Friday, July 31, 2020

Auf Wiedersehen, Angela

Call me naive. Call me uninformed. But, for the life of me I do not understand why the foreign policy establishment, both left and right, is up in arms at the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw some troops from Germany.

Precisely why should the American taxpayer pay for something that the German government does not want to pay for. Most Western European countries are freeloading on American defense capabilities, and a step away from their dependance does not seem to be a bad thing. 

At a time when Germany wants to become dependent on Russia for natural gas supplies, why should America pretend that Germany is a staunch ally. At a time when Germany continues to support Iran and the Iran nuclear deal, why should we treat them as an ally. No one ever mentions the simple fact, namely, that if a nation wants to be treated like an ally it should act like an ally.

At a time when the German military cannot train with tanks, because it has no tanks, why should American soldiers bear the burden?

Since we are only talking about 12,000 troops, and while that still leaves around twice that number behind, how does it happen that the foreign policy establishment is going apocalyptic.

Caitlin Johnstone gathers together some of the hyperbolic rhetoric:

“Trump’s decision to withdraw US Forces from Germany shows a broad lack of strategic understanding. It sends the wrong signal to our adversaries and leaves our allies vulnerable in the face of increasing global threats. It’s simply unacceptable,” tweeted former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who as we all know is always correct about military matters.

“Did Trump give Putin a heads up on the removal of 12,000 US troops from Germany? Was there an implication it was a kind of down payment for election help, a taste of what could follow in a second term?” asks super smart foreign policy expert Bill Kristol.

“US to withdraw nearly 12,000 troops from Germany in move that will cost billions and take years,” warns a CNN headline that is both helpful and totally sane.

She continues:

NPR’s national security correspondent David Welna informs us that the move is “a slap at a longtime ally frequently reviled by President Trump.”

“There’s no strategy behind the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Germany,” says Slate foreign policy pundit Fred Kaplan.

“It’s about the president’s anger and ego.”

“The plan outlined by the Administration today to remove thousands of U.S. troops from Germany is a grave error,” said Senator Mitt Romney in a statement. “It is a slap in the face at a friend and ally when we should instead be drawing closer in our mutual commitment to deter Russian and Chinese aggression. And it is a gift to Russia coming at a time when we just have learned of its support for the Taliban and reports of bounties on killing American troops.”

“A special gift to Putin and a blow to NATO,” tweeted former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

“Donald Trump is not playing on America’s team.”

Of course, these people cheered when Barack Obama said that he would be more flexible with Putin. They defended Obama when he sat idly by as Putin took over Crimes, when he walked away from Syria and when he canceled missile defense systems promised to Poland and the Czech Republic-- because Putin wanted him to.

If Mitt Romney thinks that the withdrawal is a grave error, that means that it's a good idea. When Iran was putting bounties on American troops, none of these people uttered a word. Anyway, we all know that Germany has not been acting like a friend or an ally. This ought to cost it something.

Do Black Minds Matter?

Anyone who really wants to improve the lives of American blacks should pay special heed to the views of Daniel Henninger. He points out the flagrantly obvious-- namely, that the greatest damage to black lives and especially black minds is imposed by inner city public schools. The worst performing students in the worst schools in the country consign children to lives of quiet, and at times not-so-quiet desperation.

The solution, as we and many others have often noted, lies in the expansion of charter schools. In New York City inner city children who attend Success Academies perform exceptionally well in academic competition. Their scores are comparable to those of children in the toniest suburban schools.

Of course, the Democratic Party, being in vassalage to the teachers’ unions, are opposed to charter schools. They will do everything in their power to shut them down, and thus to ruin the lives of more and more inner city black children. 

Henninger frames the issue correctly:

We’ve spent two months talking about almost nothing but the policing of inner-city neighborhoods. But for my money, no public issue more clearly defines the overlooked stakes in this election than the future of educational achievement in the big urban school systems spread across the U.S.

The black lives most at risk are the young men and women living in the nation’s poorest urban neighborhoods, attending the worst-performing public schools in the U.S. 

