Never Repeat The Past Year: Shutdowns Don’t Work, Only Freedom Does

By Rod Thomson

Looking back on the past year of pandemic, there are two significant lessons that Americans must learn, or re-learn. I hold little hope for politicians and the vested ruling class, but I do for Americans.

First, the lockdowns didn’t work, even CNN has admitted it in a surprisingly positive story about how Governor DeSantis got it right. But we’ve known for a century they would not be effective against an airborne virus.

Pathogens have always been a part of life on earth. For the past century, America at least understood that viruses have to be dealt with by individuals through their patient-doctor relationship. Yes, there would be deaths, but as has become excruciatingly clear now, even the most tightly shutdown states — providing for an A/B comparison with those that did not shutdown — show no fewer deaths. More in some cases.

Because viruses kill the weak. It was accepted public health policy since the 1918 pandemic that the social and economic trade off, if there was any, was far worse shutting down than individual mitigation. We tried then, in a few instances, and they failed. State coercion against diseases has a terrible track record of success.

And we knew this and followed it.

In the  pandemic of 1957-58 — in which cases and deaths were measured very differently from the almost absurdly broad way we have jacked up Covid case and death counts — health officials declared: ‘‘…there is no practical advantage in the closing of schools or the curtailment of public gatherings as it relates to the spread of this disease.’’ This was followed again in 1968-69, by another airborne virus measured very differently. And in smaller outbreaks since. Do we know more now? Not on this front. 

But a year ago, with social media and instant photos of Wuhan on our phones, people dropping dead in the street (well, one person captured on camera) and Chinese Communist police dragging people out of their homes, there was an instant panic. That panic was driven by access to information without any context, history or knowledge of the broad picture.

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People were terrified when northern Italy was hit and politicians responded to calm those fears. But instead, they stoked them. And those whose worldview favored heavy government control of people’s lives, for their own good of course, jumped into action. Shutdowns, mandates, micromanaging every bit of a citizens’ life.

In the end, it was all to no effect on the virus, but tragically destructive of lives from children in school to the elderly who were depressingly isolated in their old age. With CNN giving it up, virtually no one seriously continues to defend the lockdowns. A few weeks was forgivable as fearful ignorance. A full year? More like criminal, if there was a definable crime against destroying millions of peoples lives.

But second, and truly more important, even if lockdowns did work — and again, they don’t — the trade off for the loss of human rights, self-worth, finances, hope, education, social interaction, spiritual, emotional and mental stability, health care for a range of other fatal ailments such as cancer and heart disease, are not worth it. Not remotely.

The broad well-being of a community, a state and a nation must be weighed against the threat of one pathogen. Or more. This is incredibly important because there will be more pathogens. Ever more. And it is not at all clear to me that our ruling elite have actually learned from this. I fear they will just calculate political mistakes, always calculating for themselves, but not see the error of once again stripping away American rights for the next disease.

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The one thing that is broadly associated with America and her historic successes, her status as a beacon to the world, has been honoring freedom, a free people in a free society producing the highest level of human rights and dignity, to say nothing of extraordinary economic expansion and quality of life.

For the sake of our children’s freedoms, their social and economic functioning, their basic human rights, we average Americans must learn that disease mitigation can never again be given over to politicians with suspect motives and the wrong qualifications.

It must be left up to Americans to freely make decisions in consultation with their own medical providers, for their own good. Our ruling class and those who put their trust in them may not be comfortable with that, but the rest of us Americans must demand it. 

More will be lost than any virus could manage if we don’t.

Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist, past Salem radio host, ABC TV commentator and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Follow him on Parler and Instagram. Like Rod on Facebook.

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