The three things that, when I post about them, draw the most critical emails

January 18, 2022 • 6:06 pm

1.) Ivermectin (the world is full of pro-Ivermectin nuts, and believe me, I hear from them. I don’t allow most of them to comment as I consider them dangerous).

2.) The unfairness of allowing trans-women to compete with biological women in women’s sports.

3.)  Calling out what I see as anti-Semitism.

I can’t see any commonality among these topics except that there are Woke perspectives on all of them, and that (particularly for #1 and #2) motivates nearly all the criticism.


52 thoughts on “The three things that, when I post about them, draw the most critical emails

    1. Definitely in my experience too. No doubt there are some lefty woomeisters that favor ivermectin but of people I know and see it is nearly 100% Trumpers that are vehemently pro ivermectin and antivax.

    2. Not entirely. You see David Gorski’s discussion on ivermection over at Science-Based Medicine? Even if that’s somewhat of a tenuous claim given that Harriet Hall there endorses the unorthodox view that the sexes are spectra:

      In any case, Gorski points out that ivermectin *does* have *some* anti-viral activity, even if it might be mimimal or much reduced at any levels below actual toxicity.

      Seems that ivermectin’s anti-viral activity is sort of a two pronged action – both as a “protease inhibitor”. And, as a NCBI article argues, as a “host-directed agent”, a different biological mechanism apparently:

      However, even minor effects may wind up being statistically significant and/or improve the prognosis of those suffering from Covid.

    1. I didn’t express myself well, but the woke perspective is a pro-vax perspective (this is not bad; it’s just a characteristic of woke people), so it’s the anti-woke who favor ivermectin. On right-wing websites you can see plenty of people arguing that the governmental push to vaccinate people is a conspiracy, and that’s anti-woke.

      1. So in this case the “woke” perspective is simply common sense? Seems orthogonal to me although I can see right wingnuts conflating things.

      2. I do not think that the right wing anti-vax stand, by and large, is a reaction to the pro-vax stand of the woke specifically. It comes from a different dimension of antagonism, even if it intersects with woke vs. right-wing conflict because the often the same people are involved.

  1. But the Woke aren’t writing to you pro-Ivermectin. Those are the “anti-woke” (?).

    Why not just observe that all of those items are very controversial culture-war topics which have passionate believers on the other side of your view?

    1. I think what they all have in common is that none should be controversial. The ground where one should stand on any of these is clear.

  2. Tangentially related to Ivermectin, I saw an article the other day complaining that the CDC’s recommendation that US High schools stop football and band was “unrealistic.”

    This attitude illustrates why we have the problem with the virus that we have; beyond merely the far right’s rejection of vaccination, we have a much broader swath of the US public which is just unwilling to sacrifice the things they need to sacrifice to stop the pandemic. God forbid high schoolers go to school just to learn!

    1. To say, “unwilling to sacrifice the things they need to sacrifice” is to display a authoritarian mindset. The high school football and band community will say it is not for you to tell them what their needs are, nor prescribe to them how they should balance competing utilities. The CDC recommended against football and band as a counsel of perfection, with no responsibility for consequences. If the state or municipal public health authorities decide not to follow that recommendation and allow those activities to carry on, that is their call. The authorities who actually have to deal with the people involved could well conclude that high school athletes and bandsmen are at exceedingly low risk of serious illness from Omicron and their parents and grandparents can protect themselves with vaccination and avoidance. They’re all going to get it anyway. In the circumstances, it could well be reasonable for public health to listen to the realistic arguments of athletes and bands and say, “Go ahead.”

      School is for more than just learning.

      1. To say, “unwilling to sacrifice the things they need to sacrifice” is to display a authoritarian mindset. The high school football and band community will say it is not for you to tell them what their needs are

        It’s not just about them. It’s about all the people their big exposurefests will get sick. And kill.
        The point is to minimize social contact to what is necessary. Education is pretty necessary. How is football necessary? Band?

        If the state or municipal public health authorities decide not to follow that recommendation and allow those activities to carry on, that is their call.

        Of course. We can all aspire to be Ron DeSantis’ Florida at Spring Break if we want. But if our goal is to minimize severe illness and deaths from the virus, that’s not the way to go.

