Hospitals Run Out Of Room

I don’t know. I really have trouble being upset about this. Our healthcare system is a market system. It’s designed to make money, not to provide a service. Healthcare isn’t provided; it’s sold. The only reason they “provide” emergency services is because they have to in order to receive payments from Medicare (which is why there are private hospitals that don’t accept Medicare).

This is a market driven system. In fact we could make it a better market driven system by requiring everyone who shows up with covid related complications make an advanced payment. If they can’t, then they get turned away. And the hospitals would have plenty of room. This is the system we have and continue to chose.

This is what we want, this is what we get.

Some people, always the sickest amongst us, already know this about our healthcare system because we’ve sought complex care outside of the ER and walked into a pay-up-or-get-out scenario.

I’m numb to this. I’ve accepted that we don’t care enough about each other to provide healthcare services. We’d rather sell them as a for-profit product.

That’s we want.

And it’s what we get.


There is a repeated trope that is sometimes derived from some understanding of neurology that we don’t have free will.

But it’s a twisting of facts.

We do have free will. The truth that’s being twisted is about the form free will take, because it’s often different from the way we imagine it.

We often think if free will as the ability to make a decision in the moment.

What’s true is that we often don’t make a decision in the moment but instead rely on habits we’ve built up over time when determining behavior.

But we can change our habits. The the lie or manipulation is ignoring our ability to alter our habitual reactions. It’s an inherent neuro-cognitive process of the brain that we can evaluate the outcomes of our habitual behaviors and alter them in order to secure better outcomes.

Changing habits can be hard for sure. But it’s not impossible. And it’s the best way to ensure that we are making decisions about our behavior instead of relying on our pre-existing habits unthinkingly.

A sort of logic

Many of the things we believe come down to our assumptions. We might look at someone else and think their beliefs don’t make sense, that they are irrational.

Sometimes true.

But frequently we are missing something. We are missing the set of assumptions they are relying on.

For example, think about climate change.

Then assume that the world is ending. Not that you think it might be ending or could be ending. Assume that you are 100% positive the world will come to an end in the next decade or two.

Not just a generic eschatology either. Assume one of the more common and ostensibly orthodox western evangelical Protestant Christian eschatologies: the world is about to be utterly destroyed by a supreme deity that will then bring into being a new, perfected creation.

Assume that you know for sure that those events are about to play out. Or that they have already begun.

If so, why would climate change matter?

Why would mass extinctions and biodiversity loss matter?

Why would overpopulation and population sustainability matter?

If that assumption is true then none of those things matter.

I know that it is easy to shrug this topic off. Easy to say to ourselves: no one really believes that eschatological stuff.

But they do. Some believe it fervently and it informs their every decision and defines their entire thought process.

Many have a more dynamic thought process influenced by a host of other assumptions. But this end times belief is still one of their foundational assumptions about the world. It still informs and shapes their beliefs and actions. Even if they don’t think about eschatology with any regularity it still has an influence on all their cognitive processes.


This is a map of “races”. The specific grouping here are: Ethiopian, Caucasian, Mongolian, Malaysian, and American. These classifications are nonsense. If you look at the groupings on the map you’ll notice areas where groups with recent common ancestry are grouped separately while others seem to have arbitrarily determined boundaries that ignore the long standing intermingling of the people on both sides of that boundary.

These groupings are not scientific.

It is true that some early anthropologists tried to determine biological realities that could create distinct biological categories. Those attempts did and have ultimately failed.

Instead, influencial figures like Kant & Hume came to define and popularize the biological notion of race. These were NOT scientists. They were European philosophers formulating justifications for European superiority. They did no research. They provided no evidence.

And the 4-5 categories that emerged are still assumed today to be real. Whether it’s European/Caucasian/White or Ethiopian/African or any other variation, the notions survive and continue to define popular ideas of biology.

To begin dismantling the various forms of racism we need to dismantle these systems of thought. You don’t just find these falsehoods showing up in explicit and overt racism.

You’ll literally find terms like “Caucasian” in medical records.

