is also difficult because, as I tried to explain in a comment above, there is inevitably a moral dimension to the political decisions that have been and have to be made. Whether or not we have all the facts in front of us and agree on them, there will be conflicting interests. Hence decisions on strategy for fighting the pandemic involve moral choices. Understanding the science and medicine is of course necessary but I think it’s insufficient when we face decisions over, for example, who will suffer what to prevent damage elsewhere.

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        > Given that people are dying makes it particularly easy to claim that anyone who disagrees with you is a callous killer.

        Everybody who is anybody is fine with deaths of despair or deaths without #MedicareForAll. None of the Sacklers went to jail and their names are still on museums.

        So the double standard is a little glaring.

        Reply
        1. Glen

          I see the same issues with all the discussion of “doing a Sweden”:

          Sweden has Medicare For All, and a country where people that get sick can self isolate without fear of losing their homes, jobs, or businesses. Americans cannot do this, and that knife edge fulcrum of get sick/die, or lose business, job, house, etc, was a CONSCIOUS CHOICE made by our Federal government. They bailed out corporations with TRILLIONS, but didn’t really do that much for the rest of us. An interesting choice given that corporations don’t really get sick, starve, or die, but humans do.

          So, no, it doesn’t matter what Americans decide about the economy vs. COVID-19, we WILL DEFINITELY NOT be “doing a Sweden”.

          Reply
    3. James P.

      Room for debate? It’s pretty obvious from the two posts above that Hopkins is not open to debate or even disagreement.

      Reply
      1. rusti

        The posts he was replying to weren’t especially interested to refute his position in an honest way. I strongly disagree with him that low case fatality should be attributed with such singular importance for a virus that has such huge “tail risks” and which will clearly overload the medical system of any country without some level of intervention. Redlife’s timeline above shows how the decisions made here in Sweden have been based on fundamentally flawed models and how the progression this fall (especially the past month when we had most all of continental Europe to observe ahead of us) can only be attributed to a criminal level of incompetence on the part of the public health authority.

        But the premise that the entirety of the post above should be invalidated because of his opinion on the pandemic is unintentionally a nice validation of his thesis about censorship of anyone who deviates from “acceptable thought”.

        Reply
    4. .Tom

      Actually we can and we frequently do. There are a number of well respected people taking on the issues that are covered in this conversation. They are often featured or linked here. We often discuss these topics and in these conversations, much of what CJH says here is fairly common. CJH has chosen his opinions on C19 and has chosen to advocate them and to defend them in comments including here. So I don’t think it’s unreasonable for commenters to express their difficulty with taking CJH seriously because of that and I’m not sure how much we lose if people ignore him.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Right. Dismissing someone because they are associated with X is a bypass to actual thinking and inquiry.

        We are deluged with information here on the web so it’s tempting to use shortcuts and you can’t read everything. Still, that’s not an argument.

        Reply
        1. skippy

          Someone taking a strong stance on something completely outside their scope of knowledge or experience and folding it into a sociopolitical narrative critique grand theory is a fraught endeavor.

          I largely stay away from all regardless of which way their compass points, especially when excessive use of words like totalitarianism are deployed.

          Reply
    5. Waking Up

      pjay, I have taken a very serious position regarding Covid-19, wearing masks, etc. since last February. Just pointing that out because while it dominates life for many people around the world in one way or another, it is only one issue impacting as John Siman’s mentions:

      “Global capitalism, or “GloboCap,” as Hopkins nicknames it, has thus been, for three decades now, expanding methodically, even logically, to capture every square inch of the planet.”

      “We”, around the planet really need to have a discussion on whether global capitalism truly is the best solution. It will effect everything in our lives…from the environment, the economy, trade, healthcare, all the way to decisions we make at a local level.

      Reply
  11. furies

    I’m not sure why anyone would want to work in medicine with this attitude so prevalent. WHY risk yourself and your health/finances to help people who push the ‘hoax’ narrative?

    Reply
  12. Mike Adamson

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. It has become very difficult to identify the players even with a program because we’re losing faith in the genuineness of the program publishers.

