Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Culture Wars Persist

Daniel Hannan is puzzled. A conservative Member of the European Parliament, a staunch supporter of Brexit, Hannan recently spent a little time in the United States. He came away puzzled. (via Maggie's Farm)

After all, by any objective measure, the nation is doing remarkably well. And yet, it is consuming itself, even destroying itself, over cultural and social issues. It isn’t just the media, though the media has been leading the band. It’s politicians. Apparently, they have nothing better to do than to create a national movement over Christine Blasey Ford’s possibly defective memory of something that happened well over three decades ago.

At the least, this tells us that for all their talk about America's sacrosanct democracy the American left does not care about elections. They care about having the courts do their bidding. Why bother to win thousands of elections, on federal, state and local levels, when you need but have a majority of one in the Supreme Court. The goal is to impose a cultural agenda on the nation, regardless of whether anyone wants it.

As noted in the previous post, the American military now feels obliged to put women into special forces units, even though they cannot do the basic training. It’s not about winning wars or fighting effectively. It’s about diversity. But, it’s especially about proving an ideological point… one that is, obviously, nonsense.

Perhaps, America has become complacent. Perhaps it is so confident of its success that it can move on to cultural issues. Or else, it might be nostalgic for the days of Obama, when America did not care about winning, when diversity ruled.

For those who have declared culture war against Donald Trump, there is another imperative. They have indulged the most absurd and obscene rhetorical hyperbole over the horrors that Trump was about to visit on the nation and the world. They have a stake in showing that things are getting worse. They have no stake in accepting that things are getting better. Considering how unhinged they have been, if given the chance they will do what it takes to sow chaos and confusion, to make the wheels of government grind to a halt. And then they will blame it on Trump.

Surely, they cannot admit that Obama failed. And they will never accept that Trump has succeeded.

Hannan surveys the scene and notes:

I can’t recall a time when American politics was so angry and distempered.

Your economy is growing at a rate north of four percent.

Unemployment is at an 18-year low. Wages are rising, the stock exchange is strong, consumer confidence is surging. The governing party ought to be strolling to an easy victory before a pleased, prosperous and peaceable electorate.

And yet, he continues, no one is talking about it. Political issues have paled while America is indulging cultural warfare:

But barely anyone is discussing the economy. Republicans are not getting an opportunity to talk about the remarkable growth rates. Democrats, conversely, are not getting the chance to talk about the fact that the deficit is being doubled and will soon stand at a trillion dollars. Nor is there much discussion of foreign policy or education or healthcare or any of the bread-and-butter issues that normally decide elections. Instead, the country is convulsed in a kind of clan conflict, in which every totem associated with the other tribe is viciously targeted.

It’s the culture war, stupid.

Case in point: the monstrous atmosphere surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. We know by now that serious Democratic senators have been saying that Kavanaugh does not deserve the presumption of innocence. A woman accused him and woman never lie about such things. We tried to contact Emmett Till for a comment, and are still awaiting his response.

There is nothing new about the Democratic strategy. The Obama Department of Education issued a directive to America’s colleges and universities… commanding them to suspend a man's due process rights whenever a woman accused him of a sexual transgression. Thus were established kangaroo courts on college campuses. Male students were expelled from schools. Cases are now being heard in real courts. The unjustly expelled students are most often winning.

And yet, the Obamaphiles persist. They want to return to the halcyon days when males were deprived of due process rights. And they want to change the culture to devalue competitive striving and even winning. In their new culture, empathy will rule. Their great hero, Bill Clinton, rode to the presidency by feeling many women’s pain. Given that he was the sexual predator in chief and given that his wife was enabler in chief, today’s culture warriors are attacking men in the name of… Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The #MeToo movement has exposed sexual predators throughout the media and entertainment industries. These predators were given the green light by Hillary Clinton. She let them know that they could do what they wanted to women, as long as they contributed to left wing causes. As has often been noted, when Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual crimes and misdemeanors, he reacted by declaring war on the National Rifle Association.

Remember the time when the armies of the left rose up in highest dudgeon over Donald Trump’s failure to stick to the facts. These armies promoted themselves as champions of objective truth.

