It's well and good to point out that these "Re-Open" protests are astroturfed nonsense, fifty dipshits who would show up to protest literally anything if Fox News encouraged them to. The only reason these events receive media coverage is because the journalists (who outnumber the attendees in some cases) can't say no to a good circus. Other than that, what is the news value? I've seen bigger crowds at a Scrabble tournament.
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These people are being used (quite willingly, it must be said from the looks of it) to push the narrative that The People demand a Great Reopening, a resumption of all levels of activity that were normal three months ago as a matter of Freedom or The Economy or Coronavirus is Fake or whatever. Bret Stephens wrote his predictable NYT column about how "people" are eager, so eager, to get things going again. There is zero evidence of this in any data, of course. Poll numbers differ depending on the source and sample, but stay-home orders are not unpopular. Far from it. They are supported by solid to overwhelming majorities, as high as 85% in some surveys. The only people eager to "get back to work" are small business owners who, screwed by the Republicans and their President out of meaningful economic assistance, want the power to force their employees to return to work. That's all this is – they want other people, the people who work for them or provide them with services, to get back to work. It's a temper tantrum from people who are being inconvenienced or are losing money.

I sympathize with people who are losing business. The government should be providing them with assistance. It chose not to. They need to take that up with the people in power, not with their minimum wage workforce.

The lie that people are desperate to get back to work, to shopping, etc. is only useful when the bluff cannot be called; that is, in states where business shutdowns and shelter-in-place are still in effect. But all it takes to destroy the illusion is to give these people what they want. Georgia's "re-opening" was a gigantic wet fart for businesses. The owner of one hip Atlanta bar was told to expect business at 10% of normal levels for the first weekend; instead he got two customers. Two. For the entire weekend. It would have been better financially for him to remain closed. Two customers didn't pay for having the lights on. Unless you sincerely believe that there was a bar around the corner that was mobbed with customers, his example may not be universal but is probably not too far from the norm.

The truth is that people are afraid, and with good cause. They are afraid of unnecessary risk. They're willing to go to the grocery store because, well, food is a necessity. But they're very far from being willing to roll the dice on going to the ballgame or the bar or the bowling alley or the diner. Nobody, perhaps not even most Trumpers, believe the Trump party line about how things are under control and this is no big deal. Yeah there are dead-enders who absolutely believe the virus is fake or whatever, but…at least in Georgia, the data suggest that they didn't go charging out their front door to have a shopping spree as soon as the Governor gave the word.

The other reality that is becoming all too clear is that the "slow drain" theory of capitalism and consumer spending is delusional.

That is, demand and consumption haven't been pent up for 8 weeks and once the clog is cleared, it will come bursting forth in torrents. That's not what is happening. The lack of spending isn't a function of the stay-home orders. People are still free to shop online, to order takeout food, and so on. The lack of spending is from tens of millions of people losing their jobs, having their hours reduced, or being in fear of losing their jobs in the near future.
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It's from the blinking red signs indicating that we are entering an economic downturn that will rival the Great Depression before this is over. Nobody is going to run out and buy a new car when the bottom is about to drop out of the economy, whether the Governor tells them they can or can't.

In short, some of our elites managed to convince themselves that 1) people are barely able to contain their enthusiasm to "get back to work" and 2) once restrictions are lifted, everything will immediately return to normal. Both are complete delusions. The vast majority of people don't want to go anywhere.

They don't feel like risking their lives or anyone else's to go to Cracker Barrel.

This isn't complicated. People don't have money. People are trying to save what money they have to cover bare necessities. People can see that a long, hard recession is coming. And most of all, people don't believe a word of what they're hearing from their titular leaders. Some of them may say they believe it, but that lie doesn't travel well. When the restrictions are lifted, their behavior tells you what they actually believe.

26 thoughts on “THE LIMITS OF LYING”

  • Lobsterman says:

    If there's one thing I'm used to in 2020, it's the idea that our elites and leadership are utterly deluded.

  • I live in Atlanta. People who support the shut-down are sharing plenty of stories about OMG LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE AT THE MALL/PARK DON'T THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING THOSE STUPID TRUMPERS WHO THINK THIS IS ALL FAKE etc. (There are especially stories about people not wearing masks, which I'll admit is true.) I noticed that traffic was heavier on Saturday, but it seems to be back to "new normal" today. It's as if some people just want an occasional "holiday" from the shutdown–say, one day a month–as if they figure that one or two days a month can't hurt and would be good mentally.