    Reply
  13. Chris Herbert

    What is “The Hunter Biden” stuff exactly? Hiring the child of someone important is not unusual. In fact it’s a common tool to attach yourself to an existing network. My question is what network did Hunter become part of? The Ukraine is in turmoil. Russia invaded and took over the Crimea. There were many sanctions put on Russia, and Russian kleptocrats. Yet those sanctions on those people, were dropped when Mitch McConnell managed to let Rusal, the russian aluminum corporation, get permission to build a $200 million manufacturing plant in Kentucky. Was Hunter part of that network? Or was he part of a Ukraine network? Pardon me if CJ has already detailed what Hunter was doing and for what network?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      See my comment above. That isn’t the point. Instead, any links to reports about the content of the laptop were aggressively suppressed by Twitter and Facebook. That prevented any discussion of whether the information was significant or not. The hysterical suppression confirmed the notion that plenty of people saw it as damaging.

      Reply
      1. JEHR

        It is Twitter and Facebook that should be suppressed and that would suppress all the damaging “information” found therein.

        Reply
    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Russia “invaded” a region where 90% of the people speak Russian, and which was part of Russia for 300 years before Kruschev by decree made it part of Ukraine? They “invaded” the region where their major Black Sea naval base has been located since Czarist days?

      Oh, and Ukraine may be in turmoil (not that the US has anything to do with that) but the Crimeans don’t seem that bent out of shape in the aftermath of your Russian “invasion.”

      Try again, only better next time.

      Reply
      1. Harold

        The Russian Navy was already in Crimea. The Crimeans had overwhelmingly voted in three previous referendums (I believe, it may have been two) to rejoin Russia. There was no need for an invasion. When asked at a press conference if Russia had really invaded Crimea, the US State Dept spokesperson (a young woman) declined to say yes. She said, with a little smirk, “We’re calling it that.” It was on YouTube in 2014.

        Reply
      2. Shiloh1

        All good by me, Michael. That’s the way I understood it too in my high school world history class in the mid-70s. The whole warm weather port thing for Russia.

        The U.S. is about to complete the longest period of deceleration in wars and militarism since the middle of the Eisenhower Administration. Somebody kept at least one promise from 2016, the only one that mattered to me.

        I’m afraid the blood will be spilling soon. Poppy and Dubya had 90% public approval ratings during their made-up wars. Not lost on the Uniparty Neocons.

        Reply
    3. km

      You seem to forget that Russia left Ukraine alone until the United States sponsored what Stratfor (no friend of Russia) called “the most blatant coup in history”, installing actual live neonazis in power, then arming them and putting them in paramilitary formations.

      Of course, if Russia were to actually invade Ukraine, they’d exterminate the Ukrainian clown military and the SS LARPers in days or hours.

      Reply
  14. Chris Herbert

    Citizen’s United, the Federalist Society, the Tea Party and the American Legislative Exchange Council are all financed by the Koch network. Does that make the Kochs ‘populists?’ Citizen’s United brought us the ‘revolution’ of campaign finance. The Federalist Society selects our Supreme Court justices. The Tea Party ran primary challenges to Republicans. And ALEC writes legislation for conservatives in all 50 states. Is this a populist movement? How does CJ view the Kochs? Was McConnell’s successful effort to have Treasury Secretary Mnuchin drop sanctions on well known Russian kleptocrats so Rusal could build a $200 million aluminum part of Russia gate? Was $17 million in campaign funds sent to McConnel from a Russian kleptocrat part of Russia gate?

    Reply
  15. Duck1

    The way I see it, globalcap is running in to the scarcity of energy. Long term decline of what ever system is in the cards from an energetic standpoint. Hence the need for circular walls and ever more contorted thinking by the bien pensant to ignore the reality of the re-impoverishment of the lesser classes who were risen materially by industrialization. They have the weapons to leave it all a smoking hole as well.

    Reply
  16. Louis Fyne

    america has reached the point where 1/4 of people think the media is the defender of democracy, 1/4 think the media (even Fox News—see AZ vote call) is the enemy of democracy, and 1/2 just want to get on with their lives.

    this is not a set-up for a healthy society

    Reply
  17. Chris Herbert

    I think CJ is talking about the “Midas Disease.” And that’s a decent analogy. But if CJ wants to destroy global capitalism’s ideology, he has to explicitly say so. Is Hunter Biden, and by inference the president-elect part of a global capital network? Without explaining the Biden membership in a network, which is of course likely, and further explaining what that network is up to, CJ has not done enough explaining. As for racism, even the Populist uprising of the 1890s separated white from black farmers. Is Black Lives Matter financed by a capitalist network? And is the rona hoax another capitalist network creature? Anti climate change too? I think CJ has not written enough yet. Not yet investigated enough. All Gilded Age type eras end up in collapse. At least history implies that is the case.

