In the age of COVID-19, anti-elitism leads to death

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Anti-elitism killed John McDaniel.

On social media McDaniel publicly disparaged efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

One screenshot of a post dated March 13 included an accusation that the virus was a “political ploy.”

“If you’re paranoid about getting sick, just don’t go out,” another post allegedly said. “It shouldn’t keep those of us from Living Our Lives. The Madness has to stop.”

A month later he was dead. The proximate cause was coronavirus. The real cause was anti-elitism.

Do Trump supporters love themselves as much as they hate elites?

I’m old enough to remember when doctors and scientists were respected. That was before a political party weaponized anti-elitism in the effort to win elections.

It started by encouraging distrust of government. President Ronald Reagan famously declared:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.

Over time it expanded to include the people who might support activist government, the “elites.” Instead of responding to the threats identified by “elites” in science and medicine, anti-elitists began condemning those who brought them any news they didn’t want to hear.

Anti-vaxxers didn’t like vaccines so they publicly vilified the doctors and scientists who created them. They attack any effort to maintain one of the greatest public health advances of all time.

Oil and coal interests didn’t want to hear about climate change so they publicly vilified the scientists who raised the alarm. They and their followers attack any effort to protect us from the environmental tragedy that we have been racing toward.

Our current President and his followers didn’t want to hear about the dangers of coronavirus so they publicly vilified the “elitist” doctors who warned about it.

Instead of taking measures to head off the pandemic, Trump and his supporters discounted the frantic calls to action of “elitist” epidemiologists and insisted it wouldn’t arrive.

Instead of quickly mobilizing social distancing to prevent spread of the virus, they derided those measures (they were recommended by elitists!) and insisted they were unnecessary efforts designed to socially control populations for nefarious ends.

Instead of quickly implementing the testing developed by the hated elitists at the World Health Organization, the Federal government insisted on developing its own test that was an embarrassing failure.

Instead of providing protective equipment for “elitist” health professionals, they have instead confiscated protective equipment that states managed to source for doctors and nurses.

At every step of the way, the Federal government has openly disparaged “elitist” scientists and callously risked the lives of “elitist” doctors and nurses.

Anti-elitism has become such a knee jerk reaction that instead of doing everything possible to avert economic disaster, Trump supporters including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have labeled rescue measures as “Blue State bailouts” designed to protect hated Democratic elites.

Anti-elitism has become such a reflexive response that instead of staying far away from others who might be carrying the virus, Trump supporters are holding rallies to show their contempt for safety measures.

But the anti-elitists have a big problem: the hated elites could have reduced the scale of this massive tragedy and they are the ONLY people who can bring it to an end.

Thus far nearly every prediction that “elites” have made about COVID-19 has come to pass. Nearly every prediction made by anti-elitists has been wrong, often spectacularly wrong.

So there’s only one question left for anti-elitists:

Do they love themselves and their families more or, like John McDaniel, do they hate “elites” so much that they’re willing to die for no better reason than to demonstrate their contempt?

  • Amazed

    Anti-elitism is a thing. Around me, people are getting tired of the quarantine measures, especially when there AREN’T any piles of corpses down the street when they look out the window. Which results in all kind of talks and “elite bashing”.

    Don’t get me wrong, IMO the health measures here were implemented quite wrongly and the economic ones are almost non-existent for everyone who doesn’t belong to “our guys” – and to self-employed individials like myself there is no “almost”. But I don’t delude myself that just because there isn’t a mountain of corpses in front of me, the danger isn’t real.

    Here, a few days ago the measures were relaxed – and most people reacted as if it was because of the disease being contained when it isn’t. It’s a political decision. But many people seem to neglect safety just because the “promised” apocalypsis still hasn’t materialized – and they don’t want to think about the fact that with less than mass testing, we still have an everyday increase in the numbers of infected people. And that’s WITH people being conscientious about isolation in the first weeks.

    Well, at least this time, quarantine coincides with a flare-up of my reumatism, so I’m not the only one to stay home anyway.

  • Azuran

    Although anti-elitism is not as bad were I live, we had our fair share of ‘elite bashing’ around here against doctors.

    Facing massive shortage in personnel in nursing home, our prime minister kept asking specialist doctors to basically be nurses and support staff and just do anything and everything to help.
    The whole population had a field day with the idea of putting those ‘elite doctors’ back in their ‘place’ and have them mop the floor and change diapers.
    And then they got mad that very few of them actually volunteered. (Most cited reason was the very legitimate fear that they would get infected and then wouldn’t be able to keep working their usual jobs.)

