I am coming from an illustrious line of amnestied criminals. My grandfather, a respected notary public was declared a class enemy by the communists and completely dispossessed in 1946. My father was jailed for his 100% non-violent participation in the 1956 Hungarian revolution and I was jailed for participating in a peaceful demonstration in 1972. The lives of all three of us were – in a way – destroyed by it. My grandfather was never able to practice law again; my father was not able to finish university and I was forbidden to even apply to one. (You can read more about my case here.) All three of us got rehabilitated around the same time in the early 90s.
The amnesty was symbolic with a token amount of compensation. My grandparents were already dead, so it was my father and his sister who got a few thousand dollar’s worth for the confiscated family property. My father and I got compensated based on a formula accounting for the time we spent in jail. He for two years, I for nine months. I got eleven hundred dollars.
Nobody could give us back what we lost. I was resisting the idea of applying for the compensation, as I saw it as a punishment of the new Hungary for the crimes of the old, but eventually I gave in on my family’s insistence who spent the compensation on a trip for my son to visit me.
NOBODY faced any kind of responsibility for the crimes committed against us. No prosecutor, judge, false witness, politician or bureaucrat, policeman or informant was ever punished for their crimes committed under the protective mantle of the state. Not even if it represented an overreach of their authority, not even if it was in clear violation of the existing laws of the time. If you commit crimes in the name of the state, you can get off scot-free.
There were several debates about and different approaches to the reparations in the former communist countries. In Hungary, there were token compensations, in (the then still) Czechoslovakia, whenever it was possible, property was returned to their former owners or to their heirs.
In Hungary, there were debates for years about the fate of the bloodiest of the communists, then a few years later another, about informants.
In the end, the prevailing attitude in all of the former communist countries was to let sleeping dogs lie. Naturally, I disagree with that approach, but let me get back to the reasoning later.
Why do I bore you with all this? Because it is painfully relevant today.
Emily Oster, the woman pictured above, published an article in the Atlantic Monthly:
Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty.
It is a painful reading that could use a sentence-by-sentence rebuttal. It is dishonest to the point of being sleazy; it is mendacious and heavily biased toward one side of the argument. The losing side. As it is getting increasingly obvious that the propaganda justifying all the oppressive measures, compulsions, restrictions and censorship was wrong on every single point, the losing side of the arguments is trying to escape moral responsibility by calling for a time-out.
If I disregard the outright lies, the remainder of her message is this:
We all made mistakes, we all believed things because of uncertainty; sometimes one side was wrong, sometimes the other, but we all acted in good faith under difficult circumstances. Let’s make peace.
She says: “Moving on is crucial now, because the pandemic created many problems that we still need to solve.”
The question is how can we possibly? How can we solve problems without properly identifying their causes, such as: the origins of the pandemic; the justifications of the response to it; the oppressive and unjustifiable restrictions, but most of all the propaganda used to sell it and the heavy-handed censorship protecting the messaging and its murderous policies?
This pandemic was used as an excuse to introduce a whole lot of very dangerous ideas: digital IDs and constant surveillance to control our activities; justifying the suppression of the most basic of human right of bodily autonomy and the normalization of heavy-handed censorship.
And these are just the big problems. We need to solve the small ones too:
Problems like the criminal stupidity of the mother brainwashing her four-year-old to shout obnoxious non-sense to strangers. (see Emily’s article)
Problems like the discrimination against those refusing the vaccine gamble.
Problems like the hysterical Karens looking for safety in the bullying of others.
Problems like the “fact checker” assassins of journalism.
Problems like the hitman inquisitors of science attacking the heretics of the dogma.
But let me get back to the question of amnesty. What is it exactly?
According to the dictionary:
“an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses”
The word convicted is kind of essential. Americans are misusing the expression when they talk about amnesty for illegal immigrants. They mean that they will not be prosecuted for committing the crime of being in the country illegally. Freedom from prosecution is not amnesty. It is a special kind of privilege called legal immunity.
My father and I were convicted of political crimes. Our rehabilitation, id est: compensation, was a joke.
With the notable exception of Ceauescu no communist was punished for their crimes. We just turned away from the crimes to protect the guilty. This is EXACTLY what Emily Oster is asking us to do and she cannot even do it honestly.
“We just didn’t know” is an even worse defense than “I just acted on orders”. You could have known and should have known.
Calling for a truce between victims and their victimizers, asking for immunity for the criminals is a travesty of justice.
In Budapest, right next to the building where I went to school for my first four grades, there is a museum called the House of Terror. It was the place where people who were deemed not worthy for a (show) trial were tortured and/or killed. Today, the outside of the building is plastered with the pictures of the victims. There is NOT ONE picture of their murderers.
This pandemic and the response to it is the greatest crime against humanity since World War two. Fauci, Gates, Burla and their minions are responsible for more deaths than Dr. Mengele.
I don’t think we should ‘move on’ without accountability.
Since the start of this pandemic, I don’t believe I said anything that I would need to retract.
The problems were obvious from the moment they appeared. Only the idiots could not see them.
But I am not gloating. I am too angry to gloat and I am not ready to move on.
I am asking for accountability.
I am asking for honesty.
I want to see all victims identified.
I want to see the guilty punished, the corrupt pilloried and the stupid exposed.
I want to see their pictures on the back of the memorial to their victims.
I want them to be remembered for their crimes.
I want to see Big Pharma bankrupted, stripped of their immunity and patent protection.
I wish for the rehabilitation of science, the medical profession, journalism and public policy making but I do not believe it is possible without holding to account those responsible for the destruction of their credibility.
I am not the only one who had issues with the ideas of Emily Oster
In No ‘Pandemic Amnesty,’ We Want Accountability, Madhava Setty says:
“The pandemic has taught us many lessons, but the biggest one is that we now know what highly influential media publications like The Atlantic really are. They are our authority’s strong arm when it comes to exacting its power and its diplomatic envoy when it comes to asking for forgiveness.” [emphasis mine]
In Pandemic accountability, Vinay Prasad provides a list of “some structural solutions”
We could easily extend his list.
In “Pandemic Amnesty? ” Pastor Doug Wilson says:
“I’d be all about forgiveness being sought and extended but in order to receive forgiveness you have to name the sin. You have to name what the problem was and you have to name it accurately”
In What is Pandemic amnesty? Emily Oster controversy explained as The Atlantic article sparks controversy online a twitter commenter says:
“There will be no “pandemic amnesty” until #Nuremberg2 takes place. Everything is documented and justice is coming.”
In The Emily Oster Weekend: let’s forgive each other for what we said and did during the pandemic John Rappaport quotes:
The Osterman Weekend, 1983 film, based on the Robert Ludlum novel: “Think of them [murdered people] as fleas on a dog hit by a car driven by a drunken teenager whose girlfriend just gave him the clap. It will help your sense of perspective.”
In Once More on Renowned Fool Emily Oster, and the Malign Influence of Head Girls More Generally Eugyppius says:
Alas, Emily Oster’s proposal that we just forget and forgive the pandemic insanity of the past few years has pleased no one. This is partly because her op-ed is tone deaf and stupid, of course, but it’s probably also down to Emily Oster herself, and a growing cultural exhaustion with the kind of person she represents. Oster is, in the terminology of Bruce Charlton, an almost archetypal Head Girl—the typical “all-rounder” who “performs extremely well in all school subjects” and “is excellent at sports,” while being “pretty, popular, sociable and well-behaved”
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The world is not kind to Emily Oster.
….and that is how it should be.
….but based on my personal experience, I’m afraid that her way will prevail ….AGAIN.