Strong regimes are a lot like strong people. They’re self-confident. Because they are, they’re rational and moderate. They can afford to be those things. They have unquestioned legitimacy. Admitting honest mistakes doesn’t threaten them. Why would it? They can tell the truth without fear. Strong regimes are marked by cheerfulness and an open-minded spirit. You know them when you see them. They’re easy to recognize.
Weakness has the opposite effect. Weak leaders live in terror. They lie constantly. They admit nothing. They rule by force because they have no choice. They have lost their legitimacy. When they begin to lose control, as they inevitably do, they panic. Unable to acknowledge the magnitude of their failure, they retreat into delusion. Their behavior becomes irrational. They start to issue bizarre commands.
Nicolai Ceausescu barked orders at his guards as they dragged him into the courtyard to be shot. In his final moments on earth, Ceausescu seemed convinced he could make his executioners obey. As his power evaporated, he tried even harder to exert it. So in that way, every collapsing regime is the same. With that in mind, we learned today that in the face of the waning pandemic, the Biden administration will dramatically increase COVID restrictions across the country.
Millions of children will now be required to cover their faces in school – this despite the scientifically established fact that masks pose a far greater threat to children than COVID does. Strictly speaking, as a scientific matter, this is lunacy. But there’s more.
According to an announcement by the CDC this afternoon, the administration will force masks on adults as well – including on people who’ve already been vaccinated. Pause to consider this for a moment. Americans were promised that if they took the vaccines, they could have their lives back. So by the millions, they did that. Now they’ve learned in the clearest possible way that they were lied to. They got their shots, but the Biden administration has decided to continue to control what they wear, where they go and who they talk to. Why are they doing that? What’s happening here, exactly?
A rational person might conclude there must be something very wrong with the vaccines. Maybe they don’t work as intended. But no. The administration assures us that the vaccines work perfectly. They’re miracle drugs. OK. So why the masks? Peter Doocy of Fox News asked that question in the White House briefing today. Here’s how the Biden administration’s own Baghdad Bob responded:
DOOCY: If it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated still, then why vaccinated people need to put the masks back on?
JEN PSAKI: …If you are vaccinated, it can save your life. And I think the clear data shows that this pandemic is killing, is hospitalizing, is making people very sick who are not vaccinated. Does that still continue to be the case regardless of what the mask guidance looks like?
PETER DOOCY: If vaccines work…why do people who’ve had the vaccine need to wear masks the same as people who have not had it.
PSAKI: Because the public health leaders in our administration have made the determination, based on data, that is a way to make sure they are protected, their loved ones are protected, and that’s an extra step given the transmissibility of the virus.
So the vaccines work, the only people getting sick are the unvaccinated, but the vaccinated still have to wear masks. Why is that?
You just read it. Quote: "public health leaders in our administration have made the determination." In other words, because we said so. That’s the medical justification for suffocating your third grader with a paper mask forever. "Public health leaders in the administration have made the determination." They issue the rule, without explaining it. You then obey it. If you question it, CNN calls you a murderer. That’s how our government works.
Watching that exchange, you realize that every moment in time is just a point on a continuum. That’s worth remembering now. It’s easy to assume that because this is all happening live at the White House, it’s the way things are and will always be. But in fact, a moment this absurd can’t last for long. It’s too irrational. The people making the decisions are too discredited, too transparently unwise. What you’re watching is a decaying system based on presumed expertise finally reach its ugly end-stage. At some point, it will be gone, because it has no legitimacy. Whatever comes next will be very different from what we’re living through now. That’s sad to think about, and scary, though there’s also the hope of improvement, which all good people pray for. But in the meantime, we live with the growing certainty that crazy people are running our country.
If we had sane leaders, they’d acknowledge the science, which is clear. Millions of Americans who’ve already recovered from COVID don’t need the vaccine. They have natural immunity to the virus. Nor are people who’ve been vaccinated at meaningful risk from people who haven’t been vaccinated, despite the noisy hysteria claiming otherwise.
A big study this month in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that COVID vaccines offer a high level of protection against even the new delta variant of the virus. That’s the science of it. If you’re vaccinated, you’re protected, just as they claim.
So, a rational public health policy would look entirely different from the one the Biden administration is now embarking on. A rational administration would make vaccines available to anyone who wants one, and leave the rest of the population alone to live their lives – like they used to do in America back when it was a free country.
But that’s hardly what the Biden administration is doing. There’s no political advantage in a rational policy like that. Instead, the administration has decided to use the virus to cement its political control of the country. Democrats rode COVID to victory last November, through fear and blame and brand new methods of voting. They plan to keep power through next year’s midterms in the very same way – by dividing Americans against one another, vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.
