AP featured image
Protesters rally at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, April 30, 2020. Hoisting American flags and handmade signs, protesters returned to the state Capitol to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order and business restrictions due to COVID-19 while lawmakers met to consider extending her coronavirus emergency declaration hours before it expires. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

 

“Ever bought a fake picture?
The more you pay for it, the less inclined you are to doubt it.
Silly but there we are.”
–protagonist George Smiley in John le Carré’s ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,’ 1974

***

The most important thing President Trump needs to understand right now is that it’s not too late.

Though the truth isn’t going to get any less ugly or momentous, he can still face it. He just needs to summon up all his considerable strength and admit how badly he’s been played.

He’s not alone. A lot of us do.

The projections about COVID-19 used to defile America’s founding commitment to individual liberty and drive her people to the brink of economic and spiritual ruin have turned out to be just as much garbage as those worthless reports of Iraqi WMDs from a couple of decades back. We’ve also witnessed a similar harebrained willingness to plunge on ahead inflicting damage without any clear idea of what an exit strategy would even look like.

But, say what you will about Bush’s debacle, at least the country he crushed to impose a mind-numbingly stupid and unworkable benevolent scheme was someone else’s, not our own.

Something unspeakable just occurred. An historically unprecedented, sick and vicious assault on the American people en masse. More and more of us are waking up to the horror of it every day. Most of the patriotic folk standing by the President throughout the relentless barrage of media hoaxes manufactured to destroy him these past four years have faced the ugly truth already.

It’s time for Trump to join them. He needs to finally repudiate the treacherous advisors who’ve rained more unmitigated ruin down on the heads of the American people than even our most bitter foreign foes could ever dream of inflicting,

For some unaccountable reason, he’s hitched his wagon to Anthony Fauci; a man so swept off his feet by Hillary Clinton’s congressional testimony on Benghazi he was moved to write her a love note.

It’s hard to understand how a streetwise New Yorker with an otherwise impeccable nose for BS wound up so badly taken in by people whom it hardly takes a genius – stable or otherwise – to see are playing for the other team.

But there’s no question that Trump has been taken in or that he’s got to wise up fast.

Consider those painfully wrong-headed remarks he made about Sweden.

The President only makes himself look foolish by slamming Sweden for not going into a lockdown because “2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206), or Denmark (443).”

Set aside that Sweden has around twice the population of any of its neighbors.

Also ignore that the numbers in all four nations are so low that there’s likely little statistical difference given the lack of any fixed criteria across or even within countries for counting COVID-19 deaths.

It still makes no sense to compare a bunch of places that were trying to slow down the rate at which the virus spread to one that chose to let it quickly run its natural course while it’s still active in the former. It would be like declaring the winner of a marathon halfway through even though you know some of the contenders have been saving their strength for the end.

In fact, Trump’s remark indicates that he’s been woefully misinformed about what this lockdown is even supposed to accomplish. One of the most sickening things about all of this is that most of us were. Despite any impression you may have formed to the contrary, the wave of draconian edicts imposed on us in the name of public health was never intended to decrease the number of COVID-19 infections by even one.

“Social distancing” wasn’t supposed to stop anyone from contracting the virus. Though few Americans would have consented to this lockdown if they’d clearly understood, it was never about prevention. The point has always only been delay.

***

“The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time and then shut up.”Robert A. Heinlein, ‘Stranger in a Strange Land,’ 1961

***

Though Fauci and his media enablers have allowed most Americans – including, it seems, even the President – to think otherwise, if you look closely at all those explanations we were given of what “social distancing” is supposed to accomplish, you’ll see that great care is always taken never to claim that fewer people will contract COVID-19. And, though they take a bit of work to find, there are a few lockdown proponents who were at least honest enough to explicitly acknowledge that the hardship and misery they were insisting we take on isn’t going to stop a single person in America or anywhere else from catching the virus.

