episode 156: “Liberty or Lockdown” with Jeffrey Tucker
It is hard to overstate the assault on civil liberties we are witnessing in America today.
What began over a year and a half ago as temporary government measures to keep us safe from a virus spread from China, have now metastasized into something much more sinister, spreading to all aspects of societies around the world.
We need to name this thing, understand what’s happening to us, and how to stop this threat to our freedoms.
For some answers, in this episode I talk with Jefferey Tucker, founder of the Brownstone Institute and author of Liberty or Lockdown. Jeffery, a man with a serious message and mission, is a delightful and engaging raconteur who turns policy discussion into a fascinating journey into truth.
This is not an episode to skip. Some highlights from Jeffrey:
“We’ve dealt with pandemics in the past. In the modern age and the 20th century, we did very well intelligently. And suddenly 2020 comes along and we decided to forget everything and pursued this insane experiment in human separation, and mass management of the unmanageable. And the result has been demoralizing, and depressing, and shocking in terms of all things public health. It’s contrary to all of our traditions of law, our belief in equality, and human rights, and freedom.”
The Role of the New York Times
“On February 28, 2020, The New York Times published an op-ed by Donald J. McNeil. The title of the article was, ‘To deal with the coronavirus, go medieval on it.’ He said we need to reject all 20th century principles of public health where we just dealt with the pathogen, in terms of doctor patient relationships, and instead lock everybody down, shut the highways, ground the planes, freeze everybody to suffer in their disease ridden cities as if this is the Middle Ages.”
The Madness of Masks
“It’s just awful to see these children in masks, and mandates, and people screaming at each other, get that mask over your nose, and so on and so on. It’s just all nutty. The things that we’ve done to control this virus that we can’t see, this invisible enemy, it feels mystical, and magical, and superstitious.”
The Vaccine Mandates
“This is serious stuff. This isn’t just get the jab and shut up. People’s lives have been ruined. Academia’s being purged. The military’s being purged. The public sector’s being purged. We’re turning our government into a single party state that seems to bear a lot of the marks of what we’ve come to see in China.”
Why We Have to Push Back
“And I know this, if we do nothing, we will certainly fail, and we’ll lose everything. So I’m happy to do something, whatever it is, to make a difference. And maybe we can save this. It’s worth saving. Civilization is worth saving. Freedom is worth saving. Human rights means something, they built the modern world. We cannot just sit by and do nothing when we see it all unraveling before us.”
This episode is about one of the biggest issues of our day. Please listen in.
episode 156 transcript
Episode 156: Liberty or Lockdown with Jeffrey Tucker
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and thinkers, fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing, interesting people, interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:25):
Welcome to The Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton. Well, what began over a year and a half ago in the United States as a temporary measure to keep us safe from this virus which came in from China, but we couldn’t say that it was coming in from China, so instead, we had a two week lockdown, which is now extended into something much more sinister… and I’d say metastasized is a pretty good word. Where now, we had some limitations on our freedom short-term, now it seems to be spreading to all aspects of our society and around the world. And we need to name this thing and figure out what it is, and know what to do about it, and what it is in terms of our threat to our freedoms. And the man who I think has all the answers, and we were talking about this before, he’s going to tell us our way out of this, is Jeffrey Tucker, who’s the founder and president of a new institute called The Brownstone Institute, which I think has got a fantastic purpose.
Bill Walton (01:27):
Jeffrey’s the author of many thousands of articles, and scholarly papers, and pieces in popular press. And he most recently wrote Liberty or Lockdown, which is going to form the basis of what we talk about today. He’s also the editor of The Best of Mises, and I’ve been hoping to get him on. We had him on via Zoom last year, and I think this is going to be a fascinating followup. So Jeffrey, you founded Brownstone Institute, and you’ve got a unique focus for this, which is different from a lot of think tanks, or action tanks that have been formed for more general purposes.
Jeffrey Tucker (02:03):
Yeah. That’s right. Well, I had a sense in March, I guess it was March 12th, 2020, that the world had become a different place, a darker place, a strange place, unfamiliar place. Where just overnight, government on its own, many governments around the world, and the US in particular, we decided to disregard all human rights and law, and principles of virology, and commercial freedom, religious freedom. It all just went away.
Jeffrey Tucker (02:35):
The freedom to travel, it was all just shut down. I didn’t know I lived in that kind of world, in which government would do something like this. I knew the power was there, it has been there for about 15 years. But the idea that they would actually deploy it was astonishing, and really depressing, and I knew from that moment that our lives were going to be fundamentally changed, and I knew my life would change dramatically. I threw myself into cell biology and history, looking at the pandemic past, a lot of the articles chapters in that book, Liberty Lockdown, discussed how we dealt with pandemics in the past. In the modern age and the 20th century, we did very well intelligently. And suddenly 2020 comes along and we decided to forget everything and pursued this insane experiment in human separation, and mass management of the unmanageable. And the result has been demoralizing, and depressing, and shocking in terms of all things public health.
Bill Walton (03:39):
Well, you organized the great Berichten Declaration.
Jeffrey Tucker (03:41):
Bill Walton (03:42):
Tell me about that.
Jeffrey Tucker (03:44):
Well, that came about on August 5, of 2020.
Bill Walton (03:49):
Jeffrey Tucker (03:50):
That was when it was signed but Martin Kulldorff and I connected with each other, I think, sometime … It must have been July or August.
