Eleven 9/11s

Another grim milestone

Yesterday, it was apparent that the United States would surpass the 29,660 deaths that would constitute tenfold the US toll of the September 11 attacks. As of this morning, we were just over 1000 short. This afternoon, sadly, we’re way over:

That’s more than eleven 9/11s. It’s just shy of the 33,686 U.S. combat deaths from the entire Korean War.

The global totals are rather staggering, with well over 2 million cases and 170,000-plus dead. And that’s with China and Iran almost certainly grossly underreporting.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Health
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And that’s with China and Iran almost certainly grossly underreporting.

    We are grossly under reporting.

    23
  2. MarkedMan says:

    It’s almost certainly higher. Last week someone pointed out that NYC typically has around 25 deaths per day. On two days when there were roughly 250 deaths attributed to C19 there were about 225 additional deaths. So a net gain of about 200. If that number holds in a place like NYC it means there is a mulitiplier of 1.8. Who knows what the actual rate is in a Trump state.

    4
  3. reid says:

    And yet, the strategy from the right seems to have settled on “re-open the country, you stupid, over-reacting, panicky libs!” Never mind the small percent who will die. When a second wave of covid-19 washes over us in September, do we get to say “I told you so”?

    9
  4. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes. But not, I think, intentionally.

    @MarkedMan: Agreed.

    3
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: The states are responsible for counting. But they don’t have the tests to make sure. NY is now adding in all deaths that appear to be covid (iirc) but even that will be off by some number.

    None of which counts the people who die from other causes but either could not or would not seek treatment due to either fears of getting covid or just plain giving up because they “knew” they weren’t gonna get any help.

    We will have to do like Harvard (?) did with Hurricane Maria before we can have even an idea.

    4
  6. Andy says:

    As more evidence comes out that Covid potentially began in a Wuhan virology lab instead of a wet market, the less enamored I am of 9/11 comparisons.

    3
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andy: I have seen no credible evidence.

    NOW it lets me edit:
    @Andy: Correction: I have seen no reports from credible sources. I am certainly not qualified to judge the credibility of evidence.

    12
  8. Scott says:

    What I don’t understand is the mortality rate estimates that have been thrown out. WHO, based on China’s experience estimated 3.4%. Others, I’ve seen 1.2%. Just looking at the numbers today. Even if everyone who tested positive today recovered that would leave us 6.7% (142308/2145511) world wide or 33903/667572 or 5.1% US. So unless there are huge batches of infection that will be undetected, I don’t see how you are going to get low mortality rates. Granted I may be thinking about this all wrong. If I can be corrected, please do so.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andy: Correction: I have seen no reports from credible sources. I am certainly not qualified to judge the credibility of evidence.

    4
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: There is wide variance in mortality from one country to the next. They are trying to figure out why.

    3
  11. senyordave says:

    @Scott: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of question that a significant number of cases go undetected because they are mild and the person recovers fairly quickly. Obviously, if you require hospitalization you will end up being tested. Anecdotally, my brother is a pulmonologist, and he has seen some younger patients that he is almost certain are in that category. He tells them to get tested, but he can’t require them to be (since he is over 60 he only sees patients virtually as per the rules of the corporation he works for).

    1
  12. charon says:

    @Andy:

    As more evidence comes out that Covid potentially began in a Wuhan virology lab instead of a wet market, the less enamored I am of 9/11 comparisons.

    How does it make the slightest difference whether it accidentally escaped a virology lab, or came from a wet market, or crossed in some other way?

    Probability is low in any case we ever find out how it crossed, and so what?

    6
  13. Kathy says:

    I’d take reports of lethal viruses being created in the lab, had I not been hearing such rumors since the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

    You know, I wish it had been deliberately created. Anyone who’d do that would also have the time, and the knowledge, to also create a vaccine or a treatment.

    6
  14. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Scott: I have the same question. Even if you just count the US alone, we seem to currently have a 5% death rate, and that’s presuming all active cases recover (33,931 deaths out of 668,174 cases).

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: Because if it escaped from a virology lab:
    1) Faux News and Trump can assert that it wasn’t accidental?
    2) Faux News and Trump can assert that we are victims of evil Chinese machinations?
    3) Faux News and Trump can also assert that his dithering had no effect because we were obviously targeted?
    4) Faux News and Trump can also try to assert that the Democrats are in cahoots with the Chinese in a Deep State plot to undermine America and roughly 40% of the population will buy it?