    Reply
  18. lyman alpha blob

    Thanks for this interview. I’m about 2/3 of the way through and it makes perfect sense to me.

    I do believe there has been a huge difference in the way the BLM movement was covered during the Obama and Trump administrations. With Obama, it was never portrayed as the government’s fault and definitely not Obama’s, even though he was extremely dismissive to the black community with the Flint water crisis which still hasn’t been resolved. And during the campaign Biden was touting the endorsement of the Republican governor who presided over the Flint debacle and did nothing to fix it. That wasn’t a problem at all for the ‘woke’ crowd. Corporations shied away from having anything to do with BLM. Fast forward to the Trump years and now all of the unrest is due to the personal racism of the president and his legions of racist supporters, and all the big money corporations are suddenly slapping BLM logos on their crap now that using it as a club against Trump is en vogue.

    There has already been a distinctive turn in how covid is being covered. Until a couple weeks ago it was hysterical coverage of Trump not wearing a mask being the sole cause of 200K+ people dying – I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard a TDS suffering friend make that type of claim. Now things are suddenly looking up with a vaccine that will save us all just around the corner, and absolutely zero mention of whose administration fast tracked that effort.

    Again, thanks for the interview and I hope you’ll both come back for another one.

    Reply
    1. Mario A Mariani

      Once again rewriting history. No wonder we can’t agree when you make up your own BS. “On January 5, 2016, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in Genesee County, of which Flint is the major population center. Shortly thereafter, President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency, authorizing additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. An extensive lead service pipe replacement effort has been underway since 2016, with innovative techniques such as machine learning used to predict the number and location of lead pipes. In early 2017, some officials asserted that the water quality had returned to acceptable levels, but in January 2019, residents and officials expressed doubt about the cleanliness of the water. There were an estimated 2,500 lead service pipes still in place as of April 2019. As of October 2, 2020, 26,232 water service lines had been excavated, resulting in the replacement of 9,769 lead pipes and the confirmation of 16,463 copper pipes. As of August 13, 2020, Flint has inspected 91% of its homes for lead pipes, with 2,500 remaining. It expects to finish replacement by November 30, 2020.” As for the fast tracking the vaccine, the provider has said that the fast tracking had nothing to do with it. Again stop making up BS that a simple look up on Google can prove it’s BS.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        I said it still hasn’t been resolved – you said it still hasn’t been resolved. Obama was quite clearly dismissive of the residents’ concerns – a simple search will show that too. What do you think would have happened if Trump showed up and pretended to chug some Flint water?

        I said the governor did nothing – hyperbole on my part, I’ll grant that.

        I stand by what I said about covid and not really sure what your criticism is. My opinion is that the corporate media has changed the tone of how they report on it, something that has been noted here quite a bit recently.

        If you want to prove me or anyone else wrong, providing a link to a source might be nice in the future.

        Reply
      2. flora

        In 2014 there was Ferguson, Mo, the admin calling up DHS, and military equipment sent to local police. It was a blackeye for the O admin and DHS. They learned something by the time Flint water was exposed.

        https://www.fedscoop.com/police-militarization-has-roots-in-dhs-grant-programs-not-pentagon/

        and this
        https://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/11/17/navy-veteran-fired-after-posting-pictures-of-mass-government-dhs-vehicles-parked-at-hotel-near-ferguson-159479

        Reply
    2. Kurtismayfield

      Now things are suddenly looking up with a vaccine that will save us all just around the corner, and absolutely zero mention of whose administration fast tracked that effort.

      Can you please back up this claim? From what I have read, all the US government has done is guaranteed to purchase it once it gets FDA approval. I have read nothing about US subsides or funding of the Pfizer vaccine effort.

      Reply
      1. Kurtismayfield

        You are correct.. the vaccine has been fast tracked, and the US has set aside funds for purchasing the vaccine as of July 1st. But there has been no funding of the research.

