James. B. Meigs joins us again to discuss the important question of just why it was the idea of COVID originating from a lab leak was deemed undiscussable. We also point out that the press has a historical habit of believing that corporations will do all sorts of evil scientific things... but not Communist regimes. Give a listen.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the commentary magazine, Billy Podcast today, Tuesday June, twenty second, twenty, three twenty one, it's the day after what I'm reliably informed by many amused list, who email tell me what an idiot. I am that, of course yesterday was these somersaults this not the infernal equinox. Not I taught us, I don't know you were throwing when latin words
would have known that it was the somersaults this because I am a moderately educated person. That is really not a hard thing to know, but I Didn'T- and so thank you for correcting me continue continue to do so, because you know I basically we sit here. We talk five hours a week. This is the thing that amazes me about when Russia Limbo died, and there was all this talk about how horrible Ruslan by one is and how terrible he wasn't. I think his last year's you know when he started became up it when he became this. You know trompe him trump here. The
from guy. I wasn't that thrilled with the fact that he talked for like thirty years three hours a day five days a week and that all people could do is dig up. He said this in two thousand and three. He said this and one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven. He had this one sentence. It was really outrageous in twenty fourteen. This guy must have spoken, tens of thousands of words a week in public for Beginners Can I speak five hours? We all speak together five hours a week, and I dont know how many dumb stupid things. I've said that are Romeo's and illiterate and fact issues, and so you know that these people do this. It's very impressive, which also gives me a moment to which a happy birthday to George will. You know who were who was turned eighty or turn. Eighty in the last
couple of weeks and them and has maybe had the greatest single run of any newspaper columnist in american history. He is, I know he is like gaming on his fiftieth year as a as a newspaper columnist, twice we three times weekly, whatever no one's ever had a run like this before and no one has ever met relevant in the way that he's remain relevant before and that of its aid. That is a pretty good said. A store, extraordinary achievement and like one of those things like Joe damages hitting streak, were probably never. see where you at work, Sai, young, winning. What five hundred and eleven games were never going to see anything remotely like that before there. What there isn't going to be another George will in the end it was it and it's a it's an amazing ombudsman. It with that. Let me welcome towards airwaves as usual executive editor, I bring well paid job.
Associate editor nor rough and high Noah Theoretic, Christine Rosen. I Christine at joining us again, but one of my favorite none daily participants, tech commentary, calmness James, be mags. Former editor popular mechanics, former provide entertainment, weekly former a lot of things host of thee. What's it called again? How do I fix it? ought always to exit the reason I dont know the name is that I don't know how to fix anything. So I should listen but I have already given up on the possibility that I can ever fix anything. So I don't I I don't listen that often, and I want to add regular ambient presence at my Jim. What am I James televisions is on the channel or Jim appears all the time. I have no idea what this channel is pushing topped up he's in my living room using my Jim. I can't escape you Jim. What did we didn't
It's probably the history jail. I do a lot of tv shows for these history channel documentaries, one of them's mysteries of the abandoned about cool, abandoned infrastructure around the world like mining. Post, Townsend, shipwrecks and other things. I'm just watching this with my kids and all of a sudden. I know that guy you're, everywhere It's not your here and you're here to talk about We had anyone last month because you had a cover peace, thank God forbid, farmer of which remains. You know. All the news continues to accentuate the fact that these vaccine, the latest being that the malaria vaccine apparently has efficacy well over ninety percent, just from the first dose based on most of the tests
so. I just I just continue serve role in what extraordinary human accomplishment this was in. So please go regions face a thank overbooked. Far we're not here start, but thank God for big farmer we're here to talk about his piece about the lab leak hypothesis and how it was covered, an end and covered up, and why- and I must start by asking by posing this to you plainly- the summit send me emails, and you can't use her if you go into a little bit in the piece, but that one thing that went on when when it when the the conventional opinion in the spring of twenty twenty, when that one was not supposed to delve into the lab lovely hypothesis that it was unlikely to be the case and it was unlikely in it jumped from animals. Humans without any human involvement, and all of that is that,
This was the view that was stated very plainly by Anthony found she and Acta Anthony found It's not just anti value the humble country doktor with the glasses, with it, access to it from the queens, and he saw its work for government. Forty years is a kindly government bureaucrat analysed and these energy is a man at the what the aim of his agency, the national so for infectious diseases like hammer which part and allergies yeah right. It's part of its part of an age, and any controls a lot of funding. That's what I want talk about this year, his agency alone. Forty billion dollars and funded one agents He was in an age, that is the size of a weapon system that is the size of you know
remember. We ve heard for years that all the cost overruns on the f, thirty five and the costs of this, and that Forty billion dollars a year is an almost singly large amount of money Anthony Vow to using just a guy sitting there with an eighty years old with his glass. He has been the head of an agency that distributes has been for forty years distributing tens by now well over a trillion dollars has been distributed under under vouches aegis for the last two generations. What a fact that do you think Jim? What is that? What are we to take away from that fact about the way the conversations are conducted around these matters that he has an interest in or than here dresses and opinion on Sunday. I don't really understand about how science works. Even if someone is a researcher at a major university,
the only really get their big projects funded if taken drum up grants from from some some foundation are some government agency and you like the National Science Foundation, and it is. really incumbent on any scientist to be very good magic to make sure that grant money keeps coming out, because if the grant money tapers up, you can't higher graduate students. You can't publish your papers, you you know the grand. Sometimes you know back pay for not just lab equipment and and and testing stop it up, but even for flying people around the world, gotta conferences in and all kinds of things it or the life blood of doing science. Now that doesn't in the whole system is completely corrupt, but it does mean that there are incentives to be part of
