Public schools

Republicans Open Schools, Democrats Still Keeping Them Closed

The latest data underscore an appallingly partisan split on what should be a more science-based decision.


If you look at only one graphic today, make it this state-by-state average of K-12 schools offering full-time, in-person instruction, as updated April 18 by Burbio:

Do you see the pattern? The 10 most open states on the left—Wyoming, Arkansas, Florida, South Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, Montana, Texas, North Dakota, and Louisiana, in that order—have wildly disparate COVID mortality, ranging from Utah's 67 per 100,000 residents to South Dakota's 221. But what they have in common is politics: All 10 voted in 2020 for Donald Trump, all 10 have Republican-controlled state legislatures, all except Louisiana have a Republican governor, all except Montana have two Republican U.S. senators, and in all 10 a majority of the state's delegation to the House of Representatives hails from the GOP.

Deep red states open schools.

What about the 10 most closed states on the right side of that bar graph? Maryland, Oregon, California, Washington, New Mexico, Hawaii, Virginia, Illinois, New Jersey, and Nevada also share more in their politics than they do in the pandemic. All 10 voted for Joe Biden in 2020, all 10 have Democratic-controlled state legislatures, all except Maryland have a Democratic governor, all 10 have two Democratic U.S. senators, and in all 10 a majority of the state's House delegation sits on the left side of the aisle.

Deep blue states keep schools closed.

As someone who has never belonged to a political party, rarely votes for major-party candidates, and co-wrote a book extolling the virtues of political independence, it gives me no great pleasure to see such an overwhelmingly partisan split on an issue affecting scores of millions of people. On the contrary: Seeing one of the two main parties so in thrall to either panic porn or teachers unions (or both) is a profoundly dispiriting experience.

Schools around the planet were overwhelmingly not spreading COVID-19 even before American teachers were given prioritized access to vaccines. Now that there's no excuse for educators not to be vaccinated, there's none left for buildings to remain even half-shut in this homestretch of a cursed school year.

And yet my 12-year-old is home again today and tomorrow, and my 6-year-old will likewise still be unwelcome in the building across the street on Wednesdays and Fridays until May 3 at the "earliest," her principal informed us Friday. Eagle-eyed observers may note that May 3 is a full six and a half weeks since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its guidance for school distancing from six feet to three feet, thus removing the rationale New York City and other blue-state schools had for putting students through half-time hell.

But the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) has an outsized influence on the city's Department of Education (DOE), so the city is slow-walking to the finish line of 2020–21.

"On Wednesday," a nearby elementary school principal emailed parents last week, "we were asked to 'await further guidance' in planning for 3 ft. distancing. We believe this may be because UFT and DOE have not reached an agreement on the distancing change. We cannot move forward until this is resolved." (In classic New York misgovernance fashion, the DOE immediately disputed this, though the delays on the ground remain.)

As my fellow Brooklyn public-school parent Karol Markowicz observed in the New York Post (with typical bluntness), most schools in the country have opened. "Only the most deformed, broken systems remain closed or only partially open, and Gotham's is among the most ­deformed and broken," she wrote. "Schools are flush with federal dollars. If they aren't open today, it's because they don't want to be."

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  1. If the parents in the blue states won’t stand up for their kids at this point, there may be no hope at all for them.

    1. I know of at least one family that moved from a blue state to a red state last year specially to ensure their kids could go to school in-person.

      In my blue state, parents have been holding protests to demand that schools reopen and even normally left leaning media is getting increasingly exasperated in their editorials. The problem is nobody is willing to connect the dots that strong teachers unions cause schools to remain shut down. Even the team blue politicians have been wringing their hands saying schools need to reopen, but they can’t figure out how to do it without teacher union permission and the union is being unreasonable. I’m not even a parent, but if the local schools asked for volunteers, I would try to show up for a morning a week to help teach math. I am sure many others would step up to contribute if the school boards ever got a spine and the state waived teacher credential rules.

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      2. Democrats work for the wealthy elite and unions that donate heavily to their elections. The voice of everyday Americans mean nothing to them. In Democrat controlled cities and states it is more about control and the right propaganda to keep the sheep riled against the opposite party but controlled by the state and cowering in their homes and basements as their leader Biden has done. They urge the lower income folks to protest and riot and care little they are infected and spreading Covid but those that contribute heavily they protect.

    2. They are standing up. But they’ve waited so long the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are all against them.

      Parents don’t fund politicians in places like California, teacher’s unions do.

      1. Why do politicians need funds? Why not just look who’s on the ballot in a general election, vote for Republicans, and wind up picking the better one thereby 90% of the time? Years ago it was hard, now it’s practically trivial.

        1. Maybe because voting for the last Republican President we had gave us one of the worst Presidents in our history. We would not even be having this discussion if Trump and the Republicans had confronted the COVID problem. Instead, they ignored it, and created absolute havoc in this country.

          1. Warp Speed sped right past you…

          2. fuck off tony

          3. Remind me again, was that Nancy Pelosi parading around in Chinatown last winter calling Trump a racist for trying to prohibit travel from China or was that someone else?

            Ahh, here we go.

            “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi toured San Francisco’s Chinatown Monday to send a message. She said there’s no reason tourists or locals should be staying away from the area because of coronavirus concerns.”

            “That’s what we’re trying to do today is to say everything is fine here,” Pelosi said. “Come because precautions have been taken. The city is on top of the situation.”

            Pelosi visited The Wok Shop, a temple and the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, which was started 58 years ago by owner Kevin Chan’s mother and uncle.

            “But that shouldn’t be carried over to Chinatown in San Francisco,” she said. “I hope that it’s not that. But all I can say is, ‘I’m here.’ We feel safe and sound, so many of us coming here.”

          4. Parody or retard?

            1. parody of a retard? I usually take the ‘and,’ but tough to do with those options.

          5. I don’t even think he had to handle COVID-19. Trump could have won if he just reeled his personality in a tad. The American people were exhausted from waking up each day wondering what new chaos he was creating.

            1. The White Knight III: Army of Canuckness
              April.19.2021 at 2:08 pm
              Nope, this is where you have trouble with logic. If I am trolling, I am trolling against Trumpistas and right-wingers; that does not equate to my supporting the left.

              Youre a troll.

