Sorry, We’re Open

To put it mildly, COVID-19 has put a strain on the world and its citizens. Whether it’s dealing with the virus itself, the stress of dealing with a new normal we hadn’t anticipated, having to spend more time inside than Boo Radley, or wondering how we will pay the bills with so many places shut down, we are all on edge. This tension has been heightened by recent actions and reactions from the government and the governed.

Let’s look at Michigan, for example. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has used COVID-19 as a way to shut down some businesses and keep others open under the auspices of what was considered essential. Once news started coming out about what was considered essential (selling lottery tickets) and what wasn’t (being able to buy car seats for children, which is a state requirement in Michigan), people started getting angry, leading to armed, but peaceful, protesters surrounding the state capitol building. Similar acts of civil disobedience also occurred from California to Florida.

The Left tells us the protesters are a public health threat and some have even called them terrorists (usually with the totally non-racist descriptor “white” in front of it). The Right tells us the government is overreaching in an attempt to use COVID-19 as a means to grab up more of our rights with no expectation of giving any of them back, not to mention cripple the economy to give Democrats a better chance of defeating President Donald Trump in November. So, who’s right?

They both are. They’re also both wrong.

This is an uncomfortable position for me as someone who not only sees COVID-19 as a legitimate medical threat, but also sees government overreach as a threat. Trying to reconcile the scientific facts and my libertarian leanings has been harder than Bill Clinton on a Viagra bender at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch after Hillary buys it (and I’m not talking cattle futures). Here’s where my head’s at.

COVID-19 isn’t a seasonal cold, nor a variation on that theme. It’s a virus we haven’t dealt with sufficiently yet, so we’re having to play catch-up. And we’re not doing a great job of it. I am someone in a high-risk category for various health reasons, so I take the warnings very seriously since I have a vested interest in avoiding contracting it. Beyond that, however, I feel a responsibility to my fellow citizens not to spread it if I can help it. It may be uncomfortable and keep me feeling hotter than a ghost pepper, but I wear a mask when I go into stores and other high-traffic areas if only to avoid having to deal with the guilt I’d feel if there was a chance I spread COVID-19 to someone else.

Yet, I cant sit by and agree that every government action is done with the best of intentions. Governor Whitmer alone has been an example of what Leftists do when they’re given limitless power. Other government officials from governors to local politicians have undercut the Constitution under the guise of protecting people. As much as these bureaucratic weasels want us to believe even being out in a public park while practicing social distancing will make COVID-19 spread like wildfire, the fact remains the survival rate is still in the high 90% range. Even if it’s asymptomatic, it’s not a definite death sentence and certainly not if you’re not in a high-risk group. Funny how the self-professed “Party of Science” ignores the actual science here.

Being a small-l libertarian, I have a general rule of thumb: leave me and my rights alone, and I’ll do the same for you. Even with COVID-19, I adhere to that. But with rights and power there are responsibilities, and both sides of the shutdown controversy have forgotten this. Yes, the Constitution says we have the right to peaceably assemble, but with what we don’t know about COVID-19, it’s important we assemble peaceably and safely. And, yes, we have to watch out for our fellow human beings, but enforcing the letter of the law to the point of absurdity isn’t helping anyone get or stay healthy.

The problem is we as a society don’t think on so grand a scale. We are stuck in the moment and what we want at any given time, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. Why else would there be a run on toilet paper when COVID-19 is a respiratory virus? Simple. People didn’t care about anyone but themselves. Although looking out for number one may seem good in the short term, it almost always backfires in the long run. Good luck with your 43 jumbo packs of toilet paper you can’t return. Hope you can find a use for all of it. One, maybe two trips to Chipotle?

So, maybe there is a middle ground to be had, but it’s going to take a lot of work on ourselves and society. You want to really help medical personnel right now? Don’t put yourself in harm’s way if at all possible. Exercise a bit of caution in public, and exercise your freedom of expression to let your elected officials know how you feel. Then, take care of yourselves and look out for others. A sense of community will go much further than armed protests and overbearing laws in ending the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

Since Tara Reade came forward with allegations former Vice President Joe Biden sexually assaulted her, the Left has been in two modes: attack the accuser and the Right, and defend a man who in on video sniffing females’ hair. When people of all political stripes point out the Left’s double standard, the Left talks about “fake outrage” and suggests the people calling them out don’t really care about women, just scoring political points.

