November 5, 2022

Responses to Emily Oster’s plea for ‘covid amnesty’

emily oster's no good, really bad, terrible idea
"when we were in the dark about covid" is not a useful excuse for bad behavior
el gato malo

... just to be clear, emily is not advocating forgiving “those who deliberately spread misinformation” (though she does seem a bit confused about just who that might be) but her “we were all in the dark and people said lots of things and some wound up right and some wrong and we all just need to get over it and move on as recrimination is not useful” take rings hollow and false here.

what does this serve?

why should we forgive those who through stupidity, cupidity, and fear spent 3 years denying 100 years of evidence based science to attack our lives and livelihoods?

oh, no worries! i'm sure you had your reasons?

you were "just following orders"?

you were just doing what the authorities said?

because i seem to remember a whole pile of excuses that sounded an awful lot like that being rejected back in the late 40’s.

and i must agree with that take and take issue with emily. ...

it is precisely BECAUSE following vicious, evil orders is so easy in times of fear and that humans break and bow to authority with such ease that there must be sharp penalties, reputational and otherwise, for so doing.

otherwise, you're just greasing the rails for next time.

it’s the low energy path of submission, and freeing it from consequence serves only to render it a path more followed. ...

even if we accept this “we were in the dark” line of reasoning it still makes no sense.

1. we were not in the dark. we had 100 years of evidence based pandemic and epidemiological guidance and guideline upon which to rely. some tried to follow these bodies of canon and were shouted down by those seeking to do exactly what that guidance admonished against. that is lack of knowledge abrogating actual knowledge and panic driven superstition superseding evidence. equating those two viewpoints as “equivalent” is pure nonsense.

2. even if truly no one knew anything, then this is a reason for humility, not stridence. the base case is always “respect others and their rights. do not panic. don’t do anything crazy or drastic without a very sound reason.” that’s not what happened. a bunch of terrified anti-science loons got loose with global government and pushed literally unprecedented in human history programs of societal and economic upheaval that flat out broke the world while, predictably, having zero effect on the pandemic. guys, you took you lead from china. china. the precautionary principle does not state “every time you get scared, do the most radical thing you can think of it if feels like safety.” that is precisely what it warns against. such excursions into superstitious supplication of pseudoscience are not evidence based epidemiology. they are not even sanity. and again, calling that an equivalent viewpoint to “we need strong, data-driven evidence to take such outlandish actions” (presuming they are permissible at all, itself deeply questionable) is pure nonsense.

3. the presumption of prerogative to force upon others the unfounded desires of “those in the dark” fails inherently on every metric germane to sustaining a free society. “we didn’t know, so we took your rights away just in case” is not much of justification. this lays claim to “emergency powers” of dictatorial nature and is exceedingly dangerous as a societal foundation. it’s also incompatible with the basic idea of a republic in which the rights of the individual stand paramount to the whims of the state or the mob. this ought be especially so in emergencies with low information for what could be more likely to work vast harm than great power to coerce usurped and wielded by “those in the dark”? again, this is not a viewpoint that can be granted equivalence to a system that respects rights. doing so is, yet again, pure nonsense. ...

of all the people who should have had the confidence to follow data over diktat, should not a trained professor of data handling rise to the fore?

but this failed. and if we would avoid such failure in the future, perhaps a bit of culpability ought be spread around.

as an economist, surely ms oster must understand incentives. if there is no cost to having acted poorly, rashly, and without consideration or information despite the ill effects it had on others, are we not just subsidizing more such antisocial activity in the future? ...

but this gets more complex: being wrong is one thing. OK, you made a mistake. and this, i can forgive so long as it was YOUR mistake. but when you take that mistake and make it mine by forcing upon me actions and restrictions to which i do not consent and to threaten the lives and livlihoods of me and mine because you’re running around half-cocked and have no respect for the rights of others, well, that’s something altogether different, isn’t it? ...

getting a disease wrong is one thing, but presuming the coercive dispensation to take whatever your “conclusion” is (especially if you are “in the dark”) and force it upon the rest of us because it makes you feel less frightened (or perhaps allows you to savor the dark frisson of being beastly to others while telling yourself you’re a good person for doing it) is not something you get amnesty for.

there is a sleight of hand in the thinking here like somehow having misunderstood a pandemic excuses the mass scale abrogation of rights and reason.

