Saturday, December 26, 2020

Confessions of a Branch Covidian Apostate


Do you know how many people I had over to my house for Christmas? As many as I wanted.

I hope you did the same, whether that number was zero or had a comma in it, because this needs to end, and right now.

As an early advocate of safety measures to guard against this Coronavirus (I even wrote and recorded a song in support of the effort), I no longer believe a single word of the official narrative on this disease, prepositions included.

Even taken at face value, the logic of what we are instructed to accept does not hold together. A disease with a recovery rate well above 99 percent, which poses real danger only to the elderly and those with underlying conditions, necessitates that you may or may not be permitted to purchase grape soda, depending on the whims of your local authorities.

Deaths from all sorts of causes are attributed to the illness, and it is undisputed that the Centers for Disease Control admitted that 94 percent of its reported Covid mortalities died with or from other symptoms. And yet petty government tyrants and their neighborhood-level acolytes continue to trample freedom and fun in the name of “safety.”

Out of necessity, “cases” have replaced deaths and hospitalizations as the metric of doom. Hospitals have never been overrun – which was, the older among you may recall, the original justification for “15 days to slow the spread” at the start of this madness.

People (or a certain sort of person, anyway) can be seen pridefully sporting masks everywhere they go, including alone outdoors or in the car. In severe cases, the masks are personalized and pompously conspicuous, as though they are wearing a piece of the One True Cross.

Masks are worse than useless and, if your fingers are faster than Google’s censors, you can find sources ranging from the US Surgeon-General at the beginning of the year to the recent Danish study explaining why. If and when this insanity ends, we may find mask-wearing caused countless deaths from bacterial pneumonia, as was the case after the Spanish Flu of 1918.

And yet, they persist, despite (and perhaps because of) the demonstrable incompatibility of undisputed facts. Corona-worship has become a cult and I am an apostate from the Branch Covidian.

A cult in service of whom? You need not believe all of the Great Reset theory to appreciate that, at every level, this delirium serves someone’s interests.

That fusspot at the store who yells at someone or rams their shopping cart for not observing the grotesque secular sacrament of “social distance” was looking for someone to afflict. Government-types, elected and unelected, who, despite all the bilge about “public service,” campaigned or signed up to wield some measure of power, are stunned and delighted at just how much power they now hold. And yes, at the very top, there may well be billionaire lizard-people who planned it all (Bill Gates, call your office).

Whatever their station, people are finding excuses to behave how they always wanted.

Again, this is so transparent that if you are still mouthing the official line without irony, I must conclude that you are mentally defective, or in on the scam, or both.

Speaking of Doug Ford, the premier of Ontario has locked down Canada’s largest province yet again, concurrent with the now-familiar dazed and concerned argle-bargle about cases and that new strain in England and how the real heroes are the ones who eat alone over the sink. This, as Ford has admitted that his government is including suicides among the number of Covid deaths.

There is no evidence that lockdowns have saved a single life, anywhere in the world. And yet that suicide number is interesting, for reasons beyond the obvious derangement of including them in the quantifiable rationale for isolating people even more.

In an honest-to-goodness death-trap of a pandemic, as we were told to expect, you would likely have a large and growing count of those known to you who had passed away from the disease. Perhaps you do know someone who died of Covid, in which case you have my condolences. The one person I knew who succumbed was, indeed, elderly and, things being how they are, I have a dark opinion of the veracity of the death certificate.

What is more likely, however, is that you have a list of people who have lost their livelihoods, who have not seen their parents or their grandchildren all year, and who have contemplated, or committed, suicide as a result of this humanity-throttling mass hysteria.

A word on that “new strain” in the UK (incidentally, if I were a lizard-person scripting this whole thing, that’s just the sort of plot twist I’d toss in right about now): As I watched Britons cramming into airports and train terminals, a chilling thought occurred to me. They were not running from the disease, they were running from their government.

Britain’s Prime Minister, the previously palatable Boris Johnson, has become more unrecognizable and plunged deeper into Covid madness than any other world leader. What new level of insanity would his lockdown fever reach? His once-free people did not care to find out.

Decades of war did not displace the Vietnamese people, but when the tender mercies of communism were upon them, they fled. Heathrow was the embassy roof in Saigon, writ large.

And so it goes, all over the planet, until there is nowhere left to run.

I can barely control my own home, let alone the whole planet, but, to the extent I can, this madness ends now. I will welcome whomever I choose, and send away whomever displeases me. Government agents will require not only written authority but, most likely, the use of force to gain entry.

Being Canadian, this is not how I prefer to behave. Even so, it must be done.

Convenient as it may be to say I dissent from Covid orthodoxy because I don’t care about other people, or I want to kill grandma, that is not the case. I just don’t believe the story anymore.

Theo Caldwell wanted to be left alone. Contact him at

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Christmas is not Caesar's

  Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. – Matthew 22:21

From the very first Christmas, there has been some self-important government official who thought the day was all about him. When Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world should be taxed, and regular people undertook the massive inconvenience of traveling to the land of their birth to be counted, everyone assumed that was the big news.

As we know, nestled within the moving throngs were some previously unknown people, whose story is what we celebrate today.

