We mean, it’s not like we don’t fully understand why the psychotic, jackbooted Karens of the Covidiocy Brigades want to just MoveOn.org regarding their neurotic and fascistic behaviour of the last three years or so. Much like waking up the day after an Imperial three-day full weekend binge and just wanting everybody to forget that whole incident with the three goats, two strippers and an anatomically unlikely placed eggplant. We get it, we truly get it. (Except that it’s all a vicious lie. It never happened. We don’t even LIKE eggplants!)
But if Emily “Karen” Oster thinks we’ll just forget the past three years reign of terror… By Juno, is she going to be in for a surprise.
Let’s see if the Imperial Fisking Stick™ still works:
In April 2020, with nothing else to do, my family took an enormous number of hikes. We all wore cloth masks that I had made myself.
We’ll grant you at least half a point for having made your idiot DIY face diapers out of cloth instead of knitting them yourself, which we DID actually see examples of. But that’s about all we can give you, and that’s because we’re feeling generous today.
We had a family hand signal, which the person in the front would use if someone was approaching on the trail and we needed to put on our masks.
We’d love to know the secret signal for “Typhoid Mary Zombie Approaching, Raise Blast Shields”, to be quite honest, but we have to admit it’s amusing.
Once, when another child got too close to my then-4-year-old son on a bridge, he yelled at her “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”
Brainwashing a 4-year-old into behaving like a paranoid extra in a post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie, on the other hand, we don’t find quite as harmlessly entertaining.
These precautions were totally misguided.
One has to wonder what your first clue was. And “misguided” is entirely too kind of a word for it, but we’ll allow it for now.
In April 2020, no one got the coronavirus from passing someone else hiking.
Nor did anybody before or since. It’s not like variants of the flu virus are a complete unknown to mankind, you know.
Outdoor transmission was vanishingly rare. Our cloth masks made out of old bandanas wouldn’t have done anything, anyway. But the thing is: We didn’t know.
Yet you decided to act in a completely irrational, idiotic fashion regardless?
“Listen, I don’t know what the everloving fuck I’m talking about, but this is what I’m going to do!”
That’s an excuse?
“I’m sorry I burned my neighbor’s house down, but I thought he had termites and that the only way to prevent them from spreading to my house was to torch his abode. Totally understandable, right?”
I have been reflecting on this lack of knowledge thanks to a class I’m co-teaching at Brown University on COVID. We’ve spent several lectures reliving the first year of the pandemic, discussing the many important choices we had to make under conditions of tremendous uncertainty.
Which are exactly the conditions under which you should be extremely extra careful about making any choices at all until you’ve carefully considered the consequences, but never mind thousands of years of human experience, right?
Some of these choices turned out better than others. To take an example close to my own work, there is an emerging (if not universal) consensus that schools in the U.S. were closed for too long: The health risks of in-school spread were relatively low, whereas the costs to students’ well-being and educational progress were high. The latest figures on learning loss are alarming. But in spring and summer 2020, we had only glimmers of information. Reasonable people—people who cared about children and teachers—advocated on both sides of the reopening debate.
Only ONE side of the debate got deplatformed, fired, had their bank accounts closed, were banned from social media etc., however.
But hey, “mistakes were made, we all suffered equally”, right?
Nope, Joe Pedo Biden will stop groping children (some of which aren’t even his own family members) before we’ll forget or forgive THAT.
Another example: When the vaccines came out, we lacked definitive data on the relative efficacies of the Johnson & Johnson shot versus the mRNA options from Pfizer and Moderna. The mRNA vaccines have won out. But at the time, many people in public health were either neutral or expressed a J&J preference. This misstep wasn’t nefarious. It was the result of uncertainty.
We lacked definitive data on the efficacies of ALL of those rushed through shots, but your side rushed through mandates, firings if you refused to take your shot (and losing your livelihood is not a “minor” thing that you can easily forgive somebody to have forced upon you) regardless.
Yeah, let’s all just forgive and forget. “We didn’t KNOW!”
No, you didn’t. And you demonized, canceled and ran witch hunts on anybody who DID anyway. “We didn’t KNOW that Der Führer was lying when he said the Jews were the reason for all of the ills of our society, so can’t we just move on???”
Nope. Not ever. Not a chance. Bed. Made. Lie in it.
Obviously some people intended to mislead and made wildly irresponsible claims. Remember when the public-health community had to spend a lot of time and resources urging Americans not to inject themselves with bleach? That was bad. Misinformation was, and remains, a huge problem.
