We Reject Pandemic Amnesty

The only argument in favour of “pandemic amnesty” isn’t an argument at all. In fact, the only argument for pandemic amnesty is an argument against it. For example, we read things like:


“We yelled at you in the grocery store because we didn’t know.”


“We kept you out of the grocery store because we didn’t know.”


“We locked your business up because we didn’t know.”


“We locked you up because we didn’t know.”


All of the articles pushing pandemic amnesty defend their case on the grounds of ignorance. Most contain some variation of the phrase, “We didn’t know how serious the pandemic was. We realize we overreacted, but our actions seemed so reasonable and justified at the time. There was simply no way to ascertain the danger of the virus. Can you blame us for our vigilance?”


We can. An admission of ignorance (false or not) isn’t a defence; it’s an admission there isn’t a defence. Even junior law students know you cannot plead ignorance in a court of law. You cannot march to trial, claim ignorance regarding an action, and then expect the court to be ignorant of your crimes. If that were so, every criminal—even politicians—would be ignorant of everything; they wouldn’t be criminals at all. Using ignorance to justify amnesty is not just an affront to law; it’s the abolition of law.


Besides, if these people use ignorance to justify locking down, why can’t we use the same claim to justify staying open? A lack of evidence is not evidence. If you can’t claim certain action was appropriate, you can’t claim certain inaction was inappropriate. If some pandemic pushers say, “We were ignorant, and we got it wrong.”, What is stopping the freedom movement from saying, “We were ignorant, and got it right.”?


The problem is that the pandemic pushers haven’t admitted any wrongdoing. Amnesty means pardon. By asking for amnesty, they're asking for pardon, but in reality, pandemic pushers aren’t asking for pardon at all. Instead of admitting “We were wrong,” they’re arguing, “We did the best we could under the circumstances.” They're not asking for forgiveness; they’re saying there is nothing to forgive. They’re not asking for pardon; they’re demanding a peace.


What they do not realize (or perhaps they do) is that without justice, there is no such thing as peace. You cannot have amnesty, forgiveness, mercy—call it what you will—without a law, because the very act of mercy spares a man for breaking the law. You cannot grant pardon to a man who believes he needs no pardon—there’s nothing to pardon.


We reject pandemic amnesty because we respect the rule of law. If we grant that politicians and bureaucrats can do as they please in the name of ignorance, the rule of law is dead. All inquiry, audit, and scrutinization, will be rendered useless because there will be nothing to investigate.


By asking for amnesty, people aren’t asking for forgiveness. They’re not even asking those who were seriously harmed by their actions to accept their apology. Instead, they’re asking for the one thing they’ve wanted from the freedom movement all along:


Surrender.



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https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/covid-response-forgiveness/671879/

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