Traffic Lights, Risk Assessment, and Social Distancing in a COVID-19 World

Traffic Lights, Risk Assessment, and Social Distancing in a COVID-19 World

The summer in America’s South was somewhat incredible. People were refusing to wear masks, refusing to socially distance, and COVID-19 cases were increasing tremendously. Many hospitals were stressed and sending patients to other hospitals, then to other states. As the problem grew, with some version of it appearing in Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and hints of the problem in Arkansas, Georgia, and the Carolinas, the obvious question was, “Where will we send overflow patients now?” This is the biggest concern with COVID-19. Not its raw death rate, but its ability...

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Sam Eagle vs. The Feds

Sam Eagle vs. The Feds

The Michigan State Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (and drive through donut joints, but that doesn’t fit in the title) has the job of patrolling the shores and skies over Lake Michigan. This summer, an “environmental quality analyst” was operating a $950 drone, examining the natural conditions under his purview. It was going fine, until the bald eagle showed up. It began with a poor connection being reported between the control device and the drone. The operator sent the return command. The video feed showed the drone turn widely back towards the beach from which it had...

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Evil Blossoms Where Conscience Shrinks: The Unforgivable Tragedy of Bush’s Iraq War II

Evil Blossoms Where Conscience Shrinks: The Unforgivable Tragedy of Bush’s Iraq War II

During Iraq War II (2003–2011), in addition to thousands of American soldiers and contractors who died, more than 100,000 Iraq civilians were killed. This number is consistent with independent counts as well as leaked Pentagon data (sources available at Wikipedia). However, more sophisticated studies which combined data sets and methodologies from multiple independent efforts have produced a total estimate of deaths (from 2003-2018) of 1.5-3.4 million people. This does not count the combatants who died fighting against what many consider to have been a foreign invader conducting an illegal...

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Liberty and Slavery

Liberty and Slavery

Among the common beliefs of libertarians, opposition to slavery is one of the least controversial. Yet, the moral argument against slavery is one of libertarian philosophy’s most enlightening topics. Considering the “why” of libertarian opposition to slavery is profoundly instructive. Libertarianism approaches the question of individual rights in a unique way.  In my opinion, the cornerstone of libertarian philosophy lies with its answer to the is-ought dichotomy presented in David Hume’s skepticism. From the far right, idealism is an absolute that tramples upon those who are different. From...

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What Limits Are Needed On Government During This Outbreak?

Disease epidemics are perfectly solvable by libertarian theory. If someone is infected with a dangerous disease, and they bring themselves into a position where they can infect others, then they have violated someone's rights. In an ideal ancap scenario, places like malls and movie theaters would have every right to demand your vaccination or medical history before permitting you entry. Don't like it? Patronize someone else. Worried about getting sick? Go to the places that demand your vaccine records. It gets a bit more complicated with rights protection agencies. Can a community hire...

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The Reality of the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus

The Reality of the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus

Exponential functions. Understand this, and you’ll grasp the reality of the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus from China. I know math sucks, but if you can get this, you’ll lift the fog on just how bad this is. With the Novel Coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), some speculate that the number of people infected by it can double in as little as 6 days. If one single person starts off with the virus, then after 6 days, 2 people would have it. After 12 days, 4 people would have it. After one month, 32 people would have it. That doesn’t sound so bad does it? It almost seems like the virus problem will remain...

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CDC, Epidemics And “Panic”

Could world health authorities be concealing information from the public at all right now? Who knows, could be. If they are doing this, is the need to "prevent panic" itself preventing people from having the information they need to take proactive protective measures? We're meant to think that panic prevents authorities from managing behavior, and makes epidemic disease outbreaks worse. However, what if the authorities themselves simply don't have the resources, competence or ability to manage outbreaks? What if, like the economy, these kinds of things are nearly impossible to plan for...

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We Should Be Wary Of A “Bio-PATRIOT Act”

With a new global pandemic scare, the time has come to watch out for those who would exploit it. A severe public health crisis could lead to calls for a new cabinet position, and new government powers to intervene into the personal health of American citizens. This is especially likely given the broken state of the healthcare system due to all of the bad and politicized, crony policies that have been passed over the last couple of decades. First of all, however, is this virus a big deal? Yes. It's highly infectious, and may take a long time to produce noticeable symptoms. Most people won't...

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