Monday, March 27, 2023

Following the Science, Resisting the Propaganda

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided fascinating case studies in science, propaganda, governmental overreach, and more. I wrote about these issues at length during the height of the pandemic, and then focused my attention elsewhere, but these issues are worth revisiting:

1) Whether or not mask-wearing is effective in terms of preventing the spread of COVID-19, and whether or not the government should mandate mask-wearing both became contentious public policy issues. Agenda-driven people who supported mask-wearing haughtily and dismissively insisted that their opponents should "follow the science."

I agree that the scientific method should be followed. I strongly disagree with Anthony Fauci's arrogant contention "I represent science."  Dr. Fauci represents propaganda and his own self-interests, not science. The most recent and authoritative research indicates that wearing a mask in a public place "probably makes little or no difference" in terms of preventing the spread of COVID-19. I am not holding my breath waiting for apologies from my interlocutors in this space, Facebook, and elsewhere who mocked me for declining to join the Fauci cult and for refusing to accept every word out of the man's mouth as gospel; I have been following the science all along, and thus I left my interlocutors far behind me (literally and figuratively).

2) There is no credible scientific evidence that government imposed lockdowns had any meaningful positive effect against the spread of COVID-19, but there is plenty of evidence that those lockdowns had negative impacts that may reverberate for years, if not decades

The lockdowns had no scientific justification and were the result of horrific public policy decisions combined with executive branch overreach at the state and federal levels. I hope that we never face another pandemic, but if we do face another pandemic I hope that we are smart enough to not lock down significant segments of society for no reason.

3) I predicted that, before the end of the first year of Joe Biden's presidency, the public would be informed that the COVID-19 pandemic was over and that normal life could resume. That is exactly what happened and, other than some brief concern about a few COVID-19 variants, that is where we are now. Most media outlets frame the current situation as something for which President Biden deserves praise, and these outlets contrast the way that Biden supposedly followed the science with the way that President Trump supposedly did not follow the science--but the reality is that the main reason that life has mostly returned to normal is the Operation Warp Speed vaccination program initiated by President Trump's administration (with an assist from the development of natural immunity, as the strong likelihood is that most of us were exposed to COVID-19, did not develop serious symptoms, and now have bodies equipped to resist subsequent infection).

Also, it is fascinating to recall how during the Trump administration we received daily updates about "grim milestones" that had been surpassed in terms of COVID-19 death totals, and to note that such headlines disappeared after Biden became President, even though more U.S. citizens have died of COVID-19 during President Biden's administration than died of COVID-19 during President Trump's administration.

I want to make two points very clearly and emphatically:

1) Every COVID-19 death was a tragedy for the victim and that victim's family and friends.

2) I am a political independent who is proudly not a member of any political party and who considers both Trump and Biden unfit to be President.

That being said, the hypocrisy of many media outlets is blatant and disgusting. If you buy the premise that the first 500,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths are President Trump's fault, then you also have to buy the premise that the next 600,000 (and counting) U.S. COVID-19 deaths are President Biden's fault. Media outlets that just blame one President while absolving another President are not only shamelessly engaging in partisan propaganda, but they are failing to investigate the real culprit(s): it is undisputed that COVID-19 began in the Wuhan province of China, and it would be interesting to find out if it originated from a lab leak, from improper safety protocols in open markets, from gain of function research gone wrong, or from a deliberate release of a bio-weapon. It would also be interesting to find out what Fauci knew, when he knew it, and how much he profited financially by covering up our government's support of gain of function research.


  1. Yes, it's quite disturbing how the media portrays certain party candidates, though Trump is basically as moderate as they come. He just happened to run on the Republican ticket. If Trump was on the Democrat ticket, the media would've been more pro-Trump. While he has no business being President, the country was actually overall in good standing, unlike now with Biden.

    I don't follow the news much in general and life seems to be back to basically normal, true. But, if we're saying that, then how do we explain more deaths attributed to COVID-19 during Biden's presidency than Trump's presidency? These 2 things seems contradictory to me, though Trump was only in office less than 10 months once COVID-19 hit the U.S., while Biden now has 26 months in office during the pandemic. What's the death count during the past 6 months?