the consensus that is shared by people at the top of the profession and you know, there's a romantic image of science in kind of dates. Back to Thomas Coon, the guy, who came up with the famous theory about paradigm shifts that every scientist is like a Galileo or an Einstein or components. As you know, just ready to RO, throw some rainy orthodoxy in their field, and blow away the old paradigm. After that phrase over you, space paradigm shift comes from, but that's really, rare inside didn't Thomas concept that was really where most scientists are helping build an edifice. You know in cancer with other people. They want to produce work that helps soup the direction that that the field is going, there's not a bad thing, because these new cited revolutions are actually very rare and their lot of of fields. It You don't need a revolution. They just need more good, hard work to establish more information, but cited
there are more collaborative then than we tend to think, even if their competitive, they still wanna be life. They want to be part of the club, and I dont mean- and I say this in MECCA disdain the way. This is where most figured out social projects work, but when there is a dispute, as there was with his loudly theory and As you remember, in the very early months of the pandemic, it seemed like a reasonable question. Ok, there's his brain, New virus just happens to be emerging in a city in China that has one of the world's top virus researching labs. No one knows where it came from the chinese government super secretive. We should look into whether coming from the lab. That was considered a completely reasonable question for the first few months and then once Center Tom Cotton mentioned it Trump mentioned it all of a sudden. Oh no. No! No! This is a crazy conspiracy theory
and what was disheartening was even some of the leading scientists. You got together to really push back on on, not only the idea that it that we should look into not helped to put back on the idea that that we shall look into it. instead of saying. Well, it's unlikely, but why not check it out? They were, they were saying they were joining in what was essentially a political argument that it was a conspiracy theory. It was anti China. It was something that was being used by the trap administration for political purposes and what was Alarming was how thoroughly that shut down the discussion among scientists for most of the year, the rank and ask a quest. it actually following on that real quick, which is you have this great line towards the end of year of your peace. In our issue about this, where you talk about humility,
in science, and I wonder, if part of the reason that there was such a rush to political judgment about this scientific question as the scientists have have come to see them, so as players in the political sphere, in a way that they I shouldn't shouldn't, be and be probably gives causes a lack of humility when these sorts of public policy public health questions arise? I absolute and I want to be clear. I you know most scientists in the pandemic did really important work and there was in a minute the vaccines ever so much amazing work people working around the clock and a whole range of fields as well that what I'm not this is an indictment of science, but but scientists are vulnerable to same pressures. All of us are vulnerable to, and when this is, Who did get politicized citizenry its people, don't challenge political correctness on college campuses, even if they don't agree with that. Sometimes
you know. No one really want to be out in front of agreeing with the trumpet administration and will say, and was so interesting about a lot of the articles about the elaborate theory that try to. to dismiss it or say, was debarked what was How often they just they just assume that anything that that might be useful, to the other side was therefore illegitimate instead of water, they ask you one of the facts. Then. All of these, this is what they say. Well, this could feed to a conservative talking point. So, therefore, we shouldn't discuss it rather than well. That's unfortunate that it that it supports an argument that people don't like hope, but that's really not germane to whether or not it is true that the position that people should have taken see what what? What's we talk yesterday about the story, the mirror times about
Ok, now you can do it, the town of the soviet town of he Catherine Burke. Yes, the russian Televue Catherine Burg called Sir lost during them during the rain and Soviet Union, where there was an anthrax leak from a government lab in the Soviet Union. The claim that it was a naturally occurring event and the scientific community and the West Rally behind the Soviet Union's explanation only to be told. Fourteen years later, when Boris Yeltsin became president of Russia that in fact it had been a week from a lab and that the key scientist who had been the defender word that worthy expostulate. Her of the note was natural now
from a lab was a Harvard scientists, they Matthew, measles and who then later also announced that all of his evident suggested that no there had not been use of a chemical weapon in Southeast Asia by the Soviets that it was be pollen and everybody, except the two years as I as somebody was obsessed and popular culture. Let me just put it this way in the nineteen seventies
if you had made a movie about a corporate, not whatever the idea that corporations that work in science and do science, he things are guilty of doing things having accidents where there are leaks that cause environmental disasters with immense human cost. That was that's been a cliche in american popular culture for forty years that China Syndrome, which is evidently a power plant that was nineteen, seventy nine Stephen, the kings, the stand published, I think in nineteen eighty arab brok of it, which of course tells us a real world story. Is civil action was still a real world story. Love can, if you say it's a corporation and because their so hungry for profits
You know they were sloppy or whenever it then they, then then they covered it up, and you know- and it took an enterprising lawyer, worm reporter or something to break this open, whereas in fact What we know aside from what happened three mile island. What we know in fact, is that there were three devastating lab leaks as far as we know, or or there were three devastating accidents, this one in your Catherine Bergen, making seventy nine. Probably we don't know this, but letting probably likely possibly Wilhelm and Chernobyl. What's the story there he's were government. Now we were they government actions, but they were cut. This government actions and, for some bizarre reason,
it's not so bizarre to me. But you know we don't need to serve, go go into it, cousins. Please it's a weird overhead. From an arguing that are going on for a hundred years for some reason accuse the communist government of being of of economic of environmental degradation, for which they are famous and China. In particular, is the worst polluter the world has ever seen. No one has ever seen pollution with chinese pollution over the last forty years. and, for some reason, liver. Opinion always wants to defend them. But let somebody say let some towards lawyers say that some corporation in Kentucky It was a fish dead in a river word. She is responsible for troubles with the Hudson Rivers, water when it bought a
Company that thirty years earlier had Dumbson stuff into the water from a to G was not in fact responsible. It doesnt matter there guilty. Private capitalist businesses are guilty of. Terrible things. Communist governments get the benefit of the doubt. I do you didn't used to be the case, then another the Plum island theory, which is that the risk of a conspiracy theory that the pump plum island infectious disease research centre, essentially amended line disease created Lindsey and that's why we have line. Does it say that wasn't right wing concerned That was a left wing conspiracy, theory, and it was one that found purchase, left at a time when the left was perfectly capable of criticising government action government over reach and government and competence.