Bill Walton (03:57):
Jeffrey Tucker (03:57):
He’s the epidemiologist at Harvard, one of the world’s leading statisticians in epidemiology, and really a master. And I saw that he was tweeting against lockdowns and I thought, that’s remarkable, a Harvard professor. So I invited him over to meet and we got together, and he said, Do you know what the real problem is? The problem is that there’s a lot of journalists out there that don’t understand viruses and public health. Let’s have a meeting which we invite journalists and I’ll get three… I’ll be there and Jay Bhattacharya will come, and Sunetra Gupta from London will come, and we’ll educate the journalists and the basic principles so that they can write better stories. It was a really naive thought. We didn’t realize at that point that the entire media was completely captured. I mean, you just presumed that they just had some ignorant reporters and we need some smart reporters.
Jeffrey Tucker (04:50):
One of those reporters who came to that meeting was David Zweig, who turns out to be one of the best writers in the topic, and he writes for the Atlantic, and he’s a good guy. He gets it right, and is involved with Brownstone too. So, it wasn’t entirely a mistake. But the point is, that after that meeting, Kulldorff said to me, we need some kind of statement, an open letter of some sort. And so, over the next, I don’t know 10-12 hours we knocked out… I contributed very minor editorial changes to it but mostly it was a Kulldorff, Sunetra Gupta, Bhattacharya document and they delivered it out there. Now you have three top scientists taking issue with lockdowns asserting the basic principles of viruses and public health. That’s all it did. It was not a radical statement. I was very moderate, and plain but we live in extreme times. If you oppose lockdowns, if you oppose these mandates, you’re called all kinds of names.
Bill Walton (05:55):
Well, let’s establish some predicates here. I believe, and I believe most of the scientists involved with Great Barrington believe this virus is much ado about nothing. And that the survival rate of COVID is over 99%.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:12):
Bill Walton (06:12):
I think it’s 99.5%.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:13):
Bill Walton (06:16):
And people talk about excess mortality, more people dying, there has been no excess mortality.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:22):
Oh, to the extent there has been, it’s mostly been among younger people that are not dying of COVID. So a lot of people have died, but from lockdowns, a lot of lockdown deaths. I think that’s ultimately what it’ll show us.
Bill Walton (06:35):
Well, there’s the price… It’s the it’s the lockdown.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:37):
Bill Walton (06:38):
The cure has been worse than the the disease by far.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:40):
Bill Walton (06:40):
And then there’s been a lot of miss-attribution of death to COVID.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:47):
Bill Walton (06:47):
A lot of incentives to that. So the number of COVID deaths, we believe, are vastly overstated. I believe that.
Jeffrey Tucker (06:53):
But by twice as many at least.
Bill Walton (06:56):
Twice as many. And then, I guess, another thing I wanted to establish is that the average age of death for a so called COVID victim, is they’re older than the standard mortality tables. So the average victim is older than they would have died based on just regular life expectancies.
Jeffrey Tucker (07:18):
Bill Walton (07:20):
And 99.2% of the deaths, at least one at a very severe co-morbidity.
Jeffrey Tucker (07:23):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s right.
Bill Walton (07:27):
This is not the Spanish Flu of 1918.
Jeffrey Tucker (07:30):
Bill Walton (07:34):
You studied this a lot more than I have. I put myself in the amateur epidemiologist category.
Jeffrey Tucker (07:40):
No, I agree with everything you just said. And what’s strange is, this was an alarming discovery over the last 20 months, is that you cannot really trust the data. Whether it’s the PCR test and the number of false positives… There’s an article in New York Times that came out, I think, in July of 2020, showing that over a two week period in Massachusetts, 90% of the PCR positive tests were false positives, so we don’t actually know. And then you’ve got the-\
Bill Walton (08:06):
So the PCR test is the swab?
Jeffrey Tucker (08:09):
Bill Walton (08:09):
Jeffrey Tucker (08:09):
It depends on the cycle rate you turn to.
Bill Walton (08:13):
Jeffrey Tucker (08:15):
So the presence of the virus in your nose does not indicate sickness. So we got really confused over the course of the pandemic, between cases and infections. We used to distinguish really carefully between the case fatality ratio and the infection fatality ratio. Now, we don’t even distinguish between those things. It’s one thing to be carrying around a virus, and another thing to be sick. And we don’t even make that distinction anymore. So that’s just one of the basic principles of infectious disease that was long settled that’s just gone. And so now, we lost the use of the term cases. That doesn’t even make any sense anymore.
Jeffrey Tucker (08:54):
A lot of these charts and graphs you see all the time, it’s actually unclear to what extent they’re reflective of reality. You’ve got problems of the amount of tests that you are doing, whether the tests are accurate, whether the tests are being classified correctly or not. The data is a mess. It’s going to be years before we forget, actually, what happened over the course the last year.
Bill Walton (09:20):
If we’re allowed to figure out what happened.
Jeffrey Tucker (09:22):
Bill Walton (09:22):
That’s the problem. There’s so much blackouts, so many things you’re not allowed to talk about.
Jeffrey Tucker (09:27):
Yeah, I know. I had an article just yesterday blocked by LinkedIn. It was actually… I tried it several times.
Bill Walton (09:34):
That’s a badge of honor.
Jeffrey Tucker (09:34):
Yeah, it was like magic. So you post your article, and then you refresh the page and it’s gone. I thought, Well, that’s strange. I couldn’t sworn I posted it. You post it again, refresh the page, it goes away again. But this is very interesting. So you invite others to try the same thing. Hey, try to post this article, see what happens to you. It’s gone. I haven’t tried to post other versions.
Bill Walton (09:58):
What was the article about?
Jeffrey Tucker (09:59):
That was, The Purge Has Begun. The article on the political-
Bill Walton (10:02):
Which is on your website?
Jeffrey Tucker (10:03):
Bill Walton (10:03):
Let’s establish, you can find everything on the Brownstone website.