it doesn’t.

such ideas are anathema to the persistence of a free society.

and this is not where team oster came down. ...

even had they been right on covid and NPI’s or anything, they still had no right to do this. they had no right to take over media, social and otherwise and censor it. that is “the dark.” they had no right to lock you down, mask you up, and force an ill-tested and ill-effective jab on people as predicate for basic freedoms.

and all the people who favored that, who brayed and cheer led for it, they are guilty too. and i just cannot see “just dropping the matter” because they’d like it to go away now. ...

if you got rolled by this, got jabs you did not want, and suffered as many did, well, so long as you did not advocate forcing this on others, you already have my forgiveness. you were a victim here.

but as soon as you cross the line into advocating coercive policy or willful data suppression, that’s a whole separate issue.

being wrong is no crime nor even is being bullied into acquiescence.

but forcing others to join you is.

knowingly suppressing data and spreading lies is. ...

if you wielded the whip hand of of the covidian crusader i’m sorry, but i don’t care if you were “in the dark” as that is no excuse. it stands rather as indictment.

having done so out of ignorance (or worse the sort of dark desire to act the dictator or demagogue by assuming a faux moral mantle to vilify and attack others) makes you a hazard and precisely the sort of actor that ought be penalized, not accommodated.

society must develop an immune system to you.

forgiving such would be past enabling and into ennobling anti-social action and technocratic science perversion. ...

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"Amnesty" Is Not the Solution to Disastrous Policy Decisions
And "gloating" is not the motivation for calling them out
AJ Kay

... I write today in response to Emily Oster’s most recent Atlantic article entitled, “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty: We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID.”

The piece starts with a lively anecdote by Emily in which her family is hiking outdoors in cloth masks, and her son screams at another small child for getting too close to him.

“These precautions were totally misguided,” she said, “But the thing is: We didn’t know.”

Two things right off the bat: They weren’t ‘precautions’ because the Precautionary Principle requires us to weigh the costs of implementing any ‘precaution’ with the same critical eye as not. We didn’t do that.

And, of course, we absolutely did know.

That’s just the first paragraph in Emily’s pseudo-conciliatory piece, which is littered with precisely the same kind of gaslighting, self-interested double-speak that landed us here. ...

Emily says, “Given the amount of uncertainty, almost every position was taken on every topic.”

We were never facing a grabbag of completely disorienting situations and unknowable outcomes. Our positions were clear and fully aligned with this list of things we knew by or before March 2020:

  • COVID has a clear risk-stratification skewing dramatically toward the elderly
  • COVID is not nearly as deadly as once feared
  • Panic, stigmatization, mandates, and politicization are anathema to public health
  • We have immune systems, and natural immunity exists
  • Missing school hurts kids, especially disadvantaged ones
  • Isolation of anyone is cruel and harmful
  • Loneliness kills
  • The media profits off fear-mongering
  • Health is not just about disease avoidance
  • Masks don’t work + faces are important
  • Forcing people to die alone is inhumane
  • Lockdowns are human rights violations
  • Informed consent is essential
  • Bodily autonomy is paramount
  • Incentives incentivize
  • Shutting down manufacturing causes supply chain disruptions
  • Supply chain disruptions threaten economic stability
  • Science doesn’t advance by “following”
  • Panicked people don’t make rational decisions

Acknowledging the truths above would’ve been enough to keep probably 90% of the harm from occurring. But not only were they ignored, they were suppressed, despite rational people screaming them from the rooftops. ...

“In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck. And similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing.”

Luck was not a factor. Just a dash of common sense was sufficient for most, and the lion’s share of the wrongs perpetrated were absolutely moral failings, not least of all because one could not promote the prevailing narrative without obfuscating the truth.

A team led by Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and including D.A. Henderson, the man credited with eradicating smallpox, wrote the following in 2006:

«Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted. Strong political and public health leadership to provide reassurance and to ensure that needed medical care services are provided are critical elements. If either is seen to be less than optimal, a manageable epidemic could move toward catastrophe.»

For whatever reason, to whatever end, the powers that be implemented policies that ran counter to everything we knew about public, mental, social, developmental, and immunological health, as well as virology, epidemiology, and pandemic management.

And we knew it. ...

Emily’s diagnosis of the problem is: “The people who got it right, for whatever reason, may want to gloat … Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people wracked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.”

