Once again, the general theme is how some people think things through, and how others prefer “stories” or being told what to think. Heroes and villains; conservative media vs. coastal elites; when an enemy is not a speaker of a foreign language; why vaccine mandates, why American life-spans have fallen behind Europe’s, how the big lies started after 9/11.
(I haven’t been home most of the day, so I’ll draw from links and comments I compiled a week or so ago.)
Slate, 8 Sep, Mary Wilson: The Radio Hosts Taking COVID Denial to Its Grimmest Endpoint
More about the dying radio hosts, but more generally thoughts about how conservatives think.
I like to portray conservative media as a soap opera geared toward men, which means there have to be heroes and villains. The No. 1 hero in conservative media is the host: the guy who’s going to defend your values, who’s going to fight for you against people who you think are scorning you. Who are the villains? In a lot of cases, they come from what talk radio has long called the “liberal establishment,” and that is the Democratic Party. It’s the mainstream media. It is universities and bastions of intellectualism. It is Hollywood. In short, it’s what they view as like cultural elites, people from the two coasts who sneer at the heartland and look down on it. That matters for COVID-19, because who is telling people to get vaccinated? It’s the government, it is medical authorities, it’s people at the CDC, it’s highly educated elites. So it’s kind of natural that hosts would be asking questions or raising doubts about COVID-19 and what the authorities are saying, because it fits so seamlessly with what this medium has done for 30 years. It’s a natural extension of things.
And: Slate, 9 Sep, William Saletan: Why the Party of 9/11 Couldn’t Handle COVID-19, subtitled, “Republicans don’t know how to deal with this new kind of enemy.”
The simple truth is that Republicans don’t know how to deal with this kind of enemy. It doesn’t speak Arabic, Farsi, or Chinese. It doesn’t invoke the name of Allah. Politicians can’t rile up crowds or raise money by uniting Americans against it, as they did by railing against “radical Islamic terrorism.” In this respect, COVID has been a test of character. It challenged Republicans to decide whether they’re a party of national security, or just a party of grievance and animosity. That question has now been answered.
Slate, 10 Sep, Jordan Weissmann: Five Extremely Simple Reasons Why Biden Made the Right Call Mandating Vaccines
Namely, People are dying; The economy is still struggling; We’ve given people enough time; Businesses Want Their Employees Vaccinated but Have Been Too Scared to Mandate It; Most Americans Support Vaccine Mandates
The Atlantic, 12 Sep, Derek Thompson: Why Americans Die So Much, subtitled, “U.S. life spans, which have fallen behind those in Europe, are telling us something important about American society.”
We’re a long way from a complete understanding of the American mortality penalty. But these three facts—the superior outcomes of European countries with lower poverty and universal insurance, the equality of European life spans between rich and poor areas, and the decline of the Black-white longevity gap in America coinciding with greater insurance protection and anti-poverty spending—all point to the same conclusion: Our lives and our life spans are more interconnected than you might think.
For decades, U.S. politicians on the right have resisted calls for income redistribution and universal insurance under the theory that inequality was a fair price to pay for freedom. But now we know that the price of inequality is paid in early death—for Americans of all races, ages, and income levels. With or without a pandemic, when it comes to keeping Americans alive, we really are all in this together.
Salon, 11 Sep, Lucian K. Triscott IV: 9/11 and the birth of the Big Lie, subtitled, “Those attacks, and how we reacted to them, tore us apart as a nation — by destroying our shared sense of reality.”
Namely, the War on Terror, the Iraq War, the weapons of mass destruction, and so on.
We wasted all those lives, American and Afghan and Iraqi and German and Australian and Polish and every other soldier from every other NATO country who died fighting “terror.” And we killed hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi people for nothing.