Throwing Victimhood in the Trash



We can trace our American penchant for victimhood back decades. Consider the 1957 musical “West Side Story,” which features two New York City gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, warring with each other. At one point, some of the Jets sing “Gee, Officer Krupke,” in which they mock the reasons given by the courts, psychologists, and sociologists for their deviancy and violence. They start with “Our mothers all are junkies/Our fathers all are drunks” and then ridicule the labels designed to transform these hoodlums into victims.


But while these gang members mocked victimhood, later generations have encouraged and popularized it to a great degree, and now victimhood is a prominent choice for many, a fact which Tomasz Witkowski observes in a recent article for Quillette. To be a victim, after all, removes the burden of personal responsibility.


And claiming victimhood can also bestow broader benefits.” The position of victim now ensures privileged status in the social hierarchy and guarantees relative impunity,” Witkowski wrote. “It is unsurprising that in such a culture people compete to belong to disadvantaged groups.”


As far back as 1992, Witkowski tells us, Charles Sykes noted in his book A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character that if we lumped together all groups and individuals claiming victimhood status, they would constitute 400 percent of our population. In other words, if you are a transgendered woman of color, you earn three checkmarks in the victim category.


A good number of people want so much to join the ranks of victimhood that they’ll actually fake certain injuries or wrongs done to them. Some teens, for instance, cyber bully themselves on social media, with their reasons ranging from self-hatred to amusement, “to see how others would react.” Adults, too, create incidents to achieve the status of victims. Jussie Smollett famously faked his mugging in Chicago, hiring acquaintances to attack him in the wee hours of the morning, and every year our college campuses experience a rash of racial incidents that turn out to be unreal.


And as Witkowski writes, there are deeper, more pernicious consequences at work here, namely, the manipulation of those claiming to be victims by those who need them to be victims:


Victimhood presents an opportunity for others to obtain a status higher even than that of victims themselves—after all, can there be any behavior more noble than the provision of help for the suffering? And so, cohorts emerge—psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, social engineers, politicians, and activists—with a perverse interest in manufacturing victims and inflaming grievance and resentment.


Of these groups, politicians and activists are particularly adept at labeling large groups of people as victims and then promising to ease their plight.


So are there real victims? Of course. Those who died or were maimed in Afghanistan at the Kabul airport were the victims of fanatics. The guy whose home was burglarized, the woman whose identity was stolen online, the teenager crippled for life by a drunk driver, the mother of three children whose husband left her for someone he met at work: all are victims.


In fact, I would go one more step and describe all human beings as victims of one sort or another. All of us suffer wrongs and injustices, whether petty or life threatening. All of us sometimes get the short end of the stick, wounded by other people, circumstances, or our own stupid mistakes. It’s part of the human condition. It may be unfair, but as most of us have heard numerous times, “Who ever said life was fair?”


But here’s the thing. We may all be victims of one kind or another, but we don’t have to spend our days wallowing in the sty of self-pity. We can refuse to accept the title of victim. When catastrophes great or small bowl us over, we can decide to get to our feet and move forward again.           


Witkowski writes: “…in modern culture, victimhood is increasingly becoming an attractive life choice.”           


Notice that word “choice.” We can choose to be victims or we can choose to take our lumps, fight back when necessary, live with dignity, and become as fully human as possible.


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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Haircuts and Hosiery: Do Your Bit to Fight the Delta Variant



(Note that what follows is entirely satire, including the quotes from a CDC spokesman, which are invented.)


Unnoticed by some in the present upheavals caused by the delta variant of COVID-19 was a quiet announcement from the Center for Disease Control linking the virus and human hair.           


“Numerous tests have revealed that the delta virus nests in hair close to the scalp,” said CDC spokesman Jonathan Swift. “Apparently, the warmth and shadows there help prolong its life. This is unfortunate, because people touch their hair frequently, and then their faces, thus increasing their chances of falling prey to this deadly disease.”           


Swift then made a number of modest proposals that can help Americans protect themselves. “Keep wearing masks and social distancing,” he said. “But we also now recommend you wash your hair thoroughly at least twice a day. Men might consider shaving their heads or getting crew cuts.”           