The Biden platform has aimed at ridding the nation of charter schools:

If Joe Biden wins on the basis of his current policy course, those young black lives will have next to no chance of their schools improving in the next four years. This version of the Democratic Party laid out its schools road map in the recent Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, which proposes both to reinforce the public-school status quo and suppress its competition from charter schools and private schools.

Of public charters, the document says, “we have learned that there must be guardrails on them if they are to receive federal funds.” That’s a terrible abuse of “guardrails.” They don’t want guardrails for charters. They want roadblocks.

It does not quite say so outright, but it has included a poison pill. Namely, the charter schools will be judged in relation to the performance of children in a district’s other schools:

This is the killer proposal: “Require that federal funding for charter schools in any district be conditioned on a district’s review of the financial and academic impact of a new charter school or a charter school that wants to expand on that district or neighborhood. The Education Department would have the ability to deny federal funding for charter(s) if the district’s analysis shows that it is (1) financially distressed or (2) the charter would systematically under-serve the neediest students.”

Henninger concludes:

This means appointees in a Biden Education Department could—and would—come up with myriad bureaucratic reasons to withhold federal funds and weaken the existing network of charters. They can’t kill charters outright, but they can turn the oxygen counterclockwise.

In truth, the Obama-Biden administration had already mandated a rule that makes education nearly impossible in those schools. It chose to make it far more difficult to suspend or expel unruly students, thus undermining classroom discipline. Obviously, the bureaucrats instituted the rule because it noticed that more black children were being suspended and expelled. Thus, in order to have better looking statistics, it damaged every child's prospects.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Joe Biden on the 2020 Census

Just in case you don't understand why Senile Joe Biden does not do many interviews, take a look at this, from yesterday:

Should We Always Follow the Science?

For all the sanctimonious mewling about how we should follow the science, the truth is, as Dr. Joel Zinberg explains, that science does not offer clear direction when it comes to making policy.

One might and one should recall the words of David Hume, to the effect that science is about what “is” while ethics is about “should.” "Is" and "should" are not the same thing. In effect you cannot reasonably get from "is" to "should."

We live in a world when a band of idiots has told us that, in some cases, science is settled. In truth, as any decent scientist will tell you, science is based on skepticism. There is no such thing as settled science. There are settled dogmas, which you must believe lest you be expelled from a religious institution, but there is no settled science, not about the climate and not about the pandemic.

While politicians tell us that the science about tomorrow’s climate is settled, a serious thinker like Ludwig Wittgenstein has taught us that there is no such thing as a scientific fact about tomorrow.

Moreover, the people who are telling us that we should follow science, because they are in love with facts, also believe, as an article of superstitious faith, that an individual whose trillions of chromosomes are XX can become a boy, simply by changing her mind. They insist that the girl’s brain is typed male, which merely describes what happens when someone entertains a delusional belief. 

So, science is a convenient higher power, one that is trotted out when the godless among us want to trick us into doing something that is not very smart.

Dr. Zinberg reminds us of opinions voiced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, opinions that the good doctor has since reversed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci—and this is not meant as criticism—has epitomized the public-health diagnostic process with multiple, incorrect, early pronouncements: In January and February, he downplayed the risk of person-to-person spread; he expressed doubt that asymptomatic people could transmit the virus; in late February, he reassured the public that, “at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis”; and in March, like many other public-health officials here and abroad, he said that, outside of health-care personnel, ordinary people should not wear masks. In fact, both Fauci and Surgeon General Jerome Adams suggested that mask-wearing could increase a person’s risk of being infected. All these assertions proved wrong.

So, if people were not running around in masks the reason was that the great Dr. Fauci told them not to do so:

Dr. Fauci now espouses the opposite of each of his earlier statements, but there is nothing wrong with that. As economist John Maynard Keynes purportedly said, “When the facts change, I change my mind—what do you do, sir?”