        If I could delete my previous post I would..

        Reply
        1. lyman alpha blob

          No worries, and apparently I wasn’t technically correct, but the point I was trying to make was largely rhetorical anyway – the Trump administration bungled a lot of things in its covid response, but they didn’t do nothing and I don’t believe it’s at all fair to try to lay the blame for a couple hundred thousand deaths all at Trump’s feet, as I’ve had friends do and seen claimed any number of times. Then the entire tone of the discussion seems to change very rapidly as Lambert notes below.

          The entire establishment has had its finger on the scale against Trump in myriad tiny little ways (helpful notes on youtube news videos as I noted yesterday) as well as the more obvious ones. After being so skeptical about a vaccine when Trump was playing it up, as Kamala Harris was to name just one, it’s very suspicious the way they are touting it now.

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether

        You are correct. Pfizer was not part of operation Warp Speed. And I’m not at all happy that Pfizer phoned the Biden campaign the previous evening to give them a heads-up that their 90% press release was coming, followed by their CEO selling a bunch of his stock as soon as the press release hit, followed by Fauci ramping it (as he did with remdesivir), followed by a sudden and seemingly universal consensus that this is the one. I’m all for speed, and I don’t love Trump or Big Pharma, but this process looks really, really sus.

        Reply
        1. Gregory Bott

          Its not. Biden had been since September, hyping a vaccine and making sure its cleanly delivered in 2021. That said, their findings are BS and will likely delay arrival of “that” vaccine. There are others that will come by early next year. Moderna, JJ……..so on.

          Reply
        2. Big Tap

          Lambert, Pfizer wasn’t directly involved in receiving research money from Operation Warp Speed but they did benefit from the government placing an advance-purchase order of $ 2 billion dollars to manufacture one hundred million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine when proven safe, effective, and approved. It’s disingenuous for Pfizer to say they didn’t get any government support. From Wikipedia.

          “Pfizer-BioNTech did not receive government funding for research. Operation Warp Speed placed an advance-purchase order of $2 billion with Pfizer to manufacture 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States when the vaccine is shown to be safe, effective, licensed, and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.”

          Reply
  19. JEHR

    Re:

    “The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between ‘the truth’ as defined by the ruling classes and any other ‘truth’ that contradicts their narrative. Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is ‘normal’ society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse, and … well, good luck out there.”

    You do know, don’t you, that the Maginot line was a failure: It didn’t work: It caused lots of deaths?

    “The line has since become a metaphor for expensive efforts that offer a false sense of security.[1]

    Reply
        1. flora

          Well, yes. I think that’s the point of the comparison. A false sense of security, assuming the fixed ideas of 1930s would still be the agreed ideas of 1940s. (And once the Belgium route was breached the rest followed.) The Hamptons are a “low country”, are they not? ;)

          Reply
          1. Duck1

            well some could argue that French austerians failed to extent the fortifications along the Belgian frontier
            it would have been a wonderful Keynesian counter cyclical though, digging and filling holes after all

            Reply
          2. JBird4049

            The Maginot Line itself was very effective, and the garrisons surrendered under strong dissent. It was the tactics, strategy, and morale of the French Army that was the problem.

            The mental Maginot Line created by the Cult of Woken (or of the Resistance) is much harder to pierce. I just don’t see the army of deprogrammers needed.

            Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Hamptons is not where the multi-billionaires live. The Hamptons is where their merely-multi-millionaire top butlers and footmen live.

        The Hamptons is the tail-of-the-lizard. Not the lizard itself.

        Reply
  20. David in Santa Cruz

    Thank you Yves, for promoting this outstanding Comments thread. I’m not much moved by CJ Hopkins’ cynicism nor John Simian’s sophomoric intellectualism, but the response of the Commentariat has been well worth reading!

    I suspect that Hopkins missed the lived experience of ’68 and ’72 that many others of us have. My own lived experience is that we are enduring extreme social, economic, and political dislocations of our material conditions due to:

    1) a massive breakdown in norms and the Rule of Law since the Civil Rights Movement and the Nixon reaction, which metastasized into the uncontrolled grifting of Ronnie Reagan and his rapacious step-child Bill Clinton (Trump is just Clinton on steroids).

    compounded by:

    2) a Global Population Explosion that has seen the numbers of human beings grow from 2.7 billion when I was born in the late 1950’s to nearly 8 billion today — driving climate change, pandemics, the devaluation of labor, and both the rationing and hoarding of resources and wealth.

