Coronavirus

Victim-Blaming During a Pandemic Doesn't Make People Safer

The incessant urge to make COVID-19 infection a morality play is corroding our humanity and distracting us from solutions.

|

I don't remember what grade I was in—maybe late 10th or early 11th?—but I can recall with photorealistic clarity the time my Dad came into my bedroom (a rare enough occurrence) to listen to me bitch and moan about having persistent enough acne that I was desperate to try a frightfully powerful skin-sucking drug called Accutane.

"Well," he said, shaking his head with a sympathetic but judgmental wince. "You really gotta lay off those chocolates."

Research into the folkloric zit/candy connection was as inconclusive in the mid-1980s as it is in 2020. But the most relevant contemporaneous detail was that I didn't freaking eat chocolates, aside from the odd In-N-Out milkshake. Bad enough that a parent doesn't know his kid's preferences; considerably worse to affix blame for an all-too-common teenage malady on the presumedly subpar behaviors by said pizza-face.

I can't stop thinking about that scene (and the slow-burning resentment it provoked), when observing the way that so many people continue to respond to positive cases of COVID-19.

"Letlow's death is tragic," Vox journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted late Tuesday, in response to the news that Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R–La.) had perished at age 41 after contracting COVID-19. "It was also avoidable. It shouldn't take tragedies for policymakers to treat the coronavirus pandemic with the seriousness it deserves."

The evidence Rupar provided for Letlow's alleged unseriousness was his October comment that "while we've been cautious and I think both the state and federal level have taken numerous precautions for COVID-19, we're now at a place if we do not open our economy we're in real danger." Follow-up sleuthing produced pictures of the politician interacting with human beings without wearing a mask. Look, sometimes the skirt is too short, mmkay?

As National Review's Ellen Carmichael* pointed out, "In no other health circumstance would such brutality toward the afflicted be tolerated. We do not deem individuals who become sick by engaging in known 'risky behaviors'—unsafe sex, abuse of alcohol, drug use, poor diet, smoking, dangerous driving—as deserving of pain and misery….[M]ocking and haranguing those who become sick or die due to COVID-19, a novel virus from which we cannot possibly shield ourselves entirely, is unconscionable."

There is an all-too-familiar gracelessness in politicized conversations about the coronavirus. It's not enough to merely disagree with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' approach to COVID; you have to accuse him of "putting politics in front of lives." (For an eye-opening comparison between the disparate media treatment of DeSantis and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, check out this Twitter thread.) In the other direction, some anti-lockdown politicians and commentators routinely accuse Democratic mayors and governors of consciously preferencing "power and control" over public safety.

As with far too many public policy disputes (over climate change, criminal justice, health care, etc.), it is not enough to merely observe that the opposing team has different ideas about how best to address a problem. No, the bad guys are either intentionally trying to make things worse or just too blinkered to admit there's a problem in the first place. The more partisan you are, the more likely you feel surrounded by murderers and denialists.

Rutgers professors Jacob Hale Russell and Dennis Patterson argue in a recent essay for the medical-science website Stat that there is, in fact, "no epidemic of pandemic denial":

Americans overwhelmingly aren't in denial: They believe the threat of Covid-19 is real, they are reasonably good at identifying medical misinformation, and they are largely complying with public health recommendations. Compared to their peers in Europe, Americans are more willing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, similarly likely to wear masks, and no more prone to believe common conspiracy theories about the pandemic's origins.

The U.S.'s response to Covid-19 has been bungled in many respects, but widespread public denial doesn't explain why.

Insisting on such mass delusion, Russell and Patterson maintain, comes at a cost: "It's corrosive for at least three reasons. First, it needlessly alienates the interested public with false accusations. Second, by conflating reasonable dissent with unreasonable misinformation, it stifles debate, even about issues that genuinely warrant discussion. Third, the myth of denial deflects blame from the policy failures of politicians, who use it to claim they've done all they could, leaving only the denialists (and cheesecake eaters) to blame."

The impulse to turn COVID policy into a political morality play, observable on a daily basis in allegedly straight news outlets, has the perverse effect of focusing attention on government choices that are comparatively trivial in impact. Putting a villainous face on either a lockdown or a reopening apparently provides more of an adrenaline jolt than the boring yet absolutely vital stuff of de-clogging bureaucratic backlogs at the Food and Drug Administration.

Paradoxically, those most likely to wield blame against individuals and regions suffering from coronavirus tend to be far more sure in their judgments—and reliant on the mantra follow the science—than the people who spend their days actually compiling the messy data about this deadly virus. The anonymous author of the Marginally Compelling newsletter, which painstakingly assembles COVID research by region, had an interesting Twitter thread Thursday in response to the aforementioned DeSantis/Cuomo comparison.

"I'm fascinated with how wedded the press continues to be to the idea that COVID numbers MUST be driven by policy decisions," he wrote. "They constantly say that numbers are rising in red states DUE TO those states not taking it seriously[.] Let me be as frank as I can here: There is no solid evidence that state policy choices protect a region from a COVID surge[.] None[.] To the degree that they can be controlled (which is not very high, but does seem to exist) the most impactful variable seems to be social patterns." And those "are not controllable by the government."

He continued: "Yet the press continues to *demand* that COVID numbers are a direct result of state policy…but only when it fits the insanely crude rubric of 'red is bad, blue is good'. They are proffering an absolute fiction as if it was obviously true. And the insane thing (to me) is their confidence in this. They clearly believe this to be true when it is *obviously* untrue to anyone who has tried to weigh this idea against the data. They *clearly* have no idea what they are talking about but the speak as if they are experts."

Another, more influential COVID data-gatherer, economist Emily Oster, warned this week that the coronavirus blame game might tangibly suppress the prevalence of testing:

Whether we recognize it or not, there is a lot of shaming people for getting COVID, and a lot of shaming of any location known to be a place where COVID was spread. The goal of this type of shaming seems to be to encourage better behavior—do well, and you wont get COVID and be shamed.

There is an element of truth here. Clearly, there are more and less safe ways to behave and more and less safe ways to run your business/school/long term care facility/etc. But there is also a huge element of chance.

COVID is a contagious disease. You can get it even if you do everything "right". And you might not get it even if you do things which are really unsafe. It's possible for a restaurant to take all the right precautions to lower the COVID risk and still have a transmission occur; similarly, they can do nothing and avoid it.

There is a fine line between discouraging risky behavior and shaming people who get COVID-19. And when we cross the line to shaming, it's not likely to be productive.

For one thing, shaming people is not usually an effective way to get them to do things. For another, in this case shaming discourages testing. Imagine you come upon a pop-up testing site in the mall while shopping for pants. No line! Public health is served by your testing. In the unlikely event you do have COVID, we want to know. You can isolate at home and take the virus out of circulation, possibly avoiding passing it to the cashier at Old Navy.

We want people to test. But if they know they'll be shamed if they do have it, they're going to be a lot less likely to do so.

Look, I get it: 2020 has sucked. Emotions are raw. Morgues are full. I am infuriated on a daily basis by the policy choices made by politicians around me. It's OK to be mad, and sad.

But it's also OK—more than just OK, human, necessary—to extend condition-free sympathy and kindness to those who get sick. To admit, even happily, that there are limits to our knowledge, that we will likely be wrong, that pandemic policymaking is devilishly hard.

"While one may glean fleeting satisfaction by blaming others for the pain and uncertainty we're all experiencing, the scars from the scolds will persist long after the pandemic is blessedly behind us," Ellen Carmichael* wrote. "Instead, we should all try to be kinder and more gracious toward each other. Most people are doing the absolute best they can, often making incredibly tough decisions amid extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Nearly everyone knows the coronavirus is a threat they must take seriously. No one wants people to get sick and die, and it's time to stop acting as if they do."

Or as Oster said more pithily, "So for 2021, a resolution, a hope: More tests. Less shame. Less COVID."

* CORRECTION: Originally said Kyle Smith.

NEXT: Eviction Moratoriums Are Transforming From Emergency Stopgaps to Permanent Programs

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yeah it`s Possible…Anybody can earn 250$+ daily… You can earn from 6000-12000 a month or even more if you work as a full time job…It’s easy, just follow instructions on this page, read it carefully from start to finish… It’s a flexible job but a good
    eaning opportunity.. Here is More information.

      1. On this year 2021 start earning cash from your home and getting paid(500$ to 700$ / hour )HFb by this job these are the best online jobs I’ve made $84, 8254 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student Join it today here.