  • Haile Unlikely says:

    Before the plague hit, there were numerous stories about how the majority of FreedomLand™ was living on the edge, with no financial cushion. Part of that is the shitty service economy, much of which is now in tatters. The other part is that they are often serious dumbfucks, up to their assholes in debt for shit they never really could afford, but Murricans are consumers, first and foremost. Gotta have the BIG TRUCK (sorry about that penis, Kyle), big house, big TV, all that shit. So if there's a silver lining on this turdburger, it's that the consume-über-alles creed is dead for a long time. Good riddance. But those shitkickers' guns are coming out, and soon.

  • "Imagine cake emojis."

    Only if they have pink, KruggerRand crapping, unicorns which are cavorting iny a cloudless sky as blue as Liz Taylors eyeliner!

  • Exactly right. I've learned to never watch what people say. Only what they do. But of course, the reopening is not about delusion, really. It's about calculation. They can't afford to have the working class actually looking out for their own self-interest. That is the antithesis of capitalism. So the reopen orders are about forcing people off unemployment, meanwhile Moscow Mitch has stated that any subsequent relief package include release of liability for employers. They're evil, not stupid.

    See also:

  • c u n d gulag says:

    With the increase of hairy, bearded, fat, militia types hauling their long guns into the streets to protest… protest something, I'm afraid that along with our Covid-19 pandemic, we may soon have a Klandemic, to (jack)boot!

  • Seth Steinzor says:

    I think that Ed, as usual, nails it, but I also think he's leaving one thing out. Another reason next to nobody is just rarin' to go back to work is that most jobs are soul-killing, boring, meaningless drudgery that produces nothing much of value, unless you consider it valuable to increase the wealth of people and entities who are already rich. People have no stake in their jobs, except as a paycheck, and they have no stake in the system their jobs are a part of. Who is eager to return to that?

  • The breathless coverage of the few people protesting in my state by the local TV is unreal. They start early on the day, giving out the time , and predicting lots of people, tell you where to park…etc. They show tight shots and say there are maybe 3x the people that are really there.
    Station is owned by Disney, so easy to see motivation in the shit show.

  • Economists seem baffled by this. They were predicting inflation and growth while ignoring the simple fact that people who don't have money and can't borrow it can't spend it. That whole idea seems to have dropped out of Econ 101.

  • ". . . as blue as Liz Taylor's eyeliner"? Jesus DC, it's either too much housebound fueling that grab at poetry, or the cannabis biz is chugging on big in these shut down times. Or both.
    That aside, of course most livelihood avenues are shit clogged, especially for the working class. The topic's bigger than the comment format.
    Thanks Ed. Good to see you hitting strong.

  • Safety Man! says:

    Where to start…

    I thought Free Market-ism said that if you had to compete harder for employees, you had to pay them more… or just lobby Mitch, apparently.

    I can’t take credit for this, but pay close attention to what these people actually do, a la the Major of Las Vegas who was perfectly happy to reopen casinos but won’t set foot inside one herself. Don’t go out until the country clubs and golf courses resume normal operations.

    Lastly, sorry Ed, but the reopen narrative is hugely popular among certain demographics out here in the hinterlands. I don’t think they ever truly bought into the idea of the disease being real anyway, and now it’s finally socially acceptable to nix the whole thing. Interestingly, the Supreme Court decision that allocated quarantine authority to the government doesn’t get brought up on Right Wing Radio.

    I’m actually a Public Health professional, and my 2 cents is that we’ll see a dramatic upswing of cases, albeit in locations that refuse to take this seriously. In particular, after the 4th of July, because you know these idiots are going to organize huge Freedom Rallies to snub their noses at us libtards. Frankly, you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped, and this is just going to have to work itself out in payroll for most of them.

  • "I’m actually a Public Health professional, and my 2 cents is that we’ll see a dramatic upswing of cases, albeit in locations that refuse to take this seriously. In particular, after the 4th of July, "

    I'm guessing it will be before the 4th of July–the Memorial Day weekend will be an opportunity for them to infect millions of people who have had the good sense to not tempt fate up to that point.

