Schwarzenegger to mask opponents: Screw your freedom. You’re a schmuck for not wearing a mask.

“We’re a long way from ‘don’t be an economic girly-man,’” tweeted Dan McLaughlin in response to Arnold’s comments here, remembering his 2008 convention speech.

I thought of his 2004 convention appearance, not because of the substance but because I remembered Rudy Giuliani was a featured speaker that year too. As was John McCain. As was Mike Bloomberg.

None of those guys is representative of the party less than 20 years later. Rudy comes closest, but he’s far gone with MAGA loyalty and conspiracy theorizing even by modern Republican standards. McCain the “maverick” became a MAGA villain for various reasons, starting with his vote to sink ObamaCare repeal, and Schwarzenegger ended up a de facto centrist independent. Bloomberg ran for president as a member of the other party last year.

Oh, Dick Cheney spoke that year too as the VP nominee, of course. His daughter and ideological heir is currently in the process of being drummed out of the GOP for being too resolute in her criticism of Trump.

Has any party in modern history seen as many convention speakers veer off in one direction or another from where the party ended up 20 years later? I should check who spoke at Democratic conventions between the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Anyway, the “screw your freedom” stuff begins a little more than halfway through:

He’s making a point I made differently in the “chicken pox” post earlier, that we somehow find ourselves back in a 2020 dynamic in which everyone’s risk from COVID is interdependent. Not fully interdependent; not interdependent the way it was a year ago, when only those who’d survived the virus had immunity. You can significantly reduce your risk of severe illness now by getting your shots. But Delta has changed the game inasmuch as the vaxxed are no longer nearly perfectly protected from infection and hospitals are no longer nearly perfectly protected from new waves of patients getting sick en masse and straining their resources.

That’s why I think we’re seeing more “vaccine anger” now from those who’ve been immunized. People are mad about Delta, mad that the unvaccinated won’t do what they can to help contain it, mad that the promise of social normalcy has gone unfulfilled, and mad that we’re all again at risk of illness after having been assured six months ago that we could bail out of the pandemic by getting a free shot. I remember Fauci saying in May, shortly before the CDC told vaccinated people it was safe to unmask, that we were in the sixth inning of the pandemic. Not me, I wrote at the time. I’ve been vaccinated. I’m in the locker room having a beer.

Now the vaccinated find themselves back on the field. I don’t even know what inning we’re in. Still the sixth? Are we playing a doubleheader?

The bottom line, per Schwarzenegger, is that the post-vaccine promise of everyone getting to manage their own personal risk by the choices they make no longer holds. You can hedge your COVID risk all you want and still end up dying of a different malady in an ambulance because some less responsible person didn’t hedge his:

Mississippi has the lowest share of residents who’ve received a first vaccine dose of any state in the country at just 42 percent. Thanks to the unvaccinated, ICU beds in the state are in such short supply right now that the feds have sent people down there to help set up a field hospital. An executive at the University of Mississippi Medical Center explained the situation this way:

“Since the pandemic began, I think the thing that hospitals have feared the most is total failure of the hospital system. And if we track back a week or so when we look at the case positivity rate, the rate of new cases, the rate of hospitalizations—If we continue that trajectory within the next five to seven to 10 days, I think we’re going to see failure of the hospital system in Mississippi,” UMMC Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Dr. Alan Jones said during an afternoon press conference.

“Hospitals are full from Memphis to Natchez to Gulfport. Hospitals are full.”

The university’s children’s hospital is also full. Even if beds open up, the state now has 2,000(!) fewer nurses than it did eight months ago, which I’m assuming is partly due to burnout.

The people most at risk nationwide are those who are immunocompromised. The feds are so alarmed by the Delta surge and what it could mean for the vulnerable as it picks up that the FDA is expected to authorize booster shots for the immunocompromised tomorrow. If we can’t convince or compel the wider population to get immunized in order to reduce transmission generally, as a matter of collective action, then we need to facilitate individual action to reduce one’s own risk from the population-wide threat. Which makes me wonder: Why shouldn’t boosters be authorized for anyone who wants one?


The vaccines are stellar at preventing illness from Delta so severe as to require ER treatment but they’re not as stellar at preventing symptomatic illness as they were against earlier variants. If boosters are safe, let the vaccinated access doses that the unvaccinated aren’t using and spare themselves the misery of a “mild” bout of COVID in which they run a high fever, lose their sense of smell, have muscle aches and pains, and/or potentially can’t get out of bed. I don’t understand why we shouldn’t at least boost senior citizens who got their shots early this year and whose immunity might now be waning. If it’s every man for himself in the pandemic, let’s do what we can to let people control their own risk again.

Via Hot Air

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