Columnists

They Knew They Were Wrong; We Warned Them

The Atlantic magazine featured an article earlier this week authored by Emily Oster, an economist and professor at Brown University. Oster looks back over the many grievous wrongs that were committed in the name of “public health” during the COVID-19 pandemic and invites us all to “declare a pandemic amnesty.”

I think not.

There should be no “amnesty” for those who held positions of power — people like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, or the mayors and governors who locked down entire cities and states, or the CEOs who demanded that all their employees take experimental shots or lose their jobs. They have made no request for forgiveness. Whether they ultimately do so or not, the only proper response is to see to it that their hands never touch the reins of power again.

But Oster isn’t speaking as a power broker; she’s just an average American who was wearing masks outside as her 4-year-old son shouted “SOCIAL DISTANCING!” to another child who got “too close” when they were hiking. She’s asking for blanket amnesty for the millions of Americans like her.

She acknowledges — now — that COVID-19 was not going to be transmitted outdoors. She admits that cloth masks do nothing. She concedes that “schools were closed for too long,” and that American children have suffered monumental academic setbacks as a result. But it’s not as if getting these things wrongs was a “moral failing.” “The thing is,” she concludes, “we didn’t know.”

Oh, but you did know. We told you. You didn’t listen.

This willful deafness was not limited to the efficacy of masks. You didn’t listen when we raised serious questions about the origin of COVID-19. It turns out our government was funding “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and our State Department warned against inadequate safety protocols. Fauci lied about this to Congress. Is he going to prison?

You didn’t listen when people insisted that lockdowns would have little to no effect on transmission of the virus but would be devastating economically.

You didn’t listen when experts and parents warned that closing schools would harm an entire generation of schoolchildren, setting them back academically, socially and psychologically.

You didn’t listen when rational people stated that it made no sense to ban concerts, going to the beach or patronizing businesses but allow crowded public protests and riots.

You didn’t listen when physicians and other health professionals began to call into question the efficacy — and even safety — of the “vaccines.” You didn’t listen when young men who were boosted and vaccinated started developing myocarditis and pericarditis and dropping dead of unexplained “heart attacks.”

In her call for amnesty, Oster wants to leave aside those who were “willful purveyors” of false information and concentrate on the well-meaning but ill-informed. This glosses over both the source of the problem and its exacerbation.

From the very beginning, the information given to the public about COVID-19 was permeated with lies. But there were those who saw the deception immediately. They were actively looking for the truth. And when they found it or tried to disseminate it, they were called “kooks” and “conspiracy theorists” for their trouble. And the Americans on whose behalf Oster demands amnesty were the shock troops hollering that anyone asking legitimate questions or presenting actual facts be silenced, censored, doxxed, fired, canceled. These ignorant, ill-informed, manipulated mobs were a critical part of the effort not only to drive a false narrative but also to create a groundswell of opposition to finding the truth.

Yes, the government and social media played a huge role. But even their duplicity and oppressive practices could never have been as successful as they were had it not been for the millions of Americans carrying their water and demanding other citizens’ heads on a platter.

What happened with COVID-19 is inexcusable. But this same behavior that Emily Oster now wants us all to dismiss is playing out in every single other scientific inquiry that has become politicized: the impact of human behavior on the environment, the phenomenon of gender dysphoria, the nutritional value of genetically modified foods, the capabilities of the developing child in the womb, and much more.

So the answer to Professor Oster’s request is “no.” Not because those of us who were right want to “gloat” or “keep score.” But because if those of us who were demanding free speech, serious scientific inquiry and truth dismiss the past three years by saying, “Aw — they meant well,” they’ll be back next time — and there will be a next time — just as ignorant, haughty, shrill and authoritarian as ever.

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Laura Hollis

Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is a native of Champaign, Illinois. She received her undergraduate degree in English and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame. Hollis' career as an attorney has spanned 28 years, the past 23 of which have been in higher education. She has taught law at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and has nearly 15 years' experience in the development and delivery of entrepreneurship courses, seminars and workshops for multiple audiences. Her scholarly interests include entrepreneurship and public policy, economic development, technology commercialization and general business law. In addition to her legal publications, Hollis has been a freelance political writer since 1993, writing for The Detroit News, HOUR Detroit magazine, Townhall.com and the Christian Post, on matters of politics and culture. She is a frequent public speaker. Hollis has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education. She is married to Jess Hollis, a musician, voiceover artist and audio engineer, and they live in Indiana with their two children, Alistair and Celeste.

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One Comment

  1. No amnesty. We need accountability and criminal and conspiracy charges. Fauci, Pfizer and the government and, of course, all the mainstream and social media conspired to shut down the truth about the vaccines and either censor or label any dissent as “debunked” or “disinformation”. That they lied and colluded with the Democrats, government agencies, and all the social and mainstream media is no longer in dispute.

    Nor was it a simple “mistake”. Tens of thousands died in Nursing homes as multiple governors forced they elderly to be housed with COVID infected patients. Countless others died because they again labeled as “disinformation” simple and cheap proven therapeutics and focused only on the vaccination. The vaccination, which they always lied and said would keep people from catching OR transmitting the disease. In fact, they mandated the vaccine putting hundreds of thousands out of work and costing them their livelihoods. They also mandated for millions and millions of students (who were never in serious danger) and now some are dropping dead of myocarditis and will face as yet unknown consequences to their fertility and reproductive systems.

    So no we need accountability, not amnesty, for the worst fraud perpetuated on the general populace in human history.

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