Making policy, Dr. Zinberg continues, requires us to balance different goals and different interests. We must take into account the damage to people’s lives that will ensue if we shut down the economy or if we lock people down or if we reserve all hospital beds for coronavirus patients:

Policymakers have to balance multiple, competing factors while working with imperfect information and uncertain science. In a pandemic, infectious-disease experts can advise that shutting down the economy will limit the spread of deadly disease. But experts from other fields might warn that the same action will also throw millions out of work and lead to increased deaths of people unable or unwilling to obtain medical care for emergencies and chronic diseases, more suicides, and more drug and alcohol abuse.

And, once the experts are proven wrong, by their own admission, they lose some of their credibility. 

Americans were told that there was no evidence that face masks were protective, or that, at best, they might help protect other people, but not the mask-wearer himself. Now Fauci has explained that the main rationale for discouraging mask use was not really the belief that they don’t work but to preserve an adequate supply of masks for health-care workers. Small wonder that some opponents of mandatory mask-wearing say that they’re not convinced masks are helpful, and that they may even be harmful. They can be forgiven for wondering why masks were necessary and protective for health-care workers but not for them.

As for the side-effects of the lockdown policy, the Financial Times reported this morning that the mental health of the British has taken a turn for the worse during their lockdown and social distancing:

Almost two-thirds of people in England have suffered from anxiety and poor sleep during the lockdown, compared with less than half beforehand. Respondents also reported a rise in binge eating and suicidal thoughts.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Return of the Repressed Cultures

Harvard professor Samuel Huntington described what he called the clash of civilizations. In the twentieth century, for instance, Western liberal democracies clashed with socialist dictatorships. It fought a hot war against the Teutonic monstrosity called National Socialism and fought a Cold War against totalitarian socialism, aka Communism.

Culturally speaking, the two socialisms were not exactly identical. Naziism asserted the notion that raw power, and unabashedly shameless brutality could win out over a culture that valued gentility and social harmony. Communism proposed that a culture based on big ideals could defeat nations that valued empirical science and pragmatic solutions. 

They both lost out in the clash of civilizations. And yet, some defeated cultures do not go quietly into the night. It has been millennia since the monotheistic culture established by Moses overwhelmed pagan idolatry, and yet, we still hear calls today, from our celebrity necromancers to our psycho therapists to return to paganism, to bring back whatever remains of these dead cultures. They pretend to be seeking a higher truth, but they end up finding a lower truth.

As we watch the heirs of the Storm Troopers producing pogroms in America’s cities, we become persuaded that the Nazi threat has not receded. It has returned with a vengeance, through the activities of young people who consider themselves to be leftists. What was Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, if not yesterday's Portland, Minneapolis and Seattle.

After all, today's students have been taught the practice called deconstruction in college. I suspect that they were not taught that it was concocted by a Nazi philosopher. And that it is really nothing more than a fancy term for pogrom. So, they are out in force practicing what they were taught.

So, Naziism is not dead. It has returned to America in activities practiced by brainwashed young people. One might say that we are seeing the return of the repressed, but it would be more accurate to say that we are seeing what happens when young people are stupid enough to believe in the return of the repressed. People will go to great lengths to prove that they were not wrong, were not conned, were not gulled, were not seduced.

I know that everyone believes that they want power, buy I respectfully demur. If they had power they would be held accountable for their actions. And that is something they cannot abide. No, theirs is a pure will to destroy, to destroy what others have built, the better to pretend to be stronger-- even though they are incapable of building anything.

The pogromistas are sore losers. They are being led by Hillary Clinton and today’s Democratic Party. For all their drooling over democracy they have consistently refused to accept the result of a fair election. They are a disgrace to democracy.

And, of course, Communism has not died. It has merely resurfaced in the Democratic Party platform, influenced by Soviet-loving socialist, Bernie Sanders and the band of imbeciles called the Squad.

True believers in the religion of socialism are at war against capitalism-- because they could not stand losing. In many ways these groups are more communistic than the Chinese Communist Party. They are certainly interested in shutting down dissident speech, because, to their minds, anything that defends capitalism or the religion of the patriarchs must be shut down.

