Power & Market

Top 5 Most Bizarre Moments of Covid: A Student’s Recollection

In recognition of the fourth anniversary of the US government’s response to covid, a Mises Apprentice shares their experience as a student during this tumultuous time, highlighting five dates they will never forget.

5.) April 2022: “Despite the University’s policy to relax mask mandates and no longer require masks, we will have an open vote in our class next week if we will all ‘commit’ ourselves to continue mask requirements during this course.” I was told this by said my professor on the 1st day of class. Notably, this was after a year of fully remote (2020-2021), followed by two quarters of fully masked but in-person (some professors even required two masks) for Fall 2021 and Winter 2022. Additionally, this was after a COVID double dose was required as well. At this point, anyone ‘unvaccinated’ was required to make direct contact with a doctor in the medical school to explain our individual justification for not receiving a double dose and a booster. Moreover, they attempted to ensure we were getting tested every week, or our student access cards would be red-flagged and invalidated; if we were positive or even in a class with a positive case, we would have to miss 1-2 weeks. Yes, even if you had COVID the month before and were now completely asymptomatic (aka not sick). No library access…no entry to lecture halls…nothing…you’re cast out as an unclean, untouchable class.

4.) January 2022: “The South Africa variant is particularly concerning…I expect everyone to wear an N95 mask covered by an additional cloth mask when we resume in-person classes”. I heard this from my professor over Zoom regarding why we needed to go remote again for four weeks after Winter Break for the month of January 2022. While most universities were living life completely back to normal and only had a semester or maybe a year of interruptions, blue cities in blue states like Chicago continued to escalate their protocols. After the blatant failures and divisiveness of vaccine passports in NYC and around the globe, Lori Lightfoot issued vaccine passports in Chicago at this time. Additionally, the University of Chicago assured us that four weeks of online Zoom classes would ‘slow the spread’ after the holidays amid students coming back to campus. Needless to say, I dropped the class because I could no longer respect the professor despite his intellectual strength in philosophy. Then, I flew to the free state of Florida and went remote for that quarter to escape the tyrannical lunatics and continual disturbances to the pursuit of truth. After 2+ years of putting up with it, I was done. 

3.) June 2020: Upon moving to Chicago, we were greeted by National Guard tanks and SWAT teams in unmarked vans, and all the river’s bridges around downtown (‘The Loop’) were raised with mounted turrets on military vehicles. Hilariously, I thought, ‘Man! COVID must be really bad here, and people are pushing back against the lockdowns’. I quickly heard, since I was not a big ‘news guy’, how there was another ‘emergency’ at hand, which paused COVID. Despite these allowed exceptions to the COVID protocols to allow protesting, looting, violence, and the activation of a nationwide movement to overthrow an incumbent president, the University decided to be online for the entire school year. 

2.) October 2021: “The ‘freedom’ to be unvaccinated from COVID is the same ‘freedom’ to shoot up a school with an AR-15”. A tenured professor of ethics said this to our class in October 2021. At this exact time, Israel, Canada, and Europe were *highly vaccinated* and were experiencing massive outbreaks despite (many) having over 90% double-shot protocol and N95 mask mandates. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was repeating such talking points, but anyone glancing at any shred of data knew it was deceptive, farcical propaganda. I was not expecting a shallow conflation of terms, especially a principle that I hold dear, like freedom. Using such tactics to muddy discourse is expected in the media, but I was surprised to hear it on the campus of a prestigious, extremely rigorous university. 

1.) Spring 2021: “Our hospital’s official policy has to be to recommend everyone to get the COVID double-dose regardless of situation or circumstance… that said, if you are asking my personal advice… given that you have demonstrable antibodies as we just detected as well as T-cells for COVID from your natural exposure…a person of your demographic will gain no demonstrable benefit from an mRNA shot at this time which, as you noted, may also hold serious side effects”. Why would a nurse have to quiet herself and give me medical advice dressed as ‘personal’ advice? As I suspected, something was afoot…majorly. I was able to see the cracks in the Narrative while the official policies tried to keep the deceitful lies intact via censorship, social pressure, and outright coercion. Why was I informing medical professionals about the most basic medical studies? Do they not enjoy their field of work or are they too preoccupied to familiarize themselves with even the basics? How can they provide informed consent if they don’t even understand the fundamentals of the topic themselves?

Radicalizing Lessons

  • Progressivism is the ideology of statism, credentialism, and unabashed skin-shedding of political stances, and relies on an outsourced, unaccountable authoritarianism. Due to the collective nature of this coercion, it is simultaneously everywhere, and yet the commanding authority is elusive and ‘nowhere’ for accountability. Criticisms are redirected to another department; it is ‘out of our hands’, and you should be ashamed for even asking questions. 
  • The Left will co-opt your language and values, wear it as a pelt, and then scold you for pushback. They hold no intellectual interest in understanding another’s viewpoint. Dissent is violence. The Left understands power and rhetoric. Submit, submit, submit. Accept the empty platitude and euphemism about care, or they will make your life miserable.
  • Hannah Arendt’s Banality of Evil is Real: ‘Trust the Experts’ should be seen as the equivalent of ‘Trust the Party.’ It should be mocked as if your cringy professor just said, ‘Trust me, bro.’ Bureaucratic evil is dull and extremely cruel, gradual, and absent of any self-reflection and accountability; decisions are always ‘out of your hands’. Irrational and cruel enforcement of illogical mandates run off the backs of their enforcers who sleep soundly at night.
  • Imposter Syndrome is rampant amongst the Intelligentsia. Cowardice, self-hatred, and envy are just as present, if not more, at the highest levels of intellectual prowess. The desire for acceptance, job security, respect, and recognition are chief motivations for those with very high IQs. The nectar of these motivations might be so sweet that it neutralizes the wisdom contained in the books these intellectuals muse on throughout their lifetime. These books become a plaything of the intellect rather than incorporated into real, alive virtues embodied simultaneously in the heady pursuit of truth. The burden of personal debt (mortgages, credit card bills, student debt) paired with the desire for social cohesion and acceptance regularly supersedes reason, logic, or the love of truth. 
  • Speaking truth in an empire of lies is a revolutionary, treasonous act. You will be met with resistance from more skillful rhetoricians, more qualified ‘experts’ or ‘sources,’ more experienced or older people, and from people who may be smarter or more articulate than you who will try to convince you that you’re wrong. In fact, you are immoral for thinking otherwise, and you should be punished; they will even enjoy witnessing the punishment. It is critical to remember that your instincts are correct: you are being deceived by complicit liars and dishonest hacks who are just repeating what they heard on NPR during their 20-minute commute! Have hope! — if you dedicate just 30-60 minutes of your day to inquiry, you will be more informed than most people around you. People will be so shocked when your ‘conspiracies’ come true and they will think you have a superpower. 

*Disclosure*: I hold no resentment toward the University of Chicago for its actions. They were mistaken, wrong, misled, and pushed by various factions internally and externally to betray their truth-seeking mission.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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