Who’s Safer?

“I think we all were buying into the idea of quarantine to flatten the curve and I think there are a lot of questions now that it’s more of a house arrest to find a cure with people wondering exactly what that means as far as the future of the country and the freedoms we’re allowed to have at this point.”—Aaron Rodgers

I did not support the Trump approach of locking down the country in the face of SARS-CoV-2. Nor did I support governors who did the same. Elites have let the lockdown go on for too long. The lockdown was supposed to be a temporary measure to flatten the curve to prevent swamping hospitals with COVID-19 patients. Trump listened to the experts around him—Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, etc.—and followed their recommendations. And now the economy is in shambles. The world, in crisis.

We saw that many people were prepared to make sacrifices in the face of a crisis. The curve is flattened (how much of that is attributable to the lockdown is an open question). Hospitals are no longer overwhelmed (most weren’t anyway). Trump, who asked a lot of the public, by cajoling and ordering them to shelter-in-place and socially-distance, is honoring his end of the bargain, encouraging states to open up so people can get back to their lives and livelihoods.

But elites in the administrative state have moved the goal posts by revising the rationale for the lockdown. Now parents are told that they cannot feel safe sending their children back to school until there is/are vaccine/s or effective therapeutics. This is what Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate a few days ago.

Next up was Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research Authority and whistleblower momento, who claims he was ousted from his position because he was speaking out against the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak (i.e. a difficult and disgruntled employee), warned in testimony before Congress that the “darkest winter in modern history” is lurking.

The WHO (World Health Organization) says this virus isn’t going away. Who thought it was? The fraidy cats are telling us that if we come out of lockdown we will get the virus and that the virus is very bad. Like the orange bad man. The logic of their argument is essentially this: we have to lock down society to prevent the spread of a very bad virus that will never go away; because it will never go away, we will, without a cure, have to remain in lockdown. As absurd as this proposition is, it was not the reason we were told we had to lock down. Why are we putting up with it?

We’re not. At least some of us aren’t. The Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned governor Tony Ever’s stay-at-home order, ruling it “unlawful” and “unenforceable.” The court ruled that Evers’ administration overstepped its authority when the Department of Health Services extended the order to May 26. The justices wrote in their decision of Wednesday, May 13 that “an agency cannot confer on itself the power to dictate the lives of law-abiding individuals as comprehensively as the order does without reaching beyond the executive branch’s authority.” In other words, the stay-at-home order was intrinsically offensive to fundamental liberty. Evers, describing Wisconsin as “the wild west,” a feeble and insulting attempt to shame a frontier state, decried, “Now we have no plan and no protections for the people of Wisconsin.” Really? Why are you governor?

When overzealous executives use state power to direct the people in their daily affairs and interfere in their activities and livelihoods the courts must step in and restore the balance between government authority and personal sovereignty. The Wisconsin attitude needs to roll across the nation. States cannot force the people off the streets and into their homes en masse. It’s tyranny. In this moment in history, conservatives are the safeguard of our liberties. I say this as a Marxist because its true. Progressives simply cannot be trusted to protect the fundamental freedoms that make us American.

* * *

My wife is Swedish. My two sons are dual citizens. I have been to Sweden several times. I have planned a research project in Sweden this fall (my sabbatical, no less). Because of the COVID-19 hysteria, those plans are in jeopardy. If I don’t wind up going, it won’t be because I fear going. I probably had the virus in March (we’ll see what the antibodies test show when they are widely available). But more importantly, Sweden will be safer than the surrounding countries that had stringent lockdowns. SARS-CoV-2 is coming back around, and the second wave will be more severe in populations that haven’t achieved some functional level of herd immunity. Sweden leverages the power of science.

Sweden’s scientific approach to the problem has befuddled the woke press in America. Vox, in the article “Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus?”, illustrates perfectly the idiocy that marks the quality of consciousness that dominates the progressive left today. The subtitle of the article telegraphs its angle: “Sweden’s coronavirus death toll is worse than America’s but better than New York City’s.”

