Issues & Insights
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Blood On Whose Hands?

Remember when the media and their political masters couldn’t stop saying that red state governors had blood on their hands for opening their states while others were cowered by COVID? The data show it is those who kept their residents locked down and masked who cannot remove the Lady Macbeth-esque spot from their hands.

When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis decided early in the pandemic that liberty was more precious than any benefits that could come from dictatorial restrictions, the copycat media went to work. Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier tweeted that “the Georgia death toll is blood on” Kemp’s hands, while The Atlantic was absolutely sure “the state is about to find out how many people need to lose their lives to shore up the economy.” Washington Post published an execrable op-ed by columnist Dana Milbank with the headline “Georgia leads the race to become America’s No. 1 Death Destination.”

While never in doubt, the nags in the press were universally wrong.

The phrase “blood on his hands” when referring to any official who refused to continue the mask-and-lockdown charade was repeated by the media so many times that it could not have been an accident. If it wasn’t a coordinated effort, then the media is made up of a legion of unimaginative hacks who could think of nothing more elegant than a hackneyed cliche. Wordsmiths they are not.

Neither are they truth tellers. The facts show that the authoritarian rules handed down without the due process of law were harmful.

First, let’s revisit the lockdowns. They were cruel edicts and we haven’t seen yet the end of the death and misery they caused. We noted this several times in recent weeks as we continue to encourage the country to resist another round of lockdowns and mask mandates.

In addition to ruining the health of so many, the lockdowns unnecessarily impoverished Americans. Anyone who doesn’t think that a healthy economy is not as important as a healthy physical condition needs to ask why research has shown that increases in unemployment lead to early deaths. According to a National Bureau of Economic Research paper, “the typical unemployment shock results in a significant decline in life expectancy and increase in mortality rates for the overall population.”

Of course there was little ordinary about the “COVID-19-related unemployment shock.” That NBER paper, revised two years ago, said the impact from the lockdowns “is about 3.64 standard deviations larger than the typical shock to the unemployment rate for the overall population,” and estimated “that this unprecedented unemployment shock will result in a 2.43% increase in mortality rates and a 0.83% drop in life expectancy over the next 15 years.”

How can anyone defend a policy that both robbed us of freedom and became a ruthless killing machine?

Then there’s the Mask Of Death. Americans were told by the politically powerful and the media Karens to cover their faces – there were no other choices. Representative of the hysterical reactions was the offensive retort from President Joe Biden, who said Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves were guilty of “Neanderthal thinking” when in March 2021 they lifted their mask rules.

Like the lockdowns, masking not only had no beneficial effects, for many, it made matters worse. Mask mandates almost certainly increased the spread of the coronavirus, and they also forced people to poison themselves, breathing in far more carbon dioxide than is healthy.

“While eight times the normal level of carbon dioxide is toxic, research suggests that mask-wearers (specifically those who wear masks for more than 5 minutes at a time) are breathing in 35 to 80 times normal levels,” writes former director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Director Jeffrey H. Anderson in City Journal, citing a German study.

It was at best unethical that none of the experts who imposed masking bothered to warn us that breathing our own C02 exhalations is dangerous.

Although Lady Macbeth did not kill Duncan in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” she did dip her hands into the dead king’s blood to show her husband, who did kill Duncan to take his crown, that they were equally guilty. But the media will never admit their complicity in a fully avoidable tragedy, nor will those who instituted the lethal policies acknowledge their guilt. They have no interest in cleansing themselves of their damned spot.

To paraphrase William F. Buckley, we’d put more trust in the first 1,000 people listed in the Great Falls, Montana, or Bristol, Tennessee, telephone book than in the kakistocrats who wrecked so much while smugly assuring us it was all done for our protection.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


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  • Confusing lockdowns and quarantine is the first mistake, quarantine is a public health procedure that separates the vulnerable from the infectious. It allows for concentration of resources where they can do the most good. Lockdowns are behavioral modification techniques used to prevent or control bad behavior among a controlled population, like prison. It does not contribute to public health at all, except negatively.

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