Yes, I am talking to you, the COVID fanatics who pushed lockdowns and mandates and succumbed to fear throughout the pandemic. Some of you used to be writers for this blog.
One writer in the Atlantic famously called for an “amnesty” in response to all of the horrendous things Branch Covidians did to the rest of us during the pandemic.
I am a follower of the Prince of Peace, and I believe in forgiving those who made mistakes, but the first step is an apology. I am happy to report that I have received some private apologies in the last few weeks. But a lot more needs to be done. When the Republicans retake the House, and almost certainly the Senate, they need to investigate — in detail — how and why public health officials pushed a false narrative from March 2020 until recently. And a lot of my fellow Latter-day Saints need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they acted like tyrannical lunatics over a virus with a 99.7 percent survival rate.
Just a reminder of what you did: you prevented people from hugging each other for no reason:
You supported the police beating up innocent people who objected to the mandates.
You helped whip up the hysteria that resulted in this:
You supported the cruel masking and forced vaccination of children for no reason:
You shut down the schools for no reason and mocked parents who were concerned about their kids’ learning.
You closed down small businesses and went along with the corporatist plan that resulted in profits for giant companies at the expense of the middle class.
And of course you closed down churches while leaving strip clubs, liquor stores and pot dispensaries open.
Remember when Elder Bednar spoke out early in the pandemic on this issue?
So, yes, as followers of Jesus Christ, we will forgive. We must forgive. But a lot of people owe us apologies, at the very least to clear their own consciences and to help them not repeat the same mistake during the next worldwide hysteria.
Here is an important comment from Jeff Childers (a pro-reality attorney from Florida) that is worth reading regarding the Atlantic piece linked in the OP:
“(The author Prof. Emily) Oster began her plea for peace by giving readers a harrowing glimpse of what life inside an elite family looks like: when hiking outdoors, she taught her kids parental ‘hand signals,’ used whenever someone approached on the trail, to politely alert her kids to firmly fasten their useless cotton face masks.
Once, Oster recalled, when a little girl got “too close” to her then-4-year-old son on a bridge, the boy screamed “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”
Oster now admits her son was “totally misguided,” which is a fancy, blame-dodging, elitist synonym for “wrong.” And it takes almost no effort at all to calculate where the 4-year-old got his totally misguided idea from.
Oster frankly admitted that outdoor transmission was “vanishingly rare,” and that her family’s cloth masks (made out of old bandanas) wouldn’t have done anything, anyway. But, she explained, the thing was: THEY DIDN’T KNOW.
That seems to be Oster’s main point. In other words, during the fog of covid uncertainty, well-intentioned folks “on both sides” advocated for and against pandemic policies like masking, lockdowns, and so forth, sometimes hotly.
The professor explained that, in the fog of war, EVERYONE was guessing, and in hindsight, some people just got lucky with their guesses. “The people who got it right, for whatever reason, may want to gloat. Those who got it wrong, for whatever reason, may feel defensive,” she wrote. “In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck. And, similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing.”
Then she reached her main argument, the one that put a lit match to social media’s leaky oil refinery: “We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty.”
The reactions from many members of Team Reality were, as ZeroHedge’s headline suggested, immediate and white-hot. Many of you guys have probably already noticed the controversy, if not already dipped into the outrage pool yourselves.
The reason for the outrage, I believe, wasn’t Oster’s call for amnesty, which after all, wasn’t really asking for forgiveness, it was more like for a temporary peace. Her sin, in my view, was that she failed to address the biggest difference between what she described as the two sides, the ‘right’ side and the ‘wrong’ side.
Emily: Our side, the right side, never tried to shut your side up. Our side never tried to cancel and delete you for advocating your ‘wrong’ side. Our side never punished you for disagreeing, like by getting you fired from your job or taking you off organ transplant lists.
Emily mistakenly believes that “disagreement over policy” generated the continuing conflict. She’s totally wrong about that, and it unfortunately cratered her attempted peace deal.
The mistake that we really need to wrestle with is not that Oster and her ilk were intellectually wrong about pandemic policy. We need to deal with the sins that people — including Oster — committed against their fellow citizens who disagreed with them. It’s odd that Oster missed this critical distinction, since she began her article with that painful confession about her 4-year-old “misguidedly” yelling at a little girl.
It was the YELLING, Emily. Not the difference of opinion.
Having said all that, I agree with Emily on one point. As I wrote a couple days before she published her inflammatory op-ed, we ARE going to have to figure out how to deal with the majority of people who were wrong about pandemic restrictions. I’m talking about the majority of people who complied with the government narrative but did not cheerlead for harming those who disagreed.
See the difference? We need accountability for people who championed PUNISHMENT for those of us who turned out to be right. But people who just yelled “social distancing,” or, like the lady whose tweet I reprinted above, scolded a guy in Costo about wearing his mask, most of those people are victims of a massive government psyop campaign, too.
Just different kinds of victims.
Both Emily Oster and the lady in the tweet are now struggling with their profound embarrassment over how they mistreated individual people during the pandemic. Oster wouldn’t have started her piece talking about ridiculous hand signals and her bossy son if she weren’t feeling badly about those things.
Both Oster and the lady in the tweet eventually came around and recognized that they were wrong. And Oster is right: we DO need amnesty with THOSE folks, so that we can assemble the majority that we need to bring accountability to the smaller group of unforgivable enablers and architects of the campaign to destroy all of us who were right to resist.
