When it comes to COVID, experts just want us to listen and obey

Less than 100 years ago, the United States of America practiced eugenics.  The inventor of Kellogg's cereal, John Harvey Kellogg, created the Race Betterment Foundation, dedicated to the proposition that bad genes create unworthy human beings.  He should have stuck to his Corn Flakes.

Kellogg was joined by many experts.  A pedigree register was created.  A Eugenics Records Office was opened to track genetic traits.  The office found that the people most unfit for reproduction were immigrants, minorities, and those living in poverty.  The experts performed forced sterilizations in the thousands.

In 1927, the experts on the Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization of handicapped people did not violate the Constitution.  Oliver Wendell Holmes summed up the philosophy of the eugenicist when he wrote, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

The experts had spoken, and until World War II and the eugenics of the Nazis, the people were expected to be quiet and obey.  After the eugenic experiments of Josef Mengele came to light, the experts admitted they were wrong about eugenics.

Still, as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Today the experts are more sure of themselves than ever.


Image: American eugenics congress logo, 1921.  Public domain.

The experts have informed the American people that masks protect against COVID, that vaccines are needed to protect the masked against COVID, that there is nothing to worry about in the fact that new variants of COVID are overwhelmingly infecting the vaccinated, and that it is a mistake to believe that COVID vaccinations block COVID infection.  The experts are starting to realize that none of this makes any sense, but they forge ahead trying to get their message out.  At this point, their message seems to be that we should squash any qualms we have about the expertise of those in power and blindly obey whatever diktat they choose to hand down.

What is particularly distressing to the experts is that Americans are starting to ignore their dire warnings, their contradictory rules, and their unreasonable mandates.  The White House is being accused of bungling the message, as if all that is needed is a better explanation for why people should let their lives be ruined with an endless pandemic of the sniffles.

Masks, mandates, tests, isolation, shuttering of businesses, an end to travel — these things would not be a problem if the public would just heed the experts.  We just need to understand better why we must obey the experts on these points.

As Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Association of County and City Health Officials, argues, "guidance needs to be simpler and easier for the public to comprehend.  'The bumper sticker version is much easier than the three-page version or even the three-paragraph version,' she says."

I've got a bumper-sticker for Ms. Casalotti, and all the experts that are pushing their message on us: the Titanic was built by a team of experts, and the ark was built by a single amateur.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a 21st-century black teenager who goes back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South. 

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