On Oct. 30, 2020, just days before the presidential election, Joe Biden tweeted, Im not going to shut down the country. Im not going to shut
down the economy. Im going to shut down the virus.
This was a lie.
It was a lie because _nobody can shut down the virus_.
Government does not have the power to end disease, as a general matter.
When it comes to a wildly transmissible coronavirus specifically, no
government can end the virus. Even the sainted Dr. Anthony Fauci has
admitted as much: were never going to eradicate this elimination
may be too aspirational.
Which means that government should not aim for elimination; it can aim
for some level of control. That control must be balanced with
countervailing concerns, ranging from suppression of economic freedom
to the effects of social isolation. This means that the lowest-cost intervention was incentivization and distribution of vaccines a
service performed by the Trump administration. The worst form of
control would be overbroad, coercive restrictions that fail to achieve
And yet it is precisely those forms of control now being sought by
Democratic mayors and governors, as well as the Biden administration.
To make such tactics even more puzzling, Democrats are pursuing such restrictions in the face of an extraordinarily transmissible variant
some 70 times more transmissible than delta that has far lower death
rates than prior variants.
Such restrictions include vaccination passports, mask mandates, mass
testing, and vaccination mandates. Vaccination passports will not
control the spread of omicron, because the vaccinated are capable of
spreading COVID-19. Mask mandates will not stop the spread of omicron;
nothing short of N95 masks would do much to even slow that spread, even theoretically. In practice, mask mandates have not achieved their
desired effect, as omicron spikes in places like New York City
demonstrate. Mass testing will not control the spread of omicron,
because asymptomatic people will not test and if we quarantine
millions of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people, we will shut
down the economy and our school system. And vaccination mandates will
simply result in supply chain shortages, including within our health
care system, as well as ugly social divisions.
So, why pursue useless no, counterproductive COVID-19 restrictions?
Because the big-government lie must be maintained. It is an article of
faith. And faith requires reason-free sacrifice it requires skin in
the game, demonstration of devotion. To pursue rational policy would
evidence no fealty to the notion of government-as-protective-god. To
pursue irrational policy and then demand obeisance this is the mark
of the faithful. And if you are not faithful, you are a heretic.
And so regulatory genuflection becomes a test of virtue. Effectuating
strict regulations is a sign of moral strength, of belief in the myth
of government as catholicon. Pushing back against those restrictions is
a sign of heresy.
On Oct. 22, 2020, in a debate with President Donald Trump, Biden said
that anyone who is responsible for not taking control anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the
United States of America. This was incorrect. The truth is that anyone
who claimed that he _could_ take control of a virus should be held
responsible for the consequences of that lie.
But that will only happen when Americans abandon the cultic worship of government and return to reality. And Biden and Democrats will fight
such blasphemy with every weapon in their arsenal.