            2. “…Trump could have won if he just reeled his personality in a tad…”

              Trump could have won if TDS-addled assholes like this quit their adolescent focus on personality and looked at what he did instead.
              But then WK wouldn’t be the TDS-addled asshole he is.

              1. Yeah, Trump could have changed or the voters could have changed. One of those things is a lot more in the control of the candidate.
                I wish people would pay less attention to personality, but that’s not how it is.

          6. “Maybe because voting for the last Republican President we had gave us one of the worst Presidents in our history.”

            Maybe it’s because TDS-addled lefty assholes like this tossed out one of the best POTUS we’ve had in the last 100 years.
            Stuff your TDS up your ass; your head is asking for company.

          7. We now have a President who won’t tweet mean things about the Left and hurt their feelings and also will fairly reliably cave to his party’s special interests while simultaneously making sure to uphold the entrenched establishment’s perquisites, so it’s all good now.

          8. Wow, blind and stupid. Poor combination.

          9. How do you explain all the other countries with the same virus related problems?

          10. You are a good example of why politicians need funds. It is expensive to coordinate propaganda and feed it to the sheep every day to keep them riled and misinformed. It has to be repeated over and over until to the sheep it become reality in spite of what they see every day.

    3. I think the author is either lazy or did not do his research. California schools have been open for elementary through middle school for 2-3 months and are in the process of open the upper grades now.

      1. Not really true. Many schools are only partially open.

        For a school to be considered open, the school must have given all students in at least one grade the option to return for in-person instruction for at least part of the school week.

      2. Elementary was open for a few weeks 4 mornings/week. Middle schools 2 mornings/week for only 3 weeks. Lame, and no scientific basis. D-.

      3. Haha good one. I live in CA. Schools are open here two mornings per week for elementary students. Middle school is open one morning per week. High school is still virtual. The ONLY reason the unions allowed this is because Newsom paid them off by committing billions more to the school system which just funnels directly into the pockets of, wait for it, unions! Yea for California………………..

      4. According to the LA Times, “Only 37% of elementary schools even offer some form of in-person instruction, and even fewer middle schools (19%) and high schools (20%).” Is that what you mean by California schools have been open? I think the author is referring more to all schools not a small percentage.

  2. Maybe don’t live in a blue state.

    1. Maybe some people don’t have that option. Easy enough for you to just pack up your whole life, quit your job, and move somewhere else. But not everyone can do that. Don’t choke on your privilege.

      Some of us have been trying to change things locally. It’s mostly fruitless, but I notice that California resoundly rejected most progressive initiatives. The working poor here still vote, and they are voting less and less for their White Masters.

      The GOP lost their majority because they took people of color for granted. They thought old white dudes could keep them in power forever. The Democrats are making a similar mistake that their vassals will continue to vote for their benevolent White Master. Doesn’t mean they will flock to the GOP, but it does mean the less progressive candidates are going to start taking votes away from the White Master.

      1. Some people, yes. But the welch guy could easily move to Wyoming or Arkansas (the top two states) tomorrow. The welch guy works from home and has money, what is stopping him? A standard libertarian line is when life in some state doesn’t suit you, just break out the u-haul:

        1. I do own stock in U-haul. Just sayin’. UHAL 600.8 Per share. Down a lot today but I am still up 38%.

        2. Jacob Sullum’s got kids, yet he moved from I forgot where to NY to TX to Israel, then back to TX, and I lost track.

          1. Jake can afford it. He gets a second paycheck from the Mossad.

        3. The big professional issue is that Moynihan is banned from 47 of the 50 states plus Guam. This confounds things for Welch as the 5th Column is most of his income.

        4. Welch rarely votes for major party candidates. If he moved to a red state he’d be voting with his feet. For Republicans. That’s probably a bridge too far.

      2. You have a lot of focus on race in this analysis. Weird.

        1. Weird… But there might be some underlying truth to it. GOPers in recent history hated talking about demographic differences. As a more individualist mindset, it seemed sketchy and weird to “reach out” specifically to hispanics, blacks, women, homosexual, etc. instead of making more general appeals. The Trump campaign had no such compunctions, and his rallies would have a number of “Hispanics for Trump” type signs. The exit polls give some level of evidence that the strategy works (though it can’t be discounted just how much everyone who is not a white liberals hates progressivism, so maybe Trump would have gotten that result, regardless).

          Perhaps a new type of identity politics, one that acknowledges that people may identify with different demographic characteristics and can be appealed to by recognizing those identities, but unlike traditional identity politics believes that all such identities are just different kinds of Americans who largely want the same things, is the future of the GOP.

          1. This whole “BIPOC” stupidity is going to end up being a major wedge issue. Save for maybe the Puerto Ricans in NYC, a lot of Hispanics don’t like blacks at all, especially American blacks, and are pretty chauvinistic about their race to the point that they aren’t easily guilt-tripped about being racist. A Mexican or Honduran immigrant and their kids have shit-all in common with Native Americans, and in many cases, if they come from border areas, have blood feuds going back centuries.

            And what’s being suppressed right now with all this #StopAsianHate stuff is the reality that most, if not all, of this is coming from blacks and Hispanics, not whites. An ex-NFL player kills a grandfather, his wife, and their grandkids, and crickets. Some dumb coomer shoots up a couple of Asian massage parlors because of his own self-loathing, and inspires a hashtag.

            The media have no interest in white people getting killed, because they’re fine with it. In fact, they think white people deserve it, because most of them are self-loathing white liberals who were taught to hate themselves by the educational-entertainment complex over the last 30 years. And of course, you have the “How do you do, fellow white people?” types like Tim Wise, who foments race war while living in one of the whitest neighborhoods in Nashville.

            1. Is that the word around your trailer park? Latin Americans don’t like blacks?

              Try talking to some latin Americans. You’ll still be a bigoted hillbilly, but maybe one will kick your little pussy traitor ass and we will all be better off.

              1. I talk to plenty of them. A hell of a lot more than you do in your Portland crack house, you hicklib faggot.

                Doesn’t matter how much you pretend to like brown people, you’ll still be a hicklib faggot. Maybe you’ll die of AIDS and we will all be better off.