it was, it was only at in this century that go back to the paradigm shift that the left sort of concluded that any criticism of government malfeasance in the pursuit of some sort of grandiose project not just know some, some young champion, like figure who blew the blue everything up it was nearly it, but because a bureaucratic inertia created disasters that undermine the progressive project now is something you couldn't say alone reflects the way that the FBI has been rehabilitated from the agency that try to Martin Luther king to death, to this bastion of upstanding patriotism, whose statements can never be doubted right. Now, it's a fascinating thanks again. It's always whose ox is being gorged interesting that for some reason, people decide.
To wind. Up with the Chinese Communist Party, I mean that it's a whole different thing like it There was some kind of weird ideological bent that lead people in the twentieth century to line up with with communist regimes on the grounds that they were. They were the ultimate in the programme, the project will you look. Atomic, never Thomas Friedman, Robbie with dismay, go back. twelve years now he did his famous column about what a fantastic job The chinese government is doing investing in solar and wind technology and but they were led the world and in these clean energy technologies, and sometimes you just wishes that you now yes, it is press of government everything, but sometimes it disobeyed just have that power for a day to get all these good big important things done that these messy democracies can do. Meanwhile, since a column is written, checkers co2 emissions are probably gonna. Buy
Another fifty percent listen there's still time, but I mean this. As you know, this is a joint goobers point, liberal fascism. In a general point, which is that that idea, you know, look get people out of the way they stink and politicians to everything and put experts in charge to improve. things that is the that is the centrepiece of progressive, as only then literally. What, where progressive, is I'm not I'm not using now progressive ism as a pejorative, I'm using it as a descriptive, the progressive movement led by the Progressive Party and you know, and ultimately, sort of Woodrow Wilson's idiot, while in reality as President and all this a lot of which followed on understandably decades, of corrupt american governance people buying job.
you know, President's getting assassinated for him for not handing out the right spoils to the right people. You know disappointed office seeker Charlie Guiteau assassinating James Garfield. Does he do? I have my killers right here. I think I'm right, but you know four for not get giving him the patronage job he thought he deserved, and so you then had reform civil service or forms a profession possession of of government work, and then this then led to this idea that in general, experts should be running. Everything and politics should be left out of it, and this ended up merging with Progresses and ends up merging, essentially with some with communist thinking, which is in a. We will tell you what to do and improve your lives, whether you want them proved her, not according to a point, and that we lay out- and the odd thing is it atavistic leads twenty twenty and
so the union has gone. The communist movement is dead. The international communist movement is dead and weirdly people kind of circles, around the communist government because they didn't, like the american president. That's exactly what happened, and you talk about the The idea that we should put experts in charge of all these things and yelling alot areas there you do need experts we get. We have to be careful about denigrating expertise in, he walked? But what so alarming to collaborate story is how the the experts Rollin G and public health were so quick to kind of shock arise door on this notion that that there is something to be investigated here, and we later found out that one of the guys, Peter Days ass to who leads are founded
in that distributes. Alot of the federal grant. The federal government gives grass to him. Then he distributes under researchers will turns out. He was really the one who organise one of the big letters of pulling together different, Knowledge is trying to say that this was a, ridiculous conspiracy, Gary when in fact he'd been it was. We had worked very closely with doktor she, the famous bat lady in the Wilhelm, lab and, and other scientists who were involved in research there so that there are huge conflict of interest and hairs I found really intriguing kind of inspiring is the work to investigate the lab lake hypothesis was, did not come from the top experts in it for the most part, a cave for people on the fringes of this kind of stuff organised group, that, on that that all over the world, some professional researchers lots of amateurs, but they didn't
digging into various databases that came up a lot of very compelling information, including the fat along the research done it will have. We always had a policy level for laboratory. That means it's the best in the world, and there is only a few of these and on the whole planet. Well, guess what it turns out that their blood other bad virus research was done. It level three or levelled who so not exactly the kind of ultra high security that that had been touted and used as an example of why the lab lake was was was so unlikely. So wasn't the experts so much as people who were willing to challenge expert opinion, I favour a researcher at the Harvard MIT up Broad Institute of of Hell, who it is a molecular biology, name, Alina Chan, she's, a poster, She does not have a job. You know she doesn't have a she's not on tenured position yet and yet from the vote.