So, today’s socialists, with their grandiose offers to give people everything they need, without anyone's having to earn it, repudiate the Protestant Work Ethic and an economic system that produces wealth. As everyone knows, the socialist dream appeals mostly to children and to overgrown children and to sore losers. It appeals to people who expect to be provided for, because they are lovable.

As you know, and as Margaret Thatcher famously opined-- socialism works until it runs out of other people's money. Socialists do not consider for an instant where the money is going to come from.

You would have thought that the countercultural silliness about the Revolution would have gone away, what with the defeat of socialism. And yet, such is apparently not the case.

We look at the streets of Portland and other cities, we listen to the Marxist rhetoric strained through the filter of racial redress, and we—some of us—feel that some great wrong is being expiated. In reality, the old wrong of that Hobbesian “perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death” is making its way in the world in a new disguise. But the fact of the disguise is hardly surprising. “Seldom,” Burke writes, “have two ages the same fashion in their pretexts and the same modes of mischief.” 

He continues:

That is where we are now, in the midst of a howling “juvenile activity” that would destroy the United States, even as our guardians, long marinated in the liquor of bootless feelings of guilt, make themselves unwitting collaborators in their own destruction. 

It’s all about resentment and repudiation. It’s about people who have bet on the wrong horse, wanting a do-over, refusing to believe that their horse lost.

History to the revolutionary spirit is but a gigantic warehouse of resentment and a toolbox of repudiation. Who is pure enough to survive such scrutiny? “It is not very just,” Burke writes, “to chastise men for the offences of their natural ancestors; but to take the fiction of ancestry in a corporate succession, as a ground for punishing men who have no relation to guilty acts, except in names and general descriptions, is a sort of refinement in injustice belonging to the philosophy of this enlightened age.” 


History to the revolutionary spirit is but a gigantic warehouse of resentment and a toolbox of repudiation. Who is pure enough to survive such scrutiny? “It is not very just,” Burke writes, “to chastise men for the offences of their natural ancestors; but to take the fiction of ancestry in a corporate succession, as a ground for punishing men who have no relation to guilty acts, except in names and general descriptions, is a sort of refinement in injustice belonging to the philosophy of this enlightened age.” 

Yes, indeed, it reminds us of the first great modern revolution, the French Revolution. We know how that worked out.

The messengers have changed their garb, but the hooligans smashing up courthouses and police stations as they pursue a course of indiscriminate carnage are fired by that same unholy “train of disorderly appetites” that Burke anatomized. We’ve been here, done that, and believe me, it does not end well. 

Here’s a fun fact to close. Modern French intellectuals used to say that the peasants stormed the Bastille in 1789 because they wanted to liberate its most famous inmate. That would have been the Marquis de Sade. Why was de Sade in prison? He had gotten into the habit of drugging and raping women. Evidently, this made him a hero to the revolutionaries and to subsequent generations of French intellectuals.

It resembles the idea that American women mounted a campaign against sexual harassment, marching in pussy hats in the name of the nation’s leading enabler of sexual harassment. So embittered were they that they had lost the ability to think.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Is Donald Trump a Russian Stooge?

I am not sure what to make of this, but I am sure you will. It's President Trump's approval ratings in different countries, as discovered by Gallup.

At the least, it suggests that is not a Russian stooge.

Female Therapists, Vanguard of the Revolution

Elizabeth Naham is not her real name. She does not write under her real name because she is an East Coast therapist. As you might imagine, an East Coast therapist who does not toe the party line on feminist cultural issues will soon be out of work. Or will be canceled. Or will be deplatformed. Or will be doxed. 

Because the American left is liberal, it tolerates differences of opinion. Not.

Naham does not write an advice column. She does not get to offer sane and sensible advice to American citizens, because, well, she leans politically right. And yet, she functions within the psycho world, one that has become an instrument of brainwashing. And one that, increasingly, has been a woman’s domain, where feminist orthodoxy passes for scientific truth.

In her American Thinker article, Naham explains how the feminist left has taken over the therapy profession, to the general detriment of patients. And she explains that therapists are the hidden persuaders, exploiting their patients’ suffering to indoctrinate them in leftist ideology. 

