Category Archives: Politics

Hume’s Combination of Atheism and Virtue

This essay on the 18th century philosopher David Hume illustrates the difficulty 18th century and later Christians had accepting his combination of atheism and virtue. They considered it an offense and challenge to their beliefs. Here in the US, we’re in the early 21st century and dealing with much the same religious fear and intolerance.

Sweden’s COVID Measures Have Been a Disaster

A colleague keeps posting (on the work messaging system) analysis and opinion on how well Sweden is doing on COVID without the lockdown imposed by other nations and notes that it’s unclear whether policy decisions make a difference. I find this annoying because the effect of policy decisions on COVID cases and deaths is very clear, as shown by Sweden’s numbers compared to those of other Nordic nations.

Denmark, Finland, and Norway each have a little more than half Sweden’s population (~5 million vs ~10 million for Sweden). Denmark has the second most cases and deaths, with Sweden most afflicted. Denmark has only ~11% the deaths and ~18% the cases of Sweden, with Finland and Norway faring even better.

As bad as the numbers are, a University of Virginia analysis indicates that Sweden implemented ICU bed triage/rationing that prevented some of the sickest from getting ICU treatment.

Fatality per capita, cases per capita, and Infection Fatality Rate are the major metrics I see tracked right now, but with this virus there are considerable long term health consequences for many people (I don’t see any good data on this, but assume people are working on it) so people not dying is a good but not great indicator of the pandemic’s impact.

Reasonable people can differ on the balance point between economic damage and human health damaged and lives lost, but those discussions should focus on the value of individual human life and health versus the economic health of a nation. The two are interdependent, but we need to be honest about what we’re discussing.

Sources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1102257/cumulative-coronavirus-cases-in-the-nordics/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1113834/cumulative-coronavirus-deaths-in-the-nordics/

https://newsroom.uvahealth.com/2020/07/03/covid-19-deaths-in-sweden/

My Body Is a Confederate Monument

“I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow.”

brilliant and moving, an excellent response to those who want to preserve Confederate monuments out of some misplaced sense of honor and tradition.

 

America’s Long History of Anti-Immigrant Racism

‘The High Tide of Immigration—A National Menace’; cartoon by Louis Dalrymple from Judge magazine, August 1903

In her review of The Guarded Gate, Sarah Churchwell illustrates the long history of American racists fighting to exclude people of other races. The “undesirable” races have changed repeatedly over time, but the arguments for excluding them have been essentially the same.

Eddie Glaude Speaks the Truth on American White Supremacy

After a white supremacist terrorist inspired by Trump murdered 22 and injured 26 in El Paso, TX, Professor Eddie Glaude speaks the truth on American white supremacy.

I found this brilliant discourse in a post by Patton Oswalt, who shared a post by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Limbaugh, Carlson et al. are not conservatives. They’re far right propagandists, whose goal is to inflame fear and hatred in their audience and get/keep that audience addicted to their propaganda. It’s journalistic malpractice to call them conservative.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/11/business/media/el-paso-killer-conservative-media.html

Victor Blackwell on Trump’s Racist Attacks

Racist Donald Trump has been a racist his entire life and he used that racism to help him win the 2016 election. A cowardly press has avoided calling Trump racist directly, but hopefully that will change given how openly Trump is now attacking non-whites.

When Trump attacked Elijah Cummings and his district in Baltimore, MD, characterizing Cummings and his district the same way Nazis characterized Jews to dehumanize them, Victor Blackwell spoke brilliantly in response. Here’s that video.

Sources

Trump’s History of Racism

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/donald-trump-racist-meme/

https://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12270880/donald-trump-racist-racism-history

Trump’s 27 July 2019 Attack on Cummings and Baltimore

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/27/trump-lashes-out-rep-elijah-cummings-baltimore-district/1845890001/

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-elijah-cummings-tweets-dangerous-filthy-baltimore-2019-7

Video

https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1155128232322187265/video/1