A few months ago, I wrote about “the worst argument ever,” which is the old “if it only saves on life” trope. I should have just cut to the chase and called it the stupidest argument ever, because it certainly is that. (And my colleague at Townhall, Scott Morefield, obviously agrees.)
Anyone who uses that argument is either being disingenuous or else hasn’t given a nanosecond of thought to what they’re saying. If they really believed it, they’d be calling for cars, planes, ladders, and bathtubs all to be banned.
Then again, from what I’ve seen of the other side on TikTok lately, with their grungy sweats, wild Covid hair, and scraggly beards (and that’s just the women!) maybe they have banned bathtubs.
But I digress. My point is that “if it only saves one life” may be the stupidest argument ever, but it’s far from the only stupid argument the Left promulgates. To be fair, individuals on the Right sometimes use these arguments, too, but usually only when they’re mocking leftists or trying to fight fire with fire.
Meanwhile, stupid arguments are endemic on the Left, mostly because leftism is such a profoundly anti-intellectual, contrafactual, reality-denying world view, only stupid arguments can support it.
For example, here’s another staggeringly stupid argument: “You’re not allowed to have an opinion if you’re not a (fill in the blank).”
We see this in the abortion debate, where we’re told men are not allowed to weigh in on the slaughter of innocents because they don’t have a uterus. (Although I have it on good authority that some men actually DO have a uterus.)
This is utter, irrational nonsense, based to begin with on the false notion that only men oppose abortion. Actually, the anti-abortion movement is composed disproportionately of women, perhaps because so many men have been cowed by the purple-haired feminists shrieking “Shut up! You’re just a man! You have no say in the matter!”
But that’s really beside the point. Since we are, after all, talking about human beings here—about half of whom, by the way, are male—other human beings get to have an opinion, regardless of their chromosomes or genitalia. No one is trying to tell women what they can do with their bodies. We’re telling them what they can’t do to someone else’s body. That is a matter of broad societal concern.
So no, I won’t shut up about it.
Now we are seeing this same argument applied to the Covid debate, as in “If you’re not a doctor or scientist, you’re not allowed to have an opinion on anything Covid.” Once again, this is complete nonsense, for a variety of reasons.
First, even if we assume that doctors and scientists—the “experts”--are the ultimate authorities on everything Covid—and that in itself is highly debatable—you don’t have to be an expert to cite experts in your arguments. Any reasonably well-educated, intelligent person can read and understand what reputable experts are saying—and it doesn’t always follow the approved narrative.
In fact, I’ve observed that many of the most credible experts—those who have the most impressive credentials and are right most often—often diverge widely from that narrative.
Meanwhile, the Karens screech, “Listen to the experts!” by which they mean the government experts, whom they assume constitute the most expert category of experts. That is false. In fact, it is the opposite of the truth, for reasons I explain in detail here.
But yes, in general, I agree: We should listen to the experts. And there are several experts the Karen Caucus might want to check out: Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Andrew Bostom, Dr. Marty Makary, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Dr. Mike Yeadon, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Dr. Ryan Cox, Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche, Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, Dr. Emily Oster, Dr. Simone Gold, Dr. RollerGator, and the inimitable el gato malo.
Oh, not THOSE experts? Well, never mind.
Here’s another stupid Covid argument: Whenever you point out that a certain group is at more risk from, say, car accidents, drowning, or cancer than from Covid, some androgynous weirdo is sure to scream, “But that’s not a communicable disease!”
Perhaps that’s true, although the way we’re redefining “disease” these days makes it by no means certain. “Communicable” just means it’s transmitted by others. If alcoholism is a disease, as we’re frequently told, and many teens start drinking due to peer pressure, how does that not qualify? You could argue that they literally get it from their friends.
But perhaps that’s splitting hairs. The real point is, who cares whether a particular risk is a “communicable disease” or not? Are you any less dead or maimed because a car crash doesn’t qualify, epidemiologically? A risk is a risk, and virtually all risks stem from our interactions with other people. As I always told my teenage drivers, when they got annoyed at my constant admonitions to be careful, “It’s not you I’m worried about. It’s the other drivers.”
The point is, there are many things in the world scarier than Covid, especially for young, healthy people. As Jennifer Cabrera, editor of the Alachua (FL) Chronicle and a contributor to RationalGround.com, has pointed out, more University of Florida students died last year crossing campus streets than died from the virus. A young child is many times more likely to die of drowning than from Covid.
Yet, up until March 2020, we did not close our campuses or swimming pools, much less stop driving, in order to “mitigate” those dangers. Once upon a time, before Covid madness turned all our brains into mush, we understood the concept of relative risk.
Clearly, that concept has now been thrown out the window. And you don’t have to be an “expert” to see it.