During the entire past two years of Covid hysteria I never stopped traveling. “Work from home” wasn’t a privilege awarded to me. My love of logic and language was perpetually bothered by a frequent airline announcement: “Federal law requires” mask mandates, a statement most untruthful. There is no law. Congress passed no new legislation; there is only regulation, the demon spawn of power-hungry politicians and a bloated bureaucracy.
For those who can’t be bothered with the democratic process of elected officials proposing bills and deliberating, voting and enacting legislation, the immeasurable, and not enumerated, power of the bureaucratic state is an attractive work-around. The past two years have been a textbook case of the most effective process: use fear, proclaim the actions are for the public good, attack the non-compliant as “anti-science” and a threat, rinse and repeat. The sheer power of this process has given many groups “Covid envy.”
The concept of “Covid envy,” a phrase I hope will become a common pejorative along the lines of “soy boy” or “beta cuck” or “Adam Kinzinger,” is not new. George Orwell put the philosophy to literature. The nomenclature is ultimately a justification: big government bureaucracies may supersede the rights of citizens so long as the public is assured these extreme measures are for our own security and safety. Clinging to beliefs like “freedom” and “unconstitutional” poses a threat to the public good.
Big government suffered “Covid envy” when it enacted the PATRIOT Act: the use of fear to violate civil liberties in the name of security. Even today they defend it: sure, the NSA is monitoring free citizens’ correspondence, phone calls, emails and social media, but for our own good. And if the NSA decides to leak some private data, like Tucker Carlson’s emails, then it is only because of a greater public benefit, like our security.
TSA enablers also have “Covid envy.” Not content with forcing grandma to take off her shoes and patting down your upper thigh, TSA even tried “naked” body scanners, a plan so egregiously intrusive it was ultimately canceled. TSA’s own studies show the agency fails 95 percent of the time to prevent weapons from entering the airport. But data and metrics do not actually matter with “Covid envy.”
Sound familiar? Ask any parent fighting to unmask their kids at school about “data.” Then ask the mask defenders and their answer is universal. The data doesn’t matter: this is for a greater good.
The CDC’s “Wear your mask” is the new TSA’s “remove your belt”: a pointless gesture unsupported by any data. The goal is not outcomes. The goal is procedures: control, compliance, conformity. And if you question it, be warned as the airlines have reminded me for two years: you will be banned from the airlines, you will be placed on the no-fly list. If you dare ask about the futile TSA protocols, an acceptable response from a TSA suffering “Covid envy” is the rhetorical “so, you want the terrorists to win?”
I outline this because even though Covid regulations may be drawing to a close, Covid envy will never go away, and the greatest sufferers of Covid envy — really those for whom I coin the term — are the eco-left. For decades they have sought the sort of government control and universal submission in the name of climate change which the Covid crowd achieved in mere weeks. Locking people at home. Stopping transportation. Regulating diets. Covid even successfully closed churches. The greens must have observed this in awe. And, of course, with envy.
Prepare for the eco-left to use fear to reorder society for a political end unafraid to trample civil rights because of the public good: the environment.
Walter Sullivan, a New York Times “science” reporter, pioneered fear-mongering in the 1970s, writing multiple articles about the imminent and inevitable ice age. In one 1975 article, he cites international authors with evidence from tree rings. Most disturbing, this deadly cooling is man-made: the use of fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “Carbon dioxide in the air acts like glass in a greenhouse. It permits solar energy to reach the earth as visible light, but it impedes the escape of that energy into space in the form of heat radiation.”
Nearly fifty years of the Times fear-mongering is the ultimate example of “Covid envy,” as well as the source of billions in tax dollars for green initiatives and political control including President Biden’s $5 trillion “Build Back Better” plan. Walter Sullivan died in 1996, so I am unable to ask why the “data” has done a 180 and the exact opposite of his “facts” and “evidence” for the ice age are today indisputable evidence of rising sea levels. Maybe Mr. Sullivan would say “the science has changed” on climate, as CNN analyst Leana Wen said about Covid, but that is not, and could not be, a valid answer. The greens themselves have told us as much.
The climate science cannot change. It is settled. This is a dogma of the climate movement, and climate leaders like President Biden have called it the “number one issue facing humanity” and an “existential threat.” According to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the world will end in twelve years because of climate change. We have heard all this before in the pre-Covid era, which is precisely why the green movement is the greatest sufferer of Covid envy.
And if you do not agree and submit, if you dare question the settled science of climate change, you are a threat. Like a terrorist. Or a virus.
Facebook will not tolerate “climate misinformation.” Chuck Todd, the host of NBC’s Meet The Press ceremoniously announced he would not even allow climate change “deniers” on his show. The Democrats in Congress subpoenaed oil company CEOs to appear before their mighty committee, the Chairwoman, Representative Carolyn Maloney from New York proclaiming, “We need to get to the bottom of the oil industry’s disinformation campaign and with these subpoenas we will.”
That is the same Carolyn Maloney who appeared, maskless, at the glamorous Met Gala. The staff wore masks, but not the members of Congress. Socialist AOC in a “tax the rich” haute-couture gown felt no contradiction accepting a $30,000 ticket to the elitist gathering. Just as climate lord high chancellor John Kerry says that private jet travel is the “only choice for somebody like him.” These are examples of a tacit aspect of “Covid envy”: the enforcers are never obligated to comply.
As we saw with Covid, when Speaker Pelosi got her hair done and Governor Gavin Newsome went to the French Laundry and the NFL Playoffs, compliance is for the masses. The coup de grâce of “Covid envy” is exemption based on individual status.
Hopefully, it is its undoing. The violations of Covid protocols by the elite say “this is all BS.” Mayor Eric Garcetti saying he “held his breath” during a photo of him sans mask with immunocompromised Magic Johnson was too much. Similarly, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams pictured maskless in a classroom full of masked toddlers was the icing on the proverbial Covid cake.
The eco-left leaders, much like the Covid leaders, will never suffer the policies they seek to enact on the masses in the name of the public health threat of climate change. They are above it. They are those pigs Orwell writes about in the end of Animal Farm, who have become so much like the enemy in their actions and words that the barn animals cannot tell them apart.
I see them as pigs. And make no mistake, they, the eco-left, the powerful like John Kerry, Joe Biden, AOC, Carolyn Maloney, do see us as barn animals: dumb and manipulable. Because they all suffer from Covid envy, they believe the use of fear to exercise unconstitutional coercion achieving a political end under the guise of the public good is absolutely acceptable.
With the November elections on the horizon and the president’s abysmal poll numbers jeopardizing his House and Senate majorities, Democratic leaders are miraculously lifting Covid mandates nationwide. Covid science can change when political outcomes demand it. If we recover from these horrid two years with one lesson, let it be this: “Covid envy” is real, it lives in the hearts of many powerful politicians, and it is a perpetual threat to our freedom. We must identify it without fear and defeat it without mercy.
The ice age is coming. Terrorists are coming. The coronavirus is coming. Climate change is coming: it’s all the same. Surrender to the state.
Our freedom is greater. Let us protect it.
Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. He raises heritage breeds on a farm in rural Virginia.