Yeah go, she was challenging the assertions when the top people I feel that I just found that very brave and bear it really interesting and- and I thought it was telling them that they are the people who were keeping s notion alive were were outside. Just to some extent and and can done this whole thing may have gradually that's a question. You have stated we do not know. The answer must be clear. You doubt we don't know it's a lab Likud. If there could be actual source found Sunday as possible by bud we're not see the evidence for that, and I just I just point here about the from outside voices, upsetting the the status quo.
important because we ve seen it happen before, for example, climate change, and this is not to debate the veracity of of climate change. Studies Paul, but there have been times it's there have been. A massive papers released by institutions are journals. saying that the oceans are warming by x, factor of five twenty times faster than we thought whatever it is. In the end the paper gets distributed and makes one headlines and then they'll be of some independent blogger who will say well, I just I poured through there data and seems to be, they made up a sort of fundamental mistake in a tribunal, minors.
The kind of through everything off that will get attention and papers have been retracted on that basis, but so what? What? What? What the implications here are some interesting because this to me speaks to. Why can be so dangerous all this talk of banning what seen as disinformation or misinformation, because sometimes because things like science and other fields, they they follow these trends and where the money goes and Jim, as you say, it's not because their bad people just because their people, naturally nature words. But you can create these juggernaut that it that whereby it will take an outsider of no standing to be able to have nothing to lose to say, I think, there's a problem there and if you have,
social media platforms and whatever else through banning descent. Essentially, sir, if you know of making descent, you know seem like some sort of thought crime, then you, then you don't get to correct the record. I mean I think it is an even deeper general point, which is that far from you know, America being too so sceptical of expertise, and we need to be said all this people, particularly people in the leaves, are fantastically cry. jealous, particularly when it comes to social science. I mean there are thousands and thousands of social science studies issued every year than are the source of every pop psychology article. You have ever read about parenting about. You, know safety about this, about that about the other thing, and when people do
he's coming like think they pull out. They take a representative hundred and fifty studies, Is that a nowhere and try to reproduce the result? Generally speaking, somewhere between two thirds and three quarters of these studies turn out to have? You were a reproducible results, meaning whatever were either they were made up. Or they were jammed up or the person who did them understandably spent a year trying to collate data, that actually provided no conclusion, based on this on the operating theory that led to the creation of the study in the first place. What do you do in that case? Are you gonna say now well in our shit? I just did a years worth of work on nothing are you gonna try to make lemonade out of lemons yeah? I don't take it. In most cases, when that happens, they necessarily think that they are
doing something that is not scientifically valid but I guess it's it's it's! What some people call a Texas bulls, I taxes boy If you just randomly take law, lot shots at the sight of a barn and then you later Are you busy a bunch of them happen to be countered? One are you I'll be bulls. I around area there is a firmer working social science works at which you got a mass of data. Then you start looking for first more correlations, and then none other things you were looking for a nation. Is it ok here we ve just it. We ve shown that you know this is highly indicative of of acts but this problem is also compounded by the way the press. Worse, I am one of the earlier columns. I wrote my commentary was about why the meat is so bad science and is not always the science writers per se. It's the more general reporters who will, they don't understand science very well, they dont understand math or even just numbers.
Very well so that that's a problem there not very curious about asking a kind of skeptical questions. They would ask if it was a political story, but some What time out? I remember, after all, in the name of the peak of the pandemic, You know red state paranoia, some economists did a study claiming that dad, Sturgis motorcycle rally had led to I've forgotten. Everything was unlike two hundred thousand cases, and it was just a SEC. it is completely absurd. They basically to figure out everybody had been. You know how many people have been discharges and whenever fromme as best they could and then a trade in any increase in cases in the areas they were from. Two, the Sturgis Rally and the point wasn't just at the paper was bad, but did it go massive coverage around the country where, as you know, whereas you'd help on accurate,
about what was really going on with case levels in Florida taxes got no attention, so the other science is vulnerable to a certain amount of political bias in it in what it, what is it What is not study to some extent, but that biases greatly amplified in the way that the press picks up on on research and an only looking to support it to make us. Some of this has to do with counter Intuitive stuff people are all now in love with counter intuitive stuff right, it's the whole harder freak anomalies right, which is and was probably the most successful work of popular right. behavioral economics ever ever written? And you know there's radios? I wasn't tv shows and all this residents always like. Oh you think that this is why this happened. Actually it's the opposite right
Oh counter intuitive thinking, then gets people excited, understandably in part, because people do understand the people that their hucksters all over the place, who are trying to eligibility goods, everyday, their music men everywhere who are trying to sell you an instrument they themselves, don't know how to play its. That's also, human nature and people are our are understandably sceptical But if I said to you in terms of the common sense argument There are two ways that a pandemic start in war on China, one is something it's a bat and then a year and a half later four billion people are dead. and the other is there's a lab there, spare minting with bats. There is a in a function form of research where you attempt to intensive