        The authorities who actually have to deal with the people involved could well conclude that high school athletes and bandsmen are at exceedingly low risk of serious illness from Omicron

        They’re low risk…the people they contact, often not.

        and their parents and grandparents can protect themselves with vaccination and avoidance.

        Sooooo….parentst and grandparents are supposed to practice avoidance. But the footballers and band members…avoidance is just too hard for them? Too much of a sacrifice?

        They’re all going to get it anyway.

        You’re flat, factually wrong. At this point AIUI only about a quarter of the US population has, since 2019, got it. Disease spread is not inevitable, it’s a matter of what we choose to do. Claiming it’s inevitable is just a way to justify not giving up our preferred lifestyle. It’s the thief’s justification – I’m gonna take this thing I want because, hey, someone’s going to take it. It’s inevitable! So it might as well be me that gets the benefit. Which is wrong, both factually and ethically – it’s entirely possible that nobody takes it, if we all work together. And it’s entirely possible to stop disease spread, if we all work together to prevent it.

        1. The United States has declared through its actions that it does not place the highest possible priority on preventing death from Covid, just as it doesn’t place the highest priority on preventing death from firearms. On both counts, you might wish that it did, or feel that it is ethically wrong that it doesn’t, but it still doesn’t. Other values, perhaps ones you hold in contempt, trump. (Note lower-case t.) And the authoritarians, despite their authoritarian power, have been singularly unsuccessful in changing those world views or imposing their own. In that context, prohibiting football and band is simply a non-starter.

          A year ago I would have agreed with you. But young people have been screwed out of their youth for two years now to protect old people, many who have died of other causes of course along the way. Time’s up. Time to pivot. We have been extraordinarily fortunate (some would say blessed) to have received a variant that is not very virulent and will shorten very few vaccinated lives.

          Everyone probably will get Omicron, even if they’ve been vaccinated. Everyone got chickenpox and measles before the vaccines and Omicron is in that league for contagiousness, even among vaccinated. Ontario, the most pandemically restricted jurisdiction in the free world — we closed schools again –, is starting to relax, much to the distress of the scowling authoritarians.

          What is your exit strategy? Prohibiting sports and band at school until when? Until cases drop because everyone has been infected? Q.E.D.

          1. I am moving towards your view after being strongly in the camp of lock down when the pandemic started. Since the vaccines became widely available, my attitude has changed. I hear that docs and other health care personnel in hospitals are exhausted and ICU beds are filling up, so I am torn for them and all the people with precarious health. I’m old and vaccinated/ boosted, and I can lock myself up as needed. But kids gotta live and grow, and sports, music, arts, socializing, are all so important for them in addition to their academic progress. Their mental health is suffering, which isn’t measured by ICU bed utilization. Can’t we find a way to protect the vulnerable while letting children and teenagers live as fully as possible during this troubled time? We will have a price to pay with depression and anxiety in those young people who are our future.

          2. I am sort of there. I see it as restriction management. There can be restrictions and strong recommendations to not do this or that fun and social thing for public safety, but there comes a point where more people just raise their middle finger to it and compliance crumbles.

        2. “only about a quarter of the US population has, since 2019, got it.”

          Not a chance. I’d be surprised if it’s under 80%. Almost everyone I know who is vaccinated has also tested positive for COVID (a few feel ill; most don’t).

          Look at the case rates (vertical spike). That’s just the people who have been tested. I haven’t been tested since June 2020. Given where my son goes to school and work and the local rates, I’d be amazed if I haven’t already had it.

          1. I am inclined to agree, particularly since people I know in the aviation business community flying between Europe and the Far East were ill with what now appears as covid symptoms back in late 2019 well before this all started and they treated it as influenza. I suspect others were sick with this as well.
            In my personal case at the age of six attending school in Scotland as my father was based there in the Royal Navy (1951) I was ill with influenza and I mean really ill I can remember it to this day. I was in the infirmary for almost three weeks but recovered fine. To this day I have never had a cold or influenza, ever! Could I be asymptomatic? Who knows, no one tests for this as far as I know. I have never had a flu vaccination either but I have received all the Covid stuff as recommended. Maybe I don’t need it, but in my profession as an aerospace engineer I have always been risk averse and covid does seem risky, to me anyway. I am optimistic we shall overcome this soon.