You’ll find populations with known genetic mutations, like the HEXA gene in people Ashkenazi Jewish descent, being the focus of study, while other groups categorized as a different “race” are ignored. This has resulted in these populations suffering from lack of genetic counseling because the issue hasn’t been identified, such as the prevalence of mutations of the HEXA gene in people of Irish descent, which was only recently recognized because of the lack of research resulting from prejudiced attitudes arising from inaccurate concepts of race. Same has shown to be true of the malaria hypothesis.

You’ll find cases like the industrial redlining in the US. Where postbellum policies led to the creation of toxic industrial zones intentional concentrated in the communities of disenfranchised former African slaves and their descendants, a practice that literally continues to this day. So while many medical conditions were tied to “race” in these communities, we have now clearly demonstrated that the environmental impact of the industrial zones is the catalyst, not ancestry. This is even more obvious in areas where different ancestral groups slowing integrated in these industrial zones and the rates of specific medical conditions rose in all ancestral groups. Similar issues apply to notions of “racial” health risks that ignore the environment impact of sun exposure and folate, which applies to any ancestral population with similar skin tones regardless of geographic origin but relative to the location of that population to the equator.

You’ll even find the incredibly disturbing influence that pseudoscientific beliefs about race had on people of African descent in the US throughout the covid pandemic after several groups & individuals made claims (largely online) that people of African ancestry could not catch the SARS-CoV-2 virus

As Nina Jablonski states:

“Race has a hold on history but no longer has a place in science. The sheer instability and potential for misinterpretation render race useless as a scientific concept. Inventing new vocabularies to deal with human diversity and inequity won’t be easy, but it must be done”

This is by far the most difficult task in confronting racism on all levels because we have become so heavily invested in our erroneous conceptions of race and integrated them so deeply into our identities that we’ll end up kicking and screaming to hold onto them.

I would say that the start is to understand that these categories were created and expounded by non-scientists specifically to justify their own sense of inherent superiority; that all attempts to justify distinct biological race categories have failed because the evidence has shown and continues to show that there aren’t any.


I’ve been trying to define the core element of Donald Trump’s socio-political approach.

Many have just been saying “Trumpism” but I’d rather have it derive for one of the components of the approach.

Finally got it.


If you Google it persistence you get this:

noun: persistence

1. firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

This perfectly describes his basic strategy. Make a statement and then repeat, repeat, repeat.

No matter what.

And the sad thing is that as a technique Persistencism works quite well.

It plays off some basic neuro-cognitive mechanisms.

Hearing something from someone you trust makes it seem more believable. And hearing something over and over makes it seem more believable.


Likely a lasting force in American politics for the foreseeable future.


We need to stop using the term: racist.

It’s being misused.

The issue is much broader. It’s a big tent issue.

Plain racism is about ancestry. The belief that those with a specific biological ancestry are superior to those without that ancestry.

There are other terms extrapolated from racism, mostly dealing with historical contexts that have produced some form of lasting inequality.

But the emphasis on ancestry is currently dissolving and pupating into something different. Something more dynamic.

I would use the term: ethnocentrism.

This term can have a few different interpretations as well so here is the specific definition I am using: the attitude that one’s own culture is superior to others.

This is similar to a belief in superiority based on ancestry but with a progressive inclusiveness interwoven. So even though racism may still lurk within the current emergent movement of ethnocentrism, the movement is ultimately evolving past it.

The emphasis in ancestral racism is that something biologically superior has been inherited from parents at birth.

The emergent ethnocentrism emphasizes that something culturally superior has been inherited at birth.

That is why this movement is so much broader. The ancestry of the person is not relevant; they inherit the superiors from the cultural norms and practices of those around them. Or, even more intriguingly, outsiders can inherit that superiority by converting, by adopting the superior culture.

As much as racist views and practices may still permeate some aspects of this movement towards ethnocentrism, the movement is definitely in the process of shedding the racism.

The movement is stronger in its reach because it can recruit more individual without having to birth them.


All this talk about

“Coming Together”

“Finding Common Ground”

“Uniting the Country”

I get it, I understand the motivation for unity. But it’s not happening.

