Throughout the dark years of the Trump administration, brave, isolated voices in America’s richest, most liberal cities needed a means to communicate. They needed a kind of secret signal to show other liberals they were not alone, that the flame of liberalism was still burning. You may have seen the sign above and been confused:
Now, thanks to Joe Biden’s triumphal arrival in the capital, these symbols can be deciphered. In each line, the glyphs carry a hidden, greater meaning: ‘Black Lives Matter’ translates to ‘we should defund the police and increase the crime rate in predominately black areas.’ ‘Women’s rights are human rights’ is coded language for ‘biological males should win every women’s track meet.’ And so on.
What about ‘Science is real?’ You might think it simply meant ‘We should ban airplanes, except for private jets to fly actors to climate summits.’
In fact, its real meaning is far broader: ‘Everything that promotes liberalism is true, as long as you put it in a journal and call it a study.’
This was demonstrated last week, when a team of elite medical researchers produced cutting-edge research with a surprising conclusion. To defeat coronavirus, America didn’t need a vaccine. It just had to pay every black person in the country $250,000.
This remarkable finding comes from the intrepid minds of Harvard Medical School. In their paper, 11 elite health professionals claim that reparations for slavery would have radically reduced US infection and death rate from coronavirus.
To reach its conclusion, the study compares coronavirus infection rates in Louisiana with the country of South Korea, where coronavirus was largely quashed. Now, Cockburn can think of many differences between South Korea and Louisiana — he has never thrown up into a garbage can in Seoul, for starters — but for all their PhDs Harvard’s experts are remarkably simpleminded on the topic. The paper says nothing about South Korea’s conformist culture, its intense xenophobia, its high education levels, or its low obesity rate. No, it’s the equity, stupid: South Korea is more equal than Louisiana. It didn’t have slavery. So a few hundred thousand in reparations and Louisiana would be just like South Korea.
The paper’s scientific pretensions fray towards the end, when its authors collectively turn toward the reader and tell them that, if they want to reopen the country without erecting socialism, they might as well bring back Jim Crow:
‘Since reparations have not been enacted, however, “reopening” American society early (after coronavirus-forced shutdowns) had a disproportionate adverse mortality effect on Black people, an effect that was predictable. Therefore, de facto, it resembles a modern Tuskegee experiment, since massive wealth redistribution could have averted these deaths, just as penicillin to treat syphilis would have averted deaths in the nearby state of Alabama.’
That’s some real science right there. Would one-off reparations payments really change American inequality long-term? How can anyone possibly predict the sociopolitical ramifications of the most dramatic wealth transfer in the history of the United States? Isn’t it irresponsible and an abuse of the scientific method to create a ‘model’ where virtually every variable is simply made up? In a society that practiced ‘real science’, those questions would be asked automatically. But in the place of actual science, America instead has ‘I F***ing Love Science.’ Political advocacy is dressed up as science to turn disagreement into ‘misinformation’ that can be safely banned from Facebook and scrubbed from Wikipedia.
Still, if Harvard is going to write cockamamie articles about the magical curative properties of reparations, Cockburn wants to know what other powers they might have. If America had reparations, would Kanye and Kim Kardashian’s marriage still be intact? Would Tyler Perry movies be more watchable? Would Nashville hot chicken outside of Nashville be less disappointing? And most important of all: if we had reparations, could scientists start doing science again, instead of making stuff up?