Pandemic Potshots and Other Epigrams

Brownstone Institute, January 10, 2022

Pandemic Potshots and Other Epigrams

Outrageous government policies are often shrouded by fogbanks of bureaucratese and political deceit. But a snappy sentence can sometimes puncture the veil and spur the ridicule that policy-makers richly deserve. Following is a round-up of verbal harpoons I flung at Leviathan last year.

Covid Crackdown Calamities

The easiest way to prove your moral superiority in Washington is to champion destroying everyone else’s freedom. (Lib. Inst., September 27)

At this point, “COVID fraud” is a redundant phrase. (NY Post, October 3)

Will citizens tolerate living in Cage Keeper Democracies where their votes merely designate who will place them under house arrest? (USA Today, February 6)

Nothing in politicians’ oath of office entitled them to turn the Constitution into COVID road kill. (Lib. Inst., October 18)

Covid vaccination status has gone from being a proxy for health to being a substitute for sane health care policy. (USA Today, January 7)

Federal Covid policy resembled a socialist command-and-control economic plan in which all that mattered was how many arms received how many injections. (FFF, February)

Shutting down entire states with Covid lockdowns was the equivalent of burning witches or sacrificing virgins to appease angry viral gods. (FFF, February)

Biden issued the equivalent of a declaration of war on 80 million unvaccinated Americans, portraying them as Public Enemy Number One. (FFF, October)

Covid Chief Fearmonger Tony Fauci is “omniscient except during depositions.” Fauci has had more flip-flops than a Ringling Bros. trapeze artist. (NY Post, November 26).

Federal health agencies blundered worse than practically anyone expected during the Covid pandemic. Unfortunately, there is no approved cure for blind faith in government. (FFF, May)

The government has no liability for the injections it mandates or the freedoms it destroys. How much longer will politicians pretend their iron fists are a magic bullet? (FFF, October)

Many repressive Covid policies were simply Political Science 101, using deceit and demagoguery to seize more power. (Lib. Inst., October 18)

A virus with a 99.6% survival rate spawned a 100% presumption in favor of despotism.

Covid fear-mongering swayed millions of Americans to view other people’s freedom as the deadliest threat to their own health.

Faith in absolute power is unscientific regardless of how many scientists pledge allegiance to Washington in return for federal funding.

Think Tanks and Fiascos at Home and Abroad

Washington is full of intellectuals more devoted to power than to truth. (Lib. Inst., March 10)

The most celebrated pragmatists in Washington history have all been “useful idiots for Leviathan.” (FFF, June)

A sixteenth-century French writer derided “the minions of the court.” We have made great progress – now we have think tank minions. (Mises, August 25)

In recent decades, foreign-policy experts have become Washington’s leading con men. Regardless of their Ivy League pedigrees, US foreign and defense policy-makers routinely operate on a village-idiot level of information. (Lib. Inst., March 10)

Cluelessness is perhaps the greatest constant in American foreign policy. (Lib. Inst., March 10)

The political system buries information that undermines power grabs—and war is the biggest power grab of them all. (Lib. Inst., March 10)

Secrecy and Censorship

America is an Impunity Democracy in which government officials pay no price for their abuses. (Mises Inst., October 7)

Pervasive secrecy helps explain the collapse of trust in Washington. Americans today are more likely to believe in witches, ghosts, and astrology than to trust the federal government. (Mises Inst., October 7)

“Disinformation” is often simply the lag time between the pronouncement and the debunking of government falsehoods. (NY Post, April 28)

Federal agencies are censoring what you see online to protect America’s “cognitive infrastructure.” (NY Post, November 2)

The real goal of federal Truth Cops is to control America’s minds. And the most important cognitive “fix” is to train Americans to never doubt Uncle Sam. (NY Post, November 2)

The federal government has long been the most dangerous source of disinformation threatening Americans. (FFF, August)

Admittedly, calling it the Disinformation Governance Board was more palatable than naming it the Keep Damn Federal Lies Sacrosanct Panel. (FFF, August)

Secrecy and lying are two sides of the same political coin. Under Biden, federal agencies continue creating trillions of pages of new secrets each year. (NY Post, February 9)