That includes not just the evil pharma clowns at the top like Fauci, Collins, Bourla, and Walensky, but extends right down to local doctors and poseur scientists who sold out to big pharma and mindlessly parroted whatever they were told to say, regardless of how irrational or destructive.
At the end of the day, I think the controversy over Oster’s op-ed is a good thing. People need to vent. It’s a global conversation we need to have. Just remember, we’re going to need A LOT of those folks. It’s good to recall that many of them are victims, too.”
Geoff: Given some specific elements in your article, I have reason to believe you may be familiar with the phrase “Feed the sheep. Shoot the wolves.”
To clarify this sentiment for readers who might misunderstand, the sheep would be those who want to know and live by the truth while the wolves are those who don’t want to know, but actively seek the destruction of that which is right, good and true. As these are people we’re dealing with, and not wild carnivores, the shooting is purely figurative (but for the extreme cases, of course). What it means is to confront them (in a manner befitting followers of Christ) so that they are no longer a threat.
Your article, Geoff, is also the sort of thing we need a LOT more of. When discussing Jeremiah in Sunday School a couple weeks ago, I offered feeding the sheep and shooting the wolves as a summary of what he was called to do and what we should seek to do in our day. The general response was laughter in agreement, but there were enough voices that seemed to not approve of the sentiment that I was forced to recognize that we still have a lot more work to do in persuading our brothers and sisters to “…heed the wake-up call, to remember and to act” as Elder Bednar counseled.
As a new MS reader, I am deeply grateful for the voices here that encourage all to be, in a fuller sense, in the world but not of it.
It needs to be publicly, clearly acknowledged, so that people know and can guard against it in the future, and so the bodies/people responsible can be held to account. So much damage and suffering has resulted – and will, ongoingly, result – that this has to be done, if it is actually being seen now more widely. Not as a pointing-fingers “us right, you wrong” fest, but a need for (a) better decisions in future and better processes to help that happen, (b) a recognition for the groups promoting these mistakes that they need to look differently at issues, and respond differently, (c) practical help for those most negatively affected, and (d) acknowledgement that voices of dissent against mainstream opinion, public bodies, and so on, aren’t selfish and evil or stupid and shouldn’t be shut down, but considered and carefully assessed for relevence.
That’s sort of a fairytale list, but it’s what we need.
And (c) is really important, although not much can be done for the damage to world and national economies (making what was already in process worse) and the effect that’s having on all our lives.
Also, very good comment from Jeff Childers. And ‘Pro-reality Team’ – I love it!!
A sophism I’ve recently encountered in LDS forums is that we must allow the wheat and the tares to grow together. Yes, Jesus did say that. Be also said in the parable of the seed that weeds – the cares of the world – will choke the good seed and prevent it from growing.
One of the most destructive false doctrines is that people are inadequate to judge and so we shouldn’t judge. We shouldn’t discern truth from error because we will offend. We should instead make our focus on tolerance and accommodation.
These attitudes guarantee the weeds will grow unchecked and that the good seed will be choked and die. The wolves want gullible sheep. Discerning sheep are attentive and wary of wolves in sheep clothing. They must be because deception and slothfulness will be deadly.
Covid separated wheat from tares, including, in my view, in the church, to an even greater degree than perhaps even the LGBTQ issue (which has consumed and is consuming a number of souls within the church).
While I scratched my head for some time attempting to disentangle in my mind the reasons for the church’s initial counsel on the matter, my testimony of this church required absolutely that I find an explanation that had continuity and consistency with that testimony.
I eventually settled on a view very close to Geoff’s (virtually all LDS progressives on my FB groups and in other social media I sometimes frequent (Deseret News, for example) used President Nelson’s statements as full justification of the entire bundle of Covid measures, including the most pseudoscientific and draconian, while a few conservatives even indicated that the Brethren were capitulating to the World), and that has served as a valuable template for me looking forward into the future.
In the era of cancel culture, raging crybullies, melting snowflakes and, in particular, runaway statism, the church may have to, in some circumstances, “bow out” rather than leap into a political and ideological fray, no matter the rightness of the cause.
My perception is that the church as an entity pretty much bowed out of the culture wars after Obergfell, a time which I date as that time at which it was quite clear that the culture wars were over and that conservatives and classical liberals, on a variety of issues, had lost and lost miserably.
I don’t expect the church to leap back into the breech on the subject of the ongoing sexual revolution, or a number of other subjects, anytime soon, at least not in the way we saw with Prop 8, in which, as in a few instances in the past, such as the ERA and abortion, the church actively entered the political arena.
A great tide has gone out in America and the west just in the last decade or so, and it may not come back in until the eschaton.
Exactly. Even though we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are not exempt from the frailties of mortality. There are indeed those within the Church that espouse philosophies of men, and those false ideas must be rooted out.
I am thankful for the counsel my Bishop provided in that meeting. He said that we must judge but that we must do so without being judgmental. The scriptural phrase for this is to “reprov[e] betimes with sharpness.” We must rebuke in a manner much like a surgeon performs their craft, cutting away that which must be removed while being very careful not to cause undue harm.
If we are not careful when separating the wheat from the tares, we may inadvertently damage that which is good, whether it be our relationship with that individual or even the relationship we have with our God. While there is evil that must be confronted, we must confront it while keeping our zeal in check and our will submitted to our Father’s.
Mercy can not rob Justice.