Are you kidding, Emily? The backlash to this article was not a result of some trivial scorekeeping fixation. These policies hurt people. They killed people.

And it’s misleading to even talk about “choices” because, in most cases, we didn’t have any (at least not legally). Masks were mandated. Testing was mandated. Vaccines were mandated. Travel was restricted. These “choices” were imposed upon people.

And the worst part is that we absolutely knew better.

And we’re not going to allow people to claim they didn’t.

Not because of “points” but because we don’t want it to happen again. ...

You can’t blame “fog of war” when you walk around with a fog machine mounted to your back. Likewise, “We were in the dark!” loses plausibility when you block everyone’s access to the light switch.

The reason I refuse to accept calls for “amnesty” is not because I am vengeful.

It’s because granting “amnesty” leaves the people who have already been crushed by the weight of these decisions vulnerable still. ...

If they really want society to recover from the last two going on three nightmarish years, Emily et al are going to have to dig a little deeper. Pleas for forgiveness ring hollow when there’s no acknowledgment of error. “But we didn’t know!” is just more of the same self-interested trope we’ve been spoon-fed for years.

Because we did know.

And we have receipts.

And we’re going to keep showing them for as long as it takes to begin the actual recovery.

Because while Emily may want forgiveness, what we want is for this to never, ever happen again.

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When you want to move on from the damage you helped cause but haven't told the truth about it

Dr. Emily Oster, the Brown University economist who spent a good part of the pandemic response denying that her own data indicted the uselessness of masking kids in schools, published an article in The Atlantic today, calling for “a pandemic amnesty.” Short version: Let’s chalk up the devastation caused by fear-driven policies to benign ignorance and good intentions. ...

Oster’s implicit claim that next-to-nothing was known about SARS-CoV-2 – and therefore all the pointless, unethical, & illegal things people were forced to do are understandable – isn’t the pathway to healing, because it’s dishonest. Inexplicably, she denies that, from the get-go, we knew (for example)

  • covid’s risks were highly skewed toward sick elderly people,
  • plexiglass & masks don’t stop viruses,
  • school closures are harmful, and
  • exposure quarantines & contact tracing are useless.

She also defends things like closing beaches as “hard calls that people had no choice but to make with imperfect knowledge.” This twisted thinking - this Osterism, I’ll call it - both a) denies the truth about what was known, and b) excuses doing the worst, most non-sensical and predictably harmful things in the name of not knowing.

If an out-of-touch professor were the only person pushing such ideas, we could ignore it. Unfortunately, other vocal credentialed experts - not to mention public officials, school & church leaders, and friends/family members who embraced all manner of superstitious and harmful mitigations - have a similar mindset.

Osterism in any form will never, ever lead to healing, nor will it prevent this nightmare from happening again. ...

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Emily Oster proposes “a pandemic amnesty,” suggests that “we need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID”

I don’t know much about the American pandemic pundits, but I gather that Brown University economist and “parenting guru” Emily Oster is far from the worst of them. Her Twitter timeline suggests she spent the early months of the pandemic terrified about the virus until school closures took their toll on her kids, at which point she repositioned herself as a kind of lockdown moderate, opposing the worst of the hystericist excesses while validating their central premises whenever possible to save face with friends and colleagues.

«April 2020, with nothing else to do, my family took an enormous number of hikes. We all wore cloth masks that I had made myself. We had a family hand signal, which the person in the front would use if someone was approaching on the trail and we needed to put on our masks. Once, when another child got too close to my then-4-year-old son on a bridge, he yelled at her “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”

«These precautions were totally misguided. In April 2020, no one got the coronavirus from passing someone else hiking. Outdoor transmission was vanishingly rare. Our cloth masks made out of old bandanas wouldn’t have done anything, anyway. But the thing is: We didn’t know.»

The thing is, Emily Oster, that we did know. We’ve studied respiratory virus transmission for years. All the virologists and epidemiologists who aren’t total morons knew your 2020 mask routine was crazy and they just didn’t care. They wanted you to do it anyway, because they thought that if they got you to act paranoid and antisocial enough, your insane behaviour might have some limited effect on case curves. Joke’s on you, and it’s sad you still haven’t realised.