    As Laurie Macfarlane writes: “In 1990, there were 66 US billionaires who had a total wealth of $240 billion (in 2020 dollars). Today the US has 614 billionaires with a total wealth of nearly $3 trillion. Between 1990 and 2020, American billionaires saw their net worth increase by over 1,130%, while median household net worth grew by only 5%.”

    This is a direct result of the breakdown of the Rule of Law and the rationing and hoarding of resources in response to over-population. It is driving the social dislocations that are being played-out in America in the rioting and electoral chaos that we have seen in 2020. The oligarch-serving media denials and censorship are symptoms of the crisis, not its cause.

    Reply
  21. Chester Hazlewood

    During the first of the interview C.J. Hopkins seems to not acknowledge that Sanders was very successful at raising money from small dollar supporters, so I think Hopkins is too negative in this regard. This fundraising success shows clearly the “Globalcap” stranglehold can be easily pushed aside.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Except the Dem estab kneecapped Sanders in both 2016 and 2020, as they did Dean in 2004. This indicates the “global stranglehold” is not so easily pushed aside by a one-off money raising endeavor for a particular candidate, imo. We need more than one candidate in the fight.

      Reply
      1. Chester Hazlewood

        Let’s take the example of Trump, he was very successful at co-opting the Republican Party. I don’t see why a leftist can’t do the same or perform better. I think everyone has to admit the building blocks are in place. Leftist need to push and disregard the bullocks! (Johnny Rotten)

        Reply
      2. Chester Hazlewood

        I don’t like this negative attitude of the C.J Hopkins and Chris Hedges. I like them and respect them, however I don’t think they are helpful. We need determination. We need people that see we have the winning hand. We can promote a new future.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        We also need candidates who hate the enemy and wish to see it destroyed. Sanders was too nice a guy to see it that way. He couldn’t or wouldn’t even tell the truth about Biden when he had a “kill-shot head-shot” opportunity to do so in a TV debate.

        Reply
        1. Chester Hazlewood

          One aspect of Trump I admire (only aspect to admire about that man) is his iron will and determination. He ran roughshod over the Republican elite plans for Jeb and won! The left needs that iron will. Can AOC be our Iron Lady?

          Reply
  22. Cuibono

    Regarding that Tracey link isnt it odd that he tries to blame left wing anarchists when we now have solid evidence that it was right wing groups that came to Mpls/st. Paul and were directly involved?

    Reply
  23. PeasantParty

    Thanks for sharing, Hopkins. He pretty much sums up my views, and astonishment at the Dems. On the censorship, I have to say that I would NEVER have imagined that Liberals would ever cross that line. It has become absolutely ridiculous, and now AOC is taking names!!!!!!! I hate to see my country in this state, and I keep saying that it is becoming more like, Germany in the late 1930’s. Every day there is a new atrocity.

    Reply
  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    How do the majority of people under GloboCap Occupation Regimes undermine and diminish the Occupation Regimes’ power? From within and from below and in millions of tiny ways in tiny places.
    Some people should perhaps try the Leaderless Mass Resistance pathway.

    Every little act of subsistence is an act of monetized purchase which need not be engaged in. Every little act of barter is just that more money which does not change hands. And climbing the ladder, every little bit of money spent with a small business is just that much money with-held from a large business. Every purchase made in cash-not-card is a little bit more interest with-held from the Lords of Credit. Etc. etc.

    Reply
  25. Harold

    If you listened to Michael Osterholm on Joe Rogan in March, everything he said has come to pass. He explained it all very slowly, clearly, and in layman’s language. He is not a political scientist, economist, novelist or freelance writer, or even a doctor. He is an epidemiologist who knows his stuff. This is a specialized field. People can learn a lot from him, and I’m glad Biden, whom I don’t care for particularly otherwise, has him on his team.