    2. Even with it being given that a pandemic is an extraordinary situation, and such situations make unusual restrictions necessary, people will still be people. That means that some percentage of people who get extra authority will use it in ways that do not make logical sense, or even just enjoy making other people obey.
      There are a lot more people making arbitrary rules than there used to be. They find themselves in a position to decide what sorts of things others “need to sacrifice to stop the pandemic”. Often those demanding the sacrifices are not willing themselves to make those same sacrifices. Or they just have a maddening need to demonstrate their status by not following the rules the little people have to follow.
      The above, coupled with the fact that some of what has been deemed safe or unsafe has depended on politics, or just been nonsensical, ensures that people will tend to be suspicious.

  3. What would be the “danger” of permitting a few ivermectin nutters to comment on PCC posts? Is it that we who read WEIT comments are particularly likely to be vulnerable to the blandishments of such persons? Or is ivermectin speech “violent” and “harmful” to the delicate sensibilities of the Woke among us?
    Myself, I’m immune to the ivermectin chatter (I got vaccinated by good skeptical education), but I might be entertained to read a bit of their PCC-response commentary here and there. Just to see what makes ’em tick, y’ know.
    We can sometimes learn a bit from such eccentric correspondents about the mysterious goings-on out there beyond the silo walls, and I really doubt that their comments are much of a danger to us. Provided, of course, that said comments are not permitted to metastasize and take over a thread! After all, we’re treated here to many amusing excerpts from the theological maunderings of the NYT’s pet Anglican priestess, and I haven’t yet noted any wave of conversion among the WEIT readership.

    1. Because ivermectin to treat covid is erroneous information and not just the wrong side of a debate but highly consequential to the physical health of many people. Don’t pretend there are two sides to this – to entertain that ivermectin might treat covid (clinical triials show it failed) is irresposible and borders on unethical.

    2. This is not a site where you get to say anything you want, and I won’t let people distort scientific data. If you think all of the 73,000 readers of this site are immune to ivermectin talk; think again. I let enough of these people post that you can see their reactions.

      And please don’t tell me how to run this site. I make my own determinations what speech is physically harmful, and you’ll have to abide by that. If I allowed every nutter who tried to comment to post here, you’d have Pharyngula, not WEIT. Presuming you like this site, the civility is a result of this policy. If you want to hear nutters, there are plenty of other places to go.

      1. “And please don’t tell me how to run this site.”

        Indeed. Sam Harris in his recent podcast talks about how he refuses to provide a platform (especially a platform with a sane, scientifically-based reputation) to said nutters.

      2. Whoa, 73,000? I hadn’t noticed. Are we going to have a countdown soon to 75k like we did before? I very glad to hear of the growth in readership of this site.

      3. “If I allowed every nutter who tried to comment to post here, you’d have Pharyngula, not WEIT.”

        🙂 True dat. 😉

        “If you don’t eat your wheaties then the Boogeyman (AKA Pharyngula) will get you!” 😉

        But Pharyngula is definitely a sad case and illustration of what happens when, as Sagan once put it, we start putting what feels good over what’s actually true.

    3. Despite the suprisingly harsh responses to your comment, I understood that you just wanted some good ol entertainment (I love the takedowns also). You are now guilty of triggering… 🙂

  4. Stay the course on all 3, PCC!
    #1 is bullshit (speaking as a bit of an authority on the subject).
    #2 is simply a political attempt to redefine what a woman is except that biology is real and changing a name doesn’t change the thing it describes. The emerging evidence in womens’ sports of records being demolished by trans women athletes is as incontrovertible as anabolic steroids used by men are performance-enhancing in baseball, cycling, etc. It’s an issue of fairness to women plain and simple just as it is for men not gaining advantage over other competitors by juicing. Both devalue fairness in sports which is cheating.
    #3 I largely agree with your defense of Jews and I’m not Jewish so I have an unbiased, objective take on the matter.

    1. While I would agree with some of what Melanie Phillips writes in that piece, I can’t help thinking about her very suspect viewpoints on a number of other subjects such as the MMR vaccine, climate change, gay rights etc.

      1. I remind you that people can be wrong on some issues and right on others. Are you suggesting that we should discount what she says in the piece (granted, I haven’t read it) because she has other views you don’t agree with? Thanks for the link; I’ll read it.

        1. I take your point PCCE. One should really consider the piece on its own merits. It’s just sometimes difficult to separate the person from the piece when they have erred so egregiously in the past.