  • Here’s Dr. Lisa Maragakis, Senior Director of Infection Prevention at Johns Hopkins Medical School, explaining that, rather than decreasing the number of COVID-19 cases, flattening the curve means “the same large number of patients arrived at the hospital at a slower rate.”
  • Here’s the Center for Global Development’s resident expert on global outbreak preparedness, Jeremy Konyndyk, in the middle of a long techno-rant urging us to flatten the curve, but, nonetheless, admitting we’ll wind up with the “same number of cases.”
  • Here’s a Washington Post ode to the beneficent wonders of social distancing, informing us with surprising and commendable honesty that “the reason [to engage in social distancing] isn’t that it will stop the virus; it’s likely the same number of people will ultimately still get sick.”
  • Here’s infectious disease specialist Cherise Rohr-Allegrini trying to prepare us for the effort flattening the curve will require, but noting that the point isn’t to lower the number of infections but instead to “spread that same number of cases over a longer period of time.”
  • Finally, here’s University of Washington biologist, Carl Bergstrom, as gung-ho a proponent of locking down America as you’re likely to find anywhere: “Even if you don’t reduce total cases, slowing down the rate of an epidemic can be critical.”

One likely reason so many folks wound up so badly misled here is the difficulty in imagining how the repressive restrictions inflicted on us could possibly be of any help without decreasing the number of infections.

But, if they haven’t been upfront about what we wouldn’t accomplish, those who pushed this lockdown have at least generally been completely on the up-and-up about what they were claiming we would. In fact, even most people who wound up with the wrong idea are probably at least dimly aware of the right one.

As Dr. Maragakis of Johns Hopkins quoted above goes on to explain:

A large number of people becoming very sick over the course of a few days could overwhelm a hospital or care facility. Too many people becoming severely ill with COVID-19 at roughly the same time could result in a shortage of hospital beds, equipment or doctors.

So the goal of state-mandated “social distancing” is to,

…slow the rate of COVID-19 infection so hospitals have room, supplies and doctors for all of the patients who need care.

You’ll find a similar explanation in pretty much everything produced on the subject. But, regardless of how widespread the misconception has become, what you won’t find is any medical experts saying that “social distancing” is going to decrease anyone’s chances of being infected. Literally the only way it’s supposed to save any lives at all is by preventing us from winding up with more patients requiring hospital care than we have the resources to handle at any given time.

But, though the media did what the media does and tried to create mass panic, America was never in any danger of running out of medical resources. Quite the contrary. The projections about COVID-19 used to frighten us into jettisoning our 250-year commitment to individual rights proved to be so overblown that our hospitals are notable for how deserted they’ve become!  We’ve got an historically unprecedented number of empty beds. Health care workers are being furloughed, and, almost unbelievably, the crisis we’re facing is a wave of medical facilities in danger of having to close down for lack of patients!

Nor was there ever any chance of running out of ventilators or other medical resources. Governor Cuomo helped the media in their eternal quest to keep us too frightened to think clearly by claiming that New York, which has reported around 25% of all alleged U.S fatalities, desperately needed 40,000 ventilators. Well, guess what? New York has already passed its peak and it turned out there was never a point at which more than around 5,000 were being used.

The media blasted President Trump when he politely called out Cuomo’s BS. But what neither the President nor anyone else inclined to defend our lunatic response to COVID-19 understands – in many cases, no doubt, because it’s too awful to contemplate– is that if we never got close to exhausting our medical resources, this wretched lockdown was completely pointless and didn’t save a single life.

Sure, if shutting down the country really did inhibit the spread of COVID-19, some people who might have died from it wound up not getting it yet. But that’s all they did – not get it yet. They weren’t saved from getting it at all.  And, if the lockdown was successful, they’re going to have plenty more opportunity since COVID-19 will be plaguing us for a lot longer than it would have if we hadn’t bothered.

***

⁓ “I have always found those who would thrust theory into practical matters to be, at bottom, men of no judgement and pure quacks.” –eminent physicist and father of civil engineering, John Smeaton, 1759

***

Despite the bizarre impression a lot of people have mistakenly formed,  COVID-19 isn’t going to just magically fizzle out on its own after a few months. Americans will continue to get infected until so many of us have developed immunity that the virus no longer has enough carriers to make its way to the rest. At that point, even those who don’t have biological immunity will be protected by herd immunity. Until then, there’s absolutely no reason to think the virus is going away.

There was a lot of outrage and shock when Fauci suddenly declared six weeks in that we needed to stay in lockdown for the God-only-knows-how-many years it will take to develop a vaccine. But though Fauci despicably allowed everyone to think otherwise, the long-term nature of what he pushed us into was baked in from the very beginning.

Think about it. How could it not have been?