        ================ Home Profit System

        1. [ PART TIME JOB FOR USA ] Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18576 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earning are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
          on this page…..work92/7 online

      2. I am now making extra $19k or more every month from home by doing very simple and easy job online from home. I have received exactly $20845 last month from this home job. Join now this job and start making extra cash online by follow instruction on the given website……… Visit Here

      1. STAY HOME AND STARTING WORK AT HOME EASILY… I am making 70 to 60 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 400 dollar Easily .. This is enough for me to happy my family..how ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…

        ==========►USA ONLINE JOBS

    1. Find out how this single mom was able to earn $6k/monthly for working FBX at her home for a few hours a day and how you can do it yourself……….. Visit Here

    2. This article is utterly ridiculous, and only serves to allow the Letlow-Lowlifes of the world continue to push Letlow’s (†) nonsense.

      The reason this article is nonsense is that it leaves out the single most important factor which determines whether blaming the victim is acceptable or not – the rationality of the perpetrator that harmed the victim.

      The coronavirus has no rationale, whatsoever. It cannot have rationale. It cannot be reasoned with.

      Similar to a situation where people may be swimming across a river to get to the other side, because “that’s what they’ve always done”, despite the fact that river has recently become infested with alligators which are unable to be reasoned with – going about one’s business as if everything’s hunky-dory leaves ONLY the victim to be blamed.

      If Letlow (†) had caught the virus before it was widespread and we understood how to mitigate its spread, then Letlow (†) would not be at fault – that would have just simply been nature taking its course, and would have been an unfortunate tragedy with no one to blame.

      However, Letlow (†) fully knew the risks of jumping into that alligator-infested river (in this case, a COVID-19 pandemic), and yet he SPECIFICALLY ADVOCATED having EVERYONE jump into the river right alongside him, as if we’re all just supposed to HOPE that the alligators (COVID) will stop attacking. That’s not how it works, folks.

      In the case of victim-blaming against rape-victims, then yes, that’s awful. Perhaps a woman dressed a certain way because she has a good body image, or because she just felt like it, or maybe she actually did want some ‘D’ (but not yours). In the case of a rape victim (or any victim), there was a supposedly-reasonable person on the other side who perpetrated a crime (or otherwise imposed themselves on another person). In cases such as these, the victim is not to blame, but the perpetrator is to blame.

      Just as alligators cannot be reasoned with, and you’d need to take a boat, build a bridge over the river, or seek to remove living alligators from the river, COVID also cannot be reasoned with, and it is folly to suggest that COVID is a “perpetrator” that can be blamed. It has no ability to think the way we do (if at all, given that it’s version of external awareness is completely unrelated to humans’ nervous systems).

      In cases where it’s impossible to blame the perpetrator (such as COVID), and the human fully-well knew the risks, yet that human put themselves in danger and also advocated for putting other humans in danger, and then that person got sick and died – YES, the victim is absolutely to blame.

      Similarly, all the morons who went to Tramp’s superspreader events are to blame if they also caught COVID. Those superspreader events have not consistently shown good practice of social distancing or mask-wearing, and if you actually watch some of the full events, you often times hear the crowds chanting against those who wish to tackle the pandemic. They have themselves to blame and Tramp to blame – each of them share equally in the blame for their own poor health outcomes.

      Given the only rational way of determining who’s to blame results in the answer: “themselves”, I will not stop victim-blaming when victims are being willfully reckless and stupid.

      When people catch it after being cognizant of social distancing and mask-wearing, but they need to go about their daily lives, they’re not to blame – of course we can’t all be cooped up forever, so those are natural tragedies – but we can all try to do our utmost to prevent catching and spreading it. And most victims are not out there advocating that we be as reckless as Letlow (†) would have us be (as you pointed out in your article, most people take it seriously).

      Letlow (†) deserved it, and I’m glad he’s dead, because that’s one less voice out there pushing for the idea that we should all be reckless. Letlow (†) deserves a spot in the Darwin Awards.

      Everyone else who catches it, if they’re just trying to go about their lives carefully, knowing they’re surrounded by an invisible enemy but they’re trying to be careful, needs to be cared for without victim-blaming.

      1. I didn’t post this in the right spot, and I’m not seeing an option to delete it.

        1. If you didn’t know there was no edit function, regardless of the (tl;dr) subject of your post, you’ve proven yourself to be a fucking ignoramus.

      2. Letlow (†) deserved it, and I’m glad he’s dead, because that’s one less voice out there pushing for the idea that we should all be reckless. Letlow (†) deserves a spot in the Darwin Awards.

        And you deserve a spot in the Che Awards.

      3. Well, you are an asshole. We are all in the alligator infested river. That’s life. There are risks. And we don’t know how to avoid the virus. Most people who get it did what was recommended and got it anyway. That’s not to say it’s not a good idea to be careful, wash hands, don’t crowd in with a bunch of strangers, etc. But there is little reason to believe that people who don’t wear masks and who socialize like normal people are major factors in who gets sick.

    3. Find out how this single mom was able to earn $6k/monthly for working cxes at her home for a few hours a day and how you can do it yourself……….. Visit Here

    4. Find out how this single mom was able to earn $6k/monthly for working kol at her home for a few hours a day and how you can do it yourself……….. Visit Here

  2. I’ve said this repeatedly, but I’ll say it again–it’s not denial that the virus is real that’s causing resistance to these measures.

    It’s the fact that these measures are arbitrary; backed by inference and supposition rather than data; punish people and businesses indiscriminately, whether they’ve been following public health recommendations or not; their supporters continually resort to emotional manipulation, anecdote, and citation of cases on the margins to support their arguments, while exercising a highly reductive paradigm supported by false dilemmas; while the public health officials and leaders who put these measures in place either don’t follow these measures themselves, find ways to get around them that people without that kind of political power or connections don’t have, and obfuscate their data collection in ways that don’t stand up to scrutiny when you start digging into their graphs and tables, if they even provide them at all.

    Better fucking believe that’s going to cause resentment and resistance.

    1. Or it could be the deliberate actions taken by the US government to confuse people about the risks and responsibilities involved, largely because the president treated it as not a national crisis but a personal PR crisis, which he managed to bungle to an election loss anyway. Think that might have a tiny bit to do with it?

      1. Speaking of conspiracy theories…

        1. No that happened. I saw it on TV.

          1. Glad you’re finally willing to hold Fauci accountable for his fuckups.

            1. I have an ex like you. Not a single goddamn thing out of your mouth is uttered in good faith.

              How much patience do you really expect normal people to have for those of you who have no opinions that don’t amount to “Trump is my lord and savior”?

              1. Fauci has been documented to have “shaded the truth” to achieve his desired outcomes. He admitted as much in a recent interview. Keep up.

                1. STAY HOME AND STARTING WORK AT HOME EASILY… I am making 70 to 60 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 400 dollar Easily .. This is enough for me to happy my family..how ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…

                  ==========►USA ONLINE JOBS

                  1. Tony Baloney and his TDS is *almost* as stupid as Dr. Fauci’s daily new COVID proclamation, that then turns out to be wrong. Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the UK all have higher death rates than we do, and as far as I know Trump didn’t “bungle his election” over there or “deliberately confuse people.” The worst thing about COVID, besides the obvious, has been people like Tony fingerpointing and whining like four year olds. The best thing about COVID? Dr. Fauci on the cover of InStyle magazine. What a great issue!

                2. His desired outcomes are elimination of the virus.

                  Trump’s was reelection. Except he was too stupid to do that right either.

                  1. His desired outcomes are elimination of the virus. resistance to authority.

                  2. You can’t eliminate a virus. His desired outcome, as stated in the story, was to convince more people to take the vaccine. So in essence, rather you applaud the vaccine (which I do and plan on getting it and recommend everyone does) or not, his method was manipulative and dishonest and a number of bio-ethecist have since denounced his actions.

                    1. Just for historical reference: the only virus we have ever eliminated is Small Pox. Edward Jenner administered the first small pox vaccine in 1798. For at least a century before that people had been inoculating non infected persons with pus from the pox of infected persons. The last known natural case of smallpox was in 1977, nearly two centuries after the vaccine was introduced.

                    2. Not to undermine your point, but we’ve eliminated two viruses, not one. The other one we’ve eliminated was a livestock disease called “rinderpest” that essentially wiped out the populations it was introduced to, causing mass starvation in the human populations dependent on that livestock.

                      Its epidemiology and history are really interesting and kinda terrifying. Before learning about it, I wouldn’t have believed that a disease could have not just nearly 100% case fatality, but also nearly 100% infection rates.

                  3. Any scientist who would claim elimination (“Zero Covid”) was ever a reasonable or realistic possibility is a quack.

                    You got to lock down a hell of a lot harder than any place that calls itself a “Liberal Democracy” would ever permit.
                    I’m talking hard enough to make the Chinese government feel like maybe you’ve gone too far in focusing on one risk to the exclusion of all others.

