Books and Biden

Reading is our primary way to expand knowledge. However, we all know that not everything is worth reading. As you know from the last post, I read only some excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book. If the grabbers the publisher puts out were worthless, why bother with the book? This applies to the rest of the wave of election time books seemingly coming out every other day. These tell-all books add little to what we need to know for an intelligent decision. Disgruntled family members, former employees, and those suffering other party derangement syndrome come up every four years and then are rightly forgotten. Time is better spent elsewhere.

Recently, I finished two books worth time. The first is Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom. The author of many highly informative books, Ridley, understands how the innovations that changed humanity’s course came about. In most cases, it’s not how you thought. Very entertaining and informative. Ripley challenges how we think about things.

The other book is Alec Berenson’s Unreported Truths about COVID-19 And Lockdowns Part 2. Previously, I had recommended Part 1 of this series of what are really pamphlets. As Ii said then, the former New York Times reporter will reinforce what readers of this blog already know. However, Berenson has some information you may not be aware of. 

I had no idea none of our emergency pandemic plans contained any provision for hard lockdowns. Apparently, when the idea was discussed, it was dismissed as far too disruptive. Berenson walks us through how policy planning that was highly reluctant to impose a hard lockdown did a 180 in March. He explains how, in panic, our policy changed. 

In the calm before the storm, planners can take the time to use a larger canvas to factor in other aspects than just the spread of the disease. As we consider the bigger picture, the less attractive the massive dislocations caused by a lockdown look. Yet, only the narrow group of people dealing directly with disease spread had a real input in the actual March decisions.

It is reasonable for epidemic experts to present their narrow views. They didn’t want to be blamed for not doing enough to prevent deaths. Who was there to offer a broader perspective? The people available to present the economic side, such as the President’s chief economist Larry Kudlow, were constrained by fear of being accused of putting dollars above lives. In fact, this is what happened and closed off broader consideration. Why was there no one to present more general medical concerns? Shouldn’t there be some medical people charged with seeing the bigger picture?

Many institutions have recognized this problem and have people involved with public medical policy. Stanford University’s Hoover Institution is one aware of the value of medical people with a broad perspective. It has people like the senior fellow, Dr. Scott Atlas, to advise decision-makers how specific actions would affect other medical areas. How a decision concerning one specialty might affect areas such as pediatrics, surgery, acute treatments, psychiatric and psychological, just to name a few.

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