Jeffrey Tucker (10:08):
I have no problem putting it out on Twitter, it’s fine. Nobody else is blocking it. But you worry about these tech companies at this point. If LinkedIn will just take down an article, there wasn’t anything particularly sensible about it, what happens next? Is it Facebook? And then comes Twitter. And then comes the third party providers, am I going to be able to use MailChimp to send this out to our subscribers, then is my web hosting service going to be leaned on. They can come after you these days. That’s the power of the tech companies. And what’s strange is, they’re ideologically committed to this COVID panic. They’re committed to the lockdowns, and political in a very strange way, Bill.
Jeffrey Tucker (10:53):
Someday, you and I will have to try to figure out what happened to the tech sector that used to be, more or less, could have had a libertarian ethos to it, and how something happened over the past-
Bill Walton (11:02):
Well, the original idea with the internet, we were all excited, was, Gee, we’re going to have total freedom of speech, let all voices be heard, the marketplace of ideas, we’ll sort it out, and we’ll have a libertarian Nirvana.
Jeffrey Tucker (11:18):
That’s right. I believe all that. I not only believed it, I wrote it.
Bill Walton (11:21):
Matter of fact, I was you that made be believe that.
Jeffrey Tucker (11:26):
I know. Mea culpa. Oh my goodness. Murray used to warn me about this.
Bill Walton (11:33):
Is that Charles Murray?
Jeffrey Tucker (11:34):
No, this is Murray Rothbard.
Bill Walton (11:35):
Murray Rothbard, okay.
Jeffrey Tucker (11:36):
Yeah, before he died, because he saw me as just like a ridiculous, hopeless optimist. And he said, Do you know, there’s so many aspects of you. You remind me of those late-19th century liberals like Mark Twain, who was a great guy … But, many of these people. He said, They’re all a little bit wig-ish. They believe that humanity had this infinite capacity to learn from its mistakes. And that now that we’ve discovered the key to peace and prosperity, we’ll never go back to the old world. He said, and they got relaxed, and they got deterministic in their outlook, and they stopped fighting for freedom and rights, and just hope that history would somehow magically unfold in our favor. Then World War I happened, the worst calamity that humanity had basically ever seen on a global basis.
Bill Walton (12:30):
People don’t understand how bad World War I really was.
Jeffrey Tucker (12:33):
World War I was… Murray told me, he said, An attitude of inevitability is very dangerous.
Bill Walton (12:42):
Well, I want to go down that rabbit hole with you, but maybe not right now. What we want to establish though is that we don’t believe that the disease is… The lethality and all the things associated with it, have been vastly overstated.
Jeffrey Tucker (13:00):
Oh, sure. But they had to be.
Bill Walton (13:01):
And then the cures, the lockdowns, the masks, the social distancing, there’s no evidence that any of that works.
Jeffrey Tucker (13:08):
Bill Walton (13:09):
And then, 18 months ago, you could say, well, gee, maybe just to be safe, we ought to keep people from interacting with each other.
Jeffrey Tucker (13:15):
Bill Walton (13:15):
But now we’ve got a South Dakota versus North Dakota comparison where, I guess, in the case of one they locked down, and the other they didn’t at all, and the disease rates were the same.
Jeffrey Tucker (13:29):
Yeah, that’s true all over the world. I mean, you can’t come up with a single empirical example, anywhere.
Bill Walton (13:34):
And you’ve written extensively about, this is not just a United States phenomenon, but this is sort of maybe the English speaking world or all the West… I mean, everybody seems to be… Australia, New Zealand, all these countries seem to be more draconian about the lockdowns and the preventative measures.
Jeffrey Tucker (13:54):
Yes, there but for the grace go, us really… But for the grace of God, go us. Because, I look at the Australia situation, these are civilized people, highly educated, with the traditional liberty, and a love of liberty, and they have turned themselves into a totalitarian police state. There are aspects of the US that have become like that, but I think we missed the worst part of it.
Jeffrey Tucker (14:16):
What’s also strange right now, Bill, is that it depends on where you are. I mean, if you’re in Florida right now, life feels more or less normal from everything that I can tell. But in the northeast of the United States today, everybody’s still in this constant disease, panic, plexiglass hung between every shopkeeper and customer, and people walking around in masks. And Karen’s are still patrolling the grocery store aisles to make sure you’re walking in the right direction. I mean, it’s just crazy. Many schools still shut, kids all messed up. And the airport today… It’s just awful to see these children in masks, and mandates, and people screaming at each other, get that mask over your nose, and so on and so on. It’s just all nutty. The things that we’ve done to control this virus that we can’t see, this invisible enemy, it feels mystical, and magical, and superstitious. It’s like we had believed that there was something we could do to control this pathogen. We’ve never attempted anything like this before. And it didn’t work, obviously.
Bill Walton (15:24):
You’re watching the Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Jeffrey Tucker, founder of a terrific new group, the Brownstone Institute. And we’re talking about… What are we talking about Jeffrey? The insanity of all the measures we’ve taken to protect ourself against something that looks an awful lot like not that big a deal.
Jeffrey Tucker (15:45):
Bill Walton (15:46):
So what’s the theme of your piece that you just wrote? And what is Brownstone want to do to help shape debate?
Jeffrey Tucker (15:50):
Brownstone wants to be in a position to respond on a daily basis to the unfolding of events, and explain them in light of their previous experience, and try to carve out a narrative so we can understand the chaos of our times. This was one of the keys here is that there’s so much changing, so fast, and we get so used to the despotisms of last week that the despotisms of this week, they may shock us, but then there’s going to be another ramp up next week. And it’s happened slow enough so we’ve gotten used to it, but fast enough so that we can’t really process it intellectually, or morally, or spiritually. So that’s really what Brownstone’s trying to do, provide the kind of research and the narrative history of our times so that we can understand the way the all these things are linked, and to not acquiesce to the idea this is normal. This is not normal. And it’s wrong.
