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

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Team Apocalypse—Revisited

I am proud to have been among the relatively small percentage of U.S. citizens who called B.S. when the first Covid lockdowns and masking policies were introduced during the Trump administration. I thought then that hysteria, coupled with a political subtext, led to bad decisions that quickly led to authoritarian dictates. I thought then (and was proven correct) that the unintended consequences of bad policies far outweighed the threat of the virus.

Throughout 2020 and into 2021, hysteria with a political subtext was amplified and promoted by what some of us derisively called "Team Apocalypse." The Team was led by Anthony Fauci, MD. His followers were a collection of mostly blue city, blue state and federal politicians and their many, many followers across our nation along other catastrophists around the world. I first wrote about the Team in April, 2020:

"Team Apocalypse" (h/t: @AlexBerenson, Twitter) has been working hard to create an environment in which hysteria, fear-mongering, bad information, lack of context, and purposely distorted advice and warnings reign. Their intent is to put as many roadblocks in the way of re-opening the country as possible, now arguing that endless amounts of testing are required before we can even think of re-opening. On its surface, the team's strategy is all about saving lives. But if that actually was the case, the ruination of 1000 times more lives (and businesses) would matter just as much. Given that reality, it's important to look just below the surface. Team Apocalypse has used fear-mongering to achieve purposeful delay, and as a result tens of millions of workers have gotten crushed. Far too many members of the team hope their results will lead to profound public anger, fear, and dismay, yielding the desired election result in November.

On the opposing team, we have rational, critical thinkers, driven by actual real-life data along with a not-so-small dose of common sense ...

I wrote those words two months after the "two weeks to stop the spread."  Sadly, the opposing team lost in 2020 and 2021.

Now that the overwhelmingly bad consequences of early Covid policies are impossible to ignore, Fauci and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of members of Team Apocalypse,* are trying to re-write history and suggest that they didn't propose policies that lead to serious societal damage. 

James Freeman comments on Fauci's attempt to re-write history:

Remember the government disease doctor who once described the Covid lockdown policies he was promoting as merely “inconvenient”? Trillions of dollars and countless shattered lives later, now the country’s most forceful advocate for shuttering U.S. society is pretending he was inconsequential.

To make his new case Dr. Anthony Fauci has chosen the friendly forum of the New York Times, which also isn’t eager to accept responsibility for panicked responses to Covid ...

Shame on President Trump for not firing the destructive doctor in 2020, and shame on Dr. Fauci for trying to rewrite this history in 2023.

In 2020, Fauci worked tirelessly to criticize and/or censor public health experts, economists and many others who opposed his views, claiming that "science" was on his side. It. Was. Not. 

He set the tone that allowed lockdown and masking scolds to criticize and/or demonize any opposing view. Glen Reynolds chastises those "scolds" and demands that they show some contrition. The scolds viciously attacked those of us who have been proven correct about virtually every aspect of the ruinous policies put in place by Trump and then reinforced and expanded by Biden. Reynolds writes:

... studies keep coming out indicating all sorts of harm from these so-called “non-pharmaceutical interventions” during COVID.

The damage ranges from the “shocking” increase in LGBTQ intimate partner violence that a Rutgers study found, to a rise in sex attacks on teen girls, to a major decline in cancer screenings, to an “unprecedented” drop in teen mental health, to a dramatic loss in kids’ school learning, which remedial attempts have been unsuccessful in reversing. Even bar exam scores suffered.

Though these interventions didn’t do much to reduce COVID death rates — Sweden, which avoided lockdowns, did better than the nations that pursued them — there’s considerable evidence they caused increased numbers of deaths from heart attacks, obesity, mental-health problems, drug overdoses and the like.

People who because of their age were at very low risk from COVID died at much higher-than-normal rates from these other causes as a result of the disruption of normal life, the cutoff of normal social-support networks and, of course, the endless miasma of fear government and media spread.

And children were hurt the most, suffering developmental delays and other losses.

For a 6-year-old, two years of masking and lockdowns is nearly half a lifetime, and you can’t get those years back.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted lockdowns fueled strep, flu and respiratory-syncytial-virus outbreaks.

Many lockdown measures were nonsensical or downright discriminatory.

As blogger Nate Silver observed, “It’s kind of crazy (and tells you a lot about who was writing the restrictions) that churches in some jurisdictions were subject to more restrictions than museums! Not even attempting to follow any sort of epidemiological principles.”

We saw outdoor skate parks filled with sand, ocean kayakers cited for not wearing masks while paddling alone on the ocean and, as the post Silver retweeted noted, a Santa Clara church and its congregation made the “targets of an unprecedented surveillance operation” over defiance of lockdown rules.

It was a golden age for scolds, busybodies and petty tyrants, and they made the most of it.

The result was a drastic loss of trust in the honesty and competence of public authorities, scientists and the media at every level, a loss of trust that was 100% justified. [emphasis mine]

And that may be the most serious of all the unintended consequences of "covidiocy." 

You'd think that because they were so wrong about Covid, members of the Team might rethink the apocalyptic projections and the bad policy prescriptions they have developed for climate change—but nope. True believers to the end, they continue to work "hard to create an environment in which hysteria, fear-mongering, bad information, lack of context, and purposely distorted advice and warnings reign." 

And when the many, many unintended consequences** of their new apocalyptic fantasy come home to roost, they will, like their Covid brethren, never apologize, never show contrition, and never, ever admit they were wrong.


* Just this week, Randi Weingarten, leader of the politically influential American Federation of Teachers, testified before congress that she only wanted to keep schools open. Here's a comment on that lie from the New York Post: "Weingarten is a powerful political force in the Democratic Party. She and her allies in Democratic politics used their leverage to keep school doors closed to students for more than a year, with catastrophic results for the learning and mental health of those students.' " Another harsh take on Weingarten's lies can be found here.

** Although I do NOT agree with some of the arguments proposed by Joel Klotkin, his comments on the consequences of proposed climate change policy are on target:

The fabulists at places like the New York Times have convinced themselves that climate change is the biggest threat to prosperity. But many ordinary folk are far more worried about the immediate effects of climate policy than the prospect of an overheated planet in the medium or long term. This opposition to the Net Zero agenda was first expressed by the gilet jaunes movement in France in 2018, whose weekly protests were initially sparked by green taxes. This has been followed by protests by Dutch and other European farmers in recent years, who are angry at restrictions on fertilisers that will cut their yields. The pushback has sparked the rise of populism in a host of countries, notably Italy, Sweden and France. Even in ultra-with-it Berlin, a referendum on tighter-emissions targets recently failed to win over enough voters.

This is class warfare obscured by green rhetoric. It pits elites in finance, tech and the nonprofit world against a more numerous, but less connected, group of ordinary citizens. Many of these folk make their living from producing food and basic necessities, or from hauling these things around. Factory workers, truck drivers and farmers, all slated for massive green regulatory onslaughts, see sustainability very differently than the urban corporate elites and their woke employees. As the French gilets jaunes protesters put it bluntly: ‘The elites worry about the end of the world. We worry about the end of the month.’

Hmmm. "Class warfare obscured by green rhetoric." Sorta the same as Covid hysteria obscured by public health rhetoric. In both cases, the rhetoric is not scientifically based and in many cases outright dishonest. It is the average wage earner and small businesses that take the brunt of the sacrifice and gain little if any benefit going forward.