Given the rate at which COVID-19 spreads, it’s estimated that around 60% of us need to develop biologically immunity for the rest of us to be protected by herd immunity. But, if the lockdown really has slowed the rate at which the virus has spread down to a crawl as intended, then there’s no way all but a tiny fraction of us have been infected. Hence, if we open the country back up again before there’s a vaccine, the people who’ve recently contracted COVID-19 and are contagious are going to start spreading it to the overwhelming majority of us coming out of lockdown who have thus far only avoided infection because of it.

But, if you don’t trust your ability to think through very basic things without confirmation from media-approved experts (because, you know, they have such a great track record) let’s look at the computer modeling study out of Imperial University that projected 2.2 million Americans dead from COVID-19 if we did nothing. That was the main source used to push us into this lockdown. It’s also explicit that there’s no point whatsoever in imposing it as a short-term strategy.

The authors mention no less than three times that one consequence of slowing the virus down is that we won’t be acquiring herd immunity and, hence, that we need to stay locked down the minimum 18 months it will take to develop and distribute a vaccine and convince force 60% of us into getting it:

[T]he more successful a strategy is at temporary suppression, the larger the later epidemic is predicted to be in the absence of vaccination, due to lesser build-up of herd immunity…The major challenge of suppression is that [it] …will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more).

Indeed, the Imperial University study on which our entire strategy is based explicitly warns that it may not even be feasible for large populations like ours since the resulting economic devastation and social anguish will likely make it too difficult to maintain for the amount of time required!

[I]t remains to be seen whether [suppression ] is possible longterm, and whether the social and economic costs of the interventions adopted thus far can be reduced.

The upshot is that, even if all the scary projections about COVID-19 we heard were true, the restrictions imposed on us make no sense since there’s no way we’d even be able – let alone willing – to stay locked in our homes unable to earn our daily bread for the years it will take to develop a vaccine.

Indeed, since there’s no guarantee at all that we’re ever going to develop one, it’s hard to understand how what we’re doing could make much sense under any circumstances.

Tens of billions of dollars and almost four decades have been spent trying to fulfill Fauci’s dream of finding an AIDS vaccine to no avail. And forget AIDS, we haven’t even been able to develop a vaccine for either of the other two strains of coronavirus that have proven dangerous; even though SARS-CoV has been around for 17 years and MERS-CoV for 8. Why on earth should we have any confidence that the prospects for finding a vaccine for baby brother COVID-19 are any better?

***

⁓ “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.” –philosopher and noted skeptic, Michel de Montaigne, 1580

***

But the draconian regime of social isolation inflicted on us stands revealed as even more tragically senseless. We now know that the projections about COVID-19 that frightened us into accepting it were total garbage.

Remember those roughly 2500 fatalities Sweden had at the beginning of May that were supposed to show us what fools they were for not shutting the whole place down? Well that Imperial University computer model that got us to adopt this wrecking ball of a public health strategy projected that Sweden’s failure to do the same should have resulted in close to 40,000 COVID-19 fatalities by then, not a mere 2500: that’s 16 times the real number!

And, you’d have be nuts to suggest that not adopting measures 100% guaranteed to bring down a mountain of totally predictable pain and God only knows how much unforeseen anguish on your citizens indicates anything but supremely wise leadership when the alleged threat they were supposed to neutralize was exaggerated 16-fold.

Sweden also didn’t run out of medical resources. So, just like the U.S., we know for a fact that lockdown wouldn’t have decreased the number of COVID-19 fatalities they suffered since, once again, regardless of any impression to the contrary you may have formed, lockdown was only ever supposed to save lives by preventing hospitals from being overrun. If they weren’t, it wouldn’t have.

So, assuming this wretched dystopian regime of state-enforced isolation succeeded in slowing down the rate at which the virus spread, the only thing the tremendous sacrifice and loss involved accomplished is lengthening our COVID-19 ordeal by needlessly postponing herd immunity.

The good news, however, is that it’s pretty clear this lockdown didn’t accomplish anything. Despite how hard it was pushed, there was never the slightest reason to think it would. The studies on “social distancing” are few and far between, narrowly restricted to the flu, don’t cover the measures we’ve adopted, and, in any event, aren’t even close to conclusive.

Scientists don’t even know for sure how the seasonal flu is typically transmitted or even why it flourishes in the winter, for God’s sake. All they have are a bunch of competing hypotheses, none of which account for all the facts and all of which may be totally off base.