    But it was just overall a very stupid thing to push for, doctors are a very limited and valuable resources. You can’t send them nilly willy in super contaminated work environment to do nurse and support staff jobs (that they likely don’t even really know how to do because that’s not what they trained to do) and them do what? Wait around at home for 2 weeks because now they can’t do their job while the rest of the medical system collapse? Or worst make them work and then end up with epidemics in the hospitals?

    There were so many other and far better options. But none of them were even discussed. Because the prime minister wanted people with ‘medical experience’ and apparently specialists doctors were the only kind of professional he could think about.

    I mean, we had a nurse who worked between a nursing home and her normal hospital shift. Then she tested positive. And people where absolutely OUTRAGED that she was allowed to work at both places at the same time. But it was fine for specialists doctors to do it, because people just wanted to fantasize about them picking up shit.

    Even my sister in law, who is a freaking dental hygenist and is
    currently not working due to COVID got on the doctor bashing bandwagon, even though her own medical trainning made her just as, if not even more, equipped to work in nursing homes. (But of course she didn’t volunteer herself.)

    And weeks later, the situation in nursing homes is still a shit show and nothing really productive is being done about it.

    • PeggySue

      If either the nursing home or the hospital would pay its staff living wages, they might not have to worry about staff taking second jobs. Just a thought. And, yeah, lots of problems with the idea of sending specialist doctors.

    • rational thinker

      This is completely off topic but since you are a veterinarian I need to ask you something. I hope you don’t mind I am just very worried right now.

      I have a almost 12 year old cat he is a domestic short hair tabby cat. He is very overweight at 25 pounds even though he has never been an over eater. He cant currently bathe himself either cause he is too fat to reach. He is neutered since he was 5 months old an has always been a very healthy cat.

      About 7 weeks ago he started coughing. At first he would only do it a couple of times a day. For the past 2 weeks he has been coughing at least 2 times per hour and it is more like a coughing fit lasting about 30 seconds each time. The cough sounds like when a human has bronchitis and has a crackle sound like mucous breaking up in the chest/throat. If one of the other cats start playing with him he will get a coughing fit as soon as ten seconds after he started playing.

      He also has a history of sometimes eating non edible items. One time he vomited up some compacted garbage that was about 5 inches long and had a diameter of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. It was a mix of hair, plastic, and even a few pieces of Easter basket grass from three weeks prior.

      Getting him to the Veterinarian office has not been possible this past month due to Covid-19 and the Vet office have not even returned any of my calls.

      • StephanieJR

        I hope your kitty stays well, at least until you can get to a vet. Is it possible for you to call one to discuss it in detail, even if they can’t see you they might be able to offer an opinion, or go to a cat forum for help/support? Does he have any other symptoms – runny nose, bleary eyes, lethargy, etc?

        • rational thinker

          No other symptoms. Our usual vet retired like 2 months ago so we didnt get a new one yet. With everything shut down its hard to get a new one right now. Thanks for the well wishes.

      • Azuran

        Sorry took a day for me to notice your comment, (as for many, it’s a little overwhelming in my house right now ^^’)
        Sometimes it can be a little hard to differentiate between coughing and vomiting for animals. But I’d lean more toward coughing, since it’s been going on for a couple of weeks, is increasing and you don’t say he’s also been throwing up lately.

        If your cat goes outside or you recently adopted another cat, infection could be possible.
        Otherwise, it’s most likely to be some kind of respiratory condition, like asthma or chronic inflammation due to irritants or allergens. Although it usually presents with difficulty breathing, sometimes plural effusion can also cause cough, and cats are….somewhat predisposed to this, I see a couple of those per months.

        The fact that it’s progressing is very bothersome and worries me. Cats lungs are one of their biggest weakness. They will commonly develop severe complications like pulmonary oedema and acute respiratory distress when left untreated. That’s definitely a cat I’d want to see and do a chest X-ray. (Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but with respiratory illnesses in cats, it’s better to be safe than sorry)

        I know it’s really hard to see a vet (we are totally swamped at my clinic too) But call around at any clinic you can (Ask directly for an appointment, not to speak to someone, it’s unlikely anyone will have the time to call back), might be worth to check at emergency clinics around where you live, might be a little more expensive, but they might be able to see you quickly.

        In the meantime. Keep your cat at strict rest and try to get rid of anything that could be irritant: perfumes, air fresheners, desinfectants, dusts, etc. Keep the litterbox clean. (If you must desinfect or use cleaning products, put your cat in another room and if possible open the windows after to allow fresh air in once you are done)

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          (we are totally swamped at my clinic too)

          This is what my wife has experienced, too. They are extremely busy.

