Fear – The COVID Tool

Bird of PreyThoreau is quoted as saying, “Nothing is so much to be feared as fear!”  From February 1918 through April 1920, the globe experienced an H1N1 viral infection, which came to be known as “The Spanish Flu.”  Stories abound regarding the Spanish Flu, how healthy people went to bed and woke up dead.  Stories abound about what governments did, how people reacted, and the science involved in this global panic.  The media during this period was not yet a mouthpiece for radicals and tyrants, and elected representatives and unelected representatives of government worked to stabilize their populations, care for the sick, bury the dead, and recover the financial losses.  Eventually, the world will experience the “Roaring 20s” because of the world leaders’ efforts to recover.

What changed in the century between the Spanish Flu and COVID-19; fear!  Fear has become a tradeable good, a tool for beating people, and a method of communicating lies and half-truths as the ultimate word in human communications.  Why was fear allowed to go from being disregarded into something that can control every population across the world, except for a small minority?Why

Fear Defined

From Psychology Today, we find this gem of information regarding fear.  “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger that has been pivotal throughout human evolution, but especially in ancient times when men and women regularly faced life-or-death situations.”  One of the many pathways to fear leads through the badlands of disgust as an emotional response.  Understand something; emotions are a choice, a judgment, and a social construct.  How to emote correctly in that situation and environment is part of a survival trait and popularity tool to connect to other people (Solomon, 2003).

Social Aspects and Mental Connections

Matthew D. Lieberman (2013) authored “Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect.”  This book discusses how and why people connect and also disconnect.  The following quote from philosopher Jeremy Bentham discusses the biggest issue in connecting as social beings, “Pain and pleasure … govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think.”  With the brain wired, hard-wired from birth, towards a lust for pleasure, and avoidance of pain, the third aspect of hard-wired encoding is being social.  We need each other to completely experience pleasure and avoid pain.

Not Passion's Slave - Emotions and ChoiceHowever, it is also clear that emotions are a choice, a cognitive, conscious, and clear-cut choice.  We learn to read social situations as children, and these early experiences teach us about proper emotions in social situations.  Since our emotions are a social construct and choice, the connections to society, pleasure, and pain become our reality if we allow emotions to rule our minds, which is also a choice, with social influences and a judgment for basic survival.  Fear, especially as it applies to COVID-19 and other viral infections, we must understand our brains’ hard-wired coding and social aspects, plus the emotional decisions we consciously make.  If we fail to understand these connections, we miss how every person was manipulated and propagandized into a method of thinking and acting during a viral infection with a 99% survival rate and why COVID reactions were one way, and every other viral outbreak elicited the exact opposite response.

There is an entire branch of science dedicated to studying these connections and responses called social-cognitive neuroscience.  I am barely scratching the surface of these topics to provide the COVID response explanation, and I encourage further research if you doubt or would like more information.  I am not a social-cognitive neuroscientist, simply an industrial and organizational psychologist who works to understand the why in human interactions.Apathy

Lieberman (2013) points out some interesting aspects of fear; in the top ten lists of fears, three categories emerge, fear of physical harm and death (including emotional and mental harm), the death or loss of loved ones, and public speaking.  The hard-wiring of reward and fear, pain and pleasure, and our need to connect are physically exhibited through oxytocin release and the septal regions of the brain.  fMRI’s have reflected this physical connection and hard-wiring in every person’s brain.  When oxytocin is administered, humans show favoritism towards liked groups and strangers but increased hostility towards disliked groups — making the connections to fear being a product of disgust.

Daniel Kahneman (2011) authored “Thinking Fast and Slow.”  In discussing how the brain works, Kahneman (2011) introduces intuitive heuristics.  A heuristic or heuristic technique is any approach to problem solving or self-discovery that employs a practical method that is not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, or rational but is nevertheless sufficient for reaching an immediate, short-term goal or approximation.  Intuitive heuristics is problem-solving using intuition.  In the US Military, we called these “WAGs” or “Wild-Arsed Guesses.”Plato 2

In reviewing the literature on the social dynamics of Spanish Flu and COVID-19, we find two main concerns.  The early stages of both health crises show leaders acting with intuitive heuristics, trying to solve the problem, e.g., avoiding pain, through educated guesses and flat-out WAGs.  The second dynamic is the social fear spread by, influenced with, and spurred to new heights by corporate media and politics.  We all remember how Dr. Fauci was first for and then vehemently against hydroxychloroquine, even though Dr. Fauci’s research had reflected the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine since the 1990s against viral SAR-Cov (coronaviruses) viral infections.