You know, like they did with Brett Kavanaugh?

However, it is interesting to look at how the Left uses outrage to achieve ideological goals. Before we do that, let’s define the term.

outrage

What the Left thinks it means – an expression of righteous anger over a grave injustice

What it really means – the rhetorical equivalent of holding your breath to get your way

Today’s society is an emotional minefield. Say something, do something, or believe something that offends a Leftist’s feefees, and you are subject to a world of hurt. If you’re lucky, they will stalk you, find out every piece of information they can about you and release it to the world, protest in front of your house, leave threatening messages for you and your family, contact your employer to get you fired, and make you look like Sybil’s crazier cousin. Just think of what they might do if you did something really bad!

This is only possible due to outrage. Leftists love mobs because they give the impression of popular opinion without the niggling little detail of confirming whether the mob actually represents popular opinion. The other aspect of this is volume, as in loudness. A mob can make a lot of noise, which underlines the impression of public opinion being on its side. It, too, fails to go the extra step to confirm whether the public agrees with the mob.

Let’s look at ANTIFA, for example. This group of happy-go-lucky miscreants make a lot of noise and come out in droves, and the Left uses them to justify their positions on social injustice. It’s a win-win for them…until ANTIFA starts breaking the law and the Left has to pretend they don’t agree with ANTIFA’s methods (Spoiler Alert: they do). And all of this is made possible through outrage.

And, unfortunately, outrage works. Humans have a natural desire to be accepted by a community, and anything that threatens that makes us defensive. Imagine a bunch of blue-haired pink pussy hat wearing Leftists appearing outside your house saying you were Adolf Hitler. The most obvious response is to deny it and try to persuade others (and possibly the mob) you aren’t. Some will believe you, but most will either keep quiet or agree with the mob to avoid having the mob come after them. Or at least to try to get the blue-haired pink pussy hat brigade to stay out of their begonias.

Here’s the funny thing: the Left is always outraged about something, which is as close to a perpetual motion machine as we will see in our lifetimes. As a result, the world outside of their ideological bubble will tick them off at the drop of a microaggression, and we will all have to walk through the resulting minefield while wearing clown shoes. It’s not a matter of if we’ll offend them; it’s a matter of when.

This brings us back to fake outrage, which is a way for the Left to defend themselves against those who see what they do as fake. The Left believes all of their motives are noble and anyone who doesn’t agree is ignoble. Therefore, all of their fake outrage is real and all of our real outrage is fake. And, yes, I realize this makes no sense, but the Left don’t care about facts and logic, only feelings.

Oddly enough, that is exactly how to overcome the Left’s outrage. They need to feel it, but we don’t. If we accept what they believe to be true, we surrender the rhetorical high ground to them. If we don’t, all they have to fall back on is their outrage, which inevitably escalates and makes them seem a lot less persuasive and a lot more cray-cray. Eventually, the line between true outrage and abject insanity gets so blurred as to be non-existent, and the Left is pretty much tap-dancing on the line as it is. As a result, it’s easy to turn their outrage against them by denying them the oxygen for their outrage bonfire.

This isn’t to say the Left is completely full of bullshit when they get outraged. Most of the time, yes, but sometimes they do bring legitimate points to the table, albeit couched in layers of bullshit. I do believe there is a stigma around victims of sexual assault and it needs to be called out no matter who it is maintaining the stigma. On the flip side, there are also people who are unscrupulous enough to make up sexual assault allegations for any number of reasons, which furthers the stigma. I observe Tara Reade’s allegations with the same critical eye I used with Christine Blasey Ford’s: there may be something there, but we need a full investigation to be sure to make sure we move forward with the right course of action. One based not on outrage, but on facts.

The Left doesn’t agree. Whether it’s male college students, a Supreme Court nominee, or a former Vice President, their course of action is the same: protect the Left, no matter how absurd it makes them look. Knowing this makes it possible to see the Left’s outrage for what it is: a temper tantrum designed to get people to knuckle under to whatever they want, only to have them throw another one the next time they want something. As any parent who has had to deal with this from their children will tell you, it never ends well.