                    Course even then it would quickly come back to the developed world in a matter of weeks as developing countries have no hope at all of ever repeating such exercise without suffering mass casualties, particularly among children.

                    1. Not to mention it is zoonotic, so you would have to eliminate the animal hosts as well.

                  4. His desired outcomes are elimination of the virus.

                    Holy shit. This is science, not Science!

                  5. You think other politicians don’t work with reelection in mind? Yours are pure of heart?

                  6. He should probably find a more realistic desired outcome.

              2. Not a single goddamn thing out of your mouth is uttered in good faith.

                The feeling is mutual.

                How much patience do you really expect normal people to have for those of you who have no opinions that don’t amount to “Trump is my lord and savior”?

                Probably the same amount I have for people who Fucking Love Science!, yet get the coof and die anyway.

                1. Tony is suck a fucking partisan he can’t imagine that anyone would oppose him if they weren’t a Trump supporter.

                  He did the same thing from 2008-2016, the only thing that changed was the name of the president we supposedly supported.

                  1. I am fully open minded to supporting Republicans the day they stop being worse than Democrats when it comes to how many humans they kill and impoverish with stupidity.

                    The same things are true as were true then. You keep believing their lies and slogans and won’t take the time to look at the world and see what they’ve done to it.

                    You’d rather eliminate your credibility forever and be a common science deniers than admit Republicans are advocating mass environmental destruction for profit. You’re more motivated to support Republicans than believe in facts. That’s the only real problem here. I promise you my partisanship is provisional. Yours isn’t.

                    1. Literally nothing you wrote here is accurate.

                    2. How did we get multiple vaccines YEARS ahead of schedule? Name where Trump disagreed with the experts on COVID and was wrong.

                      Next, stop listening to the hoaxes the TDS media is putting out. The fine people hoax & the bleach hoax are two big ones. This is the same media that fact checked Trump as wrong when he said a vaccine would be out by the end of the year. Turns out we got two with at least a third on the way.

                    3. The hoax where Trump said on national TV that maybe using bleach in our lungs would kill the virus?

                      You can follow his shocking level of stupidly from thread to insane thread.

                      Obama got shit for saying 57 states for 8 goddamn years. Trump can take shit for suggesting that people inject their lungs with bleach.

                      Operation Warp Speed was funded in the CARES Act, and since Trump signed it, he can take credit for it if he wants. I won’t quibble.

                      Of course it goes against everything you’re supposed to believe in. A government-private partnership to the tune of billions to effect a massive quickly mobilized public effort. Not a victory for small-government conservatism, at any rate.

                      The problem is all the people he got deliberately infected by doing everything he possibly could to discredit masks and social distancing. To have rallies full of people packed together, for his ego.

                      On balance, not a success story. We can tell because of all the death.

                    4. Tony is a lying, idiotic progressive. Also, water is wet.

              3. You’re not normal. And you better hope the rest of us have limitless patience for your authorization proggy bullshit. Your kind are not the powerful ones if things get real.

          2. No you didn’t. CNN doesn’t count as “news.”

      2. It wasn’t the US government it was state governments which deliberately confused people. Well some of them my state never locked down. My city banned indoor dining for a month but that’s it. How did Trump bungle something that’s not his job? Please point me to the section in the Constitution that grants the President any authority over our health. I’m a grown man. I don’t need, require nor appreciate being told what to do by other men. You however like being a bitch boy.

      3. It’s always funny to me when people hold Donald Trump responsible for the coronavirus nightmare world we live in. The man did nothing, literally nothing, about it. With one breath some people denounce him for both doing too little and then also for doing too much. It’s amazing. You rail, righteously so even, for four years about the heavy handed dictates of the wannabe dictator and then the moment he’s not actually doing something you blame him not only not doing what you have incessantly criticized him for doing, but for the totalitarian actions of the states which he had no control over.

        Or is Donald Trump secretly whispering evil into the ear of not only Republican governors but Democratic ones as well? How can it be that Trump is too stupid to stay in office but also a brilliant master strategist with so much power and influence that he can make New York and California governors do his terrible bidding?

        This isn’t meant to be a defense of the orange clown, but call a spade a spade. The waking hell we live in is the creation mainly of the state governments, Republican and Democrat alike.

        1. But you don’t understand!!! The Orange Man is BAD!!!

        2. It’s always funny to me when people hold Donald Trump responsible for the coronavirus nightmare world we live in. The man did nothing, literally nothing, about it.

          Operation warp speed, which saw us get a vaccine in 9 months instead of the estimated 4-5 ears.

        3. Florida has a Republican Governor and is doing quite well.
          Ron Desantis resisted locking down as much as possible, then Opened up.
          He has stated he will not lock down again for a virus with a 0.5% mortality rate.
          Our economy is booming, tourists are shopping , dining, beach going and visiting theme parks.
          The multiple ICU’s in my Fort Lauderdale hospital are at their usual utilization rate.
          I just flew to Georgia and they opened up before us and are doing well.
          Seems like Republican led areas that minimized business disruptions and protected the vulnerable did far better than Democrat areas that promoted BLM riots and impoverished areas house residents.

          1. Thousands of residents, of areas house residents

      4. Yes, because “the rules” CLEARLY make sense AND are effective!

        GTFO

      5. Or it could be the deliberate actions taken by liberal governors to confuse people?

        I’ll tell you the moment I lost faith in covid health guidelines: when I saw protesters against lockdowns roundly condemned and days later observing the silence and excuse making when BLM protesters did the same thing.

        When I saw that I knew that our liberal governors didn’t believe it was as dangerous as they led the public to believe.

      6. Oh, bullshit. The US has done more or less what everyone else did. With more or less the same outcome.

    2. Let’s be crystal clear here, lockdowns do not effect C19 mortality. Zero effect. Dumbest anti-data policy I can think of.

      We also know there is a sharp demarcation in the age demographics of those who die. Which should have informed an intelligent, targeted response instead of just implementing policies that quarantine the healthy and less vulnerable.

      It is madness…

  3. It is the good liberal thing to do to sympathize with the stupid. That doesn’t mean we elect them as public servants.

    1. Considering his doctors probably killed him through medical error, based on the reporting that actually came out after he died, it appears the stupid ones were actually the ones who Fucking Love Science!

      1. I had no doubt that the victims of Trump’s carelessness would not be among his own revolting family and diseased sycophants so much as the innocent hangers-on like this guy and Herman Cain.

        But anyone dying of Covid is Trump’s fault as far as I’m concerned. How can you separate out the ones who wouldn’t have died if we had competent crisis management? You can’t, and there’s no point in trying.

        If it makes you feel better, he would have been judged the worst president in history even without the pandemic.

        1. A story, with several citations, from medical health exerts and infectious disease experts stating it isn’t policy or that policy has minimal impact, and Tony still posts shit like this.

          1. Shit like this is why it’s fair to disregard anything he posts. Anything that isn’t chaff is likely accidental, and will have been available elsewhere anyway.

            He adds nothing

            1. Shit like this is a look into the mind of movement progressives. It also shows us why we can’t keep them. Progressives are not compatible with a constitutional republic.

              Making tough decisions sooner than later regarding their disposition in this country will lessen the unavoidable collateral damage of their removal.

        2. Imagine thinking that if on Feb 1 Trump had said “lockdown now we got to stop the virus” that you would click your heels, and shout “Jawhol Orange Hitler”

          No what we’d have heard for weeks/months is shouts about how the fascist Trump wants to kill people or make them poor or something.

          1. The difference between Trumpers and me is that I support politicians and political ideas because of their demonstrated efficacy. I have no inherent love for Democrats or bureaucracy. I just choose among alternatives.

            Trump was welcome to attempt competence. But a lot of us voting against him assuming he wouldn’t.

            1. …. their demonstrated efficacy.
              That’s why the case numbers keep going up.

            2. California has the strictest lockdowns and the highest compliance in the nation and the fastest growth of new infections and new deaths. States with looser restrictions and lower compliance are seeing both infections and deaths go down. As Matt pointed out you are selectively looking at the data to support your hypothesis. However, at best, lockdowns have very minimal impact on spread and deaths. Maybe they help, albeit the WHO and several other health experts have raised concerns that the economic downturns and cancellation of a number of “elective” medical procedures, including cancer screenings in many areas, will not result in more deaths long term than the virus would have.

            3. No you don’t you ridiculous fuck stick.

        3. Tony you are truly a broken human being. Politics has destroyed your humanity. Did you read the part of the story about the media, with high confidence, proffering total bullshit as absolute truth? Can you not comprehend that you are doing precisely that?

          Arrogance and willful ignorance are a horrible combination.