    8
  16. Andy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    As I said, potential. I think it’s moved from crank theory land to a possible cause. As to sources, just about every news outlet is reporting today that the intel community is looking at this possibility along with the other theories and has made no conclusions as of yet.

    @charon:

    How does it make the slightest difference whether it accidentally escaped a virology lab, or came from a wet market, or crossed in some other way?

    In strategic terms, there is a huge difference.

    On one side, if the virus came from a random transmission at a wet market, that is just bad luck (even though we’ve known there is a danger there for at least a decade).

    On the other side, if this virus was released due to the incompetent or negligent actions of an agency of the Chinese government, then there are going to be a lot of people who are very very angry at the Chinese government and CCP, particularly all those who have lost family and friends. That includes Chinese victims. Especially given how the Chinese have acted since December. People would, rightly, blame the Chinese for those deaths along with the economic destruction and other tolls. That could have very big and bad geostrategic effects.

    But that is a big chain of if’s. Right now, it’s only a potential and not even the most likely one. But it’s one we should nonetheless be considering.

    3
  17. Moosebreath says:

    @Andy:

    “As to sources, just about every news outlet is reporting today that the intel community is looking at this possibility along with the other theories and has made no conclusions as of yet.”

    How likely do you think that they are only looking into this possibility solely due to orders from the White House? My bet would be that they looked into this months ago, found no evidence, and are now being ordered to look again.

    14
  18. Andy says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I have no idea and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence for or against that theory. Given how much this administration leaks like a sieve, if this is, in fact, nothing more than a WH-directed goose chase, we will know soon enough. For now, I’m not going to make assumptions without evidence.

    2
  19. Jay L Gischer says:

    The contra case is that several highly credible epidemiologists have said that humans just aren’t good enough at gene manipulation to make a virus like Covid-19.

    The amusing part of this (I have a sometimes dark sense of humor) is that the same people who think that the pointy heads don’t know anything and it’s “just math” also believe that enemy scientists are geniuses that know how to do things that no mortal humans have ever managed to do.

    Finally, we have an established M.O. of this administration where they get someone to announce “I’m investigating X” and use that to fuel a rumor mill that X happened. I mean, we’ve seen that pattern dozens of times.

    (Yeah, that’s destructive to credibility in general and for them in particular, but they don’t give a crap. The less everyone knows about anything, the better for them.)

    So. That’s why this doesn’t hang together for me.

    14
  20. Kathy says:

    @Monala:

    The big problem in the data is testing. There are some indications from countries that have tested widely, that some people who get infected and transmit the virus never get sick, or experience such mild symptoms it’s like having a cold. If you test only, or mostly, people with symptoms, or people suspected of being infected, then you’re undercounting infections by a huge factor.

    I’d look at countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Iceland, which have tested more extensively.

    According to the map at Johns Hopkins , out of 10,613 cases, there have been 229 deaths. That’s roughly 2%, but I don’t know if “confirmed cases” are how many showed symptoms or how many were infected. Taiwan gives a similar death rate, but Iceland’s is 0.4%

    3
  21. gVOR08 says:

    @senyordave:

    There doesn’t seem to be a lot of question that a significant number of cases go undetected because they are mild and the person recovers fairly quickly.

    One NY hospital tested all women coming in to deliver babies. One in eight tested positive although they were asymptomatic. Hardly a random sample of the population, and NY would have a relatively high infection rate. But this would imply the number of infected is closer to six million than to six hundred thousand. @MarkedMan: is probably about right and the death count is accurate within a factor of two. But the denominator is a wild guess at best.

    we’re flying blind without accurate, widespread testing.

    4
  22. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I also read that as far as they could determine, the virus evolved naturally.
    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-covid-19-not-human-made-lab-genetic-analysis-nature

    4
  23. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The contra case is that several highly credible epidemiologists have said that humans just aren’t good enough at gene manipulation to make a virus like Covid-19.

    If you mean by design, that’s probably so.