Of course, it was all expedient. They did not care about any facts that might contradict their most deeply held convictions. For them it was all about belief. Before the left rallied to exclaim that it believed Christine Blasey Ford, it was rallying to the cause of those who believed that God had put them in the wrong kind of bodies. After all, transgenderism is really a belief… and a belief that has no connection to biological reality. That would be, no connection to chromosomal makeup.

But, I digress.

Hannan points to the deranged analysis offered by a columnist and commentator named Ana Marie Cox. For Cox, it didn’t matter what Kavanaugh did or did not do. It was about how much empathy he felt for his accuser. Yes indeed, aided by leftist activist lawyers a woman steps forward and attempts to destroy you and your family… and you must feel empathy for whatever she thinks happened to her 36 years ago.

Hannan sets the scene:

On MSNBC last week, I heard a woman asserting that whether or not Judge Kavanaugh was actually guilty of a sexual assault was beside the point, because what really counted was his failure to empathize with his accuser.

“We need to judge Brett Kavanaugh, not just by what he may or may not have done, but how he treats a woman’s pain,” said Ana Marie Cox, a columnist and commentator. “I don’t think Brett Kavanaugh takes women’s pain very seriously, and I know that because of the decisions he’s made as a judge.”

Got that? Whether or not Kavanaugh is guilty as charged is irrelevant. His guilt can be inferred from his opinions. Regardless of whether he technically assaulted a particular woman, his conservatism constitutes a kind of meta-violence against women in general.

Speaking of pain, you might recall that Cox was formerly the proprietress of a blog called Wonkette. In it she offered witty commentary on the Washington social scene. So far, so good. But, she also gained a certain kind of notoriety by breaking the modesty barrier and by often blogging about anal sex. It garnered her considerable attention.

All things considered, do you really want to feel her pain?

America's Woman Warriors

How is the American military maintaining readiness? How is it remaining strong and powerful, ready to face any enemy and to win any battle? You guessed it: it’s bringing women into the combat infantry, beginning with the Army Rangers.

That’s right: what really mattered to the Ash Carter/Barack Obama military was: to prove an ideological point, namely that women are as strong as men and can do anything that men can do.

You would think, Ray Starmann reports at U. S. Defense Watch (via Maggie’s Farm) that the James Mattis military would have put an end to the nonsense, but, alas, it continues. Wouldn’t want to upset the delicate sensibilities of American feminists.

Starrman has the story, a story that you will not likely be reading in many other places:

In 2015, former Secretary of Defense Ash and Trash Carter desperately needed some proof; real or fraudulent, that women could hack it in the combat arms. The $36 million dollar, Marine Corps study couldn’t do that. It clearly showed in minute detail how all female and coed units were slaughtered by all male units in simulated combat.
Enter Captain Griest and First Lieutenant Haver, who, along with several other females, were attending Ranger School down at Fort Benning, Georgia. The word quickly went out. There would be one or two Lady Rangers presented to the world, in order to give Carter the ‘proof’ he needed to authorize women to serve in the combat arms and special operations forces of the US military.

Politicizing the military-- that’s the ticket. As for First Lieutenant Haver, what are the facts?

Meanwhile, US Defense Watch was given documents that showed Haver had been one of 50 women at Fort Carson, who spent 90 straight days preparing for Ranger School. In fact, Haver flunked land navigation repeatedly at Carson and should never have been sent to Benning in the first place. Even in the days of GPS, a Ranger who can’t use a map and compass is as worthless as a golfer who can’t putt.

Of course, the requirements are skewed, to the point of absurdity:

Two months later, Major Lisa Jaster, a 37 year old mother of two ‘graduated’ from Ranger School, in what can only be described as a Diversity Bridge too Far, in the army’s attempts to prove that women can successfully graduate from the course. A 37 year old man graduating from the school is miraculous, a 37 year old mommy of two graduating is a fraud….

After Mommy Ranger’s graduation, another baker’s dozen of female graduated from the school in the last three years.

It was hoped that Secretary of Defense James Mattis would eradicate the PC madness infecting the military, but to date, Mattis has shown himself to be just as worthless as Ash Carter.

Obviously, careerism and sucking up to political correctness prevail in today’s Pentagon:

In order to placate fools in Congress and their superiors, in order to pad their pensions, promotions and future defense contractor jobs, Pentagon perfumed princes have demanded female graduates from Ranger School, national security be damned.

