URLs du Jour

2021-08-10

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  • No Pay, No Stay. Andrew Cline says what needs to be said: On evictions, the answer is more property rights, not fewer.

    The Center for Disease Control’s plainly unconstitutional eviction moratorium, begun in the Trump administration and continued by President Biden, is much more than a presidential abandonment of the rule of law. It’s a rejection — and reversal — of the very foundation on which James Madison based all government power — private property rights.

    And the problem it’s trying to solve would be much less of a problem were it not for other government restrictions on private property.

    Government in the United States exists to protect individual rights, including the right to property. In fact, Madison believed that government itself was justified primarily for the purpose of protecting property rights.

    Drew goes on to point out the numerous restrictions imposed by local governments over decades have caused the "housing shortages" we hear so much about these days. Hence also high rents. This is Econ 101. Bottom line:

    As is often the case, a seemingly intractable problem some say can be solved only by unprecedented government intervention was in fact caused in the first place by unwise government intervention and would be largely remedied simply by removing government restrictions that created the problem in the first place.


  • It Wasn't Easy, But They Managed. In an interview with the WSJ's Tunku Varadarajan, Matt Ridley explains How Science Lost the Public’s Trust.

    “Conformity,” Mr. Ridley says, “is the enemy of scientific progress, which depends on disagreement and challenge. Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts, as [the physicist Richard] Feynman put it.” Mr. Ridley reserves his bluntest criticism for “science as a profession,” which he says has become “rather off-puttingly arrogant and political, permeated by motivated reasoning and confirmation bias.” Increasing numbers of scientists “seem to fall prey to groupthink, and the process of peer-reviewing and publishing allows dogmatic gate-keeping to get in the way of new ideas and open-minded challenge.”

    The World Health Organization is a particular offender: “We had a dozen Western scientists go to China in February and team up with a dozen Chinese scientists under the auspices of the WHO.” At a subsequent press conference they pronounced the lab-leak theory “extremely unlikely.” The organization also ignored Taiwanese cries for help with Covid-19 in January 2020. “The Taiwanese said, ‘We’re picking up signs that this is a human-to-human transmission that threatens a major epidemic. Please, will you investigate?’ And the WHO basically said, ‘You’re from Taiwan. We’re not allowed to talk to you.’ ”

    The interview also touches on climate science. More on that below.


  • Politifact is Garbage, Part CXXIV. COVID-19 Is Probably 99% Survivable for Most Age Groups, but PolitiFact Rated This False.

    A viral Instagram post claimed that COVID-19 is 99 percent survivable for most age groups—the elderly being an important exception. The post cited projections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but was flagged as misinformation by the social media site and rated "false" by the Poynter Institute's PolitiFact.

    That's a curious verdict, since the underlying claim is likely true. While estimates of COVID-19's infection fatality rate (IFR) range from study to study, the expert consensus does indeed place the death rate at below 1 percent for most age groups.

    Unfortunately there's a lot of misinformation out there, from both sides. (The Instagram post in question managed to botch some other data.)

    But Politifact (as usual) has double standards for their rulings. They excuse "noble lies" and "exaggerations" made by folks they see as being on their side.


  • From Covid Porn to Climate Porn. My local news station told me it was time to panic yet again, reporting the latest from the UN climate cops, amid stock footage of fire, flood, and wind. Ronald Bailey is a welcome voice of reason at (heh) Reason: The Scariest Predictions in the New U.N. Climate Report Are Also the Most Unlikely.

    How much hotter will it get in the future? The IPCC report outlines five different "shared socioeconomic pathways" (SSPs) that incorporate various assumptions about economic growth, population growth, and just how much greenhouse gas humanity will emit over the rest of the century. The good news is that the two worst-case SSPs are totally implausible, so humanity is probably not looking at temperature increases of 3.5 °C to 4.5 °C by 2101. (Keep in mind that the temperature difference from the depths of the last ice age to today is around 6°C—and that change took place over millennia, not a century.)

    Why are they implausible? Consider that the worst-case pathway projects that humanity will, among other things, be burning about five times more coal and annually emitting three times more greenhouse gases than we do today. (Global coal production peaked in 2013, so that would be quite a reversal.) The second-most-dire pathway projects that humanity will annually emit more than double the amounts of greenhouses gases being emitted currently.

    Bailey, like any good scientist, has changed his position on climate change over the years as the data and modeling has improved. But too many politicians see this (like Covid) as a chance to expand their power, never mind that whole complex discussion of likelihoods and probable innovations. Since the economic case for big socialistic government has long since evaporated, hey, maybe there's a scientific argument!

    Hence: AIEEE! We're all gonna die! Unless you submit to Science!

    And way too many "scientists" are eager to help out in this quest.


  • On That Same Note. Bjorn Lomborg takes to the pages of the NYPost to urge readers: Don't buy the latest climate-change alarmism.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released its latest climate report, and reactions from politicians and media pundits could not have been more predictable.

    Fitting the apocalyptic narrative many have spun lately, the always-breathless Guardian literally summarized this scientific report as finding mankind “guilty as hell” of “climate crimes of humanity.” (Needless to say, the report never says any such things.)

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the findings a “code red for humanity,” saying we can only avert catastrophe by acting in the next couple of months. Of course, the United Nations has a long history of claiming catastrophe is right around the corner: The first UN environment director claimed half a century ago that we had just 10 years left, and the then-head of the IPCC insisted in 2007 that we had just five years left.

    Fun fact from later in the article:

    As temperatures have increased over the past two decades, that has caused an extra 116,000 heat deaths each year. This, of course, fits the narrative and is what we have heard over and again. But it turns out that because global warming has also reduced cold waves, we now see 283,000 fewer cold deaths.

    You don’t hear this, but so far climate change saves 166,000 lives each year.

    Guess what, kids? Mother Nature is a murderous bitch.