«[T]here is an emerging (if not universal) consensus that schools in the U.S. were closed for too long: The health risks of in-school spread were relatively low, whereas the costs to students’ well-being and educational progress were high. The latest figures on learning loss are alarming. But in spring and summer 2020, we had only glimmers of information. Reasonable people—people who cared about children and teachers—advocated on both sides of the reopening debate.»

No, reasonable people could see already in March 2020 that SARS-2 posed no measurable threat to children. There was never any honest debate to be had about this.

«We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty. … [W]e need to learn from our mistakes and then let them go. We need to forgive the attacks, too. Because I thought schools should reopen and argued that kids as a group were not at high risk, I was called a “teacher killer” and a “génocidaire.” It wasn’t pleasant, but feelings were high. And I certainly don’t need to dissect and rehash that time for the rest of my days.

«Moving on is crucial now, because the pandemic created many problems that we still need to solve.»

I’m sorry somebody called you genocidal, Emily Oster. That must’ve been tough for you. You know what’s also tough? Getting your head kicked in by riot police because you had the temerity to protest against indefinite population-wide house arrest.

Or being fired from your university job and banned in perpetuity from the premises because you uploaded a video to social media complaining about the onerous and expensive testing requirements imposed upon unvaccinated staff. Or being confined to your house and threatened with fines because of personal medical decisions that had no chance of impacting the broader course of the pandemic in the first place. But somebody called this woman genocidal in French and she’s ready to move on, so it’s all good.

Emily Oster may have said a few reasonable things in the depths of her pandemic moderation, but she can take her proposal for pandemic amnesty and shove it all the way up her ass. I’m never going to forget what these villains did to me and my friends. It is just hard to put into words how infuriating it is, to read this breezy triviliasation of the absolute hell we’ve been through, penned by some comfortable and clueless Ivy League mommyconomist who is ready to mouth support for basically any pandemic policy that doesn’t directly affect her or her family and then plead that the horrible behaviour and policies supported by her entire social milieu are just down to ignorance about the virus. We knew everything we needed to know about SARS-2 already in February 2020. The pandemicists and their supporters crossed many bright red lines in their eradicationist zeal and ruined untold millions of lives. That doesn’t all just go away now.

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“Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty”—Not
Let’s not declare a pandemic amnesty. Let’s declare a real pandemic inquiry.
Michael P Senger

... The article is about as pathetically transparent as it is self-serving. Gee, I wonder what Oster did and said during Covid for which she might want amnesty ...

First, no, you don’t get to advocate policies that do extraordinary harm to others, against their wishes, then say “We didn’t know any better at the time!” Ignorance doesn’t work as an excuse when the policies involved abrogating your fellow citizens’ rights under an indefinite state of emergency, while censoring and canceling those who weren’t as ignorant. The inevitable result would be a society in which ignorance and obedience to the opinion of the mob would be the only safe position.

Second, “amnesty,” being an act of forgiveness for past offenses, first requires an apology or act of repentance on the part of those who committed the offense. Not only has no such act of repentance been forthcoming, but in most cases, establishment voices like Oster’s have yet to stop advocating these same policies, much less admit they were wrong. With no accompanying act of contrition, these calls for “amnesty” in light of rapidly-shifting public opinion have a real ring of fascist leaders calling for “amnesty” after losing the War.

Third, there’s some question as to whether Oster herself really did know better at the time. Like many other mainstream Covid voices, Oster had long been closely attuned to Covid data showing that these mandates did not work, yet she often seemed reluctant to share that data insofar as it contradicted the mainstream orthodoxy that mandates were necessary. In that sense, the policy prescriptions of Oster and those like her may have had less to do with ignorance than with cowardice, tribalism, and “following orders,” which can’t be considered acting “in good faith.”

And that leads to the ultimate problem, from a legal perspective, with Oster’s call for “amnesty” for the advocacy of totalitarian policies during Covid: The implicit assumption that all those who advocated lockdowns, mandates, censorship, and an indefinite state of emergency, all the way up the chain of command, did so in good faith. If those who advocated these policies are simply presumed to have done so out of well-meaning ignorance, then any inquiry into the many outstanding questions as to the origin of these policies—and the underlying motivations of highest-level officials who promulgated them—is foreclosed.