          1. I know which parts of the media tell the truth and which ones lie. Do you?

            1. Yes, it’s the exact opposite of what you think it is.

        4. People who followed the Science! and died of the coof anyway aren’t counted here, apparently.

          You complain about a lack of good faith, but exercise none yourself.

        5. “ But anyone dying of Covid is Trump’s fault as far as I’m concerned. How can you separate out the ones who wouldn’t have died if we had competent crisis management? You can’t, and there’s no point in trying.”

          You might as well say, “we can’t really tell which deaths Trump caused, so I’m going to assume all of them.”

          Science!

          1. That kind of fact-free thinking also explains a lot of your policy positions.

          2. Obama was blamed for a terrorist attack in another country he had nothing to do with, and there were dozens of Congressional investigations into it.

            How many investigations should there be into Trump’s covid response? What about his pardons? Or his sedition?

            1. Why don’t you just assume he’s guilty? You’ve been doing it for four years. Who needs evidence?

              Science!

            2. Sedition involves inciting rebellion against the state. Trump IS the state.

        6. How much blame does Tony give to liberal governors? You know they were the ones in charge, right? The Constitution requires it that way.

          1. None. Leftists are never to be held accountable by people like Tony.

        7. So will you attribute every…single…death to Biden starting after Jan 20?

    2. You’re hungry to be sold a phony melodramatic story instead.

      1. Oh the melodrama of all the hundreds of thousands of people who died horrible lonely deaths.

        Why can’t we get back to fixating on what really pulls the heart strings, corporate tax rates?

        1. They only died lonely because your ilk demanded they be locked away from friends and family for their own safety.

          1. Medical professionals trying to avoid more deaths in the families of the victims are my “ilk”? I’ll take it.

            I have a decent chef’s knife and a candle. Need anything removed?

            1. COVID is a contagious disease. You can get it even if you do everything “right”. And you might not get it even if you do things which are really unsafe. It’s possible for a restaurant to take all the right precautions to lower the COVID risk and still have a transmission occur; similarly, they can do nothing and avoid it.

            2. Don’t forget the duct tape.

              1. For your mouth, I hope.

                1. And his nose too. He’s already stolen entirely too much oxygen.

            3. No some health experts, others didn’t advocate forcing people to die alone via lockdowns. Your problem is you only follow the science you like.

              1. Oh, so is the Right-wing now publishing the idea that some type of “Alternative science” exists too, right alongside the “Alternative fact” universe?

                1. Try getting outside your info bubble for 5 minutes.

                  Jesus christ, this was in all the regular papers and everything.

                  https://gbdeclaration.org/

                  The Great Barrington Declaration
                  The Great Barrington Declaration – As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

                  Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

                  Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

                  Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.

                  As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

                  The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

                  Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

                  Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

            4. 2021 and you’re still the biggest fucking retarded faggot on the planet. Congrats.

        2. I don’t think you’re going to win an Oscar. At least you’re feeding your personal hunger for phony drama.

          Corporate taxes are solved. It was 20 years later than it should have been, but the US has competitive tax rates now. And they aren’t going back up, ever. It’s great that Trump was finally able to get that done after decades of the US taxes being uncompetitive, leading businesses to relocate overseas.

          1. Corporate taxes are solved. It was 20 years later than it should have been, but the US has competitive tax rates now. And they aren’t going back up, ever.

            “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up”

            – Barack Obama

            1. “Always believe quotes you find on the internet, especially if they’re hearsay from anonymous sources.”
              – Abraham Lincoln, in the year 1489.

              1. “apt-install-reason deserves rape.”
                –Albert Einstein, in the year 2011.

    3. You just elected two of the dumbest people in politics. BTW he died of a heart attack.

      1. Bidenharris wasn’t elected, it was installed.
        “Adjudication” means voting doesn’t matter.

  4. Yeah, they don’t care about safety. Their lives have become mostly about hatred, pointing fingers, and punishing anyone not like them.

    Ask Sullum about that attitude if you want more insight.

    1. Yep. It wasn’t about the virus, it was just another excuse to call their political opponents stupid and selfish.

  5. “The more partisan you are, the more likely you feel surrounded by murderers and denialists.”

    I am a rabidly small government libertarian. I think we should shrink the Federal government by at least 50%, and the state governments need drastic pruning too.

    I am surrounded. Despots and murderers on all sides, both team red and team blue.

    1. That was my first thought too.

      But I think this stem of thinking comes from the idea that although many many mistakes have been made by our ridiculously stupid, arrogant, incompetent government that have directly led to tens thousands of deaths, and even more misery of all types for every single one of us, that those decisions weren’t borne of malice. My dumbass Governor hasn’t killed our already poor economy because he wants people to starve while he asserts control over the entirety of the population, although that’s definitely the result. He’s had to make incredibly hard decisions, often weighing competing viewpoints, and all of this misery is just collateral damage.

      I not in the “our evil Democrat leaders were just waiting to take full control over everyone in order to break the country and subjugate us under communist control” camp, but I don’t for a second believe in the idea that any of these fuckers are benevolent leaders just doing the best they can either.

      They all deserve hanging for what they’ve done, whether borne from malice or not. They’ve destroyed millions of lives in their blundering. They should have to face consequences for their actions. Unfortunately, they’re the only ones immune to the consequences of their own policy.

      1. Dude, it’s a virus. People are not guilty of what viruses do. People are only guilty of what people do.

        Besides the vast harm caused by the ridiculous panicked response, the only really criminal thing anyone did (as far as I know) was Cuomo sending Covid-infected people to nursing homes to spread the virus and kill thousands of New Yorkers.

        1. Several governors did that.

          1. In the places that still top the death charts.

            What a coincidence.

      2. You’re in the wrong camp then.

      3. Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

      4. Malice is irrelevant. I would argue that making bad decisions leading to bad outcomes from good intentions can be worse than malice.

        Those who are convinced they know what’s best are worse than evil tyrants, for they can commit the greatest of evils with a clear conscience, convinced that their actions are for the “greater good”.

      5. “My dumbass Governor hasn’t killed our already poor economy because he wants people to starve while he asserts control over the entirety of the population, although that’s definitely the result. He’s had to make incredibly hard decisions, often weighing competing viewpoints, and all of this misery is just collateral damage.”

        Your faith and devotion to The State is appreciated, comrade.

        1. “They all deserve hanging for what they’ve done, whether borne from malice or not. They’ve destroyed millions of lives in their blundering. They should have to face consequences for their actions. Unfortunately, they’re the only ones immune to the consequences of their own policy.”

          Pick a lane, man.
          You just squandered the Social Credit you earned in a previous paragraph.

          Deblasio danced with his wife in an empty Times Square last night.
          Leftists have no goal beyond destroying people’s lives then taunting them.

  6. Hey everyone, let’s not victim blame or victim shame anyone. In fact, I personally recommend all Trump voters go and and party like never before. Have a big party, make it the bigliest party you’ve ever had. Let’s have one more big covid super spreader this year.

    I’ll be at home watching. And next month I’ll watch the new covid spike from Christmas and new years and have a covid death watch party in mid January. Go go go, don’t let anyone impede on your rights to gather. Trump voters have proven to me that the safety of your fellow man is far less important than spreading the virus. So go go go!!!!! I need more entertainment. So give me a good show, one that Trump will be proud of.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

    1. So you are giving your blessing to the Jan 6 protest?

    2. Here in Iowa we are still waiting for the Thanksgiving spike but daily new cases stubbornly continue to decline as they have been doing since the week before Thanksgiving.

      I’m sure any day now it will get here though

      1. It’s almost like no one knows what the fuck they’re talking about.

        1. But…they’re scientists…

      2. It’s weird how only those selfish Trumpers on the coasts saw rises after Thanksgiving.

      3. True, but they are on the rise again and deaths per million and cases per million are pretty high.

    3. Hey shitlib, what will be the last thought that goes through your head, other than that bullet?

      1. You’re a pathetic pansy who does nothing other than publish petty threats from behind a keyboard. Prove me wrong.

        1. You’re going to die of the coof and it will be hilarious.

        2. Precisely how would you like him to prove you wrong? Maybe you should publish your real address, with a photo. Make sure that you prove your identity. Then he can come to you and prove you wrong.

      2. Hahaaaaà. Funny little man.

        1. But enough about what your first date said.

          1. Your daughter said otherwise.

            1. Another hicklib pedophile reveals himself.

              1. Oh, so you know it happened?

                1. I know your pedophilic tendencies make you wish it did. Maybe you and shriek can trade links.

    4. And next month I’ll watch the new covid spike from Christmas and new years and have a covid death watch party in mid January.

      You mean like the Thanksgiving spike that didn’t happen? Or the Sturgis Rally spike that didn’t happen? Or the Memorial Day spike that didn’t happen? Or the Labor Day spike that didn’t happen?