Jeffrey Tucker (16:45):
It’s contrary to public health. It’s contrary to all of our traditions of law, our belief in equality, and human rights, and freedom. And we need to see this. These days, the very word freedom has come to be used by these public health officials as if it’s some sort of slur term. Don’t tell me about your freedom. I think Fauci even said something like that. So this cannot stand. It cannot stand. There has to be some voice of opposition. And somebody with precision, and knowledge, and focus, and that’s what Brownstone is about, with a larger vision, which I would call a traditional classical liberal vision.
Bill Walton (17:26):
Who are affiliated with you now? Who are the people writing on this? And who are making common cause?
Jeffrey Tucker (17:32):
Well, I’ve worked very closely in the founding of this thing with Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, and Martin Kulldorff Harvard, and Don Boudreaux of George Mason University, and George Gilder. So the five of us really where the… Sunetra Gupta of Oxford wanted to be involved, but she had been so rattled… A quiet life of a scientist and a theoretical epidemiologist, and sometimes novelist, threw ourselves into this battle of the great brains I created. She was horrified by what was unfolding. And then she found herself pilloried within the British press. And her life really just shattered and she just could hardly stand it. So she was really in favor of the founding of Brownstone but she said, I just, in my interest of psychological sanity and stability, need to kind of withdraw from public life for a little bit. So she dips into… It’s brutal the way she was treated.
Bill Walton (18:37):
This all seems to be theological. We’ve got the governor… You quoted her in your article, her tweet, she tells us, in the case of the vaccine, the vaccine is from God to us.
Jeffrey Tucker (18:55):
Right. And so, you’re a sinner if you don’t take it.
Bill Walton (18:58):
And we must say, thank you God for this vaccine. And we owe this to God, and I need you to be my apostles.
Jeffrey Tucker (19:04):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So this didn’t surprise me.
Bill Walton (19:06):
This is crazy stuff.
Jeffrey Tucker (19:08):
It’s crazy stuff but it didn’t surprise me, and I’ll tell you why. On February 28, 2020, The New York Times published an op-ed by Donald J. McNeil, who was then their leading virus reporter. And what he said… The title of the article was, ‘To deal with the coronavirus, go medieval on it.’ He said we need to reject all 20th century principles of public health where we just dealt with the pathogen, in terms of doctor patient relationships, and instead lock everybody down, shut the highways, ground the planes, freeze everybody to suffer in their disease ridden cities as if this is the Middle Ages. This is his article. This is what he wrote. Well, that’s what we did. We just reversed 500 years of history. That was an astonishing piece. A wild-
Bill Walton (20:00):
By what authority did he write that? Was this a so-called scientist? What was his-
Jeffrey Tucker (20:07):
He writes for the New York Times. What other authority do you need? He was their virus reporter. No, he has a degree in rhetoric from Berkeley.
Bill Walton (20:16):
See, there we go. Obviously, he did very well because look at the result.
Jeffrey Tucker (20:23):
He’s very talented, very talented guy, but wow. Later fired, but I’m sure you know that saga.
Bill Walton (20:29):
Jeffrey Tucker (20:29):
But look, we went medieval. And so, of course then, we started with the segregation, and stigmatization of the sick, and the creation of a new feudalism where you’re essential, unessential, depending on what the lords and the manor had to say. We created a wild privilege for the professional class to stay away from the disease while the working class deliver them groceries. And the New York Times advised everybody to this effect. Stay home and have your groceries delivered to you. That’s interesting advice. You notice their advice is not, deliver groceries. They know who the readers of the New York Times are.
Bill Walton (21:10):
Well, the New York Times don’t deliver… They’re not driving vans.
Jeffrey Tucker (21:15):
That’s right. That’s right. And then you have the de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo … the now disgraced Andrew Cuomo … blaming the Orthodox Jewish communities for continuing on with their funerals, and their weddings, and their normal life. Imaging that, singling out the Jews for spreading disease. Yeah, you want to go medieval, let’s.
Bill Walton (21:38):
Here we go. Yeah.
Jeffrey Tucker (21:40):
So the fact that we now have this theological overlay to the vaccine, basically with the governor of New York presenting the vaccine as a kind of sacramental, doesn’t surprise me. It all goes with the territory. It’s a pre-modern, brutal, anti-scientific approach, and done in the name of science, of all things.
Bill Walton (22:05):
Well, how do we get people to think differently about this? That’s the job of Brownstone. You’re really making the case for freedom and-
Jeffrey Tucker (22:16):
Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, I like what happened in 1957 or ’58, and ’68 and ’69, or for that matter, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 1929, 1942, 1943-
Bill Walton (22:31):
Wait, wait, wait.
Jeffrey Tucker (22:32):
Bill Walton (22:32):
What happened then?
Jeffrey Tucker (22:33):
They were all pandemics. There were viruses loose.
Bill Walton (22:36):
Jeffrey Tucker (22:37):
Sorry. We treated them as sickness.