Can we reconcile the view that abortion is acceptable with the view that it’s acceptable under certain circumstances? Sure. At least there is the potential for a compromise.

But we absolutely can not reconcile the view that from the moment of conception forward all abortion is murder with any view that some form of abortion is permissible.

There is no middle ground to be found there, the 2 views exclude the possibility that the other can be accommodated.

We might say “well those are extreme views”. Quite right. And in this country those with extreme views are the most politically motivated and they are more likely to shape the makeup of the government.

Same applies with LBGTQ+ stances.

The people who want to be welcoming but not quite affirming could potentially find some common ground with the people who are affirming. Maybe.

But there are those who believe every issue pertaining LGBTQ+ is purely about personal choices and that all of those choices are inherently wrong and evil. They can never reconcile with the affirming.

There is no middle ground between the LGBTQ+ are evil and the LGBTQ+ should be affirmed camps.

Same with many others.

The views cannot accommodate each other.

Our country has been building to this confrontation for a long, long time. Failing to acknowledge this will prolong the current hostility and escalate the final confrontation.

Nick vs Carrie

There is a distinctive split emerging between American Christians when it comes to COVID-19

The split is apparent on many issues to be sure

But the simplest way to distill it is:

The Carries vs The Nicks

On the one hand you have the Carrie Underwood “Jesus Take the Wheel” response

On the other hand you have the Nick Offerman “Say a Prayer While You Steer Into The Skid” response

I know which response I would have when my car started spinning out on a slick road

Choosing a Heritage

It tells all you need to know that the monuments being defended are of pro-slavery figures rather than those constructed to honor the long legacy of southern aboltionism and individual abolitionists.

Pro-slavery figures and abolitionists are both part of southern heritage.

It’s a choice to honor the pro-slavery figures.

It’s a choice to honor the heritage of slavery instead of abolitionism.

Epistemological Crisis


We are in the midst of an epistemological crisis.

A crisis of what it means to know something

A crisis of what it means to have a justified belief

A crisis of trust that I’m starting to feel will create a permanent divide that cannot be reconciled. And maybe shouldn’t be reconciled.

I’ve seen this crisis building and I imagine you have as well, regardless of your ideological bent. Until now though I’ve been seeing it through a lens of good will.

Because all have our own opinions and interpretations of the world. Our experiences and circumstances influence how we form our beliefs. So it’s natural that our beliefs differ.

No big deal.

And for a long time I’ve believed it was possible to reconcile our differences through dialogue.

Enter the epistemological crisis.

Right now people are revealing that they don’t care to have a justified belief. They’ve revealed that they’re not interested in the foundation of their belief being based on some semblance of objective reality.

Before now I imagined that to be something that only happens on the fringes. But it is not on the fringe. It’s directly in the mainstream of our society.

No better example than those who share memes that contain false information that would be easy to check if the person cared to.

Not only has it become clear that people don’t care to check if the meme they care is true before they share it, if you challenge them to check it after they share it they will refuse.

Because they don’t care if it’s true.

They care that it supports their beliefs to the exclusion of evidence.

The worst part is that it’s just a meme. A picture with a few sentences attached to it. No one should base their beliefs on that:m. No one should trust that as a true and valid source of knowledge.

I’ve come to realize that this is a new development in what it means to lie. Maybe an application of the biblical prohibition on gossip.

Because if you’re going to share information then you are responsible for knowing if it is true. The obligation is on you to verify accuracy.

So sharing falsehood is a malignant lie that spreads more falsehood on a broad scale, resulting in far reaching damage that is much more destructive than an interpersonal lie.

And I’m not talking about people making mistakes or not having all the facts. That’s unavoidable, we all have the potential to make mistakes when we’re not informed by evidence.

The even more perturbing phenomenon is the denial of evidence. Not just denying the evidence presented in an argument, but the denial that evidence even matters at all.

The quintessential example is the moment in a social media post that I’d call the unconfront-able truth, where a person makes a post with a comment to the effect of:

Here’s the proof that I’m right and even if this proof turns out to be false, I’m still right

It’s not that I disagree with people on one subject or another that’s a problem. It’s that we’re approaching a sharp divide on what it means to know something at all.