Everyone is talking about Emily Oster and her call for pandemic amnesty. I have a conspiracy hypothesis.
Evolution is a theory ergo all conspiracy theories are also the best generally agreed upon versions of what probably happened. This is a hypothesis!
Professor Emily Oster got dragged in the last day since her opinion piece in the Atlantic sparked anger, disgust, defiance and outrage on twitter, facebook, tik tok and other sites (substack too, see two excellent posts from Chris Bray here and here). Why? For sharing the truly bizarre suggestion that we as a nation should move on from division and culture wars and instead embrace “Pandemic Amnesty.”
Now “amnesty” is a very specific word. It doesn’t mean forgiveness, it literally means a pardon, i.e. the absence of punishment … for a crime committed in the past.
It is a stark and loaded word indeed when used to refer to anything Covid-related because it establishes two parties: victims and perpetrators. Group 1: Those who committed crimes and could be in the legal sense pardoned of the criminal behavior they engaged in; and Group 2: those who will consequently not get justice.
The implication of such a dichotomy (if one were to appear) is horrifying.
The author alludes to the appeal and inevitability of forgiveness; I posit in contrast that forgiveness is a spiritual concept, one that may be inextricably linked to a religious belief for some, so she’s jumping the gun here because Forgiveness would be the stage after Justice, and only for those whose religion, faith, or spiritual practice also inspires or compels it.
Use of the word amnesty is terribly concerning to me because it insinuates that grave injustice has been committed. And if some horrible truth is coming out soon, her piece in the Atlantic serves as a way to beta test our/society’s future reaction to it — acting as the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
In other words, if we’re this outraged now knowing only what we know so far, how outraged will we be then, after this (speculated by me) coming newsflash triggers national indignation from coast to coast?
The most revealing part of the Professor’s piece in the Atlantic is this statement:
“The standard saying is that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. But dwelling on the mistakes of history can lead to a repetitive doom loop as well. Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty, and then try to work together to build back and move forward."
No, vacuums are complicated. All those attachments.
Tyranny is quite straight-forward, in contrast.
Years ago, I read a book that taught the reader that people are often confessing and how to detect it. If you look at and listen to their word choices, you can sometimes find what it is they did in the past, what they fear will happen in the future, and clues about whether or not they are capable of remorse. Many of you who have watched my youtube or read my blog before I got on substack know how I like to do a communication analysis, and delineate a) what’s literally being said, b) what the person really meant, and c) the third and most important/revealing part, what’s being left unsaid. And I rarely hear people say, “it’s complicated,” unless they are feeling profound regret, fear of the consequences of those “complicated choices,” and plenty of denial of the emotional origin of that particular word choice. They don’t even know why they were compelled unconsciously to use that word…but we do. The stark truth would likely be anything but complicated and possibly horrifying. (For example, what if Oster got on twitter tomorrow and tweeted out, “I don’t think I feel regret or remorse like other people. Intellectually, I get it: the Pandemic response caused human beings unbearable pain and society irrevocable damage but it doesn’t really bother me per se and sometimes I even feel gratified by it, especially when I witness overt force (mandates) replace emotional manipulation (shame).” Now I’m sure Oster is a wonderful person with a fully intact moral compass who’s 100% able to empathetically relate to others!! But … IF … on the off chance it were a true statement so she did declare it on twitter, it might seem complicated to her, but to us it would be the simplest most logical explanation for her actions. We’d go, oh! She’s a sociopath! Oh my God, now it all makes perfect sense! Hahahahaha I get it now hahahahaha because we live in hell!!)
Continuing our analysis of the paragraph now, remember when former President Obama said, “We can’t go back, we can only go forward,” in regard to the DOD/CIA black sites and “enhanced interrogation methods” used under former President Bush? Well, Emily here is pulling a Barack: hey now, folks, we can’t go back so what’s the use in doom looping?
But doom, like amnesty, is an astonishing word to use. It means death and destruction. Yes, we use it in the vernacular because doom and gloom rhyme. But really doom means we are shortly to find ourselves the subject of the wrath of God himself. “Doomed for eternity” ring a bell? We know it means getting punished, by GOD, for making a terrible terrible mistake — forever! This is the word choice of someone who is in a dark place psychologically. (At one point, in what is now considered to be an archaic use of the word, per the Oxford Dictionary, Judgment day was also known as the Last Doom.) And the doom loop sounds a lot like the hell loop referenced in the TV show “Lucifer” where the person can never escape hell and must relive the most horrible moments of their lives over and over and over, as punishment for being bad people on earth. Doom means what we did is so bad that it precludes redemption. My God, Professor Oster, what did you do? You are getting shame all over the floor and the twitter and the Atlantic — go clean up! It does not mean she feels guilt or regret. I posit that guilt is what we feel when we regret causing someone pain; shame is what we feel when we get caught.