He paused, then said: “We’ve also found that hairnets such as those worn by food service personnel can help keep the virus away from hair. Because of demand, we expect an immediate shortage of hairnets, but further experimentation demonstrated that fine-knit nylons, pantyhose, and tights could also greatly reduce the chances of the virus making its way into the hair. We therefore recommend that men, women, and children purchase a pair of nylon stockings and cover their hair with it both in public and at home. Be sure to wash this head covering daily.”           


In the wake of this announcement, both big box stores like Walmart and women’s apparel shops reported a run on hose. “We can’t keep it in stock,” said Trudi Dinger, owner of a local lingerie store. “L’eggs, Hanes, Sheertex: none of our suppliers can’t keep up with demand.”           


With most hosiery manufactured in countries like China, some Americans worry that politics may intrude and interrupt the supply to the United States. Simone Shear, a spokesperson for the Hanes corporation, which advertises some of its products with USA logos, but which uses these countries to make its clothing, issued a statement reassuring Americans that the company would do all in its power to fill the stores with hose again. 


When we visited our local grocery store, we asked Max Quirky what he thought of this latest recommendation. He readjusted the black tights he was wearing around his head and said, “Look around this store. Half the customers refuse to wear hose on their heads. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they realize they could kill themselves or a relative? What about Grandma? Doesn’t her life count?”           


A woman reluctant to identify herself was wearing three pair of hose, not just on her head but pulled down over her two facemasks. “Precaution is key,” she said, though her protective devices made it difficult to understand her. “We have to follow the science. We need a mandate forcing people into hose.”         


Gathered outside the grocery store was a small band of protesters, mostly women with children, maskless, hoseless, and holding a variety of homemade signs, including  “They’re Stealing Your Freedom,” “Hose Doesn’t Work,” and “What About the Constitution?”           


As we watched, three patrol cars arrived, and six policemen, all wearing the requisite head hose, ordered the protestors to disperse. When one of the women, a twenty-something with two toddlers in tow, refused to leave, she was arrested and cuffed, and presumably driven to the police station. Another woman, who identified herself as the arrested female’s sister, took the children to her car and drove away.           


All that remained was a placard on the sidewalk: “Stop the Insanity!”


(Note that what you just read is entirely satire, including the quotes from a CDC spokesman, which are invented.)


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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A Nurse Shares Six Reasons for Health Care Decline



Sally* has worked as a nurse in an operating room for more than 30 years. She’s seen horrors most of us can only imagine, gunshot victims, patients maimed beyond belief, the dead from failed surgeries carted off to the morgue.           


Right now, she’s witnessing the decline of American health care. That decline is taking place in the hospital where she works and is apparent from the stories she hears from traveling nurses in other hospitals.


I spoke with Sally on the phone the other day and she laid out the following reasons for this decline.           


Lack of Leadership


For several years now, and especially during the Wuhan virus, Sally has noticed the absence of leadership in her hospital. One hospital director spent most of her time Zooming with underlings from across the country. Another director has never bothered to meet his subordinates. A supervisor who has no training in management or people skills was more concerned with start times in the OR than with patient care. “They’re just filling a box,” Sally explained, meaning the organization running the hospital checks off a box as a position filled and moves on.           


Shortage of Supplies


“We’ve always run a little short of supplies,” Sally said, “but the pandemic exacerbated the situation. We’re even low on such items as drapes and gloves for surgery. A lot of these items come from overseas, from places like China or Mexico.”           


Shortage of Medicine


Here Sally cited a specific example: the lack of Marcaine with epinephrine, both particularly vital drugs for surgeries. “No one really explains why we’re having such trouble getting these medicines,” she said, “but the shortage is severe.” Once again, such drugs are mostly manufactured overseas.           


Shortage of Staff


Finding qualified personnel to work in the hospital proved difficult even before the pandemic. With many hospitals now demanding that their employees receive the virus vaccine, they are finding it even more difficult to retain doctors and nurses. “In my unit, we have 12 operating rooms,” Sally said. “Most of the time, we only have the staff to open 10 of these rooms. This means that the treatment of some patients must be delayed.”


