Donald Trump will certainly get the Republican nomination. With that the issue of truth and honesty about what happened on March 13, 2020, and beyond will likely not be pushed by the executive branch even if Trump wins.
No one in his circles wants any talk of this subject, even if every bit of the current national crisis (health, economics, cultural, societal) traces to those grim days of lockdown and the ensuing disaster. We are very far from gaining anything like transparency on what precisely happened.
The situation today is quite the opposite. Again, Trump’s team long ago accepted a tacit agreement to make the issue go away. This was initially in the interest of securing the nomination (never admit error to your voters). But it soon became an accepted doctrine in those circles. Trump’s opponent wants it this way too, of course, except perhaps to say that Trump didn’t lock down enough soon enough.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced every intention to use the last experience as a template for the next. The national media has no regrets pushing wild panic. The tech companies show no remorse for unrelenting censorship which still continues to this day. Pharma has more power than ever, and so do the armies of bureaucratic enforcers at all levels of government. Academia is out too: here administrators closed their campuses and forced pointless shots on returning students. They are all culpable.
Let’s take a step back and ask a fundamental question: when will truth emerge to the point that your average intellectual in a public space will admit that this whole thing was catastrophic for everything we call civilization? We know the answer involves time but how much time? And how much in the way of effort will it require to get the reckoning we need before the healing we require takes place?
This morning my mind drifted back to the days after 9/11, when the George Bush administration decided to use the public fury over the attacks in New York and Washington to deploy a war that the president’s father began much earlier but did not complete. The Bush administration decided on regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A small minority of people (myself among them) objected that these wars would do nothing to realize justice for 9/11. Indeed they would cause calamity at home and abroad. Americans would lose liberty, security, and many lives would be lost. Overthrowing Saddam and the Taliban without a viable replacement for each would unleash some unpredictable chaos. Nationalizing security at home would create a bureaucratic monster at home that would be eventually turned on Americans themselves.
How well we recall the way we dissidents were shouted down, called every name. The most absurd was “coward,” as if our opinions on this grave matter were formed by nothing other than our unwillingness to type cheers as others fought and died.
Sure enough, all our predictions (which were not hard to make) came true. The US wrecked what was the most liberal and secular country in the region, while the war against the Taliban ended with them taking charge again. At some point, the US even facilitated the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, for whatever reason. No one could have anticipated a massive refugee crisis in Europe that would destabilize every government and give rise to massive public anger and distrust.
Some seven years after these invasions, candidate Ron Paul was on the stage at a Republican debate and denounced the whole thing. He was booed. And then smeared. And then shouted down and hated. But that seemed to kick off a rethinking.
Eight years after that, Donald Trump said something similar and his comments elicited the same reaction. Except that he then won the nomination. That was 2016. Since then there seems to have been a gradual dying out of the warhawks who take pride in their wild adventure.
Just this morning, writing in the New York Times, Ross Douthat tossed off the following paragraph without much of a thought, even burying it in an otherwise uneventful column.
The Iraq war and the slower, longer failure in Afghanistan didn’t just begin the unraveling of the Pax Americana. They also discredited the American establishment at home, shattering the center-right and undermining the center-left, dissolving confidence in politicians, bureaucracies and even the military itself, while the war’s social effects lingered in the opioid epidemic and the mental health crisis.
You see how he writes this as if it is nothing controversial? He is merely relaying what everyone knows today. Somewhere between 2001 and 2024, unthinkable thoughts became conventional wisdom. There was never an announcement, never a serious commission, never an apology or some kind of big reckoning or admission of error. What was once radical became mainstream, gradually and then all at once. It’s not even clear when this happened. Eight years ago? A year ago? It’s not clear.
Regardless, nearly a quarter of a century later, it’s now conventional wisdom that the most popular war policy in the US at the time was a catastrophe by every measure. Everyone today knows for sure that the whole thing was backed by deliberate lies.
Not that anyone involved will ever be held accountable. George Bush himself is still riding high and never forced to recant his views or actions. None of the top players have paid any price at all. They all moved on to greater fame and riches than before.
Now everyone just quietly says it was a bad idea all along.
What can we learn from this? Certainly we can take away that the Covid experience that precipitated the greatest crisis since the Civil War will take a very long time to deal with in any honest way. Will it take 25 years? I seriously doubt it. The work of so many dissidents like those who write daily for Brownstone have dramatically sped up this timeline and contributed to making a repeat much more difficult.
And maybe that is what we can hope for. And maybe that is much better than the record of history would hope for. Consider the disaster called the Bolshevik Revolution. The event was actually extremely popular in US intellectual circles at the time. Most “liberals” heartily approved of it, believing all the reports that were available at the time. It took years before they began to rethink.
After the reports of the initial starvations and Lenin’s shift away from War Communism, there was a Red Scare in the US that warned of Bolshevism coming to the US. Hardly anyone really wanted it here. But the party in power in the new Soviet Union would not and could not admit any error. Fully 70 years went by before there was fundamental regime change in that case. That seems like a long time but consider this. The people who experienced the revolution as young men had become very old men by 1989 and many of them died.
Enough of them eventually died to make the stakes for truth-telling low enough to make it possible. And yet even then, and today, the problem of the past is widely considered to be the crimes of Stalin, not Bolshevism itself. Sure, there is some nostalgia for the Czar but it is not serious.
If you think about it, then, Bolshevism lasted one lifetime and then died out. That’s a pretty short lifespan for a fanatical ideology in one country. Maybe that’s about what we should expect, and why? Because any generation involved in revolutionary destruction is woefully unwilling to admit error, because they are invested and also because they fear reprisals.
So it is for the vast Covid generation, especially two groups: the public-health bureaucrats plus media and tech titans that cheered it, and also for the vast swarms of young people who threw themselves into the disaster as a means by which they would and could experience something meaningful in their otherwise aimless lives.
Will we have to wait for all of them to die out before times change? Will we have to wait 70 years until 2100?
Surely not. Public and intellectual pressure does speed up the timeline. And in this case, we have an interesting sociological development, as Bret Weinstein has pointed out. The censorship and cancellation campaign hit the wrong groups. These people are now seriously motivated to make a difference. They will not let this pass into the history books. They have a passion for truth and a fiery demand for justice. It was for them the trauma of a lifetime and it will not be forgotten.
Picture a pot boiling with a tight lid. It is being held on by ruling-class elites in pharma, tech, and media, along with myriad government agents who don’t want to be found out. But the fire is still burning and the water is boiling. Something will give, and it could be sooner rather than later. What we will discover once it all comes out is awesome to consider. If we have only a fraction of the truth now, the full truth will be mind-blowing.
We cannot wait a lifetime. The fire must still burn.
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