And celebrate we must, since, just as Augustus sought to bend the world to his will, Caesars large and small are trying to cancel Christmas now. Of course, the stated rationale is public health and safety; but incontestably good intentions are always how tyranny advances – at least, at first.

There are times when it is appropriate to obey local authorities; for example, paying taxes (the topic of the scripture quoted at top), or observing traffic laws. Celebrating Christmas is not one of them.

A lot of people went without birthday parties this year. But by golly, Jesus won’t; not on my watch.

You need to spend Christmas with your loved ones, to the extent you are able. If you cannot, do not let it be because some petty tyrant told you to maintain “social distance” (a repulsive yet apt neologism).

This unsolicited (and, doubtless, immoral and illegal) advice is offered for two reasons. First, it will not just be this Christmas. So long as people continue to comply, this regime of lockdowns, restrictions, and things you can no longer enjoy will never end. You may have seen news of the new, “super-contagious” Covid strain in the United Kingdom. That will be the next step, with mutations and complications lined up thereafter, to maintain the culture of control to which our leaders have become addicted.

Second, Christmas is not only God’s day, but it is the ultimate link that remains between Him and us in our secular age. Moreover, those who wish to rule you know that.

In his lament that his countrymen “didn’t love freedom enough,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, “how we burned in the camps later,” for not banding together and resisting when the authorities came to scoop them up, one by one.

This Christmas, this year, is that moment to band together. If we do not do so, then every future holiday – Easter and Christmas, in particular – will be permitted only with the sufferance of the state, if not prohibited outright. Again, not only is that no kind of way to live, but it is an inversion of where true authority lies.

All this is proposed with the full understanding that holidays, even with those you love most, can be a challenge. The memories and aesthetics of Christmas, both within families and as embraced by the wider culture, are not always so sweet and glorious as we suppose.

For example, I am not one hundred percent certain I would want to spend a family Christmas with Bing Crosby.

Relatedly, much as I enjoy the song, one wonders how that little boy concluded that a woman who had just given birth, and was convalescing in a stable, needed to hear a drum solo.

It is not a question of whether you still trust politicians and bureaucrats on the nature of this disease and what must be done (I do not). The decision of how to commemorate the most important event in human history is not within the remit of your local heath czar.

To grant them that authority is to assume the people in charge know what they are doing, and have your best interests at heart. There has never been a government in world history of which either of those things was true.

God trusted you with what is most precious to Him – other people – and it was not so they would “stay safe.” It was so His love could shine through you to them, and vice versa.

Now, if you have concluded that the best way to love your fellow man is to stay away from him this Christmas, then perhaps we are done here.

But if you believe, as I do, that keeping people apart at this time of year is above the government’s pay grade, then you have a duty to keep Christmas in your own way, in defiance of the edicts of your home prefecture. If you allow them to stand between you and God because of some crisis, real or exaggerated, then they can do it for any reason.

A society such as ours, which has studiously rejected all that is eternal and good, has no answer for death. Fortunately, an answer has been provided:

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.’” (Luke 2:10-14)

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Karen Force, Assemble!

Are there enough silly women and wine moms to force us all to get vaccinated?

Perhaps like you, I have been mulling the advent of this totally-not-mandatory vaccine and how it might play out. The question above is the purest I can distill it.

Any truly bad idea that finds legs in modern culture, from banning plastic straws to drag queen story hour, requires a certain sort of woman in its vanguard. The idea rarely starts with them but, for whatever reason, there is an archetypal, entitled fusspot brigade eager to make it go.

Call them Karen Force, or something similarly martial and impressive, but they are the ones you need on your side if you want to make things worse.

In a wealthy society where basic needs are met, people will cast about for meaning, exaggerate dangers, and often presume that their mission is to thwart some grand threat. Add to that at least three generations, and counting, of imbuing every female with infallible, superhuman qualities (assuming she holds the proper political views) and watch what happens.

If a man talked about himself the way women are constantly encouraged to do, you would correctly assume that man was a mental case.

“I am incredibly strong, brave, and independent!” A man declaring such a thing would be hooted down. But if a woman said it, they’d put it on a T-shirt.

It starts early. By all means, send your daughter to school in a “Girl Power” shirt. Adorable and empowering! Send your son to school in a “Boy Power” shirt and the women who run the place would burn the building down, then salt the earth so nothing could grow again.

Perhaps neither sex should go about claiming empowerment on the basis of immutable characteristics, but finer minds than mine can debate that.

In any case, the end result is a societal cohort that is immune from self-criticism, prone to bad ideas, and which refuses to think things through.

We live in a secluded, cul-de-sac neighborhood. There is little signage on our streets and people move about more or less as they wish. Occasionally, someone will do a foolish job of parking, such that their car is directly opposite someone else’s, thus narrowing the road and necessitating delicate maneuvers for other drivers to get through.

On seeing this recently, one local woman exclaimed, “They should make it illegal to park on one side of the street!”

What she was expressing, quite correctly, was that people ought to be more considerate as to where they leave their cars. It seemed unlikely, however, that she had contemplated the practical effects of her proposal.

