Out, damned spot!

Bill Kristol, who has chosen to express his disdain for the divisive and anger-infested rhetoric of the Trump cult that destroyed “his party” by throwing his support behind the Marxist front group that calls itself the Democratic Party today, has outdone himself, even by his own high standards of collegial, grinning, Harvard-man hypocrisy.

Responding on Twitter — where the intellectuals gather — to someone’s critique of a New York Times piece that apparently held the unvaccinated responsible for Covid-19 deaths, Kristol writes:

The unvaccinated have blood on their hands, he says. Just for the fun of stating the obvious, let us note to begin with that it is very rich for Bill “Democracy Project” Kristol to pretend he cares a whit about the danger of spending other people’s blood in the name of sticking to one’s personal beliefs. Even Iraq was not enough for Arm-Chair General Bill; he also hoped to expand the full-scale war into Syria. And let us not forget the Islamist bloodbath that masqueraded behind the name “Arab Spring,” of which Kristol and his neo-conservative mastermind chums were such (willfully) blind defenders and cheerleaders.

What really irks me, however, about Kristol’s reply regarding the unvaccinated is how thoroughly vulgar, dismissive of rational discourse, and offensively condemnatory it is — in other words, how shamelessly Trumpian it is. Not in its precise position of course; on the contrary, Kristol obviously means this smear as a direct assault on Trump’s base, which he, like most pompous progressives, stupidly (but conveniently) assumes to be co-extensive with “anti-vaxxers,” and the latter, in turn, with the unvaccinated. Notice how he implies that the unvaccinated are just dumb followers, referencing “their enablers and encouragers who know better,” as though the unvaccinated were by definition people incapable of independent thought — conveniently ignoring available research (which I wrote about here) indicating that a disproportionate number of the so-called vaccine hesitant have PhDs, and teach at universities.

But in spite of Kristol’s intended targets, his words and tone are perfectly Trumpian in spirit, particularly in the attitude expressed toward those who do not happen to comply with his wishes or preferences. Such people, Kristol declares, are not merely wrong or mistaken, and in need of persuading. Rather, they are evil, despicable, and deserving of the extreme guilt of people who are willingly causing other men’s deaths. They deserve public shaming and vilification, the kind of treatment a responsible adult normally reserves for the truly criminally negligent, or in general for men of the severest turpitude. 

Since we are in the realm of the insult-lobbing Twitter mobs here, I suppose the best way to summarize the point I am trying to make would be to say that Kristol, with this flippant moral condemnation of people who conscientiously harbor some reservations about the immediate need to enrich a small handful of mega-corporations under federal government compulsion, has shown himself to be a loser, a scumbag, the dumbest pundit ever, and a really creepy guy.

But I do not subscribe to Twitter, so I will have to make do with merely commenting, in responsible adult fashion, that in one little sideshow of this Trump era — yes, it is certainly still the Trump era, in spite of the man himself having had his hat handed to him by a confused old man in November 2020 — a quiet, well-spoken television intellectual named Bill Kristol, who was one of those anti-republican big government types who mangled Ronald Reagan’s GOP legacy and thus indirectly precipitated the hateful Trump mob, has of late joined the growing chorus of those who are only too willing to live, and eventually die, with the blood of civilized coexistence and citizen goodwill on their hands. 

You see, her eyes are open.
Ay, but their sense is shut.
What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.
It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands. I have known her continue
in this a quarter of an hour.
Lady Macbeth
Yet here’s a spot.    
Hark, she speaks. I will set down what comes from
her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.
Lady Macbeth
Out, damned spot, out, I say. — One, two — why,
then, ’tis time to do’t. — Hell is murky. — Fie, my
lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard! What need we
fear who knows it, when none can call our power to
account? Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him?

Shakespeare, Macbeth 5.1.22-36

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