What’s happening at Fort Benning is a disgrace to the brave Rangers who went before in Sicily, at Pointe du Hoc, on Omaha Beach, in Burma, in the Philippines, in Vietnam, Mogadishu, Iraq and Afghanistan.

What’s happening at Fort Benning is a fraud and a conspiracy that goes all the way to the desk of Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Has anyone wondered what happens to morale when different soldiers are held to different standards? Do the women who have fulfilled lesser standards command the same respect as other special forces operatives?

Monday, September 24, 2018

What Happened to Liberalism?

It began in 1846 in Great Britain with the repeal of corn tariffs. So says The Economist magazine and so reports Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post.

With the repeal of the tariffs, instituted to protect British corn farmers, liberal economic policies ascended. Free trade, free enterprise, free markets and limited government became the rule. And the world has not been the same since.

It is a wonderfully uplifting story… especially if you ignore the simple fact that the twentieth century was a charnel house. Whether or not you want to curb your enthusiasm, you should always curb  your optimism when surveying the movement of big ideas.

The old liberalism advanced the interests of the individual as against the state. But, we need to be careful here, because Germanic philosophers also had a notion of the individual and their notion did not involve free markets, free trade or limited government. So, let’s be clear, the British defined the individual as a free participant in free markets. The more German version, whether in Hegel or in Nietzsche aimed to produce a race of people who were not bound by any rules, but who were their own rules. No more free markets. No more free trade. Welcome to the police state.

Anyway, Samuelson explains the Western liberalism became “mushier” when it morphed into a statist version.

As he write:

Over the years, the staunch individualism gradually gave way to a mushier liberalism that called upon government to stabilize the economy and, through an expanding welfare state, provide economic security.

To be fair, Adam Smith believed that government had a role in the economy. He argued that coinage had evolved because only an objective outsider could guarantee that the gold piece in your pocket was really gold. The government guaranteed it by stamping its mark on it.

And yet, free markets ultimately produce uncertain outcomes. The same is true of any game. If you know the results before the game has begun, the game has been rigged. Modern liberalism, and its socialist cousin have defined the role of government to include: stabilizing markets and providing economic security. Whether or not this will protect us from pending economic calamities like the Great Depression remains to be seen. For all I know the faith in government is yet another misguided attempt to play god. These rarely end well.

Among the problems of big government, and even of international agencies, is that they promise more than they can deliver. They promise peace and prosperity for everyone, regardless of achievement. The promise equitable distribution of wealth and produce rampant inequality.

And, we must note, today’s liberalism, more radical than liberal, has glommed on to a series of dubious causes, like diversity quotas and transgender rights, and has tried to transform the culture to make it fulfill the dreams and hopes of Western idealists. Besides, the advent of multiculturalism and open borders threaten the cohesion of native cultures.

With the advent of massive welfare states, liberal democracy has ceased to work. Samuelson notes the important point. However much we believe that liberal democracy is better than the Chinese and Singaporean model of authoritarian capitalism, the latter has more in common with nineteenth century liberalism than do our current efforts to make government provide for everyone, even for people who have no legal right to be in the country.

Siphoning off wealth and investment capital does not promote economic growth. It makes government into a large scale charity, not a facilitator of free enterprise.

And it involves nations in an endless public drama about issues that have little to do with free markets or free trade. Debates over abortion rights, gun control and same-sex marriage distract from the business at hand. At worse, they undermine the work ethic that produced wealth.

It’s nice to consider that government policy, all by its lonesome, changed the world. It’s nice to imagine that repealing the corn tariffs set Britain on the road to prosperity… and, by the way, to imperial overreach. The truth is, British culture had practiced the values that made it possible for people to compete fairly in the marketplace and to accept the results. Values like good sportsmanship are essential to the functioning of a marketplace. Once you decide that the old British ethos, composed of pragmatism and empiricism, must produce outcomes that fulfill our ideals, we are heading down a road to ruin.

The Case of the Cold Husband

Here’s a problem for the ages. A woman writes to Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax to complain about her husband’s lack of affection. Apparently, he offers few hugs and few small gestures of kindness. He only seems to care about her when he wants sex. She is so miserable that she is about to call quits on the marriage.

I'd like to warn my husband that I'm unhappy enough that it could destroy us, but I'm not sure how to do it without an ultimatum. I'm unhappy with a general lack of affection, especially the G-rated kind. That bothers me all the more, like I'm only worth an effort when sex is involved.