So, another truth it’s going to take a lot of strength for President Trump and many others to face is that we simply had no reason whatsoever to believe that the bizarre, historically never so-much-as-mentioned-let-alone-tried idea of putting perfectly healthy people into semi-isolation would even be effective against the flu; let alone against a brand new pathogen we knew absolutely nothing about when these completely untested measures were imposed on us. It may be tough to wrap your head around, but this lockdown was never anything more than pseudo-scientific quack medicine.

We’ve since learned that COVID-19 can survive on plastic surfaces for three days. For all anyone knows, the snake oil Fauci sold us on actually increased how fast it spread by shutting down local small businesses and funneling more people into corporate mega-stores like Walmart and Costco; where every surface and item you touch or buy has been contaminated by thousands of potentially infected people whose germs you would otherwise never have been exposed to.

But, we don’t even need to enumerate any of the completely unsurprising scenarios that would render the hardship and suffering inflicted on us totally pointless. We now have months of data from from virtually every corner of the world and, as hard as this also may be to accept, places that decided against the suicidal polices we adopted didn’t fare any worse than those that embraced them. Nor did localities within the U.S. who were immune to the epidemic of lockdown fever that struck most of the rest of America suffer more COVID-19 infections or deaths.

It may be hard to face, but the fact is that it’s overwhelmingly unlikely the drastic measures we took did anything to slow down the spread of COVID-19. And it’s a measure of what a monumentally boneheaded move enacting them was in the first place that it’s actually good news that they likely accomplished nothing. For, had they succeeded, we’d actually be worse off when we finally end this utterly pointless lockdown.

We’d be right back at the beginning, riding out COVID-19 until enough of us acquire biological immunity through infection to protect the rest. Thankfully, every indication is that COVID-19 kept spreading at its normal rate while we acted like madmen destroying our economy, inflicting untold more damage on ourselves, and dumping trillions of dollars of debt on future generations. But at least we’re probably already well on the way to herd immunity.

***

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant encumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!” –Mark Twain, 1906

***

The unprecedented restrictions imposed on us were senseless at every conceivable step.

  • The projections that scared us into accepting them were garbage. We were never in danger of running out of hospital space.  That’s all they were meant to forestall. So we know for a fact all the hardship and misery we endured and the long-term damage yet to come was pointless.
  • But, even if the projections of overrun hospitals hadn’t been complete garbage, the materially and spiritually crushing restrictions imposed on us wouldn’t have done anything to decrease the rate at which COVID-19 spread. So our hospitals would have been just as overrun regardless.
  • And, even if “social distancing” wasn’t pseudo-scientific quackery, we’d need to stay locked down the minimum couple of years ’til there’s a vaccine not to wind up right back where we started.
  • Finally, even if the resulting economic devastation and psychological toll didn’t make years in lockdown out of the question, for all anyone knows we might not have a vaccine for decades or even ever at all.

It’s hard to imagine a more catastrophic blunder than this lockdown. It’s like we fell victim to history’s sickest practical joke.

A lot of folks are going to need all the strength they’ve got to accept how monumentally foolish it was to let ourselves get panicked into accepting unprecedented restrictions that not only violated the founding principles of individual liberty that define America but also carried completely obvious and painfully real catastrophic costs while bringing only very narrow and highly theoretical benefits.

The man who was in charge during this historically unprecedented fiasco will need to be especially strong.

But President Trump has to face reality.

A lot of people were fooled. Most of us probably were to one degree or another. And the President isn’t going to lose any support by facing up to the fact that he was one of them. But his base mostly knows the dreadful score. So, he will kill some enthusiasm if he can’t admit how badly we’ve blundered and, instead, keeps trying to prop up the monstrous lie that the havoc wreaked on America by the historically unprecedented and utterly senseless scheme we were panicked into adopting was anything but pointless.

But there’s more at stake for the President here than base political calculation. Spending the rest of your life propping up something you know in your heart to be a lie is no way for a man of conviction to live. President Trump is more than strong enough to face the truth. For his own sake, he needs to repudiate the crew of maniacs who’ve gleefully inflicted this catastrophic and pointless lockdown on us.

But he also needs to do it for the nation’s sake. We need his leadership to put the whole humiliating episode behind us, determine what in God’s name Fauci, Birx, and the others who gaslit America into suicidal delusions thought they were doing, see that they’re duly punished, and, not least of all, make sure nothing even remotely similar ever happens again.

If Trump isn’t actively working to see that sanity is restored and justice served, it’s tough to see who among the feckless collection of career politicians and bureaucrats that mainly comprise our sad excuse for national leadership will.