        • rational thinker

          Thank you for the advice. One other thing I did notice is the past 2 days I have had the window open all day and when he is sitting in the window or close by it he only coughs half as much. So I just bought an air filter online and I am keeping windows open for him. Hopefully I can find a vet to take him to, there are a few more places I have to call today. Thank you!

  • mabelcruet

    Another preventable baby death-a baby less than 6 months of age dying of whooping cough.

    http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2018/07/NR-First-infant-death-from-Pertussis-whooping-cough-confirmed.pdf

    • rational thinker

      I think the vaccination recommendation is falling on deaf hears. I have a feeling not vaccinating may have been why the baby died in the first place.

      • Grey Sweater

        I live in sort of a hippy enclave around seattle and this sort of thing is increasing lately. An obsession with the future covid vaccine and how to avoid it. After measles ripped through here last fall (we lived in fear, much more stressful for us than even covid now) I though people might soften their stances toward vaccines. Wrong.

  • Heidi

    We are screwed here in Tennessee. Our dumb poopbag of a governor Bill Lee made it where county mayors override city mayors. County mayors are always conservative and in the bigger cities, like Knoxville, city mayors are not. So our idiot of a county mayor, Glenn Jacob’s, a former wrestler who went by Kane is opening our city way too early and is fueled with right-wing, libertarian media sources to justify it. His Twitter is enraging. He is tired.of the “liberal elites,” aka Andrew Cuomo being on the news. Uh yeah, Kane he is a lot bigger deal than you. That’s how it goes. No one wants to see a brain-damaged wrassler, ignorant, narcissistic idiot on the national news.

    • Heidi

      Oh,and we are reopening on the heels of having had the biggest amount of cases for our state yesterday.

      • PeggySue

        ohfergodsake. I feel for all the people that will HAVE to go back to work who will not be safe. He is posturing at risk of their lives.

        • Heidi

          Welp, I think a lot of businesses just aren’t bothering to open up here in Knoxville. I hope that will keep us from a major uptick in disease and death here. These politicians are overlooking the fact that taking socially distancing measures interfere with being able to make money. Restaurants and theatres cost more to run at quarter capacity than they can bring in.

    • KQ Not Signed In

      No one wants to see a brain-damaged from wrasslin’, ignorant, narcissistic idiot on the national news.

      The one in the white house is one too many already.

      • Heidi

        I was like he didn’t “wrestle”. . . but now I’m remembering he did.

  • Amazed

    Every day, I have to suffer the theories of conspiracy voiced by a dear friend. Bad thing is, I can’t really argue with her because she’s having untreated problems and worse, I’m almost sure the psychologist she trusts blindly is only using her but that’s a long story… She has recently developed a superiority complex and can’t see how ridiculous is to paint herself as the voice of reason when she was the first to trust the 5G theory and every other ridiculous theory of conspiration and then abandon them for the next one. If she were healthy, I would have had a very serious word with her. Currently, another friend and I are biting our tongues.

    I was out for a walk today. I was going mad at home. I made a 8 km walk, fully intending to keep my distance and whatever. It turned out that there were very few people to keep distance from. The city looks dead. I didn’t feel it because I live near a market where life is always chaotic. But the central parts that used to be full of people, always… look like deserted. Shops are opened (a whole ‘nother can of worms) and there is no one to enter. It’s horrible.

    • PeggySue

      I’m so sorry you are having to deal with your friend. I wish she could have appropriate treatment. And I hope you have other friends to talk to!

      • Amazed

        Thank you. Yes, I do have other friends but this one… we were kind of a trio, you see. Three ladies of similar interests who had known each other for years. We work in the same field. We were always there for each other. And I hate that out of necessity to be gentle with her, we vent at each other because it isn’t just this conspiracy thing. She’s becoming a know-it-all who always knows best, even in areas where she only has superficial knowledge and WE have specialized. It sucks to be constantly lectured. We’re turning into a duo and – and the one in the clutches of “the most important person in her life”. FFS, when someone came to you because her family was horrified that she was borderline anorexic, among other things, in the first place, you NEVER tell her that she had gotten more rounded recently. Because even I, a layperson, could say that she would diet herself to fall below 40 kg
        again…

        • PeggySue

          Good gravy. What a complicated mess. There are so many decent therapists out there that every time I hear about some wingnut I just see red. I’m sorry for you, though, at what feels like the destruction of a once-good friendship.