    Reply
    1. Petter

      You’re right. I watched that podcast and what has stuck with me was Osterholm’s, reply to Rogan’s question about how to stop the spread of infections. He replied, “it’s like stopping the wind.” He went on to say, IIRC, that the only way it will stop is when we reach herd immunity or develop a vaccine. He wasn’t recommending herd immunity as a strategy, he was just stating a fact. When Rogan asked him fast a vaccine could be developed, he answered something like it wasn’t a question of speed, it was a matter of safety and effectiveness.
      Osterholm has a weekly podcast on https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/.

      The numbers are going up again Norway and have been for a while now. The fear is if we don’t get control we’re going to be like Sweden. I don’t bleeping know but on my rare incursions into the world I’ve noticed everyone wearing masks – something they weren’t doing just a few weeks ago – the last time I was out – but now it’s mandatory.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > He replied, “it’s like stopping the wind.” He went on to say, IIRC, that the only way it will stop is when we reach herd immunity or develop a vaccine. He wasn’t recommending herd immunity as a strategy, he was just stating a fact.

        It’s so bizarre to watch people repeat this lie, given the success that South Asian and Southeast Asian countries have had. If the “wind” blows in those countries again it will be because we in the West completely failed to get our shit together.* Do you see any differences here:

        Does that green line look like “the wind” to you? The only wind blowing around here is Osterholm’s gassy exhalation.

        Funny he’s on Biden’s team. Scott Atlas on Trump’s team said the same thing, and “snobbish” liberal Democrats lost their minds.

        * Of course, the pandemic is highly beneficial to a few oligarchs. There is that.

        Reply
        1. Harold

          He did say we could slow it down to make it more manageable. The countries that were successful in dealing with it have been those with recent experience of COVID epidemics, like Thailand, and those with medical resources, personnel and equipment to deal with it.

          Reply
        2. Harold

          It is “like the wind” when there are so many cases that it makes tracing impossible — as has arguably now happened. In the early stages, when there are fewer cases it can be eliminated. The catch is that the human brain is not adapted to understanding the counter-intuitive phenomenon of exponential growth. Therefore, people are unable and unwilling to be alarmed and take action when they see just a few cases, or what seems to them a low death rate.

          This must be epidemiology 101 because I recall in the 2011 movie Contagion which we recently re-watched, the first thing they talk about is the Ro number (rate of contagion), which on second viewing time made sense to me (alas). In that movie also, there is also contrarian “freelance” reporter, who disparages as alarmists doctors and epidemiologists on (horrors) the internet and who pushes his own quack cure.

          Reply
        3. pat D

          I didn’t hear the Rogan interview with Osterholm, but I’ve been listening to his CIDRAP podcast for months. I have never heard him recommend herd immunity as a viable way forward. He often references the success of China and S.E. Asian countries in containing COVID and points out ways in which the U.S. could learn from those models to shape our own approach. I’ve found his commentary to always be careful and understandable.

          Reply
  26. Palaver

    Bush era neocons have occupied the Anti-War Party. The non-college educated working class has turned against the Union Party. Glenn Greenwald a persona nongrata to the liberal media, except Faux News. Blue Dogs lose to Republicans adjacent their right, and respond by sucker punching across state lines the Democratic winners to their left.

    The Left would have an easier time leading the working class from the Republican Party. With friends like these, who needs enemies.

    Reply
  27. Claudia

    The death rate around here is 2+%…but clearly some populations are more resistant than others. Letting the pandemic rip seems a poor way to find out.

    I’m sorry the conversation hasn’t stuck to Liberal posturing and censorship- I’ve been thinking about this and it’s a must=have conversation. Becoming what you hate is never the way to go.

    Reply
  28. freedomny

    I really appreciated this interview. I would love it if NC could do more of these. It doesn’t even need to be a “podcast” type interview. Just an audio one – you can listen to it while doing chores…etc. There are so many interesting people out there that we need to hear from.

    Reply
  29. Tom Bradford

    Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    The NC commentariat
    And heard great argument
    About it and about.
    But evermore went out
    By that same door as in I went.

    (Apologies to Omar Khayyam)

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      I sort of agree with both David and Lambert. David’s argument seems to me to be self-evident, in that it’s essentially an argument against unthinking argumentation based on a priori positions, which can be (but aren’t necessarily always) fallacious. I think PK and Thuto speak very well to this as well further upthread. At the same time, hurling contrarian as an epithet at someone as a way to vaguely discredit them just strikes me as a lazy ad hominem, ie “he’s only saying that to be different!”.