Intellectual Takeout recently featured an article on Houston nurses who are leaving in droves rather than receive the required jab, and The Epoch Times has found that the shortage of health care workers across the country is skyrocketing, in large part because employers insist on the vaccine. Sally is among those California doctors and nurses publicly protesting vaccine mandates. To paraphrase a comment she made, the same caregivers who were hailed as heroes in the depths of the pandemic are now being given the boot for refusing the vaccine.                       


Training and Orientation


Sally reported that when she was in training 30 years ago her clinical instructors and mentors offered her solid and sometimes harsh guidance. Offer such critiques today, she said, and young students will complain that you’ve hurt their feelings. Moreover, the exposure of nursing students to units like surgery is much more limited these days. What she describes as her “boot camp” in medical care no longer exists.           


Morale


“It’s in the toilet,” Sally said. She stresses that she and her coworkers in the OR, doctors, nurses, and scrub techs, are generally good friends, eating lunches together and sometimes going out after work for a drink. But about a year ago the hospital administration began requiring quarterly meetings in which it divided staff into groups: blacks, whites, and Hispanics, to discuss racial issues.


As Sally pointed out, “Leadership has Balkanized people. We should be people taking care of people. Regarding these race-training sessions, my coworkers think, ‘I’m not here for that.’ We get people who just shot a police officer and we put that aside and save their lives. It doesn’t matter who they are. We don’t care. But leadership is making race an issue. What’s the point?”


Recently, Sally attended a fundraiser for a certain U.S. senator. During the Q&A period, she asked what he planned to do to help health care in America. He gave a formulaic reply about costs and benefits, but he missed her point. She wasn’t referring to finances, but to the actual care of the sick and injured. This nurse is deeply concerned about the care and protection of her patients. “I love what I do,” she told me. “I love taking care of patients.”


For the last 50 years or so, we have made health care an industry. That “industry” no longer regards patients as people in need of help but views them as widgets in a factory. Many nurses, doctors, and other care providers still know they are treating human beings, but the system itself has become impersonal, and far too expensive.


I am grateful for Sally’s willingness to speak to me. And thanks to other dedicated health care workers for what you do for your patients.


*Name has been changed at Sally’s request.


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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Keeping an Eye on Grandpa, the Terrorist



I’ve just learned I may be a terrorist.           


On Aug. 13, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a statement warning about an increase in domestic and foreign terrorism. At the end of the document’s summary were these words: “Such threats are also exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions.”           


For more than a year, I have criticized in print our state and federal government’s mandates regarding the Wuhan virus. I have expressed “grievances over public health safety measures” and government restrictions. These were not, by the way, “perceived government restrictions.” These were real restrictions that closed businesses, some of them permanently, shut down schools, restricted services at my church, closed my library for months, and forced me to wear a face mask.           


Still, I’ve never thought of myself as a terrorist. And so I wondered: If I am declared a terrorist, how am I supposed to fit that image?     


Should I dress differently? On most days, I wear khaki trousers and a button-down shirt. The Taliban wear head coverings and Middle Eastern clothing. Antifa members dress in black. In my basement is a tuxedo I’ve worn once in 15 years. If it still fits—that’s doubtful—should I adopt that as my signature uniform and become a dapper desperado?           


What about my physical appearance? Those Taliban dudes sport beards, and the Antifa rioters have long hair and tattoos. I’ve never grown a beard in my life, and my body is afflicted with enough old age marks without adding ink to the mix. So that’s not going to work.


Terrorists also seem like a scruffy lot. Do they brush their teeth, bathe, or clip their nails? If I go more than a couple of days without shaving, I start thinking I might make some money standing on a street corner with my hand out. I’m not a pretty sight, to say the least.           