Their enemy is traditional culture. She does not define what she means by traditional culture, but, compared to the madness that is sweeping through the American mind, you can pretty well guess.

Naham opens her essay:

Malcolm X once stated that the black community’s greatest enemy was the white liberal. If he were living now, perhaps that perspective would change and narrow to white liberal women. Many of us recognize that white, educated, liberal women are becoming the enemy of any remnants of traditional culture.

Over the last few years, these white, guilt-ridden women have become a force for promoting identity politics and the demonization of men. One does not see this more than in the professions of human behavior and mental health. As an East coast therapist, I have heard stories about microaggressions concerning race, sexual orientation, and sexual identity. For those of us who do not subscribe to this increasingly fanatical, Orwellian creed, we either self-isolate or are ostracized. The silence of dissenting voices is the mandate of these Left-wing females.

True enough, leftist women have been out in force promoting identity politics. Since their goddess, Hillary, lost the last election, they are happy to demonize men, especially white men. About the fact that Hillary was the nation’s leading enabler of sexual harassment, they have nothing to say. 

Of course, any woman, like Naham, who admits to having voted for Trump will be immediately defriended:

A couple of years ago, I ended a friendship that was increasingly eroding over politics. This person, a therapist also and a once-upon-a-time uninformed moderate, would deny political discourse was the reason. Still, on a fateful day, she asked how I could have voted for Donald Trump being the moral person she thought I was. 

Now, members of the psycho professions, not being especially smart themselves, simply parrot the language of the radical left. It makes them feel like celebrities. And it makes them feel smart. They are so woke that they have adopted the woke pronoun usage that makes them sound like functional illiterates:

Since that time, most who are within the behavioral health disciplines have increasingly embraced the extreme language of the left. Although other enlightened diversity experts promote the narrative, female therapists are at the forefront signing their names with preferred nouns and pronouns such as She/Her/Her. Now, there are at least thirty-seven pronouns. Another friend of mine, a therapist who worked on a college campus, became so confused with some of the pronouns that she asked a student if she could just refer to them by name. Begrudgingly, the student said yes.

Of course, these therapists are women. (The therapy profession is no longer open to males.) And, being feminists, they have gotten into the business of pimping out young women-- for the cause. They are encouraging women to engage in sexual activities that Naham-- and yours truly-- thinks are counterproductive, not conducive to peak mental functioning:

Therapists now often identify clients as cis-gendered, those who maintain their ”assigned” birth sex. Straight, or gay, no longer suffices. Most therapists are women and are driving the narrative. A few months ago, one therapist courageously questioned the idea of people having casual sex in such realms as polyamory. She indicated how some viewed these behaviors as hurting them. Unfortunately, this therapist received pushback on this old-fashioned and judgmental position. At some point, she caved, thanking another therapist for enlightening her.

Naham’s psycho colleagues ignore the fact that in most societies, women set the cultural norms. 

Many well-degreed females from all professions are joining together as fair and just sisters to upend society. These purportedly illuminated women emphasize the significance of differences, but only involving those in agreement with their standards. How about those between men and women? We can’t say, never mind do. These so-called oppressed women often blame white men for the patriarchy inflicted on them. As in other cultures, women often set the tone for societal norms. We could say that about societies where the women carry out Female Genital Mutilation to advanced countries where women insist they are no different than men.

In truth, the hookup culture would not exist if feminists had not been encouraging young women to give "it" away for free. Naham notes an important point, one that is never acknowledged, namely that women who hook up are traumatized by the encounter, even if they have consented to it. 

I have seen several older and young women who have acknowledged the emptiness of the hook-up culture, which arose out of being liberated to “be like men.” Although there was no name for it, one of my long-term, over sixty-year clients acknowledged the pressure of the 1970s and 80s concerning these issues. Even back then, such behavior for women went from being pinned with a scarlet letter to being rewarded with a badge of honor. Did most of these women feel good about themselves? The answer to that is a resounding “no.” Will they admit that publicly? No, again.

