No Amnesty for Lockdowners

by | Nov 2, 2022


Now that we can talk to our friends and neighbors about it, the reality is sinking in. What our public-health experts and politicians did to this country was egregious. Inspired by the totalitarian lockdowns in Wuhan, China, and urged to replicate that policy by the World Health Organization in a report that Fauci’s National Institutes of Health approved, all constitutional rights were thrown out.

The churches were shut. The schools were closed, in some places for as long as two years, thus sacrificing the education of a whole generation. We faced restrictions on house parties. We could not visit the elderly in homes, not even sons and daughters who were paying the rent. There were even restrictions on travel between states: quarantine rules made it impractical.

Health authorities specifically demanded the need to close ALL venues where people congregate. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Once people were allowed to crawl out from their domestic holes, they were forced to mask up (even though we had zero evidence that this would achieve anything!) and eventually get shots that everyone said would end the pandemic but obviously did not.

It’s been nearly three years of imposed hell. We now live with the after-effects, which include terrible inflation, learning loss, drug addiction, rising crime, cultural nihilism, and wholly justified public fury that is driving the Democrats to doom on Tuesday because it was the Democrats who leaned in and perpetuated all these policies long after they obviously failed.

So sure, people are upset. The right answer would be for our health authorities and politicians to apologize and beg forgiveness. But nothing like that has happened. They just keep on pretending that all of this was fine. There has been no repeal of the CDC’s claimed power to quarantine you next time, and the Biden administration’s own pandemic planning scheme is to prohibit states from opting out the next time around.

So let’s discuss Dr. Emily Oster’s piece in The Atlantic, in which she claims that everyone needs immediately to comply with some kind of amnesty she has declared. We are supposed to forget it all and move on. And why is this? Because, she says, there was so much uncertainty. They just didn’t know about the virus. It was the fog of war, after all, and everyone did their best.

“We didn’t know,” she says, and then keeps invoking the supposed “uncertainty” of the times, a word she deploys five times. Why if she (or they) were so uncertain did they so quickly decide to wreck all liberty in the United States? The so-called precautionary principle would suggest that government should undertake no such policy due to the obvious harms it would impose. They did it anyway.

Here’s the problem. This is complete rot. We knew from February of the risk stratification of the disease’s serious outcomes. It was in all the papers. We had the data. We knew from the Diamond Princess experience in February 2020 that there were no deaths under the age of 70 on the ship. That comported with every bit of information we had at the time. Based on what we knew at the time, there was absolutely no case for locking down at all and every reason not to do this.

For that matter, Professor Oster could have merely read the news. MSNBC on Jan. 30, 2020 reported that Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama’s Health Advisor said, “Everyone in America should take a very big breath, slow down, and stop panicking and being hysterical. We are having a little too much histrionics on this.”

On March 4, 2020, Slate reported: “There are many compelling reasons to conclude that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is not nearly as deadly as is currently feared. But COVID-19 panic has set in nonetheless. … Allow me to be the bearer of good news. These frightening numbers are unlikely to hold. The true case fatality rate, known as CFR, of this virus is likely to be far lower than current reports suggest.”

The same day, Psychology Today reported: “Yes, this virus is different and worse than other coronaviruses, but it still looks very familiar. We know more about it than we don’t know …. It’s scary to think that an invisible enemy is out there to make you sick. But your doctor is not panicking, and you don’t need to, either.”

We can even turn to Dr. Fauci himself, who wrote as follows on Feb. 20, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine: “the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1 percent) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10 percent and 36 percent, respectively.”

On March 17, 2020, the legendary epidemiologist John Ioannidis broke it all down: “The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco …. One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric. At a minimum, we need unbiased prevalence and incidence data for the evolving infectious load to guide decision-making.”

Wow, talk about prophetic! All of that happened. He knew this not because he was clairvoyant but because he has a working brain. You cannot just shut down society without egregious consequences that affect health, economics, social relations, and so much more. In other words, authorities acted with extreme measures that were in no way justified by the data and did with measures they KNEW FOR SURE would massively damage the social fabric.

For that matter, we’ve known about the damage of lockdowns since they were first pushed in 2005–06. The famed epidemiologist Donald Henderson warned that such measures would turn a manageable pandemic into a catastrophe!

So here we are, living amidst catastrophe. There are no apologies. There is only coverup. Now, you might ask the following: why if the mainstream media from late January through mid-February 2020 was counseling calm and urging against lockdown frenzy, and even Fauci was saying that we didn’t need a vaccine to get out of this pandemic, why was there a sudden shift? What new evidence came in that caused Fauci, along with his minions and inner circle, to surround Trump in early March and demand that he green-light the lockdowns?

Why did this happen? I have my own theories but they are only that. My suspicion is that 1) Fauci and his gang believed that they were culpable for the pandemic due to NIH’s funding of the Wuhan lab and so pushed lockdowns in the hope of stopping the spread or just causing a chaotic diversion of attention, and 2) getting Trump to wreck the economy would be the surest path to unseating him in the November election. On the second point, it so happened that the manufactured disease panic permissioned changes in absentee voting rules that ultimately led to Trump’s demise.

Now, you could call this a conspiracy theory. I sincerely hope it is not true because it would be a scandal for the ages. And perhaps I’m wrong here and there is some other reason for the egregious actions that wrecked millions of businesses and lives. I would like to know what it is. But as for Emily Oster’s excuse that we just didn’t know—that we believed that the virus was worse than it was, that masks would stop the spread, and so on—that claim is utterly baseless. So too her demand for “amnesty” for the lockdowners falls flat.

We knew. We knew for sure based on existing data what the nature of the threat was and we knew for sure, based on historical experience and common sense, the deep damage that would be caused by lockdowns. The plea of ignorance here simply doesn’t hold up to any evidentiary standard.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Epoch Times.


  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown. He is also the editor of The Best of Mises.

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