The implicit assumption is that, owing to their socioeconomic status, the superficial cutesiness of public health, and the panic surrounding the pandemic, all those who advocated these mandates must have done so in good faith. But this argument presupposes that the “pandemic” was a natural phenomenon, like a tsunami, which would have inevitably led to panic. On the contrary, studies have long shown that it was the mandates themselves that caused the public to panic, making them believe their chances of dying of Covid—which never had an overall infection fatality rate much higher than 0.2%—were hundreds of times greater than they really were. Further, there’s a growing mountain of evidence that the handful of key officials who led the initial push for unprecedented lockdowns and mandates did not, in fact, do so in good faith.

Our institutions are in serious need of restoration after the incalculable damage that’s been done to them during the response to Covid. But we forget, at our peril, that those institutions weren’t built with flowery words and good intentions. They were built with blood, sweat, and tears, by those who fought for them with their lives. Let’s not declare a pandemic amnesty. Let’s declare a real pandemic inquiry.

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With whom does Emily Oster want an amnesty? Moms, so they will return to the democratic fold
Just another cynical attempt to ask women to forget the harms of the last few years.
Emily Burns

... The political establishment—left and right—want desperately to move on, to pretend the last 30 months didn’t happen. With very few exceptions (Ron DeSantis, Kirsti Noem, Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, Ron Johnson, and a few others, later), they betrayed their core values. Many Republicans and so-called Libertarians quickly capitulated the primacy and importance of individual liberties. Whereas supposedly equality-loving democrats embraced policies that in no uncertain terms screwed women, children and the poor. The 2020 democrat campaign slogan might as well have been “protect the rich, infect the poor.” Or “only the rich need to learn.” They’d all very much like that you forget about that. They’d like to go back to the fights they know how to fight, the golden oldies that turn the bases out, and turn us against each other. ...

First, let’s be clear to whom Emily Oster is speaking. She’s speaking to the furious well-educated suburban women who are swinging towards Republicans in this cycle, even in the bluest of states. Because it was the bluest of states that were hit hardest by these policies. It was in blue states that the schools were closed longest, that the economic devastation was worst, that crime spiked the most, where masks were required longest. The damage done by these policies is at its beginning, not its end. Dr. Oster, would like women to believe that it was all just a mistake, a mis-understanding, and remember that it is the Republicans who are looking to limit the freedoms that really count. That while Democrats had no problem sacrificing the well-being of our living children for three years in support political power, it is Republicans that pose the real threat.

The problem for Emily is that while the hardcore democrat base of women voters never questioned any of these policies, others did—and they incurred significant personal costs for doing so.

An embarrassing portion of well-educated women acted as the regime’s stormtroopers. They sicced social media mobs on any who dared to voice a question, much less dissent. The pain of having family, friends and neighbors turn on them for voicing an opinion or asking a legitimate question caused many women to seek out others with similar questions.

In so doing, we found a smart, snarky, data-driven community pushing back hard on the totalizing power of a government trying to re-define reality. In some cases women were the generals, in others we were the infantry, going forward and taking constant fire from above, so that some recently discredited truth might once again retake its rightful place in the sun of acceptable opinion.

Emily Oster would like us to forget that. But we can’t—and I hope we won’t—because we were there bringing the government’s own data to shine a light on the lies it so ceaselessly manufactured. These weren’t lies of omission, they were lies of commission. They were lies that were wrought by smelting the credibility of science and medicine in the fires of politics to create weapons wielded by the powerful against us. They literally called us terrorists for our opposition.

Now, after having been called terrorists by our governments for arguing for the well-being of our own children, Dr. Oster wants us to forget that. In asking us to forget, she beseeches those who strayed from the flock to return, to believe that it is not their shepherd who takes them to slaughter that would do them harm, but the wolf lurking unseen in the shadows of the wood. So now we must talk about abortion.

What Democrats, and their credibility-launderers like Oster want women to do, is to put two things on the scales. On one side is the fear of a loss of access to abortion services. They hope that their female base will forget that rather than living in 1972, with limited access to contraception, we live in 2022, where contraception that is more than 99% effective is inexpensive and widely available, even if paying out of pocket; that this contraception includes abortion pills, which can be accessed anywhere in the country by mail up to 10 weeks of gestation. They want you to forget about the interstate commerce clause which would make hindering this nearly impossible—even, or especially, with a conservative court. They want you to forget that a flight to an abortion-providing state is at most a $200 plane ride away. Or that should you fail to secure an abortion, the worst-case scenario results in a baby you choose to give up for adoption. They want you to forget that if they [anti-abortion politicians] win the senate, they would still have to overturn the filibuster and the important political stabilization that the 60-vote threshold provides.

