If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. – old maxim
Oh sure. We know the importance of perseverance in the pursuit of what one seeks. It “should” be equally “obvious” that the more imperative is a particular goal, the greater must be the perseverance with which one pursues it. This is all “intuitive.” One of things that “everybody knows.”
It would be well to keep it in mind as we confront the latest plea for “a little grace and forgiveness:”
For much of the pandemic, Scott Galloway had been an advocate for more stringent and prolonged lockdowns as a means of combating the virus. They supported closing businesses, restricting movement, and maintaining rigorous social distancing guidelines, often criticizing government officials for not going far enough. To them, the human cost of COVID-19 was a one-sided equation where more lockdowns equaled fewer deaths.
“I was on the board of my kids’ school during COVID. I wanted a harsher lockdown policy. In retrospect, I was wrong. The damage to kids of keeping them out of school longer was greater than the risks,” said Galloway.
“But here’s the bottom line: myself, our great people, the CDC, I’d like to thank the governor. We were all operating with imperfect information and we were doing our best. But let’s learn from it. Let’s hold each other accountable, but let’s bring a little bit of grace and forgiveness in the sh*t show that was COVID,” Galloway added.
Melissa DeRosa, echoing Galloway’s sentiments, expressed her desire to rewrite history if given the chance. “I would do everything differently,” she asserted, emphasizing the importance of preparing better for future pandemics.
Uh-uh. No BLEEP!ing way, you bastards. Some of us are still recovering from your “mistakes.” And until we see some real repentance – the kind that’s traditionally expressed by renouncing all worldly goods and moving into a cave to do penance – we won’t be forgiving you for anything.
Still, it’s possible to appreciate their perseverance:
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.
Note the standard Leftist tropes: “imperfect knowledge,” “complicated choices,” “mistakes,” “work together,” “move forward.” These are clear indications that the speakers feel no remorse and are disinclined to repent. “Hey, anybody can make a mistake! You wouldn’t want us to hold your mistakes against you, would you? I mean, we were doing our best with imperfect information!”
Sweep it all aside, for it has no place in our discourse. The open malice, the advocacy of punishments and exclusion, the slavering pleasure these…persons took in condemning us are impossible to forget. They’re equally impossible to forgive, for the most imperative of reasons:
They trumpeted their moral superiority to us.
They maintain the same attitudes today.
They would happily do it all again.
As I wrote about the previous plea for “pandemic amnesty:”
Under normal considerations – i.e., publicly administered justice for a convicted criminal – anger plays a small role, if any. But in the case before us, courts, judges, and juries are highly unlikely to be involved. We the American people will be the ones to administer justice. Thus we must sustain our anger consciously, that the penalties be inflicted properly and with assurance….
[T]he penalties themselves will cost us effort and endurance. Consider what they must be:
- Repudiation of the COVID totalitarians, in all venues;
- Avoidance of institutions that participated in the COVIDiocy;
- Boycotts of any commercial concerns that were part of the fraud.
It’s guaranteed that punishing those three groups properly will occasion inconvenience and expense for us. It will mean sundering relationships. It will mean forgoing accustomed pleasures and altering patterns of life. And it will mean changing the way we shop and do business, sometimes incurring extra expense in the process. All those things will come at a cost – not always one to be reckoned in dollars.
But we owe it to one another to do the job properly. Else we or our posterity will be victimized in the same fashion, perhaps even by the same criminals.
Unpleasant counsel, I know. But if we are to avert a repetition of what we suffered under the sneers of Scott Galloway, Melissa DeRosa, Emily Oster and their like, they must be punished for it in equal measure: ostracism, loss of society, loss of reputation, perhaps even loss of occupation and penury.
A final thought: punishment seldom brings about repentance. That’s not its function. Its function is to deter the behavior being punished. We can’t expect the Galloways, etc. to “come to Jesus” for being punished. All we can hope for is that the consequences for their actions will deter others from following their example. Surely that is sufficient reason not to be quick to forgive…and never to forget.
Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent. – Adam Smith