                1. you two assholes should get a room already

                  1. You should mind your own business, Jason, you have enough problems being a 40-plus year old who can’t get laid.

                  2. Not my fault red rocks is a pussy ass little traitor boy.

                    1. Not my fault you’re too much of a bitch to unmask your email.

                2. I interact and have friends of many ethnicities including latins.

                  There are assholes in every group. I’m sure there are latin fascists who talk to bigoted assholes like you.

                  You’re such a backwards rube. Just admit you pussed out.
                  Or are you incapable of being a man about anything?

                  1. Your drug dealers don’t count as friends, you hicklib faggot.

      3. Welch absolutly has the ability to move. Most reason writers donot live in New york

        1. Perhaps Welch’s spouse’s job is tied to NYC?

          1. Pfft. Should be barefoot in the kitchen making sammiches.


        2. To be fair I think most of the Reason writers live in the DC area. And that is worse than NYC. I do not feel bad saying that.

      4. “The GOP lost their majority because they took people of color for granted.”

        I think it was a bit more complicated than that.

        You started out with the Democrats as the party of white racism, Jim Crow. For generations they had thrived by handing out racial preferences to their chosen client race, whites. They were very good at that, and quite comfortable with the role.

        Then Jim Crow started to break down with the Civil Rights movement, a movement at first much more driven by Republicans than Democrats. Though it did actually require some degree of Democratic support, as at that time the Democrats pretty much had a lock on Congress.

        At that point, when Republicans were the (Usually out of power!) party of equality under the law, the Democratic party was beginning to reform itself. And I’ll give them credit for that.

        The 1964 civil rights act passed with more Democratic votes, but a much higher percentage of Republican votes:

        In the Senate:
        Democratic Party: 46–21 (69–31%)
        Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)
        In the House:
        Democratic Party: 153–91 (63–37%)
        Republican Party: 136–35 (80–20%)

        Democrats got credit for it, and deserved a lot of it, but certainly not all. They mostly deserved credit for ceasing to stand in the way, IMO.

        This is where things got ugly: The Democratic party, though trying to reform, WAS still the party of racial preferences, while the Republican party WAS the party of equality before the law. All the Republican party could offer, as a matter of principle, was legal equality. Democrats could offer racial preferences.

        Republicans got out-bid. Badly. And, after a while, they did stop trying, especially after blacks started regarding the refusal to offer preferences as actual hostility, rather than just a devotion to equal rights.

        But they gave up on blacks after blacks abandoned them, not before.

        1. Since the great majority of people where whites, how far could they have gotten by handing out preferences to them? Where would the goodies have come from? Who would be disfavored from whom enough favor to make it worth anyone’s while could be gotten? It wasn’t even like Germany where the Jews could be looted for a few years profitably. So I don’t buy the idea that the Democrats could’ve thrived like that for even a single generation.

          1. Simple, you convince white people that they’re inherently evil and the systems they built need to be torn down. What were seeing now is the fruit of that very poisonous tree.

        2. Don’t forget Jim Eagle.

        3. Good analysis Brett.

      5. The GOP lost their majority because they took people of color for granted

        Back in 1932? Team R is in its current position largely due to its inability to connect with the New-Economy class in the manner their forebears did with prior emergent industries; partly for cultural reasons and partly because they largely no longer believe in protectionism for capital.

        Trump’s response to this isn’t unreasonable, but effecting the realignment he seeks will be a decadeslong process.

        The Democrats are making a similar mistake…

        Possibly; they’re certainly opening themselves up to competition and seem intent on ignoring what large, numbers of their less-vocal voters actually want on a host of issues (related: Team Blue suffering a red wave the election after banning menthol cigarettes would be deserved and all kinds of hilarious).

        1. Trump’s response to this isn’t unreasonable, but effecting the realignment he seeks will be a decadeslong process.

          True, it effectively took about six decades after the Civil War, but it’s important to keep in mind that the Republicans were basically a two-plank party prior to the Civil War, and quickly evolved into such a hyper-corrupt mess starting with the Grant administration that they single-handedly inspired the reforms of the Progressive Era.

        2. Everything about this disease is partisan now. From vaccination rates to school. Like we live in separate countries with entirely different perceptions of the disease itself.

          1. “Everything about this disease is partisan now…”

            Thanks to TDS-addled assholes like you.

      6. Oh, so thats why people hate you.
        Shame we had to agree on something.

      7. “The GOP lost their majority because they took people of color for granted.”

        Also, the demographics of California changed. People moved there from more liberal places, like New York.

      8. I felt the same coming into 2020 election. Ballot harvesting, more illegals, and voter fraud will shift CA back to blue in 22. Sorry.

      9. The GOP lost California because of the spending by special intertest groups. Democrats work for the wealthy and special interest groups and the population gives California a large representation in the federal government. California is the influence that drives the damaging leftist policies in the US. There welfare system keeps a lot of people dependent on them and voting for them.

    2. or instead of moving send your kids to private schools they have been open in California all along.

      1. In that case, can you arrange for my $13k in property tax to be refunded, so I can afford private school? Didn’t think so.

  3. On the other hand, to be sure, both sides are following the science.
    Republicans follow medical science.
    Democrats follow political science.

    1. Absolutely correct. Give this one an A+.

      1. Your bullshit is noted as bullshit.

      2. Further evidence the propaganda the left spends millions on works. Don’t believe what is right in front of you and continue to believe what you are told. Above all continue to vote against yourself.

    2. Nice…

    3. +1

  4. Fund the kids, not the schools.

    1. Keep the skools closed, for the chillren!

      1. That is actually the position of the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union. In fact, the claim is that it would be racist to allow minority students to go to school due to the racial disparity in health outcomes.

        I wish I was making this up.

        1. The truth is a bunch of lazy, unconcerned, “I’m just here for a check” teachers are to danged sorry and worthlessly lazy to want to go back to work!!!

        2. That is a bald faced lie.

          1. No, it’s not:

            “LA Teachers Union Condemns School Reopening Deal as ‘Propagating Structural Racism’”

            Zachary Evans
            March 2, 2021

            “If you condition funding on the reopening of schools, that money will only go to white and wealthier and healthier school communities that do not have the transmission rates that low-income Black and brown communities do,” United Teachers Los Angeles president Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement. “This is a recipe for propagating structural racism and it is deeply unfair to the students we serve.”