    But a lab investigating animal viruses perforce must have a source for specimens. This means, as far as I know, either keeping a stock of infected animals, or finding a way to cultivate the virus (by providing it with, say, tissue from its host species).

    In such a lab, a person or a few people could get infected by one of their research subjects, and then spread it in their community. The odds of that are not high.

    If the Chinese were developing SARS variants as a bioweapon, they would also develop a vaccine. It’s common sense. Like the first countries to use poison gas in WWI provided their troops with protective gear against it.

    5
  24. Andy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The contra case is that several highly credible epidemiologists have said that humans just aren’t good enough at gene manipulation to make a virus like Covid-19.

    Yes, the possibility that this was engineered was ruled out. What this line of investigation entails is a natural virus that was being studied in a lab which then escaped.

    2
  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    Yes. But not, I think, intentionally.

    I think it is most certainly intentional.
    Trump has an interest in keeping the numbers low. He said as much at the CDC campaign photo-op.

    “I would rather because I like the numbers being where they are, I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”

    In addition many red states are intentionally not testing at any significant scale.

    Which brings me to my real point; rural areas are just starting to really take notice of this. The numbers from places like South Dakota and others are going to explode in the coming weeks. Especially if they open up, at Trumps mis-guidance.

    2
  26. KM says:

    @Andy:
    The thing is that highly dubious theory is being pushed by people who are *incredibly* invested in it being anyone’s fault but their own. They need a scapegoat in the worst freakin’ way and pinning the blame on China is supposed to somehow absolve Trump’s incompetence. Anything, anything at all to distract from the lyin’ bloviator who’s been screwing this up for the get-go. It’s that trustworthy thing again; why in god’s name should we believe them when there’s no credible evidence other then nearness of location?

    It’s a conspiracy theory to try and make a human villain so to shift the blame. Mother Nature has no agenda to accuse. On the other hand, Trump and his MAGAts are on the wrong side of Occam’s Razor…..

    9
  27. Jen says:

    @Andy:

    I think it’s moved from crank theory land to a possible cause.

    Every legitimate, scientific assessment I’ve seen says that the DNA trace is natural. The changes in the DNA sequence from first cases to variations have been exactly what would be expected from a naturally occurring virus. Until there is very firm, hard evidence, it is irresponsible to repeat those types of conspiracy theories.

    10
  28. Jen says:

    On the question of testing and asymptomatic cases, one of the TV stations in Boston reports that the CDC is reviewing data from tests at one of the area homeless shelters.

    “Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.”

    THAT is how this spreads.

    8
  29. Andy says:

    @KM:

    It’s that trustworthy thing again; why in god’s name should we believe them when there’s no credible evidence other then nearness of location?

    I’m not believing anyone until I see the evidence. I can’t speak for others who are free to make any assumptions they wish to.

    A couple weeks ago I thought this theory was complete bunk. But we now have more information including a series of diplomatic cables from the past few years warning about safety concerns with coronaviruses at that specific lab. Is that something that should be ignored?

    And China’s sudden desire to quash information on the virus’s origins, particularly how it jumped to humans, plus their actions to hide the epidemic in December and January, would be consistent with that theory but not dispositive.

    So do I believe that’s what happened? No, I want to see more evidence. Am I going to assume this is bullshit simply because this theory started in Trumpland? No, I want to see more evidence.

    We should all want to see the evidence. IMO we should have an investigation on the scale of what was done after 9/11. That is one 9/11 parallel that is completely apt.

    4
  30. Andy says:

    @Jen:

    Every legitimate, scientific assessment I’ve seen says that the DNA trace is natural.

    Again, that is not in dispute. We are talking about the possibility of a natural virus escaping from a lab where it was being studied due to shoddy safety measures, not an engineered disease.

    2
  31. Teve says:

    @Andy:

    Yes, the possibility that this was engineered was ruled out. What this line of investigation entails is a natural virus that was being studied in a lab which then escaped.

    Why couldn’t it just be a natural virus from an animal transmitted to a human? What does the addition of a hypothetical lab explain?

    7
  32. Kathy says:

    Maybe it came in a micro-meteor that struck a Chinese satellite….

    Wait. That’s the plot of “The Andromeda Strain.”

    Well, that was fiction.