Now let’s go to Churchill. You know the quote: “Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it.” But she misquotes it and says, “those who forget history.” It’s not uncommon to insert/embed little secret command statements in both written and spoken speech when we are trying to persuade (manipulate) someone.
Just forget history.
And why would we want to avoid learning from history? If what we did during that history would earn us a punishment so severe it rivaled the wrath of God.
In that vein, let’s look at another passage from her piece:
“All of this gloating and defensiveness continues to gobble up a lot of social energy and to drive the culture wars, especially on the internet. These discussions are heated, unpleasant and, ultimately, unproductive. In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck. And, similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing. Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.”
Now, my first read-through, I heard her condescending HR tone, patronizingly correcting you for directly confronting a bully coworker instead of going crying like a baby to tattle to mommy in Human Resources. But — then — I realized that she was confessing when she writes, “getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing.” Oh but it was. It was egregiously and gravely remiss of anyone to demand or coerce churches and schools to close and keep Walmart and Target open while the mom and pop shops went under and out of business. It was unethical, immoral, and unjust to developmentally delay tiny babies and little children by covering your and their face with a mask. It was ludicrous and sadistic to change definitions of the words “vaccine” and “herd immunity.” Forcing people to disclose their medical records to bosses and coworkers was a blatant violation of privacy that the corrupt infiltrated ACLU even backed, to say nothing of the obscenity of being forced to endure a medical procedure against your will in order to keep your job! Yes, Emily, you failed. You morally failed.
So … now read it again as if the FBI (we’re speculating in a fun thought experiment! The FBI doesn’t actually care about you — but pretend for a second they do and their bosses won’t have the evidence disappeared) has discovered personal email chains going back and forth between her, B Gates, Dr Garden Gnome & cc-ing everyone on the Pfarma board from February 2020 about how it’s almost go-time and they’re all going to be filthy rich from vaccine mandates and hey, bae/boo, looking forward to partying with you all in Barbados on Klaus’ yacht. Obviously, this is ridiculous and over the top (because Emily Oster is no major player, she’s a pawn parrot, er I mean, canary) but when someone tells me further discussion would ultimately be unproductive, I hear the desire underlying the words: desire for silence, secrecy, and sweeping something under the rug. All of a sudden, the fear underlying the overconfident tone, the arrogant presumptuous prediction of the future as requiring you, unvaxxed untouchable, to sit down and shut the fuck up rises to the top. It’s as though she’s poo-pooing us! Why would that be? Fear. Because she’s afraid she did something so wrong that it might be considered illegal. (And if not her, whoever encouraged her to write the piece.) Finally, each of the five sentences is a declaration of reality from a position of authority — these types of statements are made by judges and people who write policy. Read each sentence again: each one is a statement of opinion as if it were a fact. Let’s pick one: “Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.” A non-psycho would say, “If I had known then what I do now, I wouldn’t have wanted our kids to be locked down, masked, and learning over Zoom, and I don’t want this issue to keep dividing our country. I wish I had known and made different choices.” Nope, each sentence is crafted very VERY carefully to avoid any acceptance of responsibility (culpability!) or regret. There’s not one I-statement in the entire paragraph! Remember “we made complicated choices”? LOL! Not an iota of emotion or responsibility for anything. So condescending. Then I go back and I read it again in vocal creak as if I, in my Deep State Valley Girl character, was the one who wrote it and I cheer myself up. I do my best to find the humor in this gray area realm called Earth, and I hope you do too.
I don’t think this woman feels bad for a second for behaving like an actual monster. (She feels bad she got caught.) But her speech/writing patterns seem to reveal, in my analysis, that’s she’s very very worried that you might be angry. That we all might be very very angry. And ready to demand justice. The only thing we’re going to forget is Amnesty. And what are we going to embrace? Atonement.
But like I say, it’s just a hypothesis.
Funny tik tok!!
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