How We Got Here:
Remembering the Beginning of
Our Plague and the Panic
Victor Davis Hanson
November 5, 2021
Whether the Athenian pandemic that destroyed a quarter of the Attic population in 430-29 B.C. and made it nearly impossible for Athens to win the Peloponnesian War, or the outbreaks of Yersinia pestis (A.D. 541–49) that ended the Byzantine emperor Justinian’s grand idea of a reunified Rome headquartered in the East, or the bubonic Black Death of the 14th Century (1347–51) that may have killed off a third of Europe’s population, plagues can tear apart the entire social and cultural foundations of society. But usually, these convulsions from a disease are still the most dramatic expressions of long-standing simmering pathologies. So, it was also in 2020.
As the pandemic continued through the spring, caseloads mounted. Deaths increased. The plague’s ancient twin, panic, ensued. On March 19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a state lockdown of all nonessential businesses to prevent the virus’s spread by “flattening the curve” and thereby not overwhelming hospital intensive care units. Most other states followed suit with varying degrees of severity and laxity. Newsom warned that otherwise there would be some 25.5 million Californians infected with the virus in eight weeks (around May 14). At feared current lethality rates at the time of a supposed 3-4 percent of those infected, that modeled case number would have resulted in over 600,000 Californians dead. In fact, on May 20, 2020, California had reported less than 84,000 known coronavirus cases, and 3,425 deaths; that figure by August 2020 had climbed to 10,000 reported as dying of COVID-19, and eventually 17 months later in early October 2021 approached 5 million cases and exceeded 70,000 deaths attributed in some part to COVID-19.
Some 30 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits, and over half the citizens of a terrified nation were estimated to be self-quarantined in their homes.
For the rest of 2020, the virus waxed and waned, depending upon a host of factors that few public health officials could adequately predict or fathom. On the one hand, initial bleak prognoses that two million Americans might die from the disease were clearly flawed. On the other hand, no one knew why the virus suddenly erupted or declined—and spiked again in June and July 2020 only to diminish in the autumn—and the spike in October 2020. Gradual downward spirals in cases and lethality seemed suddenly to cease, as regional outbreaks erupted—although increased travel, social congregation, and a sense of laxity that the plague was ending likely resulted in further viral hot spots.
In such uncertain and mercurial climates, governors sensed that extended draconian authoritarian measures might be necessary to combat the viral outbreak. They guessed rightly that a terrified public might be less sensitive to the possible unconstitutional nature of their martial law-like edicts. More cynically, some local, regional, and state officials gained more notoriety and attention to the degree that their orders contravened normal custom and practice and the law itself.
Soon Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer had redefined the quarantine as barring state consumers from buying garden plants and seeds. She began outlawing solitary anglers from launching their boats on empty Michigan ponds and lakes, even as crowds packed Walmarts nationwide—and would soon hit the streets in protests often without protective masks and social distancing. At Ground Zero of the U.S. pandemic, New York officials were turning to drones and social media to ferret out those who were walking too close together.
In California, the crime was strolling deserted beaches or kayaking on lakes empty of people. Snitches and drones were used to surveil and turn in reported offenders of bans on assembly, commerce, and free association. In small-town and rural counties of America where there were far fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths, most all businesses were shut down. Any who resisted closing their shops were fined or jailed, on the force of constitutionally suspect executive orders and fiats, not legislatively passed law.
Even as Los Angeles County was reeling from budget shortfalls and releasing thousands of inmates in fears of infection in jails and the lack of revenue, the sheriff initially declared gun stores non-essential businesses and by edict ordered them locked down. Often those most chagrined were the unarmed and previous gun-control supporters who objected to being denied the right to purchase firearms at a time of social unrest and mass prisoner releases. By summer, firearms inventories were so backlogged by consumer demands, that it was impossible to buy a gun in California, and nearly so to purchase ammunition.
In surreal fashion, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was apparently terrified that the epidemic’s spike in New York would result in a shortage of hospital space—even as thousands of beds in hospitals, in make-shift emergency centers and on the federal hospital ship USNS Comfort were empty of patients. Strangely, he not only sent elderly patients with active cases of COVID-19 into nursing homes but forbid such facilities from inquiring about the health status of such state-ordered transfers, and made it illegal to test them before they were admitted. As a result, by early May 2020, the infection had swept through New York’s elderly care homes, killing nearly 5,000 patients—the eventual total would tragically surpass 12,000—many of them residents of facilities that heretofore had either no or very few infectious cases. Cuomo successfully for months hid the actual data of deaths due to transference of the infected into nursing homes.