Bill Walton (22:40):
Jeffrey Tucker (22:40):
As something that we seek therapies for. The therapeutic side of COVID had been completely neglected. We need a massive rejection of this entire lockdown, mandate course of top down strategies. And it has to happen through education. One of the most exciting moments for me is, when I decided to found Brownstone, I got, just two days later, a manuscript in the mail from Gigi Foster from Australia, and Paul Phigers from the UK, and then Michael Baker, also from Sydney. They sent me a manuscript. It’s called the Great COVID Panic. I thought, wow. I started reading it. I guess I opened it up at 7:00 PM. I knew that I was going to miss a night’s sleep. And sure enough, I did. It took me 12 hours but I got through the entire book. And I was so excited. I wrote them. I said, Now I know why Brownstone has to exist.
Bill Walton (23:34):
And you published that book?
Jeffrey Tucker (23:35):
I published it. It’s out.
Bill Walton (23:36):
Where can we get it?
Jeffrey Tucker (23:37):
You can buy it on Amazon as long as they don’t censor it. We’ll see. But, you can get it on there.
Bill Walton (23:43):
What’s the theme of the book?
Jeffrey Tucker (23:44):
The theme is that this is… Well, the cover’s group psychology, and the hysteria, and the mass psychology. It has a whole chapter on virology.
Bill Walton (23:51):
Jeffrey Tucker (23:52):
It goes through all the data, the lockdown theory where it came from and why didn’t work. And yeah, it covers psychology and political reforms that we need. We need to lockdown our governments, not lockdown societies. They cover everything from the beginning… It’s 450 pages and the book is great. But what’s also wonderful is, they create fictional characters of the various ways that people have responded to these viruses. There’s Jasmine, and then there’s James, and then there’s the Karens. I forget what they gave her name. But it’s great because they try to fairly present the frenzy out there. So it’s good. It’s a wonderful book. And the readers absolutely love it.
Jeffrey Tucker (24:35):
Anyway, they gave me the most strict deadline, Bill, you could possibly imagine. These authors were hot to get this thing out. I couldn’t believe I committed, on contract, to a five week publication schedule. Five weeks. My friends told me, you’re insane. Well, we got it done. We got it proofread, we got it typeset, we got it designed, we got a fully indexed, got it out, and got it Kindle-ized.
Bill Walton (25:00):
So I think we’ve established you don’t sleep?
Jeffrey Tucker (25:03):
Well, let me tell you something. That book has sold so well and I’m so happy. The reviews are just outrageous, chic. Imagine, she’s a professor of economics in Sydney so she’s ferocious, Gigi Foster. She’s just fantastic. She loves going on television, and promoting this stuff, and taking on all the scientific establishment in Australia. She’s just great. So I’m just so grateful for her presence Brownstone. So she’s working with us very closely too. This book, I think it’s just magic. The work of Alex Berenson’s very important.
Bill Walton (25:37):
Alex Berenson, what, the former New York Time’s reporter? He’s written a lot of monographs of-
Jeffrey Tucker (25:38):
Yeah, he’s been great from the beginning about the-
Bill Walton (25:41):
Jeffrey Tucker (25:42):
And he’s been wonderful on Amazon. He’s been banned by Twitter, but now has his own sub-sub stack. We’re all finding workarounds. We’re all finding ways to reach the public and it’s growing. His Twitter impressions are in the hundreds of millions, at least they were before they banned him. That’s good.
Bill Walton (25:57):
Well, we’ve only had two shows pulled from YouTube. But we’re getting there with this one. We’re on the edge. I was doing some research for this and I came across 30 facts you need to know about COVID. And we talked about it. You think it’s credible.
Jeffrey Tucker (26:13):
I love this article because it has so many links to so many things. I love putting things like this together.
Bill Walton (26:17):
And you’ve written a lot about the-\
Jeffrey Tucker (26:19):
Bill Walton (26:20):
Here’s one thing I want to… You mention all these dates. And look at this chart. The title of this is, ‘The flu has completely disappeared this year.’
Jeffrey Tucker (26:35):
Bill Walton (26:36):
And so, what we’re seeing here, and I guess Kenny will try to get a graphic of this is that, each year you get a spike in the flu. Seasonal goes down seasonal, seasonal goes like this. This year, there has been no spike. And that’s because, I believe, that everything that used to be called the flu is now being called COVID.
Jeffrey Tucker (26:53):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It could be mis-classification.
Bill Walton (26:56):
Jeffrey Tucker (26:57):
But there is such a thing as virus crowding out, that one particularly severe, virus comes along and crowds out the others that are less severe. That could also be a factor, or it could be a combination of all those things.
Bill Walton (27:09):
Jeffrey Tucker (27:09):
Bill Walton (27:09):
Okay, but nevertheless, in terms of excess deaths, we’re not seeing them because what used to be a flu is now something else.
Jeffrey Tucker (27:16):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s right. But you’re seeing an increase in cancer, of course, because the screenings were all missed.
Bill Walton (27:26):
Do you know Jim Agresti? He does Just Facts.
Jeffrey Tucker (27:28):
Bill Walton (27:28):
He did a great piece. He’s been following this. He talks about the number of excess deaths, not from the COVID, but from all the lockdowns, the deferred medical treatment, to alcoholism, depression, the whole wearables.
Jeffrey Tucker (27:43):
Just of horrible. Yeah.
Bill Walton (27:43):
I think he estimates it could be 10 to 100 times higher than the COVID. So the price we’re paying is, and the psychological price and our freedoms, is extraordinary.
Jeffrey Tucker (27:56):
The public health price, that’s what’s amazing to me. All this is done in the name of health, in the name of public health, and look at what we’ve done to ourselves. It’s just catastrophic. And the other thing that drives me crazy, and it’s a major reason why I founded Brownstone, I’m tired of the silence on this subject. I mean, this article you’re telling me about right now, this is a wonderful piece. In order to-
Bill Walton (28:18):
I found it on Zero Hedge.
Jeffrey Tucker (28:19):
Yeah, yeah. Right.