I diseases in order to figure out how to kill, kill them and then Something leaked from that lab. These are your two possible arguments that are being made. What one does common sense tell you is the more likely. then a guy bottom bad from a salesman alive, bad aid? It got sick, And then killed four million people that does not pass in some ultimate sense that doesn't pass the smell test, even though its a fantastic story. Right I mean everybody was making eating bad jokes at your dude. Did your mother make a bad for you and what you know all that, because it so weird, whereas in fact we know that there are leaks from lapse. There have been dozens
leaks from lapsing about low no yoga most so funny about this backlash against loudly theories have really say that the notion that the Irish might have leaked from a high attack research facility was the racist argument seasonal wherever I did it, people were eating bands and penguins and wet market of it, but this is an important point because I think it John what you're saying assumes that the narrative construction started with the right question and I dont think for a lot of early media institutions. It did, I think it started with how do we write now this without seeming xenophobic, because we can't be seen a xenophobic tat was the priority and, from their flowed, asking all the wrong questions and suppressing all the right ones, because that was the narrative that had to be constructed. You could see that particular in places like the New York Times,
I also don't think it's an in any way of unreasonable to assume from the jump that this was zoological. Or origin. Every Sars virus had that origin. Anybody who ever read the hot sun no understands that origin. This has been part of him American popular culture, much less epidemiological culture for decades is now so by no means, as it is an unreasonable assumption to start from that place. I am not saying that is unreasonable. I'm saying here two things: there's a guy selling a bad over here in two blocks over here, there's a lab where they do high level research into corona viruses. The guy await the bad is the cause. Of the death, not the research into corona viruses. We knew what they were doing research into viruses at the war lab I mean that's the weird. It's not like
it's a lab where they were doing research into Euro daisies. They were doing research into corona viruses. That was like one of them in other fields of study, and everyone see that the John Stewart comment about this. You have a guy had a well that much is this the his great line? Was you know what, if what, if Hershey Pennsylvania suddenly broke out in goodness what what what were these would be assumption, be I'll. Give you another example. Let's say that this didn't happen because will go back to the nineteen seventeen story. Let's say this didn't hadn't happen and move on, but it happened in twenty twenty in your Catherine Burke, just just for the sake of argument. There's up there's a virology lab in your culture and burn where they steady growth of viruses and and then there's a girl, a virus outbreak and an important seals.
Catherine Bird and all this in twenty? Twenty and twenty twenty there is not a Democrat in America who would have to have had the slightest difficulty saying potency these the worst person under its he's, trying to steal our election and look what's happening now. Look what you just did look at that now! It's not that Democrats and liberals love China. They don't love China, business people, love China, not you know, and then are making apologies for China to be fair, so larynx, while not least China, Ericsson, all of yeah? What do you say anyway, you can see how if the politics had been a little different work I haven't been an election year, I'm sorry, but if it had been twenty nineteen or twenty seventeen, the same kinds of
there is an international crisis. Oh my god, if Trump about what we thought this too Trump handles this. Well, he's sale and into the presidency. So you don't. We can't the minutes now. It happened that was actually correct and Trump was an idiot, and who had an handled very and constantly and badly and therefore look like you demand firm hand on the tiller, scared, the suburban republican women who might have all form an end wins, but. this is where none of this happens in a vacuum and we'll just to get back to found. She then found she says it's human to animal transmission and
and he has now become America's favorite person. Animal animal to human choose me enabled I apologize animal to human transmission and he's been, but it's not just that he's America's favorite person. It is that if you are a person who stands cross wise of Anthony who becomes, if you're I don't know a very reputable scientists at a very reputable university, this is the question. Are you pudding? Your universities grants Development programme at risk because I dont know from found she I dont nobody's like I do know, having read stuff about the nineteen eighties, that he had a very firm belief in how the government was supposed to attack aids and he was wrong and
A lot of money went toward him aids virus and it was the wrong approach and, according to activists who used to not like him, he slow the development of the AIDS cocktail that effectively ended the aids epidemic by years. By focusing on the vaccine. Now I get you can't fault, handicapped fault him. You know. Obviously, if you have something like that, you want a vaccine and not a cocktail, but it's interesting because we don't know whether there were consequences for people who disagreed with fancy. Fancy certainly went and he sat up to the activists. He had they act up in his office. He did what he could to quiet. The activists left gay rights left that was coming after government in whatever way that he could, but we don't know whether, in the research community p,
who had their grant slow role because they weren't part of the. We need to develop a vaccine for AIDS, as opposed to. If we use this drug that drug and the other drug and they can interact and assert way, we can deal with the symptoms and alleviate them. We can cure aids, but we can make it. We can make it possible for people to live with it. I just want Esther as a political matter. It is a fascinating, an impressive fact that found she managed to serve under President's from the left hates for their approach toward the illness and pandemic. Yet they continue to love him right, left, hates Reagan for for his subsequent suppose. It bad response on the two ends lethargic. They hate they hate, though they the trap response to two,
I'm covered, but revered. Factually through all of it, but they don't love fancied, they let the avatar they made him. That's, but that's it that's the same, I mean it's just its impersonal insult in so far as he served as it is a totem. You decide about him, he could lose, affection tomorrow Somebody else can can take up its just about the cult that was create. Around him to serve as to serve as a living critique of what people want and others right people wanted Deborah Burke's. There was a found she in Burke's, as a kind of you know, they were both saints and then she seen not as she wasn't winking enough behind Trump somehow works.