      Consequently, I think I’m inclined to look askance at people who see and sell themselves as proudly contrarian or something similar, and those who are dismissive out of hand of those whom they themselves label contrarian. I also don’t think this latter example is new as Lambert seems to think.

      Or to put it another way, as it stands the word is probably worthless, or of very limited value.

      As to the above essay, I came to Hitchens years after his death, and somewhat virginally, so I wasn’t really influenced by how other people represented him (which is a nonsense but staggeringly common way that people form their opinions of writers – see the discussion on Marx above). Elsewhere, the Horns Effect seems to prevail above all. Coming from it from that point of view, one can see how self-indulgent and dishonest Finkelstein’s piece is. For him to accuse Hitchens of being a psychopath (Hitchens takes his definition from the literature on psychopathy) by claiming that he is “genuinely indifferent to the well-being of others” is childish nonsense. To claim as he does that he said that “[the extermination of Native Americans] deserves to be celebrated with great vim and gusto” is further skulduggery. He supported celebrating Columbus Day and the European arrival (surely inevitable in one form or another) more or less, I suspect because he was somewhat enamoured of the United States according to its revolutionary, Jeffersonian principles. Whatever about that (I’m not particularly conversant on the subject), as far as I’m aware he always scorned the treatment of the native americans, for instance in this brief snippet responding to some other no-mark writer at 4:50 (his answer to the following caller is also pretty great and still germane). For Finkelstein of all people to try and smear a political opponent with a spurious and dishonest charge of genocidaire-tending racism is un peu trop. The premise that he’s a defector or apostate is also fundamentally childish, presupposing that all strains of political intellectual thought must first and foremost be determined by and subjugated to a given team, or church, and therefore doctrinaire. Get with the programme, in other words. You’re a useful ally up until the point that you aren’t, after which point you must be disavowed, discredited, misrepresented (Hitchens was a neocon!! nonsense) and destroyed. Yawn.

      My conclusion towards Hitchens has been: much of what he says is very good (such as his thoughts on US domestic politics and attacks on liberalism), some of it has lead me to question my assumptions without completely persuading me one way or the other, and some of it is silly, surprisingly naive, or barking up the wrong tree (and the atheism stuff is just kind of uninteresting to me although I have been an atheist my whole life and mostly agree with him. He once said ‘Israel is a waste of Jewishness” which is a nice line, and to me I think his preoccupation with atheism was something of a waste of his talents).

      Hitchens in fact is pretty good on ‘contrarian’, the word, as you can see here at 5:30. He had a book called ‘letters to a young contrarian’, a title imposed by his publishers which he didn’t like, as it’s often used to undermine dissent or dissenters, or heterodox thought generally. It doesn’t of course follow that dissension for its own sake is worthwhile, or a sound a priori foundation for any argument, as the ‘plandemic’ strain demonstrates.

      Reply
  30. Sound of the Suburbs

    Western liberalism’s descent into chaos.
    1920s/2000s – neoclassical economics, high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase
    1929/2008 – Wall Street crash
    1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, trade wars, austerity, rising nationalism and extremism
    1940s – World war.

    Right wing populist leaders are what we should be expecting at this stage and it keeps on getting worse.

    Why is Western liberalism always such a disaster?
    They did try and learn from past mistakes to create a new liberalism (neoliberalism), but the Mont Pelerin Society went round in a circle and got back to pretty much where they started.

    It equates making money with creating wealth and people try and make money in the easiest way possible, which doesn’t actually create any wealth.
    In 1984, for the first time in American history, “unearned” income exceeded “earned” income.
    The American have lost sight of what real wealth creation is, and are just focussed on making money.
    You might as well do that in the easiest way possible.
    It looks like a parasitic rentier capitalism because that is what it is.

    Bankers make the most money when they are driving your economy into a financial crisis.
    What they are doing is really an illusion; they are just pulling future spending power into today.
    The 1920s roared at the expense of an impoverished 1930s.
    Japan roared on the money creation of real estate lending in the 1980s, they spent the next 30 years repaying the debt they had built up in the 1980s and the economy flat-lined.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

    Bankers use bank credit to pump up asset prices, which doesn’t actually create any wealth.
    The money creation of bank credit flows into the economy making it boom, but you are heading towards a financial crisis and claims on future prosperity are building up in the financial system.
    https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
    Early success comes at the expense of an impoverished future.

