Lies, Gas-Lighting, and Glenn Youngkin

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

In high school, I dated a pathological liar. It took me about a year to figure it out. No one is accustomed to being lied to. We assume that what seems like a lie must be something else—a misunderstanding, good intentions, a little exaggeration.

Eventually though, you figure it out. Eventually, the pathological liar lies about something YOU know, something central to who YOU are. That’s what happened in Virginia. That’s why Glenn Youngkin is now governor of Virginia. Democrats demanded that parents internalize a lie. They asked them to internalize the lie that their concern for their children was not rooted in a sincere and well-meaning concern for their children, but in something ugly deep inside themselves. No one can internalize such a lie. We reject it like the virulent pathogen that it is.

I don’t know when democrats started blatantly lying. I only know when I realized it, when they lied about something I cared about, something I knew about, something that would affect me.

For me, that was in May of 2020. I was driving from New Hampshire to Newton. I listened in horror as NPR deliberately misled people by conflating infection fatality rate (IFR) and case fatality rate (CFR). I didn’t even know that’s what they were called at the time, but I knew what they were doing. They were misleading people and stoking fear by manipulating data and obfuscating the denominator.

I knew they were doing it for political purposes. I knew they thought it was a noble lie, one they thought would be effective in getting Trump out of office. I also knew that if they continued, kids—my kids—would not be in school come September.

I texted and called my friends and family, trying to get them to see this. I tried to put it in terms they would care about: “If they do this, Trump will run on sending kids back to school—and he’ll win. And he’ll deserve to win if they let him do that.” I never dreamed you could run on keeping kids out of school. But that’s what democrats did.

In this tweet, two of the people who were portrayed as some of the more level-headed of the pandemic--Ashish Jha, and Scott Gottlieb--are deliberately conflating the concepts of IFR and CFR, in order to scare people about kids. These kinds of tweets, by these kind of people were used by teachers unions to keep kids out of school. Let me explain this a little further.


When Dr. Gottlieb uses the number 338,000, he is using the number of cases positively identified by testing. He is citing the Case Fatality Rate. The case fatality rate (CFR) is calculated by dividing the number of deaths, by the number of cases positively identified via testing. But he knows (we all know) that there are many more cases than that, that were not caught, because they were mild or asymptomatic, or people chose not to test. As of today, November 15th, 2021 there are just shy of 1,000,000 COVID cases in kids confirmed by a positive test. However, the CDC now estimates in its COVID-19 "estimated disease burden" that there have been approximately 26,000,000 total infections in children (22 M symptomatic). That means the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) would be 663/1,000,000, or 0.06%. The Infection fatality rate is (IFR), is calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the total number of estimated infections, in this case 663 divided by 26,000,000, or 0.0025%--26 times less. The flu numbers Dr. Gottlieb cites are from the estimated disease burden for the 2018-2019 flu--they are the IFR. In the burden for that season, the CDC estimated 9.6 million symptomatic cases, and 372 deaths for an infection fatality rate of 0.004% (his numbers are wrong, too). By comparing two totally different numbers, COVID's CFR with flu's IFR, Dr. Gottlieb is deliberately misleading people to claim that COVID is more deadly for children than the flu. He knows this, and Dr. Jha knows this. They did it anyway, and the result was that in blue states, children did not have access to in-person education for most of last year.

The lies have just compounded (they had to, to support the original lie). To shield themselves, democrats and the media (little more than a megaphone for the democrat party) avoid discussing policies or ideas. Instead, they respond to every criticism, every alternative idea, with a Tourette’s like tic: “Trump! Racist!” “Racist! Trump”. It’s just that simple. And it worked. Or at least it did.

But the net the new left casts is so wide in its condemnation, eventually it catches us all. In the fullness of time, we all become “deplorable.” That’s also when we realize that being “deplorable” has nothing to do with Trump, and everything to do with the disdain-surfeited people who hurl the insults.

The status of deplorability has nothing to do with any individual. It’s a moniker applied to silence debate, to compel consent. It works when you have respect for the people hurling the insults, when you’re afraid of being cast into the out-group. But when they lie about something you know deep in your bones to be untrue about you, or people you love, you stop respecting them. At that point they lose their power over you.

This is where at least half of Virginia voters found themselves. It’s where, with each passing day as cancel culture rages, more and more of the country finds itself. The insults have lost their sting. We know they are not true for us. Once we recognize how unjust they are for us, we see with embarrassing clarity that they were just as gratuitously and unfairly applied to friends and loved ones before us.

There have been so many lies over the last year-and-a-half. (I know many of you will say for much longer, and I know you are right). Each new lie penetrates some person to their core, igniting their fury. We are witnessing the conflagration of each person’s newly kindled indignation—and yes, it is catching. The conflagration is out of proportion to the lie that triggered each person’s indignation, because the indignation isn’t about the single lie that made someone say “that’s B.S.”. It is the fury that comes from understanding that someone abused your trust, that you have been lied to—repeatedly—and your good faith weaponized against others. This is the fire that is sweeping the nation.

The miserable spell of the awokening is being broken. The people who cast it are flailing, melting down, like so many Wicked Witches of the West. We are left, like Dorothy, somewhat bemused, perhaps a bit disappointed. How can it be that this ravening force which had kept us frightened and in thrall for so long could be vanquished with something as mild as water—for Dorothy—or saying “that’s ridiculous,” for the rest of us.

But here we are.

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