We've had different versions of this conversation every few months for two years — everything from the serious and tearful, "I'm lonely," to a joking, "Pay attention to me." When I raise the subject, I'll enjoy the sweet forehead kiss, random hug or backrub for a few days, but it never lasts.

Am I overlooking a way to broach this subject? It doesn't seem fair to blindside him with a separation, but I don't want to be a "do this or else" kind of wife and won't stay in a lonely marriage.

She signs herself: Unhappy.

As always happens, she does not tell us anything we need to know to assess the situation. We do not know whether there are children involved, whether the one or the other wants or does not want children. We do not know who has what kind of job. In short, we are flying blind.

We only know that Unhappy is starved for affection… and that she keeps complaining about it. Or better, that she believes that the best approach is to lean in, to assert herself, to demand it. When did that ever work? Never….

She prides herself on not having offered an ultimatum, but that is the least of her problems. Shouldn’t she figure out that asking for affection is not a good way to receive affection? Isn't that the ultimate lesson here?

Unfortunately, Hax gets this one wrong. Here is some of her take:

This isn’t about ultimatums or even what you’re “worth.” This is about who you are and who your husband is, period. You are about regular, G-rated affection. Your husband is not. That’s it. You did the right thing by articulating what you wanted, and he did the right thing when he tried to provide it. But his inability — don’t torture yourself with “willingness” judgments — to show sustained affection contains essential information: His daily-affection set point is below what you want out of life.

In effect, Hax considers this a deal breaker. She condemns the marriage without knowing anything about it. She thinks that the husband is just not very affectionate, but she does not notice that having a whiny and complaining wife constantly demanding affection is guaranteed to produce the response that she is receiving-- no affection.

I would not have offered this letter merely to expose a new piece of bad and, in this case, potentially harmful advice. The letter was part of an online discussion. In the course of that discussion, one participant managed to offer some sane, sound and sober advice.

Here it is:

If I need a hug, I don't wait for hubby to hug me. I go to him and put my arms around him and we hug. Giving affection to him freely makes it easier for him to give me affection freely.

She signed her note: Two-way street.

Isn’t that the point. If you keep complaining about it and asking for it, it cannot be offered freely.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Is Rod Rosenstein Leading the Resistance?

Along with Alan Dershowitz and Steven Cohen, Mark Penn counts as a liberal Democrat who does not skew his political analysis. He worked for Bill Clinton. He worked for Hillary Clinton. And yet, he has not joined the Resistance… and thus has not weaponized his opinions in order to get Donald Trump.

Among the stories that have occupied our minds these past few days, we count the New York Times revelation that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein once contemplated taping conversations with President Trump, and to use the tapes to rally cabinet members to the cause of removing Trump from office via the 25th amendment.

As you know, the Times has stood by its story. Rosenstein has denied the story, explaining that if he talked about wearing a wire, he was being sarcastic. And Rosenstein also announced, somewhat belatedly, that he was not the author of the anonymous Times op-ed explaining that the Resistance was functioning within the Trump administration.

For the record, and based on no special information, I initially suspected that Rosenstein had authored the piece. If the Times is confident in its recent story about Rosenstein’s comments, perhaps they are basing theirs opinion on their knowledge-- they are the only ones who know-- of the identity of the author of the Anonymous op-ed.

Mark Penn analyzed the Rosenstein revelation in a column for The Hill. He began with a discussion of the “deep state,” explaining what it is, whether it is, and what it is trying to do:

People bristle when I sometimes adopt and use that term: “deep state.” But as an outside observer, watching the unmasking of the actions of one official after another at the FBI, CIA and DOJ, I have come to accept that an unelected group of well-educated, experienced individuals running these departments became inebriated with their own power during the last election campaign and apparently came to believe they were on a mission to stop, defeat or remove President Trump and his associates for crimes they would find or, if necessary, manufacture.

A cabal at the highest reaches of the FBI, the CIA and DOJ. Hmmm. How many of these people were Obama appointees? How many of them had taken Obama to be their Messiah? Think about the politics behind their actions, and their effort to undermine a democratic election.

But Rosenstein’s statement in response to the news accounts carefully avoids denying having discussed wiring himself or others in some effort to entrap Trump. This cabal is meeting and planning, post-Comey’s firing, despite the fact that Rosenstein himself in his memo to President Trump said Comey was “wrong” and the FBI could not regain lost public trust without a new director who understood his errors.

