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The Ruling Class of the Retirement Home


Grandpa says he doesn’t need assisted living even though you found him napping face down in his oatmeal. Grandma insists she can keep driving after barreling into a fire hydrant and the neighbor’s lawn ornaments. 

It doesn’t matter how many times their breakfast stains their Rosland Capital brochures or their fender rams into a stationary object at the supermarket; their obstinacy never wavers. 

Typically, this behavior is relatively harmless to the public. Now, however, we have a ruling class refusing to give up the keys when the car is wrapped around a telephone pole. 

Our octogenarian president is the figurehead for this system (though the geriatric war machine is bipartisan).

On Monday, President Biden visited Ukraine, stubbornly insisting on staying the course despite repeated failures. He announced that he would impose new economic sanctions in the proxy war.

“Later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade sanctions and backfill Russia’s war machine,” said Biden.

President Biden has repeatedly vowed that these efforts would cripple the Russian economy. 

In February 2022, President Biden announced sanctions against Russia that he said would “impose severe costs on the Russian economy, both immediately and over time.”

Eleven months later, Russia announced a record trade surplus.

In March 2022, President Biden said that new sanctions would be “another crushing blow to the Russian economy that’s already suffering very badly from our sanctions.” 

Three months later, the ruble became so strong that the Russian central bank took action to weaken it to protect the nation’s exports. 

In June 2022, the White House said “the effectiveness” of Western sanctions would “compound over time to further isolate Russia from the world economy.” 

Instead, Russia’s trade with the Chinese Communist Party reached a new record in 2022, and its exports to India increased 400 percent

On Tuesday, President Biden delivered a speech on the Ukrainian war. Echoing his previous rhetoric on the subject, Biden described the conflict as a battle “between democracy that lifts up the human spirit and the brutal hand of the dictator who crushes it.”

Despite Biden’s frequent sloganeering, Ukraine has not been a model democracy. 

President Zelensky has quashed Ukrainians’ freedom of religion and freedom of the press. In the war against “autocracy,” Zelensky banned his largest opposition party. While the threat of nuclear war increases, Ukraine deliberately sabotaged a peace agreement. 

None of this, however, is enough for the ruling class to change its policies. 

The Biden Administration obediently repeats the same phrases, Americans are forced to deliver billions of their tax dollars to Zelensky, and Mitch McConnell cheers along the war machine.

Grandpa has Cheerios stuck to his ear hair, the car is in a ditch, and Grandma insists everything is just fine. They didn’t fall for an email from a Nigerian prince, but a Ukrainian comedian in a jumpsuit managed to swindle them repeatedly.

This stubbornness should be familiar. Leaders of all ages adopted the same attitude in response to Covid. 

The ruling class has imbibed and promulgated ideologies of lockdowns, masks, vaccines, and mandates despite consistent evidence demonstrating the policies’ destructive and ineffective results.

For example, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently testified to Congress that her agency’s guidance for mask mandates would “not change” with new developments and scientific research. 

As Michael Senger writes, “in light of the recent Cochrane review including 78 peer-reviewed RCTs with over 600,000 participants concluding masks made “little to no difference” in preventing COVID or flu, Walensky told Rep. Cathy Rodgers that the CDC’s guidance to mandate masks in schools would “not change with time” regardless of the new evidence.”

Similarly, the Biden Administration is still fighting to implement mask mandates on planes while cities like Philadelphia mask children in schools without a scientific basis. 

Our leaders continue to parrot familiar talking points on vaccines, encouraging children of all ages to receive shots that do not prevent infection or transmission. Universities and workplaces still maintain their mandates despite the vaccines’ demonstrated failure to stop the virus.

Despite their public policy failures, our leaders appear devoid of the capacity for self-reflection. When confronted with their shortcomings, they refuse to atone for their misdeeds. Instead, they lash out at their critics with geriatric rage.

After 82-year-old Anthony Fauci lied to Congress about funding gain-of-function research and coordinated censorship campaigns against medical doctors, he announced, “Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science.”

Two decades after stating on the Senate floor, “No one has doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and I don’t doubt that we’ll find further evidence of W.M.D. in Iraq,” fellow octogenarian Mitch McConnell continues to preach the gospel of neo-conservatism.

When Republicans opposed President Biden’s nationwide vaccine mandate, 81-year-old Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attacked them as trying to “shut down science.” Five months later, she caught the virus and immediately thanked the vaccines for providing “robust protection.” 

Instead of heading to Tuesday night Bingo or enjoying a nice bowl of Jello, Grandma and Grandpa are going drag racing. They’re using your money to fix the car, and they’ll lecture you about their virtue after they drive it into the lake.

The public health apparatus refuses to deviate from its Covid fundamentalism just as our foreign policy establishment continues with the same strategies that led us to the Iraq War.

The geriatric elite of our country reflect an obstinate arrogance in our nation’s ruling class. Rather than enjoying the benefits of accumulated wisdom, the country suffers under the egotism and incompetence of the gerontocracy. 

After trillions of dollars spent on foreign interventions and a disastrous public health response, the ruling class of the retirement home shows no signs of changing its ways.  

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  • William Spruance

    William Spruance is a practicing attorney and a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. The ideas expressed in the article are entirely his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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