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. 


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.


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.