January 7, 2022, saw panic porn–riddled disinformation peddled by Supreme Court justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan during the OSHA and CMS vaccine mandate arguments. You can read about it here and here. I unplugged from the live stream, disturbed by their commentary, believing that it revealed deeper cracks in our republic's foundation than those supposedly from January 6.
Justice Kagan challenged claims that OSHA's vaccine mandate exceeded its narrow emergency powers by arguing that nothing could be more necessary than protecting people in the workplace from COVID. Self-righteous and didactic, her opening salvo was riddled with superlatives, hyperbole, and "we all know what's best"–isms, a tactic that forces the opposition either to defend itself with facts to rebut hers or forgo that defense and carry on with their arguments. Her lecture starts on page 10 of the transcript:
This is a pandemic in which nearly a million people have died. It is by far the greatest public health danger that this country has faced in the last century. More and more people are dying every day. More and more people are getting sick every day. I don't mean to be dramatic here. I'm just sort of stating facts.
And this is the policy that is most geared to stopping all this. There's nothing else that will perform that function better than incentivizing people strongly to vaccinate themselves.
So, you know, whatever "necessary" means, whatever "grave" means, why isn't this necessary and grave?
And, finishes up on pages 12–13 with a brazen shout-out to OSHA:
We all know what the best policy is. I mean, by this point, two years later, we know that the best way to prevent spread is for people to get vaccinated and to prevent dangerous illness and death is for people to get vaccinated. That is by far the best.
The second best is to wear masks. So this is a policy that basically says, we are still confronting thousands of people dying every time we look around, and so we're going to put into place the policy that we know works best, which is to strongly incentivize vaccination and to insist that unvaccinated people will wear masks and test.
I mean, that's just — like, why isn't that necessary? What else should be done? It's — it's obviously the policy that's — that's geared to preventing most sickness and death, and the agency has done everything but stand on its head to show quite clearly that no other policy will prevent sickness and death to anywhere like the degree this one will.
This was nothing compared to 83-year-old Stephen Breyer's full-blown hysteria. (Perhaps he feels particularly vulnerable to COVID, given his age — after all, his own agist party has been pressuring him to resign so Biden can appoint a younger, longer-lasting progressive.) I've reproduced some of his comments from pages 17–20 of the transcript, but to truly appreciate the panic and fear in Breyer's voice, you should listen to the audio starting at 12:23:
I mean, there — there were three-quarters of a million new cases yesterday. New cases. Nearly three-quarters, 700-and-some-odd thousand, okay? That's 10 times as many as when OSHA put this rule in. The hospitals are today, yesterday, full, almost to the point of the maximum they've ever been in this disease, okay? And you heard references, studies, I mean, they — they vary, but some of them say that the hospitalization is 90 percent or maybe 60 percent or maybe 80 percent, but a big percent, filled up yesterday or the day before with people who are not vaccinated, okay? So that's — we're talking about now. And think of the stay requirements. It's both a balance of harms, it's also public interest. Can you ask us — is that what you're doing now, to say it's in the public interest in this situation to stop this vaccination rule with nearly a million people — let me not exaggerate — nearly three-quarters of a million people, new cases every day? I mean, to me, I would find that unbelievable. ...
How can it conceivably be in the public interest with three-quarters of a million people yesterday, goodness knows how many today — I don't want to repeat myself, but you have the hospitalization figures growing by factors of — of 10, 10 times what it was. You have hospitalization at the record, near the record. You have — you have — I mean, you understand the thing — things as well as I. And so I repeat my question, to me, it's unbelievable, but I want to hear what you say. How can it be in the public interest, which is a requirement, how can it be a balance of harms in this case, assuming the arguments aren't off the wall on the government's side, and believe me, they're not. Okay, that's what I want to hear the answer to.
I would think that workplace risk is about the greatest, least controllable risk with respect to COVID that any person has. ... And you have to be there with a bunch of people you don't know and who might be completely irresponsible. [Italics added.]
Her comment oozes with disdain for the sullied, misinformed masses of deplorable, irresponsible Neanderthals who didn't have the sense to get vaccinated.