Bill Walton (28:20):
Jeffrey Tucker (28:21):
But if you try to click to the original version of it, through Twitter, they’ll warn you not to go there. They were like, this is a dangerous link. This could have spam, it could have malware, it might infect your computer, what they mean is infect your mind. You have to click past the Twitter warning to get to that article. This is how bad the censorship’s gotten. It’s going to get worse.
Jeffrey Tucker (28:43):
YouTube just announced they’re going to start taking down everything that questions even vaccine efficacy. Now that is a remarkable thing, because these are matters of science. This isn’t a matter of political doctrine. This is a matter of scientific questions. The scientists need to be free to examine whether, and to what extent, these vaccines are working. But yeah, YouTube’s going to be taking down anything. They’re going to remove millions of videos.
Jeffrey Tucker (29:11):
So we are living in very strange times. I think we were talking before the show it’s like you take every dystopian movie you’ve ever seen, the Matrix, Equilibrium, The Hunger Games, 1984, roll them into one-
Bill Walton (29:27):
My favorite’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers where you wake up the next day and the person you’re with is completely brainwashed … or you think brainwashed … and they think things that just couldn’t possibly be true.
Jeffrey Tucker (29:41):
Couldn’t possibly be true. But you know what, it speaks to something else interesting, Bill, and I wonder if you’ve thought about this yourself as a kind of a broadcaster and a publisher yourself … A man of ideas … I never thought of myself as a writer as having a therapeutic kind of benefit for people. I always thought I was maybe a bit of an educator or maybe something of an entertainer, an elucidate or of the world, bringing the certain sort of aha moments, or enlightenment. But what people have told me over the last 20 months of my writing on this stuff is that, my work has been really valuable for them psychologically, it’s helped them think they are not crazy.
Bill Walton (30:22):
You’re watching the Bill Walton Show. I’m here with the brilliant Jeffrey Tucker, founder of Brownstone Institute. And we’re talking, and he made a point that I think is absolutely worth repeating, what Jeffrey’s doing is, he’s really providing an island of sanity, and I believe, a miasma of insanity. And you can read Jeffrey’s work, and go on the website, and look what Brownstone’s doing, and you can say, well, no I’m not alone in how I feel about this. I think that’s an incredible service. But you are also entertaining from time to time. Keep it up. Don’t get too therapeutic.
Jeffrey Tucker (30:59):
I haven’t entirely lost all joy of life, but I’ve lost a lot. It’s not all gone.
Bill Walton (31:09):
Let’s do masks. You had a great quip on masks. I said masks don’t work. And you said?
Jeffrey Tucker (31:15):
I said that they work perfectly. They distinguish between the saints and the sinners. They signal compliance. That’s what it’s all about. It’s silliness. I don’t believe that people really think these things are protecting you from a virus. And we know that they don’t. All science shows that this- There’s not a single shred of evidence is mask have done anything to control virus spread. And yet we still rally around them and still repeat the same incantation, masks work.
Jeffrey Tucker (31:45):
The New England Journal of Medicine, I think back in March of 2020, called the mask a talisman. Which is just a pure symbol, a thing we do to make us feel as if we’re doing some… A little bit like recycling, we’re saving the planet by separating-
Bill Walton (32:02):
And recycling doesn’t really work.
Jeffrey Tucker (32:04):
Bill Walton (32:07):
Your recent piece, though, we get into political connections, and those seem to be real.
Jeffrey Tucker (32:15):
Yeah. We should talk a little bit about this.
Bill Walton (32:17):
Let’s talk about it.
Jeffrey Tucker (32:18):
This is getting serious. This really began this summer, when once the vaccine came out… And by the way, there are many people in my realm, the anti-lockdown-ers who thought, thank God for the vaccine. Finally, we can get past this panic, everybody will get the vaccine, and we’ll be able to open up society again, go back to normal, and people’s lives can be put back together. So this vaccine is going to fix everything. That didn’t happen, because the vaccine was wildly oversold. Fauci, Wolenski, even the vaccine companies themselves, promoted this thing as a traditional vaccine, like a polio vaccine or smallpox vaccine, that it would block infection and stop spread. It does neither. And in fact, serious people in this realm said, it would never have the promise of doing that at all. And it doesn’t do it.
Jeffrey Tucker (33:01):
Many people listening right now who know people who have got the vaccine, or triple vaccinated, quadruple vaccinated, they’re still getting COVID.
Bill Walton (33:07):
Well, decades were spent trying to develop a vaccine for the exact virus that we’re talking about here. And they failed.
Jeffrey Tucker (33:14):
Bill Walton (33:14):
And now all of a sudden, magically, they go behind the curtain and come out, Well, now we have a vaccine that works.
Jeffrey Tucker (33:21):
So the problem was… First of all, it was all funded by government. They were exempt from all liability, which is actually not entirely unusual with vaccines, but they had a strong incentive to come up with something. And then they wanted emergency use authorization, right. So then they had every incentive to game the data pools, and exaggerate the effectiveness. So suddenly, we heard, Oh, 94% effective.
Bill Walton (33:43):
And the pharmaceutical companies bear no liability for this virus.
Jeffrey Tucker (33:47):
No, no. I think that’s odd.
Bill Walton (33:51):
Jeffrey Tucker (33:52):
I think it’s odd. You mean, not for the virus, but for the side effects of the vaccine?
Bill Walton (33:55):
Not for the virus, for the vaccine. Yeah.
Jeffrey Tucker (33:58):
It was wildly oversold and it’s underperformed. Now, we think that it’s likely true that it does mitigate some severe effects from COVID from people who otherwise might have been hospitalized or died. And as best anybody can tell, maybe it can buy an extra six months for people who otherwise have died. Maybe. We don’t know that.