It would mean unsightly signs, perhaps posted on her front lawn, enforcement officers and other authorities taking an interest in our quiet neck of the woods. One can imagine this same woman, mad as a wet hen, raging after receiving a parking ticket in front of her own home.

If one had the courage, in that moment, to point out that she was merely on the receiving end of a policy she had advocated, it is reasonable to expect the logic would be lost on her. She might respond with a furious, blinking expression, as if to say, “Your point being?”

Again, her underlying sentiment is sound. Society functions on what Lord Moulton called “Obedience to the unenforceable.” But laws and rules are like heroin to such people. They must have their fix.

Which brings us back to the vaccine. Let us suppose there were no controversy regarding the safety of this hurried concoction, or its necessity to prevent an ailment with a recovery rate above 99 percent. The most recent proposals are that, while the vaccine will not be legally mandated, proof of vaccination will be required in order to travel, attend crowded events, or enter public places such as playgrounds.

This approach has been loudly championed on social media and in neighborhoods like mine, particularly by women such as I have described.

But even with 100 percent of the population cheerfully lining up to be jabbed as Bill Gates tents his fingers and coos, “Excellent” like Monty Burns, those provisions would need to be enforced.

Do we want marshals stationed at local parks, checkpoints and papers required wherever we go? Regardless of the reason or how deeply ingrained the mindless mantra “safety first,” is that how you wish to live?

Almost a year into this, with restrictions increasing rather than decreasing even as we learn that the disease is treatable and not especially deadly, please do not demean us both by saying, “It’s just until this is over.”

This will never be over until we rise up and take back our freedoms. At this point, we have a large enough sample size of government behavior to make that call.

“There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program,” averred Milton Friedman. Remember that time over a century ago when government imposed a “temporary” tax on income to fund the war effort? QED

Chances are good that the women declaring everyone be vaccinated or ostracized have at some point proclaimed, or hoisted a placard reading, “My body, my choice!” As with the hypothetical parking ticket above, they well might miss the inconsistency.

“This is different,” they may retort, “you could harm someone else!”

“You mean, like a baby?” one might reply.

At this point, you could expect to be blocked, doxed, and fined by the HOA.

For whatever it is worth, I have no plans to receive the vaccine, no matter what public events they bar me from. In my case, I and those in my orbit may mutually consider that a blessing.

It is often said that before tearing down an old wall, one should determine why one’s ancestors built it in the first place. Likewise, before building a cage, consider carefully whether that is where you wish to live.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sacrifice on Demand


If I found myself demanding the rest of the world live like this just to keep me safe, I like to think I’d die of shame.

Christmas reminds us that God took human form, in one of the harshest eras in history, and became a willing sacrifice for all mankind. Currently, people who don’t believe in any of that are demanding you sacrifice everything to make them feel better.

Freedom is dead as disco and safety is all the rage. You can find it everywhere on TwitFace; comments like, "YOUR freedom ends where MY health begins!" This is often followed by some mangled analogy of Oliver Wendell Holmes yelling "Fire!" while wearing a seatbelt in a crowded theatre. 

And then they leave it at that. The little darlings honestly believe making it all about themselves is checkmate.

One can scarcely blame younger generations, having been raised in a therapeutic culture of self esteem, self-involvement, and the constant cataloguing of what they are "going through."

It is of a piece with our zeitgeist of grievance, complaint, and the harnessing of that energy to exert power.

Identity politics is all about dictating rules to other people for being in your presence. Call me by this name now, not the one you have known; agree that I am this “gender” and not the one we both know me to be; refer to me by this made-up pronoun, not any of the real ones that are available. Do this, or I will bring the wrath of the state and the mob (to the extent they remain distinguishable) down upon you.

There is no nobility in that, only self. It evinces a bitter, even demonic, desire for control over others, and an urge to punish and inflict pain.

No one is truly harmed by being called by the wrong name and, if they are, that is on them. For most of humanity, our ancestors eked out survival upon brutal terrain. If you cannot keep it together when your uncle fails to call you “Moonbeam” on command, you are beyond our aid.

Brushed back by the accusation that they are being selfish, the young may retort that Covid restrictions are not about them, but about protecting the elderly. 

Finding myself in the September of my years, I can attest that aging is no picnic. Apart from the lovely things one must daily learn to leave behind, one becomes vulnerable to old pleasures that become new dangers. 

Perhaps the elderly would like to speak for themselves, and not with one voice. Many understand the reality of time as I have just articulated. 

Conversely, if you are willing for forego what might be your final family Christmas in obeisance of bizarre ordinances, then I question your priorities. 

Moreover, if after a long life of freedom you insist younger generations live in captivity so that you can dodder on a little longer, then you and I would not have been friends at any age. 

"Captivity" is the word. You will notice those in charge are not even pretending anymore. From "15 days to flatten the curve," which sounds downright adorable now, they are promising years of masks, restrictions, and lockdowns, even if we follow their insane and capricious commands to the letter. 

Everyone eschews the word "mandatory" in reference to the forthcoming vaccine, while threatening that those who refuse to be injected with this absurdly rushed concoction will be unable to buy, sell, or participate in normal life. That is a de facto mandate, if not de jure.

