A game of poker

When my son’s pre-school switched to virtual classes for COVID in March 2020, the school faced an immediate pants problem. Very young kids (my boy was two) were showing up to morning Zoom calls without pants. Mommies, now busy doing their own jobs in other rooms, were relying on dads to get kids dressed. Dads and toddlers found themselves locked in titanic struggles to get shirts, diapers, and pants on before school started. The dads, including me, often lost.

After a few days of this, the school administration sent an urgent email to their All Parents list: Kids were required to be wearing pants before entering into group Zoom chats.

While trying to teach a two-year-old over Zoom was just silly, the harms of school closures to older kids were serious and are well documented. Lockdown and mandate advocates, responsible for this and other evils, are now scrambling to justify their behavior. Their talking point apparently is that the people who responded with skepticism to events in 2020 — myself included — simply guessed right.

In reality, by spring 2020 there was a mountain of evidence on the relative threat of COVID. The Diamond Princess cruise ship had served as the perfect laboratory; huge populations remained unaffected including the homeless, hypocritical politicians, and the continent of Africa; respected scientists and virologists preached calm and restraint, prior to being censored. In fact, the word chutzpah was created specifically to describe those lockdowners who say that the truth was unknowable, while they at the same time urged the silencing of opposite points of view.  

There was also a shortcut for understanding events, which has shaped my own worldview for years. Professional poker players will tell you that to win a hand, they don’t even need to look at their cards. They can simply play against the temperament of their opponents. Well, here’s who I saw ramping hysteria across the COVID table.

For starters, there was the highest paid person in the federal government, an individual who had spent 40 years sharpening his skills in organizational politics. You had the communist mayor of America’s largest city. You had one of the richest men in the world who physically looks awful and has a weird obsession with trying to block out the sun. And, after my own eight years in higher education, I knew to ignore any prognostication from an institution pompous and ridiculous enough to call itself, the “Imperial College.”  

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