        2. I took this comment to mean that, yes there might be some merit to the piece. However, the OP said “You should really consider subscribing” and I thought that the “warnings” meant before you subscribe, be careful what you are leaping into.

      2. I heard Phillips speak here in NYC where she said that the lack of Christianity in Europe was responsible for their problems. And she is Jewish. When I went up to her after her talk to
        address this, she abruptly turned and walked away from me. In addition her unsubstantiated
        defense of nuclear power is part of her extreme right wing agenda. But at least she acknowledged anti semitism, which is more than American mass media do. As for AOC, I have read several articles claiming she asked for Aasia Siddiqui’s release (Lady Al Qaeda, caught red handed with blueprints and details for bombing American facilities, sentenced to 87 years).

    2. Yes that was a good piece but it will be a cold day in hell before I give Melanie Phillips any money. She’s as responsible for the UK MMR fiasco as anybody in the British media and thus has blood on her hands as far as I’m concerned.

    3. I thought that the real lesson was that it is ridiculously easy to buy guns in America, and the systemic failings that allowed a mentally ill visitor from a foreign country to purchase weapons (or was it one weapon? I’ve no need to follow the case in such detail.) without any effective background checks.

      The obvious outcome is that this will become a “poster child” case for the next (entirely justified) attack on the gun nut laws in America’s various legal systems.

  5. I’m on your side on these issues (and glad I don’t have to read pro-ivermectin comments, my patience with that is at an end).
    I think there’s less anti-Semitism GENERALLY than you do but that’s a matter of degree, not a dispute that it is certainly out there, especially if you take into account “Anti-Zionist” crap.

    I watch/read more than enough conservative stuff opposite to my views, I read WEIT b/c it aligns closely with them.

    1. Yeah. It’s there. I’ve listened to a couple of episodes (and got the IdiotBox set to record the rest), but didn’t really get much from the first couple of episodes. YMMV, and there may be better stuff further down the line.

  6. So, when will you write a piece that conflates all three of those topics in one article ? It’d be like dividing by zero, or throwing the Internet on the floor !

  7. Regarding No. 3, one wonders whether some of your readers may not have greater sensitivity to the distinction between criticism of the policies/actions of the State of Israel and racial prejudice against Jewish people?

    1. Thank you for the implication that I haven’t thought this through long and hard, or written about it. One wonders whether you, or some of the readers, might not have thought about the reasons they single out the one Jewish state in the world for disapprobation and distortion, and, like the UN, seeing “crimes” everywhere, but only by the Jews. One wonder whether those people who bandy about the term “apartheid state” with reference to Israel have any idea what they’re talking about, or just slapping a slur on an entire people.

  8. I am with you on all three.

    1. Ivermectin is BS. Scientifically demonstrated BS (for anything other than worming, etc.)

    2. Fully on board. I think we all need to give trans people full respect and rights in every way that is fair and practical. I draw the line where you do: Transwomen in Women’s Division sports. Rape counselling. Women’s prisons.

    I say to people: Why do you think there are men’s and women’s divisions in (essentially all) sports? Why is the no controversy over transmen participating in men’s sports?

    We can support trans people (who certainly need it; it must be a difficult life) without swallowing the entire political agenda.

    Andrew Sullivan’s recent piece is good. As is Abigail Shrier’s essay on Bari Weiss’s substack.

    3. I am generally sympathetic to Israel (though Netanyahu …) and certainly the rights and safety of Jews everywhere. It’s amazing how Jews are not considered by the Woke to be an oppressed minority*. Certainly, Jews have been among the most persecuted and abused people in western history. And this continues. I’ve know a few frank antisemites in my lifetime.

    (* Fits with how the Woke consider Indian Americans (the most successful ethnic group in the USA): They lump them with whites, despite the fact that they are POC by any standard. This is all congruent with the central idea of Wokeism: Class and (often frank) Marxism.)

    I recently had a “discussion” with a FB Friend. She posted an article about Ilhan Omar, where Omar was pictured posing with Linda Sarsour. I commented about Sarsour’s anti-semitism. I also noted that Omar lied about her support for BDS against Israel during her campaign in 2018. This spun into a discussion of Israel. I stated that Israel is the only democracy in the middle east and the only nation we can count on there as an ally. She demonstrated an amazing lack of interest in the subject. Like many, she just swallows the MSM line.

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