Federal agencies don’t count what politicians don’t want to know. Washington is full of Towers of Paternalist Babel built on statistical quicksand. (FFF, March)

The Presidential Records Act has become a bipartisan scam to prevent Americans from recognizing how badly they have been misgoverned. (USA Today, February 20)

The Supreme Court should replace the “Equal Justice under the Law” slogan atop its entrance with a new motto: “Better for People Not to Know.” (Mises, March 12)

If democracy depends on transparency, and government transparency is an illusion, then what is US democracy? (Lib. Inst. August 30)

Press Pratfalls

Nothing is more perilous to the truth than encouraging journalists to pirouette as saviors when they grovel to The Powers That Be. (NY Post, January 14)

Total illiteracy on history is a job requirement for pundits nowadays. Twitter, March 7, 2022.

The media often chooses to trumpet official lies instead of exposing them. Inside the Beltway, being a lap dog is easier and more profitable than being an attack dog. (AIER, February 19)

Journalists are not fit to serve as Grand Inquisitors who spoon-feed their beliefs to docile readers and viewers. (NY Post, January 14)

As long as the media continues ignoring how federal agencies trample our constitutional rights, Americans will live happily ever after. (NY Post, December 30)

The Washington press corps was aptly described long ago as “stenographers with amnesia.” The political philosophy of most reporters doesn’t go beyond “Orange Man Bad.” (NY Post, January 14)

Contempt of Congress

Congressional “intelligence committee” is Washington’s biggest oxymoron. (Lib. Inst., October 24)

The greatest threat to our democracy is not the “combative rhetoric” of political candidates but the dictatorial actions of elected politicians. (NY Post, October 23)

Too many Republicans would pawn their own grandmothers in exchange for one gushing reference in the Washington Post. (NY Post, December 20).

There is no “holy ghost of democracy” benevolently hovering over Capitol Hill. (NY Post, December 20).

Squandering a hundred billion tax dollars is simply another congressional office perk. Politicians don’t give a damn about any government waste that buys them applause, votes or campaign contributions. (NY Post, December 2)

There are only 15 Legislative Looting Days left until a new Congress takes office. (NY Post, December 20).

Extremists, Terrorists, Entrapment

“Trespassing plus thought crimes equals terrorism” is the Biden standard for prosecuting January 6 defendants. (NY Post, January 6)

Nowadays, any threat of “domestic extremism” can justify the preemptive destruction of freedom of speech. (NY Post, February 26)

The Biden administration revealed that guys who can’t get laid may be terrorist threats due to “involuntary celibate–violent extremism.” (NY Post, April 13)

Hate crimes are profitable for politicians, so they continually expand the definition. When will Team Biden formally designate distrusting the government as a “pre-hate crime?” (NY Post, September 14)

The Biden administration could be expanding the federal “Enemies List” faster than any time since the Nixon era. Permitting politicians to blacklist any ideas they disapprove won’t “restore faith in democracy.” What if government is the most dangerous extremist of them all? (Lib. Inst., September 7)

Miscellaneous Misgovernment Etc.

Once a president escapes the confines of the Constitution, the American people will eventually find themselves shackled. (FFF, November)

Americans cannot rely on politically-approved lawyers wearing bat suits to save their freedoms. (FFF, June)

Corporate subsidies are basically bribes to businesses that routinely spur corruption scandals. (NY Post, October 28)

Politicians don’t learn from mistakes committed with other people’s money. Letting politicians pick winners is the surest recipe for shafting consumers and every unsubsidized business. Unfortunately, there will always be enough pundits who failed Econ 101 to whoop up every boneheaded intervention. (AIER, November 22)

Toleration requires fewer body bags than rage. There are few things that people need to agree on to live peacefully (if not happily) side-by-side. (Mises, August 25)

Twitter is a fount of wisdom because so many of its users are omniscient. Twitter “likes” are the highest form of logic, and re-tweets are irrefutable truth. (FFF, February)


  • James Bovard

    James Bovard, 2023 Brownstone Fellow, is author and lecturer whose commentary targets examples of waste, failures, corruption, cronyism and abuses of power in government. He is a USA Today columnist and is a frequent contributor to The Hill. He is the author of ten books.


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