Wokeness is no mere academic threat and other commentary

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Liberal: Wokeness Is No Mere Academic Threat

“You may have assumed that woke activism was a sideshow” affecting academe and the media, writes Mickey Kaus at Newsweek. But we learned recently that “it had penetrated an important, once-revered government scientific agency,” touching “basic questions of life and death for millions.” Data suggest vaccinating the elderly would save the most lives, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee noted “racial and ethnic minority groups are under-represented among” that group, with one expert saying that since white people “live longer,” it’s time to “level the playing field a bit.” What’s next with this madness? “Do I have to worry that in the future, when I’m wheeled into the ER, some Ivy League bioethicist will have decided I’m too white to get care?” 

Health beat: Our Ancestors Weren’t Ripped

Feel “bad about skipping a workout? Blame evolution,” advises The Wall Street Journal’s Ellen Gamerman. “One of the biggest myths about exercise is that it’s natural.” Yet as Daniel E. Lieberman explains in his new book “Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved To Do Is Healthy and Rewarding,” human beings evolved to save “energy only for what is necessary or recreational” — but not burning calories for its own sake. Lieberman, a Harvard professor who “helped popularize barefoot running,” dismisses “this CrossFit mystique that your inner primal macho ripped hunter-gatherer ancestor is who you were meant to be,” adding that “intense crazy workouts” are “not necessary.” Indeed, there is “nothing wrong” with people who struggle to exercise, but they can beat ­nature’s “anti-exercise instinct by working out with friends and making commitments like registering for a race.”

Pandemic journal: Please, Ditch Failed Strategies

“With months left to go before vaccination can curtail the pandemic, 2020’s regrets should be 2021’s lessons,” argues Bloomberg Opinion’s Faye Flam. The top lesson? Don’t stick to COVID-19 strategies that don’t work, such as the lockdown-and-testing routine adopted across the West. Lockdowns, we learned, are “too blunt,” while our testing regimes are “too slow.” Indeed, health experts acknowledged early on that “lockdowns were never going to eradicate the virus.” And yet businesses and schools remained shut down to “buy time to get a good testing strategy in place. But that didn’t happen.” The experts, in other words, “don’t know how to control a coronavirus pandemic,” and, instead, “they’re making recommendations as they go along.” This year, we have to be willing to quit their failed methods.

Iconoclast: The Worst Elites — Lousy and Mighty

Jacob Siegel at Unherd laments how “elite institutional authority is everywhere collapsing . . . even as elite institutions become ever more powerful.” The mask mandates are emblematic. “After months of declaring face masks ineffective,” medical gurus like Dr. Anthony Fauci suddenly ­“endorsed face covering.” Yet despite this failure, Fauci is set to become President-elect Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser. Likewise, epidemiologists went from decrying all gatherings to declaring summer’s race riots “practically mandatory as a matter of public moral hygiene.” They got away with it, thanks to “the combined effort of ideological enforcers in the press and on social media, brute intimidation by people with hiring and firing power and the constant appearance of a new crisis to distract from the last.” The ­result: “Half the country now rejects the legitimacy of America’s nominally non-political institutions.” 

Culture critic: Bring Back the Coffee Date

At First Things, Anna Bonta Moreland observes that when it comes to romance on college campuses, students seem to only have the options of “quasi-marital relationships, hooking up or opting out,” and “most choose the third.” Yet “both hooking up and opting out attempt to control a desire that is at the heart of who we are as human beings” — the Eros that for philosophers like Plato is essential for drawing us out of our narcissistic selves, ­toward an other. Tinder and porn achieve the opposite. College students can “rehabilitate” Eros by learning “to get to know each other with the lights on, in real and not digital relationships.” In other words: “Ask someone to go out for coffee.” 

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board



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