            The Lying-Ass Dog is you, fuckface.

          2. “That is a bald faced lie.”

            You are full of shit.

          3. You’re like, some kinda auto-troll… right?

  5. To a blue state socialist, educated children aren’t as useful as ignorant children.

  6. No worries. They have Critical Race Theory take home courses to keep the kids sharp.

  7. As someone who has never belonged to a political party, rarely votes for major-party candidates, and co-wrote a book extolling the virtues of political independence, it gives me no great pleasure to see such an overwhelmingly partisan split on an issue affecting scores of millions of people. On the contrary: Seeing one of the two main parties so in thrall to either panic porn or teachers unions (or both) is a profoundly dispiriting experience.

    So, if I’m watching a nature documentary and a crocodile takes down a zebra and I get dispirited by the zebra’s demise, no matter how much impartiality I effaced about crocodiles and zebras, I wasn’t a neutral observer. Especially if I make an effort convey my impartiality to crocodiles and zebras and then pen whole articles about the woeful plight of the misguided zebra.

    1. I just watched one where a house cat takes on a gator and wins.

      1. As someone who has never owned either a house cat or a crocodile, rarely interacts with with other peoples’ house cats or crocodiles, and has never written a book endorsing cats or crocodiles, I find that outcome both implausible and discomforting.

  8. Why is Matt Welch carrying water for GOP talking points? America will never exist in a post-COVID world. We need to Build Back Better and Trust the Science from Doctor Fauci. I’ve begun wearing condoms again with my wife because for too long I ignored the science and thought STIs wouldn’t happen to me. This COVID pandemic has woken me up and now I will never again risk a debilitating sexual infection by having raw sex with my wife. Trust Fauci and Trust the Science!

    1. I need to know what Dr. Fauci says about condoms before making a decision on them. Whenever I need to make a decision I ask myself WWDFD?

  9. Are there any large populated states controlled by republicans ?

    If not, there may be alternative reasons at work than simply being republican or democrat.

    1. Why would we have to search for an exotic explanation when all we have to do is ask each political district’s in-power party what their position is on opening schools?

    2. Texas. And, yeah, they’ve ended their lockdowns, and their numbers are down.

      1. But to the point of the article, Texas and Florida, the two big red states, are 8th and 3rd respectively in having open schools. Being a large state does not appear to make it impossible to reopen schools.

      2. And Arizona, and Florida. There’s also mixed states that are high population that have opened and are doing fine. Though more importantly they made the choice to open either-way. Though, there’s something to be said about low population states where everyone is in a single-family home on an acre of land, that’s not that relevant when it comes to putting kids in classrooms anyway. Classrooms in Wyoming aren’t absurdly bigger or more spread out or whatever than a classroom in Buffalo.

        1. There scarcely was any reason to close the schools in the first place, the evidence almost from the very start was that children are hardly effected at all by Covid. We weren’t doing it for the children, at best, at very best, we might have been doing it for the teachers.

          And THEY could have worn the masks and what not.

    3. There’s no alternate reason. Democrats are fucking illiberal authoritarians who like to fuck over people who disagree with them. They want complete power and authority over your life like the good stalinists they are.

      1. “authoritarians who like to fuck over people who disagree with them.”

        I don’t think it really matters if they disagree with them or not.

    4. I see your point. There are also no union controlled states that are Republican.

    5. “…If not, there may be alternative reasons at work than simply being republican or democrat.”

      How many straws can you grasp with those tiny hands?

    6. You mean like Texas?

    7. Densely populated cities and states are usually Democrat controlled. It has to do with gas fumes and a low quality of life. Those that are unhappy and don’t know why live in those areas and vote Democrat. Those that take personal responsibility and build a good life they are happy with in an area that does not have gas fumes vote Republican. Democrats want to keep people unhappy and confused and breathing fumes while Republicans want individual freedom and a chance to succeed by all. President Trump put minorities to work and lifted millions out of poverty and off welfare and gained the most minority vote by a Republican in 100 years. Escaping dependence and gas fumes turns Democrats into Republicans.

  10. Dear Matt Welch:
    Stay the fuck out of Florida.

    1. How often are you called uncle Tom or a house n word? Multiple times a day?

      1. Not as much as you are called “bitch” by your neighbor’s pool boy.

      2. Is this supposed to be less offensive because you didn’t spell out the word “nigger”?

        Is “house n” less racist than the whole word?

        Is “n” going to be the new, banned euphemism for “black” because racists like KARN still cast derogatory and degrading remarks by using only the letter “n”?

  11. Open the schools.

    I don’t care who you voted for. The kiddos need school. This is a responsibility.

  12. I’m flabbergasted HyR is finally pointing out a big advantage of Republicans over Democrats.

    1. Election’s over. The gag order comes back around this time next year.

  13. The more they debilitate their children, the more services they can demand for them: educational, psychological, medical. The remediation will cost billions.

    Social security and medicare made this possible – because of these programs old people have no skin in the game. They only care about getting their checks. Whereas without these programs they’d demand we return to work and school immediately so that we can afford to pay for their care. These programs must be abolished.

    Another fundamental problem is that there simply are far more opportunities available today under socialism (medicare for all, UBI, GND, gun control) than with capitalism (robotics, weed dispensaries, new flavor of dog food). That’s why the populations in the blue states go along with the leadership even though they know it’s self destructive. They believe they can exploit the dysfunction for profit and power.

    1. If you talk to union members of any type, they will tell you that they admire the teachers unions because they “stick up for their people”. When you ask them who is looking out for the kids and the taxpayers, they won’t answer. They know the answer but their involvement with the union does not allow them to speak freely. They have to toe the line.
      This is what happened at the VA. Bernie was Chairman of the VA committee. Bernie made sure that the VA workers, no matter how incompetent, were never fired. The fact that veterans were dying on wait lists was not his concern at all. Veterans aren’t likely to vote for Bernie until they are dead. Postmortem, they just might.

  14. I’m unconvinced of the “listen to the science” argumentation though. I’m not certain that’s even the issue here. Beyond teacher’s union things and all the politics, I think there is a genuine difference in risk tolerance. They can both look at the same numbers and information and one can say the risk is acceptable and the other can say it isn’t. That’s not a failure of listening to the science, that’s making a value judgement on the data presented and how to act on it.

