Writing in The Atlantic on October 31, Brown University economist Emily Oster penned a pre-emptive plea for amnesty for Covid-policy hardliners. Why? Because they were all well-intentioned and their pronouncements rested on benign ignorance.
Judging by the numerous responses in print and social media and online commentary, the viral article lit the fuse on widespread, simmering but still raw anger. To many it suggests the lockdown zealots are incapable of introspection, of accepting culpability. Instead, they just want to move on to the next excuse to unleash blanket authoritarian control all over again.
Jessica Hockett has coined the word “Osterism” to describe the attitude of forgive, forget and move on from earlier finger-wagging, abusive and vile taunts because we didn’t know but meant well. Abracadabra. Puff! it’s all gone. ‘Twas but a bad dream, time to wake up and get going for the day’s activities.
Sorry, but the whole Covid debacle needs to be turned instead into a parable with a moral for the ages, to show how easy it is for a civilized society to be terrorized into believing blatant falsehoods and turn on one another with shocking savagery.