Bill Walton (34:22):
Well, the companies themselves claim only that it alleviates symptoms. I don’t think they say prevents anything.
Jeffrey Tucker (34:30):
Bill Walton (34:31):
Even though they’re shielded from liability, they’re still not making the big claim.
Jeffrey Tucker (34:35):
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. So you have to read them very carefully. And apparently under the Emergency Use Authorization, I had a friend of mine tell me this last night, because I never read those things, but he said that they were actually downplaying the effectiveness of the vaccine, even under the Emergency Use Authorization.
Bill Walton (34:53):
So let’s stay with the political thread that we’re seeing here.
Jeffrey Tucker (34:55):
Yeah. Sorry. My point is this-
Bill Walton (34:58):
Because this is about something… I don’t know this. This is so much bigger than just a vaccine.
Jeffrey Tucker (35:02):
Yeah, this is really important. So what happened, as best I can tell, sometime in the summer, the New York Times discovered a new way to think about vaccine compliance. If you look at the red states, they’re not as vaccinated as the blue states. Now, the Biden administration starts listening at this point. That’s interesting. Every regime wants to know, what do you really believe? So we have a problem this country, we have like secret ballots so you can’t know for sure who’s supporting Trump or who’s supporting, who’s loyal, who’s not, who’s an enemy of the state? How do you know?
Jeffrey Tucker (35:40):
So you’d like to have some means to find out. Well, the Biden Administration … This is my theory … This is great. We’ve got a perfect solution to figure out who’s loyal to us and who’s the enemy? Who are the MAGA people out there? Who are the secret Trump supporters? Who are the bad guys, the deplorables? And who loves this enlightened new totalitarians? Who’s our fan? So they use the vaccine compliance as a proxy. Now, it’s an imperfect one. But what’s telling is that this correlation between say, Trump support and vaccine hesitancy as they call it, it does appear on a state-by-state basis, but not on a county-by-county basis.
Jeffrey Tucker (36:28):
So the by administration really… But the Biden administration has a problem with federalism. Am I going too fast here?
Bill Walton (36:33):
Jeffrey Tucker (36:34):
The problem is that, under our system of government, the states have-
Bill Walton (36:38):
We’ll come back later and subtitle this so we can-
Jeffrey Tucker (36:41):
Yeah, right. Okay. Under federalism, the states have certain rights of self governments. They can have certain things like… DeSantis, getting rid of mask mandates and so on, or getting rid of vaccine mandates. So Biden administration needed some way to go after these political enemies. So that was the purpose of the vaccine mandates was to ferret out the bad guys. And it’s brilliant. Because what it means is that all his political enemies, the people that they think are most likely to oppose them, are now being fired from their jobs, in the healthcare system, in transportation sector, in academia. And if it goes through, under the OSHA rules, in every single company with more than 100 employees, they can feel pretty sure that if they can make sure that the vaccine refuse-necks are fired, more than likely they will have bankrupted their political enemies. If you want to understand this, you really have to read Machiavelli. This, I think, is brutal politics, not about public health. It’s not about saving lives. This is about targeting their political enemies and punishing them.
Bill Walton (37:59):
Well, and they just snuck a provision into Nancy Pelosi’s reconciliation bill that puts real financial hurt through OSHA.
Jeffrey Tucker (38:10):
Bill Walton (38:10):
For companies that don’t comply. I mean, it’s like what $700,000 now.
Jeffrey Tucker (38:15):
Bill Walton (38:15):
Almost nobody can afford that.
Jeffrey Tucker (38:16):
Yeah. It’s wrong.
Bill Walton (38:17):
But that’s the thing that’s so troubling, Jeffery, is that this seems to be pervasive. I mean, who was it in the house that went in the dead of night at two in the morning and said, Well, let’s taken page 63 and we’re going to add this provision in here, and then that’s going to help us with this vaccine.
Jeffrey Tucker (38:33):
Well, yeah. The OSHA… There’s nobody… The Wall Street Journal ran an article the other day saying, this is ridiculous. OSHA’s constitution allows that to enforce vaccine mandates. It’s preposterous. But the Biden administration was desperate to figure out some way to punish their political enemies, and particularly the governors.
Bill Walton (38:52):
But isn’t there another fact, though, that the black community is the backs-
Jeffrey Tucker (38:57):
Sure. But that doesn’t show up in state level data. Right?
Bill Walton (39:00):
Jeffrey Tucker (39:00):
You can see that we break it down-
Bill Walton (39:02):
If you look at Cook County, Illinois, it doesn’t show up. Okay.
Jeffrey Tucker (39:06):
Yeah. It’s actually disproportionately… The people that we tend to associate with support of the Democratic Party, who are the most resistant to the vaccines, on a demographic basis. But on a state-by-state basis, there’s some superficial plausibility to the red state, blue state data. So that’s what they’re banking on. This is an attack on Biden’s political enemies, on the regimes enemies at the state level. That’s what’s really going on here.
Jeffrey Tucker (39:34):
And the victims are all over the place. And they’re disproportionately, of course, disproportionately African American and Asian, and working class. But do you see any concern for them? Absolutely not. 600 employees were just fired from United Airlines. Now, you might say… And I worry sometimes about this, some people are just like, just get the jab and shut up. Well, the problem with the universal mandate here is it just stands in complete denial of all science that we’ve learned. It’s funny, I was going to say over 100 years, but actually George Washington knew all about inoculation. And people back in the Revolutionary War where anybody died of smallpox, they scrape off their scabs and send them by courier to their family members so they can inoculate themselves.