As a political strategy, this makes sense. Every moment TV anchors are yelling at rural conservatives for not believing in science, the rest of us aren’t talking about how the permanent establishment in Washington funded ghoulish experiments that allowed the Chinese military to create the virus in the first place. It’s clever. It’s also incredibly ugly.
Last week a Black man in his 30s died from COVID in California. The media soon discovered that the man was an avid Christian, and had once questioned vaccines in a social media post. Immediately, they gloated over his death. "He deserved it!" That was the theme of countless news stories that ran in papers around the world.
But hold on a second. Since when do we treat death and disease this way? Do MSNBC anchors attack people with syphilis or AIDS, on the grounds they’ve been sexually promiscuous and therefore deserve to suffer? When someone dies of Hepatitis C, does CNN editorialize about the evils of intravenous drug use? Do reporters attack Native Americans for dying of cirrhosis of the liver at a higher rate than everyone else? Of course not. There’s no political advantage in that. But there’s a huge advantage in claiming that only Republicans question vaccines, and the pandemic is their fault. So they say it, day and night. Conservatives are the reason people are dying. This was MSNBC yesterday morning:
MSNBC GUEST: This is months and months of anti-science, anti-vaccine aggression coming from far-right elements of the Republican Party. You saw it play out at the CPAC conference where they said this is nothing more than an effort for power and control and they’re going to force vaccines on us and take away our Bibles and our guns and all of that disinformation – meaning deliberate misinformation – came out of CPAC and the conservative news outlets.
Consider the cost of rhetoric like this. If you wanted Americans to believe their doctors – and if you cared about the country, you would want that – you probably wouldn’t put a porky little partisan like that on television with an "MD" after his name. Dr. Hotez does not inspire confidence in our medical establishment. He destroys confidence. Hotez is lying, openly, and because he can’t control himself, he’s gratuitously attacking Christianity as he does it. Only right-wing religious nuts with their Bibles worry about vaccine mandates. That’s what he told MSNBC viewers. Except that’s not true.
America is in fact getting vaccine mandates. We’re not making that up. It’s fact. On Thursday, the president of the United States will announce that all federal employees will be required to get the shot, regardless of whether they have active antibodies. This is not a small development. The federal government is the largest workforce in the world. It employs close to three million people, so an awful lot of lives will be affected by this. Back in December, Joe Biden assured us nothing like this would ever happen.
DOOCY: Do you think COVID vaccines should be mandatory?
BIDEN: No, I don't think should be mandatory. I wouldn't demand it be mandatory, but I would do everything in my power. It's like I don't think masks have to be made mandatory nationwide. I will do everything in my power as president of the United States to encourage people to do the right thing and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters.
I wouldn’t demand mandatory vaccines, or masks, Biden said. Now he’s demanding just that. So you have to ask yourself, what changed? Has the pandemic become much worse? No, it hasn’t. In the months since Biden said that, more than a hundred million Americans have been vaccinated against COVID. You’d think the administration would be celebrating, maybe even taking a victory lap. But they’re not doing that. Hardly. They seem angrier and more demanding than ever. More determined to single out Americans on the basis of their health status and denounce them. That should tell you something. We’ve long ago left the realm of public health.
This is about politics and social control. The Biden administration has decided it owns your body. The media agree with that. If the rest of us allow that grotesque claim to go unchallenged, we’re in deep trouble going forward, for generations, long after COVID recedes, and it will at some point.
American citizens should never be forced to take medicine they don’t want. Period. Government should never require people to submit to any medical procedure, whether it’s sterilization or frontal lobotomies, or COVID vaccinations. Most Americans still believe this. It is a foundational belief in this country. Every poll shows it. The majority in both parties believe it.
So who is defending the people who believe that? No one on Capitol Hill is defending them. No one in the think tanks in Washington is defending them. Even the supposed libertarian think tanks that believe in freedom. Instead, professional Republicans have decided to ignore the topic. Instead, as usual, they’ve completely internalized the slurs of their enemies. They seem anxious to prove they’re not Neanderthals, not like those morons in rural America who vote for them, send their contributions, make their jobs possible. No, we’re totally different, we’re enlightened, we believe in science. You see them saying that all over television, reading Pfizer’s talking points and telling us how great the vaccines are.
That’s fine. If you want the vaccine, go ahead and take it. We support that, most do. But what about the people who don’t want the vaccine? Who’s standing up for them? If Republicans can’t even do that – if they can’t even defend science and fight mandatory injections – then why bother to have a Republican Party? Why not spare the rest of us the indignity, sign off Twitter for good, and take a job at Quiznos. America would be much improved if they did that. Sandwich shops could use the help right now.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson's opening commentary on the July 27, 2021, edition of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."