They want you to forget that they failed to legally codify access to abortion for 50 years. And they want you to forget that there is no way on earth they are going to give up the only issue they have to reliably stoke fear, drum up dollars, and drive women to the polls. Not a chance in hell.

On the other side is the harm that was done to your children, to you, to your community over nearly three years. On the other is the fear of a loss of access to abortion services. What they are hoping is that their female base will believe the lie that Dr. Oster is peddling, that it was all just an unfortunate mistake, and could never happen again. It’s in the past! Don’t worry about it.

But it wasn’t a mistake. It was a political calculation, and on the cost side of that equation was the education and welfare of our kids—and so much more. The people who made this calculation wagered that the fear that they could drum up around access to abortion could be used to distract women from the manifold harms these policies caused to children and/or that they could craft a narrative that would mask the truth. If you understand the cynicism of that decision, you have to expect the same cynicism on the other side of the equation. ...

The narrative that conservatives seek to limit access to abortion in order to keep women down is a just that—a story. In order to prop it up, fetuses had to be literally dehumanized, and the narrative bolstered with overtly anti-natal supporting philosophies, philosophies which, in their anti-natalism rob life of most of its meaning for most people. For women, this anti-natalism is expressly anti-mother, hence, anti-feminine, transforming motherhood—one of the few truly transcendent human experiences—into a dupe’s prison.

That said, I remain pro-choice, fundamentally because after the past two+ years, all I want is the government smaller and weakened in every possible capacity. I don’t want the government legislating or coercing morality (we’ve had quite enough of that over the past few years) any more than I want it coercing medical decisions. Further, I believe that the vicissitudes of life can make such government interventions result in dangerous corner cases.

But despite being pro-choice, I have become a single issue voter. My vote this cycle is a vote for vengeance against the party that kept my kids masked for two years; that robbed me of my best friends, and strained every relationship I have; that caused us to move to an entirely different part of the country; that perverted a discipline that I love, and which I use to navigate my life (science); and that then lied about doing it, and called me a terrorist for being upset about it. After this cycle, my vote will always be for the party that represents the most decentralized power structure, and the greatest respect for individual rights and responsibility. For me, the new f-word is “federal”.

While I can only speak for myself, my experience has been that in the aftermath of our leaders’ decision to break and reset the world, there are new coalitions forming. I don’t think I’m alone in my efforts to try to better understand the positions of others who became my “comrades in arms”—and I have felt that reciprocated, with the possibility of compromise arising out of mutual respect and in the face of a greater perceived mutual threat. At the moment, I think this is only happening on the “right”. But if the democrats get the drubbing that looks likely in the mid-terms, this will also happen on the left; it’s why this drubbing needs to happen. Such a shake-up can only be to the good. Indeed, our leaders may yet have gotten a “Great Reset”—just not the one they were hoping for. ...

Moms in general, and stay-at-home moms in particular, played a very significant part in the grassroots pushback of COVID policy malfeasance. I believe this was due to three key things. First, COVID policies created many more SAHMs, as the exigencies of virtual school made work impossible. Second, these SAHMs experienced the harmful impacts of COVID policies directly for years in their own lives, and in those of their children. Third, I think that SAHMs ended up being a very important and vocal minority because they could be. You can’t fire or cancel an SAHM, and there is significant power in not being anonymous.

As women, we have felt far more acutely than at any time in the past what it really means for government to interfere in our lives—controlling whether our children go to school, whether we can socialize, or go to a gym, or a restaurant, how many people can be invited to our home, whether we can spend holidays with family, whether we can run our businesses. These are all violations, violations of our personal liberty that harmed us, our children, and our communities, and which were done solely in service to political power. We have internalized this, and many will not be quick to forgive.

Emily is asking us to forgive a mistake. There was no mistake. There was a political calculation that harmed us, but even more, that harmed our children. The harm was considered acceptable because those who undertook it, took the votes of women for granted. They assumed they could lie and manipulate us into believing these harms were necessary, or barring that, unintentional. If we, as women, want our votes to be courted in the future by either party, we must vote to punish the past three years treachery. ...

