What you can take away from today's news
1) Dictators are dangerous. Not just to their own subjects, but also to neighboring countries. Absent the competitive political forces found within even the most corrupt democracies, dictatorships have no way of suppressing the inherent tyrannical nature of those who achieve positions of power. The epitome of Russian dictators, Josef Stalin, has this quotation attributed to him: "When someone dies, it's a tragedy. When a thousand die, it's a statistic." The American petty dictator, Tammany Hall's Boss Tweed, revealed an underlying aspect of crypto-tyranny: "I don't care who does the electing...as long as I do the nominating." Again, competition is quite effective in keeping a lid on the human tendency to abuse power.
2) We're all trapped in a web of interdependency. The modern world is no longer composed of islands of self-sufficiency. Ancient cities used to have farms within their walls...to better survive while being besieged by hostile forces. Nowadays, expedited transportation enables raw materials and finished goods to freely move about the planet at minimal expense. Interruptions in this flow, however, typically result in economic dislocation. Shortages often cause consumers to engage in panic-buying, even as prices are spiking — AKA hoarding.
Practices such as just-in-time delivery have been particularly enhanced by the advancement of computer networks — and, thus, have also increased the vulnerability to various hacks, such as ransomware. Old-fashioned mishaps are also still taking their toll, such as the enormous container ship that was driven by high winds to block the Suez Canal.
3) Economics is forbidden knowledge. How else could apologists for the Biden administration have the chutzpah to blame the current spate of price inflation on corporate greed and monopolistic collusion, rather than the politically motivated drastic increase in the money supply? Media "experts" have thus far avoided making the distinction between demand inflation that is caused by supply shortages and true inflation that results from paper money losing its value — AKA the debauching of the currency. We are currently experiencing both — hence the blurred distinction.
Another blurred distinction is the difference between money and wealth. Money is just a symbol for wealth, a token. It is typically called "legal tender," meaning that its acceptance for payment is compelled by law. Wealth, however, is created when value is added to raw materials. A farmer creates wealth by planting seeds in dirt, tending to the field, and eventually harvesting the produce. He has to buy the dirt, water, and seeds...but the sunlight, at least, is free.
4) Medicine is not science. Medicine does, however, use science in its efforts to heal the afflicted. Treating individual human patients often boils down to seat-of-the-pants problem-solving. Prior to the 19th century, physicians relied on broths, nostrums, and leeches. Surgeons were significantly benefited by the invention of anesthesia, prior to which they were compelled to work really fast. Other advances in surgery have often accompanied the conduct of wars. Ambrose Pare followed the Swedish warrior-king Gustavus Adolphus (r. 1611–1632) and pioneered the use of ligatures to tie off damaged blood vessels. Up until fairly recently, medical students had to use dead pigs to study anatomy. Those who ventured to use human cadavers risked being burned at the stake.
The current pandemic has brought to light the lack of perfection in the practice of medicine. Remember the 20-second hand-washing requirement? COVID is an airborne respiratory disease and not particularly subject to contact infection, which is, instead, the case with norovirus, also known as stomach flu. And yet, self-important technical bureaucrats are more than eager to dictate to the rest of us all kinds of dubious protocols.
And 5) Conventional energy sources are much more important than climate zealots want us to believe. A slight burp in the supply of petroleum and natural gas causes a global hangover. The price of gasoline at the pump is now front-page news day after day. The price of synthetic fertilizer, which is made mostly from natural gas, is expected to seriously push up the cost of food.
Belief in global warming is a religion, not a science. Climatistas are dogmatic true believers, not objective observers. Actually, I've known this all along — but now it's pretty much common knowledge.
Image via Pixnio.