Nor have I shot a rifle or pistol in 20 years. Perhaps I should start popping off a few rounds with my .22 every once in a while. I do confess that when my six-year-old grandson visits with the inevitable question, “Can we shoot the BB gun?” we step into the backyard, and he plinks away at a cardboard box while I teach him gun safety and offer some shooting tips. The kid’s got quite an eye, and…Good Grief! Am I creating a junior terrorist? Should I throw away that Red Ryder and give the little guy some dolls for his entertainment?           


On holidays like Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Flag Day, I put out five miniature American flags along the sidewalk of the house in which I live. Is that an act of terrorism? Some people who these days find flying the flag “disturbing” may think so.           


And last winter, when my local grocery store still required masks, I once strolled the aisle and softly sang “America.” Did that gentle protest against masks and that reminder of who we are as a people constitute an act of terrorism?           


If I’m a terrorist, shouldn’t I issue some sort of manifesto? In my case, I’d print out two truly radical documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.


Another question: Can Grandpas be terrorists? I’d prefer reading a book on my front porch to being chased down the street by a cop half my age.           


The truth is I don’t know how to be a terrorist. For example, I have no idea what foods terrorists eat or what sort of cars they drive. Do they stay awake half the night, drinking heavily and railing against the system? My own mood mellows when I drink wine, so I wouldn’t do too well on this front.


In fact, I wasn’t even sure of the definition of terrorism, and so looked it up online and found that terrorism is “the unlawful use of force and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims.”           


That set me to thinking.           


If a government orders businesses to lock their doors and churches to close down, banishes discussions of therapeutic treatment for the Wuhan virus, and arrests citizens as “insurrectionists,” holding them for months in jail for trespassing, would those unconstitutional maneuvers qualify as unlawful intimidation?


Just kidding.


But the same government that issues directives like the one above has spent the months since January 2021 by opening our southern border to hundreds of thousands of migrants, some of whom may intend harm to the United States. In more recent months that same government has created and armed battalions of terrorists in Afghanistan.


We can only hope someone in our government is paying attention to the real terrorists.


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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Keeping an Eye Grandpa, the Terrorist



I’ve just learned I may be a terrorist.           


On Aug. 13, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a statement warning about an increase in domestic and foreign terrorism. At the end of the document’s summary were these words: “Such threats are also exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions.”           


For more than a year, I have criticized in print our state and federal government’s mandates regarding the Wuhan virus. I have expressed “grievances over public health safety measures” and government restrictions. These were not, by the way, “perceived government restrictions.” These were real restrictions that closed businesses, some of them permanently, shut down schools, restricted services at my church, closed my library for months, and forced me to wear a face mask.           


Still, I’ve never thought of myself as a terrorist. And so I wondered: If I am declared a terrorist, how am I supposed to fit that image?     


Should I dress differently? On most days, I wear khaki trousers and a button-down shirt. The Taliban wear head coverings and Middle Eastern clothing. Antifa members dress in black. In my basement is a tuxedo I’ve worn once in 15 years. If it still fits—that’s doubtful—should I adopt that as my signature uniform and become a dapper desperado?           


What about my physical appearance? Those Taliban dudes sport beards, and the Antifa rioters have long hair and tattoos. I’ve never grown a beard in my life, and my body is afflicted with enough old age marks without adding ink to the mix. So that’s not going to work.


Terrorists also seem like a scruffy lot. Do they brush their teeth, bathe, or clip their nails? If I go more than a couple of days without shaving, I start thinking I might make some money standing on a street corner with my hand out. I’m not a pretty sight, to say the least.           


Nor have I shot a rifle or pistol in 20 years. Perhaps I should start popping off a few rounds with my .22 every once in a while. I do confess that when my six-year-old grandson visits with the inevitable question, “Can we shoot the BB gun?” we step into the backyard, and he plinks away at a cardboard box while I teach him gun safety and offer some shooting tips. The kid’s got quite an eye, and…Good Grief! Am I creating a junior terrorist? Should I throw away that Red Ryder and give the little guy some dolls for his entertainment?           


On holidays like Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Flag Day, I put out five miniature American flags along the sidewalk of the house in which I live. Is that an act of terrorism? Some people who these days find flying the flag “disturbing” may think so.           