    In real life, there was no super-secret government laboratory ready and able to decipher the secrets of the infectious agents before the reader got tired and lost interest.

    3
  33. Andy says:

    @Teve:

    Why couldn’t it just be a natural virus from an animal transmitted to a human? What does the addition of a hypothetical lab explain?

    It definitely could be natural transmission and that is the leading theory, but that is not (yet) proven.

    As for other factors, many of the initial cases can’t be traced to the Wuhan wet market where we believed the infection originated, and epidemiologists haven’t been able to determine for certain where and how those people got infected.

    The nearby lab had a stock of coronaviruses that were being studied. Since we know those kinds of viruses were actually there, it makes logical sense to investigate the lab as a possible source, particularly in light of information about compromised safety at the lab.

    Again, I’m not concluding anything, but we shouldn’t be closing avenues of investigation simply because they might, in some way, benefit or confirm a Trump narrative.

    3
  34. MarkedMan says:

    Andy isn’t being a wacko here. There does seem to be some evidence to support accidental release from a lab. That doesn’t mean bio warfare. There is a lab in VA that came within a whisker of releasing Ebola into the DC area a couple of decades ago. That doesn’t mean they were developing biological weapons. Almost without a doubt, they weren’t.

    8
  35. Jen says:

    @Andy: Ah, okay. I’ve seen way too many “China made this” crackpot nonsense and thought that’s what was at issue.

    Still, I have to agree with Teve that whether it’s poor safety practices at a lab or poor sanitation practices at a wet market doesn’t seem to amount to much of a difference. Heck, didn’t the US lose track of some smallpox virus not that long ago? Malice in the form of creating a bio-weapon is one thing (and the science doesn’t support that).

    I’m very wary of any finger-pointing on the origin, the next pandemic could very easily start here. The Chinese response was of course typical of a closed, authoritarian system. Of course they lied, and continue to lie, about the deaths. As I’ve stated before, it’s less instructive to listen to what the Chinese say, than it is to watch what they do. When they shut everything down, everyone should have realized what trouble we were in.

    5
  36. charon says:

    @Andy:

    On the other side, if this virus was released due to the incompetent or negligent actions of an agency of the Chinese government, then there are going to be a lot of people who are very very angry at the Chinese government and CCP,

    As I point out, it is unlikely we ever find out how it crossed.

    Then again, as cracker notes, Faux News and AON will convince the rubes it happened that way based on some hoked up BS.

    3
  37. charon says:

    @Jen:

    As I’ve stated before, it’s less instructive to listen to what the Chinese say, than it is to watch what they do.

    We were monitoring Wuhan virology until a very stable genius deemed that unnecessary, had an observer there.

    5
  38. MarkedMan says:

    @charon:

    had an observer there.

    Wait, what?!

    1
  39. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Charon is correct, we had someone (a CDC expert) on the ground in China, the administration recalled her.

    4
  40. Teve says:

    @WashingtonPost

    Chanting “lock her up,” Michigan protesters in MAGA hats mass against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions

    1
  41. Teve says:

    Just to be clear it could have come from a lab, but coronaviruses have been known for 50 years and they’re all over the place. And yes, reality doesn’t matter if Fox News tells them. Over on the big creationist site right now they’re attacking Fauci and any scientist who says we need more data on Hydrochloroquine. Trump said it works, there are two really poorly done studies from France that make it look like it could work, therefore anybody who doubts it is a communist Libtard trying to destroy America.

    4
  42. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Andy:

    We are talking about the possibility of a natural virus escaping from a lab where it was being studied due to shoddy safety measures, not an engineered disease.

    This makes considerable more sense. And yet, it seems like it might be the motte of a motte-and-bailey. The bailey being “The Chinese Did This To Us”. I know of a few people predicting war between US and China over this, which I would consider the dumbest thing the US has ever done.

    5
  43. Kathy says:

    About the death rate, we may need two measures:

    1) How many of those infected die
    2) How many of those showing severe symptoms die?

    This would be necessary if, indeed, most people who get infected don’t even develop symptoms or at least not severe ones.

    Which brings in another rate to measure: the severe symptoms rate.

    The difference between the first and second death rates may be huge. Like 0.1% overall but 5% or higher for the second.

