By Alan S. Chartock | October 24, 2020

Oh, brother! Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something even stranger comes along. This time, it was a bunch of self-congratulatory egg heads with a bunch of fancy initials after their names who call themselves libertarians and academics but smell like Trumpers. It just goes to show you that there are such things as educated idiots. I have a Ph.D. but I would rather rely on my mind than any of the various titles and honors that I have received thus far.

This group of people gathered together and came up with a plan which was basically a truly dangerous version of “herd immunity.” Herd immunity, as we know it, can be obtained through vaccinations – if enough people are vaccinated against a disease, the community spread will slow and stop. But this crazy plan posits that we let everyone get COVID-19 and sooner or later, the ones who don’t die will confer immunity on the rest of the “herd.” Of course, respected scientists and doctors are aghast at the idea, as well they should be. The expert prediction is that if this kind of herd immunity becomes policy, millions of Americans will needlessly die.

Naturally this plays right into Donald Trump’s little hands. Crazy Trump believes that he can’t win unless the country is open for business. If this herd immunity policy were to be adopted, people would go back to work. They won’t wear masks, they won’t socially distance, they won’t stay in their houses. They will infect one another. The restaurants and the movie theaters and concerts and public gatherings will reopen and to hell with all those who get sick and die.

Remember when Trump told us that we would not get the virus in the United States? It would just “disappear.” Then he claimed a vaccine was imminent, and we could all get vaccinated and be saved. The fact is, everything he has said has worked against him. The number one reason people cite for voting against Trump is his mishandling of the COVID crisis. Trump’s dastardly disregard for the public’s health has all but insured that he will face revulsion from everyone who has lost loved ones to the disease.

Meanwhile, back to the Great Barrington Declaration. I can tell you without reserve that the 7,000 full-time residents of my town are not happy about having their name attached to this foolish and dangerous so-called “declaration” that would result in many more deaths than the country has faced up to now. The declaration has elicited outrage from the citizens of the town as well as the elected and appointed governmental officials. People were so furious that they immediately started talking of petitions and made it clear in so many other ways that they wanted the “Great Barrington” name taken off the declaration. I think it would be a good idea to put out another declaration, this one to be named “The Greater Great Barrington Declaration,” that would call out the educated miscreants who came up with this crazy scheme.

Donald Trump’s top health advisor, who is little more than a lap dog for the president, has been quoted as supporting herd immunity. If you know anything at all about Trump’s chain of command, you know that his subordinates don’t go off on their own without consulting the big man. If they do, they get fired.

In the waning days of this campaign, Trump, who got fewer votes than his 2016 opponent, has been reading scripts that profess to understand how badly people are feeling having lost loved ones. Someone must know that Trump needs to turn a corner on his callous disregard for all of us who are hurting so badly. As I have written before, “Mistake!” People will not be fooled into mass suicide, now known as herd immunity.

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].