Where we are today – Nowhere Good!

VaccineIsrael announced they are planning to re-enter restrictions for wearing a mask inside your home as a government mandate due to a COVID-19 mutation called “Delta.”  The vaccine news continues to discuss whether or not the original vaccine developed will be effective against the new mutations of the coronavirus or if a booster vaccine will be required.  We have a causal relationship between giving children and teenagers the vaccine and a rare heart disease.  There are still doctors worldwide reading Dr. Fauci’s research and trying to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and being thrown in jail or facing ridicule and loss of license to practice medicine.  Worse, we still have doctors who recommend doing nothing if exposed to COVID until you cannot breathe, taking the lackadaisical approach to practicing medicine.

Emtional Investment CycleAll of these stories have a similar root cause, fear!  The politicians fear losing their job, so they overreact.  The media stirs up fear in a populace, for scared people are easier to keep emotionally distracted than logically thinking; hence fear sells advertising, and the media knows how to sell advertising.  Fear drives irrational purchases, like packing your garage full of toilet paper and bottled water.  Fear drives avoidance and acceptance of freedom stealing government mandates.

Question 3Fear drove a recent business interaction, where a person hard of hearing had removed their mask to lip-read during a conversation.  The business leader demanded they both put their masks back on per “company policy.”  Only later was the hearing impairment made known to the business leader.  What has been the company response, investing in transparent and expensive masks.  Fear driving irrational business decisions based upon fear of risks rather than proactive methods for conducting business.

One of the most problematic aspects of COVID has been accepting fear as a valid reason to take action, report your neighbors, and make wrongheaded business decisions.  When COVID-Hysteria finally concludes, how foolish will people feel for blindly following instead of logically thinking and acting?  Worse, what will the fallout be from being made to feel foolish?  Long-term, does the feeling of foolishness and fear change how people listen and follow government mandates in the future?  What laws will change social interactions and societal morals due to the fallout from COVID?

Knowledge Check!Honest questions, to which the answers must be sought and explored before the media decides the populace is too stupid to think for themselves, and they force solutions onto the politicians through shoddy statistical lies.  America and every representative government globally, we the owners of our governments, need to become more proactive before we wake up one morning, and freedom has been lost, rights trampled, and liberty was stolen for the power of politicians and the media.  Not fear-mongering.  Just a concerned citizen looking for answers.

References

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Lieberman, M. D. (2013). Social: Why our brains are wired to connect. NY: Oxford University Press, USA.

Solomon, R. C. (2007). Not passion’s slave: Emotions and choice. Oxford University Press.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Progressive vs. Regressive – Sales Taxes

Flying BuffaloAny time a debate about taxes arises, the terms progressive and regressive get thrown around like popcorn in a food fight.  Whether or not those speaking, even know, or care about the definitions, implications, and repercussions are different topics and one I will not hazard a guess.  My intent here is to help you know and better understand the terminology as we discuss the broader topic, sales taxes.  Please note, since the early 1900s, the word progress has been twisted by tyrants, plasticized by the media, and manipulated into means one thing to one person and a different thing to a politician.  Of all the terms plasticized for tyranny, progress is one of the most egregious examples.  Just like the term “Buffalo-wings.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government that is as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing.Angry Wet Chicken

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Without the political connotations, Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress, making use of new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Angry Wet Chicken 2

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents who were concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear, any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they are discussing expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive as an adjective relates to the production of regression, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplification of structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the action of regressing, and regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous, and possibly worse or more primitive state, but it is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.