    As it is, we have seen the health systems of several countries be overwhelmed by this disease, and global deaths may surpass 150,000 by tomorrow.

    I just don’t see how anyone can downplay what is, so evidently, a global catastrophe.

    2
  44. EddieInCA says:
  45. An Interested Party says:

    For now, I’m not going to make assumptions without evidence.

    And yet you are throwing out speculation that this may have been cooked up in a lab based on…?

    3
  46. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy:

    Which brings in another rate to measure: the severe symptoms rate.

    Several of the main data reporting sites now include hospitalizations and hospitalization rates. That’s a pretty good proxy for “severe symptoms rate”.

    2
  47. Andy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I know of a few people predicting war between US and China over this, which I would consider the dumbest thing the US has ever done.

    I agree. I bring up this possibility not because I wish it, but because I wish to avoid it.

    @EddieInCA:

    Thanks. I don’t see anything in that which contradicts anything I’ve said here.

    2
  48. Andy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    And yet you are throwing out speculation that this may have been cooked up in a lab based on…?

    I’m mentioning possibilities, not making any conclusions. And I never suggested it was “cooked in a lab.”

    I’m not assuming that this theory is correct, but I do think it warrants further investigation, which the intelligence community is currently doing. What, specifically, about that do you object to?

    3
  49. Jen says:

    @Guarneri: We’ve had 33K deaths in a few weeks. Would you care to extrapolate those numbers out to the annual numbers you’ve posted above? After that, add in the numbers that would have occurred without the extreme social distancing we’ve done.

    If this had been left to burn out on its own, it would have been a massive catastrophe.

    14
  50. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Thanks.

  51. Monala says:

    @Kathy: From reading accounts of this disease, I think we should also be thinking about what “severe” actual means. In the official statistics, it means the person didn’t need to be hospitalized. But that doesn’t account for:

    1) The fact that while some Covid-19 victims genuinely have mild symptoms like that of a cold, many others who ended up “not sick enough to be in the hospital” describe being sicker than they had ever been in their lives, almost too weak to walk from the bedroom to the bathroom, with raging fevers and overwhelming chills, and coughing so hard they break ribs.

    2) The unclear disease cycle of Covid-19, whereby someone who seems just a bit sick one day, starts crashing with the worst symptoms the next (such as inability to breathe); or people who seem to recover, only to relapse.

    3) The detrimental impact Covid-19 seems to have on other organs besides the lungs, such as the heart, kidneys, liver and sometime brain, even in those who recover.

    4
  52. Teve says:

    @Jen: Since 7,700 people die per day in the US, when 9/11 happened guano was chiding everyone. “Only 2600 people died. Why do you care? who gives a crap about Osama bin Laden? Diabetes is way worse!” he said.

    9
  53. Teve says:

    When Tim McVeigh killed all those people in OKC, Guano was yelling “Why are you idiots crying? Haven’t you head of heart disease???”

    10
  54. Teve says:

    Plus, everybody knows that the deaths from COVID-19 stopped today so all the cases and deaths that have happened so far are all there will ever be so you can totally compare it to annual deaths from other things. That makes a lot of sense mathematically.

    5
  55. EddieInCA says:

    @Guarneri:

    I’m going to break my rule of not responding to you.

    You’re a tool. You’re a fool. You’re dishonest, and you don’t know of what you speak.

    https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/not-like-the-flu-not-like-car-crashes-not-like

    One chart exposes your inanity. Check the link. Bookmark it. Show it to your friends. But for god’s sake, STFU about this BS.

    8
  56. Teve says:

    @Monala: there’s a significant percentage of people who get the severe form of it who don’t die, but wind up with significantly decreased lung function.

  57. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: pretty sure Guano is too dumb to figure out how bad that chart makes him look.

    3
  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: If I was a cynic………………………or a rational observer.

    Seeing as you are neither…

    2
  59. Kurtz says:

    @Guarneri:

    Let’s see, other than the unspecified “accidents,” the rest of those things fall under this little thing we like to call “healthcare.” I seem to recall at least one conversation about that around here.

    Some people may dress up once a year as one of Dorothy’s companions. You manage to be all three, everyday. Impressive.

    3
  60. Kathy says:

    @Monala:

    From reading accounts of this disease, I think we should also be thinking about what “severe” actual means.

