I will never repent of my heresy and blasphemy
Deaths of despair are a real thing. Overly restrictive pandemic mitigation policies killed people.
Former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins recently admitted that public health officials did not consider the lasting impact of things like shutting down the economy or closing schools. The latter was especially devastating, and a generation of children have been put years behind in their education because of overly cautious "e-learning" policies.
But the former was devastating too. Drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicides all spiked with the COVID-19 lockdowns. Men who were thrown out of work lost purpose and became depressed. Human beings are social animals, and depriving us of personal contact with others is psychologically harmful. We have known this for generations because of the damage done to prisoners by solitary confinement. Deaths of despair are a real thing, and the fact of the matter is that these overly restrictive policies killed people.
This is why we cannot adopt a myopic "if it saves only one life" mentality. There are many factors that go into a decision, and slowing the spread of a highly contagious respiratory virus is not the only thing our elected leaders should consider. I do not blame public health experts like Anthony Fauci for these errors. He was operating in his field of expertise. But the ones who actually make policy need to take many more things into account, including quality of life and economic considerations.
Virtually everyone agrees with this now, but I vividly remember 2020. I was damned as a blasphemer and a heretic for pointing out that there are other considerations to pandemic mitigation policy beyond controlling the virus. I am not exaggerating when I say I was a heretic and a blasphemer: There was a religious fervor to the anti-COVID measures, and anyone who disagreed was not simply someone with an alternate opinion. We were not even wrong. We were evil, and we were murderers.
I was more supportive of COVID-19 restrictions than almost any conservative I knew personally. I defended temporary lockdowns while we were trying to figure out what was going on and how dangerous this virus was. I defended mask mandates and argued Christians should submit to the civil magistrate's proper authority under Romans 13. But none of that mattered. The fact that I argued against the most restrictive policies, while at the same time maintaining that some restrictions were wise, was a sign of my heresy and blasphemy. You must be in 100% total agreement with these policies.
Do I really need to say it? This is how a cult operates. I refuse to repent of my heresy and blasphemy, and I will continue to be a heretic and a blasphemer.
Sadly, the next pandemic will almost certainly be worse than it should be, because of the "no dissent allowed" mentality of many of our leaders and their cult followers. Trust in the medical establishment and civic leaders has been destroyed, and they only have themselves to blame for that. Some of that is permanent, but the damage can be mitigated by recognizing and apologizing for not only the policy errors of the COVID-19 pandemic, but especially for the vicious damnation of all dissent and the refusal to discuss pandemic mitigation policy calmly.
See previous articles from 2020 here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.
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