Jeffrey Tucker (40:24):
We’ve known about natural immunities, now. That’s what the basis of inoculation… We’ve known about it. I said to Martin Kulldorff, I said, we’ve known about national immunity for 100 years. Oh, take that back, 300 years. And he said, Now, we’ve known about natural immunity since the fifth century BC. And now this year, suddenly were denying it. So people who have had COVID don’t need or want the vaccine, they shouldn’t be forced to get it. That’s preposterous.
Bill Walton (40:54):
Yeah, we had Todd Zywicki on, he was fighting with George Mason.
Jeffrey Tucker (40:58):
Bill Walton (40:58):
They had their vaccine mandate. He had COVID, he had natural immunity. He had himself tested. The numbers were off the charts in terms of how do measure that? And they still said, Well… Now, they settled with him, and they didn’t require it for him, but they still have the mandate for everybody else.
Jeffrey Tucker (41:13):
I don’t know what it is. That was a great lawsuit but tragic, in a sense. Because George Mason withdraws its policies and it doesn’t protect other professors. And I’m very aware of many professors, many of very sad people, they don’t want to go public, are losing their jobs. They’re being pushed out of the jobs, and they’re just demoralized, and they’re walking away from the profession. This is another great way to purge the academia bill.
Jeffrey Tucker (41:35):
So it’s not just about purging politics, it’s about purging all of our institutions, including the military, and even the Department of Homeland Security. I had a note that came in last night from a very high ranking official, 18-year public employee of the Department of Homeland Security, very high, wrote me on his government email address, and said, I don’t want this crazy vaccine but they’re going to force me into retirement.
Bill Walton (41:59):
I think you’re saying something very radical.
Jeffrey Tucker (42:02):
Yeah. We have to face it.
Bill Walton (42:04):
And it sounds true.
Jeffrey Tucker (42:05):
It’s a purge at all levels the society, the military. I get so sad, this young woman wrote me she’s… I guess, lost her training school, or something like that. I had one more class to take. She had had COVID. She took the flu vaccine five years ago and had a really bad reaction against it. The doctor said, you don’t need any vaccines, anything like this again, never take that risk again. So she’s terrified of it. Again, with this mandate, even to enroll in this next class, she has to have the vaccine. She’s not being allowed to enroll, which means she can’t graduate. And now she gets kicked out, she’ll be dishonorably discharged, and she’s going to be saddled with about $150-$200,000 worth of student loan debt and have no job.
Jeffrey Tucker (42:51):
So this is what we’re dealing with. This is serious stuff. This isn’t just get the jab and shut up. People’s lives have been ruined. Academia’s being purged. The military’s being purged. The public sector’s being purged. We’re turning our government into a single party state that seems to bear a lot of the marks of what we’ve come to see in China. It’s very scary.
Bill Walton (43:19):
China, I think we’re going to have to have a part two because they’re are eerie similarities. We need to close. Let’s talk about where you want to go with Brownstone. How can we help?
Jeffrey Tucker (43:33):
Well, it’s new. We’re still getting our footing but things have gone so well. Our traffic is through the roof. I’m so pleased. I attribute that to the message, and to the mission, and to the vision, and just to the research. it’s just so needed right now.
Jeffrey Tucker (43:48):
I think Brownstone is going to have to take on some of these people that are being purged. Particularly out of the scientific field, and academia. We’ve got brilliant historians, economists, epidemiologists, researchers, at all levels, who are being tossed out or pressured, tenure or not. And I want to be able to give them a place to publish and a way for them to continue the research. This is what we have to do. We can sit by and watch our civilization collapse and see all the dissidents purged, see the people who love freedom, kicked out of the drivers, and starve, and say, Oh, I don’t care. We could say that, but that’s not our job. We’re here for a reason. We have to act. And now is the time.
Jeffrey Tucker (44:48):
It’s no longer the case, this is not a parlor game anymore. This is not about debating societies. It’s not about conferences, and friendships, and factions, and all these things. This is civilization sweeping to destruction. And the sooner we recognize that, the better off we’ll be. And then, we have to act with moral courage to do something about it. And you can always ask the question that people do, but will it work? And I don’t know. But it’s all we can do.
Jeffrey Tucker (45:24):
And I know this, if we do nothing, we will certainly fail, and we’ll lose everything. So I’m happy to do something, whatever it is, to make a difference. And maybe we can save this. It’s worth saving. Civilization is worth saving. Freedom is worth saving. Human rights means something, they built the modern world. We cannot just sit by and do nothing when we see it all unraveling before us. We cannot do it.
Bill Walton (46:00):
Jeffrey Tucker, Brownstone Institute. We’re with you.
Jeffrey Tucker (46:06):
Bill Walton (46:08):
You can find Jeffrey and Brownstone Institute on the… I guess your URL is-
Jeffrey Tucker (46:13):
Bill Walton (46:14):
Jeffrey Tucker (46:15):
Bill Walton (46:15):
Okay, Brownstone.org. We’ve got that. And please get in touch with Jeffrey. He’s doing something that’s very important, and I hope we’ll all support his cause and our cause. You’ve been watching and listening to The Bill Walton Show. We’re found on all the major podcast platforms. And we’re also streaming live on CPAC Now on Monday nights. And we hope you join us for our next conversation. I’m sure we’ll have Jeffrey back to dig deeper into some of the things that we’ve opened up today. So anyway, thanks for listening.
Bill Walton (46:48):
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button, or head over to the BillWaltonShow.com to choose from over 100 episodes. You can also learn more about our guest on our interesting people page. And send us your comments. We read every one and your thoughts help us guide this show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
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