Saturday, October 9, 2021
One of the most famous opening lines of the twentieth century captures one of humanity’s most enduring philosophical challenges – the impulse at the heart of Seneca’s meditations on life and Montaigne’s timeless essays and Maya Angelou’s reflections, and a wealth of human inquiry in between. But Camus, the second-youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature after Rudyard Kipling, addressed it with unparalleled courage of conviction and insight into the irreconcilable longings of the human spirit.
Friday, October 8, 2021
Lawlessness: People mostly do not know this, but the Biden administration has yet to release any sort of printed directive about these mandates that pertain to all companies with more than 100 employees. Why is this? Probably because the administration knows for certain that what it is doing won’t pass a legal test. OSHA was not set up as a vaccine-compliance outfit. Tagging this agency for this purpose would surely be shot down by courts at all levels.
How, then, can they get away with this? By reducing the edict to no more than a press conference and a few public statements, the government is inspiring human resources departments in every company to retool and act. They are counting on the private sector to do the dirty work for them. This way the deed is done and it faces no legal challenge. And this is precisely what has happened.
It’s affecting the public sector of course. Police departments around the country are being gutted. Hospitals are firing workers. The universities are being purged. All local and state governments are dealing with a genuine crisis. And over the coming weeks, every business will have to decide to comply or land on the wrong side of the wrath of the Biden administration and openly declare themselves to be Enemies of the State. It feels like war because it has many features of war.
I’ve noticed a subtle change in the framing of all public statements related to this. The lockdowners and pushers of mandates have been steely and cold, impervious to logic and disregarding of public opinion. They seem to be adopting a sadistic pose, not unlike what you would always find among the leadership of totalitarian countries. It’s a chilling thing to behold an entire ruling class lose all empathy.
The Revenue Grab: This tendency to outsource tyranny to the private sector is really catching on with the ruling class. I was in a store the other day when the owner put on his mask when I walked in. I was the only customer in the store. I said that he could take off his mask. He said that if he did that he would get fined thousands of dollars just like the merchant next door.
He said that the same would be true if he failed to enforce the mask mandate against me. I wouldn’t get in trouble with the police. He would. I asked how in the world anyone would know. He said there are two ways. Another person could walk by the shop and see me without the mask and call public health, which would then call the police. They could take a picture and the merchant would be fined.
He said that a second way would be for the cops to directly enforce this. They would come and sit in the parking lots, sometimes wearing plainclothes, watching for employees who failed to enforce the mandates. If they spotted them, they would walk in a few minutes later and issue all kinds of citations.
They can do this any time, any day. What they are after is not public health. They want money. The average local government lost 6% of its revenue in 2020 after many years of anticipating 3–5% increases in revenue year after year. They are now desperate to make it up.
Local and state governments don't have little Federal Reserves to print money for them. They can only spend what they can tax or raise through bond sales. So COVID compliance enforcement has become a form of taxation done in the name of public health. At this point, hardly anyone really pretends that this is somehow slowing or stopping the spread. It doesn’t do anything, but it provides great opportunities for government to further pillage private enterprise.
What matters here is that the merchants don’t actually have to believe in these mandates. They really don’t care either way. They would mostly rather see the faces of the customers, and they would probably like to enjoy the freedom to breathe. But they would rather mask up and make others do the same to avoid the tax. The Land of the Free!
Deck the Halls: Let’s return to this Christmas issue. I have some instinct that Fauci might have gone too far this time. Of course I’ve said that before. But it’s kind of like the old rule: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Fauci tricked people last year. Actually most houses of worship were closed for the better part of 2020, much to their eternal shame. But now we know that it was all a ruse. This time it likely will not work.
That New Zealand has given up its zero-COVID policy is encouraging. Actually, it’s inevitable that every state in the world will have to relent, simply because the virus cares nothing about government policies. But even after that date, we’ll be left with a rapacious ruling class that has taken from this fiasco that the public will put up with a lot more despotism than we ever believed possible, provided people are fearful enough.