Monday, April 12, 2021

It's NOT Just The Economy, Stupid!

Along with the false choice between "lives versus livelihoods", lockdown enthusiasts seem to have this idea that "just" the economy is a mere appendage of society that can be casually hacked off at will with no long-term consequences.  While clearly nothing is further from the truth.  As we have learned the very hard way, lockdowns are always a lose-lose proposition, at least in the long run.  And their proponents thus have a LOT of blood on their hands.

Given how it has been clearly shown time and again over the past year that lockdowns, closures, and related restrictions don't really save lives or materially stop the spread of the virus (at best they slow it down a bit, thus ironically prolonging the pandemic, and at worst they are gasoline on the dumpster fire), it would be bad enough if all they did was "merely" wreck the economy.  But the damage goes far deeper than that.  A recent article in fact details the massive damage that these restrictions do to the mental health of young people.  All that loneliness, isolation, depression, anxiety, and existential dread in our unprecedentedly contactless and touchless society is highly toxic, and in fact more young Americans under 25 died from suicide than died from COVID in 2020.  All-cause mortality among people under 25, especially ages 15-25, was indeed significantly higher in 2020 than in 2018 or 2019.  But that is likely the tip of a very large iceberg of damage that will be felt for a very long time to come.

Quarantine in general is inherently traumatizing to most people, and thus never good for mental health.  And it is a truism that the longer it is, the worse it is.  Alas, we can thus expect the incidence and prevalence of PTSD to rise dramatically as a result.

To say that this very sad state of affairs stunts the development of children and young people would have to be the understatement of the century!

An entire generation has now also suffered educationally as well due to school closures.  Virtual "learning" has generally been a joke (albeit not a very funny one), and the unprecedented level of learning loss (which disproportionately affects poorer students and students of color, by the way) will leave lasting scars on them.  And the dystopian masked, distanced, and hyper-germaphobic environment they must endure when they actually are being educated in-person in most schools truly cannot be good for their mental health or even physical health.  Seriously.

Not like all that loneliness and isolation is actually good for anyone of any age, particularly including the very same elderly and vulnerable members of society that the lockdowners claim to have done all of these dystopian things in the name of "protecting".  Which was a spectacular and and epic failure to say the least.

And for women?  Well, let's see.  Between disproportionately losing their jobs or working in risky essential jobs, having to stay home with their kids with no respite while schools and daycares are closed, and/or caring for sick and vulnerable adults ad well, women have been taking on a triple burden throughout this pandemic.  And with primarily male violence against women and children (domestic violence and child abuse) skyrocketing during lockdown as well, with victims being trapped with their abusers, we can conclude that lockdown has basically been patriarchy on crack.  And women's hard-won progress has thus been set back decades.

(And one can also thus conclude that Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, who eschewed lockdowns, has in practice been more of a feminist than lockdown-loving Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, despite the former ironically being a conservative Republican and the latter being a liberal Democrat.)

And again, the best evidence shows that these toxic and authoritarian restrictions did nothing to save lives or otherwise benefit public health at all on balance.  We unfortunately cannot change the past, but we can decide what sort of future we can have and try to repair the damage as best we can.  Thus, as we have already advocated, it is best to go "cold turkey" from these restrictions, go back to normal 100%, and vow to NEVER repeat these mistakes again.  And yesterday is not soon enough!

To paraphrase a song from R.E.M. "Don't go back to Lockdown, and waste another year."

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