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