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Amnesty, Yes—And Here is the Price

A recent article in The Atlantic, “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty,” has been making waves in the Covid dissident community. I will add just a few notes to devastating commentaries by Eugyppius (part one and part two), Madhava Setty, M.D.el gato malo, and others. I realize many of my readers are not interested in anything Covid, but the point I intend to make applies far beyond this particular issue.

The article, written by Brown University economics professor Emily Oster, proposes that we forgive and forget the crimes against the public perpetrated during the Covid years. Her main argument seems to be that they weren’t really crimes, they were just the result of ignorance. We were “in the dark,” she says. “We didn’t know” yet that social distancing was ineffective, that cloth masks were useless, that school closures were unnecessary and harmful, that vaccines didn’t prevent transmission, and so forth. Honest mistakes should not be punished.

Leaving aside for a moment that fact that quite a few of us did know, and were ridiculed and censored by people like Emily Oster and publications like The Atlantic, we can agree that honest mistakes should not be punished. We might even question whether punishment is necessarily the right response to legal or moral transgression. There is something much more important than seeing the guilty punished: It is to make sure the crimes don’t happen again.

With that goal in mind, the first question is “Why?” Why did the majority of Americans, and an even larger majority of educated people like Professor Oster, not know the truth? The main reason “we” were in the dark is that we were purposely kept there, through coordinated propaganda and censorship. (A second, more important “why” question is “Why were we so susceptible to that propaganda to begin with?”)