      1. But yet your deaths per million are one of the highest in the country and such a small population.

  7. “ We do not deem individuals who become sick by engaging in known ‘risky behaviors’—unsafe sex, abuse of alcohol, drug use, poor diet, smoking, dangerous driving—as deserving of pain and misery….”

    Maybe that’s your problem.

    1. Kind of like the Jews.

        1. Well, the democrats really hate Jews, so you might have a second shot at exterminating the Jews. Like when your heroes murdered many millions of them during the war.

          1. These Jewish leaders clearly admit that Jews initiated the coercion against Germany.

            “We Jews are going to bring a war on Germany”.
            David A Brown, national chairman, united Jewish campaign, 1934.

            “The Israeli people around the world declare economic and financial war against Germany …holy war against Hitlers people”

            Chaim Weismann, the Zionist leader, 8 September 1939, Jewish chronicle.

            The Toronto evening telegram of 26 February 1940 quoted rabbi Maurice l. Perlzweig of the world Jewish Congress as telling a Canadian audience that” The world Jewish Congress has been at war with Germany for seven years”.

            Still zero physical evidence of a holocaust.

  8. Good analysis Matt but I think Tony didn’t understand it or likely didn’t even read it. Because he was one of the first posters, doing exactly what the story warned against and the health experts you cited warned against.

    1. I have complicated feelings on this subject. I don’t advocate shaming anyone for anything, really, except being willfully stupid, but even then it usually has the opposite of the intended affect, since stupid people do not tend to emotionally react to things by finding books to read.

      Shame made AIDS much worse than it needed to be.

      But there weren’t government officials prancing around advocating that everyone buttfuck everyone else in order to achieve herd immunity either.

      But leave shame completely out of it. Jail the Republican fuckers for negligent homicide. I don’t care if they feel shame.

      1. “COVID is a contagious disease. You can get it even if you do everything “right”. And you might not get it even if you do things which are really unsafe. It’s possible for a restaurant to take all the right precautions to lower the COVID risk and still have a transmission occur; similarly, they can do nothing and avoid it.”
        “He continued: “Yet the press continues to *demand* that COVID numbers are a direct result of state policy…but only when it fits the insanely crude rubric of ‘red is bad, blue is good’. They are proffering an absolute fiction as if it was obviously true. And the insane thing (to me) is their confidence in this. They clearly believe this to be true when it is *obviously* untrue to anyone who has tried to weigh this idea against the data. They *clearly* have no idea what they are talking about but the speak as if they are experts.””
        From two different experts cited in the story, because it is obvious you didn’t read it.

        1. So we can’t blame a policy of deliberately infecting people for any infections?

          But presumably Cuomo is still pretty much responsible for every case in the world because he had nursing home patients die in April.

          1. You could if there were ever such a policy. Which there wasn’t.

        2. Aye soldiermedic.

          I think you know about OG/GYN. Hence you know about Semmelweis. He had a tough life. He was correct all along.

      2. Shame Fauci made AIDS much worse than it needed to be.
        FTFY

      3. Does Tony think Cuomo should be jailed too?

      4. You are a such fucking retard.

      5. “Shame made AIDS much worse than it needed to be.”

        If you and the bathhouse gang would just stop raw dogging each other’s assholes it wouldn’t be much of a problem. Maybe we should ban that behavior. Since you’re for collective authority and not individual rights.

  9. there is, in fact, “no epidemic of pandemic denial”:

    So they excluded the commenters here.

    1. Fuck you. Few here denied it exists, we think the solutions are more damaging than the fucking virus, whose lethality is not approaching levels needed to destroy an entire economy in order to combat it. Some people will die – is that a reason to push us further over the cliff into a society and economy closer to the former soviet union? I suspect you will live to regret your positions far more than I will.

      The level of self righteousness and insane credulity on the part of the left is approaching mass hysteria.

      1. How many hundreds of thousands have to die before it becomes enough to care about, to you? Or is it millions?

        1. How many tens of millions need to lose their livelihood are enough for you?

          1. Don’t forget the tens of millions of kids dying from starvation caused by all the disruptions

        2. We can care AND defend liberty. Why don’t you go to China and protest Xi because he’s the one person on this planet responsible for the whole fiasco.

          1. Because I’m not a monkey conservative looking for the nearest human agent to club to death for all my problems. It’s a natural disaster. Nobody is to blame for anything but how they choose to respond.

            1. Right and Xi’s response was to shut down internal flights from Wuhan but allow international flights thus spreading the disease around the world. I think that’s enough to place the blame on his head.

              1. Some blame, but not all the blame. Nuance. Right now it’s your enemy. Make it your friend.

                What does blame get you? What is the practical goal you are working for?

                I think it’s to sooth a silly, sad emotional need you have to maintain blind faith in the most ridiculous clown ever to hold high office in the history of the world. I mean that’s a lot of cognitive dissonance to process, so I get it.

                But you’re welcome to explain how placing all the blame on Xi fixes the problem.

                1. Tony: “Nuance. Right now it’s your enemy. Make it your friend.”

                  Also Tony: “I blame Trump personally for every single COVID death.”

                  1. And also, throw every Republican fucker in jail for making it happen. That guy is such fucking retarded gimp.

        3. NJ has the 5th highest death rate in the country and unemployment is over 10% and rising. Please explain to me how a million people losing their jobs stopped 19K from dying. CA has had the most restrictive and longest lasting lockdown in the nation, but still has the highest case positivity rate and 3rd highest death rate. People who can afford to are fleeing the state and homeless encampments are taking over sidewalks and parks in major cities like LA and San Francisco. Please explain to me how people being forced into poverty and living in tents on the sidewalk is good for public health and saves lives. The Dem controlled CA government won’t do anything about that, but will close restaurants after the owners complied with their rules and invested thousands to do outdoor dining. And not because outdoor dining is resulting in increased transmission. They at least were honest enough to admit this decision was not driven by science, but rather a desire to make people to stay home. Caring about the dead does not make one morally superior to those of us who are more concerned about the living. And it is possible to care about both, but acknowledge that the needs of the living are more urgent.

          1. You care about the living, except the ones who will die. You’ve already written off anyone who ever dies from the virus, and I’m saying we should keep people from dying.

            Sure, by all means, when this is over and we’ve saved as many lives as humanly possible, start caring about the welfare of strangers, something I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of time doing in your political life. Try to sneak in some time for the poor this time in addition to victims of the income tax.

            Democrats tend to be in charge where populations are relatively dense. These are also places well suited for the spread of virus, for obvious reasons. So to the extent that Republicans are actively and openly fucking everything up out of sheer incompetence, violently disastrous political cynicism, or an outright stated plan of infecting the maximum number of people, they are killing those people in blue states too.

            When do we get to start shooting the aggressors?

            1. You’d get dropped pretty quickly with one shot.

              1. But you don’t have a legitimate reason to shoot me. I’m no coughing virus all over you deliberately.

                Or is this a bad time to bring up initiation of force?

                1. You support initiation of all kinds of force against freedom loving Americans.

                2. Like you believe in the NAP. Suuuure.

        4. Fuck you, Tony. Hundreds of millions of people in the world are now at risk of starvation because of the policies governments around the world chose to follow. This is after decades of amazing improvement on that front. How many millions have to die before you people admit it was a gigantic fuckup?

      2. Horseshit. Commenters are STILL claiming that this is basically the flu. That is denial of reality. More significantly, it is denial of the possibility of even publicly discussing what to do – by DEFINING the disease as insignificant.

        1. No, they use the flu as an analogy. And for those under 70, the virus is actually less deadly than for that smart cohort than the average annual flu. Yes, you are in denial. You suffer from the denial that people can have a different idea about the risk they are willing to undertake given the same information. Instead, you and Tony, and ChemJeff (I conclude from the fact that he just posted in support of your comment and up above in support of Tony’s) seem to be of the opinion that if they don’t view the risks the same as you, i.e. if they are willing to take more risks than you feel they should, that they are in denial. This story really is about you, and yes some of the ones on the other side. But at no point had I seen anyone deny that the virus exists or that people have died from it. Your evidence of denial is because they sardonically label it the flu because they look at the evidence and don’t conclude that the risk warrants locking people down.

          1. No. They label it the flu BECAUSE they want to ensure an option of ‘do nothing’ and more important prevent ALL public discussion. That was the only possible outcome once you idiots decided to pretend that this was all just an extension of politics.

            If the TRUTH was that this was the flu, then explain why everyone who favors ‘lockdown’ and ‘mask’ and such magically chose this moment and this disease to institute those responses. Because you are basically asserting that they all had lockdown/mask/etc in their hip pocket and were just waiting for the right opportunity to unveil it. So that within a couple of weeks of the disease being known, everyone on that side was singing from the same songbook.