          • Amazed

            Thank you. It is a mess – and heavens know that if I knew I would get away with it, I’d give him a good beating. You don’t treat patients this way. You don’t flirt with them by complimenting them like a 15 year old. And you. don’t. tell. them. anything. like. you’re. fatter. now. Not when they’re still under 50 kgs. Jesus. She starved for four days but she “got back to shape”.

            It sucks to vent at each other about her behind her back. It feels filthy. But it’s really getting tough on everyone. To top it all, there are questions in the guild. Other people have also noticed her inappropriate behavior so we have to be always at the ready to deflect questions.

            Meanwhile. the nugwit is getting all the adoration for ruining her life. He UNDERSTANDS her, you see. I can’t say I have any personal experience with therapists myself but if for three years, the only thing you have to show is that your patient is basically bi-polar and antagonizing everyone about her, having grand plans that cannot be carried out because this isn’t how business works, is almost as thin as she was when she first came to you… it isn’t much to write home about. She doesn’t want to hear about any other therapist, though.

  • Case in point- the US president actually advocated for injecting disinfectant. And like … obviously don’t do that, but if someone does do it, I almost don’t care anymore? They got what they deserved for being too stupid to live? It’s not very nice, but I’m getting awfully tired of caring about people who are actively trying to destroy themselves and the rest of us along with them.

    • rational thinker

      I actually just came here to post about the disinfectant statement. I really hope he keeps on saying stupid shit, it could ruin his reelection chances.

    • Mel

      Personally, my concern is for people who do not have great English fluency. There’s a lot of weird shit on the internet to start with and I remember helping adults who were learning English to decipher fake checks the received from car dealerships as advertising ploys because the idea of a fake check as a marketing tool was so foreign.

      That’s why I worry about what happens when we’ve had a president who mused about injecting people with disinfectants or like lavaging their lungs for a minute with disinfectant…..like that adds a level of patina to the entire idea that is missing for most native English speakers.

    • PeggySue

      What has happened is a distressing number of calls to poison control centers about consumption of disinfectants. I agree with Mel below. And I think he has blood on his hands.

      • He has sooo much blood on his hands for so many reasons, but yes, we can add this one to the list.

    • rational thinker

      The last time he recommended a drug for corona a Texas man died. The drug he pushed is also found in something for home aquariums so the man took that and died. Im not sure of the specifics but it went something like that.

      • I thought it was in Arizona, but yes. The man and his wife both drank it, and she was hospitalized but recovered while he died. That was part of that whole hydroxychloroquine BS.

        • rational thinker

          I just don’t get how people can be that stupid. How do you take the word of some moron who has shown himself time after time to be nothing but a corrupt, stupid, vain piece of shit excuse for a human being. He is not a doctor he is a professional con artist and thats it. It just fucking baffles me.

          • KQ Not Signed In

            It’s a cult. Cults gonna cult.

            Before the Kool-aid jokes start – it was FLAVOR-aid at Jonestown. The more you know!

        • Question Everything

          It’s recently been reported that the husband and wife weren’t even Trump fans and that the husband was a very bright engineer. Yet on a whim he and his wife decide to do something so blatantly stupid? Then he dies and she survives. Not surprisingly, the police are now investigating the event. I think there is more to this than “Trump’s recommendation convinces man to drink toxic fish tank cleaner, resulting in his death.”

          • Being an engineer doesn’t mean you know anything about chemistry or biology. He can be very bright in one area and know nothing about other areas. Additionally, one doesn’t have to be a Trump supporter to think that the President of the United States might know something useful. I mean, it’s Trump, so anyone who’d been paying attention should know better, but usually even a president who wasn’t my favorite/my choice could be counted on to provide useful information and advice during a major pandemic.

            You can think whatever you want, of course, but being hyperskeptical doesn’t actually win you any cool kid points.

          • Question Everything

            It’s quite ironic to lob an insult like that on a blog like this. I for one am glad that not everyone is willing to permit political narratives to stand in the way of critical inquiry and common sense.

          • Why is that so? Skepticism is healthy. Hyperskepticism is not. The fact that you have allowed your political narrative to go to your head (it’s not Trump being dumb, couldn’t possibly be that, let’s spin a super-complicated and conspiracy-like tale instead of looking at the plain facts of the matter) doesn’t actually mean others have. Projection is a thing, and you are doing it.

          • Question Everything

            Super complicated and conspiracy like? If you want to look at plain facts, at least what is being reported now is that wife had a history of domestic violence against the husband and she mixed the fish tank cleaner into his drink. If the reporting is accurate, it’s pretty reasonable for the local PD to investigate this in my opinion. I honestly cannot understand how you think it’s more reasonable to assume that the PD is exhibiting unhealthy hyper skepticism and that the assigned detective is just letting pro-Trump politics get to his/her head. Not that it impacts the merits of my original point, but—like you—I’ve found Trump’s coverage of hydroxychloroquine to be beyond irresponsible and idiotic. But I still hate mindless politically-driven coverage of events (from both sides) and feel that it ought to be called out when it happens.