Lurid news accounts reported pastors arrested for attempting to preach in parking lots with assembled parishioners social distancing from their cars. In some counties, local leaders threatened to arrest those who supposedly spread “false” information about the virus. New York mayor Bill de Blasio, who had in late March still urged New Yorkers to go out to bars and restaurants as well as to take the subway, warned the Jewish community that if it did not follow his orders of social distancing, he would target and arrest its members. In California, the city of Los Angeles simply dumped tons of sand onto skateboard rinks to ensure teens could not sneak into the open-air tracks. In Texas, a local magistrate jailed a salon owner, who, facing bankruptcy, had opened up her haircare shop.
All the while, advocates of massive lockdowns had not fully calibrated the ensuing damage and despair that would follow from the national quarantine: missed medical procedures and screenings, delayed surgeries, the inability to go out to pick up prescriptions, increased substance abuse, suicides, spousal and child violence, and all the other pathologies associated with tens of millions shut in their homes for months on end—much less damage to the Constitution and the economy by unelected magistrates who de facto curtailed many of the citizens’ rights guaranteed under the Bills of Rights.
Even more ominously, congressional leaders sought to laden emergency financial relief bills with all sorts of extraneous measures that in normal times had never garnered 51 percent public support—from student loan-debt cancellations to elements of the so-called Green New Deal. Eventually, multi-trillion-dollar bailout bills sent cash to workers, businesses, and state governments. But subsequent efforts sought to trump such unprecedented direct assistance. The House of Representatives proposed further entitlements—including a reportedly additional $3 trillion “Heroes Act.” The bill proposed giving American families $6,000 in cash each, but otherwise often had little to do with direct virus relief—given it included amnesties for illegal aliens and bailouts to address pre-virus unfunded state pension crises. The 2020–21 fiscal year by May was projected to run a record $4 trillion deficit, nearing an aggregate $27 trillion or more in national debt.
The “never let a crisis go to waste” assumption was that in the general chaos, the Congress could ram through what ordinarily the people did not previously believe was affordable—on the logical premise that in a contracting economy, fiscal fluidity is critical, and deficits are not nearly as dangerous as radical deflation and depression. Ironically, opponents of the Trump administration blasted him for not invoking immediately the little-used 1950 Defense Production Act that would essentially have nationalized companies of the president’s choosing on the rationale that they must be forced to produce what the government deemed necessary for national security. The act would have greenlighted a de facto suspension of many constitutional protections.
At the same time, progressives clamored to recalibrate the November election. They claimed the viral pandemic would either last until November or the fear of it certainly would. Either scenario would then justify for the first time in U.S. history a radical alteration of voting by forcing the entire country’s voters into an absentee ballot constituency. Opponents pointed to past vote harvesting and inadequate checks on voter rolls, both magnified by voting exclusively by mail. An exasperated Donald Trump even countered the idea of mail-in voting by suggesting that the election might be postponed until a vaccine was found—a suggested remedy as bad as the malady of vote-by-mail election. In the end, some 102 million voters did not cast their ballots on Election Day 2020, Yet oddly, the more millions voted absentee or in early balloting, the more the accustomed rejection rate of non-election-day ballots radically dipped, in some states by a magnitude of ten. Who would have figured that the more local registrars were swamped by millions of incoming mail-in ballots, the less they found ballots lacking complete names, addresses, or in otherwise not compliance with long-established procedures and laws?
In sum, it did not take long after the start of the viral panic for elected officials and unelected bureaucrats to begin to curtail the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution, reminding the public just how thin was their veneer of constitutional government. Given that most state legislatures were in suspension during the lockdown, almost all government edicts were executive fiats and not the result of majority votes of elected representatives.
As a result, for most of May and well into June 2020, many small business owners defiantly opened their businesses. They challenged mayors and governors either to arrest them or to explain the rationale that closed their small stores but not warehouse and corporate superstores.
The fear of catching the coronavirus and the horror stories of the often painful deaths of the elderly who succumbed to it created widescale panic. It was no exaggeration that in just a matter of weeks of executive ordered quarantines, throughout America much of the Constitution was abruptly made negotiable. Voting laws were altered. Unelected bureaucrats at both the state and federal level became legislators, executives, and judges, as they made up laws, enforced them, and jailed without a hearing those who opposed their edicts. Prisoners were let out of jails; no-bail executive orders meant the arrested were not incarcerated. National leaders such as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and California governor Gavin Newsom urged progressives to use the crisis of the pandemic to push through previously stymied ideological agendas that had not garnered public support. And most did.
