FEE Features Three Articles Opposing Masks and One Article in Favor

On Thursday, August 6, 2020, the Foundation for Economic Education’s (FEE’s) web site featured four articles on masks, three opposed and one in favor. The web site provides further proof that the majority is not always right, but also proof that FEE is open to hearing minority arguments.

Jim Pethokoukis Asks Art Diamond How to Increase Innovative Dynamism

Jim Pethokoukis recently posted an abbreviated transcript of our conversation on his Political Economy podcast about my Openness to Creative Destruction: Sustaining Innovative Dynamism book.

Posted by Arthur Diamond on Thursday, August 6, 2020

Chinese Communists Threaten Foreign Universities That Screen Hu’s Films

(p. C5) For more than 20 years, the filmmaker Hu Jie has been trawling the deep waters of Chinese history to create a series of harrowing documentaries about the early years of Communist Party rule.

. . .

“Spark” — a film that has undergone many iterations, alternations and expansions — reconstructs the fate of a group of young people who started an underground journal 60 years ago. And “The Observer,” a documentary about Hu by the Italian director Rita Andreetti, is at once a sympathetic portrait of the filmmaker and an introduction to his films.

Both are being distributed by Icarus Films as part of dGenerate Films’ collection of independent Chinese movies, curated by the American film producer Karin Chien.

. . .

Hu’s films are personal takes on several critical turning points in modern Chinese history, especially the persecution of independent thinkers in the 1950s, the famine that followed it, and the Cultural Revolution a decade later. He hunts down survivors, finds rare written material, and creates a composite history in which he is also very much present as a narrator and judge, clearly taking sides with the victims of Maoist China.

Almost all of his films come across as radically low-tech. For years he used a battered Sony Handycam, and he almost never uses lights or multiple cameras — largely because he works alone, but also to give the feeling of authenticity and discovery, as if the viewer were on a journey with Hu to discover a forbidden past.

. . .

. . . he became famous among China’s intelligentsia for his 2004 film, “Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul,” one of the films being released by Icarus. It recounts the story of a political prisoner who was executed in 1968 for refusing to renounce her political convictions. Hu traces Lin’s story through her classmates and friends, and especially through letters that she wrote with her own blood for lack of ink.

That led to “Spark,” about the magazine for which Lin Zhao wrote an epic poem describing the struggle for freedom from tyranny. First released in 2013, “Spark,” like all of Hu’s films, has been added to and re-edited, most recently to include testimony by a witness to the famine who wanted to wait until retiring to speak out.

. . .

. . . he said he hoped his films would resonate today. “Spark,” he said, shows how even in the darkest era of the Mao period — the great famine of 1958 to 1961, which killed at least 30 million people — some were willing to stand up and be counted.

“This story has great significance today,” Hu said. “This country is a country with a unified governing structure, so if no one dares speak truth, a mistake will continue for a long time.”

. . .

Though Hu’s critical works are now being made available to foreign audiences, pressure from the Chinese government makes it hard to arrange public showings there, Chien said.

This scrutiny began around 2015 when she and others put together a touring film festival called “Cinema on the Edge.” Hailed as “beyond the censors’ reach,” the film series ended up coming under intense pressure from the Chinese government. Filmmakers in China were warned to drop out and when the festival went ahead, but with less publicity, foreign outlets, especially universities, were told that screening the films could endanger their chance to work with China.

For the full story, see:

Ian Johnson. “‘To Show Reality as It Really Was’.” The New York Times (Monday, June 29, 2020): C5.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 28, 2020, and has the title “Excavating Chinese History, One Harrowing Film at a Time.”)

Hydroxychloroquine Cut Covid-19 Deaths in Half in Henry Ford Health System Study

(p. 7A) A Henry Ford Health System study shows the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine helps lower the death rate of COVID-19 patients, the Detroit-based health system said Thursday [July 2, 2020].

The study analyzed 2,541 patients hospitalized among the system’s six hospitals and found 13% of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died while 26% of those who did not receive the drug died.

. . .

The new study, published in the International Society of Infectious Disease, found patients did not suffer heart-related side effects.

For the full story, see:

AP and Detroit News. “Coronavirus Developments.” Omaha World-Herald (Friday, July 3, 2020): 7A.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)

The published version of the research summarized above, is:

Arshad, Samia; Paul Kilgore, Zohra S. Chaudhry, Gordon Jacobsen, Dee Dee Wang, Kylie Huitsing, Indira Brar, George J. Alangaden, Mayur S. Ramesh, John E. McKinnon, William O’Neill, Marcus Zervos, and Henry Ford COVID-19 Task Force. “Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, and Combination in Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19.” International Journal for Infectious Diseases (published online in advance of print on July 1, 2020).

Transcript of Political Economy Podcast Interview with Arthur Diamond on Openness to Creative Destruction

The lightly edited transcript was posted on July 30, 2020 on the American Enterprise Institute web site.

Yesterday Jim Pethokoukis posted a lightly edited transcript of my conversation with him on his American Enterprise…

Posted by Arthur Diamond on Friday, July 31, 2020

“Privileged Solipsistic Elites” Defend Their Opposition to Free Speech

(p. A17) Three days after an open letter signed by more than 150 cultural luminaires darkly warning of a growing “intolerant climate” stirred intense response on the internet, another group issued a counterblast on Friday [July 10, 2020] accusing them of elitism, hypocrisy and complicity in the bullying they decry.

The first letter, titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” was posted online on Tuesday [July 7, 2020] by Harper’s Magazine. Signed by prominent figures in the arts, media and academia, including Margaret Atwood, Wynton Marsalis and J.K. Rowling, it warned of a growing tide of illiberalism and a weakening of “our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.”

. . .

On Friday, after the response letter was posted, the writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, who spearheaded the Harper’s letter, highlighted the more than two dozen Black and other nonwhite intellectuals who signed his letter.

“You know, just a bunch of privileged solipsistic elites worrying about problems that don’t exist,” Mr. Williams, who is Black, tweeted. “So far, haven’t seen any of the formerly imprisoned signatories or the ones who have experienced fatwas cave to the social media backlash, though,” he added.

His dig was a reference to the fact that criticism of the Harper’s letter centered as much on who signed it as its content.

For the full story, see:

Jennifer Schuessler. “Response Aims At Signatories Of Open Letter On ‘Intolerance’.” The New York Times (Saturday, July 11, 2020): A17.

(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed dates, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 10, 2020, and has the title “An Open Letter on Free Expression Draws a Counterblast.”)