And last winter, when my local grocery store still required masks, I once strolled the aisle and softly sang “America.” Did that gentle protest against masks and that reminder of who we are as a people constitute an act of terrorism?           


If I’m a terrorist, shouldn’t I issue some sort of manifesto? In my case, I’d print out two truly radical documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.


Another question: Can Grandpas be terrorists? I’d prefer reading a book on my front porch to being chased down the street by a cop half my age.           


The truth is I don’t know how to be a terrorist. For example, I have no idea what foods terrorists eat or what sort of cars they drive. Do they stay awake half the night, drinking heavily and railing against the system? My own mood mellows when I drink wine, so I wouldn’t do too well on this front.


In fact, I wasn’t even sure of the definition of terrorism, and so looked it up online and found that terrorism is “the unlawful use of force and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims.”           


That set me to thinking.           


If a government orders businesses to lock their doors and churches to close down, banishes discussions of therapeutic treatment for the Wuhan virus, and arrests citizens as “insurrectionists,” holding them for months in jail for trespassing, would those unconstitutional maneuvers qualify as unlawful intimidation?


Just kidding.


But the same government that issues directives like the one above has spent the months since January 2021 by opening our southern border to hundreds of thousands of migrants, some of whom may intend harm to the United States. In more recent months that same government has created and armed battalions of terrorists in Afghanistan.


We can only hope someone in our government is paying attention to the real terrorists.


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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Notes From the French COVID Underground



A 60-something French Intellectual Takeout reader and I began an email correspondence a few years ago. We lost touch in recent months, but when I learned of the severe COVID-19 restrictions being enforced in France, I reestablished contact to get her impressions.


“I belong to the vax and health pass resistant group,” Marie wrote, “and though not being able to go to the restaurant or to a bar or to travel is not very pleasant, I mostly complain about the fact that our leaders have impeded free movement for half of the French people, which is a fundamental right.”


“I won’t even mention being blackmailed by the government,” Marie said. “For example, people working in hospitals, in nursing homes etc. will lose their jobs if not vaccinated by Sept 15th!”


These government measures “are appropriate to a police state and are destructive of freedom,” Marie said. “Today anyone who enters an establishment without showing a valid pass can be fined 135 euros for a first offence.”


She then went on to explain about the street protests erupting over the need for a Health Pass to get into public places such as restaurants, malls, and hospitals. These protests “persist and grow every Saturday all over the country,” Marie said.

Marie then responded to the following interview questions I prepared for her:


Jeff Minick: What’s the toughest part of all these regulations for you individually?


Marie: There is not a single one I can agree with. So there is no “toughest part.” I reject ALL these regulations as a whole because it’s a firm matter of principle for someone who lives in a democratic country. All these regulations deprive us of our freedom. And when there are people who say that they don’t mind not being able to go to a concert because they never attend concerts, I think they are terribly selfish—as most French people are. Not coming out of one’s own comfort is so easy. And the French love their “petit confort.


Minick: Do you know people who think all of these restrictions are productive or have worth?


Marie: Since July 12th when President Macron addressed the nation and explained about the extension of the Health Pass, France has been divided into two sides. The groups of people (vaccinated or with a negative Coronavirus test) who hold the invaluable “open sesame” and can access every place, whereas the others can’t, strongly believe that they are protected, protect others, and consider the unvaccinated people or those against the pass as selfish, and even see them as potential threats. There must be people who think all of these restrictions are productive, but I don’t know anyone whose arguments could convince me. They just keep on repeating what the mainstream media say. 


Minick: You mentioned being a part of the resistance to the restrictions and laws. I know about protesters in the street. What else are you and others doing to resist? Your tips may be of help here in the United States, as we seem to be approaching similar restrictions.


Marie: Protesting in the streets is one way. Other ways are signing online petitions, establishing online relationships with legal experts who know how to struggle against illegal measures, and most of all doing what I call “planting seeds” in the minds of narrow-minded people who only swear by the Government or by what they have heard or seen on TV.


