Writes Bretigne Shaffer:
This conflict we are in, the same one that has torn apart families and cost people their jobs and had them pack up and move across the country, it is, at its foundation, a conflict between light and dark, good and evil. In this war, the side of darkness has certain strengths, certain weapons, and the side of the light has strengths, weapons. They are not the same. The dark uses lies, fear, and brute force. The weapons of the light are the inverse: Truth, fearlessness, and love.
What she [Emily Oster] is asking for is something we’ve all had quite enough of already, thank you. She is asking for a waiver of accountability for all who are responsible for what has been done to us these past three years: The mendacious mathematical models; the deliberate public fear-mongering; the rights violations, the forced closures of businesses, schools, churches; the forced isolation of some of society’s most vulnerable people; forcing masks on children; teaching children to fear other humans; the centralized suppression of effective treatment; the suppression of information about effective treatment… and of course, the coerced, experimental, medical interventions, and the suppression of information about the harm those interventions cause.
All of this is supposed to be “forgiven”, because “we didn’t know.” As if ignorance grants some sort of free pass for human-rights violations on a massive scale, because when you “don’t know” (they did know), the obvious response is raw, unbridled authoritarianism. As if people who have committed similar acts in the past have not faced criminal prosecution.
So here’s our dilemma: If society is to function at all, there needs to be accountability. We need to be able to hold people accountable for their actions, or we end up with a criminal class that can inflict harm on everyone else, free of consequence. Indeed, this is very much where we find ourselves at this moment in time, and if we cannot find ways to hold the perpetrators accountable, then we should only expect that things will continue to get worse.
So I just seek out – with an urgency – opportunities to stay connected to humanity. Whether it’s expressing appreciation for a shop assistant or call-center operator, or taking time to write up a review of the guys who delivered my washing machine, I recognize the urgency of maintaining the strength of those threads in our social fabric, those connections, however small they may seem.
When there are forces arrayed against human connection, forces that thrive and grow stronger the more we are divided against each other, the task of connecting, and of loving one another becomes all the more urgent. We don’t have to forgive the unforgivable – or anything at all, if we’re unable to. And we certainly don’t have to abandon the endeavor of holding criminals accountable for their crimes. But our capacity for love is what separates us from the darkness. It is one of the only weapons we have to fight against it. We need to take it seriously.