    I say this as someone who is still anti-lockdown and think that the government should have clearly described information, defined a series of acts they think were reasonable, rather than threat of legal restriction. I say this as someone who wears a mask and tries to show some care in not spreading it. I say this as someone who has went to Church illegally when it was closed down, and have been going since it opened back up. I think they’re wrong in their risk tolerance, but that doesn’t mean the underlying facts are disagreed upon. They may be, but I’m not certain that’s the major issue here.

    1. idk…at some point…the unions and the panic porners don’t really directly address risk. Essentially, their argument is that there’s a non-zero risk and thus they are justified. And to back that up…they really haven’t defined their exit criteria.

      1. The union thing is a big deal and I don’t want to underplay it. But I’m not sold on that being everything either. I see a lot of parents still go along with it even though the union’s actions seem transparently manipulative.

        The panic porn stuff I think is more related, but I suspect that it plays upon an underlying difference in risk tolerance moreso than it is a direct cause of it. But I think these neatly fall into a tightly related space. The panic porn justifies it and dramatically impacts people’s understanding of the risk involved.


    2. That is a big part of it, I’m sure. But even the varying risk tolerances are highly influenced by the propaganda we get in the regular news. A lot of people have a very inflated notion of just how dangerous it is (and some try to dismiss it as not dangerous at all). So there are some factual problems as well. As well as the problem of lack of context. If the media people really wanted to inform people to make the best factual decisions they could, they should be providing lots of context to help people properly assess risks. They should be showing people what happens regularly with flu and giving numbers on all the other risks we expose ourselves to every day so that people can realistically assess the risk of covid. But I don’t see any of that from mainstream sources. All I see is focus on this one thing with scary looking numbers without context.

  15. every day the wee ones are not in conformity factories is a good thing.

  16. Where’s Kirkland to lecture us on the uneducated clingers in the red states?

    1. Probably watching anime getting ideas for more stupid screen names in a full decontamination suit

    2. The Rev is gone, BUCS is back. Hmmmm.

      1. I killed him with a stake made from the wood of the true cross.

  17. “The latest data underscore an appallingly partisan split on what should be a more science-based decision.”

    The idea that the qualitative preferences of scientists are somehow more authoritative than the qualitative preferences of average people is both hogwash and the very foundation of elitism.

    It’s hogwash because using science to lend authority to your qualitative preferences at the expense of others is an appeal to authority fallacy. No one knows what is more important to you than you do, and anyone who claims to do so is wrong. Academics, bureaucrats, and politicians using the coercive power of government to inflict their qualitative preferences on the rest of us (under the guise of science or otherwise) is what real elitism is all about.

    Parents make qualitative judgements about the relative merits of various tradeoffs all the time–as well they should. We do have people in our society who care about their safety and the safety of their children more than anything else. They shut themselves in their homes for years at a time. They’re diagnosed as “paranoid” and “agoraphobic”, and they’re probably a danger to the well-being of their children.

    Psychologically healthy people, on the other hand, make rational decisions about the trade offs between the safety of their children and other things–like fun–all the time. Deciding to let your kids go swimming at a friend’s house is perfectly rational–even if scientists say there is increased danger if they do.

    Balancing a child’s likelihood of contracting Covid-19 vs. the welfare of that child in other, financial ways is certainly rational–no matter what bureaucrats, scientists, and politicians say. Who is a scientist to say that keeping your child marginally safer from Covid-19 is more important than funding that child’s college savings plan, keeping that child living in a nice neighborhood with nice schools, or making sure that child has all sorts of friends, experiences, and opportunities you couldn’t afford if you weren’t working?

    If that’s your situation and your spouse can’t go back to work until the schools reopen, and you want them open for that reason alone, as a taxpayer, you have every right to demand they open immediately–but that isn’t saying you have the right to be wrong. You are correct about wanting the schools to open on that basis.

    Your individual qualitative preferences are just as authoritative as anyone else’s, which is why we should all be free to make choices for ourselves on an individual basis. It is rational to take the scientific consensus into consideration when we make choices for ourselves, but the only person who can make qualitative judgements on your behalf–with any accuracy–is you.

    Understanding that you are the ultimate authority on your own qualitative preferences may be the beginning of all libertarianism. The next step is learning some self-esteem. I don’t suppose you can come to believe that the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect your right to make choices for yourself if you don’t believe that your qualitative preferences are important–even if they’re only important to you. But the idea that if government exists for any legitimate purpose at all, it’s only to protect our right to make choices for ourselves is what libertarianism is all about.

    1. Damn it, Ken. I thought I was being verbose today and then you come along and showed me what length really means.

      1. I’ll show you what length really means…

        1. I’ll freely admit I prefer to emphasize girth.

          1. Keep it to yourself. Please.

            1. That’s what SHE said!”

    2. I agree a lot with this. The most important thing being that the science here is the data collection and a prediction about something based on that evidence. That is, infection chance is X in the given situation based on the evidence we have. The interpretation of that is not actually science, it’s a value judgement. People conflate the two much too often. I think because it does make it seem like you have some authoritative, undeniable, means to decision making rather than making trade-offs and value judgements.

      1. When a progressive like Gavin Newsom feels like he needs to make a qualitative choice on behalf of the people of California–all umpty ump millions of them regardless of their differing circumstances and conflicting interests–he needs to justify those policies. You roll out a scientist for that to persuade the uneducated, but there’s no way any scientist or group of scientists can take conflicting interests into consideration when they make their “scientific” rules for everybody.

        There’s a single mom on one side of the street, who can’t go to work until the schools reopen, and if she doesn’t open up her business, she will lose her home.

        The grandparents taking care of young girl after her parents died in a car accident, on the other side of the street, are deathly afraid that if they catch Covid-19 from the girl because the schools reopen, that kid will wind up in foster care.

        No matter which of those two families Gavin Newsom decides to screw, the idea that science is the answer to either or both of their problems is absurd. Rationally, each of those families should be free to make choices for themselves.

        Newsom is just trotting the science out to try to dodge the responsibility for making qualitative choices for millions of people in unique circumstances.