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Emily Oster’s Plea Bargain
Shuck-and-jive from America’s broken thinking class, the people who pretend to know better than everybody else.
James Howard Kunstler

By now, everybody and his uncle has seen Emily Oster’s plea for “pandemic amnesty” in The Atlantic magazine, a house organ of the people in America who know better than you do about … really … everything. Emily’s wazoo is so stuffed with gold-plated credentials (BA, PhD, Harvard; economics prof at Brown U) it’s a wonder that she could sit down long enough to peck out her lame argument that “we need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID.”

Emily wasn’t “in the dark.” She had access to the same information as the Americans who recognized that everything the public health authorities, the medical establishment, and many elected officials shoveled out about Covid and its putative remedies and preventatives was untrue, with a patina of bad faith and malice — especially when it was used to persecute their political adversaries.

These dissenters turned out to be “right for the wrong reasons,” she declared, the main reason being that they were not aligned in good-think with the Woke-Jacobinism of her fellow “progressives” at Brown U, and academics all across the land, who were righteously busy destroying the intellectual life of the nation, making it impossible for the thinking class to think.

Let’s face it: every society actually needs a thinking class, a cohort able to frame important issues-of-the-moment that require argument in the public arena to align our collective thoughts and deeds with reality. America used to have a pretty good thinking class, with a pretty good free press and many other platforms for opinion — all animated by respect for the first amendment to the Constitution.

The thinking class destroyed that by vigorously promoting a new censorship regime in every American institution, shutting down free speech and, more crucially, the necessary debate for aligning our politics with reality. Hence, America’s thinking class became the torchbearers of unreality, in step with the Party of Chaos which held the levers of power. This included the powers of life and death in the matter of Covid-19.

These were the people who militated against effective early treatment protocols (to cynically preserve the drug companies’ emergency use authorization (EUA) and thus their liability shields); the people who enforced the deadly remdesivir-and-ventilator combo in hospital treatment; the people who rolled out the harmful and ineffective “vaccines”; who fired and vilified doctors who disagreed with all that; and who engineered a long list of abusive policies that destroyed businesses, livelihoods, households, reputations, and futures.

How did it happen that the thinking class destroyed thinking and betrayed itself? Because the status competition for moral righteousness in the sick milieu of the campus became more important to them than the truth. In places like Brown U, what you saw was an escalating contest for status brownie-points, which is what virtue-signaling is all about. And the highest virtue was going along with whatever experts and people-in-authority said — the pathetic virtue of submission. Anything that got in the way of going along — such as differences of opinion — had to be crushed, stamped out, and with a vicious edge to teach the dissenters a lesson: dissent will not be tolerated!

Some thinking class. The case of Emily Oster should be particularly and painfully disturbing, since she affects to specialize, as an economist, on “pregnancy and parenting” (her own website declares), while the Covid regime of public health officialdom she supported instigated a horrendous pediatric health crisis that is ongoing — it was only days ago that the CDC added the harmful mRNA “vaccines” to its childhood immunization schedule for the purpose of conferring permanent legal immunity for the drug companies after the EUA ends, a dastardly act. Where’s Ms. Oster’s plea to the CDC to cease and desist trying to vaccinate kids with mRNA products?

The CDC is still running TV commercials (during World Series ballgames!) touting its “booster” shots when only weeks ago a top Pfizer executive, Janine Small (“Regional President for Vaccines of International Developed Markets”), revealed in testimony to the European Union Parliament that her company never tested its “vaccine” for preventing transmission of SARS CoV-2. The CDC under Director Rochelle Walensky is still extra-super-busy concealing or fudging its statistical data to obfuscate the emerging picture that MRNA “vaccines” are responsible for the shocking rise of “all-causes deaths” in the most heavily-vaxxed nations. In short, the authorities are to this minute still running their whole malign operation.

Notably, Ms. Oster’s plea for amnesty and forgiveness, showcased in The Atlantic, omits any discussion of accountability for what amounts to serious crimes against the public. A whole lot of people deserve to be indicted for killing and injuring millions of people. At the heart of her plea is the excuse that “we didn’t know” official Covid policy was so misguided. That’s just not true, of course, and is simply evidence of the thinking class’s recently-acquired allergy to truth. The part she left out of her petition for pandemic amnesty is: We were only following orders.