It seems Rosenstein also may have believed we needed a new president. Just days into his expanded role and after these conversations, he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel with a still-secret charter to investigate the Trump campaign and administration; the precipitating act was the very firing he recommended.

Is Rod Rosenstein leading the Resistance from within the government. Amazingly, these deep state actors are trying to undermine democracy in the name of what they call democracy.

Arrogantly, Penn writes,

... those in the deep state ... convinced themselves that they would rescue our country from ourselves. They were on a mission, it turns out, not to save our country but to undo our democracy, and Rosenstein finally has been unmasked as having the attitudes and conflicts we all suspected.

What do the Washington elites really think? Penn explains:

Whether it involved sending missiles to Syria after chemical attacks on civilians, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, or firing Comey, Trump actually has moved ahead and done some of the things that Washington elites complain about but go along with out of some extreme sense of caution and timidness. And those acts are then branded as some kind of lunacy.

It doesn’t matter what Trump does. The deep state actors say that it is a species of madness. But really, Penn continues, was it madness to consider assassinating Syrian dictator Assad. What if we ask about some of the foreign policy failures of his predecessors?

Perhaps the true headline item in Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” is that Trump was so incensed at the murdering of women and children by Syria’s Bashar Assad that he actually raised the idea of taking out the dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people. Sheer madness? Hardly. President Obama stood idly by as mass murder happened in Syria, and President Clinton’s biggest regret is that he did too little to stop the massacres in Rwanda; he believes 300,000 lives could have been saved had he sent in troops earlier. It’s presidential inaction in the face of madness that has proven most dangerous to the world. Ask the Crimeans.

Should Trump fire Rosenstein? Should he do it before or after the mid-term elections?

Rosenstein’s most vociferous supporters are saying that firing him would be another Nixonian Friday night massacre.

Trump supporters trust no one any more. They believe that the story of Rosenstein’s comments about the 25th amendment was designed to goad Trump into causing a constitutional crisis by firing Rosenstein. Thus, Trump supporters are saying not to do it, at least not now.

As for seeing Rosenstein as the leader of an in-house Resistance, Penn explains:

Until now, Rosenstein has escaped real scrutiny despite this series of defiant statements and actions. He managed to make it impossible for the president to step in and remove him, or for Congress to supervise him, claiming he reports to some higher authority that he defines as his commitment to the rule of law.

Trump does have other options. Among the most intriguing is to appoint a second special prosecutor to investigate the in-state Resistance:

After the midterms, though, he could instruct the attorney general to appoint — or, perhaps, do so directly himself — a second special prosecutor to investigate the actions of the FBI, CIA and DOJ in the Clinton and Trump investigations. Over 70 percent of Americans in the Harvard/CAPS poll believe such a counsel should be appointed now. If Democrats take over Congress, there will be no way without that appointment to continue investigations that have turned up real malfeasance of the sort by these officials. Democrats have other plans for their investigative powers, if they get them.

And also:

Whatever you want to call these well-heeled members of the intelligence community and Justice Department, many of whom now have book and speaking contracts, it is clear they all engaged in a conspiracy to bring down this administration on the basis of unverified information, and to turn the most basic acts of presidential power, like the firing of Comey, into obstruction of justice.

The more information that comes out here, the ever more egregious the actions of all of these officials appear in the light of day.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mental Health Is Other People

Justly famous philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once averred that: “Hell is other people.” However brilliant Sartre was-- and he was brilliant-- that does not mean that he was offering a useful guideline for how to conduct your life.

Nowadays, certain academic philosophers are trying to advance their careers and perhaps even to rescue philosophy by arguing that it’s all therapeutic, but we are within our rights to be skeptical about the notion that great minds become great by giving out great advice.

The notion that reading Nietzsche will show you the way to either good mental health or the good life is absurd on its face. True enough, you might, by following his theoretical life plan attain to heights of superhuman authenticity, but you do better not to confuse that with mental health or emotional well being.

True, Nietzsche was a great philosopher, but his radical individuality required you to bully and abuse and overpower other people. Thus, other people exist so you will have foils, allowing you to demonstrate your amoral superiority by pushing them around. Dare we mention that this has given rise, perhaps only indirectly, to some of history’s greatest horrors.