What finally more or less weakened the initial quarantine lockdown orders by as early as late May and June 2020 were not court decisions. In fact, the Supreme Court on a close 5-4 vote ruled that California had the right to shut down church services for reasons of public safety. Instead, the proverbial people themselves made the decision to defy strict municipal quarantine edicts and often sued governors and mayors. Initially, conservative groups, anchored by small businesses, dared the government to arrest them for returning to work. Hundreds in fact were arrested. But the quarantines finally became more porous only during nationwide protests in the last week of May 2020, amid looting, arson, and rioting of thousands of youths in major U.S. cities. Ostensibly, the presence of huge numbers of protesters in the street in violation of social distancing was excused by authorities, given outrage over the death of George Floyd, an African American male suspect who died while being in police custody in Minneapolis.
Despite state quarantines that heretofore had been rigidly enforced and seen citizens jailed who were desperate to restart their businesses, most city police forces did not intervene in the initial days of arson and looting—often on the orders of elected officials. Perhaps inadvertently they thereby sent the message to the nation that mayors and governors could hardly arrest barbers, florists, and small business workers who were going back to work wearing masks and social distancing while giving exemptions to protestors without masks who were roaming the streets starting fires, destroying property, and breaking into stores.
In sum, for much of 2020, the entire system of viral protection was almost immediately politicized. Red states more or less allowed businesses to open under particular guidelines, while their blue-state counterparts did not, but oddly seemed unconcerned about large public street protests, at least in comparison to the scrutiny that they exercised in closing down small businesses.
In this context, Actress Jane Fonda “gaffed” when she declared that the coronavirus pandemic was “God’s gift to the Left.” Her intent obviously was not to express empathy for the then 220,000 dead, but rather that the Left had been able to weaponize the virus in order to enact agendas and advance election-year political narratives that otherwise would have been likely impossible before the viral outbreak and quarantine.
Biden’s Vaccine Mandate
is Falling Apart!
By: Ron Paul, MD
Ron Paul Institute
November 9, 2021
The Biden vaccine mandate appears to be falling apart before it’s even in place. From first responders to truck drivers to everyone in-between, the message is clear: many thousands are willing to be fired from their jobs rather than be forced to take a medical procedure they do not want.
They have leverage and they are using it. We should support them.
Grocery shelves are bare, shipping containers continue to float offshore, firehouses in New York are shut down, the Los Angeles County Sheriff warns that, in the middle of a crime wave, half of his deputies may quit or be fired. Airlines are citing non-existent “weather problems” to excuse the fact that their employees are rebelling against forced covid shots.
The country is teetering on the edge of an economic abyss and the Biden Administration is doubling down. The only question is how far down the President is willing to drag his party and his own approval numbers to continue to push an unconstitutional, deeply unpopular, and thoroughly tyrannical forced vaccine on the population.
If the vaccine provided a high level of immunity from the virus that did not wane over time, encouraging people to take the shot – which uses experimental technology – might make some sense, though mandating it would still be immoral and illegal.
But Biden’s own senior health officials such as CDC Director Wallensky have been telling us since August that the shot does not prevent infection from the virus nor does it prevent transmission of the virus. So, it is not a “vaccine” by any definition of the term. That’s why the CDC itself in September changed its official definition of the term “vaccine” to exclude the term “immunity.” The deception is so transparent.
They say you must take the shot because it may prevent serious illness from the virus. But we know there are plenty of other things that may prevent serious illness from the virus. Media personality Joe Rogan was widely ridiculed for using ivermectin and other drugs and procedures to treat his bout of Covid-19. But it seems to have worked. Likewise, Green Bay Packers legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers successfully treated his Covid with ivermectin and other procedures. Even though he now has natural immunity to the virus, he has been attacked by the mainstream media for not following Fauci’s demands.
Success means nothing. Only obedience matters.
A new study of the effectiveness of the Covid shots is not good news for the Biden Administration. Published November 4th in the scientific journal Nature, researchers followed 800,000 US veterans for six months after receiving the shot. Between March and November, Moderna’s effectiveness fell from 85 percent to 58 percent – just a little better than a coin flip. The Pfizer/BioNTech two-dose fell in effectiveness from 87 percent to 45 percent, and the Johnson & Johnson fell in effectiveness from 86 percent to 13 percent!
As the Washington Times wrote about the important new Nature study, “Factor in natural immunity and a case could be made these vaccines are nearly worthless.”
So why is the Administration pursuing this scorched earth policy on vaccine mandates? Maybe we should look at how many lobbyists Big Pharma has on Capitol Hill. Maybe look at the revolving door between the FDA, CDC, and Big Pharma. The word is “corruption,” and if the CDC’s own adverse reaction database is accurate it is killing thousands of Americans. Hold the line and resist the mandate!