The Left’s Creeping COVID Fascism
Scapegoats for the virus.
This quote, which is nearly twenty years old, used to be one of my favorites from Jonah Goldberg:
"I've gotten a lot of traction out of my seemingly banal observation that it is highly improbable that the United States will ever become a Nazi-like or otherwise totalitarian nation. For some reason, this is the sort of obvious statement which strikes lots of folks as shocking or controversial, even though it's only slightly less of a ‘Well, duh’ assertion than saying, ‘The oceans will not turn into diet Mr. Pibb in our lifetimes.’”
It’s not a favorite anymore because it no longer seems to be a given that the United States couldn’t become a totalitarian nation. In fact, totalitarianism is an increasingly mainstream impulse on the Left. If you know your game theory, you understand that very attitude could also lead to a threat from the Right (it could easily become a situation where people say, “We don’t want to do it, but they’re going to do it to us if we don’t do it first”). That’s not the kind of America anyone should want no matter where the threat comes from and it’s one of the reasons things like civility, openness, the rule of law, morality, honesty, patriotism, shared values, and respecting the Constitution should matter a great deal to BOTH parties. Ultimately, those things, not legalisms or tribalism, are what hold this nation together.
I’ve been pointing out the Left’s dangerous radicalism in this area for a while now. The very fact that they’re so openly talking about getting rid of the filibuster so they can stack the Supreme Court, rig the vote, add more states just to give themselves new Senate seats, and essentially turn the country into a one-party state where they can make the rules up as they go could very well lead to the end of our Republic. Had Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema not stopped them from going down that path, the shooting part of the 2nd Civil War could have already started. That’s not hyperbole and the fact that Democrats were casually discussing such dangerous changes should alarm people.
It’s good news that it hasn’t gone that far. However, the Left’s fascistic impulses are spilling out in other ways.
Certainly, it’s no secret that the Left and the Right have approached the pandemic in different ways. People on the Right have been generally more skeptical of the vaccine (although more than 60% of Republicans have been vaccinated), are much more reluctant to use masks, and are generally disinclined to lock people down or force them to get vaccinated. Not only do liberals disagree with this approach, but a frighteningly large percentage of them are also willing to embrace totalitarianism to force Republicans, at gunpoint, if necessary, to tackle the pandemic the same way that they do. Via a Rasmussen poll:
– Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Democratic voters would favor a government policy requiring that citizens remain confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Such a proposal is opposed by 61% of all likely voters, including 79% of Republicans and 71% of unaffiliated voters.
– Nearly half (48%) of Democratic voters think federal and state governments should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications. Only 27% of all voters – including just 14% of Republicans and 18% of unaffiliated voters – favor criminal punishment of vaccine critics.
– Forty-five percent (45%) of Democrats would favor governments requiring citizens to temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Such a policy would be opposed by a strong majority (71%) of all voters, with 78% of Republicans and 64% of unaffiliated voters saying they would Strongly Oppose putting the unvaccinated in “designated facilities.”
It's worth noting that not only are these views fascistic, given what we know at this stage of the pandemic, they’re also completely and utterly irrational.
59% of Democratic voters would be okay with refusing to let people leave their homes if they’re not vaccinated. Why is that, exactly? From Buzzfeed:
One of the bad news stories of Omicron has been its ability to seemingly run roughshod over immunity from past infections and vaccines: The “vast majority” of the people at that superspreading Norwegian Christmas party, for example, were fully vaccinated, according to the investigation of the incident. Of those first 43 US cases, 34 were fully vaccinated and 14 had received a booster or extra shot.
Overall, where the widely used Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were still looking around 70% effective against infection from older variants, they only look around 33% effective against infection from Omicron, Fauci said.
Whether the unvaccinated are locked in their homes or not, those of us that are vaccinated can still get Omicron. In fact, a study out of Israel suggests that even 4 (!!!) jabs only offer a “partial defense” against Omicron. Of course, there is something worse than being forced to stay in your home and that’s being sent to a COVID “camp.” I guess the “good news” is that only 45% of Democrats want to send people who don’t want to be vaccinated to a camp. A very CONCENTRATED camp which is supposed to accomplish…who knows?