        1. Considering the “science” of transmission from child to grandparents was a lie in the first place with no scientific backing we all see how fear was used to get what the states want. I still see people claiming this to be true when other science has said otherwise. the fear campaign was very thorough.

    3. Parents make qualitative judgements about the relative merits of various tradeoffs all the time–as well they should. We do have people in our society who care about their safety and the safety of their children more than anything else. They shut themselves in their homes for years at a time. They’re diagnosed as “paranoid” and “agoraphobic”, and they’re probably a danger to the well-being of their children.

      My wife has a student who has not been permitted to leaver her home for over a year: if she goes out front then she’ll catch COVID from come passerby, and if she goes out back she’s going to get Lyme Disease. The school has been assured that this has nothing to do with her acting out in virtual class.

      1. That’s not good for you!

    4. Oh, I didn’t even get that far. See when Matt tried to say he was impartial and then lamented the fact that Republicans are behaving more in line with his desires than Democrats, I figured he was lying and quit reading.

    5. Science is one thing, political and bureaucratic decisions and State diktats are another. The science tells us that falling off ladders is bad. Do we ban all ladders? Do we limit their height to 3 feet? The science tells us kale is good for us. Do we force everyone to eat kale?

      And Whitler sucks.

      1. Don’t give them ideas.

      2. The science tells us that falling off ladders is bad. Do we ban all ladders? Do we limit their height to 3 feet? The science tells us kale is good for us. Do we force everyone to eat kale?

        Science doesn’t tell us either one of these things. It tells you that falling from a sufficient height is likely to break bones and damage organs, whether that’s a good thing or not is up to the interpretter.

        The kale example is even more contrived or convoluted. Science doesn’t tell us kale is good for us. Science tells us that some antioxidants can have some good effects on over-oxidative metabolisms (with little effect on normal ones and even deleterious effects on reductive ones). Science also tells us that kale is rich in anti-oxidants. The idea that kale is good for you is a moral extrapolation. Considering science also says that cyanide is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant suggests the reasoning, moral or otherwise, behind the ‘kale is good’ ethos, may be (severely) flawed.

    6. Excellent work, Ken.

  18. Yes, agree with Matt Welch’s implicit assumption: we should look to medical science to determine the extent of our rights. When science says an infectious disease hits x% lethality along with a certain level of transmissibility (thresholds to be determined scientifically of course) individual rights need to be curtailed for the common good. All must be presumed carriers until proven otherwise. Science will decide how to proceed. Welch has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt with geometric logic that this is all consistent with the N.A.P. and the basic concept of self-determination.

    1. ToP mEn!

    2. This has been the common thread at Reason since the beginning of this horseshit. One need look no further than Bailey or Sullum or Soave to get a daily dose of appeals to authority. But there is no libertarian way to parse this. Denying people their liberty and livelihoods is a bald faced violation of the NAP no matter how many statistics you crunch up or vaccines you jam into arms.

      1. It’s anti-libertarian. “Ideas so good they have to be enforced at the point of a gun.”

  19. When politicians determine our rights, who can complain?

  20. The Democratic Governor in our state pushed all the school systems to reopen by March 15th. Most have. However, in many jurisdictions a significant portion of students, in some cases 50 percent, of the students have not returned. Republican refusals to do basic things like wear masks and get vaccinated are just advancing the arguments of those who wish to keep the schools closed. I don’t blame those who don’t want their children to encounter these ignoramuses.

    1. Our schools have been up and running since last August. Nobody has died. Weird, huh?

    2. Republican refusals to do basic things like wear masks and get vaccinated” shaming people into action when action was never needed

      1. Yeah all those Republicans in downtown Detroit are the problem, all three of them

        1. Michigan is noted as having a COVID problem. What’s not usually noted is that the problem lies mainly in Wayne County and especially in the City of Detroit. The rest of the state (excluding a few other urban areas) is no worse off than anywhere else.

          1. The numbers in Michigan are up more in the non-Detroit areas, but that’s just an indication of Detroit’s population being part of the first wave. The rest of Michigan was affected later and more slowly.

    3. “…Republican refusals to do basic things like wear masks and get vaccinated…”

      TDS addled lefty asshole here claims it’s his right to tell you waht to do.
      Fuck off and die, slaver.

    4. Don’t try to out asshole Tony, you’ll never win.

    5. You’re not really up to this, are you? Intellectually, I mean.

  21. Republican refusals to do basic things like wear masks and get vaccinated are just advancing the arguments of those who wish to keep the schools closed. I don’t blame those who don’t want their children to encounter these ignoramuses.

    Or, Democratic hysteria over talismans like masks and demands that all 330 million people get vaccinated, even if they’ve had the coof already are just advancing the arguments of those who want the schools to open. Just because you believe in the Cult of Scientism and whatever the Squealers of the country tell you, doesn’t make those words facts.

    1. Nobody is demanding that all 330 million people get vaccinated–but there have been thousands of documented cases where COVID was spread by selfish idiots who failed to follow proven science and wear masks and take other basic preventative steps. If Trump and Company hadn’t politicized this situation we would be through with it now. Instead, they managed to get millions of idiots to play along with their ignorant and lethal political drivel. They have done lasting harm to this country, our children, and our future. Trump will never be able to get the blood off his hands.

      1. Didn’t the Democrats support the massive crowds of people looting and burning in the the streets last summer while everyone was supposed to be in lockdown status? Would going to school be more dangerous?
        Maxine Waters was demanding that people stay in the streets and get confrontational yesterday in Minnesota, yet she declares that kids going back to school in her home state is bad.
        So, which is it?

        1. Not just Democrats, pretty much the whole Medical community was saying that social justice was more important.

          Nevermind that going by stats, police killings aren’t particularly motivated by racism

      2. Trump is no longer in office why are we not through with it yet? Please tell me more about the conjecture in the mask studies. If you read them there’s a whole lot of coulds, cans, probablys, most likelys and how hamsters in different rooms don’t spread covid because of a mask.

      3. Nobody is demanding that all 330 million people get vaccinated”
        actually they are and they are talking about taking away the rights of those who don’t get vaccines.

      4. “Nobody is demanding that all 330 million people get vaccinated…”


        “…Republican refusals to do basic things like wear masks and get vaccinated…”

        Fuck off and die, slaver.