And the same phenomenon was at work meeting this culture endanger coma yeah, it was all tat was there was the sentiment date. Dave just happen to be the right place at the right time. Here's what I would submit this backlash against the loudly theory would have happened without touching the it Thirdly, there is a lot of pressure to shut this down from data, in particular a couple of leading people and in the scientific world. he Christine to your point, about the press being really worry, not being xenophobic? on four July. Scientists also fell in to that particular because
Veronica another scientists are very international and stop these people are gonna conferences. They work together. They work together papers, they know each other, they respect each other. So there is a sense that if your criticising the lab in China, your criticising all of us and and so there was his real reluctance to two to entertain, this idea and it still going on what we ve seen in the last few weeks since this whole lab big thing finally started to break out within them extreme press and be discussed more openly started about about three months ago were so now there is it there. So there's a backlash to the suppression of the loudly there. It will now there's a backlash to the backlash and your seen, love. You will say what hold on a minute. They still really not. A lot of evidence is no evidence for this, and there was an Christine of peace in the journal, nature where the writer says,
the rhetoric around an alleged lovely, has runs a toxic that is fuelling online bullying of scientists and aunt Asian harassed in the United States, as well as have many researchers and authorities in China whose cooperation is needed and there. A criticizes. The group of of scientists who wrote a piece, a letter in in the journal science saying that we do need This was a really big change, a lot of leading virologist, including some who didn't Pooh poohing. The theory initially signed this big letters and, yes, we need to look into this. It's definitely a possibility that should be explored other. She says Even if the latter in science was well intentioned, its authors should have thought more about how to feed into the divisive political environment surrounding the issue. So so here you, the council's scientists to essentially sensor themselves out of fear. Be offensive. You know above
and upsetting people in your other researchers in an and another government, while that government is actively suppressing scientific research, completely lacking down access to ah to the materials. We would need to really fully investigate this and an Italian there's. This argue. That, then, is what is really no new evidence. We didn't have back in spring of twenty twenty one really interest. It is of Evidence- is the fact that China. has it release the records from will harm because it this was so easy to disprove. You think they would want to do that. Right. Guys, as we are now in the throes of summer. I just want to talk to you about our advertiser, fast growing trees because look.
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Asked during trees. That comes last commentary for fifteen percent off. That's fifteen percent off a fast growing trees, dot com, slash commentary, fast, growing, trees, dotcom, slash commentary. Ok, can I say something that is making me crazy as we approach the end of the pandemic and the pandemic. So here's your cured two things. Suddenly, story is bite. Administration is going to fall short of its goal of halving seventy percent of Americans vaccinated by July. Fourth,. And this is new because of course, suddenly there now acknowledging that the binding demonstrations programme The early months was to over two under promise, and over deliver was say. Oh we really do this. We could get a hundred million shots and arms by you. No more Fifteenth end up we're already on track for that. You know on January twenty, if they didn't do anything to speed it up
So now, suddenly, as we are approaching this. Now, they're doing negative pieces on the bite. Ministrations failure were America's failure whenever to get to the seventy percent vaccination reg, and the various delta variants coming carbon double. He's coming so here's one crazy. Yesterday, nine p m every night Johns Hopkins, which has grown a virus tracker, was those I think, the first one before you on the time. Your tens got started release as its track for the day that so the crowd of ours. Tracker at nine p M, says
new cases in the United States, four thousand and sixty three, some like that deaths hundred s death. Eighty five, so the death toll is under a hundred four thousand. This would have been on that tracker four days under ten thousand and two days of around four thousand. Remember, faulty ten thousand cases a day or under the pandemic is over,
the New York Times, which had four thousand four thousand then comes out at ten p m, with its track for the day or eleven. My camera, which at its fifteen thousand now, is how is it that one tracker says for, and one tracker says, shifting the times has always been more liberal in its counting or were, however, collect the data. We don't. We don't really know what their system as they supposedly have dozens of people who do this every day ass, they call state to say I'm not sure how it happens. It's almost like. I can't help myself from thinking that they are trying to slow down the end of the pandemic, because we have this benchmark. It's ten thousand for a week or two use whatever we're about there.
