Things are changing fast. The history is being rewritten. It seems designed to whitewash the lockdowns, pretending as if there was never any credible opposition. Great scientists are being made to disappear before our eyes.
The authors are pretty severe in their final conclusions. Lockdowns didn’t meaningfully reduce Covid-19 mortalities: “the effect is little to none.”
We’ve lived through an enormous setback, pushed by reactionary elements among the ruling class, but it is likely a prequel to what comes next: a backlash against reaction and toward a new stage of progress. Cycles within cycles. Forces of centralization have had a field day, and a good run of it, but the forces of decentralization are fighting back again with good odds of regaining the narrative again.
If anything has demonstrated that Rothbard was correct about the fallacy of the Whig theory, and the capacity of humanity suddenly to act and total ignorance of what was once widely known, it is these last two years of folly.
Australian politicians are effectively showing us what good students of history they are. They have hanged a rebel leader, adopted his slogans, and quietly given in to some of the rebellion’s demands.
Figuring out why sound public-health practice was rejected in favor of lockdowns is the job of writers and researchers for many years to come. But this much we know already. We had the information we needed to rationally address this threat. We had the experience and knowledge we needed to approach this responsibly and scientifically. A very small group of people on both sides of the Atlantic chose a different path.
While many historical analogies have been offered for our present moment, from the campaign to combat polio to the National Socialist dictatorship of Germany, it is perhaps this wholly unnecessary self-destruction of a civilization that our own era most readily resembles. The campaign by our government to prevent every possible infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus regardless of the cost has unleashed a hollowing of once trusted institutions and ideas.
What strikes me most in retrospect concerning the idea of the lab leak is the following. During the most critical weeks leading up to the obvious spread of the virus all over the Northeast of the U.S., leading to incredible carnage in nursing homes due to egregious policies that failed to protect the vulnerable and even deliberately infected them, public health officials in the US and UK were consumed not with a proper health response but with fear of dealing with the probability that this virus was man-made in China.
This is the model that will consume all public discussion of the pandemic response in the future: seeking but never finding anyone to bear responsibility. This is typical for episodes in history that are characterized by mass frenzy and distorted fanaticism. Once the mania is gone, it is hard to find anyone who is willing to accept responsibility for feeding it and acting upon it.
What Sotomayer said about machines and humans was not rooted in ignorance as such; it was the fulfillment of the delusions of countless intellectuals the world over for most of this century. She was summarizing countless papers and presentations in the form of a casual quip, thus revealing it for the fundamental insanity that it truly is.