When you want to move on from the damage you helped cause but haven't told the truth about it
Dr. Emily Oster, the Brown University economist who spent a good part of the pandemic response denying that her own data indicted the uselessness of masking kids in schools, published an article in The Atlantic today, calling for “a pandemic amnesty.” Short version: Let’s chalk up the devastation caused by fear-driven policies to benign ignorance and good intentions.
Eugyppius captured my sentiments with rhetorical brilliance, when he characterized Oster as a “comfortable and clueless Ivy League mommyconomist who is ready to mouth support for basically any pandemic policy that doesn’t directly affect her or her family and then plead that the horrible behaviour and policies supported by her entire social milieu are just down to ignorance about the virus.”
Oster’s implicit claim that next-to-nothing was known about SARS-CoV-2 - and therefore all the pointless, unethical, & illegal things people were forced to do are understandable - isn’t the pathway to healing, because it’s dishonest. Inexplicably, she denies that, from the get-go, we knew (for example)
covid’s risks were highly skewed toward sick elderly people,
plexiglass & masks don’t stop viruses,
school closures are harmful, and
exposure quarantines & contact tracing are useless.
She also defends things like closing beaches as “hard calls that people had no choice but to make with imperfect knowledge.” This twisted thinking - this Osterism, I’ll call it - both a) denies the truth about what was known, and b) excuses doing the worst, most non-sensical and predictably harmful things in the name of not knowing.
If an out-of-touch professor were the only person pushing such ideas, we could ignore it. Unfortunately, other vocal credentialed experts - not to mention public officials, school & church leaders, and friends/family members who embraced all manner of superstitious and harmful mitigations - have a similar mindset.
Osterism in any form will never, ever lead to healing, nor will it prevent this nightmare from happening again.
By contrast, those who promulgated the mass delusion need to follow a process along these lines:
Admit the wrong you did — accurately, specifically, & without excuse-making.
Explicitly acknowledge that what you did was wrong, in effect if not intent, and damaging.
Humbly ask for forgiveness.
Receive forgiveness from those willing to extend it.
Make restitution (if possible).
Put guardrails in place that prevent yourself (& others) from doing it again.
Osterists would prefer to bypass these steps and re-brand under Preventing the Next Pandemic, taking no real ownership. In their world, the only Purveyors of Disinformation were those who promoted injections — bleach injections, that is. 🙄
Do I want us all to “move on,” like Emily does? Absolutely.
But the road to relief begins at the intersection of confession & truth, not avoidance & prevarication.
Brownstone Institute has republished this post.
Other Substack articles on Emily Oster’s faux-pology:
Amazing to think that she thinks it's ok that experts were ignorant and clueless. If my financial guy panics and tries random stuff (eg selling) everytime the market goes down, he needs to be fired and is not an expert, he is a hack.
And in the case of our officials they purposely misled and censored so there needs to be punishment.
Then we can move on 👍
The information was always out there. I’m not a nurse, or doctor, or any kind of medical person, yet I was able to see the truth about what was going on very quickly. I was able to protect myself, my family, and my immediate circle of friends by listening the many doctors who urged caution and then provided actual scientific studies. Doctors like Malone, McCullough, Zelenko, FLCCC, AAPS, etc, etc, etc, offered prevention and treatment options. The fact that many politicians, physicians, and media chose to censor and demonize us without ever bothering to do the research is appalling. I’m not ready to chalk it up to “we didn’t know”….they CHOSE not to know, for whatever reason.