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Excuse my ignorance...?
It is out of ignorance that the sheep invites the wolf to dinner.
In a way, this was the first meme-demic. I’m not talking about internet memes even though there were some excellent ones throughout the last few years. I mean that in a more technical, selfish gene sense. The ideas that dominated the pandemic were extremophiles — resilient and stunningly difficult to kill.
While it is not hard to see that some of the spread of these ideas were due to the most extensive and predatory advertising campaign in history, much of the spread was self-replicating. And the foundations behind the ideas slowly mutated.
We saw that with vaccines where the original line is that they would stop the virus in its tracks and had no side effects. Over time, as those premises were disproven, the goal posts changed and changed and changed. Selective pressures meant certain vaccines, Astrazeneca and J&J, had to be sacrificed to ensure that the pandemic hysteria could be preserved. Some of the changes were due to the evolving virus, but most were due to the increasingly undeniable evidence.
Those who did not get swept up in the meme needed a growing number of paradoxical excuses to justify their increasingly totalitarian behavior. The logic was stunning and went something like this:
Public health officials told us masks don’t work, so we shouldn’t wear them. But they do work. Public health officials were just lying about them not working, so we should trust the lying public health officials and mandate masks everywhere. In fact, people that don’t wear masks must be removed from society and punished.
Sadly, that is not an exaggeration. I know people that took that exact position. And you probably do, too.
Obviously, the whole thing was crushed under its own weight and the default position of most people has been to pretend like nothing happened. Those who do not pretend like nothing happened have been forced to come up with even more excuses for their behavior. Scott Adams, for example, likes to take the excuse approach. A common stance of his is that there was no way anyone could have had more information than him and those that were right about all everything were just lucky.
A recent Op-Ed in the Atlantic by Emily Oster comes from a similar position. She claims that “we didn’t know”, so a pandemic “amnesty” is needed to justify the actions of those people whose minds were captured by the meme. Of course, that’s a silly position. There was far more information out there than the “we didn’t know” group will ever care to admit.
The literature on masks did not start in 2020 — we knew they did not work from the beginning.
It was well-established that the overuse of ventilators was dangerous and the benefits of ventilators are a matter of faith.
Social distancing was always comical exercise.
We knew early on that there was almost zero transmission outside. That didn’t stop gathering size limits in parks over a year later.
Recirculated air is an Urban Fact.
As a rule, there is no mechanical difference between being five feet and seven feet away from someone.
Even from the beginning, the vaccine trials raised alarm bells for anyone that read them closely.
We knew immediately that the virus was little concern for the young and/or healthy, and that knowledge only increased over time.
There were very early indicators of vaccine side-effects that would have paused further use of vaccines almost immediately in an environment without regulatory capture.
We can continue with our list, but the point is that most of the skeptics were pointing all of this out for a long time. They were vilified for their troubles. Evidence, data, and arguments were ignored and dismissed by the people that are now feigning ignorance. Instead, they chose to act as a seamstress, systematically tearing at the fabric of society in the name of the meme.
But more importantly, none of the above points needed to be true. Anyone that has even skimmed a history book should have known that totalitarian methods lead to totalitarian outcomes. Thanks to those that begged for totalitarianism as their default position, the damage is now done. Trust in the institutions is simply no longer a possibility after every single one of them arbitrarily decided that might makes right. Simply put, in most western nations, the thin façade of constitutional protection no longer exists for all intents and purposes.
And we are supposed to pretend it did not happen because people like Emily Oster “didn’t know”?