A few months before COVID, a delightful client, a college student, was going out on the town with her friends. She told me they would probably drink and hook up. When I asked what the hook-up meant, kissing or more, including sex, she said rather sheepishly that it depends, because it is part of the culture. This Gen-Zer is a composite of many young women who succumb to this peer pressure. Most of them anesthetize themselves to endure the lack of connection with a stranger disguised as an intimate coming together.

So, leftist women are punishing the country for not electing their one true love-- Hillary. They have bought into leftist thinking and are purveying it under the guise of mental health. One day, with any luck, the insurance companies will wake up and stop paying for it. Unless, of course, it is cognitive or behavioral treatment.

White, educated, liberal females are not retreating from their collective mantra any time soon. Under the guise of "white male oppression," they continue to set the stage for increased moral relativism and cultural rot for all. These mama bears are allowing their children to be indoctrinated by this feel-good because it is a feel-right portrayal of history, literature, art, science, and politics. Until these formally educated women become truly enlightened about their vast freedom and power, society will continue to slide into a slow but steady decay. Ladies, wake up. It is time to get genuinely ”woke.”

Monday, July 27, 2020

Can New York Recover?

As though to rouse New Yorkers from their torpor Karol Markowicz has offered some advice for how to revive the city. Consider this post a complement to the prior post about the downfall of Midtown Manhattan office buildings.

Markowicz proposes that our political leaders take charge of the situation. An amusing, though slightly unrealistic option.

The minimum that needs to be offered to New Yorkers hoping to return is security and stability. Instead, we have a hapless mayor, a preening governor and no path forward. Workers can live anywhere right now. Why would they choose the Big Apple?

As the media breathlessly reports on the wondrousness of Gov. Cuomo-- whose state is second to New Jersey in per capita coronavirus fatalities-- neither he nor the mayor seem to have anything under control.

Markowicz begins sensibly by suggesting that New York needs first to open the schools:

First, we must reopen schools full-time. So many New Yorkers are waiting to hear guidance on what schools will look like in September before planning their ­return. But last week, the mayor said it might be September before a decision is made. That’s far too late. New Yorkers see their governor on TV hawking a poster proclaiming victory over the coronavirus, yet schools, previously in Phase Four, have moved off the chart completely.

Schools bring stability to a city, and New York needs to be stable right now. If parents don’t have full-time schooling for their kids, and need to keep their kids at home, they will opt for more space outside the city, and it won’t be a difficult decision.

Point well taken.

The second proposal is simply for a return to law and order. The police must put down the rioting. Duh.

Second, the protests have turned into riots. They must be put down. This is no longer about free speech. The “protesters” wreak havoc. There hasn’t been a sign with George Floyd’s name on it in weeks. A violent, radical fringe has consumed the well-meaning movement. The Commie tent city next to City Hall can’t be allowed to return.

Third, Gov. Cuomo keeps changing the rules about business reopening. He has already inflicted more damage on the state economy than has any other American governor.

Last, Cuomo needs to stop harassing already-struggling businesses. Business owners tell me how the rules keep changing, whether about how they can open or, if they’re open already, how they can stay that way. Two weeks ago, Cuomo demanded that bars serve food with drinks; then, last week, he added that the food needed to be “substantial.”

If you want to have wings and some beers, that isn’t enough. This kind of thing will drive owners to madness and impel them to flee our state. People need to ­return to a functioning, confident city. Lay off, Cuomo.

We need to give our elected officials two choices: Bring back New York City — or get out of the way.

As for the Cuomo economic record, the Wall Street Journal has the story:

Job losses in Northeastern states have been more severe than in the rest of the country. But New York stands out even in the Northeast for the size and scope of job losses, which have resulted from Mr. Cuomo’s reluctance to ease his lockdown orders even now that new infections are under control.

Over the last year employment has declined by 15.3% in New York compared to 14.4% in Massachusetts, 13.4% in New Jersey, 11.8% in Rhode Island and 10.3% in Connecticut. The only state that has lost more jobs than New York is Hawaii (16%), but its economy relies mostly on tourism and travel.