Emotions and Language

Emtional Investment CycleThe terms progressive and regressive are a perfect example of how emotions and language mix.  Without knowing all the definitions of a word, people will choose to use the sound of the word to decide whether the word sounds harsh or pleasant.  For example, progression sounds good, and regression sounds bad, but progress has roots in royalty taking a trip, and regression is a privilege or returning.  Hence, one of the main themes in these articles has been and continues to be how to control your emotions to improve your decision-making, the need to read, the opportunity to learn and keep learning words to empower conversation and knowledge.Apathy

When emotions rule, people like President Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Bush II, and many others with conspiring congresses get away with fundamentally destroying the fabric of America.  One of the tricks used against the citizens of America and in many democratically elected governments across the globe has been using language and emotions to enact reigns of tyranny.  Let us face facts, the IRS and the Federal Income Tax are not progressive; America did not move forward by paying a tax that fundamentally hurts people in their wallets.  Education reform and progressive schools did not improve America’s ability to compete globally on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The progressive ideas from the late 1800s to shut down literacy among government-mandated schools did not improve America!  Frankly, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to regress on these fronts.

Sales Taxes

Bird of PreyOf all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated, the sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a pyramid where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.  Business A buys raw goods from Business B and sells these goods to Business C to make small parts.  Business A buys these goods from Business C and sells them as finished goods to a consumer.  In a sales tax pyramid, the government gets paid at the end of every transaction; thus, a product in Vermont will be less expensive than a product in South Dakota, due precisely to the sales taxes paid by Businesses AB, B, and C during the manufacturing process.  Thus, the top five states in the United States with the highest sales taxes have a tax pyramid scheme in place, and the end consumer pays through the nose for everything!

In states with a less broad sales tax base, the sales tax remains egregious but more silent in how it steals your money!  According to the states with tax pyramid schemes, those with a less broad sales tax base are considered regressive, and those with the highest sales tax base are called progressive.  Either way, the sales tax continues to be the silent killer of ingenuity, innovation, job growth, and so much more.  Because people expect to pay a sales tax as a condition of making a purchase, the sales tax has become the majority of the fuel price paid to power a car, the hinge upon where jobs are produced, and part of the reasoning for populations to flee from.Plato 3

From an article on sales taxes by the Tax Foundation, we find the following important information:

“Narrow sales tax bases reduce collections, but more importantly, they make the tax less neutral and less economically efficient. Many states exempt certain goods (like groceries or clothing) from the sales tax for political reasons, excluding many consumer services (such as dry cleaning, haircuts, or tax preparation) largely by historical accident. Most states instituted their sales taxes during the Great Depression when services made up a much smaller portion of the economy. Since then, the portion of total U.S. personal consumption dedicated to services has grown significantly, while the purchase of goods has declined. This trend has contributed to the erosion of states’ sales tax bases over time, an unintentional base narrowing that puts upward pressure on sales tax rates.

Remember, sales taxes going up are considered progress. Reducing or eliminating the sales tax, which is the right path forward, is deemed to be regressive, based solely upon the sound of the terms being used.  Broader tax bases are not equitable, but many economists, especially those Keynesian Devotees, will claim broader tax bases and pyramid tax schemes are progressive, equitable, and helps the rich pay their “fair share.”  How can a person tell that sales tax schemes do not work to make “equitable” tax bases; “Curiously, a policy expressly designed to inject progressivity into sales taxes—an exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose. Studies suggest that the exclusion of groceries beyond the necessary exemption for food purchased using SNAP or WIC does not favor lower earners.”

Plato 2While the Tax Foundation does an admirable job pitching for “right-sizing” the tax base to make sales taxes more “equitable,” they miss the forest for the tree.  Sales taxes are a silent killer and need to be regressed from American purchases at the earliest opportunity!  Taxes never produce progress!  Write that on your hand, and use that hand to correct the behavior of politicians who want “progressive taxes,” a “federal sales tax,” or want to improve tax burdens progressively.  When did American goods stop being traded, and manufacturing jobs were exported when the income tax started!  Why do people not want to live where they pay high sales taxes because of the progressive nature of sales taxes, the other progressive tax structures, and the only entity winning is the government.

Knowledge Check!America, we need to regress from the state where the income and sales taxes have taken us.  We cannot afford the government largess stolen from workers anymore.  We cannot afford the size of local, county, state, and federal governments.  Until the taxes are regressed, which would be a huge opportunity to realize, we will continue to be treated as the property of the government, and I, for one, am done being owned and forced into indentured servitude just to pay for the government who abuses me!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.