The Chicks Have Come Home to Roost

Remember when the Left went crazy over leaked audio of President Donald Trump talking about grabbing women by a part of the body referred to by a nickname for a cat? They still talk about it today (while leaving out important details of the audio that add context…funny thing, that). Now, we have former Vice President and current presumed front runner for the Democrat nomination for the 2020 Presidency, whose history contains a lot of weird and pervy incidents that could normally be brushed off as “Joe being Joe.”

Enter Tara Reade. No, not the co-star of the “Sharknado” franchise, but a former staffer who worked with Biden who is now claiming he not only grabbed the part that is a nickname for a cat but put his fingers in there. And the Left’s response? They’ve been recycling the same defenses they used for President Bill Clinton when he was accused of harassing Paula Jones. Good thing it was Earth Day recently!

This isn’t shocking to me because if the Left didn’t have double standards they wouldn’t have standards at all. Even after the #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #BelieveAllWomen became a thing for all of a few weeks, I knew it would only be a matter of time before the Left would have to address the sexual skeletons in their own closets. When that happened, we would see their commitment to protecting women from sexual assault by powerful men was as solid as pre-chilled Jello.

Further complicating matters is the latest hashtag, #DropOutBiden, which is a movement to get Mr. Biden to drop out of the 2020 Presidential race because of Ms. Reade’s allegations. In other words, the Left wants a do-over after agreeing to the rules of the game and watching their team get crushed like grapes at a wine-making marathon. On its face, it makes some sense because it allows the nomination process to reflect the will of the voters (or at least the voters whose will it is to make someone like Biden President) while simultaneously allowing Reade’s story to be heard and digested.

Hey, Leftists? Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would like a word. Take a seat. In fact, take all of them. He’ll bring the beer.

I would be dishonest if I didn’t mention there are holes in Reade’s story that have yet to be adequately explained. I would also be dishonest if I didn’t recognize the Left’s scrutiny of her story far exceeds the scrutiny paid to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s story, which had as many holes as Reade’s story has, if not more. By asking Joe Biden to drop out of the race, it gives the Left some cover for its hypocrisy while attempting to shore up the votes of more progressive voters who wouldn’t back Biden if he were the last candidate on Earth.

Put simply, they’re treating alleged sexual assault as a political issue. Again.

In fact, the Left makes sex political whenever they can. From gay rights to how to address allegations of sexual assault, the Left sees each issue through the prism of how it can be used to gain or retain political power. They want to beat President Trump in November, so they are willing to overlook the fundamental flaws of a candidate, even if those flaws involve backtracking on their previously stated ideological positions. Believe All Women becomes Believe All Women Who Agree With Us and To Hell With Anyone Else. But, hey, at least you can kill your babies in the womb, right?

To me, both the defense of Joe Biden and the call for him to resign show the indifference the Left has for women specifically and minorities in general. They honestly believe people won’t notice the change in stance and approach, and when dealing with many of their ideological allies, they’re right. They would rather be hypocrites for the sake of achieving a favorable political aim than to be consistent and risk losing power. The people directly impacted by sexual assault are merely pawns in the game with no chance of ever being a Queen. And now the Left is trying to play both sides of the board so they can’t lose.

Of course, this only works if people continue to play the game the Left is. As with any and all accusations of sexual crimes, I want them investigated fairly and honestly because a failure to do so undercuts the legal process and subjects victims to further hardships. This isn’t a political game, kids. People’s lives are ruined by real and falsified allegations, and no amount of political power gained will make that okay in my book.

As far as whether Joe Biden should drop out, I think it’s too late. The Democratic National Committee had their chance to vet their candidates and they opted to punt, even when the former Vice President’s escapades were well-known for decades and have been circulating on this little thing the kids call the Internet for a while now. The Left can’t plead ignorance here, nor can they redo the nomination process now to allow someone else to get it. The soonest they would be able to change the nominee without creating a massive schism would be at their convention this summer.

Provided, of course, COVID-19 doesn’t prevent either party’s convention from convening. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a parliamentary procedure geek, so this isn’t something that most people would pay attention to. In order for any business to be conducted at a meeting where officers are elected, there has to be a minimum number of voting members, called a quorum. Without that, there’s no nominee and no way to adjust the rules to choose a new one. (Of course, this plays into the fear-porn the Left is trying to peddle that President Trump will suspend the 2020 elections, but that’s a delusion and a blog post for another time.)

The Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” is apropos for America right now, but for none so much as the Left. As they tiptoe around the allegations against Joe Biden while holding President Donald Trump to a different standard for just talking about what the former Vice President is accused of doing, the Left is banking on people not seeing the double standard or the political motivations behind their actions and reactions. Unfortunately for them, their action and inaction don’t pass the smell test.

To borrow a hashtag, Leftists, Time’s Up.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

I have been waiting a long time to write about this topic (partially because of the hacking attack on the site, partially because this is a fun topic).

With Coronavirus-A-Palooza running roughshod around the world like a Guns N Roses concert with security supplied by the Hell’s Angels, people look for someone or something to guide us. One such something is the World Health Organization. The Left loves the WHO for multiple reasons, with the main one being…Orange Man Bad.

Yet, are they truly the go-to folks for a global pandemic? That’s a matter of opinion, just like these Leftist Lexicon pieces you kind folks keep reading and circulating. However, unlike some of the people rooting for the WHO, my opinions tend not to be tainted by anti-Trump ideology. Plus, I tend to bathe regularly.

World Health Organization

What the Left thinks it means – a team of professionals devoted to scientific discovery and the advancement of medical science as they combat global health issues

What it really means – a group that is to medicine what the United Nations is to global stability

The real definition isn’t an accident. The WHO is a part of the UN, which should raise more than a few eyebrows considering what the latter group is known to have done. Unless, of course, you’re cool with child rape, giving a non-existent country more of a platform than a member nation, and allowing such human rights champions as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Syria spots on the UN Human Rights Council unironically.

Well, at least the WHO is above board, right? Yeaaaaah, not so much. Just with the COVID-19 situation, we’ve seen them proclaim there was no evidence of person-to-person transmittal of the virus, even as it was literally happening. The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, spoke glowingly of the way China handled the COVID-19 outbreak in January, even as China hid their real numbers. Although his name would get you at least a Triple Word Score in Scrabble, his value has fallen more than oil prices, and just about as rapidly.

Although this begs a lot of questions, one of the primary ones should be what the WHO actually does. If you listen to the Left, you would think they’re hard at work in laboratories working around the clock trying to figure out how to combat COVID-19. Which, of course, is bullshit. As you might expect with any organization connected to the UN and with the word “World” in its name, it’s a bureaucratic nightmare that would make the DMV look like The Flash.

And just like with any bureaucracy, the WHO has a nasty spending habit with few tangible results. According to an internal report, the WHO spent nearly $192 million in 2018 on…travel. And that number was down from what they spent in 2017 on the same expenses. And what did the World Health Organization spend in 2018 on medical supplies and materials? Half of what it spent on travel. And we’re not talking about economy class flights here. The WHO lives large off our tax dollars.

That’s right, kids. We are the number one financial contributor to the WHO, even higher than the UN itself. Which is exactly what we do with the UN: pay out the nose for service that we would ask to see the manager for if we received in real life. Especially if we were named Karen. (Yes, I went there.)

The aforementioned internal report also mentioned the WHO spends its time trying to find medical solutions for social and economic problems, which takes it out of the realm of medicine and into the world of Leftist ideology. The Left keeps trying to apply science to problems that have little to do with science because it lends credibility to their hare-brained ideas that have yet to actually work. Most people, unfortunately, buy into this line of thinking because we’ve been taught to listen to the experts. Well, at least until the experts prove the Left wrong.

The Left needs the WHO to be the experts with COVID-19 because it ticks all of their ideological boxes: a bloated unaccountable entity focused more on social justice than actually doing its job. Plus, more people are going to reflexively believe the WHO over President Trump’s COVID-19 task force solely because of the name. This is a logical fallacy known as an appeal to authority, where the seemingly logical conclusion is based solely on because someone with presumed superiority over us says so. That is the go-to Leftist position because they believe they are the experts.

Yet, when you consider what the WHO is doing with the money we’re giving them and what they should be doing, it’s hard for me to say they are the experts we need to be listening to on COVID-19. It’s clear they’re operating either as a willing culprit in the whitewashing of China’s poor handling of the disease or useful idiots doing China’s bidding at the expense of its reputation. Just like CNN!

And until the WHO can show the class they are completing their assignments within the set parameters, we should trust them as much as we trust Joe Biden’s memory. Given how they’re more enamored with cushy travel perks than with decidedly non-cushy jobs working on behalf of the world’s health, I’m guessing we’ll see that happening about the time Stacey Abrams accepts losing in 2018.