We can dispense with talk of the slippery slope or where this all might lead. Days from now, your church will be shuttered for Christmas. People attempting to worship will be fined and arrested. Seemingly normal citizens will call the authorities on their neighbors and police will break up families eating together in their homes.

We are through the looking glass, people. 

All of this, it is claimed, is for a virus with a recovery rate over 99 percent, and from which nearly all mortalities occur in those who have pre-existing conditions and/or are beyond average life expectancy.

But this is not about a disease, or safety, and even the most committed Faucists would admit it, if they were honest with themselves. If “We are all in this together” sounds risible or minatory to you, that is because it was always an order, if not a threat.

The human desire to control others is a dangerous thing and, once indulged, it is insatiable. That is why politicians and bureaucrats – who talk of “unity” even as they have not missed a paycheck – no longer give dates or timelines for when this will end. They would not know how to stop, even if they wanted to.

All of it turns the notion of sacrifice on its head. The official aesthetic is of cheerful giving, but the reality we are living consists of compulsion, intimidation, and enslavement.

Compliance is not a virtue and compelled sacrifice is nothing of the kind. It is theft – of life, of dignity, and of freedom.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tired of Lies Yet?

If you are allowed to say it in public, it probably isn’t true. You know this.

You know that all lives matter. You further know that men cannot get pregnant. And you definitely know that to say as much out loud could very well cost you your livelihood, your public voice, and endanger your home.

We live in a world where we are constantly obliged to lie – about everything, all the time.

How long do we want to go on like this? How long can we?

There is a magnificent, cosmic poetry to the fact that citizens of our empire of lies now go about with their mouths covered up.

In the realm of governance and policy, we have just witnessed perhaps the largest lie of recent history.

I did not vote in the US election, nor have I written or spoken a public word about it until now, but it is a lie of consequence.

As commentator Dan Bongino has been saying, “Epstein didn’t kill himself and Biden didn’t win.”

Population growth and demographic changes notwithstanding, Joe Biden did not get 15 million more votes than Barack Obama. Or are we to believe it was Joe who propped up the ticket in 2008 and 2012?

This is the OJ Simpson trial of elections. Everyone knows the truth, but will only admit it if it suits their purposes.

Perhaps you agree with the purpose, in this case. You may dislike Trump. People do, I am told. But on some level, the part of you that is still human must know the election is a lie.

On issue after issue across the cultural landscape, we are drawn into skirmishes and pitched battles between obvious truth and dehumanizing falsehood.

And what a depressing war this is turning out to be. Other generations had powerful, fearsome foes who, evil though they might have been, at least engendered respect.

My enemies are rich women who take pictures of the Amazon driver for not wearing a mask, post them online and say, “Let’s make him famous!”

And to be clear, they are my enemies. We are not on the same side, we do not want the same things, and we are not all in this together. If you do things like that, if you try cancel or shame people, or if you surround their home – whatever team you’re on, I’m on the other one.

The election larceny was qualified above as “perhaps” the largest lie of recent history because, as you well know, there is a spiky-headed virus about that plays by its own rules.

It cannot be stated often enough that we are dealing with an illness with a recovery rate above 99 percent, and for which several therapeutics and multiple vaccines are available.

In my native Canada, of more than 10,000 reported Covid deaths, just 175 occurred outside long-term care facilities. And these are the official figures, the belief in which requires one to set aside all the chicanery with deaths from other causes being lumped in and blamed on Covid.

And yet, despite fewer than 200 deaths outside an identifiable cohort in a country of 35 million, we lock life down. People say, “What else can we do?” as though we have not already done this.

Hordes of police descend upon business owners who try to open, even as actual criminals are released for fear of the plague. The authorities have a stronger response to disobedience than to danger.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his towering essay “Live Not By Lies” (dated February 12, 1974 – the very day the secret police broke down his door and shipped him into exile) asked, “What kind of tricks are they playing on us, and where are they dragging us?”

The architect of Solzhenitsyn’s oppression, Vladimir Lenin, famously declared that “useful idiots” would bring his hellish dream to life.

We live in a time of useful idiots and useful lies.

So much of what people say now reads like an angry government brochure. It is joyless and banal, filled with admonitions and commands they have learned phonetically, but cannot possibly have thought through.

Profanity is sprinkled in, to make compliance seem edgy: “Just wear the damn mask” and “Stay the f--- home!”

People sneer at freedom as though it were a conspiracy theory. This contempt for our most precious God-given right is what makes it seem like war is imminent or underway.

To believe the official story on anything nowadays – from Covid-1984 to “President-Select” Biden to the elemental, obvious facts of daily life – one must be willfully blind.

Do you want to believe these things? Does this make existence more comfortable, and is that why you were brought into the world?

Let us hope not. You and I must therefore ask ourselves: Are we tired of lies yet?

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Covid and the Death of Proportion

I am old enough to remember when you could have a different point of view without imbeciles accusing you of murder.

Scroll through social media, if you must, and witness the sputtering rage at those who do not wear a mask or who fail to “social distance.” The insults and accusations, along with the grotesque and vicious fates wished upon the non-compliant are astonishing. What is this?

The immediate answer would be that lives are at stake and those who do not do as they are told put others at risk. But there is a great deal we now know to be untrue, or at least questionable, about all that.