Which means providing them with information they have never heard of just because they don’t know that parallel information networks exist. But the information you give must always contain figures, sources, and dates that can be verified.


Planting seeds to make people think for themselves is a duty. Knowledge is the root of resistance.


Minick: Have you received the vaccine?


Marie: No, I have not and will not. I refuse to condone any undemocratic attitude. A democratic leader should reunite and not divide the people, nor take measures to sink an economy, which has already been jeopardized by several lockdown and curfew measures.


Marie also mentioned having suffered bouts of depression, in part because of these oppressive measures.


Some American states have started down this path once again. And like the French, we in the United States also like our petit conforts, (“small comforts”) which my friend has spurned for the cause of liberty.


Both our federal government and some state governments have spent recent months chipping away at our freedoms, attacking the rights of free speech, assembly, and worship guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution. These are rights considered natural to the human person and may not legitimately be taken away by any government.


Some Americans have begun to resist these intrusions. Let’s take an example from the French and fight back even harder.


(Note: “Marie” is a pseudonym, as she asked me not to print her full name. Her comments were lightly edited before publication.)


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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The Wuhan Virus and Our Children



In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter poses this riddle: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” After some further conversation, the Hatter asks Alice: 


 


‘Have you guessed the riddle yet?’…


‘No, I give it up,’ Alice replied. ‘What’s the answer?’


‘I haven’t the slightest idea,’ said the Hatter.


 


We’ve seen this conversation turned on its head since COVID started. We faced a riddle—a virus—and we had experts coming out of the woodwork with answers. For the first time in our history, we quarantined the healthy members of our population. We put masks on young and old alike, we closed small businesses across our country while keeping Walmart open and allowing Amazon to rake in billions of dollars. We’ll likely never know the number of people who perished because they were too frightened by the virus to seek medical attention for other health problems. We’ve seen a wave of deaths from opioids, and violent crime has gone through the roof.


 


And the children have suffered most of all, with massive psychological and educational setbacks. Many of them have fallen behind in school, and the better part of a year some of them missed out on extracurricular activities ranging from football to school plays. Many, too, have endured stress, anxiety, and loneliness.


 

Jeanne Noble, director of COVID response in the University of California San Francisco emergency room, reports that while adult suicides in that state fell last year by 11 percent, they jumped 24 percent among those under 18. Attempted suicides, eating disorders, and mental health troubles among the young also skyrocketed. Noble discovered as well that summer camps this year are seeing increased levels of anxiety and depression not only among the campers, but also among camp counselors. Moreover, children of all ages report that even when they returned to school, masks and social distancing caused them to feel isolated from their classmates. 


 

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, 349 children up to the age of 17 have died with the Wuhan Virus. Most of these victims had underlying health conditions. A recent Johns Hopkins study of 48,000 children under 18 found zero deaths for healthy children.  


 

Meanwhile, the governors and the “experts” in some states are again calling for masks when schools reopen—if they reopen—this fall. This month the Center for Disease Control recommended the continuance of social distancing, but even worse, that children ages two and up who are not fully vaccinated should wear masks. One line from an update to this report brought me some sad laughter: “in general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors.” 


 


Lots of answers, lots of guidelines, lots of requirements. 


 


Now maybe it’s time for some questions.


 


How many of our isolated young people from around the nation committed suicide this past year, deaths caused in part by the Wuhan Virus proscriptions? Do those suicides exceed viral deaths? How many are now being treated for depression?


 


Maybe it’s time we got some real data on the effectiveness of masks. We should also study the effects masks are having on the mental health of children and teenagers. Besides, how does a daycare worker supervising six three-year-olds keep them in masks all day long? And since it’s now clear from all available evidence that the vast majority of those 17 years and younger experience almost no reaction to this virus, maybe we should consider why they are being singled out to wear masks.


 


The biggest questions of all concern how long this show goes on. How much longer do our experts and authorities expect us to continue treating one another as if we were carriers of the plague? Are we willing to watch our children receive another year of inferior education? Many of us are no longer willing to participate in a charade that has already done grave harm to our social interactions and our constitutional liberties.


