This Atlantic article has stimulated quite a few jeers and raised middle fingers from us in the Right…and that, Gentle Reader, is entirely appropriate:
We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty. We can leave out the willful purveyors of actual misinformation while forgiving the hard calls that people had no choice but to make with imperfect knowledge. Los Angeles County closed its beaches in summer 2020. Ex post facto, this makes no more sense than my family’s masked hiking trips. But we need to learn from our mistakes and then let them go. We need to forgive the attacks, too. Because I thought schools should reopen and argued that kids as a group were not at high risk, I was called a “teacher killer” and a “génocidaire.” It wasn’t pleasant, but feelings were high. And I certainly don’t need to dissect and rehash that time for the rest of my days….
The standard saying is that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. But dwelling on the mistakes of history can lead to a repetitive doom loop as well. Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty, and then try to work together to build back and move forward.
You say that we whom the “experts” demonized, whom their allegiants did their level best to silence, scorn, condemn, and impoverish, must forgive our tormentors? You caution us against being caught in “a repetitive doom loop” — ? You say it’s time to “move on” — ?
This protracted, unbelievably un-American episode has been the best possible lesson in why we must deny political authority to “experts.” As a (retired) expert myself, I maintain that giving a man the power to boss you around because he’s “right” is the worst decision a nation could possibly make. And we must not forgive those who did so.
But let’s not omit this, for without it the formula would be fatally unbalanced: We mustn’t forgive ourselves either. We gave in when we should have resisted with all our might. We accepted dictatorial impositions and abridgements of our God-given rights when we should have mustered our rage and employed the corpses of our would-be tyrants to decorate lampposts from coast to coast. We acted like pusillanimous cretins rather than the heirs of Patrick Henry, who’s undoubtedly spinning in his grave fast enough to power all of Virginia over this embarrassment.
The survivors of the Holocaust made a mantra out of the saying “Never again.” The great majority of us wouldn’t even speak our minds for fear of ostracism, demonization, and unemployment. And over what? A disease that’s proved less dangerous than ordinary influenza! A disease that has hardly any effect on the populations most oppressed and disadvantaged by the lockdowns – our minor children!
No. Do not forgive. To forgive would be to accept that our oppressors’ hypothetical “good intentions” should exonerate them for their totalitarian conduct. To forgive would be to “understand” cowardice instead of reproving it as it deserves.
To forgive would be to forget. The two are never separated by much.
Do not forgive. Take every vengeance allowed within the law – especially on November 8.