I keep hearing that COVID-19 is back — but of course, it never really left and likely never will. Case numbers and hospitalizations are ticking upward, something we’re likely to see as a seasonal phenomenon from here on out.
I finally experienced the virus firsthand last week. I rate it zero stars, not recommended. As flu-type illnesses go, it was far from the worst I’ve lived through, but it wasn’t pleasant.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. I’ve been getting off easy. It killed my mother in 2020, and last year, the other four people in my household all experienced it with varying degrees of severity, but I never tested positive or felt any symptoms (I credit the Novavax vaccine, for which I was a clinical trial volunteer). This time, we ALL got it. I can’t say it wasn’t my turn.
Another thing that never fully left and seems to be raising its ugly head again: COVID-19 authoritarianism.
For two years, politicians and “public health” bureaucrats at all levels of government got their jollies pushing us around.
They threw centuries of actual, hard-earned epidemiological knowledge and experience — for example, the absence of evidence that masking prevents the spread of viral disease — in the trash can and replaced it with a state-established religion they called THE SCIENCE.
At points, they attempted to shut life as we knew it completely down across large parts of the country. They insisted on visible displays of faith in their new religion, in the form of those ineffectual masks. They limited our travel, threatened our jobs if we declined their heavily promoted, but also largely ineffective, mRNA vaccines, and admonished us to just get used to a “new normal,” the distinguishing feature of which was to be them remaining in charge of everything we did, indefinitely.
Yes, the madness subsided over time. But the sense of entitlement to rule obviously remains.
NewsNation’s Elizabeth Prann reports that, per a group called No College Mandates, more than 100 universities and colleges across the US still maintain vaccine mandates, and that a few (including Rutgers and Georgetown) still require religious face gear indoors.
Every spike in cases brings our technocrat masters around to muse about the possibility of returning to mask mask mandates, “encouraging” (because they’ve so far mostly failed to mandate) vaccine and booster “uptake,” etc.
Their “new normal” never really achieved “normal” status, but it lives on, largely due to the complete absence of real penalties for getting so power-hungry while getting nearly everything completely wrong.
How many of them went to jail, or coughed up fines, for their various violations of your rights to live, travel, and work?
How many lost their jobs for abandoning basic standards of science and getting nearly everything completely wrong?
How many have even admitted and apologized for their totalitarian antics?
We do indeed need a “new normal” — and the distinguishing feature of that normality must be that in the future the technocrats show their work and ask, rather than order, us to trust them.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.