it could be, thereby Friday or next Monday, or some like that there, the New York Times is gonna screw this up, and we need that. We need some kind of formal declaration. The pandemic is over because people are still much sugar. Their people are bonkers. People are not behaving rationally all over the place. I see it everywhere, and so illustration: can rely on the New York Times of the centre for Disease control because they have their own tracker and accordingly, there are seventy moving average there about today's behind they update for twenty four hours, but there are seventy moving averages right now is at ten thousand three hundred fifty ok zombie, because these trackers, you don't understand, I again ability with mass some meaning it. I've never understood what the times is measuring what that down at what it says its forty days and its downs. Thirty seven percent- I have no idea
you're talking about- and if you click on the thing and you go to their paid it, they don't explain, and I have no idea what that number is only knows every day, but So let's say their seven be rolling average, so they are if their today's behind, unless there in fact, some bizarre surge on Monday that the New York Times caught the Johns Hopkins didn't catch their two days away from being under ten thousand, and that is the that is the federal government's number. Are they gonna come out? His Biden Gonna come out, give a speech and say the pandemic is over. You know I've and a lot of our beds and an editorial to the effect of either. What one of two arguments for me, one is: the pandemic will not be declared over based on the numbers,
which, if adopted, would be based on on the numbers, and I dont know what on earth it will be over when we stop caring about the victims. That was it that that that's, when dependent will be over. In other words, we should never left the pandemic be over, because we will lose our humanity to have the pandemic, be over and the other one is there will be no declaration of the pandemic being over at all. It won't. That's that's too simple away to look at it. You can't expect things to end so neatly. Let's convenient to have you know it is always good to have that in your back pocket Elsie you mentioned the ongoing health emergency the other day as a reason she could show up for a low shrunk back. Let's get out. So it's just convenient. I get out how'd you make the case for some the kinds of spending and were not worrying about the deficit in the United States
it's kind of like a you know that it has got the yeah they, the big hoping friend following the school to intimidate the well and I- and I know who that friend is an ally as the teachers unions. I sent this to you guys your lawyer. There still going to follow protocols that they really did they demanded at the height of the pandemic, in terms of testing of students mask wearing a despite whether not your backs new software mask at all times, like just crazy, crazy signature, safety theatre, because the pyramid, as you say, Jim, it's it's
I just wanted to say I have this thing I can use as it as it is a cultural against anyone who tells me I have to do and I used to have to do before the pandemic, and I read to you from a profile in the New York Times of Emily Astor. Emily Astor is an economist, a brown. She was the youngest tenured professor history, or some like that of the University of Chicago she's, an economist. She is now brown and she became well. She was kind of like a genius young calmest of a data person like mostly what she did was have very into very clever, interesting, unexpected things by collating data and looking at them and she's a lot of work on parenthood and babies and the advice that is given to parents about babies that sometime frankly, are ridiculous and that at the numbers do not justify, and she started look
at the pandemic as a data cruncher right. Not is it not as an epidemiologist who, by the way, which is a data crunching business, but as a as a micro, Le Conte Macro and micro economists, mostly as a micro economist, and what what you should do and all of that, so she basically made the first sustain argument that, given everything we know about the science everything schools needed to reopen and should be reopened and could reopen safely, and he and- and this was like last august- something like that earlier and so she ass. She says she was getting questions from people like as a better have my inlaws watch my kid or send them today care we ve been too. To do neither, but that is the choice for working parents so
We had this bizarre, you know sort of health culture that would serve telling people that no one could take care of their kids. There were also on their own if it turned out that they had to work- or you know, had a small whenever it was ok. So here is what here's, what them the New York Times, Dana Goldstein, says her daily work was discounted by some teachers. Union activists beget was because it was funded in part by philanthropies that support Non Union charter schools and it didn't adhered traditional research norms. The data collection, randomized initially it's skewed toward private and suburban schools, but eventually the database grew to include school, serving more than twelve million of the nation's fifteen million k, twelve students, including the public schools in New York, California, Texas and Massachusetts.
So, basically, what there was some was, while these are only private, parochial schools, but guess what you know. It's amazing, the rules are still the same. You know why? Because it's a health thing, it's a health thing and therefore you know if it's this way, if, if kids get it or teachers, whatever its transmitted, it'll be transmitted the same in the building that is owned by a private school and this building that is owned by a public school or is a public school. So here is what she hears. Here's this great paragraph. The question of how to behave during a pandemic is fundamentally different from the question of whether to breastfeed, says difficult state in an invite and have read a viral transmission. Your choice, potential effects, many others. It turned out that
Any educators would not accept coolly intellectual framework for balancing risk and reward, especially not one advanced from the environs of Brown University public school teachers had experience, sealed, shut, classroom windows and bathrooms without soap, backed by their unions. They wanted to work safely at home during the pandemic. Just as many is just as many of their students. Parents were I'm reading this, because teachers teach students in classrooms. That is what they do. They don't get to stay home. Like many of their students, parents were because their students, parents, don't teach in a classroom now they happen. They did get to stay home because of these teachers, unions and everything like that, but there
This notion somehow that, because there were bathrooms without soap, they should stay home for their own sake, and this is the kind of thinking that I wonder we keep thinking this question. Is this a hinge moment? Are we now going to go by? back to normal, in which there's lip service spades, how wonderful my kids, teachers are adapted, blob of law and the unions that whatever and our people I'll say: the unions are bad and people on the left will say: unions are good cuz, they need their boats and don't be teachers and rubber rooms, and then we all this and nothing will change or is the idea that people were saying people in in in whose job it is to
