By Jeffrey A. Tucker
Feeling outgunned, outnumbered, overpowered, smothered, and censored? Many people who oppose Covid lockdowns and all their associated restrictions feel this way. It’s hard not to. You can hardly post on social media without triggering warnings, corrections, and sometimes outright blocks.
Bans are part of the mix too, the complete deplatforming of people merely because they want their freedoms back. It’s creepy. We never thought we would see these days but here we are.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to push restrictions – mask mandates and vaccine passports – just as it has for the past 14 months. The technology of intimidation is getting more sophisticated.
But how true is it that anti-lockdown people are a small and increasingly marginalized minority?
- The Wall Street Journal is one of the world’s largest circulation newspapers, with twice the physical circulation of the New York Times. Its editorial page has been consistently against lockdowns nearly from the beginning.
- Fox News has been running anti-lockdown commentary for a full year. It very easily dominates all cable TV news, hosting 6 of the top 10 shows. It is trouncing CNN, for example, which is struggling for viewers.
- The top-rated commentary show for this year and last has been Tucker Carlson Tonight, which offers gripping anti-lockdown interviews and commentary on every show, including interviews with scientists and activists left and right.
- Elon Musk, among the most prominent tech entrepreneurs in the world, has fiercely spoken out against lockdowns.
- Joe Rogan has the most popular podcast in the English language, and he has been consistently against lockdowns and Covid mandates for a year, most recently telling his audience the common-sense point that healthy young people should not be forced to be vaccinated since the virus is no threat to them.
- The Onion once ruled satire on the web but the site has been terrible on lockdowns. Its traffic has been sinking steadily. The anti-lockdown Babylon Bee started low and has soared to new highs, often beating The Onion. The Babylon Bee has been ruthless in satirizing Covid hysteria, and is being rewarded for doing so.
- The Epoch Times has as much web traffic as the Wall Street Journal and has been fantastic on lockdowns, running a full 45-minute long interview with Great Barrington Declaration signatory Jayanta Bhattacharya.
- Polls show strong opposition to all stringency measures among Republicans (40% want immediate opening of everything) and much less opposition among Democrats. It’s tragic and wrong that there should be any partisan divide on what is a question of science and good sense but that’s what happens when you politicize a disease.
- The scientists who drafted the Great Barrington Declaration were pilloried last year but now cannot come close to keeping up with interviews, testimonies, article requests, and media contacts. Last year this time, they were quiet scientists; now they are among the most famous epidemiologists in the world.
- Even the CDC is playing catchup to the anti-lockdown position, adjusting its advice on the J&J vaccine in light of Martin Kulldorff’s article in The Hill, even as they shoved him off their vaccine evaluation commission.
- Protests are rarely reported by the national media but they are happening. The Five Freedoms campaign pushed by the DailyClout is gaining traction. Those freedoms are: no vaccine passports, no mask mandates, no emergency law, open schools up 100%, and freedom of commerce, worship, and petition.
- Noncompliance is nationwide. Many parts of the country were speakeasies since last April but now the push to live life normally is spreading even to New York, where the Hardcore scene this past weekend publicly flouted all regulations and is thus being investigated.
The most important reason why anti-lockdowners should not feel demoralized is that the facts are overwhelming on the side of freedom and traditional public health principles.
Consider for example this CDC chart of 3 states that imposed strict measures (Michigan, California, and Massachusetts), and still enforce many measures plus mask mandates, versus 3 states that have been open with no such mandates (Florida, Texas, and South Carolina). Look at the trajectory of severe outcomes from the virus:
The early spikes in Massachusetts and Michigan are obvious, tracing to a surprising extent to the number of nursing homes in each state. In Michigan, 31% of the deaths are in nursing homes, and, though the numbers in Massachusetts are always being revised, it could be anywhere from 40% to 61%.
Following that fiasco in which regulations often failed to protect the vulnerable, the trajectory of the virus follows a common pattern, reducing in severity as it mutates over time and herd immunity creates endemicity through natural immunity and vaccines. It’s the path of a respiratory virus that has been known for the better part of 100 years. Nothing surprising here. Perhaps the only real surprise in the data is how the completely open states did not perform badly compared with the closed states. Texas is a case in point. It’s open with no disaster.
The lesson: lockdown policies failed to protect the vulnerable and otherwise did little to nothing actually to suppress or otherwise control the virus. AIER has assembled fully 35 studies revealing no connection between lockdowns and disease outcomes. In addition, the Heritage Foundation has published an outstanding roundup of the Covid experience, revealing that lockdowns were largely political theater distracting from what should have been good public health practice.
Finally, it appears that even Mayor Bill de Blasio is promising a “full reopening” of New York City by July 1, a change he credits to vaccines (which is fine but unprovable) but also reflects a huge shift in public opinion. Other states are racing to open as well. These people track polls. They sense the shift.
Here’s what I see coming in the rest of the year. Once most everything is opened, and more and more people calm down from disease panic, there will be a realization, slow at first and then all at once, that what happened over these 14 months was a catastrophic disaster of public health without precedent. The collateral damage is unfathomable.
The reason why the lockdown advocates are intensifying their perception and exercise of hegemony right now is to forestall the possibility that the entire lockdown praxis will fall into massive disrepute. They will not get their way. Let the blowback begin.
Originally published by the American Institute for Economic Research. Republished with permission under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.