Mental health professionals are doing considerably better than philosophers here. They have recently discovered that mental health and emotional well being are… other people. Therapists make money by offering therapy, whether insight therapy or pharmaceutical enhancements.

If they recognize that many modern citizens are suffering from loneliness, we can imagine that there is something to it. After all, they have nothing to gain by telling us that we can cure much of what ails us, not be dredging up the past, not by reliving our traumas, not by discovering what we really, really want… but be developing more cordial relationships with other people.

Dare I mention, if only in passing, that if other people are the road to mental health, solitude is not quite as valuable as it is knocked up to be. Admittedly, a great thinker like Rousseau liked his solitude. He famously wrote a book (unfinished) called: Reveries of a Solitary Walker. In it he suggested that human beings would find company in the natural world… and thus did not need other people.

For the record, William Wordsworth also made a fetish of walking alone in nature. In his poem “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud” he suggested that his perambulations through the English countryside allowed him to connect, even to empathize with daffodils. It must have been quite the communion.

That being said, it is clear that our culture contains a strong, well-defined current that extols the virtue of being alone. Now, psychiatrists tell us that it’s bad for our health.

The Daily Mail has the story:

Even doctors are calling loneliness an epidemic of the modern age.

Nearly half of Americans say that they feel lonely most or even all of the time, and it isn't just a detriment to their social lives and happiness; loneliness is bad for their health.

Plenty of studies have found strong links between loneliness and risks for just about every disease - from cardiovascular disease to stroke and even death on the whole.

The mental health profession has seen the danger for quite some time now:

The health dangers of loneliness are not new. A review of studies conducted back in 1988 identified higher rates of mortality, illness, injury, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure in lonely people, marking social isolation a risk factor for all of the above.  

Happily, physicians have discovered why loneliness is so bad for your health. Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Christopher Bullock, in particular, has analyzed the problem:

Social activity stimulates a variety of parts of the brain. Like our muscles, the regions of our brains need to be active in order to stay fit.

Several key areas 'atrophy,' so to speak, when we are lonely and isolated, according to Dr Bullock's blog post.

We start to lose gray brain matter in the regions that allow us to read the facial expressions, tones and movements of other people and that allow us to imagine what's happening in another person's mind.

Even if you spend most of your time alone, picking up on social cues like these isn't just important to making friends, it's a survival mechanism.

Meanwhile, regions of the [brain] that tell us something is painful thrive on our loneliness.

Scientists see greater activity in these parts of the brain when people are lonely. They have also observed an uptick in activity and chaos the amygdala, which regulates emotions and emotional responses.  

This part of the brain, the amygdala gets revved up and reacts to 'negative stimuli' - situations that are upsetting - more but has a harder time recovering from these experiences.

Similarly, the dorsal posterior insula, which regulates how painful something feels actually becomes more active when we are lonely, so injuries - which, incidentally, happen more often to people who are socially isolated - actually hurt more.

When you engage in social activities, even on the most elementary and superficial level, you are reading social cues and are making social cues. Thus, you are defining yourself as a social being, and not as a radical isolated and separated individual. Obviously enough, being isolated and separated from the group puts you in more danger. It causes your stress hormones to increase.

The cure is other people. It is not deeply meaningful relationships with other people. It is not deeply personal conversations. I note and emphasize the point. Dr. Bullock explains:

But Dr Bullock says that these effects can be reduced if not reversed even just by being in the presence of other people.

'People are anxiety relievers. And people are antidepressants, as well as blood pressure reducers (mostly). People, in general, are good for you,' writes Dr Bullock.

He suggests that even the distant presence of others during solitary activities - like going to a library or public place to read - can inspire the brain to give us more oxytocin, putting a damper on our soaring stress hormone levels.

Better yet, and more clearly proven, making a friend might be the best thing you can do for your health.

Now, ask yourself this: is working from home the same as working in an office? In the latter case you are surrounded by more people. In the former case you are isolated. Ought we to imagine that perhaps the latter is healthier and ultimately more productive than the former.

He concludes:

'Humans are social creatures. Among ourselves we form all kinds of complex alliances, affiliations, attachments, loves, and hates. If those connections break down, an individual risks health impacts throughout the body,' Dr Bullock wrote.