      5. Nobody is demanding that all 330 million people get vaccinated

        No, the Dems and the media have been pimping that exact thing.

        but there have been thousands of documented cases where COVID was spread by selfish idiots who failed to follow proven science and wear masks and take other basic preventative steps.

        Wearing masks is not proven science, it’s post hoc Scientism.

        The rest of your post is boilerplate shitlib blooery.

      6. “…there have been thousands of documented cases where COVID was spread by selfish idiots who failed to follow proven science and wear masks and take other basic preventative steps…”

        Missed this in favor of your other bullshit.
        No, there are ZERO documented cases of what you claim. Any claim that such documentation *could* exist tells anyone with a 12th-grade ‘education’ that you are lying, a complete ignoramus, or, in your case, likely both.
        In order to make such claims, all other methods of transmission would have to be eliminated.
        OTOH, there have been plenty of cases where TDS-addled assholes like you have spread lies. Such as right here.
        Fuck off and die, slaver.

      7. Yes, those are the official Democrat Talking Points. Good job regurgitating.

      8. Blaming Trump is a clear signal that you need to reconsider your value to this world.

      9. there have been thousands of documented cases where COVID was spread by selfish idiots who failed to follow proven science and wear masks and take other basic preventative steps

        Incorrect. There have been cases where people contracted COVID and may or may not have been wearing a mask when they contracted it. The last set of data released by the CDC, the majority of cases came from people who reported ‘almost always’ wearing a mask. Whether they caught it because they weren’t wearing a mask isn’t just not documented, it *cannot* be documented.

      10. youre a liar. Biden is demanding everyone get vaccinated.

        Theres no discuusion with a deliberate liar like you.

  22. After being the last in the state last year to realize school wasn’t going to be back in session in Spring, arguing with the teacher’s union over reopening kindergarten for three months, and finally coming up with a ‘hybrid’ education plan when the governor’s order forced them to – my son’s school resumed classes today.

    What it looks like in high school? Only three classes a day (still) and those who opted to learn in person go to school where they are directed to a random classroom that they can sit in while they log in to their scheduled zoom meeting.

    1. I feel for you, mamabug. It’s just so ffing pathetic.

  23. Rights should not be based on “science”. Science gave us eugenics laws.

    If “science” had its way, especially the CDC, every possible danger or hazard would be banned, from alcohol to guns to driving cars

  24. Horribly misleading article. It miscasts the % of parents CHOOSING to not go in-person as something mandated by the state, and completely omits that the red states are heavily NOT offering the option of online or hybrid schooling to the degree blue states are.

    1. Horribly misleading comment.
      Why would anyone offer online education if the schools are open?
      Is that a difficult concept for TDS-addled lefty assholes to understand?

    2. Probably because they know they don’t need to.

    3. To be sure, it’s not fair to ask teachers to carry a full in-person student load plus a Zoom obligation. If parents are afraid to send their kids to school, homeschool is a great option. Or are you just a DNC stooge going for a fresh excuse for lameness?

    4. Fuck you for being so willfully ignorant. I live in Florida and 100% online is available for every single child in Florida… actually, it was also available before the pandemic. I also live in a “school choice county”, of which there are many here… meaning you can choose between charter schools & public schools (you don’t have to send your kid to your assigned public school).

    5. Every red state is offering hybrid learning, at the very least.

  25. I’m a science fan. I trust science.

    But this is not a science question.

    Is it more important to be in a classroom with your teachers and your friends, or to avoid the risk of COVID? Science will not tell you.

    Is it more important to hug Grandma, or to avoid the risk of giving her COVID? Science will not tell you.

    Science does not answer all questions. Those are personal questions, and to the extent that they must be answered for large groups of people, they are political questions.

    1. Fronts for the authoritarians verify political dictates with “science”. This Pan-hoax is NOT about public health, it’s about public control, e.g., how far the public will allow themselves to be pushed, governed. The stats expose the govt. fraud, but no matter. They obey. The lies are excused or forgotten. The damage is daily painful. Some rebel, most suffer in silence. MSM is complicit, conspires to hide the hoax, the oppression.
      The oppressed will continue to be hurt until they stop obeying and start thinking for themselves. Meanwhile, the victims will get what they deserve, what they could stop, if they stood up for themselves.

    2. Agreed.
      “Science” (being the application of a method to determine facts from data) cannot be used to predict individual valuations.
      If it could, Marx would be celebrated as a hero as opposed to being vilified as the founder of a system causing the deaths of at least 100,000,000 innocent people.

    3. I take it a tiny step further. The price of freedom is a higher risk of some bad things happening.

    4. Welch knows this. Welch will not admit this. Personal autonomy is not a matter for science.

      But when his side looks this bad the article can only be written in a chin tugging, both sides style.

  26. The democrats (Biden etc.) said that they were following the science in fighting the COVID PANDEMIC. Read the following and determine for your selves if they were or if they were lying to US all the time.
    What a contrast between the left end of that chart and the right end. As unusual as it is in this case the left end is the republican end while the right end is the democrats. As we saw from the chart the republicans (left end) did every thing right opposite to what the democrats (right end) did. Yet their states came through the pandemic much better shape that the democrat states did. They also has a lower death rate than the democrat controlled states had. As an added bonus these republican states came through the pandemic better off also in jobs and income (earned income that is). Yes these republican controlled states did have job losses but not nearly to the degree that the democrat states did. There is another advantage also that the republican states have. They were less affected by the BLM riots starting with the death of George Floyd. If you investigate it you will find these riots took place mostly in the states (democrat controlled) where the politicians encouraged the the rioters (not the demonstrators) to go ahead and riot, steal, loot and destroy. There these states suffered heavy losses which the taxpayers will have to foot the bill even if Biden does gets his bill pass which will pay for the losses from the federal treasure with borrowed money. So in effect the taxpayers will still have to pick up the tab but it will be the taxpayers of the whole nation and not just the area that allowed that condition deteriorate to where it was believed that valence was the only solution left.
    That brings up another thought. These riots and the action that the police took that brought on those riots are all in areas where democrats control. Yet these democrat controlled areas have done nothing to change what is happening between the police and the hood that would have change what would happen. The democrats have been trying to buy the vote of the black community with “entitlements” or the government will GIVE THEM SOMETHING SUCH AS CASH OR AN ATM CARD BUT IT WILL NOT MAKE THE ECONOMY SUCH THAT THEY COULD GET A JOB. This is done to fight poverty in in the African-American community but poverty is now worse now than it was when the democrats started the war on poverty.