 


In a presentation of her report, Jeanne Noble concludes, “Sacrificing the development and well being of our children for enhanced infection control was scientifically unnecessary and ethically unsound.”


 


Let’s not keep making the same mistake over and over again. 


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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Notes From the American Asylum



Many people seem to be wondering what will become of the human soul in another world. I am wondering what has become of the human mind in this world.


G.K. Chesterton wrote those words almost a century ago in his essay, “The Rout of Reason.” I find myself wondering the same thing on this August day.


I’m not sure how many of my contemporaries ponder the fate of the soul after death, though I note my non-believing friends appear much more terrified about meeting the Grim Reaper than do believers. As an old guy, I am astounded at how many people I know, both so-called progressives and some conservatives, are terrified of the grave.


I don’t mean to depress those who may be drinking their morning coffee or enjoying their evening glass of wine as they read these words, but we’re all going to die. And whatever our beliefs about the hereafter, we have a choice: We can come to terms with that fact or we can live in terror of the tomb.


At any rate, it’s the second part of Chesterton’s quote—“I am wondering what has become of the human mind in this world.”—that hit home with me.


Right now an alliance of government, big tech, corporations, and mass media rule over the United States of America. They frame the debates, enforce the law as they see fit, and persecute their enemies while rewarding their friends.


That they defend so many crazy propositions apparently leaves them unfazed. Every day brings some new boogey-man tale about the Wuhan Virus, some new tidbit, seemingly plucked from the wind, intended to cow ordinary citizens into obedience. Our masters also want to fire health care workers who refuse the vaccine, the same workers who were last year’s pandemic heroes. And while we’re being bullied and berated, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens, many of them carrying the Wuhan virus, pour across our borders.


Meanwhile, the woke crowd trots out theories and ideas that would have left our grandparents rolling with laugher in the aisles. If you’re a man but think you’re a woman, then you’re a woman, and vice versa. So now “men” can have periods and babies. Defunding the police will lead to less crime. All white people are inherently racists. The National Anthem and the American flag are evil as well and should be replaced. Believing Christians are by nature sexual bigots.


Now even the American Medical Association has gotten into the act, advocating the removal of sex designation on birth certificates because “assigning sex using binary variables in the public portion of the birth certificate fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity.”


Once upon a time such mismanagement, bungling, deceptiveness, and insanity would have brought dismissal, imprisonment, or a stint in a mental health facility. Today it brings big bucks and fame.


These policies, particularly those surrounding the Wuhan Virus, affect the rest of us and are leading to mental health problems. Some of my family members, my friends, and even a correspondent from France all report being depressed. They complain of anxiety and suffering under the restrictions placed on them by elected officials and bureaucrats. Barraged by conflicting information and nonsensical policies, many of our citizens feel hopeless and confused.


In the novel and the film One Flew Over The Coocoo’s Nest, we meet Nurse Ratched, who has in her care mentally ill men. By the end of the story, we realize she’s a sadist, a tyrant sicker in the head than her patients, who she enjoys tormenting, making them feel small and keeping them helpless and dependent.


Our elites are Nurse Ratched en masse. If they truly cared about our country, they would seek to bring cheer rather than gloom-and-doom. They would become happy warriors, encouraging us to move ahead as a nation, to come together as a people, and to live in harmony.


And mostly, they would shut up, go away, and leave us to live our lives as we see fit.


The good news? Nurse Ratched finds herself opposed by the rebellious Randle McMurphy, who has feigned insanity so that he might spend his prison sentence in the mental hospital instead. He tries to make the other inmates feel more like men by playing poker with them, taking them on a fishing trip, and throwing a big party in the middle of the night.


To oppose the killjoys and doomsayers of our age, we need to become Randle McMurphy. We can throw backyard barbeques and go on hikes. As much as possible we must ignore the loony ideas about sex and race that appear in the news. When feasible, we can oppose school boards that want to promote gender education and critical race theory. We can protest mask mandates, as some people I know are already doing.


Best of all, we can all grow spines and remember we are Americans. We are the masters, not the servants, of our government.


Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.




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