From US Surgeon-General Jerome Adams, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and others cautioning against masks earlier this year, to their enforced ubiquity over the summer and autumn, to the recent Danish study concluding that they have little to no effect, the science of masks is very much unsettled.

Add to this that a major cause of death during the Spanish Flu was bacterial pneumonia from mask-wearing and the position of the bare-faced is at least defensible.

“Social distance,” meanwhile, apart from its function as a hideous and era-defining neologism, is an arbitrary notion, 6 feet being both the space between us and the depth of a grave.

Looking again into the maw of social media, you will from time to time see others making these reasonable and unremarkable points. This does nothing to lower the dudgeon.

What you will often find is someone claiming special status to stifle debate. Some relative, or acquaintance, or even some Facebook “friend” they have never met has succumbed to the disease so for them, this is serious, serious business, and your contrarian views are unhelpful at this difficult time.

I have always wondered about this self-identification as a special case. Once advanced, is no one else allowed to offer an opinion in your presence? What if I could find someone whose tragedy was worse – in this instance, say they lost two acquaintances or three Facebook friends? Would the original complainant be compelled to silence?

It is akin to when you are angrily asked whether you are a doctor. I am not, and most likely neither are you. Having had the privilege of knowing several respected physicians, very few of them talk this way online.

But as to that, one side will appeal to “the science,” choosing as his champion, say, the aforementioned Dr. Fauci. Those opposed may select Dr. Scott Atlas as their avatar. What then?

Do we lower both men of learning into the arena and witness the results? “Are you not entertained?” bellows one as he decapitates the other.

Or do we veer toward the “scientific consensus,” necessitating that each side choose several doctors who support their views and they battle en masse like the news teams from The Legend of Ron Burgundy?

More forgiving types say people are speaking from fear, resulting in disproportionate anger. But I see precious little fear out there. Rather, it seems many are having the time of their lives and using this virus as an excuse to behave how they always wished to.

It is often said that if you want to get a mob together, promise them they’ll get the chance to hurt someone. Not overtly, of course; but convince them that the target has it coming.

This is human nature, however your scientific or religious worldview defines it – primal, fallen, what-have-you.

Dr. Atlas has been both hailed and condemned for stating that the lockdowns, restrictions, and hellish “new normal” being constructed round about us will not end until people rise up. Detractors have accused him of inciting “violence.”

Violence is upon us, whether we see it or not. The violence done to our souls, to our humanity, to logic and our way of life is real and growing. If future generations have the capacity, it will be unsurprising if they calculate the human toll of this regime to have been far worse than the disease itself.

And that is before we consider the actual violence, and wishes of prison, penury, and ruin, visited upon those who do not comply.

No disease in human history has brought such restrictions on global freedom. This, for an illness with a recovery rate well north of 99 percent, and for which multiple therapeutics and at least two vaccines are available.

We must regain our sense of proportion and, as Christmas approaches, have a new birth of freedom.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

No Hugs Without Masks

I happened upon a lovely moment the other day. At least, it started out lovely before becoming, in modern parlance, teachable.

Whilst walking my dogs, I was greeted by a lovely family up the street. Their daughter, about 5, was playing with another girl around the same age on their front lawn.

The family is well known to me and their children love my dogs, so they came running to say hello. The little girl I did not know hung back somewhat. Her mother lingered by the front steps of the house and we were warmly introduced.

I do not recall the mother’s name but, since I am fairly certain it was not “Sally,” let’s call her Sally.

After the neighbors’ children had said hi to the pooches, they went back to their games and we continued on our way.

As you may know, some dogs are filled with energy and blessed with speed, such that they go zipping about faster than sound. Mine are the other kind. Every blade of grass contains eternal mysteries worthy of sniffing. Every. Single. One.

Consequently, though we had made our departure in conversational terms, we had not traveled more than a few feet when the two little girls were told by their mothers that it was time to say goodbye. The two moppets ran toward one another, arms wide.

“No hugs without masks!” Sally exclaimed, stopping the children in their tracks and crashing their smiles. In an attempt to ameliorate her harsh tone, Sally then cooed, “I know, I know, but we can’t have hugs if we’re not wearing our masks.”

Before analyzing the substance of Sally’s pronouncement, let us please consider the “we” in there. It’s always “we” with such people. We’re all in this together. We’re all on the same team. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

The implication is that there is only one acceptable view or course of action, we all concur, and you’re a damnable splitter if you disagree.

At any given time, but especially as the march of Covid-1984 continues apace, it is uncomfortably true that we are not all on the same side. To take this example, if you believe 5-year-olds should not hug unless they are wearing surgical masks, in the battle over where our culture is heading, you need to lose.

This may sound ominous to those on the other side because, in saying such a thing, they assume I mean what they would mean. They would mean silencing you in the public square, endangering your livelihood, perhaps publishing your address and surrounding your house, maybe even destroying your property or harming your person.

I would never dream of doing any of those things. Indeed, if anyone tried to do such things to you, regardless of your views, I would try to protect you.

There is nothing remarkable about me in this, or any, regard. That is simply how traditional people who believe in personal responsibility and individual liberty think. And the fact that we think like that is how civilization got built in the first place.

