The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Hiroo Onada

Do you know who Hiroo Onoda was? If you're a COVID-19 catastrophist and therefore, a de facto member of the "Legion of Doom," it would be a good idea to find out. 

As a Legion of Doom member you have more than a few characteristics that conform to the following profile: 

  • You've been vaccinated, but in the extreme, you refuse to leave your house, except in the most pressing of emergencies. 
  • Even if you do venture out, you still wear your mask outside even after you've been vaccinated. 
  • You still insist that masks MUST be worn inside, even in large, open spaces. 
  • You glare at anyone who doesn't, thinking them uncaring and considerably less than woke about the ongoing dangers of the virus. 
  • You ostracize the unvaccinated, needlessly afraid they they might infect you. 
  • You demand that little children wear masks, even though there is not a shred of scientific evidence that justifies this cruel and unnecessary demand. 
  • You still think it's a good idea to keep schools closed, disregarding the educational and psychological harm that this insane policy has inflicted.
  • You still insist on 6-ft. social distancing, even as case counts fall and hospitalizations and deaths plummet. 
  • You fixate on "variants," on India, on Brazil, on new (and absurd) claims that herd immunity can't be achieved, using that fixation to increase your fear level.
  • You agree with Joe Biden that continuing to wear a mask after getting vaccinated is your "patriotic duty," even though study after study has demonstrated that a mask does little to stop the spread. 
  • You watch CNN panic porn for two or more hours every day and worse, believe what they say. 

And above all, you convince yourself that anyone who doesn't adopt your quasi-hysterical worldview just isn't "following the science."

You are Hiroo Onada—a Japanese soldier who "fought" in the jungles of the Philippine archipelago for 29 years after World War II ended. 

Our national leaders love to characterize our efforts against the virus as a "war." It's a reasonable metaphor, I suppose. But there are many scientific reasons (and copious real-world evidence) to believe that the "war" against COVID-19 was fought by blue "generals" who didn't have a clue, who used losing strategies that were ineffective and often counter-productive. And when a few red generals took another path, the blue team became apoplectic, suggesting that death and defeat would follow. 

But it didn't. In fact, it was the blue team that suffered more losses (both human and economic) as they insisted on their fear-driven strategies.

And now as the "war" winds down, as more and more people get vaccinated, as herd immunity becomes a reality, it's rather important for doomers to remember the story of Hiroo Onoda. It's time for them to leave their self-imposed jungle and go on with their lives. 

UPDATE:

Bari Weiss provides an interested comment for the "Hiroo Onodas" among us:

    If you don’t want to go to the dinner, don’t go. Let the rest of us enjoy ourselves.

    To my mind, one of the best essays written during this fiasco of a year was by Dr. Norman Doidge, who explained in Tablet what lockdown does to us psychologically. “Lockdown bequeaths us a map,” he wrote, “in which my little home, my apartment, my room, the world inside is good and safe; but the outside, is nothing but dangerous. It begins by physically enclosing us, but ends by mentally enclosing us. We may not be paranoid (because there truly is a virus out there), but we nonetheless start living as paranoids do. Lockdown forecloses unlockdown.”

    In other words, once we are stuck inside it is very hard to unstick ourselves. I’m trying to remind myself of this truth when I find myself wanting to berate friends who, fully vaccinated, look at me with crazy eyes when I suggest coming over for dinner. PTSD might be too strong a descriptor, but it’s not so far off either.

    So try to have empathy for friends like these, who are having a hard time unlocking lockdown. But also: it’s ok to ignore their judgment and not waste a moment second-guessing having dinner with other vaccinated friends.

Personally, I'm beginning to run out of empathy. Listening to crazy talk and observing even more crazy actions tends to do that. On the other hand, it's becoming increasing easy to follow Weiss's advice and simply ignore the insanity—except when it infringes on my right to live my life.

POSTSCRIPT:

And if you're a 'normal'—concerned about the virus but NOT consumed by fear or hysteria—who has decided to eschew masks and live your life with others in public and private places? Then what? 

It's not uncommon for a member of the Legion of Doom to confront you, virtue signaling all the way, to suggest that you're being "irresponsible" or "uncaring," or that "you're not following the science" or the (now discredited) CDC guidance or whatever.

Here's how you should respond to the catastrophist:

I fully support your right to isolate yourself, to avoid public places, and to limit contact with friends and family.

But your fear and hysteria does NOT give you the right to control my life, limit my freedoms, or suggest that I am somehow less moral or caring than you. 

'Nuff said.


Monday, May 03, 2021

Corrupt and Unjust

In a lengthy article, Glen Greenwald describes how progressives in NY and MA destroyed the political prospects of their own chosen primary candidates once unsubstantiated allegations of sexual harassment were leveled against them. No matter that there was no proof, that the timing of the allegations was highly suspect, that the accusers statements were misleading—leftist groups immediately repudiated the candidates because—'believe the woman.'

This vicious and irresponsible destruction of reputation has become common among the Left and has been used repeatedly as a political weapon. That might be a consequence of their repugnant attempt to destroy Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh—an attempt that almost succeeded and likely would have had Donald Trump not shown courage (that's the correct word) in not crumbling under the onslaught of provably false allegations leveled by the Democrats and their media hamsters. Subsequent book-length investigations (e.g., here and here) indicate that the primary accuser at that time, Chris Balsey-Ford, was a liar and a political opportunist with a malevolent agenda. 

