Those of you who still doubt that Covidians are dogmatic religionists whose illiberal embrace of irrational beliefs gave rise to the likes of the Spanish Inquisition should read this report from Charles Oliver:
A British Columbia judge has ordered a man not to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with his 11-year-old son or to share information on the vaccine with the boy. The man and the boy’s mom separated in 2016 and share custody of the boy. She wants to have the son vaccinated. The father doesn’t. The judge sided with the mother.
“Canada appears to be governed as you would expect of Wisconsin if California’s snotty political class were exiled to Madison. This puts generally nice, compliant people under the rule of an especially self-regarding and contemptuous gang” – so begins this new essay by Jacob Sullum. Here’s his conclusion:
“Two years after the world first heard about covid-19, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a huge extension of state power over people’s lives and the erosion of individual freedoms,” the Democracy Index 2021 observes about conditions around the world. That loss of liberty inspired waves of popular but disconnected protests in country after country among people seeking the return of liberal norms and respect for their personal choices. Now, improbably, those protests may be coming together under a maple leaf and a #HonkHonk hashtag.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently set out to explain why the word “freedom” has become a “useful rallying cry” for protesters in the trucking convoy. Freedom, it added, “has become common among far-right groups, experts say.”
It’s worth noting here that the addendum “experts say” is perhaps the laziest scam run by contemporary political journalism. It is little more than columnizing by proxy, or what Kyle Smith calls, “opinion laundering.” Journalists scan the websites of think tanks, advocacy groups, and universities to find some credentialed ideologue who will repeat every tedious bit of liberal conventional wisdom the reporter already believes. While we may need experts to explain quantum computing or synthesize complex mathematical data for us, we hardly need them to smear political adversaries. Reporters are already aficionados in that field.
Take Gary Mason, a national affairs columnist at the Globe and Mail, who contends that truck-protest supporters such as Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre “have weaponized” the word “freedom” — a “word that gets bandied about a lot these days, but has mostly been co-opted by the alt-right, both here and in the U.S.”
The problem isn’t merely that Mason insinuates that anyone using the rhetoric of liberty is on the “far right,” or that he doesn’t seem to comprehend the difference between negative and positive liberties. Mason takes the authoritarian position — shared by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who says that protesting truckers hold “unacceptable views” — that speech is no longer a genuine liberty if it is used for allegedly “selfish, malicious purposes.”
CNN correspondents will derisively note that while concerns regarding Covid mandates may have sparked the Canadian trucker protests, they have now “devolved” into “anger” over “too many government restrictions and they want their freedom back, whatever that means.” This reminds me of the habit journalists have of placing the phrase “religious liberty” between quotation marks to insinuate that the idea is either misleading or a loaded term (never do we see the same done for “social justice” or “women’s rights” or any other similarly debatable phrases). They know well what it means. They simply don’t appreciate the freedom in question.
The [Canadian] government knows I went to Ottawa from monitoring my cell phone data, and my social media posts. They know I donated to GiveSendGo because they took possession of an illegally hacked stolen donations list. And are threatening to take my money because I want control of my body
Now turn to March 2020 and ask yourself what happened. Not to tell you all ‘I told you so’, but I told you so. It’s now becoming plain that the Big Government, ‘let’s copy communist China’ response to this pandemic was a disaster. The cure was so much worse than the disease that we (or at least the younger generation) will be feeling the effects – to be clear the effects of what the ScoMo’s and Justin Trudeau’s of the world did, not the effects of the virus – for decades and decades. Take the December 2019 WHO playbook on how to deal with viral pandemics, based as it was on a century of data and analysis, and throw it out the window in one month in a panic – unless you’re Sweden with its chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell who insisted on following that ‘no lockdowns’ playbook and who should, but won’t, win a Nobel Prize for being correct on just about everything bar early stuff around aged-care homes. Now from the start I was part of a small sceptical Australian group largely centred around this wonderful Speccie publication who publicly objected to the ‘lockdown on steroids’, heavy-handed and despotic government response to Covid that amounted to the worst incursion on all of our civil liberties in a century.
Was this omniscience on the part of this small group of heretics like me? Of course not. We read the data. We didn’t for a second think that a coterie of public health doctors, many of whom were pretty third-rate academically, had a monopoly on best policy or ‘the Science TM’. To a large extent, our first principles were sceptical of government generally getting things right. Why believe that ScoMo and his National Cabinet, aided by a Pravda-like ABC and legacy media, together with a doctorly caste of public health types, would get things right? I mean that question seriously. Posed like that, at the time without knowing more, I’d have put the odds at well under 50 per cent. Throw in the fact that some of the best medical academics and epidemiologists in the world formulated and distributed the Great Barrington Declaration that disputed the lockdown playbook nearly point by point and tell me again why you’d put the Big Government response’s odds above one in three? Then ask yourself this follow-on query: ‘If a democratic government completely screws things up by being despotic and heavy-handed for over a year and a half, can the politicians that took us down that path ever – and I mean ever – admit they screwed up?’ To ask is to answer. Ditto the whining ‘not on my watch’ journalistic caste who behaved incuriously, with no scepticism, largely like cheerleaders for heavy-handed policing and despotic politicians.
Here’s the thing. Being sceptical of government’s ability to get things right is not limited to left-wing governments. It applies to all governments, even supposedly right-of-centre ones and even ones who outsource their thinking to an incestuous, illiberal caste of public health supremos.
The saddest thing about COVID19 policy is to watch the zero covid/ mask 2 year olds/ pro vax passport/ pro booster mandate for college kids supporters believe their policies help vulnerable communities, when it does the exact opposite:
Serves entrenched interests.
It’s welcome news that Washington, D.C., is dropping its indoor mask mandate in most places, but it’s beyond cruel at this point that the one group that is left out of this easing of policies will be schoolchildren. As I have written before, no segment of the population has sacrificed more relative to the risk Covid presents to them than children have. At this stage, there is no conceivable argument for forcing children to remain masked all day, a practice that has always been questionable, but remains even less defensible at a time when cases have plummeted and vaccines are broadly available enough to have ditched the mandate in other indoor spaces.
Given that we now know that these public health decisions are not rooted in The Science, the crucial question remains: Why did tens of millions of people willingly give up their freedoms and embrace the ever-changing dictates of such transparently incompetent and undeserving authorities?