Dazed and Confused 

Since the COVID-19 outbreak and associated lockdowns began in March 2020—for 22 months now—I have made this sad confession: I have no idea what is going on.

I am not, of course, talking about the obvious contours of the crisis. A dangerous virus is getting people sick and killing them. Some of them were my friends and relatives, so the danger is not theoretical, but it isn’t exactly Biblical, either. I’ve lived through earthquakes, floods, fires and financial disasters that render COVID a tad less dramatic by comparison than some folks insist on making it. 

If we wrapped all of our personal death stories up under one bow—if, years ago, my diabetic uncle ice-creaming himself to death or a former customer’s final surrender to lung cancer were diagnosed as a single, society-wide plague—I don’t think this yearly march of death would be nearly as dramatic as the time I had to yell to my wife, “get the kids to higher ground! There’s a flood coming.”

I’m not arguing for public health policy on the basis of my own drama-queen standards. I’m just saying our reaction to COVID requires more than drama to make any sense. We need real tragedy. We need buildings reduced to rubble, emaciated walking-cadavers looking for food, body bags piling up on the corner, to warrant the sort of hysteria we have yielded to over the last two years. 

I understand a nation mobilizing when Jihadists fly airplanes into the country’s financial nerve center, but I clearly don’t understand zoom classes for children who have statistically ZERO chance of getting sick, much less dying.

What I truly don’t understand is just this: why do they think they can lie to us so shamelessly? What are they really hiding?

The Origins

 To begin with, why would any sane Western scientist—theoretically devoted to Western ideals—allow a dangerous virus to be genetically modified in a Communist laboratory? In what universe would making a bat virus more transmissible to human beings be considered a good thing? Who could possibly argue that U.S taxpayers should actually fund such insanity? If you want to understand my “I don’t know” dilemma, it starts here, because my impulse is to respond: “wait, you’re joking right?” The closest thing I’ve seen to an answer on this front runs as follows: a lot of very bad actors are developing bio-weapons. We need to understand them better than our enemies. We need to develop them so that we can learn how to fight them. Ok. But, then, see, you lose me when you follow that up with: so we’re paying totalitarian Communists to do the research.

That doesn’t add up. There is something you’re not telling me.

Forget for a moment, the utter insanity of trusting containment of the virus to the very people who helped create it; what on earth justifies the cratering of economies, the closing of schools, the locking-down of entire regions, to fight a virus that will kill 0.18 percent of the population–and that largely limited to the elderly and those with multiple comorbidities? 

Throughout the course of recorded history, quarantines have been limited to the visibly sick, not the healthy. In an agrarian economy, this would be something like hoping the sick could be fed by keeping all the healthy farm hands locked up in the village. Eventually, the crops don’t get harvested. Are you actually asking me to believe you didn’t know the supply chain would be broken?

You can’t expect me to believe you’re that stupid. There is something you’re not telling me.

The Needle

All needles are good, right? We need a needle, don’t we? After all, our colonial ancestors fought smallpox with vaccination, and who wouldn’t be grateful for Jonas Salk ending polio? I’m with you there. But, what is this I hear about these needles not really being vaccinations and not really being tested? Vaccination involves using an attenuated (weakened) form of the disease itself, but this is a brand new genetic technology that hasn’t any long-term trial, right? Vaccination for smallpox, after all, had folk-medicine roots going back centuries, and smallpox had a 25 percent or greater fatality rate. You are comparing a tested cure for a very dire sickness to a completely untested technology against a relatively minor one, right? That doesn’t sound like comparing apples and oranges. It sounds like comparing apples and smoke. You’re playing with the language. You’re lying to me and you think I won’t notice, right?

And then there’s this shifting standard. First, you said the vaccine would put an end to the virus. Then you said, there would be “breakthrough” infections. Then you said you could get the disease but it would be milder and less likely to cause death, but that it would stop the spread, and then you said, well, okay, it doesn’t stop the spread, and now you may need a third shot and a fourth and, well, who knows how many? When was the last time someone said they had just taken their 12th smallpox booster and their 25th polio shot? 

In recent weeks, some studies indicate that triple vaccination might actually increase your chances of becoming symptomatic. Just what kind of a “vaccine” is this? It appears to be doing more harm than good.

The vaccine actually appears to be dangerous, so there is something you’re not telling me.