Anyway, back to Sally. Even if you believe every dire pronouncement from St. Fauci Himself, or whatever power-drunk bureaucrat is calling the shots in your home prefecture, there is no rationale for placing such restrictions on children playing together outdoors.

This is not especially noteworthy, since we are well past the point where Covid hysteria has become, like “climate change,” a religion for people who don’t believe in God.

What struck me most was the reaction of the mom who is my neighbour. She is as sweet a person as you could ever hope to meet but – how to put this? – she is a woman of a certain sort.

As examples presented without comment: This summer, she decided to write “BLACK LIVES MATTER” in giant, rainbow letters across our Canadian residential street. She has been seen to wear a shirt praising Elizabeth Warren (“Nevertheless, she persisted…”) for days in a row and, since her personal hygiene is above reproach, this implies she owns more than one. Finally, on hearing that, like her, my wife and I hold US citizenship, she pre-emptively declared, “Obama is still MY president!”

(On this last point, I owe her a debt inasmuch as I did not know Americans were empowered to chose our own, personal presidents. Very well, I choose James Polk.)

My neighbor was as startled and disappointed as the children by Sally’s declaration. Now, along with her Obama-blessing and Warren-whooping, my neighbor’s reaction to Covid culture has been exactly as you’d expect. She is up to date on the latest restrictions and rules, she takes social distance and quarantine extremely seriously, and she is ALL about safety.

But what Sally said seemed a mask too far. Not wanting to be contentious or contradict Sally directly, she used her words and expressed her feelings and even slipped in the incontestable We: “Aww, that makes me so sad. We love our hugs!”

Nevertheless, Sally persisted, and the kids bid a contactless farewell.

I wondered, as my overfed dogs and I made our glacial way up the street, whether I had just witnessed a pivotal moment in my neighbor’s thinking; a seismic shift or great awakening, like the birth of a star.

Almost certainly not. She will continue as she has done, as will I, as will you. But I was heartened to see that, even among those whom I consider to be deeply wrong about all this, there is daylight.

As both a Canadian and a Protestant, I have never been much of a hugger. But in defiance of this madness, with arms outstretched and no mask in sight, I am open for business.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at




Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Corona Virtue

Early on in this madness, I found myself in a drug store. By way of reference to the calendar of expert advice, this was when we were told, even admonished, not to wear masks. 

As I and others went about our shopping sans science burkas, there was a young woman in her 20s or 30s wearing a mask, going huffily up and down each aisle.

She must have had access to some dark web of corona compliance because, as pertains to masking and its attendant impatience with those who disobey, she was ahead of the game.

In any case, it seemed clear we had disappointed and/or enraged her and above her mask, her pleading, angry eyes sought out someone, anyone, to ask her about it. Perhaps you know the look.

Ordinarily, such a woman might be wearing "problem glasses" but possibly the mask caused them to fog and so she left them in the Prius. 

You know the type, so I shall not spend more words in her description. Please permit me, however, to dilate on a related matter.

There has been, perhaps intentionally, some muddying of the definition of the term "Karen." In some quarters, she is mistaken for someone who does as she pleases, assuming the rules do not apply to her. 

As an early adopter of the term, I rise to clarify its meaning. Karen (who can be male or female in this enlightened age) believes we live a world made of rules. Moreover, she believes she has been ordained, by the Almighty or the HOA, to enforce them.

Those who have twisted the definition are somewhat correct, inasmuch as while Karen goes about minding everyone else's business, she often excuses herself from the same constraints. 

As a local example, the Karens in my neighborhood will allow their dogs to run off-leash in areas where it is clearly prohibited, including on other people's property, yet call the authorities if they suspect someone else's dog is unlicensed. 

But it is the burning need to bring enforcement upon others that is Karen's defining characteristic. This is why she wants to speak to a manager. Her needs somehow have not been met, and they never will be. There is a poetic sadness behind that haircut.

Our drug store heroine was, by way of appearance and vintage, a tad young and slight for Karenhood. As of this writing, I do not know if there is an agreed-upon term for a millennial Karen (Dakota?).

She was, nonetheless, agitated by our divergence from the world as she would have it and seemed eager, if not frantic, to do something about it.

There is a symbiotic relationship between this psychology and government power, especially of late. Localities across North America have been striving to cancel Halloween in the name of “safety.”

In my own neck of the woods, having perhaps determined they do not have the legal authority or enforcement power to cancel Halloween outright, they have instead “suggested” children not go out this year.

Local message boards are rife with frets of "kids stacked up" in schools, at close quarters and breathing.

As someone said, kids can basically mainline Covid-19 and they’ll be fine. The little blighters are not very good at spreading it, either. These are undisputed findings from the alphabet soup of approved sources – WHO, CDC, et al.

No matter, there is panic to be had and rules to be created.

One might diagnose Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy if folks were genuinely afraid. But so many appear to be enjoying this too much. It is a dark, mirthless joy, born of controlling and condemning people. 

You can vilify others for what, until the day before yesterday, was perfectly normal behavior. There are government snitch lines dedicated to reporting on them. For Karen, this is Christmas (or whatever secular winter event she observes). 

