Only the Lonely

“It’s a real epidemic in this country that has gone on largely without being talked about. Everybody has been lonely at some point in their life, but we have never had this many Americans reporting intense chronic feelings of loneliness and aloneness as we do today.”

That was Sen. Chris Murphy, author of legislation to solve the loneliness epidemic. The Connecticut Democrat’s National Strategy for Social Connection Act, would “create an Office of Social Connection Policy within the White House to work across federal agencies to develop effective strategies for improved social infrastructure and issue national guidelines for social connection similar to existing guidelines on sleep, nutrition, and physical activity. It would also provide funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better understand the epidemic of social isolation and loneliness.”

This is the same CDC, embattled Americans should understand, that expanded loneliness by failing to prevent or control the Covid pandemic.

The CDC deploys something called the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), a “medical CIA” tasked to prevent epidemics from arriving on American soil. The vaunted EIS “officers” did nothing to prevent the Covid virus from arriving stateside and spreading across the country and the world. No word of any hearings investigating EIS failure to control Covid, and what their actual role might have been.

In early 2020, EIS veteran Dr. Nancy Messonnier delivered a series of telebriefings that echoed China’s talking points. Dr. Messonnier even said the USA should compliment China for the way it was handling the outbreak. That is a strange statement for someone representing an American health agency.

During the pandemic, the CDC isolated people in lockdowns, and promoted “social distancing,” based on no science whatsoever. The CDC discouraged people from gathering with family and friends at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The CDC created rifts among friends and family by promoting mandatory vaccine policies. CDC mask mandates discouraged people from speaking and congregating with friends. All told, the CDC shapes up as one of the biggest contributors to loneliness in recent times. Now Sen. Murphy, a lawyer, wants the CDC to solve a problem it played a major role in creating.

“It seems quite odd,” contends Jack Elbaum “that anybody would look to the faceless blob that is our federal government, the least personal entity there can possibly be, for guidance on social connection.” For Elizabeth Nolan Brown, “the idea that the federal government can solve loneliness is naive and laughable.” So was the notion that government could improve people’s self-esteem.

Assemblyman John Vasconcellos, San Jose Democrat, authored legislation to create a California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility. Established in 1986, the task force had branches in some 40 counties and held hearings in major cities. The task force carried on until 1990 and produced a report, Toward a State of Esteem.

“Self-esteem is the likeliest candidate for a social vaccine,” the report’s key finding contends, “something that empowers us to live responsibly and that inoculates us against the lures of crime, violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, child abuse, chronic welfare dependency, and educational failure. The lack of self-esteem is central to most personal and social ills plaguing our state and nation as we approach the end of the twentieth century.”

By 2010, Californians were hard pressed to find any evidence that the task force solved any social problem. In 2023, crime, homelessness and squalor were surging across the Golden State as never before. Over in Washington, Sen. Murphy sounds a lot like Vasconcellos.

Loneliness is one of the most serious, misunderstood problems facing America today” and “it’s irresponsible for policymakers to continue ignoring this epidemic.” Loneliness “leads to worse health outcomes and breeds political instability.” According to Murphy, “this crisis transcends traditional political boundaries, presenting a chance to bring together right and left around a project to help people find connectedness.” 

And so on. Vasconcellos, who passed away in 2014, would have loved the “connectedness” part.  

Like the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) the CDC is a vector of white coat supremacy. Sen. Murphy’s law would reward a bloated, failed agency that deserves to be defunded, dismembered, or disbanded entirely.

If anybody thought that rewarding and strengthening the CDC is Murphy’s real purpose it would be hard to blame them. Meanwhile, as the people understand, loneliness is part of the human condition.

All the lonely people,” the Beatles wondered, “where do they all come from?”

Only the lonely,” sang Roy Orbison, “know this feeling ain’t right.”

Down at Heartbreak Hotel, as Elvis discovered, people were “so lonely they could die.”

For all her respect, Aretha Franklin knew all about that “sad and lonely feeling.” So did the great Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops.

Just ask the lonely,” Stubbs sang. “They’ll tell you.”

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: WEST HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT - JUNE 16: U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) speaks before introducing President Joe Biden during the National Safer Communities Summit at the University of Hartford on June 16, 2023 in West Hartford, Connecticut. Biden addressed the continued gun violence epidemic in the United States. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)