    Yes. I would classify a disease that knocks you out for weeks as severe, with hospitalization being more like the spectrum from serious to critical.

    There seems to be an issue with inflammation. That’s a complex topic. Inflammation is bad for you, in general, but it may help the immune response. Still, as allergy sufferers know, the immune response can be worse for the health of the body than the foreign agent that seems harmful. In anaphylactic shock, the patient is essentially put in danger by their own immune system.

    I’ve a feeling we’ll learn that much of the harm from COVID-19 came from the immune response rather than the virus. This seems to have been the case with the 1918-19 flu pandemic as well.

    1
  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    For now, I’m not going to make assumptions without evidence.

    And yet here you are in comment after comment insisting on a theory which has no basis in fact so far as we know. A theory that shifts blame from Mother Nature to China. You’re insisting on finding a scapegoat. You. A guy from Intel. A guy with a blindspot the size of a small star when it comes to Trump, a man who would just love to find a scapegoat. Huh.

    5
  62. de stijl says:

    @Andy:

    “Not concluding anything” in English means I am heavily implying.

    Multiple comments not concluding anything, just asking questions, exploring the possibilities.

    Not concluding anything, myself, but it statistically indicative there is a Coronavirus truther present here.

    2
  63. de stijl says:

    @Andy:

    “I am mentioning possibilities, not making any conclusions.”

    Right. Vigorous intellectual debate. That was totally your purpose and intent.

    Obfuscation was a byproduct by unintended accident.

    You look like a duck, you swim like a duck, you definitely quack like a duck.

    2
  64. Andy says:

    @de stijl:

    What follows isn’t mainly about you, de stijl, but you were the final catalyst for something that’s been a long time coming.

    You know (actually you probably don’t), I’ve been commenting on this blog since at least 2006. I’ll put my record for honest discussion over that timeframe against anyone here, including you and most especially Michael who, in my view, is the biggest, most uncharitable and mean asshole here. He doesn’t even try to hide it anymore.

    I try to conduct myself in a way that avoids the behavior you and Michael are displaying here (and have displayed many times before), which is avoiding the merits in lieu of making shit up about my motivations and character. I doubt my record is perfect in this regard and if anyone can dig up something similar to the screeds you and Michael posted impugning my character, then I will be happy to retract those statements and apologize.

    I would ask if it’s too much to expect the same in return, but experience has already given me that answer. As regulars here know, my complaints are not new and are also consistently ignored.

    Just to give the best (worst) example, over the years Michael has called me just about every bad thing in the book and never apologized for any of it. According to him, I’m a terrible and irresponsible parent, unamerican, a toady for various things and people he doesn’t like, a racist, sexist, bigot, etc. Those are just the things he’s directly accused me of that I can remember off the top of my head right now. I could find a LOT more in the archives. It also doesn’t include the clever (in a bad way) allusions to pedophilia, talk about destroying “enemies” of democracy and other extremities he injects on the sly. I’ve tried as best as I can to ignore that or only object to his bad behavior and not reciprocate. But I can’t anymore.

    And it’s not just him.

    Honestly, debating on this blog has ceased to be worth the time except for Steven’s excellent posts about institutions and political structures, which really aren’t found anywhere else. And even there the debates aren’t breaking much new ground as we seem pretty set in our views now and tend to recycle arguments.

    As for the rest of the debate here, it’s been infected by the thing that’s infected just about everything else in our society – no, not Covid – Trump.

    “Debate” here seems to now be a contest of who can be the most anti-Trump. There are a number of self-appointed inquisitors here who will forget everything you’ve ever written and act like a priest who questions your faith for not yelling “praise Jesus” loud enough during the service. The faintest vapors of anything remotely Trump-positive is heresy, regardless of merit, and must be punished regardless of circumstance. The response from you and Michael are perfect examples of this.

    As should be clear from my comment history here, I am no supporter of Trump. But I see little need to pile on when most everyone here does that as a matter of course. James, Doug, and Steven are solidly anti-Trump. There are literally no Trump supporters who try to engage here. Occasional bomb-throwers like Guarneri come in and you never fail to rise to the bait. You can’t seem to understand that he’s playing you.

