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Resources are flowing like mighty rivers to the other side, all directed toward deleting from human experience many of the institutions that built what we call civilization.
“They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire,” wrote Tacitus of the Roman Empire in its last years. “And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.”
What’s encouraged us throughout has been the extraordinary generosity of people who care about our future, people who would rather live in a world in which a tiny ruling-class elite does not impose its despotism on a whim.
Brownstone is an implausible project to begin with: taking on the intellectual and political machinery that gave us lockdowns and mandates and urging instead a new enlightenment with an emphasis on humane values and freedom. Even so, it is enormously gratifying to consider all that Brownstone has achieved in such a short time.
From the date when lockdowns were first announced, in complete contradiction to one-hundred years of traditional public health practice, it was obvious that we faced a crisis without precedent. It wasn’t the biological pathogen that so vexed us but the political response, which attempted something unprecedented that has since become an unprecedented failure.
Coming to terms with that reality, and rebuilding after the calamity will require all our efforts in the coming years. This is the whole idea of the naming: Brownstone in the 19th century was deployed as a durable and adaptable building material for some of the most impressive civic, religious, and residential architecture. It is a metaphor for what we must do: revisit the foundations and build again.
We are on our way.
A judge in Missouri last week issued an absolutely thrilling judgement. All Covid restrictions issued since March 2020 are illegal. They violate the separation of powers. The legislature cannot outsource its power to an executive bureaucracy which then centralizes that power to make law in the hands of one public health bureaucrat. Further, all these restrictions violate the equal protection of the law.
The decision proves that good sense is not entirely gone. There are still judges and citizens out there who care about freedom. They might be in the majority. Maybe it’s a vast majority at this point.
The court decision attempted to liberate the entire state from the despotism that engulfed it and most of the nation since those fateful days. Will it be enforced? That much is not clear.
More alarming is how little coverage the case received. The New York Times has yet even to mention it, even as the paper slathers the Biden administration with loving coverage of its demand to get shots and boosters for the whole family. He is no longer shy about it.
The Brownstone Institute immediately published the entire court decision, in order to get the word out of its very existence. The post went viral and further contributed to the 3.5 million page views Brownstone.org has delivered in the last 130 days, pushing the site into the top 35,000 sites in the world.
We then posted an interview with the lead plaintiff, Shannon Robinson. It’s inspiring. It shows the power of moral courage that this one woman could make such a difference, provided she was willing to push past all the people who told her to stay quiet and obey.
All of this should have been national news. Shannon should be considered a household name. Instead, it has fallen to the newly founded Brownstone to be a main distributor of this information. Countless numbers of people have used Brownstone research in defense of their rights. We know first hand that judges, plaintiffs, journalists, bloggers, and intellectuals the world over rely on it.
It’s obvious that we are in a war over information. The mass media has signed up almost entirely with an agenda of lockdowns and mandates. The censors in big tech daily attempt to monopolize information flows to make you feel as if you are crazy and alone. Watch a press conference by the US president and you get the impression that anyone who disagrees with him is crazy, diseased, and worthy of being cancelled.
That messaging can be demoralizing. What’s encouraging is for such people to know that they are not alone. And this speaks to a main message that arrives in our inboxes daily: thank you for helping me realize that I’m not insane but rather that science, reason, and humane values still matter.
A few days following this court decision, it was Thanksgiving Day and life was starting to feel a bit more normal. The next morning, we awoke to a new panic, pushed out by the world’s media in unison. The variant called Omicron is on the loose, having emerged from South Africa. It now threatens the world. Travel restrictions immediately came back.
By mid-afternoon, Brownstone posted a piece by a leading scientist that brought calm. The virus is behaving like a textbook respiratory virus, generating mutations that are best handled via our immune systems. The 135 studies on natural immunity are more than enough to reveal that this virus is not an invader from another planet but a normal pathogen we evolve to fight.
That article too went viral, as have dozens and dozens of pieces we’ve published by scientists, economists, historians, and other powerful essayists from all over the world. The submissions are pouring in simply because we are a reliable outlet. We move fast and with as much scrupulous attention to fact as possible.
In a very short time, the Brownstone Institute has established itself as a credible source of science, commentary, and rational perspective during the greatest crisis of our lives. We published the mighty book The Great Covid Panic, widely hailed as the authoritative account, and there are more on the way.
It’s just the beginning. In all times and all places, there need to be sanctuaries for learning, for rescuing cancelled voices, for publishing voices that others neglect, and for holding up a light no matter how dark the times get.
After the fall of Rome, there were the monasteries. When modernity was born, the essential work of building a good society took place in coffee houses and taverns. In the interwar period, great intellectuals fled to Switzerland during a catastrophic diaspora. We like to think that civilization is too robust to be suddenly dismantled, but this is never the case. We always need alternatives. We always need sanctuaries for truth. We always need safe havens for all that we hold dear.
The Brownstone Institute aspires to be more than an information distribution source. The future is about creating a robust institution of research, learning, and community, a place for intellectuals on sabbatical, students in need of mentors, and writers who need safety and assurance that their work won’t be ignored. As with the monasteries in the Middle Ages, we serve both public and private purposes, to grant freedom and safety to individuals and encourage societies to do the same.
We’ve just begun but we are so encouraged, mostly because of the inspiring support that we have thus far had. For those who have already donated, thank you enormously. If you are considering supporting our work, please know that this task is not hopeless. To put it another way, one way to guarantee failure is to do nothing.
Elites from on high always underestimate the power of moral courage when it comes from below, that is from expected sources who refuse to acquiesce to what they know is untrue and wrong.
This is the crisis of our lives. Please join us in standing up for truth in times of lies, and enlightenment when the powers-that-be seem united in dragging us back. They are not the authors of history. Trends can change. Indeed, they are changing.
Join us please in the effort not only to reverse this disaster but to rebuild the good society after.
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