To keep people in a classroom believed that it was their right not to educate people in a classroom, get paid full salary benefits and everything like that and ruin the lives of the people they were supposed to help. Is that gonna go on or are we now have with is have? Are we gonna? Is this one of those parts of the pandemic? We're gonna go into amnesia on or are we gonna build from it? And I really don't know the answer that question I can't just trying to say there is a connection here didn't tell what Jim has been writing about before us about Institute regional Wrought, the need for experts and the need to somehow fix the institutional rock is really is more. Like termite demonstrated happens very slowly. The institutions to looks like it standing but at some point enough, pressure is applied in and parts of it begin to crumble, and I think for a lot of parent
again, I live in a blue city where the teacher dunes have love includes, even among pretty liberal democratic voters. Inner city like mine, whose kisser and public school are didn't. There has been a real paradigm shift in how they approach things. Institutions like teachers, unions and institutions, like public schools, lotta parents, are voting, their feet. Enrollment numbers numbers are weighed down in major public school systems across the country, whether that is just a blip or that continues will see in the coming year or so, but I do think there is a possibility here, but I guess the question that really concerns me in particular, with the scientific institutions, is how do you rebuild that kind? trust, because the backlash is understandable, the anger and the mistrust in the paranoia the conspiracy theorizing. But how do you rebuild from within an institution that that's compromise itself to that level?. That's why I ended by peacefully with basic with a question that I don't think, there's
easy way to do this, and I do think that this backlash is good going to be brought in our society. You will talk about this in the past few weeks ago, about the impact of other The crisis in two thousand and eight and how it didn't seem to have an acute the impact initially bye, bye, I sank into the culture and in ways that led to this resentment of elites. S idea that the insiders have everything rigged and that led it. populism that we saw with Bernie Sanders and with tromp, and you know that they will each really changed our politics, we may see something far worse here. If people decided that the government Diet all covered up the real most of this virus. And meanwhile, you know r, R
pulls betrayed us. Our governors sent people back to nursing homes to die. This could could fill. I called your over the course of years an and really undermine the d they authority There are the respect for four institutions and agencies. Is that we still need wait. Wait we do need help expertise, we do need public health. We do need a education system so and back do you know. I think if you would like It presented a mild pack flash, but a backlash. It really sweeps out the good with the bad would be devastating. I mean, I think, the point that we were making is that there is
There is literally no way when there is an epic, an ethical events that changes every bays life, which was true in two thousand and eight and its true and twenty twenty. There is no way to tell what the consequences of that are. Gonna be over time. I mean you they're dead Trump was not a predictable outcome of two thousand and eight. He just wasn't. I mean because nobody, because when he emerged and twenty fifteen people didn't say oh losses because of two thousand and eight and I wrote such a piece in March of twenty sixteen, it took me eight or nine months to think of it. You know that that this was some kind of weird corkscrew response to the financial crisis, and I was not much echoed and you know I. I still think that that is actually the best explanation for understood.
then how this happened and how it happened in the party that was that of power for the six or seven year enough for the seven years before he emerged that the necessary adjunct to his rise was not only an attack on our bomber and Hilary and all that, but an attack on the Republicans that there had to be both that hit. That was his secret sauce, and that was the part that that was in precisely understood and we don't know which one
twenty four will bring in relation to all of this, but the notion that we can guess or try to play into it- I think politically play into it. It has to be intuitive the person who can do that will into it. This, I don't think, will not know it. Look if you're sitting there is ten crews, one of these kind of like overly intellectual, rising politicians who tries to come up with a course to follow to get you this. You know, get you through this path. That's not the way it's gonna happen. Someone who's gonna feel his way into this and fact to be camel hair. That's all I'm gonna say, but up before we go, I also do need to tell you guys about the Ex chair. I talk to you about
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Those three dollars a month, gonna Exchequer commentary, dot com now in use codecs wheels for a free ex x, play casters exchequer commentary, dotcom guys there. Gonna be an election today. There is an election today. Are that the end of the election we want to involved in New York City you behind.
heard us talk about whether the time, but I very much share. I just want to read you a quote from Eric Adams, who is currently the leading candidate in the race who- and I think I have said this on a pike ass before I met him in the nineties when he was a certain anti cop cop and ran organisation within the police department, called one hundred black men and law enforcement who care. If you told me twenty years later, that he might be a serious candidate for mayor, I I would have you know I would have laughed harder than I did that year at there's something about Mary, because he was not an impressive person, and here is a quote that he gave yesterday. I just want to read this. This guy is the leading candidate in the race for mayor of the city. He was asked: what's the best concert you
ever been to at his answer, was Curtis Mayfield at the wind get cancer series at that concert, there was a rainstorm and the whites fell on Curtis Mayfield and they actually paralyzed him at that concert he died a few years ago, but it was an amazing concert before that happens. So the best concert Zimmermann's, was the one work. Kurds a field was paralyzed in a rage. Storm, what a wife, all fell on him and paralyzed him and made him a paraplegia about this. How is the play? Mrs Lincoln? I mean it's it's. is likely to be Mere York than anybody else at this moment. As I speak to you so.
It's gotta be a crazy, for here is a key is bear. Tat has got a favor you can. I just endorse the crazy video from years ago that I sent you all when he right after you now she was running where he goes around a room and and shows you all the places where your head, my your kid, might be: hiding crack or weapons. It's all you do I actively encourage everything Harker to take a glance, it's kind of malaria, but was interesting forces if he wins who will win, because he will have convince people that it is enough of a cop that the city needs somebody who knows about security and crime than he was an anti cough cop. So the little like John Kerry running as the probability die in two thousand and four, when John carries reputation was made by three
because metals away, but you know beggars, can't be choosers, I guess, and with that Jim eggs. Thank you for joining us. Go to commentary amazing that common read his peace on the lab league hypothesis, as well as his entire oeuvre, if they tat commentary, column and, thank God forbid farmer last month, Noah is under the weather. I hope you feel better, knowing you really on our zoom, not looking he's looking a little peek at, but he just gave me the thumbs up Kristine. I will be back tomorrow for John passports: keep the candle bar I'm John Podhoretz there. Not for job words, keep the camel burning.
Transcript generated on 2021-07-26.