  27. Meanwhile.
    The judge overseeing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial hinted at a possible appeal after hearing the defense team’s argument that Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters’ recent call to violence if the trial does not result in a guilty conviction could influence the jury’s verdict.
    “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in his whole trial being overturned,” Judge Peter Cahill conceded before hearing the state’s position.

    1. That dipshit judge set the whole thing up, first by not granting a change of venue, and second by not sequestering the jury. It won’t matter what verdict comes out because the appeals are going to be tied up for years for this shit.

      And what the fuck is that leathery old bat doing in Minnesota, anyway? Isn’t her fucking district in Los Angeles?

      1. If she wasn’t 82, I’d say a possible Presidential run, but, who knows?

  28. The Democrats want to destroy the country and make everyone dependent on government with themselves in perpetual power. That’s all you need to know.

  29. the appallingly partisan split —
    Republican believe Gov-Guns are to be used in defense of Individual Liberty & Justice.
    Democrats believe Gov-Guns are to be used by ‘gangs’ of victim-babies to STEAL *earnings* of Individuals.

    Republicans FU a lot.
    Democrats are the FU since the USA isn’t a Democratic Slave Nation.

    Education shouldn’t be controlled by government guns anymore than one would think the press should be controlled by government guns.

    1. Why would the press need to be controlled by government guns? They barely crawl out of the government’s lap.

  30. Teachers unions need to be abolished. They are an organized crime organization. Open the schools. If teachers don’t show up, fire them.

  31. It’s atrick and all about the business rules.

  32. Let’s start with the fact that physicians are taught to practice defensive medicine, whether they are cardiologists, OB-GYNs, or public health practitioners. Further, doctors think everything should be treated now. It’s not like the mechanic at the dealership who says that a front-end alignment or replacing transmission fluid can be put off until the next service appointment.

    But, Democrats are acting like George McClelland. He did not trust his intelligence reports about Confederate troop strength. He always thought Robert E. Lee had more men than what the intelligence suggested. So, he was adverse to mount an offensive with the Army of the Potomac.

    Republicans are like U.S. Grant and William T. Sherman. The only way to win a war is too mount offensives. If the enemy has greater numbers, do something they don’t expect to minimize the advantage.

    I know people who, even after being fully vaccinated, still think they can spread Covid and go out as little as possible. Frankly, some are worried that they are slipping into depression.

    I have French ancestors who left France for Canada in the late 1600s and early 1700s, due to the persecution of Protestants. If they had behaved like the Democrats who want to keep everything closed, they would have resigned themselves to going back to Catholicism. Because leaving France for the wilderness of Canada or dealing with persecution wasn’t safe.

  33. It appears that the democrats, although unwittingly, are the smart ones here.

    There is nothing that had done more damage to our nation and young impressionable minds that the deranged spectacle that is public schools.

    I cringe every time I see libertarians or conservatives pressing to get kids back into those hellholes of indoctrination. Y’all must really hate the children.

  34. It’s fitting that you used the mug of the “governor” of FL (a.k.a. “Florida Man”) to head this article. He and his state have been a case study in how to make a pandemic worse as well as hiding stats that would show his record is worse than we know. This is true all across Red States which failed miserably to lock down early, enforce mask wearing when he wasn’t happily inviting tens of thousands of super spreaders for Spring Break twice since he disease hit. These profiles in failure are shared especially by TX, MS, AL, IA, GA and even an empty state like WY where the death rate was more than twice that of OR, for an example of a state that followed the science. But I have to remind myself that failure is a core value of the right wing in this country (see Nixon, Reagan, Bush/Bush and Trump).

    1. Governor DeSantis and Florida have been a case study in how well propaganda influence the uninformed and easily influenced.
      Which stats have been hidden and how were they hidden?
      Cherry picking a state with a population of 4.2 million as spread out as Oregon is hilarious. Is it the only Democrat state that followed the science? What about New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or any of the other Democrat states that did worse then Florida? Florida has a large elderly population compared to most of the Democrat states that did much worse.
      Florida did not invite Spring breakers and many beaches closed to them. Of course in the Democrat controlled South Florida they did have problems as usual. Spring breakers present no danger to Florida. It is the states they return to that face the spread. Those states should have kept their kids home.
      You probably believe the protests and riots in Portland and other Democrat cities didn’t help spread Covid. Many brainwashed lefties do.

  35. Liberals not wanting Government Indoctrination Camps open?

    They want stupid Voters?


  36. It is science-based. Creation Science v. Misanthropic Global Warming Settled Science. I dunno which is worse, but it’s a safe bet neither side knows the definition of energy, or can differentiate a constant for that matter.

  37. I worked up some San Diego County stats on COVID-19 deaths. I present it here in a different fashion that might be illuminating.

    San Diego County is a large sample size. With a population of almost 3.4 million people, it has a larger population than 22 states.

    I calculated the chance of the average San Diego County person dying from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic through 4 February — by age group. Since 4 February, the weekly deaths from COVID-19 have been dropping dramatically.

    0-9 zero chance
    10-19 1 chance out of 447,935
    20-29 1 out of 36,774
    30-39 1 out of 20,817
    40-49 1 out of 5,427
    50-59 1 out of 1,919
    60-69 1 out of 712
    70-79 1 out of 311
    80+ 1 out of 97

    Remember, about 94% of the people who “died with COVID-19” had comorbidity problems. The biggest single comorbidity factor is obesity. If you have no such problems, your chance of dying from the coronavirus is far lower, though age is an obvious factor to consider.

    Yet one survey found that people under age 40 think that there’s a 10+% chance that they will die if they test positive for COVID-19. This grossly exaggerated fear causes people to make wrong decisions — like refusing to return to work.

    NOTE: This comment was submitted DAYS ago. My mistake was including URL’s to substantiate my research. It generated a “we’ll review your comment.” REASON never did. And this has happened before.

  38. education is important

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