Robert Alan Goldberg on American Conspiracy Theories

Historian Robert Alan Goldberg discusses the history of conspiracy thinking in the U.S. and explains how “new” conspiracy theories such as that involving QAnon recycle and embellish old themes. This is the Self in Society Podcast #20. This episode also is available on iTunes.

Buy Goldberg’s book, Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America (paid link), via Amazon.

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Timothy Sandefur on Frederick Douglass

Timothy Sandefur, author of Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man, discusses Douglass’s life, political philosophy, and influence in his day and up to the present. This is the Self in Society Podcast #19. This episode also is available via iTunes.

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Buy Sandefur’s book, Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man (paid link), at Amazon.

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Michael Donnelly on Homeschooling and the Law

Michael Donnelly, Senior Counsel and Director of Global Outreach with the Home School Legal Defense Association, discusses the motivations for homeschooling and the legal aspects of it, with a special focus on Colorado. This is the Self in Society Podcast #18. The episode also is available via iTunes.

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Mark Silverstein on Your Rights when Interacting with Police

Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado, discusses your rights when interacting with police, troubling police actions during protests, and Colorado police reforms. This is the Self in Society Podcast #16.

Listen to the episode via iTunes or YouTube (audio only).

Read my article based in part on my discussion with Silverstein, “Police interactions come with rights, responsibilities.”

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Six Steps Toward Ending Police Abuses

“Please, I can’t breathe!” George Floyd begged as a Minneapolis police officer crushed a knee into his neck as he lay prone and handcuffed. The officer who killed Floyd deserves to be tried for murder, and the officers who participated or stood by and watched deserve to be tried as accomplices.

It doesn’t matter here what Floyd is alleged to have done. The person who called 911 said that Floyd was trying to pay a store with fake bills and that he was intoxicated. I have no idea whether the allegations are true. The officers involved claimed that Floyd resisted arrest. Video shows that Floyd struggled as police yanked him from a vehicle, after which Floyd cooperated. [Update: Subsequently released video seems to show Floyd struggling with police in a police vehicle.] Regardless, the officer’s extreme use of force obviously was entirely unnecessary to subdue Floyd. No reasonable person doubts that crushing a person’s throat for minutes on end can kill the victim. It is a police officer’s job to bring the accused to the courts for justice, not to play street executioner.

What, practically, can we as regular people do toward stopping such senseless violence by a minority of the people we pay to protect us? Here I review six main ways.

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COVID-19 Updates 2

I started this document on May 23, 2020, to keep track of select updates about COVID-19. Items are listed in reverse order relative to when I examine them (latest updates on top). This follows my first “COVID-19 Updates” file (April 28 to May 22) and the “COVID-19 Resources” page started March 24. My last post here is June 4. For subsequent updates about this, see my Liberty ‘Gator pandemics tag.

Major data sources: Our World in Data, Johns Hopkins, Worldometer, CO Dep’t of Public Health, USA Data (which has U.S. state-level data), CDC COVID-19 data, EndCoronavirus.org (which has great country and U.S. state case comparisons), Rt.live (which has estimates of reproduction rate, the accuracy of which I know not), Gu Infections Tracker (also includes R estimates), IMF Policy Tracker (country summaries), COVID-19 Projections Colorado page, AEI U.S. state and county tracker. See also Johns Hopkins’s Research Compendium. A handy stat: The U.S. population (estimated May 7) is 330,721,000.

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COVID-19 Updates

I updated this document from April 28 to May 22, 2020, to keep track of select material about COVID-19. Items are listed in reverse order relative to when I examine them (latest updates on top). See also my newer “COVID-19 Updates 2” page and my older “COVID-19 Resources” page started March 24. Unless otherwise specified, many of my figures come from Our World in Data and the CO Dep’t of Public Health.

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Robin Hanson on Variolation as a Response to COVID-19

Economist and iconoclast Robin Hanson suggests that variolation—controlled, intentional infection of the virus that causes COVID-19—could be an important “Plan B” if the test-trace-isolate strategy fails and especially if eventual herd immunity seems likely. Note that this involves a controlled test first, doctor supervision, and careful screening. This is the Self in Society Podcast #15 (see more). Also listen to this podcast via iTunes.

Hanson wrote an April 6 article on the topic (see his web page for additional entries on the topic). I also want to draw readers’ attention to a first and second article by Daniel Tillett. His idea is to find a naturally less-harmful strain of the coronavirus for use in inoculation, which could radically reduce risks. See also my article, “Why not consider controlled, intentional infection?” For more discussion of this topic (and more) see my “COVID-19 Resources” page.

Kevin Currie-Knight on Crisis Schooling Versus Homeschooling

Kevin Currie-Knight, professor of education at East Carolina University and president of the board of New Pathfinder Community School, warns against equating the home “crisis schooling” curing the COVID-19 epidemic with homeschooling as families practice it in normal times. He offers some qualified suggestions for families in which students who usually attend a traditional school now must learn at home. To families thinking about homeschooling, this wide-ranging conversation will remain relevant long after the coronavirus crisis has passed. This is the Self in Society Podcast episode #14.

Listen to the episode via iTunes or YouTube (audio only).

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