The tyranny of a Covid amnesty

The tyranny of a Covid amnesty. By Mary Harrington.

Covid policy … was, in fact, a class war writ so large it encompassed minute micromanagement of nearly every facet of everyday life, for years on end, and doled out material consequences for dissenters. And it was all justified with reference to the supposedly neutral domain of science. …

I won’t rehash the debates here, save to note that they represented the first shot across the bows of the End of History belief that technocracy could be genuinely neutral, and based in objective evidence.

In questioning this doctrine, the mutineers dragged an incipient class war into the open, between what N.S. Lyons characterises as the “Virtuals” of the laptop class, and the “Physicals” whose work is more rooted in the material world. …

This text, a kind of Nicene Creed for Virtuals, first appeared in response to Trump’s election, and has multiplied across posters, t-shirts, tote bags, and (in America, where they do such things) signs stuck into the front lawns of the faithful.

The Virtuals’ Creed reads as follows:

In this house, we believe:
Black lives matter
Women’s rights are human rights
No human is illegal
Science is real
Love is love
Kindness is everything

Each of these dicta sounds unimpeachable in theory, but is far more contentious in practice. “No human is illegal”, for instance, sounds true; but how do we manage the welfare state, without a means of distinguishing between citizens and non-citizens?

When this lawn sign first appeared, I could have given you a critical run-down of the political pitfalls and ideological sleights-of-hand buried in all those dicta, bar the claim that Science Is Real. Since then, though, I’ve seen this line in the Virtuals’ Creed weaponised without compunction, as a bludgeon to enforce a moral consensus that wasn’t scientific, and wasn’t rational.

This consensus was, instead, far more religious in character. …

Nor is having expertise or evidence on your side much of a defence. Dr Peter McCullough, a top American cardiologist, argued against vaccinating those with natural Covid immunity, and voiced concerns about the effect of the Covid vaccine on cardiac health. For expressing such views, and despite evidence that natural immunity is more robust than the vaccine and that myocarditis is a recognised side-effect of the vaccine, McCullough now faces being struck off by an American medical board. …

Doubtless the laptop class would prefer that we judge Covid policy by intention, not results, lest too close an evaluation result in their fingers being prised from the baton of public righteousness. …


Why were US covid deaths so much higher than India’s and Indonesia’s? What caused all those non-COVID excess deaths?


But the rot goes deeper still, for the very foundation of that moral authority is a shared trust in the integrity of scientific consensus. And Covid has left us in no doubt that there is a great deal of grey area between “science” and “moral groupthink”. …


Not just COVID


Nearly three years out from the start of the pandemic, it looks a great deal more like the massed consensus of “public health” officials and their journalistic cheerleaders has delivered a public that is sicker, unhappier and poorer across a host of measures. …

And these are all downstream of a pandemic-era public discourse that felt like the Brexit/Trump wars on steroids: a battle for class dominance, in which one side used its stranglehold on public institutions to frame censorship as “fact-checking”, and all dissenters as stupid, unscientific, or actively hateful.

It’s not that “we” collectively tried to get it right, and “mistakes were made”. It’s that a self-righteous cabal arrogated to themselves a priestly right to determine the proper social order, and to excommunicate those who didn’t conform. Their record in securing the common good speaks for itself.

The reckoning might be beginning. Covid red-pilled a lot of people.