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Some Covid Links

Harvard University senior Julie Hartman, writing in the Wall Street Journal, laments her classmates’ sheeplike obedience to authorities. Here’s her conclusion:

There is a smaller group at Harvard that apparently find pleasure in these restrictions. These students will chastise you for not wearing a mask correctly and called one of my brave peers who publicly denounced Harvard’s Covid restrictions a “eugenicist” because he supposedly showed insufficient sensitivity to immunocompromised people. They love Covid for the moral high ground it gives them to condescend to and control others.

My peers and I are often told that we are the future leaders of America. We may be the future decision makers, but most of us aren’t leaders. Our principal concern is becoming members of the American elite, with whatever compromises, concessions and conformity that requires. The inability of Harvard students to question or oppose these irrational bureaucratic excesses bodes ill for our ability to meet future challenges.

Speaking of Harvard, Jordan Schachtel rightly criticizes that university for inviting New Zealand strongwoman Jacinda Ardern to deliver the commencement address in May.

Speaking of New Zealand strongwoman Ardern, Tom Chodor concludes that

In short, New Zealand’s once oh-so-cohesive Covid policy is falling apart. And as disenchantment grows, its government could soon find itself overwhelmed by a crisis of a very different order.

Also in the Wall Street Journal is this letter-to-the-editor:

Joel Zinberg’s op-ed “Covid Patients Suffer as Bureaucrats Try to Practice Medicine” (Feb. 8) eloquently points out how the Food and Drug Administration has exceeded its reach and is meddling in medical treatments.

Facing the pandemic, the medical profession took a back seat to the government task forces, which have made flagrant missteps. While physicians treated patients, the directions of care were outlined largely by government. How can we possibly think government agencies would be more adept than the clinicians, the “foot soldiers” in the field? Physicians have been disrespected—taken out of the equation and largely ignored or silenced in policy-making.

It is imperative that the medical profession steps up and assumes a larger role in directing future decision-making. It is time for a policy of laissez-faire from Washington that allows the doctors to be doctors.

Ronald G. Frank, M.D.
West Orange, N.J.

Mary Dawood Catlin writes that February 14th, 2022, was a very dark day in Canada.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board decries the tyranny unleashed by Canadian strongman Justin Trudeau. Two slices:

Modern liberals [DBx: Progressives] can hurtle from extravagant tolerance to suppression without batting an eye. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dramatizes the tendency.

Every trucker blockade in Canada has been cleared, yet Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal government isn’t giving up the emergency powers it claimed to criminalize the protest movement against vaccine mandates. “This state of emergency is not over,” Mr. Trudeau said, citing the risk of future blockades. This isn’t how a nation of laws is supposed to function.

Mr. Trudeau’s new powers rely on defining the disruptive but peaceful truckers as a security threat akin to violent terrorists. His emergency law, a broad prohibition on public assemblies and even indirect support for them, ensnares tens of thousands of Canadians as “designated persons” whose assets must, per another of his new laws, be found and frozen by any financial institution, without due process or court supervision. There isn’t an appeals process in case of error, and so far 200 accounts are frozen.

Pressed for details, Justice Minister David Lametti initially explained that “pro-Trump” big donors “ought to be worried.” Now the government says it is targeting only the truckers, but its power has no limiting principle.


In December 2020 Mr. Trudeau chided India for its police response to farmers’ blockades of Delhi. “Let me remind you,” he said, “Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest.” Mr. Trudeau prattles on about rights half a world away but won’t respect them half a block from Parliament.

Also decrying the tyranny exercised by strongman Trudeau is Aaron Wudrick. (HT Dominic Pino) A slice:

It is hard to overstate how draconian this is. There is of course nothing unusual or improper about a government seeking to have specific assets funding specific illegal activity frozen or confiscated. But in the normal course of things, governments are required to gather intelligence and appear in court to produce evidence before a judge to secure a court order. This has the obvious purpose of preventing abuse and arbitrary action.

But under the Emergencies Act order, the government has ordered banks to freeze assets and report personal information on the vaguest of criteria: any “designated person” for whom there are “reasonable grounds to suspect” of an offense. No minimum financial threshold is outlined, meaning that individuals whose sole connection to the protest is sending, say, $50 to an online fundraiser, could be swept up in this unprecedented crackdown.

And since fundraising for the protest had raised millions of dollars before the order issued on February 14, the language of the order is ambiguous about whether the order also applies retroactively, thereby affecting those who donated to a legal protest in good faith. (As of this writing, the Trudeau government confirmed that at least 76 accounts worth $3.2 million had been frozen. By comparison, the United States froze only 50 accounts worth $6 million in the three weeks following 9/11.)

That the institutions compelled to identify these accounts on the government’s behalf are shielded from liability only makes the problem worse. It incentivizes them to err on the side of aggression, and leaves no legal recourse for, say, a John Smith from Toronto who had his accounts frozen after being mistaken for another donor with the same name.

It does not take a particularly active imagination to see the obvious problem with a government’s enlisting banks, without court oversight, to freeze the assets of protesters hostile to the government and ordering the disclosure of their information to the police and intelligence agencies, especially when the justice minister himself publicly states that donors who are “members of a pro-Trump movement” should be worried. One need not sympathize with the protesters themselves to spot the obvious and disturbing precedent set by this unjustifiable overreach. And since there is no indication that this information will be destroyed upon the expiry of the current Emergencies Act declaration, the government of the day has the potential to acquire and retain a list of hundreds — possibly thousands — of Canadians identified as “unfriendly.”

“Pandemic Restrictions Extra Painful for Businesses Owned by Minorities, Women, and Veterans” – so reports Reason‘s J.D. Tuccille.

Noah Carl explains that “the Netherlands’ Omicron lockdown was a complete failure.” Here’s his conclusion:

Unfortunately for the pro-lockdown scientists, the virus simply doesn’t behave in the manner their models suggest. This was evident as early as April of 2020, when Sweden’s first wave began to retreat. Yet almost two years later, they still haven’t learned their lesson.

Byrony Gordon writes that “[i]t is a bitter irony that, in a bid to preserve physical health, we have destroyed so many people’s mental health.” A slice:

Physically, I was fine; mentally, it’s a different matter. At the beginning of isolation, I couldn’t tell if I was feeling tired because of the virus, or the inability to leave the house for fresh air and – crucially – perspective. Within days, I’d started feeling anxious. After a week, my OCD had reappeared, torturing me with its awful intrusive thoughts. It frightened me how quickly my head turned on me, even after years of recovery and therapy, and a fantastic support network in place.

As I write this column today, I’m still feeling a little shaky and unwell, even though it’s been almost a fortnight since I was allowed back out. Friends with a history of mental health issues have related similar experiences: the Covid was fine, but the isolation was the really scary part.

Writing at UnHerd, Amy Jones advises that we ignore the “doomerists” and learn to live with Covid.

Covidian tyranny looks as though it will soon become intense in Uganda: (HT Jay Bhattacharya)

Uganda plans to impose fines on people who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who fail to pay could be sent to prison under a new public health law which lawmakers are scrutinising, parliament said on Tuesday.