FASCISM: A WARNING
So I wonder how all the Trumpers are gonna spin this one.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page flogged our former Mussolini-In-Chief in its weekend (July 23-24) issue. The title: “The President Who Stood Still.”
Just consider the first and last sentences of the piece.
First sentence: “No matter your views of the Jan. 6 special committee, the facts it is laying out in hearings are sobering.”
Last sentence: “Character is revealed in a crisis. Mr. Pence passed his Jan. 6 trial. Mr. Trump utterly failed his.”
I suppose Mr. Rogitz (see page four) would find a way to discredit the WSJ as left-wing media. After all, it’s only Murdoch. Not Newsmax.
Here are my thoughts on Rogitz’s letter, especially now that I have experienced Covid.
I can recall in the very early days of the pandemic, meeting my staff outside Stellar Brew to distribute papers and Dr. Mike Karch slowing in his pickup, rolling down the passenger window, and admonishing us for not standing far enough apart.
The fear was real. At the outset, medical experts suggested a 3-4% death rate for those infected.
Over time, that was not borne out.
In fact, it was President Trump who guessed in March, 2020 that the Covid death rate would ultimately prove to be a fraction of 1%. He was correct.
Myself, I read Alex Berenson’s book “Pandemia” late last year and that certainly changed my perspective on the pandemic.
Because he rightly deflated the hysteria surrounding it.
As he wrote, “People under forty said they believed the risk of death was about one-in-five. For most of them, that estimate was off by a factor of 10,000.”
In the U.S., wrote Berenson, the median age at which people died of coronavirus was 78. In Canada, it was 85. 65% who died in Canada were over 80. Fewer than 2% were under 50.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t statistical outliers. This doesn’t mean there weren’t heartbreakingly sad cases. But Berenson really placed things in perspective.
Do I have theories as to why we remained super-cautious about Covid long after the numbers might suggest otherwise? Of course, I do!
From my perspective, I trace some of the response back to the 2009 Recession. What happened? Small business owners did what they had to do to survive. And what you find in crisis, generally, is that you can survive on less, and take on more of the work yourself. And even when the emergencypasses, you continue to function as you’ve functioned – you’ve established a new paradigm.
So you come out of it working harder and burning out faster, and then years later the pandemic shows up. And I ask myself, “How many stressed Americans simply welcomed this excuse to take a bit of a break? And for someone like me, it was springtime in Bishop when the pandemic hit. The weather was beautiful. There are plenty of trails near my house. I didn’t mind it.
As for all the dust-up regarding masks … yeah, I’m not too convinced they’re super-effective. But as Berenson wrote, he thinks health officials continued to push mask use for psychological reasons – that seeing a mask was a reminder of potential danger, a reminder not to get too close for too long.
I assign stories like “Does Anybody Care About Covid Anymore?” not because I have an agenda about Covid. I assign it because I’m truly curious about what’s happening out there and what Joe Public thinks. Mr. Rogitz’s suggestion that it’s all just a function of “lapdog state media” is bullshit.
As to my own recent experience with Covid, I finally came down with it post-July 4 – probably got it while selling Lions Pancake breakfast tickets.
For the record, I am vaxxed and boosted. I had decided against the second booster after reading Mr. Berenson’s book.
But now I am reconsidering. Why? Because when I got my shots, they’d lay me out for about a day or so. But when you have Covid, and if you have sensitivity towards fellow human beings, you’re really out of commission for 5-7 days (when you’re infectious) and some symptoms lingered for me beyond that window.
I have no scientific basis for what I’ll say next, but I consider the risk of “long” Covid versus the risk of vaccine side-effects to essentially be the same.
One day versus 5-7 days – I no longer approach Covid from a fear perspective so much as from a practical perspective. What affords me the least amount of time on the sidelines? What affords me the best means to protect those whom I come in contact with?
But I want to return to this lapdog media comment. It’s just so convenient to summarily dismiss information because it doesn’t jibe with your politics – politics which may very well be spoonfed to you by your media outlets of choice.
So when I bring up the late Madeleine Albright’s book, Fascism: A Warning, I imagine the first reaction of half the readership is, ‘Oh, Albright was Clinton’s Secretary of State. I’m no fan of Clinton’s so I can’t possibly accept anything Ms. Albright has to say.’
But would it shock you to learn of Ms. Albright’s praise of George W. Bush following 9/11? “Bush cautioned Americans not to blame Islam or its practitioners for the actions of a small group of terrorists. On this principle, he was consistent and courageous throughout his presidency. Not once did he seek to win cheap applause at the expense of American Muslims, nor did he speard lies about them, nor fail to speak out when some were targeted by hate crimes.”
Albright’s immediate family escaped Czechoslavakia in 1939, sneaking out of the country ten days after Hitler’s invasion. She knows a thing or two about fascists – the same folks who murdered her 54-year old grandmother in a concentration camp.
She quotes Orwell’s simple description of fascist = bully.
I found the most effective chapters were about the rise of Mussolini and Hitler.
And then the final chapters, particularly the passages where she outlines three very bad dreams.
The book was copywrited 2018. Ms. Albright died this past March.
The Mussolini chapter read like it happened yesterday, not 100 years ago.
Mussolini urged Italians to reject the capitalists and socialists and follow a third path:
“He asked his supporters to contemplate a future in which those who belonged to his movement would always look out for one another while the parasites who had been holding the country back – the foreign, the weak, the politically unreliable – would be left to fend for themselves.”