            It is just the way you conspiracist assholes explain EVERYTHING. Nothing just happens. It was all part of a pre-arranged conspiracy to take over. You people are simply fucking insane.

            1. No one here has advocated doing nothing. We do understand that masks and lockdowns don’t really do anything. We also understand that things like hydroxychloroquine and vaccines are useful.

              The real problem is the reaction of leftists. Their solution for everything is always more Marxism. Which always makes everything worse.

            2. It’s not a conspiracy. It did just happen. That doesn’t mean that it was a giant fuckup that has done far more harm than good.
              And how is it not basically a flu? It is a respiratory virus with similar symptoms and similar outcomes. Plenty of people diagnosed with “flu” have some kind of coronavirus. They don’t generally do tests, but go by symptoms. No, it’s not strictly speaking a flu. But it is certainly Influenza Like Illness.

        2. “by DEFINING the disease as insignificant.”

          It is.

        3. Less deadly than the flu for most people.

          1. You have no idea what this is.

            Here. Try and learn something every day.

            https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/ryct.2020200406

            1. If we tracked every single flu infection and outbreak like we do the coof, and designated every single death of people with the coof as dying from it, whether it actually caused the death or not, the numbers of annual flu deaths would be about the same.

              1. You know this how?

                Show me. Prove it.

                Not that you will read or understand it.

                https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

                This report happens every week for longer than either of us have been alive.

                “We” tracked and recorded? What part of we have you been?

                Some of us have been fighting influenza and other diseases our entire adult lives.

                Oh and the Cleveland Browns are going to the playoffs.

                Miracles never cease.

    2. There’s a statistics lesson in there somewhere.
      Someone should go teach this lesson to the MASSIVE VOTER FRAUD crew.

      1. Do you do anything but bitch about your enemies?

        1. Pretty much everyone is his enemy. Except child molesters. So he does have a few friends.

  10. Well if you’re still reading Twitter, Vox, or any pile of garbage on the internet you get what you deserve.

  11. The problem is that we can’t discuss science rationally, we have to politicize it. And a number of scientist are just as guilty. Fuck, we can’t even discuss sports anymore without politicizing it. And no, it isn’t a left thing, a right thing or a libertarian thing, because all of them, and to an extent, all of us do it. I would love for all Americans to make a New Years Resolution, and stick with it, of removing politics from any discussion except politics. If your first knee jerk reaction to the story of the Nashville bombing wasn’t, fuck I hope no one died on Christmas but was instead “bet it was those damn (proud boys, right wing militias, Antifa, BLM etc pick your political tribe flavor)” then you really need to take a step back and ask “how the fuck did I get to the point where I am more worried about politics than I am about people getting killed on a Holiday”

    1. When science is used to curtail liberty it becomes politics.

      1. No, that’s the moment that politically-motivated people decide to pull science into the realm of politics, and then accuse the scientifically-minded of “being political”.

        1. You’re an idiot.

    2. People who argue without evidence, have politics.

      People who want to break all the rules of rational behaviour, have politics.

      1. Others blame the Jews.

        1. Rob desperately wants to murder them all. Then insist it never happened.

    3. “The problem is that we can’t discuss science rationally, we have to politicize it. And a number of scientist are just as guilty. Fuck, we can’t even discuss sports anymore without politicizing it. And no, it isn’t a left thing, a right thing or a libertarian thing, because all of them, and to an extent, all of us do it.”

      But it’s an explicit tenet of leftism, which has dominated education, media, and corporate America for 50 years.
      War doesn’t go away just because you pretend someone isn’t attacking you.

  12. You could have WASHED YOUR FACE!

  13. Unlike with other things, risky behavior concerning Covid AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE, not just yourself. That is why there is victim shaming here.

    1. Sit inside. Your fear doesn’t supersede my rights.

      1. You have no right to infect other people, asshole.

        1. You really don’t know how viruses operate, do you?

          1. Fuck off, Tulpa.

          2. I do. Telling people like us to just “stay home” is stupid. We all have to go to the store at some point. Healthcare professionals cannot stay home and are being overwhelmed with patients. Wear a fucking mask.

    2. Holy shit, the Safetyist cult is running white-hot now!

      1. Think of infecting others as violating the NAP. Therefore it supersedes your “freedom” to do what you want. Pretty clear. It’s the same as pro-life libertarians arguing that abortion should be illegal because it kills another human, which supersedes the “right to do what you want with your own body.”

        1. Another soft-ass Safetyist bitch weighs in. By your dumb left-wing logic, literally every instance of infectious illness is a violation of the NAP.

          1. Depends on the severity of the illness, how contagious it is, whether there is a vaccine available, etc. Dumbass.

          2. But thanks for admitting that 350k deaths don’t bother you.

            1. The CDC said only 6% have been COVID only deaths. Follow the science.

              1. Deaths don’t have to be “Covid only” for Covid to have been a factor.

                1. You’re an idiot. And an arrogant totalitarian. Congrats

                  1. Most Americans support lockdowns. Sit your ass down, faggot. Once enough people get vaccinated, we can go back to normal. 350,000 deaths is not an acceptable number, bitch.

    3. Vince, I can see why shaming is your go to. Progressives have gotten a lot of mileage out of shaming people for all kinds of things. And you need that tactic, as facts, logic, and human decency are not available to your kind.

      It’s a lot harder to deal with things while preserving freedom and being logical. Things progressives are simply not capable of.

      1. Fuck off, Tulpa.

        1. Sorry, not Tulpa. No, I’m the third incarnation of Last of the Shitlords. The Shitlord of War, to help crush the progs and their infinite evil and villainy.

    4. That’s true of every infectious disease.

  14. “when we cross the line to shaming, it’s not likely to be productive”

    If your goal is more power over others, it can be very productive to shame your political opponents into a spiral of silence, for the good of society.

    The libertarian response to a pandemic isn’t to give government more power or control. It’s to allow people to figure out how to best take care of themselves, without government getting in the way. There are a lot of interesting questions around the edge, such as should you be liable for spreading a disease (you can be sued for spreading HIV ). Is it reasonable and advisable for government to do contact tracing? Can the government force you to take a covid test? Should the FDA or the free market figure out what tests and treatments can be used?

  15. I think this article lacks seriously intelligence! Anyone who says Trump’s anti mask wearing BS and his low life POS moron Acolyte Ron Desantis didn’t play a huge role in advancing the spread of COVID-19 isn’t very bright & is Extremely lacking in Common sense! Who would have ever thought that a President of the United States would undermine his own health officials putting the health, wellbeing & protection of its own citizens in serious jeopardy over something as Elementary as wearing a GD mask! The most sadly comical part of the entire thing is Trump ruined the 1 thing that he was Supposedly trying to protect by under playing Covid-19! We were all praying that he didn’t start a major crisis or 1 didn’t occur While he was president because the brightest of us knew that he would surely Manage to bungle it! Which he did worse then any other leader in the free world & he manage to do it even with all the resources of the wealthiest country at he’s disposal! He not only was ill prepared he was also ill-equipped in pretty much every single Category to be the President of the United States. Republicans sure weren’t lying when they said Elections have consequences. Donald J Trump Has managed To make no other statement more true than that!

    1. Old tee shirts and the paper masks you buy aren’t designed to stop transmission of viruses. Get over it.

    2. There are enough exclamation points, but could use MORE CAPS!

      Now explain the deaths per capital in Belgium, the center of that most enlightened EU, and Spain, and Italy, and the UK…

    3. Obama used the phrase elections have consequences back in 2009, the Republicans used it in 2017 as a counterpoint to Obama first using it.

  16. In Libertopia we’ll have nanobots coursing through our veins that keep us heathy so all that will be moot.

    1. But will they brush our teeth for us?

  17. The prevalence of the “blue states are handling COVID better than red states” myth is just another example of the same people who think they’re always right, being wrong and beyond correction.

    It’s the people who are the surest they’re smarter than everyone else, and have the bestest ideas borrowed from the most educated people on television. The things they believe are just too truthy to be wrong. You can show them data providing them wrong, and they’ll never show you data proving they’re right, and they’ll never believe you, thinking you must be stupid, all at the same time. They may pretend to have seen the error of their ways, only to forget within 48 hours and go back to spitting out disinformation.

    I’m not sure what creates such resilience to facts. Perhaps the groupthink is so powerful that, once you get enough of the right people saying the same thing, there’s just too much herd momentum, and they can’t change direction.

    It would be really nice if the people who advocate science and fact-based policy would act like they aren’t impervious to facts. They give real scientists a bad name.

    1. Vermont, the Blue State with the most Leftist Senator, Bernie Sanders, is pretty much the only Blue State that does not suffer from overpopulation, and is actually able to implement the Leftist view of social distancing without problems.

