Jack Cashill: Reflections on a Century of Junk Science. He begins:
On Saturday evening I drove to a local pizza joint to pick up a pizza. This was the only way to get pizza. In Kansas City, all bars and restaurants have been closed for a week.
During the last few weeks, I had made a point of not watching or following the news. I trusted none of it. A TV at the pizza place, however, was tuned to CNN. It showed the Coronavirus death toll: 12,000-plus worldwide and 285 in the United States.
The numbers stunned me. Not following the news closely, I presumed, based on the hysteria in the air, that the numbers had to be at least ten times that high both nationally and internationally.
285? According to the Centers for Disease Control 185 Americans died of drug overdoses every day in 2018. According to the CDC, 315 people died of the flu every day during the six-month 2018-2019 flu season.
Not a lot, you would think, in a country of 350 million.
No sooner did I get home with my pizza than the news broke that the bi-state metro Kansas City would be subject to a stay-at-home order effective Tuesday morning. “After 30 days,” the TV News station reported matter-of-factly, “the jurisdictions will consider whether to extend the order.” That is how easy it is in 2020 America to suspend the U.S. Constitution and wreck the economy.
I would feel better about the order and my fellow citizens if some horrible plague were ravaging the metro. That is not exactly the case. As of Saturday night, there had been a total of four Covid-19 deaths in all of Kansas and Missouri, only one of which was in the KC metro area, a “man in his 70s with underlying health conditions.”
Did people agree with him? You must be kidding.
In sharing my skepticism on Facebook, I have been met with a hail of naysayers, some of them fellow conservatives, who insist the science justifies the state of alarm. I do not know enough about this particular phenomenon to enter that debate, but I know enough about American history to know that science often needlessly justifies a state of alarm.
Moreover, he has written a book about it.
In my 2009 book, Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture, I documented a century’s worth of scientific misinformation, disinformation, half-truths, and lies disseminated almost inevitably to advance a progressive agenda.
One subject covered was the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century. Those promoting the science and paying for it were not the grand wizards of the Ku Klux Klan but America’s academics and progressives, notable among them Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Progressives have always worked in crisis mode.
Any examples? Here’s his first.
“The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective,” wrote Sanger in 1922. “Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.” As we are seeing today, progressives rarely shy from “Spartan” methods.
In 1968 Dr. Paul Ehrlich began his massively popular book, The Population Bomb, with the startling claim, “The battle to feed all of humanity is already lost.” In the book Ehrlich laid out three possible scenarios that could define the earth “in the next decade or so.” In the most “cheerful” of these scenarios, Americans assume an unexpected “maturity of outlook,” a new Pope “gives his blessing to abortion,” and only half a billion people die of famine.
And after denying that AIDS was a disease that attacked mainly gay men, there were then these.
The science establishment was just warming up. In the decades ahead, they would serve up global cooling, nuclear winter, the alar scare, second-hand smoke, global warming, climate change, and a host of other contrived doomsday scenarios. When the predicted doom failed to materialize, the prophets of doom shifted the date of doom forward and bought more beachfront property.
The real answer is that we will just have to get used to it.