The article contains a moment of lucidity: it cites a New York Times story that makes the case that “to a large extent, Sweden does seem to have been as successful in controlling the virus as most other nations.” Without sacrificing fundamental liberty. And Sweden isn’t exactly a Bill of Rights exemplar. “Sweden’s experience would seem to argue for less caution, not more,” went the article. It would seem. Surprising coming from the New York Times. From there, the Vox article goes horribly off the rails.

Alex Ward, author of the Vox article, visually suggesting Sweden’s confirmed infections are proportionally the highest in the world, after noting that the United States—not proportionately—has the largest number of confirmed infections, appears to be completely unaware that it was Sweden‘s intent to infect a large proportion of its population. This is embarrassing. Since this virus is asymptomatic in most people it infects, for those who do show symptoms, mild to moderate, and in all but the most severe cases not fatal, with no vaccine in sight, Swedes chose natural immunity over societal devastation. And they didn’t destroy a year of their children’s education.

* * *

I appreciate Trump taking a stand against Fauci. Fauci is a very suspect character at this point. Fauci has not disclosed the metrics he uses in his recommendations. He makes up stuff as he goes along. Given how accomplished he is, if feels like there is an agenda beneath all of this. As Rand Paul observes, the epidemiologists have been wrong over and over again (he destroys Ferguson of the Imperial College). We know Fauci’s models are not rooted in reality because the facts do not support his recommendations. Reality damns his expert advice. You don’t need to have a list of abbreviations after your name to recognize this. Fauci is a functionary of the administrative state, going back nearly forty years. He’s the J. Edgar Hoover of NIAID. Trump needs to ditch him.

President Trump and members of the coronavirus task force are pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to modify its coronavirus death-toll methodology in a way that could lead to fewer deaths being counted. Why would Trump want fewer deaths counted? Because, as I reported here on the Freedom and Reason blog, the deaths counts are exaggerated (see “How Deaths are Classified, Good and Bad Comparisons, and Other COVID-19 Insanity”). The media is relentless in pushing back against this reality. You will hear them say that the death toll is “likely an undercount.” They have to keep repeating this because the cat’s out of the bag and it has to be strangled.

The Daily Beast cited five anonymous administration officials working on the federal government’s response to the pandemic who claimed that Trump, suspicious they may be incorrect or inflated by the current methodology, questions the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States. According to The Daily Beast, “Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the administration’s coronavirus task force, has urged CDC officials to exclude from coronavirus death-count reporting some of those individuals who either do not have confirmed lab results and are presumed positive or who have the virus and may not have died as a direct result of it.” Remember when Birx said she could not trust the CDC? The establishment media treats questioning CDC methods as if it’s scandalous. But Trump is pushing back against the administrative state, which for some reason (I will let you think the obvious) wants or needs more deaths from COVID-19.  

* * *

This BBC story: Coronavirus may never go away, World Health Organization warns.

I’ve been saying from the beginning that this virus is now a part of the annual viral mix. Just like the Hong Kong flu (H3N2) in 1968-69. Years earlier, the Shanghai flu (H2N2). Once these things emerge they stick around. Maybe in 100 years, 200 years—whatever, they’ll go away. But it’s not going away next year or the year after that or the year after that. And we may never have a vaccine for it. Which is why we should never have locked down; we can never be unlocked down if the reason we locked down was in the first place was legitimate. But it wasn’t. Which is why we are clearly being led by a bunch of morons.

Have I pointed out yet that having a science degree doesn’t guarantee a scientific mind and that having a scientific mind doesn’t require a science degree? Some of the dumbest people I know have PhD’s. they surround me.

* * *

“If you don’t like the face mask, then you’re really not going to like the ventilator.”

“The end of stay-at-home orders doesn’t meant the pandemic is over. It means that currently have room for you in the ICU.”

That’s two of a seemingly endless supply of idiotic slogans shared on social media by the shut-in crowd. You know what I’m talking about. Do you think people who share nonsense like this will ever look back and say, “On my, was I demented”? I think they are more likely to look stupidly and say something like : “I would never say anything so stupid.”

For the honest, if you want to cut yourself off from the world and life, then that is your prerogative. But you cannot expect other people to be a slave to your fears. It’s the same with your sensibilities. If you don’t like being offended by what other people do or say, then don’t participate and don’t listen. We can no longer tolerate a world where the fears and delicacies of others dictate what we think, say, and do.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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