Pandemic Policymakers: Dancing the Delta Two-Step   

Across the globe, pandemic policymakers are citing rising cases from the COVID-19 Delta variant to once more threaten and, in some cases, implement lockdowns as well as mask and vaccine mandates, upon resistant citizens.  

In the wake of public protests against these measures in ostensibly free nations, European governments, including those in France and Germany, have been brooking no dissent and have ordered their police to quell these disturbances. Australia’s government has deployed troops to its cities to enforce its lockdown; and is leveraging its people’s freedom by arguing that the lockdown’s necessity will be “less likely” if 70 percent of its population over 16 years old is vaccinated. 

Unlike their European comrades, American pandemic policymakers confront federal and state constitutions that (not always insurmountably) protect our God-given rights against a rogue federal government seeking to extinguish and extort our liberty to secure obedience. Yet, like their European comrades, American pandemic policymakers confront the reality that the public increasingly distrusts them.

The hypocritical actions of the “rules for thee but not for me” crowd; the pseudo-science of lauding the Black Lives Matter protests and riots during the height of the lockdown phase of the pandemic; the public health experts’ “noble lies”; and the insanity of the CDC reversing course about masking vaccinated citizens at the very time the Biden Administration has opened the southern border to illegal immigration and transported said immigrants without COVID-19 testing, let alone vaccinations, throughout the country, have all eroded the pandemic policymakers’ arguments from authority. People are no longer compelled by arguments ending in “because the experts said so.” 

Lacking credibility, all the credentialed class can offer is coercion. But, as noted, American pandemic policymakers must be more subtle than their European and Australian counterparts with their authoritarianism. This is especially true of America’s political class which isangling to implement the draconian public health measures of Europe and Australia but knows it must do so with a cloak of plausible deniability. So there they are, dancing the Delta two-step to avoid letting this variant’s “crisis” go to waste. 

First, while there are a few ham-fisted instances of this performance—think of the lame duck mayor of New York—the political class subtly encourages their cohorts in the private sector and in academia to implement mask and vaccine mandates which, for all intents and purposes, amount to vaccine passports. Why should they do the dirty work if their partners in the private sector will do it for them?

Afterwards, the political class will defend these institutions and their power to compel employees to obey or be fired or expelled. Moreover, the political class informs resistant employees that they can always find another job, or instructs reluctant students they can always find another school. Thus does the political class advance an authoritarian regime of crony socialism to evade the oath they’ve sworn to uphold. Federal and state constitutional and legal prohibitions against such governmental infringements upon citizens’ constitutional rights be damned. 

But, when breaking their oaths of office, the political class must leave nothing to chance in avoiding a public backlash at the polls. Hence, the second step of affixing blame for the new mandates and lockdowns: dividing and conquering by pitting the public against each other. 

One of the overarching pieces of COVID-19 “misinformation” is the notion that lockdowns and vaccine mandates and passports are the only possible public health responses to COVID-19. Past pandemic precedent is to quarantine the sick and protect the vulnerable, while the rest of society manages its risk in the closest approximation to normal they consider comfortable. One does not quarantine the healthy, if for no other reason than the side effects of such a policy are harming the physical, emotional, financial, and societal health of the populace. 

We are seeing the unconscionable side effects of the lockdowns, social distancing, and mask mandates, especially upon the young. And, God forbid, we may one day see the “unforeseeable” side effect(s) of the various COVID-19 vaccinations. (In full disclosure, I am vaccinated—or, perhaps more accurately, I have received the booster shots to minimize the deleterious effects of the virus and its sundry variants.) It must be emphasized that these lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and passports are not public health decisions dictated by the data; they are a specific set of public health controls dictated by politicians in league with their fellow pandemic policymakers. The electoral peril in which this truth places the politicians is immense—and rightly so. 

As a result, the political class combined with its spoon-fed, click-sniffing, panic porn media crafted the false narrative that their lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and passports are deemed the only possible public health measures. It is stunning how facile this unholy alliance—tasked with speaking truth from power and rendering dissent powerless—has proven over the past year and a half: lockdowns of “two weeks to slow the spread” are now indefinite and mask mandates will last until everyone is vaccinated with a “passport” and COVID-19 is “no longer a threat.”

Next, a scapegoat must be found, preferably one which doesn’t harm the pro-lockdown and mandates narrative, or the electability of the politicians pushing it. Ergo, we witness the collusion media’s unseemly targeting of “the unvaccinated community,” dead or alive. Though such media disapprobation must gloss over the fact that the population least likely to be vaccinated—especially when one considers the “punishments” progressives demand for the unvaccinated—are not MAGA-hat wearing rubes, but minorities. Instead, the media regurgitates its venomous diatribes against right of center, “MAGA” supporting citizens; deems them the enemy and cause for all recrudescence of COVID-authoritarianism; and looses the untethered leftist ranks of COVID-Cossack Karens and Kens who will make the pandemic dissenters’ lives miserable unless and until they submit. 

Dancing the Delta two-step is premised upon a calculation that is as elementary as it is insidious. The media gets its panic porn clicks and pats itself on the back for suppressing the rights of all the “wrong” citizens. Our free people are pitted against each other to compel compliance to crony socialism’s continued authoritarianism of lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and passports. And the politicians believe they have escaped responsibility for the consequences of their decisions and dictates.

Are they wrong?

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images