So, in order not to become too despairing, we now have a program for restoring New York, if not to greatness, at least to functionality. At the least, Markowicz analyzes the situation and shows how our leftist mayor and our liberal governor have botched the pandemic. She even gives them a road map, one that they are most likely to ignore.

Hollowing Out Midtown Manhattan

Some of us Manhattanites do not work in midtown office towers. We do not work in downtown office towers either. We are holed up in more modest circumstances, and thus are detached from the everyday desolation that has come to define life in New York City.

Michael Wilson has now offered a glum but beautifully drawn picture of life in Midtown West. He begins with the life of the great office towers and moves on to the people involved. 

He opens:

Editors and account managers at the Time & Life Building in Midtown Manhattan could once walk out through the modernist lobby and into a thriving ecosystem that existed in support of the offices above. They could shop for designer shirts or shoes, slide into a steakhouse corner booth for lunch and then return to their desks without ever crossing the street.

It is frankly catastrophic:

Midtown Manhattan, the muscular power center of New York City for a century, faces an economic catastrophe, a cascade of loss upon loss that threatens to alter the very identity of the city’s corporate base. The coronavirus’s toll of lost professions, lost professionals and untold billions of lost income and tax revenue may take years to understand and resolve.

Other neighborhoods are rushing to reopen, while Midtown remains stuck in a purgatorial Phase Zero, its very purpose — to bring as many human beings together as possible — strangling most hope of a convincing comeback in the foreseeable future and offering a sign of what may lie in store for business districts across the country.

Upstairs, floors are mostly empty, as companies reassess their need for office space, raising serious questions about the future of the city’s commercial real estate market. 

Downstairs, streets were lined with the creature comforts that made working in Midtown not only bearable, but even fun. They are vanishing, and with them, the men and women who fed, clothed, poured drinks for and drove the people in those tall buildings.

The Men’s Wearhouse below the former Time & Life Building, now named 1271 Avenue of the Americas (its address), remained boarded up for months. The store reopened early this month, its role in offering and tailoring custom business and formal attire perhaps never less relevant.

The staffs of the steakhouses were furloughed months ago. Mr. Ahmed, the hot dog vendor, looking over what should be prime real estate outside Radio City Music Hall at West 50th Street, said he was thinking of cutting back to every other day.

Empty offices, shut down boutiques, closed restaurants. Some people will be able to work from home, but most of the lower end employees will not.

The subway system data is not encouraging:

Subway data tells a story as stark as Mr. Ahmed’s cart. Take the Rockefeller Center subway station, a major stop for four train lines and the point of entry and exit to the neighborhood for workers from all over.

Last year on June 24, a Monday, there were 62,312 MetroCard turnstile swipes as riders entered the station. On the comparable Monday this year, June 22, the number of swipes was 8,032, a staggering 87 percent decrease.

In jeopardy of extinction, at least in its known state, is the corporate office culture at large — its corner suites and cubicles, water-cooler movie reviews, coffee breaks, office crushes, shoeshines, black cars. Happy hour, “Mad Men.”

And then there is the impact on real estate:

The emptying out of Midtown has had a profound impact on the Executive Plaza, which opened in 1986 at Seventh Avenue and West 51st Street in what had previously been the Taft Hotel. Its more than 400 apartments, rented out to companies based in the area, including The New York Times, have been temporary homes to countless employees, executives, trainees, foreign correspondents visiting their home bases and Broadway performers — including the Rockettes and Santa Claus — needing a short-term place to stay.

But since the city shut down in March, many of those corporations, with no one traveling, have not renewed their leases. So the building has pivoted, persuading the owners of the apartments to cut rents for a new kind of tenant.

It would be interesting to do the same study of Wall Street and downtown office buildings.

As I said, Wilson offers an excellent picture of a city in decline. His was more descriptive than analytic, but the next piece should be about how much of the destitution comes from failed politicians. A city that elects Bill de Blasio and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not long for greatness.