      Vermont is also the State that is literally doing the best of any other State in the nation.

      If Red States, which are very sparsely populated just like Vermont, would implement the Leftist policy known as “taking scientist’s advice”, then the Red States would probably be doing just as well as Vermont is, given the rural nature of Red States and counties, where pretty much everyone lives “out in the middle of nowhere”. It’s extremely easy to socially distance out in rural areas, if you really want to. I just moved from south city St. Louis out to Jefferson County a couple weeks ago – where I live now is “middle of nowhere”, and it’s amazing how spread out everything is. It kind of sucks, because it means driving quite a bit longer to go anywhere, but it’s extremely easy for me to do social distancing out here, where it wasn’t as easy in the city.

      People who want to say, “Of course Vermont is doing well, they’ve got almost no one living there!” … Well, Vermont is doing even better than the Red States of Wyoming and Montana, where virtually no one lives, as well. That’s not intended to be a dig against Wyoming, which actually has a lot of pretty chill Conservatives for being a Red State, but it’s mostly a testament to Vermont’s willingness to pay attention and be careful.

      1. It’s more a factor that no one lives there. Progressives have nothing good to offer. The red states also have the advantage of not destroying everyone’s lives with useless lockdowns.

      2. There are many scientists in the world qualified to comment on the issue and many of them do not agree. Fuck off with this reverence for the official “experts”. People who become government scientific experts are politicians before scientists.

  18. “(The press) *clearly* have no idea what they are talking about but the speak as if they are experts.”

    And they want the ability to suppress information and opinion that goes against their preferred narratives. The press are almost never experts on the subjects they cover. They routinely expose large areas of ignorance to anyone with decent familiarity on a subject, yet they want to be the judges of “Truth”.

    1. The legitimate press usually goes directly to the experts to publish the truth. It’s the Breitbarts and Tramps of the world that create nonsensical “alternative facts”.

      1. Oh every expert believes the exact same thing?

        1. They believe what they are ordered to by their political officers.

  19. “I’m fascinated with how wedded the press continues to be to the idea that COVID numbers MUST be driven by policy decisions,” he wrote.

    And I’m even more fascinated with how wedded the press continues to be to the idea that ANY desired health, social, or economic goal MUST be driven by policy decisions.

  20. “We do not deem individuals who become sick by engaging in known ‘risky behaviors’—unsafe sex, abuse of alcohol, drug use, poor diet, smoking, dangerous driving—as deserving of pain and misery”

    we don’t?? of course we do. most of current neo-prohibitionist alcohol law and the entire history of the war on drugs are based on precisely how deserving of pain and misery the participants are believed to be. treating smokers like pariahs?? same thing. unsafe sex?? again, exactly the same. we have any number of public policies in this country that are almost entirely predicated on the belief that “the sinners must pay for their sins”.

    1. Progressivism is Puritanism without a literal foundation

      1. You mean it’s based on modern ethical instincts instead of those supplied by a Bronze-age book of rules and superstitions.

        To my mind, the relevant question is whether shame is an effective tool in achieving improvements in social metrics. Grouse as I did about treating smokers like lepers, it kind of worked. No legitimate freedom was entailed. We’re still free to smoke, just under conditions that don’t permit us to impose it on other people outside of our house.

        That’s different from retributive punishment, which is more in line with the above comment. Progressives stand second to nobody on criminal justice reform. It’s the very policy area that BLM has been agitating to effect. What have you been doing for the cause? Daydreaming about libertopia as usual?

        Oh and relentlessly attacking the only people working actively on the issue for being thugs and anarchists? Is that it?

        1. Progressives stand second to nobody on criminal justice reform

          Libertarians stand second to nobody on criminal justice reform. Progressives sometimes come around to realizing how wrong they are and how right libertarians are.

          Progressives are really just coming down off of their “tough on crime” bullshit, during which libertarians were still on the side of the people actually affected by their policies. Even still, libertarians were against the drug war before it was popular. I’m glad some progressives have come around.

          In general, libertarians recognize that more freedom and less stupid laws would be a great way to reduce police violence (Does the war on sports gambling really justify a death count?). What have progressives been preaching for decades? “Diversity training?” Race-based hiring practices? How well has that worked out? Oh, yes: their own supporters are rioting in the streets.

          Even during the debate, Biden blandly suggested that the answer is to “hold officers accountable.” As if no one’s thought of that before. And what is their proposed solution now? I have yet to hear a progressive solution to police brutality. They have cornered the market on emotional outbursts and rioting over it, though. Now if only they could have a good idea for a solution on the subject. Or would give solutions as much credit as rage.

          1. Anyone can come up with a solution from the comfort of his armchair at Libertarian HQ where winning elections and doing anything other than jerking off to ideas aren’t even on the table. Notice I mentioned this.

            BLM was about the state committing acts of violent injustice. It’s a libertarian cause par excellence, as you said. But you just can’t let go of your alliances with racist social conservatives to notice. Where were libertarians the entire last century black activists were working for a more perfect justice? During feminism and the gay rights movement?

            Weren’t you all, to a person, being either standard reactionaries fighting AGAINSt the cause, or otherwise being ineffectual and more concerned with nonexistent communists?

            1. Now, Tony, I know you’re not a partisan hack. You rightly choose the best policy ideas and go from there.

              So what is the progressive policy alternative to the libertarian solution of reducing what constitutes crimes to begin with?

              Oh, look: you don’t have one. We’ve been BLMing for a year now, and you still don’t have a real solution. Progress!

            2. Libertarians stood for the individual rights of LGBTQ long before Progressives took them on as just a voting block. Also, libertarians defended the individual rights of LGBTQ when the Progressive’s beau ideal, The Communist Bloc, was putting LGBTQ in psychiatric prisons and gulags.

              And while there was no formal Libertarian movement during the entire past 120 years, libertarian-minded individuals such as Rose Wilder Lane and Zora Neale Hurston did defend individual rights of women and minorities while Progressives like F.D.R. rounded up and detained Japanese-Americans and pandered to Jim Crow Southerners.

              If you ask me, Progressives have much more serious ‘splaining to do than libertarians.

            3. Oh, and LM is only about replacing the present State violence with their own flavor, as their Marxist/Redistributionist rhetoric clearly shows.

              1. BLM, that is.

            4. How does burning down small businesses make the cops behave? BLM and the left never try the one thing that could make a difference which is end drug prohibition.

        2. Progressives have no ethics. Period. This is why religion and morality are such anathema to your kind.

    2. This article is utterly ridiculous, and only serves to allow the Letlow-Lowlifes of the world continue to push Letlow’s (†) nonsense.

      The reason this article is nonsense is that it leaves out the single most important factor which determines whether blaming the victim is acceptable or not – the rationality of the perpetrator that harmed the victim.

      The coronavirus has no rationale, whatsoever. It cannot have rationale. It cannot be reasoned with.

      Similar to a situation where people may be swimming across a river to get to the other side, because “that’s what they’ve always done”, despite the fact that river has recently become infested with alligators which are unable to be reasoned with – going about one’s business as if everything’s hunky-dory leaves ONLY the victim to be blamed.

      If Letlow (†) had caught the virus before it was widespread and we understood how to mitigate its spread, then Letlow (†) would not be at fault – that would have just simply been nature taking its course, and would have been an unfortunate tragedy with no one to blame.

      However, Letlow (†) fully knew the risks of jumping into that alligator-infested river (in this case, a COVID-19 pandemic), and yet he SPECIFICALLY ADVOCATED having EVERYONE jump into the river right alongside him, as if we’re all just supposed to HOPE that the alligators (COVID) will stop attacking. That’s not how it works, folks.

      In the case of victim-blaming against rape-victims, then yes, that’s awful. Perhaps a woman dressed a certain way because she has a good body image, or because she just felt like it, or maybe she actually did want some ‘D’ (but not yours). In the case of a rape victim (or any victim), there was a supposedly-reasonable person on the other side who perpetrated a crime (or otherwise imposed themselves on another person). In cases such as these, the victim is not to blame, but the perpetrator is to blame.

      Just as alligators cannot be reasoned with, and you’d need to take a boat, build a bridge over the river, or seek to remove living alligators from the river, COVID also cannot be reasoned with, and it is folly to suggest that COVID is a “perpetrator” that can be blamed. It has no ability to think the way we do (if at all, given that it’s version of external awareness is completely unrelated to humans’ nervous systems).

      In cases where it’s impossible to blame the perpetrator (such as COVID), and the human fully-well knew the risks, yet that human put themselves in danger and also advocated for putting other humans in danger, and then that person got sick and died – YES, the victim is absolutely to blame.

