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Jeff Deist

Why Social Issues Dominate

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Inflation in the US is at forty-year highs, while interest rates on ten-year Treasury notes just hit 3 percent—signaling trouble for home buyers. Truck drivers pay more than $1,000 to fill their rigs with $5 per gallon diesel to deliver your increasingly expensive groceries and Amazon packages. Crime and homelessness skyrocket in large cities, exacerbated by virulent opioids like fentanyl and krokodil. And America’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine gives rise to the most serious threats of nuclear strikes against the West since the 1960s.

Yet so-called social issues, from abortion to critical race theory to teaching gender identity in elementary schools, dominate our politics and media. Virtually every voter has a strong opinion on these issues, and pays far more attention to them than, say, the M2 money supply or the next Fed Open Market Committee meeting—though the latter could have a far greater impact on that voter’s life and finances.

Why is this so? 

The short answer is the Supreme Court.

Yesterday brought news that a leaked draft opinion allegedly from Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito portends the overturning of Roe v. Wade. This brought forth paroxysms of anger and fear across the media spectrum, especially on social platforms like Twitter. Protestors quickly arrived at the newly fenced-off court building, and the commentariat began enumerating the predictable dire threats for the future of women posed by a Trumpian right-wing court.
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Inflation, Quick and Dirty

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All of a sudden everyone is an expert on inflation. Your brother-in-law, your local paper, and even dilettantes at dubious outlets like the Washington Post or The Atlantic feel compelled to explain our current predicament. With the admitted rate of consumer inflation running somewhere around 8 percent, and the real rate much higher, even central bankers can’t hide the reality from us. So the commentariat has to explain to us why this is happening and make sure we blame the mysterious workings of capitalism for our troubles.

In other words, economics is back. Covid was a nice diversion, and Ukraine took up all the media’s oxygen for a few months. But now we must deal with the economic devastation caused both by lockdowns and two years of crazed fiscal and monetary policy. Everyday Americans, stubborn as they are, care more about rising gas and food prices than the political class would like. So they trot out Nancy Pelosi to explain how government spending actually reduces inflation and push pseudoeconomic ideas like modern monetary theory to explain why more federal spending is always the cure.

But what is really happening?

First, consider the two covid stimulus bills passed by Congress in 2020 and 2021. These pumped more than $5 trillion directly into the economy in the form of payments to government, payments to households, unemployment benefits, employer payroll loans, cash subsides to airlines and countless other industries, and a host of grab-bag earmarks which had nothing to do with covid. This new money injected itself straight into the veins of the daily economy.
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The Wrong Elites

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During a panel discussion at a recent Mises Institute event, one presenter described her son's Ivy League university as "elite," even as she lamented the perverse and harmful covid mandates imposed by its administration. Those mandates, by the way, were overwhelmingly supported both by students at this particular college and their parents.
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Rothbard on Today's Progressive War Jingoism

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Readers of Murray Rothbard's articles and speeches on war collectivism will immediately recognize the progressive pietist fervor surrounding today's progressive war jingoism: everywhere is Ukraine! The atavistic need to analogize today's situation to 1938, with Vladimir Putin as Adolf Hitler and war skeptics as Neville Chamberlain at Munich, is proof of this. The lessons of 1914, where a series of tragic blunders turned a regional conflict into a conflagration across Europe, are far more apposite.

The obvious interest for the US is containment of the war as a terrible but internecine (and ongoing) fight between Russians and Ukrainians. Absent what ought to be defunct obligations to nearby NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries, absolutely no US role should be remotely contemplated.

The war chorus, however, is not to be underestimated. It sings loudest from the neoconservative Left.

Outlets like The Bulwark, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Fox News, and MSNBC are all natural habitats for the war promoters seeking to sit on Joe Biden's shoulder and yell in his ear. Will the president, reeling from bad poll numbers and bad economic news at home, succumb to the voices urging escalation and promising the glory to a strong commander in chief?
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Unmask America

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Enough is enough. It is time to stop wearing masks, or at the very least to eliminate mask mandates in all settings. 

This is especially urgent for children in schools and universities, who suffer the effects of masks for long hours each day despite being at exceedingly low risk for death or serious illness from covid.

We have a responsibility, once and for all, to reject the ludicrous, ever-shifting narratives underpinning masks as effective impediments to the spread of covid infections.
Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus 

—former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams in February 2020. 
The story changed from "masks don't work," to "masks may work," to "masks work and you must wear one." Now the narrative switches yet again: "cloth masks don't work, so you should wear a surgical or 'well-fitted' mask," or even wear two!
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How We Will Win

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We enter 2022 with the hope and optimism made possible only by the most clear-eyed assessment of reality. Garet Garett's remarkable words, published in 1938, are right at home in the new year. They are also liberating. There is no going back, no restoration, no "reform"—the America we thought we knew is gone. Tens of millions of Americans now believe both the US federal government and the major institutions in this country—from media to big corporations to universities to Hollywood to Big Pharma and the medical establishment—are actively working against their interests. They have no self-interest in defending a world already lost.
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The Terrible Economic Ignorance behind Covid Tradeoffs: My Speech to the Ron Paul Institute

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Some of you may know the name Alex Berenson, the former New York Times journalist who comes from a left-liberal background. He has been absolutely fearless and tireless on Twitter over the past eighteen months, documenting the overreach and folly of covid policy—and the mixed reality behind official assurances on everything from social distancing to masks to vaccine efficacy. He became a one-man army against the prevailing covid narratives.
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What Biden/Harris Will Do

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Paraphrasing the late Murray Rothbard, the "two party" system in America during the twentieth century worked something like this: Democrats engineered the Great Leaps Forward, and Republicans consolidated the gains. Wilson, Roosevelt, and Johnson were the transformative presidents; Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan offered only rhetoric and weak tea compromises. In politics, being for something always beats being against something, and Republicans were never much against expanding federal power provided they had a place at the trough.
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2021: Welcome to Post-Persuasion America

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I first heard this term used by Steve Bannon, architect of the surprising 2016 Trump campaign, in a PBS Frontline documentary titled "America's Great Divide." Speaking way back in the pre-Covid days of early 2020, Bannon asserted the information age makes us less curious and willing to consider worldviews unlike our own.
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The Absurdity of Covid 'Cases'

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Yesterday's headlines announced Donald and Melania Trump "tested positive" for covid-19. Another claims nineteen thousand Amazon workers "got" covid-19 on the job. Both of these pseudostories are sure to ignite another absurd media frenzy. As always, the story keeps changing: Remember ventilators, flatten the curve, the next two weeks are crucial, etc.?
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