    And when some actual Trump-curious newbie comes along, boy, a lot of you don’t hesitate to nuke them repeatedly. The glee in finally being able to battle a true “enemy” is palpable when that happens. Nuking has the desired effect – they go away, but of course the only thing they remember is your behavior, not your intellect and reasoning. Because when you are nuking someone, intellect doesn’t come into it.

    Once the actual unbelievers are gone, it’s time for zealots like you and Michael to turn your guns on people like me who are insufficiently pious because we don’t actively participate in the constant anti-Trump circle jerk.

    To get the point alluded to at the beginning of this rant, 14+ years is a pretty good run, but all things must come to an end. This blog has been an important part of my online life, but I have come to the difficult conclusion that participating here is no longer worth the effort. There are a lot of reasons for this but by far the biggest is that I’m just tired of dealing with the conduct and behavior of people like you, Michael and many others. It used to be worth the hassle but not anymore. And it’s my own failing that I seem unable to just ignore it here like I can on other forums.

    So this will be my last comment at OTB. I’ve taken breaks from this blog before when the douchebaggery became too much, but this time I’m out for good. I’m going cold turkey. In the age of Trump, which has infected everything, I no longer think this forum can recover. And I am unwilling to self-censor to avoid the ire of the thought police.

    I’ve already taken OTB off my newsfeed to avoid temptation (I’m weak in that regard), so alas, I won’t be a silent reader either. At least not anytime soon. And I’m unsubscribing from this thread and other threads so I won’t read any responses. Again, I’m weak, the temptation is too great. I need to go cold turkey.

    Before I do I want to thank James, Steven, Doug and the other contributors over the years for their efforts and demeanor. James and Doug especially get a lot of invectives thrown their way and I admire them for handling it a lot better than I could for a lot longer. Steven’s posts don’t invite as much bile, but he is consistently reasonable and honorable when people are dicks to him. His patience is also greater than mine. I’d especially like to thank him for his work and posts on political institutions. I have many of them bookmarked. It may not seem like it, but those posts and our discussions have changed the way I look at political problems.

    I’d also like to thank the many commenters, past and present, who have acted decently, challenged me, and provided good and valuable debates and discussions. And even though I think Michael and people who act like him are behaving badly here, I do appreciate and recognize the times when they have been nice. There have been some good discussions with them. And I do like to believe that their bad behavior here is a function of the medium and that they are probably decent people in the flesh. At least I hope so.

    Anyway, that’s it, goodbye.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:
    I do love when Trump apologists whine about incivility. Or about being called racists or misogynists. Some number greater than 0% of people are racists and yet 0% admit it, or even contemplate the possibility.

    Have you ever even considered that it may be true? Nah, you jump straight to your smug assurance that you couldn’t possibly be. Why? Because in your mind you’re a good guy, the hero of your life, so you couldn’t be anything so distasteful. The 99% of black people who think racism is endemic in white society are all wrong. Funny, that. Black people on the receiving end of racism are wrong, white people who don’t see racism, are right. And nothing about denying the lived experience of an entire race strikes you as being, in itself, proof of racism.

    This isn’t politics any more. Trump is toilet tweeting demands for people to rise up against Democratic governors and you’re ho-hum, so what, why is Michael getting so vitriolic? Can’t we just calmly discuss the pros and cons of caging children, obstructing justice, covering up enemy intel operations, corruption in office, lying more than 15,000 times (at last count), attacking freedom of the press and using the bully pulpit to attack women and especially black women?

    No, we can’t. Just like we can’t have a nice, calm discussion about child molestation with a member of the Man-Boy Love Association.

    This is what you don’t get: backing Trump isn’t politics, it’s sin. It is contempt for law and truth and human life. It is a betrayal of every American value. It is a betrayal of every Christian value, every civilized value. You’re doing evil, Andy. In this thread you deliberately spread a lie, and spare me the qualifiers, you’re not stupid, you knew what you were doing. You deliberately echoed the Trump effort to deflect, to identify a scapegoat. It was agitprop and you got called on it.

    But you’re the victim. Because of course you are. No one suffers like old white men.

    Open your mind, examine your beliefs, question your assumptions, consider the possibility that you are wrong. Examine your hypocrisy. And quit feeling sorry for yourself.

    2