          • Heidi

            No, you are a liar who isn’t interested in the truth. The Mesa police confirmed that the New Beacon lied. thishttps://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/police-say-death-arizona-man-not-being-investigated-homicide-n1195591

            Yawn.

          • Question Everything

            I couldn’t access your article at your link. What I’ve read is that the Mesa PD confirmed an active ongoing investigation and wouldn’t comment except to say that it was not being treated as a homicide at this time. Death investigations like this are routine but apparently 6 weeks after this man’s death it remains open and active and homicide has not been ruled out. So my initial opinion that there may be something more to this particular case and that further investigation is reasonable is still a fair assessment. You can call me whatever you want but an opinion that an event deserves further inquiry is not a “lie” and actually is directly driven by the desire for the truth. The truth may end up being that this guy voluntarily and idiotically drank fish tank cleaner, or the truth may turn out to be something else.

          • Heidi

            Link works now. You were seeking info from the Free Beacon so no, you never wanted the truth.

          • MaineJen

            You couldn’t access an NBC news link? Okay, here you go…

            “Gary Lenius, a resident of Mesa, died on March 22 after he, along with his wife Wanda, consumed a version of chloroquine phosphate intended to treat fish for parasites.

            “This investigation is not being treated as a homicide. The death of Gary Lenius has not been ruled a homicide at this time,” Mesa Police Department spokesman Jason Flam told NBC News.

            Flam said the department’s homicide unit is involved because it “investigates all reported deaths within the City of Mesa” — from deaths related to car accidents to the elderly in hospice.”

          • MaineJen

            And just in case you don’t believe me

            “The Homicide Unit is part of the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and is responsible for the investigation of the following incidents:

            Homicide
            Industrial Accidents involving death
            Any natural or accidental death involving unusual circumstances
            Shootings involving department members
            Drowning
            Child and Infant death
            Any investigation deemed necessary by the Patrol Lieutenant and/or the Homicide Sergeant, with the concurrence of the Metro Lieutenant.
            Detectives assigned to the Homicide Unit are available 24 hours a day and respond to incidents throughout the City. ”

            https://www.mesaaz.gov/residents/police/divisions/criminal-investigations-division/homicide

    • Griffin

      Me too. I am trying to avoid giving out mental Darwin Awards to the people I see around me but my tolerance is wearing very thin these days…

    • demodocus

      Even if he was more musing aloud as the doc said, it was damnably stupid

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        He is the friggin president. If he wanted, he could have all the top infectious disease scientists in the country meet in the oval office this afternoon, and they would be there. And there he could muse all he wants, and ask all the questions he desires, and they’d answer them for him.

        There is no reason to do this at a friggin press conference. He should go there with answers, not questions.

        Although the other thing I’d note: even the muse of “can’t we find a way to take these things that kill the virus and get them inside the body” is a really stupid thing to be asking scientists. OF COURSE the idea is to take something that kills the virus and get it into the body. He pretends like it is something clever and profound. No, it’s friggin OBVIOUS.

        That’s not the problem. The problem is HOW do you do it, safely and effectively. Because the problem with things that kill the virus is that they are generally indiscriminate in the damage they do, so getting them into the body needs to be done properly.

        There is a whole field encompassing chemistry and biology that focuses on the concept of drug delivery, and you damn right, they are thinking about how to get anti-viral agents into the body. Of course, they’ve been thinking about this long before coronavirus came along, and they certainly don’t need Donald Trump’s advice on it.

        Targeted drug delivery is one of the most important aspects of medicinal chemistry. The concept is obvious, making it happen? That’s the hard part. I’ve seen a lot of really ingenious strategies for doing this, from colleagues and friends, with various levels of success. When they do it successfully, it gets used in medicine.

        If he really was just wondering about it, he could have just asked someone. He is the president. He has resources. There is no reason for ignorant “musing” at a press conference. There is no reason for a president to be no more informed than your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving.

        And that is the generous interpretation of the events.

        • demodocus

          Ye-ah, I noticed. We all know that ninny says whatever random “thought” drifts through his mind and that he’s an incompetent ignoramus

        • PeggySue

          I ate two shop lights as snacks yesterday and I am just fine. So there.

  • carovee

    Beautifully written.