Implicit in this flurry of convictions is one's moral superiority. This is the essence of Corona Virtue. 

Show what a superb mother and splendid citizen you are by worrying aloud about non-existent threats. Simultaneously, allow yourself indulgences as needed. 

This is why environmentalists fly private, even as they admonish you for flying coach. It is also why Karen herself will go maskless, as will her Patron Saint Fauci (may he preserve us from all non-conformists and independent thinkers, now and at the hour of our sniffles). 

It has been some months since my fear of the disease was surpassed by my terror at the authoritarian culture it has occasioned. 

The percentage of the population at risk of death from Coronavirus is infinitesimal and identifiable. Corona Virtue, however, threatens us all.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Defund the Tone Police


The Tone Police are out in force. Were they tipped off? Asking for a thought criminal.

If you are a normal person, with normal views of the world as it obviously is, you understand what it is to live in this time of ours, when the most basic truths must be inverted.

For example, if you consider it incontestable that men cannot get pregnant, you understand.

You know that in the Current Year, if you’re allowed to say it, it probably isn’t true.

It stands to reason that you are also familiar with the degrees of coercion applied to make you repeat things that you and everyone within earshot, including and especially those pressuring you, know to be nonsense.

It begins with appeals to civility, politeness, and good citizenship. This is Good Tone Cop.

You want to be accepting, don’t you? You don’t want to be rude, do you? We’re all in this together, are we not?

This is how decent, otherwise sane people find themselves repeating madness about gender, excusing away crime, and wearing masks while driving alone.

Good Tone Cop often affects an uptalking, minatory tone; asking nicely, but letting you know that if you refuse to comply, you won’t like what happens next.

And what comes next is Bad Tone Cop. This character is all about dox and destroy. He (or often, she) lacks all sense of proportion and will never, ever let it go.

But unlike the dogged detective protagonist of so many movies and comics, Bad Tone Cop is not the good guy.

Cancel Culture is Bad Tone Cop’s lockup. But Bad Tone Cop has more violent and aggressive means and is eager to use them. BTC has superb research capabilities, can easily find your home address, and would like nothing more than to round up a posse and come on over.

In all their incarnations, the Tone Police are fond of disqualifying labels, rendering those with dissenting views as illegitimate.

Be warned that you will almost certainly be called some or several names from their “istophobe” arsenal.

You may also be called toxic, hateful, even unhelpful. Learn to live with it. Moreover, if whatever you are doing even slightly corrodes our current culture of lockstep conformity and absurd, deathly obsessions, bloody well good for you.

Fortunately, most of us have developed antibodies, both to being called racist and to paying much attention when hearing the insult hurled at others.

Right up until the moment their teeth are bared and their truncheons come out, the Tone Police will appeal to your sense of comity, asking you to compromise with what you know to be incandescently stupid and/or outright evil.

A good analogy I have heard is that if one person wants to build a bridge over a river, and another person does not, it is not a sensible compromise to build the bridge halfway. The truth is not always somewhere in the middle, as people are fond of saying.

Sometimes, uncomfortable as it may be, someone is right and someone is wrong.

For me, the issue that has prompted me to take crayon in hand and write again is this global health panic and its crippling effect on liberty. The masking, monitoring, and restricting of people by power-drunk politicians and their conformist allies in the general public must be stopped or, I believe, our freedom will slip away forever.

The sight of actual police assaulting formerly free citizens for non-compliance makes me feel that a line has been crossed. If you have read this far, you likely feel it, too.

I am not willing to build the bridge halfway by compromising for another few months. You see, I am old enough to remember “15 days to flatten the curve.”

Perhaps you have seen, or experienced, some or several of the degrees of tone policing brought to bear on dissenters lately. At the initial, benign, Good Tone Cop level, you are inconsiderate, impolite, and anti-science. As we progress to Bad Tone Cop, you may find your online presence restricted or erased, your livelihood imperiled, and actual police may come to your home and arrest you.

The enforcement starts with words, with tone, with appeals to the better angels of your nature to go along because we are all such dear, dear friends.

While I hope to see you all in Heaven, the nettlesome truth remains that we do not all want the same things, and we are not all in this together.

Consequently, while I wish you good health and I pray that I am wrong, there is one phrase of this tumultuous year adaptable to my meaning:

Defund the Tone Police.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at

Friday, October 16, 2020

Please Help Yourselves to this Tripe


If you are anything like me, you have friendships based entirely on quotes from The Simpsons.

In my case, I don’t even like some of these people, and they probably have little use for me but, in an uncertain world, it is comforting to find souls who speak in the same abstractions.

For example, if I said to any of them, “Thank you, I DO enjoy working at the bowling alley,” they would know at once that my wife is expecting.

Surveying the landscape of sudden experts in surgical masks, the utterance from which I would want them to tickle coherence is: “Apparently my crazy friend here hasn't heard of the food chain.”

For readers who are less than fluent in Simpsonese, please allow me elucidate.

It comes from the episode aptly titled Lisa the Vegetarian, wherein Lisa Simpson, Springfield’s answer to a question nobody asked, decides to forego eating meat.

In response, her school shows the students a propaganda film from the Meat Council, gloriously titled Meat and You: Partners in Freedom.

