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Leaving People Alone Is the Best Way to Beat the Coronavirus

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The world has rapidly moved into a seemingly aggressive paternalistic planning mode in the face of the Coronavirus crisis. Many voices are heard to say that personal and economic liberties must be restricted or even temporarily banned. At the same time, many of those same voices are saying that at a moment like this government spending, for all intents and purposes, has no limit. Welcome to the world of a really lot bigger government. Over the last two weeks, municipal and state governments in places like California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, to name just a few that the media has particularly publicized, have ordered the virtual shutting down of huge parts of the economy under their respective jurisdictions. They have commanded entire populations of tens of millions of people to not leave their homes other than for a small handful of reasons such as getting medical treatment or food shopping under penalty of a fine or ...

How the Police State Will Deal with a Coronavirus Outbreak

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“Fear is a primitive impulse, brainless as hunger, and because the aim of horror fiction is the production of the deepest kinds of fears, the genre tends to reinforce some remarkably uncivilized ideas about self-protection. In the current crop of zombie stories, the prevailing value for the beleaguered survivors is a sort of siege mentality, a vigilance so constant and unremitting that it’s indistinguishable from the purest paranoia.”— Terrence Rafferty, New York Times What do zombies have to do with the U.S. government’s plans for dealing with a coronavirus outbreak? Read on, and I’ll tell you. The zombie narrative was popularized by the hit television series The Walking Dead, in which a small group of Americans attempt to survive in a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world where they’re not only fighting off flesh-eating ghouls but cannibalistic humans. For a while there, zombies could be found lurking around every corner: wreaking havoc at gun shows, battling ...

Tradition and Why the Russians are Who They Are

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It is often said to be misplaced and inappropriate to use stereotypes when talking about people or entire nations. To do so is unfair to the wide diversity that exists among the individual citizens of any country over time or during any particular period of time. And this is no doubt true, but, nonetheless, there are such things as customs and traditions in society, and they do influence the character and qualities found among many of those who live under them. In his valuable study of Tradition (1981), the University of Chicago sociologist, Edward Shils (1910-1995), explained that for any set of traditions to persevere in a society, it generally requires three overlapping generations: “Tradition – that which is handed down – includes material objects, beliefs about all sorts of things, images of persons and events, practices and institutions . . . Traditions are not independently self-reproductive or self-elaborating. Only living, knowing, desiring human beings can enact them and reenact them ...