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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Twitter Is Now Doing Something Once Believed Impossible -- Fact Checking Democrats
November 02, 2022

Wednesday Morning Rant [Joe Mannix]



There has been much discussion about The Atlantic's recent article that called for "Amnesty" over COVID malfeasance. I won't rehash the article here because Ace already covered it. (reminder: don't comment on old posts) A blanket amnesty is unreasonable, but what can be done to try to fix things?

It's a serious problem. When a majority engaged in bad behavior, how do you punish the malefactors without destroying society in the process? It isn't workable to lock up everyone who did wrong, nor is it just to say, "let bygones be bygones and let's move on." How do you achieve a semblance of justice without burning the entire civilization down to the waterline?

There is an example in history. It isn't an exact match, of course, but it might be close. At the risk of going Godwin, that example is the handling of Germany after the War. The problem was superficially similar: so many people were guilty that punishing all of them would have been impossible. Germany was already broken and attempting to identify and punish everyone in the remnants of that country would have been impossible without killing most of who remained.

What we ended up doing was holding public show trials for most of the worst offenders, punishing them and forcing the rest to repudiate the ideology that led to the disaster in the first place. Suddenly nobody had been a Nazi and nobody knew about the Holocaust and everyone agreed that the expansionist war had been a mistake and Germany was guilty. The first two were patently absurd and everyone knew it and the third might have been a lie in many cases, but it served the purpose. Many of the worst offenders were punished, the ideology was repudiated and the rest got to move on. There was a form of clemency - not amnesty - for the masses.

Such an approach might work in the aftermath of COVID, too. Not what is described in that article - which is a pack of rationalizations and outright lies (after all, you can't claim "I didn't know" when you silenced everyone who was trying to teach you) - but targeted punishment and general repudiation, followed by gradual normalization. The men and women who designed and implemented this disaster must be punished as the first step. For top actors in the scientific, political, medical, corporate and media establishments, there must be trials and punishments. Not all will be identified and not all identified will be punished, but the bigger names must be publicly tried and subsequently punished. The surviving enterprises must be allowed to be sued into oblivion to compensate - however poorly - the people they hurt..

Then all that they did needs to be repudiated. There need to be real apologies from most of the remaining executives, professors, bureaucrats, media personalities and politicians, coupled with mass resignations, the closure of entire corrupted institutions and a changing of the guard at the rest. That we will never, ever attempt this again - including specifics like "it is forbidden to close churches and businesses in the name of public health" and "the government is not an arbiter on who is 'essential'" and "the press shall be liable for censorship and calls to violence" and "employment shall never be tied by law to medical decisions" - must be codified into law. The entire ideology of technocratic control that led to the COVID response disaster must be made so toxic that it will be nigh on impossible to find anyone who will ever admit to having subscribed to it. Amnesty? No. I think that a form of general clemency, however, is possible if the prerequisites are met.

I'm not going to hold my breath. It would be a tall order even if we'd achieved victory.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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