Oh, you mean when then President Trump suggested that we use bleach to disinfect surfaces (spoiler: we’ve done that in the health sector since bleach was invented. We know) and the Get Trump™ “Media” immediately invented a story about him suggesting that people inject themselves with it or drink it.
Yes, we remember when the American Pravda and Izvestiya made up those wildly irresponsible claims. If you’re calling for THEM to be canceled, we’re 100% behind you. If by “canceled” you mean “flayed, then boiled alive until dead on Pay Per View”, that is.
But most errors were made by people who were working in earnest for the good of society.
“We did it for your own good, you ungrateful, unemployed, homeless, bankrupt former business owner bastards!”
“For your own good.” Hear those words, then run. To your gun safe and start loading up every weapon you have and declare “fire at will.”
Every single dictatorship in the entire recorded history of mankind has always used “we did it with the earnest, good will intentions for the good of the people” excuse. See “Nuremberg Trials, The” for further. Hermann Göring, a well-educated and eloquent individual for a Nazi swine, in particular delivered a quite impassioned and earnest defense of his actions back then.
Fortunately, the Allies weren’t feeling particularly forgiving at the time.
Nor are we normals now.
Cogitate on that for a bit, Emily.
Given the amount of uncertainty, almost every position was taken on every topic. And on every topic, someone was eventually proved right, and someone else was proved wrong. In some instances, the right people were right for the wrong reasons. In other instances, they had a prescient understanding of the available information.
We say it again: Uncertainty is NOT an excuse for rabid, extremist overreactions. It is, in FACT, a red flag that cautions everybody with a functional cortex to think very VERY carefully about what they’re about to do next. If you’re not a medical professional, for instance, and somebody at the Thanksgiving table says he’s having chest pain, that is NOT an excuse for you to immediately grab the carving knife and crack his chest open with it unless you’re a cardiologist. And even an actual cardiologist wouldn’t do that.
And if you do it anyways, saying “well, I didn’t know any better” is very unlikely to do anything about the awkward silence around the table afterwards as Uncle Bob’s heart contracts for the last few times in the middle of the cranberry sauce.
The people who got it right, for whatever reason, may want to gloat. Those who got it wrong, for whatever reason, may feel defensive and retrench into a position that doesn’t accord with the facts. All of this gloating and defensiveness continues to gobble up a lot of social energy and to drive the culture wars, especially on the internet. These discussions are heated, unpleasant and, ultimately, unproductive.
We don’t know. Building scaffolds and gallows seems productive to us, but we’re just a lowly Emperor.
In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck.
And a more than a hundred years of accumulated knowledge about how viruses spread, proper precautions, side effects, studies and so on, but other than that? Pure luck. All of it.
And, similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing.
Depends. But yes, you’re right. Being an idiot, an imbecile, an ignoramus in the face of actual facts is not a moral failing. It’s another kind of failing. The kind that, in a rational society, would make everybody tell you to sit down and shut the fuck up if anything similar was ever to happen in the future. Of course, in a rational society, we remember when we had one, that wouldn’t be necessary. You’d be too ashamed of your idiocy to ever dare speak in public again. As it should be.
Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.
You really don’t understand how conflicts are resolved and how scorecards work, do you? Makes us wonder how you ever became an “economist”, but that DOES explain a lot about the situation we’re all in right now if you’re typical of what our institutes of higher learning churn out these days.
It’s a complex matter, but we can tell you how conflicts are NOT resolved fairly easily: You do NOT get to just escape the consequences of your actions with a “can’t we all just move along?” and pretend it never happened. Because that will guarantee that it WILL happen again. Can we both agree that we don’t want this to happen again, Emily? We’re going to assume good will on your part and say yes to that.
So first you have to identify those responsible for the adverse effects of the conflict and their “good intentions” don’t matter one tiny little bit in that respect. That’s where “scorecards” come in, because how else are you going to determine culpability? Once that has been done, THEN all of those made to suffer adversely as a result must be made whole to the extent that’s even possible. Ideally, any cost of such would be paid by those determined responsible in step one. THEN you can talk about resolution of the conflict and THEN you can “move on”, with the adversely affected parties left with the option to forgive and/or forget.
But not before. You don’t get to skip straight to the end just because you “meant well” in your own mind. That’s not for you to decide.
The victims of your “well intentioned” fascist measures get to make that call.
Until then, be at least gracious enough to shut up and silently pray for forgiveness, because if you can’t earn, yes, EARN that, then may G-d help you.
Because He’s the only one who can.