    If they were the only ones to sicken and die, I'd be 100% fine with it.

  • Imagine spending your entire life working, only to be told you're non-essential. Imagine alway knowing deep inside that was the case. Now imagine what sort of mind thinks "Damn you! Let me go back to my non-essentialness!"
    As my old boss used to say: People gonna do what people gonna do…

  • COVID is to the Protestant "if they do not work then let them not eat" ethos what the Great Depression was to the gold standard's "shiny bits of metal are more real than anything" ethos.

    In both cases, countries that abandon the nonsense earlier recover faster and better.

    In both cases, conservatives are going to inflict the maximum possible damage because they NEED that nonsense to justify hurting people. It's easier for rich MAGAts to accept "the virus is a lie" than "finance is a lie".

  • It ain't conservatives openly rooting for the worst-case COVID scenarios going forward. Even Sloppy Joe himself said in a recent interview that the prospects for pandemic-induced structural change had made him "excited". Dr. Jill knows just how unusual that is.

    If indeed America embraces a Socialist Work Ethic to replace the Protestant, we'll see SEIU and AFSCME try to unionize the gainfully unemployed, the disabled, illegal immigrants and the homeless. Healthcare, housing, food stamps and UBI for every career idler–and novice!–as a matter of right. Whether well-off or badly-off, You Didn't Build That. Smelly Cat's Smelly Owner? It's not your fault. A true Socialist Work Ethic ushered in by mass dependence upon government means that those time-worn oppressor's dog whistles, equality of opportunity, and "merit", are finally vanquished by equality of outcome (as administered by a selfless elite class of government officials, which of practical necessity must enjoy its own separate privileges and prerogatives, for the good of the People).

    That utopic vision of social justice at the lowest common denominator must be well-guarded once earned, however. Saboteurs, hoarders and subversive "hard-working" show-offs will have to be reported and punished in direct proportion to the (seeming) failure of reality to comport with the leftist worldview. Counterrevolutionaries must be forced to be free.

  • Jeff Berman says:

    I live in Ga, and I believe that Kemp took a caculated risk. He opened up a variety of establishments in order to not have to pay state unemployment insurance to their workers. But, I believe he did so in the hope that only a very few people would start to use those establishments, and so he calculated that the impact to any increase in Covid cases would be negligible.

  • For those unfamiliar with the troll, Inky.

    This is from 3 months back.



    I'm sure that somewhere (on top of the dryer or maybe behind the clothes hamper) you've got that file of evidence supporting your assertion of several months back that Ed is a supporter of Islamist terrorists. We RILLLLLLLLLLLLY want to believe that you're not a lying fuckbag who would rather shit on someone who they've never met (Ed) rather than honestly debate.
    I will stop posting things like this as soon as you quit being the lying fuckbag that you seem to be, by default.

    Fuck off, troll. "

    Nothing's really changed for him. He's still the same p.o.s.

  • don coyote says:

    Hey demo amigo, you know inky loves the attention. Poor guy got no one left to read his spew. I don't even scan it. In descending darkness foul fungi grow and die. Bye bye.

  • @ don coyote:

    Yeah, but he's like a nasty, lingering infection. Since he's demonstrated that he has no interest in backing up his assertions I just like to let others who may not be familiar with his schtick to not do so.

  • Ed, thank you. I could not have said it better. Very nice to see that Covid-19 is finally spreading into the White House where it belongs. Democommie – Liz Taylor's blue eyeliner made my day. Inky Stinky – kiss my brown ass and go back to crying over your Clorox Lysol highball.

  • Now, now fellas—methinks you doest protest too much. The object, as ever, was to puncture familiar leftist sanctimony balloons by simply offering the other side of the same advocacy coin. What separates “troll” from centipede reach-around in this context is no more nor less than counting the respective partisan participants, on one or two hands.

  • @ Inkyshitstain:

    You're now being a lying fuckbag to deflect from previous lying fuckbaggery.

    I would say it makes you a less sympathetic character but I don't think that's possible.

    Come back with some evidence to back up your assertions about Ed–dating back some months or just fuck the hell off. Actually, just fuck the hell off.

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