It is ironic that recent 'me too' allegations have been Democrat on Democrat. And yet, there is hypocrisy there as well. Greenwald writes:

Needless to say, when the stakes are high enough, progressives kick this framework of presumed-guilt and Believe-Women to the curb. When Joe Biden was the presumptive nominee against Donald Trump, they quickly vilified his accuser Tara Reade as a mentally unwell liar — just as they did in the 1990s to the group of women who accused Bill Clinton of various levels of sexual impropriety, including rape. When something like the presidency is at stake, female accusers of key Democratic male leaders are to be mocked and destroyed, not believed.

That is because there is no discernible principle at play. It is only about power. Why was the highly educated Christine Blasey Ford to be believed with no evidence in her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, and why is [progressive Mayoral candidate in NYC] Stringer’s accuser, political consultant Jean Kim, to be believed, but Reade was not, even though she had more evidence of contemporaneous complaints to support her allegations?

But the far more important point is that any culture that is willing to destroy reputations and lives based on totally unproven accusations is one that is inherently corrupt and unjust. [emphasis mine] The ability to destroy someone’s life with nothing more than an uncorroborated claim voiced more than eighteen years after the alleged incident is a power with which nobody should be trusted.

True that! 

UPDATE:

Far too many people who make up "the woke" are nothing more than humorless leftist bullies who view their mission as one that roots out every person, publication or video—literally every form of communication—that they and they alone perceive as a violation of their self-defined societal norms. Their warped fixation on what they think is racism, misogyny, sexual abuse, LBGTQ-phobia, xenophobia, privilege, white supremacy, etc., etc would be amusing if it weren't so dangerous and destructive. It makes one wonder whether their fixations are actually a form of psychological  projection.

They see white supremacist "signs" in innocent hand gestures. They see sexual abuse in an innocent or inadvertent touch. They see "racism" in the words of an African American man or woman who disagrees with their ideology. They see xenophobia in rational decisions to limit illegal immigration. They see misogyny in any criticism of a woman politician's questionable leftist policies. And they work hard to cancel the person or publication that they fixate on.

Barton Swaim comments on the woke's failed attempts to cancel bestselling author Jordan Peterson. He writes:

The cancelers’ strange fixations mean that apologizing to them is folly. Mr. Peterson hasn’t apologized or disavowed any previous statement. Now there’s a rule for his next book: Don’t apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong. 

Those who have been attacked by leftist bullies should adopt that position. When you've done nothing wrong, don't apologize. Instead, call out the bullies that want to destroy you. They're easy to ridicule because their positions are often indefensible, dishonest, counter-factual, illogical, and puerile. Maybe that's why they so badly need to destroy those who oppose them. They simply can't win a honest debate—and they know it.



 

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Ugliness

Some of the best thoughtful writing/commentary currently available can't be found in propaganda outlets like the NYT or WaPo. It's unavailable at tediously woke sources like The Atlantic or The New Yorker. And it certainly can't be found in Pravda-like, left-wing organs like CNN or MSNBC. Much of it has migrated to substack, where contributors on both the right and the left comment on today's culture and politics in ways that make the aforementioned media sources look like a third graders who look at the world like the uniformed children they are.

In an opinion piece, Paul Kingsnorth (subscription required) writes about the United States (and the West in general) and it's current political leadership, its dominating media, entertainment industry, academics, and even a growing number of its government bureaucrats. Why is it, he asks, that the current narrative tells us that we are "systemically racist," that "privilege" precludes any possibility for others to advance and succeed? Why is it that the woke tell us that we are irreparably broken and need an authoritarian socialist "reset" to continue as a nation? He writes:

Why is this happening and what is going on? Looked at through a wide lens, it is a deeply weird (not to mention WEIRD) phenomena. What sort of country is ashamed of itself? What people wants to be governed by a ruling class that holds it in contempt? What historical precedent is there for a lasting culture whose story-makers are embarrassed by their own ancestors? How can any culture continue into the future if it is teaching its children a deeply disturbing form of racialised self-loathing?

    Defenders of the current moment will usually respond that such accusations are hysterical. What is happening in the West, they say, is a long-overdue ‘reckoning’ with our culture’s past: the empires, the colonies, the imposition of our ways of life on the rest of the world. They’re not wrong about much of that history, however partially they tell the story. We know, or we should, that there were plenty of dark chapters in the Western past. If any culture takes to the high seas with cannons blazing and proceeds to paint half the world red (on the map and often on the ground), then at some point a reckoning will arrive. Actions have consequences. God is not mocked.

    But this is not a good enough explanation for what is now clearly a process of accelerating cultural disintegration. After all, plenty of other parts of the world – pretty much all of them in fact, humans being what they are – have dark pasts too, but you don’t see Russia’s cultural elites collapsing into spirals of performative shame over how Lenin and Stalin brutalised eastern Europe or killed millions of their own people (on the contrary, Uncle Joe is very popular there these days.) Japan’s murderous history in southeast Asia doesn’t seem to have led to a desire to dismantle its historic identity, and China is certainly not about to start apologising for the last four thousand years – count them – that it has been engaging in imperial expansion.

    No, something else is surely going on in the West, and especially in the Anglosphere, which can’t be explained purely by historical karma. Over the last few years, a new and still-coalescing ideology, which has been gathering steam in the post-modern catacombs of America for decades, has burst out onto the streets and into the studios, and is now coursing through the culture, overturning what was until recently uncontroversial or unquestioned. The energy around it is not that of the self-declared love and justice. It tastes of deconstruction, division, intolerance, hatred and rage. 

The ugly "deconstruction, division, intolerance, hatred and rage" is often masked by platitudes about "unity," fairness, and "equity," but just beneath the surface the ugliness remains. I'm not sure where this is going, but it's pretty obvious the destination won't be a good place.