    Oh blimey, this neoliberalism isn’t very new is it?
    What can we do?
    How about bolting on identity politics; that will make it look new.
    Just scratch the surface to find the reality below.

    Reply
  31. Sound of the Suburbs

    Why can’t the technocratic elite see what’s going on?
    They have been through an economic disorientation program so they don’t know what real wealth creation is. We call it “neoclassical economics”.
    Not being formally trained in neoclassical economics I have a huge advantage over the international elite. I can see all the mistakes they are making.
    A PhD in neoclassical economics is about as helpful as a frontal lobotomy.

    Our knowledge of banking has been going backwards since 1856.
    Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory
    “A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence” Richard A. Werner
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477
    Unfortunately our experts gave up trying to find out what really caused 2008 and blamed it on a black swan.
    For those that put in the effort to find out what causes financial crises, you must find out how banks really work.
    This was confirmed by the BoE in 2014.
    https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

    Reply
    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      I am a neoliberal and I worry about all the wrong things.
      Today’s episode features Paul Ryan.
      He is a neoliberal and he worries about all the wrong things.
      Paul Ryan was a typical, confused neoliberal and Alan Greenspan had to put him straight.
      Paul Ryan was worried about how the Government would pay for pensions.
      Alan Greenspan told Paul Ryan the Government can create all the money it wants, there is no need to save for pensions.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCZHAQnfGU
      What matters is whether the goods and services are there for them to buy with that money.
      That’s where the real wealth in the economy lies.

      Paul Ryan has been through the economic disorientation program (aka neoclassical economics)

      Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe were never short of money.
      Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe had created far too much money compared to the goods and services available within the economy causing hyper-inflation.
      States can just create money, and the last thing you want is too much of the damn stuff in your economy.
      They had made so much money it lost nearly all its value, and they needed wheelbarrows of the stuff to buy anything.
      Money has no intrinsic value; it comes from what it can buy.
      Money is just an instrument for carrying out transactions in the economy.
      If you have too much of it, you get inflation.
      If you don’t have enough, the economy slows down as there isn’t the money to carry out all the transactions necessary.
      Central bankers actually look at the money supply, and expect it to rise in line with the new goods and services in the economy, as it grows. More goods and services in the economy require more money in the economy.
      This is the problem with gold; it ties economic growth to gold acquisition and does tend to be deflationary.

      Reply
  32. J4Zonian

    Putting aside the offensive ideas in this, which I can’t begin to address, I’ll just point out the lazy ignorance that chose the “Maginot Line” phrase because it was familiar. It’s completely inappropriate; it misses the whole lesson of the Maginot Line.

    During and after WWI the French learned how to fight WWI over again; the German army learned how to defeat everyone who tried to fight WWI over again. The Maginot Line, a perfection of the WWI trench defense, wasn’t circular, it stretched across half of France’s eastern border. The German army just went around it, through neutral Belgium, to attack France, then went back after and destroyed the Maginot Line from behind.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Oh, I think the phrasing is apt. As you say, the Maginot Line was backward looking to give it its sense of security, which failed in the “here and now” conflicts of late 1930s and 1940s. So too, imo, does the highly credentialed class insistence on ignoring current economic reality fail to see the “here and now” of the gig economy and precarity for far too many people.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding, and not to single out your comment in particular: The civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s was as much about economics as about voting rights. See for example the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike.

        The Idpol Dems who think equal access to crappy pay jobs, aka the gig economy, is the same as material progress, because equal access, are fooling themselves with a mental Maginot Line. Equal access today does not mean decent pay and benefits.

        Reply
  33. Chester Hazlewood

    In general I’d like to see a positive aggressive way forward. Hopkin’s analysis is helpful but his attitude is not, it’s defeatist! Enough of this naval gazing! On the climate the economy, etc. we must win there’s no alternative. I hate all this I’m more clever than you jousting. Look you’re all ignorant morons. Trump is smarter than you (right?) because he actually got in to a position of power. Well, of course I’m joking in the last two sentences., but in real world effect those sentences are true. I say again we need iron will and determination. We need to harden ourselves.

    Reply

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