  2. Anonymous: I am not sure that I would call Trump "moderate," but I suppose that depends on how one defines "moderate." I agree with you that the policies of his administration were not nearly as bad as the media portrayed them to be, and that overall the country was in better shape during his administration than it is now. Nevertheless, he appears to be a narcissistic sociopath who is primarily focused on his perceived self-interest and on perceived slights (real and imagined), and those are dangerous personality traits for a President to have (I am not making a clinical diagnosis, but just stating my opinion based on observations of his behavior and his manner of expressing himself).

    I am not an epidemiologist or a trained statistician, but my take on COVID-19 death totals and media coverage of same is that COVID-19 death totals proved to be a useful media weapon to wield against Trump during the election campaign. After winning the election, it was useful for the Democrats and their media supporters to portray the situation as one in which those who "followed the science" solved the problem that they blamed on Trump. You are correct that Biden has been in office with COVID-19 in effect longer than Trump was, but Biden is also benefiting from the existence of vaccines and other treatment protocols that did not exist at first (and were largely developed during Trump's administration). The reality is that the 500,000 or so U.S. citizens whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19 during Trump's administration were considered front page news, but the 600,000 plus U.S. citizens whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19 during Biden's administration were not considered front page news. COVID-19 poses the most risk to the elderly and the immunocompromised, and most objective observers understood that after those groups were protected the rest of society could resume functioning like normal, with COVID-19 being essentially like the seasonal flu. Trump stated that position--albeit not very eloquently, and with perhaps insufficient sensitivity toward those who became very ill and those who died--from the start and was pilloried for it, and DeSantis is still being pilloried for his COVID-19 policies, which proved to be much more rational than the policies followed in most other parts of the country. Only when Biden declared the pandemic to be over did the media consider it socially accepted to say that.

  3. Trump has been affiliated with both parties in the past as well as being an independent. He's self-serving and might have some extreme views, but as far being Republican or Democrat, he's very close to the middle line, probably slightly leaning conservative. And many in the Republican Party want nothing to do with him. I agree his ideals, self-interest, and reasons for his decisions are often not good, but the outcomes that occurred were overall good and the country was overall in good standing. His handling of the pandemic was overall excellent. There hasn't been a good candidate for President in a long time. Obama was a good talker and talked up a good message, but his presidency was a big dud.

    Yes, I understand Biden's had it easier with the vaccines out, etc. I wouldn't blame either for the deaths. I wouldn't say there's any exact right answer on how to handle the pandemic, but some ideas obviously better than others. I'd say about 95% of the U.S. media is liberal leaning. Not sure how it got like that, but no surprise the media supports the Democrat party much more. Though one would still hope the media would report the facts better. Lockdowns were obviously an awful idea. I don't know much about other countries that had way stricter lockdowns like Australia amongst others. But, are these countries actually struggling with the after effects more? I'd hope there's no more lockdowns anymore.

  4. Anonymous: I agree that there has not been a good Presidential candidate from either party in a long time. Regarding Trump's policies, many would argue that Nixon made many good policy decisions, but I doubt that anyone would argue that he was a good President--his character flaws and personality flaws outweigh his good policy decisions. So, I can agree with some of Trump's policy decisions while also fervently hoping that both he and Biden disappear from the Presidential race.

    I don't blame either President for the COVID-19 deaths. My point is that media coverage is horrifically biased. Presidents get blame or credit for things over which they have little to no control. The lockdowns were never based in science, and evidence proves that they were not only ineffective but also damaging to society, with long term negative impacts that will be felt for not years but decades. Amazingly, I doubt that it is possible to get many--or any--left-leaning people to admit how wrong they were about lockdowns (and other issues).

  5. The policy that most restaurants had with masks was very telling. It was imperative that anyone who entered a restaurant must wear a mask but the second they sat down it was perfectly safe for them to take it off. Of course, the second they stood up again they absolutely had to put the mask back on to protect the safety of everyone else in the restaurant. Mask mandates are beyond farcical and it is troubling that so many people blindly went along with them and were manically hostile towards anyone who even slightly questioned their effectiveness.

  6. Michael: At one point when masks were still required on airplanes but not required in most other public places, my daughter--who was seven at the time--asked how me COVID-19 is able to tell the difference between airplanes and stores. She was not being sarcastic, but her innocent question highlights the nonsensical nature of the mask mandates; she was assuming that the rules should make sense but she could not figure out what sense they made (because the rules made no sense).

    It is disconcerting to see how many otherwise intelligent people buy into concepts that are patently and obviously absurd (not just mask mandates, but many other flawed concepts as well).


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