Keeping up with the FITs, 12-26
my old essay on moral psych; Zvi on virus testing; Eric Kaufmann and Razib Khan; Scott Sumner on COVID policy errors
I covered a lot of ground in this 2012 essay on moral discourse. I discussed books by Haidt, Kahneman, Manzi, and Schneier.
[Bruce Schneier] says that there are four “societal pressures” that induce cooperation: Moral pressures (internalized desires to cooperate); the value of reputation; institutional and legal incentives; and security systems. He points out that in small groups (think of a band of hunter-gatherers) the pressure from morals and maintaining reputation are often sufficient. Larger societies need institutional and legal incentives. Security systems are in some sense a last resort.
These days, when Schneier applies his framework to blockchain, he ends up a skeptic.
Zvi Mowshowitz is brutal on the way the government is handling COVID testing.
‘The supplies they need’ is not ‘the incentives they need’ nor is it ‘the regulatory permissions they need.’ Supplies are the kind of thing where Capitalism Solves This, if you fix the incentives and permissions. That’s not how these people think, and it shows.
Meanwhile, when testing is overloaded it slows down, because we’re unwilling to prioritize, which means all the tests become useless. You can’t know when to isolate, and you can’t get early interventions.
I also think that we need, and have always needed, rigorous random-sample testing so that we are not flying so blind when it comes to understanding each variant’s transmissibility and severity.
in the kind of liberal sort of secular, multicultural environment, I think that's quite propitious for the growth of these strong, strict religions.
Because our medical ethicists opposed challenge studies, it took far longer than necessary to test the Covid vaccine. Thousands died. Because a bunch of medical experts discouraged Pfizer from filing with the FDA as soon as it was apparent that the vaccine was highly effective, the filing was delayed. Thousands died. Because the FDA took weeks to consider the application, despite the fact that the evidence was overwhelming, another delay took place. Thousands died. Because a bunch of demagogues peddled phony conspiracy theories that the vaccine was risky or less than highly effective, vaccination rates remained disappointingly low. Thousands died.
People have forgotten that while Trump was President some important people on the left were very anti-vax.