Before Breyer attacks the unvaxxed, and at about 44:40 on the audio and pages 49–51 of the transcript, he has whipped himself into such a froth that he inflates the number of new cases to 750 million! He clearly misspoke, meaning to say 750,000, but it shines a light on his frenzied state of mind. Questioning how anyone could deny that the mandates were in the public interest, and unsatisfied with the attorney's response that up to 3% of the workforce would quit, Breyer commented:
Some people may quit, maybe 3 percent. But more may quit when they discover they have to work together with unvaccinated others because that means they may get the disease. Okay? [Italics added.]
No, it's not OK. First of all, we now know that anyone — the vaxxed, the boosted, and the unvaxxed — can transmit and contract omicron. And during delta, breakthrough infections were on the increase as "vaccine" efficacy waned — prompting a rush to boost despite the lack of supportive research.
But it is Breyer's use of "unvaxed others" that is most disturbing. Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River centers on a group of characters in Nazi Germany, including the female protagonist, who is afflicted with dwarfism, who are referred to as "the Other." It has come to be used to evoke sympathy for marginalized individuals who are mistreated by the mainstream. Yet Breyer stunningly targets the unvaxxed as "the Other" because they fall outside what he has determined is the permissible, necessary mainstream and are therefore unworthy of sympathy.
For some time now, the unvaxxed have lived in fear that they would be labeled and treated differently. Many of us predicted the inevitability of vaccine passports and compared them to wearing a scarlet letter U or yellow Jewish stars; being asked for our papers or having "Jew" stamped on our passports as the Soviets did. We were targeted as hyperbolic.
Now two Supreme Court justices are singling out the unvaccinated and accusing them of infecting everyone else with no acknowledgment that the vaxxed can just as easily infect the unvaxxed — not the first time in history the marginalized were characterized as vermin spreading deadly diseases.
Sotomayor, who is in her 70s, overweight and diabetic, came across angry and belched out a litany of COVID falsehoods. But I don't believe that age, weight, vax status, co-morbidities, or even political ideology or judicial philosophy is what accounts for Breyer's hysteria, Sotomayor's anger, and Kagan's hubris.
Their views are informed by the company they keep and the media they consume — socializing with their Ivy League brethren, feasting on a media diet of CNN and the New York Times, and living in a vacuum akin to the one described by New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael after Nixon was elected:
I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them.
Ew. They're Neanderthals. Irresponsible. The Unvaxed Others. You can see them on planes, food shopping, and at the doctor's office. Even with masks on, they're everywhere. Threatening. Infecting.
It's inconceivable to our Vaccinated Overlords that any rational person would forego the vaccine or listen to experts other than Il Fauci.
Their behavior underscores an irreparable divide in this country that is exacerbated by the corrosive and irrational fear of all things COVID that has infected otherwise rational minds — aptly coined "Mass Formation Psychosis" by mRNA pioneer Dr. Robert Malone.
How does a society function when divided into two groups that are fundamentally at odds with each other? It might not be tenable for the country to dissolve into two distinct nations, but we are so deeply divided that progressives don't want to live in a red America any more than conservatives want to live in a blue America. The middle ground for potential compromise has all but vanished on virtually every issue.
One side is convinced that COVID is so bad that government control is the only answer with freedom being a fungible good they are willing to sacrifice. They believe that everyone is at risk, people are dying in droves, hospitals are overrun, the vaccine is the only treatment, and we are obligated to vaccinate so we don't kill others.
"The Other" views freedom as the penultimate public good not to be bargained with except in extreme and limited circumstances...and they aren't convinced that COVID fits that bill. They are informed about alternative treatments, concerned about unknown long-term side-effects of a new medical technology, and skeptical of a government whose messaging is like the shifting sands.
These irreconcilable differences were reflected in the respective comments and questions of the progressives and conservatives of the Supreme Court on January 7. If the Court rules in favor of the mandates, millions will either be forcibly jabbed or forced into poverty. If it rules against the mandates, I hate to think what the hysterical masses will do.