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Americans Reclaim their Right to Travel

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Bopping around on the Internet, I ran across the latest terrifying video from Anthony “I-Am-Science” Fauci warning about the Delta Variant. It will soon be everywhere in the US, he says, just like it took over the UK. 

This might be correct in terms of spread (the virus has to become endemic if it isn’t already) but now everyone knows the ropes about the latest chapter in all the reasons why we should live in fear and give up our freedoms. 

More prevalence in viruses like these does not necessarily mean more severity; it is likely to mean the opposite, as seems true in the UK. The Delta Variant makes up most cases but UK deaths are rock bottom, as Ivor Cummins illustrates in a short video. The recovery rate is 99.9% from cases. 

Still, the World Health Organization says that even vaccinated people need to mask up again, advice that the CDC is eschewing for now. It leaves its most restrictive advisories for the unvaccinated regardless of their immune status otherwise. Natural immunity remains the great taboo, regardless of vast studies showing that it works now as it always has. 

All of this impacts on the great choice we all face: whether and to what extent we should re-embrace normal life. Last I heard, the CDC is still warning us against incautious travel, especially for those who haven’t submitted to the vaccine. That’s roughly half the population. They must still live in fear, the CDC says. Stay away from people, don’t travel, mask up, sanitize everything constantly. 

Americans have stopped caring about all this messaging, from what I can tell. 

I just hopped around on some airplanes this weekend, up and down the East coast, and I can say without a doubt that I’ve never in my life seen airports this packed and frenzied. Travelers put up with just about anything to live their lives: the masks, the long lines, the worker shortage that makes wait times in airport restaurants twice as long, the terrible service on planes, the fear of getting written up as a non-complier.  

One flight had a layover in Miami. Total madness there. Huge crowds. No social distancing. I guess the whole world wants to be in Miami now. The Governor is not just a national hero; he is an international phenomenon because he defied Caesar and lived to tell the story. 

Due to public opposition, there is no vaccine passport in the US and one is not likely anytime soon. That represents a big failure on the part of the disease planners. They wanted it otherwise. App developers were hard at work when many governors flat-out banned them. Even New York seems to have given up. I’m glad they lost this fight. For now. 

Alek Berenson is correct that the mask is the sign and symbol of disease fear – ineffective in general but saliently personal. It is a thing you can do to display your fealty to the lockdown religion. It’s a way to separate believers from heretics. 

The CDC’s elimination of the mandate in May this year – a result of the shaming of Dr. Fauci by Senator Rand Paul – also marked the end of disease panic. It was supposed to be a reward for getting vaccinated. But with no enforcement mechanism, it had the opposite effect. It was an instruction to get back to normal. No masks, no panic, no more effective control over people. 

Further, the law of unintended consequences kicked in: once the panic subsided, vaccination rates flattened and fell. The people who need them, got them. The rest have made the choice to risk exposure, which is their right. 

Those who thrived during lockdowns are obviously sad that it all fell apart, and in the US sooner than most other parts of the world. I’m proud of that. Every American should be, even if the lockdowns never should have happened in the first place and certainly should not have lasted a year and more. They achieved nothing in terms of disease control. In fact, they arguably spread other diseases. They certainly spread despair and economic disaster. 

Flush with cash — thanks to all kinds of nutty subsidies over the last year — Americans are now itching to get out and do stuff. Travel is now up 40% over this time last year. Most of it is by car, if you can find one. The global chip shortage has dramatically reduced supply, affecting new and used cars. Rental cars are up 86% in price over last year. Flights are up 7% from two months ago. Hotels are up 30% on average but if you have tried this yourself, you have probably been shocked. Four walls and a bed are going to cost you dearly. 

Airlines are struggling to adjust. They worry that they are bringing too much of their fleet into service too quickly for thorough safety checks. Instead they are putting ever-larger planes in service. 

I was on a very late flight from Miami to Dallas and was astounded to discover that the plane was a 787 Dreamliner. It seats 242 passengers. I had only seen these deployed for major international flights. Now you can enjoy this mighty plane on domestic trips. 

It’s a beautiful signal of the burning passion in this country to be done with despotism. The market, god bless it, is providing and adapting, while doing its best to ignore or otherwise deal with the puritanical hecklers among the regularity class. 

One of the strange manifestations of this on my flight was an entire film advertising how much sanitizing goes on before flight. The announcer assured us that everything is thoroughly doused, zapped, and otherwise scrubbed free of any and all germs. Yes, we are still doing that, and still unwilling to come to terms with the core point of immunology: it is exposure to mild pathogens that protects us against severe ones. It was the discovery of the century, now apparently forgotten. 

Last year at this time, and getting completely fed up with lockdowns, I headed to a conference in New Hampshire called Porcfest. This event has been held annually for many years. It mainly consists of people who love freedom and attend to learn about and celebrate the idea.  I went. So did 400 other brave, maskless souls. This year, the conference blew up in size. The total number of attendees could have been as many as 3,500. I’ve never seen so many people at this event. 

It was a fantastic crowd, full of life and love of liberty. And talk about being done with lockdowns! Even more impressive, so far as I could tell, not one person there believed that the lockdowns were a good idea. They were on fire for the idea of human liberty and ready to do something about it. Again I spoke, mostly about lockdown ideology and its evils. 

Getting out and about over the last four days left me with one strong impression. Americans are rebelling – quietly, carefully, and cleverly but rebelling nonetheless. There is a feeling of incredulity toward the ruling class in the air. The messaging of elite opinion has been discredited in both bad and good ways. 

The good part is that people are remembering how it feels to think independently. The bad part is that a huge hole has been blasted open in American culture and every tribe is struggling to fill it. We can only hope that the cause of freedom triumphs over state-managed fear and panic. 

Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker, Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute, is an economist and author. He has written 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He writes a daily column on economics at The Epoch Times, and speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.


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