It is a magnificent piece of nonsense, ably narrated by Troy McClure, referring to those who eschew meat as Grade A morons, euphemizing slaughtered cows as graduates of Bovine University, and displaying the aforementioned food chain, which shows humans eating, among other things, squirrels, camels, and (ahem) bats.

Lisa’s classmates, who previously had evinced no interest in or knowledge of the subject, suddenly become smug specialists.

As the film concludes, Lisa complains, “They can’t seriously expect us to swallow that tripe!” Her school principal immediately invites the students to the front of the room, saying, “Now, as a special treat courtesy of our friends at the Meat Council, please help yourselves to this tripe.”

The children rush forward to gorge themselves on the repulsive display of cow stomachs. As they do so, Lisa pleads, “Don't you realize you've just been brainwashed by corporate propaganda?” Her classmates respond:

JANEY: Apparently my crazy friend here hasn't heard of the food chain.

HAM: Yeah, Lisa's a grade A moron.

RALPH WIGGUM: When I grow up, I'm going to go to Bovine University!

From disinterested know-nothings to intolerant know-it-alls in the space of a filmstrip.; that’s how fast it happens. And that is why The Simpsons is the most trenchant social satire in television history.

It’s a risky thing, questioning someone else’s intelligence. Besides that it’s rude and they might be bigger than you, you also never know what they have seen. The most intelligent people I have ever known – including at least three bona fide geniuses – would never dream of speaking about other people in that way.

Relatedly, they would never refer to themselves as smart. Perhaps it is because they are just clever enough to see that the ocean of knowledge is vast and the ship of their mind is tiny.

I thought of this, and the food chain and Bovine University, as I repeatedly encountered the most recent disqualifying moniker for those with unapproved opinions: Anti-masker.

The label follows the tradition of “covidiot,” “climate denier,” and various iterations of “istophobe,” which at a stroke are intended to remove a person, along with their questions and views, from the realm of legitimacy.

The anti-masker sobriquet is often accompanied by accusations of stupidity which, coming from people who plainly fancy themselves intelligent, are oddly unoriginal. Some variation of “fell out of the stupid tree” or “the stupid lives loudly” or “why is this so hard to understand???” is commonly found.

(Relatedly, people who unironically preface their remarks with “Last time I checked” cannot be taken seriously. The science is settled.)

Like Lisa’s classmates, the people I have seen deploying the anti-masker term as though it were a rhetorical finishing move as devastating as Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ DDT had not, until very recently, shown any interest or erudition in the field of medical science.

The are actors, artists, musicians, what-have-you, and some are quite advanced in their fields. This is not by any means an appeal to expert authority (something toward which we should call cast a jaundiced eye nowadays). Everyone has a right to their opinion on any topic and it is absurd to suggest that only the Chief of Complicated Surgery at the Invasicare Clinic has any place to speak about Covid-19.

What strikes me about those un-personing others as “anti-maskers” is that not only have they absorbed just one viewpoint within the dynamic and complex environment in which we find ourselves, but they have simultaneously foreclosed the possibility than other views, and the people who hold them, hold any value whatsoever.

The topic of masks, which scientifically and aesthetically reflects much of the Covid debate writ large, is far from closed. Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control issued yet another clarifying statement, saying they have never claimed masks are to be worn for the protection of the wearer. Yet the CDC’s Director recently held up his own mask in an appearance before Congress, insisting it could be as or more effective than a vaccine in protecting him from Covid-19.

So, who is the anti-masker here?

My own literacy in the hard sciences in about on par with Ralph Wiggum, so my objection to masks is a matter of principle. Masks are what they look like: symbols of conformity, control, and subjugation.

If it were evident that ubiquitous masks were saving lives, or had saved even one life, I and other “anti-masker” mouth-breathers would be happy to hear it. But that is not where we are, even at the CDC, which, beyond the apparent disconnect between its Director and PR department, recently found that 84 percent of Covid-infected persons always (70 percent) or often (14 percent) wore masks.

In any case, none of that would rationalize hale and healthy young people wearing masks as they walk alone in the sunshine. They oughta have “Bovine University” printed across the mouth.

And that brings us to what is most horrifying about our current moment. Advocates of masks and lockdowns and the arbitrary 6-foot metric of “social distance” are addicted to power and impervious to reason.

They talk of “keeping everyone safe” as though it were still March and we had yet to identify the witheringly small percentage of the population that is truly at risk. We are told to hunker down and mask up “for a little while” as though we have not already been doing this for seven months.

The epistemological disconnect is terrifying to behold.

That is why I, as just one little anti-masker, am speaking out in my feeble way. I don’t want to lose friends and irritate people – which has happened and will continue apace once I post this piece – but I truly believe this is it.

If we do not stand up now for the freedom we inherited, we will lose it forever. And not long after that, we will forget we ever had it.

We have come too far and the stakes are too high to continue pretending we all want the same things and we are all in this together. We do not and we are not.

But as always, I would rather light a candle than curse the darkness. As I become more unpopular than I was already (a considerable achievement), when a mask-free face smiles at me in the street, whether than person has heard of the food chain or not, I see a new friend.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at