      Similarly, all the morons who went to Tramp’s superspreader events are to blame if they also caught COVID. Those superspreader events have not consistently shown good practice of social distancing or mask-wearing, and if you actually watch some of the full events, you often times hear the crowds chanting against those who wish to tackle the pandemic. They have themselves to blame and Tramp to blame – each of them share equally in the blame for their own poor health outcomes.

      Given the only rational way of determining who’s to blame results in the answer: “themselves”, I will not stop victim-blaming when victims are being willfully reckless and stupid.

      When people catch it after being cognizant of social distancing and mask-wearing, but they need to go about their daily lives, they’re not to blame – of course we can’t all be cooped up forever, so those are natural tragedies – but we can all try to do our utmost to prevent catching and spreading it. And most victims are not out there advocating that we be as reckless as Letlow (†) would have us be (as you pointed out in your article, most people take it seriously).

      Letlow (†) deserved it, and I’m glad he’s dead, because that’s one less voice out there pushing for the idea that we should all be reckless. Letlow (†) deserves a spot in the Darwin Awards.

      Everyone else who catches it, just trying to go about their lives carefully, knowing they’re surrounded by an invisible enemy but they’re trying to be careful, needs to be cared for without victim-blaming.

      1. TL;DR.

        You’ll have to try again if you want someone to actually read that.

      2. Saying you’re glad someone’s dead because they got a communicable disease completely undermines any other point you might make.

        Trump wasn’t the only politician who minimized the virus early-on. So did Cuomo and De Blasio, among others.

        There wouldn’t be all of this “victim blaming” either way if this had been handled from the beginning as a public health issue and not as an excuse for politicians to engage in a massive power grab. Check out the comments of chief lockdown architect Neil Ferguson’s in The Times, in which he chortles over how closely politicians in Europe were able to mimic the Chinese, promising that these “tools” will be used again in the future.

        Yet no one can understand why people are enraged at the prospect of losing their home, business, and everything they’ve worked for because of the dictates of politicians who couldn’t even do their own jobs well enough to keep Covid out of nursing homes.

  21. “ The more partisan you are, the more likely you feel surrounded by murderers and denialists.”

    You can add bigots, racists, and white supremists to that list.

    1. “ If you keep seeing everyone as an enemy, then enemies are all you’re gonna find” -Tara Chambler TWD.

  22. We could’ve listened to Johnny Von Neumann and Edward Teller in 1945, and there wouldn’t be any totalitarian socialist germ labs.

    1. Or listened to Joe McCarthy in 1950. Then there wouldn’t be any socialists at all.

  23. Hope this disaster will end soon….It’s tired

  24. Putting a villainous face on either a lockdown or a reopening…

    Has any allegedly straight news outlet vilified the lockdowns? It’s only ever been a one way street on that one. And let’s not forget that of lockdowns and reopenings, only one comes at the point of a state agent’s gun.

    1. Really? Because Donnie Tramp threatened to defund schools that implemented online learning without physically forcing helpless children to expose themselves to a dangerous virus during the middle of a pandemic, which would have seriously inconvenienced and put in danger millions of schoolchildren around the country.

      Sure, a physical “gun” wasn’t involved, but sounds to me to be pretty authoritarian and tyrannical, in favor of “everyone intentionally be reckless and put your lives at risk to cater to the incessantly narcissistic ego of the Almighty Tramp, so he can brag about how he ‘opened up America’.” Not a physical gun, but that sounds along the same lines as the State holding a gun to everyone’s heads.

      1. When did you become such a soft-ass bitch? Was it in middle school, or before then?

      2. I guess you could make an argument that, in that chain of events, the gun comes into play when the state demands taxes from you in the first place so that it can later withhold the funds to coerce compliance. In the middle of a pandemic.

      3. There’s a flu pandemic every year and schools don’t shut down.

  25. There is something to be said for pointing out accountability for own behavior. Certainly many on the left, out rioting during covid and spreading it fully are just like the GOP supporters who go out to riot about being forced to wear a mask, or the politicians who are trying to please their party, breathing all over each other. Each group complains about disproportionate effects on their lives – and neither wants to take personal responsibility or include data for own behavior. It is irresponsible to go out in groups and not wear a mask during a pandemic. It’s not a cure, but it is the least anyone can do. Pointing it out after someone dies might be a little bit of a lousy “told ya so” but sometimes it’s got to be said when you’ve got an own goal.

  26. The blame for this COVID-19 crap needs to be on the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army who covered up the initial outbreak and enabled the virus to spread! After all this is under control, a Nuremberg-style trial is highly in order!

    1. Conservatards think every problem is solved by clubbing someone over the head. Preferably someone of a disfavored race.

      Even you can’t claim with a straight face that Trump didn’t do everything in his power to infect as many people as he could.

      1. Tony,

        One, last I checked, Communist Totalitarianism, such as rules modern-day China, does not constitute a “race,” not even by the warped standards of SJW Intersectionality.

        Two, I am neither “Conservative” nor “retarded,” and doubt you have the credentials to judge what is either of these.

        There, I made no claims about Trump, one way or another.

        Four, do better. This is lame even for a Reason H&R troll.

      2. Yeah remember when the Dems called Trump a racist xenophobe when he didn’t stop air travel from China…wait a minute.

      3. Tony as you are a stupid progressive, you believe a lot of stupid progressive things.

  27. This article is very much enriched by Matt Welch’s Daddy issues.

  28. So now COVID denialists are dying and their apologists want us to be nice about it? Fuck their feelings. I really don’t care, do you?

    1. “Denialists”. Why hasn’t your magical mask talisman stopped the modern black plague, shitlib?

      1. That’s what ‘denialists’ are for. Scapegoats when their pseudo science quackery fails.

    2. “So now COVID denialists are dying and their apologists want us to be nice about it? Fuck their feelings. I really don’t care, do you?”

      So we now have CDS-infected shits who probably stand a good chance to be coincident with TDS-infected shits.
      Fuck off and die; make the world a better place.

  29. I’ll definitely agree on the moralizing of governmental actions. I graphed the COVID rates of California and Texas back in October, and they were practically identical. Not only in magnitude, but in the timing and direction of each inflection point. It was like the completely opposite public policies had no affect at all. However, Texas was being chastised and California was being praised for their policy. It’s almost religious.

    1. Almost? Nah, I’d say we’re right there.

  30. Nope, this article is wrong. We have a very active population of deniers out there. As long as this large chunk of people continue to deny that masks help or that social distancing rules matter we need to point out that people who don’t abide by good practices helped cause their own demise. Is that shamng? Well, do we get our panties twisted when we point out that private companies made mistakes when they go bankrupt? Heck yeah! says the libertarians. That’s how free markets work! So why are we trying to coddle the deniers?

    Contrary to this article’s claims, many people are not taking precautions. In my town restaurants are filled with the maskless and at sporting events even the refs are maskless, setting a horrible example for the youths playing sports.

    The point of pointing out the connection between Letlow’s words and actions and his demise is to point out that this virus is real and has real consequences. The guy is dead and we do not need to coddle his family. Now if he were abiding by good precautions that is another story. I have no idea. But if he did not take this virus seriously despite the mountains of evidence available to him then yes, shame on him.

    So why Reason are you so afraid to blame fools? Is shaming not a libertarian thing now? Is it all about systematic and styructural issues? Should we stop blaming he poor for being poor, the unhealthy for being unhealthy? Has Reason gone left? Or is Reason just being cynical nihilists?

    1. You better just stay home with mommy.

    2. “…We have a very active population of deniers out there…”

      Far larger and more active population of cowardly lefty shits.
      Crawl in a hole and stay there. Forever.

  31. Is this really “victim-blaming” or is it simply assigning individual responsibility for individual outcomes?

    As libertarians, are we not to assign individual responsibility for individual outcomes?

    If you’re seeking a moral in this story, consider this: Mr. Letlow chose poorly. That poor choice had poor consequences. The end.

    Be it resolved: this is not victim-blaming. It’s just a good, old-fashioned, cautionary tale.

  32. Nobody is the blame for the pandemic except the Chinese. But once it was released you aren’t going to stop it until herd immunity is reached. Same as every other virus in the history of man. Its why we’re not extinct. Maybe the vaccine will be effective but flu vaccines of the past have only been moderately successful.

    All of the political theater mask on /mask off, for example which is about as effect8ve as using a chain link fence to repel mud are pointless.

    Selectively shutting down businesses like restaurants just because you can is also senseless.

    So stop the BS and we’ll all get along better.

    If you want to stay inside for a couple of years go ahead do it. No one actually has to go out at all if they don’t want to.

    Leave the rest of us alone.

  33. Victim-Blaming During a Pandemic Doesn’t Make People Safer….
    Neither does President blaming.

Please to post comments