Lockdowns: The Great Gaslighting by Michael P Senger for The New Normal
The lockdowns of 2020 were very real. And few opposed them.
More than two years since the lockdowns of 2020, the political mainstream, particularly on the left, is just beginning to realize that the response to Covid was an unprecedented catastrophe.
But that realization hasn’t taken the form of a mea culpa. Far from it. On the contrary, in order to see that reality is starting to dawn on the mainstream left, one must read between the lines of how their narrative on the response to Covid has evolved over the past two years.
The narrative now goes something like this: Lockdowns never really happened, because governments never actually locked people in their homes; but if there were lockdowns, then they saved millions of lives and would have saved even more if only they’d been stricter; but if there were any collateral damage, then that damage was an inevitable consequence of the fear from the virus independent of the lockdowns; and even when things were shut down, the rules weren’t very strict; but even when the rules were strict, we didn’t really support them.
Put simply, the prevailing narrative of the mainstream left is that any upside from the response to Covid is attributable to the state-ordered closures and mandates that they supported, while any downside was an inevitable consequence of the virus independent of any state-ordered closures and mandates which never happened and which anyway they never supported. Got it? Good.
This perplexing narrative was perfectly encapsulated in a recent viral tweet by a history professor who griped about the difficulty of convincing his students that government mandates had nothing to do with the fact that they couldn’t leave their homes in 2020.
Similarly, in an interview with Bill Maher, celebrity scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson argued that we can’t assess the effects of lockdowns and mandates because the counterexamples, like Sweden, are too different to be applicable. (Starting at 2:15).