Child or Adult

I always thought the United States was a child of the “Age of Reason.” This intellectual and cultural movement emphasized reason over superstition and science over blind faith in the eighteenth century.  Rational decisions and thoughts are based on logic rather than on emotion. Using our minds in a disciplined and coherent fashion is the way to superior results. Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution with its Bill of rights are examples of this truth. 

Maybe you, too, have found yourself looking at or hearing something and thinking, this argument or action makes no sense. A queasy stomach or a headache may accompany your confusion. Several tummy turners have occurred recently.

Because of vaccine mandates, many people must take shots they don’t want and may not need or lose their jobs. This situation comes at a time when we are experiencing a severe labor shortage. With supply curtailed, inflation is a real problem. The first responders and health workers pushed out of their jobs make us less safe. The theory behind the mandate is to protect the vulnerable.

The mandate people point to the death of the elderly and severely immune-compromised Colin Powell to prove everyone needs to be vaccinated. An unvaccinated carrier infected and killed Powell. The only way we can protect the compromised is to vaccinate everyone.

This theory is nonsense. We know even the vaccinated can carry Covid. The compromised are in the most danger, even though they’re vaccinated. They may be unable to maintain a strong antibody response. This problem was why Gov. DeSantis of Florida blanketed the state with Monoclonal Antibody centers to provide immunity-boosting infusions.

Tackle the situation where it is. Discussing the vaccinated Powell’s death on CBS’s Face the Nation, former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden proposed we infuse those on immune suppressants and with other immune problems prophylactically. I know if I couldn’t preserve enough antibodies, I’d take this option.

Infusions are expensive and professionally administered. Merck’s new drug, Molnupiravir, promises to make a solid response much more accessible. A couple of pills a day cut the risk of hospitalization and death among the severely compromised in half. Unfortunately, the FDA is doing its usual slow walk, so we can’t expect emergency use approval till after the New year. Johns Hopkins Dr. Marty Makary proposed the FDA OK for compassionate use now.  

Right from the start, we’ve known Covid was mainly a danger to the elderly and compromised. If we want to cut deaths, this is where we should concentrate our efforts. Giving their doctors the ability to take direct action to increase low or absent antibodies will save lives. Why can’t we do the more straightforward and practical rather than the problematic and divisive? Putting needed workers out of their jobs, many of which are already immune defies logic. 

Rational thought is an endangered species in the present Administration. Everyone in Washington should know inflation results from too much money chasing too few goods. Yet, we’ve poured an additional $1.9 trillion on top of the trillions appropriated last year. Cash paid to people not working adds to demand while reducing the workforce needed to increase supply.

Not satisfied with the visible inflation already created, the Biden administration wants to pour trillions more on the fire. Even leading democrat economists such as Lary Summers have warned against going down this road. Nothing deters the Biden bunch from the irrational belief wild spending will result in some utopia. This idea has worked precisely nowhere. It defies common sense. Facts, data, and experience are tossed aside in the belief Biden has the proper path. This stand sounds more like a religion.

This religious fever is very evident in the Administration’s “Global Warming policies. Imposing colossal costs on the U.S. economy to reduce the rise in the earth’s temperature may make some sense if there was any possibility it could work. The fact is unless the rest of the world also cuts its emissions, nothing we do here will make any difference.

China alone emits twice what we do and is adding 43 new coal-fired plants this year. China and Russia are building a massive oil pipeline. These actions lead to more, not less, carbon. They alone are adding more than we can reduce. Add the plans of India and Africa, and you realize how little difference our sacrifices will make.

Yoweri K. Museveni, the president of Uganda, openly opposes wind and solar use forced on Africa. With energy needs predicted to surpass Europe, the continent needs cheap reliable energy. He doesn’t see wind and solar in that light. ” Natural gas is a greener option that will help the continent reduce emissions even as it grows, as developed nations have done themselves.”

From day one, the Administration has done everything to discourage oil and gas investment and output. Canceling the Keystone Pipeline and banning leasing on government lands turned our back on energy independence. This action mirrors Europe’s turn away from fossil fuels. Modern economies run on power. Without reasonably priced and reliable sources, we can’t function. 

People have warned us not to rely on intermittent power sources such as wind and solar. Energy guru Robert Bryce told us as much in his 2010 book “Power Hungry.” Europe and now the U.S. is ignoring the warnings. The sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind may not blow. The result is shortages resulting in an orgy of coal burning. It still may not be enough with high prices, leaving many in the cold this winter.

The fracking revolution in the U.S. gave us a lower-emitting reliable fuel source to be a bridge to other reasonably priced reliable fuel sources. Natural gas replaced the much dirtier coal-fired plants. As a result, we lead in cutting emissions. Using the technology abroad could help other nations achieve similar results. 

Theoretical physicist Stevin A. Koonin points out the likely scenario is the global temperature in the industrial age will rise 2 1/2 degrees from the 1800s to the end of the century. Humanity has done very well during the period. We already have increased a degree without harm.

We can’t rely on China and others for meaningful emissions cuts. After our Covid experience, even if we offered dangerous concessions to China, could we trust them? Is it even ethical to curtail reasonably priced energy to poorer countries?

Given the mounting dislocations we are experiencing, pulling back from a headlong rush to unreliable solar and wind and increasing not reducing natural gas production makes more sense. The president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Bjorn Lonberg, suggests we do what we always do and adapt.

Given time, innovation will provide an answer. Nuclear power, fusion, algae, or something else will give us something better. Let the market provide. Dictating to the market is the type of arrogance that got us in the trouble we’re in now. 

I could point to other problems. The border or our schools come to mind. With my stomach already churning and getting a headache, I’ll leave them for another time. 

Using our minds to make rational decisions takes time and effort. Reasoning out the gains and consequences of our choices is much more complex than acting on emotional or religious exuberance. Children operate on emotion and instant gratification. Being an adult is thinking things through.

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