It also seems more than a bit troubling that 48% of Democrats think you should be able to “fine or imprison” people who publicly question how the COVID-19 vaccines work. That sounds like something you’d expect to see in China or the Soviet Union, not the United States. It’s also worth noting that nothing quite says, “Follow the science” like “We’ll put you in prison for asking inconvenient questions!” That goes double since the government has already gotten some pretty important things wrong about the vaccine. For example, consider these quotes from USA Today in November of 2020:
"If you have a very, very highly effective vaccine and we convince most of the people in the country to take the vaccine, we could get back to a degree of normality maybe by the end of 2021," Fauci said.
...In its first release of effectiveness data, the candidate vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech proved 90% effective against COVID-19.
...But even if everyone got a vaccine that effective, 1 out of 10 people wouldn't be protected against COVID-19. And it's impossible to know for certain who is protected until an infection proves they're not.
That's why experts say that roughly 70% of the population will need to be vaccinated to provide so-called herd immunity – enough protection to interrupt the chain of transmission and protect the vast majority of people.
In all fairness, there was also some hedging in there, but what you see in that excerpt is roughly what people were hearing from the government back then. Meanwhile today, despite the fact that 70% of Americans are “fully” (That definition is already starting to change) vaccinated, herd immunity isn’t on the table and unless you live in a red state, you haven’t gotten back to “a degree of normality” yet.
Of course, it isn’t just one poll. The liberals that run the social media monopolies are openly censoring people that challenge government propaganda about COVID. Highly qualified doctors are being fired and smeared for challenging what the government says about COVID. One doctor was even forced to get a psych evaluation for treating patients with Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, which, whatever you think about it, have both been used to successfully treat people with COVID in some prominent cases. On top of all that, a Utah newspaper called for using the National Guard to prevent the unvaccinated from leaving their homes. We also can’t forget the draconian lockdowns, businesses that were forced to close, and people being asked to show their papers to go into restaurants.
It's disgusting, it’s un-American and it’s pretty clearly not what the American people want. There are enormous numbers of Americans voting with their feet and they’re leaving places like California and New York that embrace these sorts of creepy attitudes about COVID for places like Florida and Texas that have gone in exactly the opposite direction.
So again, since none of these positions make any sense, why are so many liberals willing to embrace totalitarian tactics against their fellow Americans? The sad answer is that these sorts of attitudes have not been uncommon in history when nations go through difficult patches. When things aren’t going well, people love to find scapegoats. Thomas Sowell once wrote about “middleman minorities” that were persecuted across the world. It doesn’t perfectly apply to this situation, but it may be more applicable than it appears at first glance:
The economic necessity of maintaining a separate culture has meant not only social separation but also resentments of that separation by the surrounding community—resentments that could easily be whipped up to political hostility or outright violence by suitably talented demagogues. This has happened in innumerable times and places, as mobs have been aroused to lethal fury against the Marwaris in Burma, the Ibos in Northern Nigeria, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the Lebanese in Sierra Leone, the overseas Chinese in Saigon, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur, and the Jews in many parts of both medieval and modern Europe.
...The role of ego in the hostility toward middleman minorities is shown in other ways as well. Even killing them has often not been sufficient for those who hate them. They must also be humiliated and dehumanized. Their women must be stripped naked in public, as Armenian women were during the mob violence in the Ottoman Empire and as Jewish women were in the Nazi death camps, and whatever sadistic humiliations could be thought of were inflicted on men and women alike. When it was suggested during the 1990s that the Asians who had been expelled from Uganda 20 years earlier should be brought back in hopes of restoring that country’s economy, the hostile responses included that of a group which threatened to kill them “in the most despicable way ever” if they dared to come back. Simply killing them would not be enough to assuage the wounded egos of those they had so greatly outperformed.
Many of the people not getting vaxxed are conservative. So, they’re part of a separate tribe that liberals hate and love to demagogue. Are they more financially successful than the liberals that hate them? No, but liberals deeply resent them because they’re free and liberals are not. These people are not wearing a mask or two or three everywhere. Life isn’t 100% normal for them, but it’s mostly normal. They’re going out to eat, they’re going to the barbershop, they’re going to the movies. They’re not terrified of the virus and frightened liberals want to see them punished for it. If they’re not going to live in fear of the virus, then they should live in fear of losing their job or being locked in a camp. That might not do anything to fight COVID, but for some people on the Left, knowing that their “enemies” are afraid and suffering the same way they are would make them feel better in the short term. That’s a vile, petty way to look at the world, but it’s where a lot of petrified liberals are at. If they can’t beat the virus, then they believe they at least deserve to experience some schadenfreude at the expense of their scapegoats.