"You keep the rights you fight for."

Please print on a T-shirt. Put a cat on it.

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The hills we are willing to die on have come into view.

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They also get the past outrages wrong.

We rely on precedent, but we also distinguish cases.

For example, the Supreme Court in Jacobson (1906) held that:

(1) Given an infectious disease with a 30% fatality rate,

(2) And a a vaccine that's been in use for over a century,

(3) And few if any alternatives to in-person contact,

(4) The government can impose a small fine if you refuse the vaccine.

We can argue that Jacobson was wrongly decided, but it's not obviously crazy *given those facts*.

However, it's far from obvious that it can be transmuted into:

(1) Given a disease with extremely low fatality,

(2) And novel vaccines with limited efficacy,

(3) And alternatives to in-person contact,

(4) The government can destroy you if you refuse the vaccine.

Granted, this is like confronting a lynch mob with a legal brief. I may have the best argument in the world, and a list of authorities a mile long, but presenting it to them shows that I've misunderstood the nature of the encounter in a very fundamental way.

Still, to the extent they claim what they're doing is law, it's useful to point out that it's a façade.

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boycott, divest, strike.... soon time for a general strike to oppose the dictators.... i already will nopt go to tsa, i will not do business with stores that mandate masks or vaxxes. i will do only emergency medicine since my hospital system mandated vaxxes.... stand up!

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When you’re on your game, you’re terrific.

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As many of us have said from the beginning, "your fear doesn't trump my rights" and "there is no pandemic exception to the Constitution."

I posted this definition of "sociopath" elsewhere. It seems apt:

Sociopath: “A personality disorder; chronic antisocial behavior and violation of the law; a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others; capable of violent acts without guilt feelings; manipulation, deceit, aggression, and a lack of empathy for others.”

Sound familiar?

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Thanks to Maria Popova @brainpicker brainpickings.org for this brilliant piece which is particularly apropos in the current madness:

What is true of art is even truer of life, for a human life is the greatest work of art there is. (In my own life, looking back on my ten most important learnings from the first ten years of Brain Pickings, I placed the practice of the small, mighty phrase “I don’t know” at the very top.) But to live with the untrammeled openendedness of such fertile not-knowing is no easy task in a world where certitudes are hoarded as the bargaining chips for status and achievement — a world bedeviled, as Rebecca Solnit memorably put it, by “a desire to make certain what is uncertain, to know what is unknowable, to turn the flight across the sky into the roast upon the plate.”

That difficult feat of insurgency is what the great Polish poet Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012) explored in 1996 when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for capturing the transcendent fragility of the human experience in masterpieces like “Life-While-You-Wait” and “Possibilities.”

“Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.””

Art by Salvador Dalí from a rare edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

In a sentiment of chilling prescience today, as we witness tyrants drunk on certainty drain the world of its essential inspiration, Szymborska considers the destructive counterpoint to this generative not-knowing:

“All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.

This is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include the spaces within us as well as those outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended. If Isaac Newton had never said to himself “I don’t know,” the apples in his little orchard might have dropped to the ground like hailstones and at best he would have stooped to pick them up and gobble them with gusto. Had my compatriot Marie Sklodowska-Curie never said to herself “I don’t know”, she probably would have wound up teaching chemistry at some private high school for young ladies from good families, and would have ended her days performing this otherwise perfectly respectable job. But she kept on saying “I don’t know,” and these words led her, not just once but twice, to Stockholm, where restless, questing spirits are occasionally rewarded with the Nobel Prize.”

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Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.

Frederick Douglass

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The madness of mass delusion. It’s as though the insane emperor without clothes discovered an ancient medical journal extolling the amazing health benefits of bloodletting and so decreed that everyone in the kingdom must have their blood let. Not only is everyone afraid to tell the emperor he has no clothes, but now they set about letting blood from every man, woman and child. No matter that the emperor is mad. No matter that bloodletting has long since been determined to be dangerously harmful rather than beneficial. No matter that those subjected to it are egregiously harmed. Bloodletting has been decreed for the health of all, so bloodlet we must. No one any longer bothers to ask why are we doing this? No one dares to question its wisdom. No none has the courage to say, “But we know this to be harmful. It makes no sense to bloodlet people.” This is partly what happens when critical thinking is no longer taught or even allowed in schools. “We are paid to bloodlet not to ask questions. Don’t confuse us with the facts. We have a job to do and we will not cease until we have let the blood of every single person.” The guards at Auschwitz had similar rationalizations. Now march!

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I think I was on The Spectator UK below-the-line comments when I asked, "what is your first step for Totalitarianism?". Granted, I was mostly preaching to the choir there but there were a couple of lockdown fans there. Of course they had no answer. Some people really think one night they'll go to sleep in a perfectly functioning republic then overnight, a dictator will appear with tanks and troops goosestepping down the street.

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btw I think many, many people would very happily clap if the govt decided to mandate forced cardio and healthy eating. many people around me would love dissenters having to do those things within the walls of a "special work camp"!

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Spot on - this is the real game, the real battle. The armies of clowns are diversions.

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Turns out the nightmare scenario of AI driving our lives, from cars to planes and everyday decisions, wondering how silicon circuits would end up solving the Trolley Problem at every instance, pales in comparison with the reality of Troll Politicians creating and worsening a problem AI would solve in a sec (without sacrificing our freedom).

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Can anyone cite the study or studies used to satisfy Koch's postulate for sars cov 2? Has this thing been purified? I'm guessing that it hasn't, but maybe it has.

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We are “entitled to make [our] own medical treatment decisions, and have a constitutional right to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice." Not any more, you don't, says SCOTUS. We all just went from pseudo-citizens to digital slaves.

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I love it when you're angry, hermano. On fire, here.

Meanwhile, I reckon you can stick a fork in the Nuremburg Convention, now, in the US. It is well and truly steamrollered: "After losing two rounds in lower federal courts, a group of Indiana University students challenging the school’s coronavirus vaccine were dealt a final blow Thursday as the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the college’s vaccination requirement. In the first coronavirus vaccine mandate challenge of its kind before the nation’s highest court, the eight Indiana University (I.U.) students requested an emergency order, arguing that they are adults who are “entitled to make their own medical treatment decisions, and have a constitutional right to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in the context of a vaccination mandate.”

We live in a post-Constitutional, post-rule of law, post-free speech society. And not so much as a peep of protest or even dissent. As a society, we deserve what we get, I suppose.

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"they are not even trying to make sense anymore. they are just trying to see what they can get away with."

Is it me or it started with the confinement of Wuhan? I remember telling a friend back in January 2020: "they cannot do that!"... It has been a while I stopped looking for logic and stopped thinking they cannot do anything absurd on the face of it!

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Brillante artículo. Riguroso y lleno de pasión. We need a Bad Cat for president. You make me eager to fight

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