The Rise of Bald Fascism

I run an apple orchard open to the public. For decades, health-aware mothers have asked me what sort of chemicals we use to help the crop along and if any of our fruit is genetically modified. Although we try to go organic where we can, sometimes we use Imidan to control codling moths, because even health-aware mothers don’t like seeing half a worm in their apple. Those very same mothers—the Meryl Streep types, the kind of person who would happily deprive a farmer of his business with accusations of false toxicity—want to know how many of our workers have taken a “vaccine” with no long-term testing that is the product of genetic engineering. Those very same mothers want young farmworkers to risk myocarditis (a death-dealing cardiac condition) so as to make sure their apple-picking experience is safe.

How did Monsanto become mother’s enemy and Pfizer her sworn defender? What are you doing to their heads?

There is something you’re not telling me.

The Answers

Yes, I’ve been told to follow the money. I’ve been told that hospitals make more money off all things COVID. I’ve been told that Big Pharma has made a fortune from this crisis, that when you create a disaster you can make a fortune responding to it, but it seems to me that in order for that to be true, somewhere, within the board room a conversation something like the following would have to take place:

Jack: We’re talking about the biggest revenue stream in our history, perhaps all of history.

Lloyd: But no long-term testing?

Jack: Blessed be immunity!

Lloyd: Right, right. But you know as well as I do, with a new technology you get some pretty ugly surprises. You want to live with kids crippled for life, brain-bleeds . . . 

Jack: To save most of humanity from a ventilator?

Lloyd: Jack. This is your old friend Lloyd here. The Third World is beating this virus with sunshine and ivermectin. Save the Christ complex for the news conference.

Jack: You have something against making a living? Against science?

Lloyd: You really aren’t going to blink, are you? You’re really going to tell the parents of vaccine-injured kids our juice had nothing to do with it?

Jack: That’s the plan.

It seems to me that health care discussions of this sort would require such levels of bald avarice and/or self-deception that it’s difficult to imagine them taking place. Evil rarely advances in the name of evil itself. The far more plausible conversation between “Jack” and “Lloyd” would involve them conferring sainthood on each other—teary-eyed and choked up—for saving humanity. 

Likewise, I believe it is entirely plausible for the hospital management class to do two things at once: follow a mindless federal COVID protocol that promotes a lingering, expensive death (as it shores up the hospital’s bottom line) and believe, simultaneously, they are only “following the science.” 

Dr. Pierre Kory writing at The Federalist scolds a federal standard that ignores medicines that actually work, in favor of treatments that effectively kill patients. It’s possible for highly skilled, impeccably credentialed people to look at a solution that works with their own eyes, and then deny the miracle if it isn’t institutionally fashionable. There are Pharisees in every generation.

We like to think of doctors and public health experts as brilliant people, and many of them are, but this crisis should be making something clear: academics are not always critical thinkers. Years ago, a friend confessed to me that he was changing his doctoral course of study to another discipline entirely. He admitted he didn’t possess the creativity necessary to actually expand the realm of human knowledge. He would be better off reading charts, accepting the consensus, and enforcing the rules. We need folks who are honest about their limitations, but we need thinkers too, and the mere functionaries should allow the real thinkers to have an argument.

The Great Silence 

I’m fighting a cancel-culture battle myself, so I’m intimately aware of how earnest the enemies of discussion really are. Dr. Robert Malone, an inventor of mRNA technology, and a self-admitted victim of vaccine injury (he suffered extreme hypertension after taking the second dose of the Moderna vaccine), has been on a crusade to let the world know that his own technology is not ready for prime time. He warns people, solemnly, not to give it to their children. He also offers a powerful remonstrance against the BBC’s “trusted news initiative,” and it’s on this front, in conclusion, I continue to offer up my confusion.

Why, I ask the policy elites, in the middle of a pandemic would you restrain the world’s most gifted thinkers from offering a remonstrance? Science is not about consensus. It’s about critique. Don’t you need people checking your numbers? Weren’t you the ones who came up with the notion of “peer review?”

What Are You Hiding from Us?

I continue to believe there is some great, ominous truth we are not being told, or else this deception wouldn’t have been global in its dimension. I have no idea which people actually dress up in black robes and bow to the owl in the Grove, but I fear some version of that cabal believe they have been given a dark stewardship that overrides our God-given liberty, our history, and the fondest hopes we have for our future.

Why else would they lie to you shamelessly and then demand your worshipful obedience?

It seems to me the best way to make sure they never succeed remains pretty simple: Tell them to go to hell.

About James Patrick Riley

James Riley is the owner and operator of Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, California and the creator of "Courage, New Hampshire," a television drama seen on PBS stations across the country. The father of six children, Riley performs "Patrick Henry" and supervises a living history program visited by hundreds of thousands of school children. He holds a degree in history from Stanford University.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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