A number of years ago, after having one — in a secular, not religious context — it hit me that the best working definition of an “epiphany” is the instant when the obvious is recognized.
Epiphanies come in all sizes. There are enormous ones, celebrated in the New Testament, and small ones, such as realizing that for the last minute you’ve been staring right at the eyeglasses you’ve been looking for. What they have in common is the sudden realization of something we should have known all along, and that we’re better for that recognition.
There’s one other thing: something in most of us fights against them. Which makes sense. If we were always open to the obvious we wouldn’t need epiphanies at all.
Our country, indeed the world, is ripe for an epiphany or two, because the pieces are coming together to make what has been obvious all along undeniable. Undeniability is a kind of brute-force epiphany.
Everywhere we look we find new evidence that the things that were always obvious about the virus SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the disease called COVID-19, are and always have been true, and that for reasons that might be innocent or might be sinister we’ve spent the last three years in a worldwide performance of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Disease resulting from infection by the virus first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan, population 11 million. The virus had never been encountered before. It was discovered near two government laboratories that did research on viruses, often by modifying them such that they would become organisms that had never existed before. Much of that work, though it defies explanation and all reason, was financed by the United States.
Gee. New virus appears right outside a place that manufactures new viruses. Where, oh where, could it have come from? A nearby market that sells strange wild animals for food of course, you racist! (It’s not been explained how blaming the virus on a leak from a lab with a history of leaks is racist, while blaming it on a culture where rare and obscure wildlife is sold for food isn’t. And no, I’m not making it up: “[I]t contained 30 species of animal, including live wolf pups, salamanders, golden cicadas, civets and bamboo rats.”)
We were told by persons such as the wrongfully worshiped Anthony Fauci and his compatriots, as well as the head of the geriatric facility popularly known as the White House that no, the virus couldn’t have come from the lab that produces just that kind of virus. This could be because Fauci’s agency may well have paid for the virus’s development, and because the president is senile (the stupidity is a pre-existing condition). Dr. Peter Daszak, who was the defacto money launderer of federal funds to the Chinese lab, has most recently been going around saying the virus came from hedgehogs, which weren’t even being sold in the wet lab that was the racist first phony origin story. Hedgehogs. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Ignore that other thing.
Much was made of a Wall Street Journal report over the weekend that Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, our country’s pre-eminent research facility, has concluded that the virus most likely originated in the Wuhan lab. Politicians and political actors masquerading as reporters, none of them familiar with the term of art (or else willfully feigning ignorance) settled on the phrase “low confidence” mentioned in the report. What this means is that it is not a certainty but that the preponderance of the evidence points to the virus having come from the lab. It was reported as if Lawrence Livermore had low confidence that the Wuhan lab was the source of the virus. (I think the “reporters” were being racist.)
The FBI has long held, we learn, the belief that SARS-CoV-2 is a product of the Wuhan lab, and that the Chinese government is desperate to keep that from getting proved.
Anyone who hadn’t already figured this out should be required to use only round-nosed scissors.
Bear in mind that just a few months ago people would be publicly denounced and thrown off the parts of the internet important to them for pointing out that the emperor was prancing around naked. (As still happens to those who dare to say that a man cannot become a woman by claiming he is a woman.) Now the emperor’s nudity is gradually becoming national policy.
It is safe to do so now because the people responsible, such as Fauci, have been ushered into retirement or otherwise protected. Do not expect the government ever to say that it was dead wrong about just about everything. Nor will it ever admit that it is not the lone source of all solutions to every problem.
The origin of the disease is just part of where authorities went tragically wrong.
It its ever-present desire to be all-wise and all-powerful, government claimed it could control the spread of the virus (which it very likely helped develop). It could not.
While some of the restrictions placed on Americans in the early days were no doubt instituted in good faith, the catch-all lie “an overabundance of caution” was used to cover a multitude of things that could not withstand scrutiny. Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins Medical School outlined some of them in an article on Monday.
It’s clear that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations haven’t kept anyone from getting COVID-19. The more observant among us may have noticed how the official line morphed from the vaccine prevents the disease to well, it won’t prevent it but if you’re vaccinated it won’t be as bad. What we can be sure of is that the vaccine imparted life-long heart disease among some teenagers forced to receive it. But the government insisted — and local governments and schools required — that young people get vaccinated.
Don’t worry: vaccine manufacturers can’t be sued, due to something called the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.
We were made to wear masks. It was known — Fauci said it himself before he withdrew it, perhaps because he’d accidentally uttered something true — that masks are of very limited use in preventing transmission of disease. Where they are useful is when a symptomatic disease sufferer himself wears a mask, which can catch the droplets when that person coughs or sneezes. In Japan, for instance, for years people who have colds have worn masks to avoid spreading their illness to others in that way. For asymptomatic COVID-19, a Cochrane study concludes, they’re just about useless. Likewise constant hand washing, closing schools, and other actions that did no good but caused considerable harm.
The government, stuck with warehouses full of vaccine that didn’t seem to do much, peddled the idea that people who had suffered from COVID-19 should get vaccinated anyway. Last month what had always been obvious got announced: previous SARS-CoV-2 infection imparts the gold standard in immunity.
There’s really nothing here that wasn’t obvious all along to those who had eyes to see. Nor is this a political thing: two wild-eyed presidents, one from each party, have peddled this ~~cra~~ — nonsense.
That’s just one area, arguably the biggest one in recent years, where we’ve let public liars get away with it. In the closing days of February, in sworn statements in response to a lawsuit, Fox News officials admitted that the channel’s primetime anchors knew that Donald Trump’s claims to have won the 2020 election were lies (or else the ravings of a madman), but reported them as facts anyway. They still have their jobs. (What’s more, the reprehensible Tucker Carlson tried to get an honest reporter fired for reporting the truth.)
Nor is Fox News alone in this regard. A morning CNN anchor said a couple of weeks ago that women’s usefulness expires at 50 and he has a Google search to prove it. He still has his job. A series of reports demonstrated how popular hot-take website Twitter systematically and at government direction suppressed views its management didn’t support.
It goes on and on. Colleges and universities, city and state governments, and other institutions are promoting trendy and absurd ideas instead of facts to the point of banning facts that conflict with the fashionable though demonstrably false notions. (See “man claims to be woman,” above.)
We’re in need of an epiphany.
Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large at Open for Business. Powell was a reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio, where he has (mostly) recovered. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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