2020 Commencement Address

Thanks to COVID-19, many graduating high school and college students might not get a commencement ceremony. However, I anticipated this and have this year’s commencement address already planned out!

To the Class of 2020,

Well, this is a little embarrassing.

We all expected there to be a bit more formality and structure in a commencement ceremony, but with things being what they are this year, we had to improvise. Fortunately, your school/college/university/junior college/barber college/clown college, etc., had the foresight to hire me to send you off into the next stages of your lives. That, and I work cheap and begged a lot.

Regardless of how I came to be before you in one fashion or another, my purpose is to inspire you to great heights with profound truths wrapped up in entertaining stories so you can enjoy these last few moments before you’re expected to know what to do with your lives. And once upon a time I would have given you such a speech, but in truth, I don’t know what I can say to inspire you to greatness. Heck, I’m not even sure what greatness is anymore, given there are people out there who get tons of money just by posting stupid stuff on YouTube. Granted, some of it is pretty entertaining, but after a while even the stupid stuff gets…well, stupid.

Yes, I am going somewhere with this, so buckle up.

As with any Internet fad, there are going to be imitators, and that means people looking to be or continue to be relevant will take another step beyond. You may be famous for eating five grilled cheese sandwiches in under a minute, but someone will either try to eat six in the same time frame or add some new twist to the challenge, like, say…adding rat poison to the sandwiches. And there will be people who will imitate this, even though it’s highly dangerous and utterly stupid.

If you doubt me, I have three words for you: Tide Pod Challenge.

The thing about stupidity is it grows exponentially and leaves a lot of pain in its wake, mainly in the form of headaches people like me have to endure. Whether it’s driving the wrong way down a parking lot aisle, paying more attention to a cell phone than to the people walking around us, or electing politicians who believe we need to arrest people exercising their First Amendment rights to protest a Governor’s decision, a lack of thought can create an abundance of problems for people we may not even know.

Remember the kids who defied social distancing requests on Spring Break? They didn’t care about catching COVID-19; they wanted to get a tan, a buzz, and possibly a communicable disease or two aside from COVID-19. Sure, they’re young and they need some time off from their studies to relax. And, of course, their concerns stopped at the end of their…noses. Not only is COVID-19 transmitted through the air (and I’m going to guess a lot of those spring breakers flew to Florida), you can carry it without having any symptoms. And let’s not overlook the people in the wet markets who thought eating a bat sammich was a good idea. Even if they are chicken of the cave. (Yes, that was an “Anchorman 2” reference because I’m hip and stuff.)

See what I mean about stupidity growing exponentially? You have a shortened school year and a lack of a commencement because people are stupid. So, how do we fix it?

Don’t be stupid.

We are drowning in information and yet thirsting for knowledge, or in some cases, sentience. If this trend continues, the meek will inherit the earth by default since the rest of humanity will be extinct either by offing themselves with the latest dumb stunt, being killed by other dumb people doing dumb stuff, or through blunt head trauma from beating our heads against the wall as we ponder the latest dumb stunt and why so many people are copying it. In other words, we’re dangerously close to having the movie “Idiocracy” become a historical documentary.

This is where you come in. You have been raised around technology, including the Internet, for most if not all of your lives. Lord Acton once said, “Knowledge is power,” so I’m asking you to be the knowledge version of the Avengers. I would ask you to be the Justice League, but their movie didn’t do that well at the box office. You were born to be the scribes of the Information Age, to be able to sift through the data and find the truth.

Or you could play Skyrim. You know, whichever.

Seriously, though, my time on this earth is growing short, but yours is just starting, unless you do stupid stuff and get yourself killed. And that’s the key. Stupid, just like knowledge, is a choice. All I ask is you choose wisely. Unfortunately, I can only give you one piece of advice on that front: question everything you know on a regular basis. The truth will always stand up to scrutiny while the stupid will fall away. Even if it’s something you’ve believed all your life, let it go. Fortunately for you, I’ll save you having to hear me sing that song from “Frozen.”

But I will leave you with the responsibility to figure out the fact from the fake, the smart from the stupid, and the butter from the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Trust me, that last one is going to be tricky.

Congratulations Class of 2020!