“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” – CS Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)
In 1972, Christian essayist CS Lewis nicely described what is going on here in Anchorage today, where the Assembly by a 6-4 vote decided to extend the Mayor’s emergency powers well into June. Could have been worse, as she asked for July. Biggest fallout from this extension is the Mayor’s EO 20, which imposes continued lockdown restrictions, continued masking, with no relief until 70% of Muni residents have undergone an experimental medical procedure, the COVID vaccine.
Voting in support of this were Assembly members Chris Constant, Kameron Perez – Verdia, Felix Rivera, Meg Zalatel, Pete Peterson, and mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar. Assembly member and acting Mayor Austin Quinn – Davidson asked for the extension. Half of these people are up for reelection next April and Dunbar is about to be in a runoff for Mayor. Keep that in mind when you vote later this month and next year.
Nowhere in the discussion of the new EO was any information (new or old) about precisely what the 70% vaccination requirement is supposed to do. The only logical goal would be some sort of herd immunity for Anchorage residents. So, let’s look at herd immunity for a bit.
Herd immunity used to be defined as 40% or so of a population immune in some way to the spread of the disease. Either they have had it and have antibodies or have been vaccinated. Over the course of the last year, the wannabee politicians at the CDC and elsewhere have moved the goal posts nicely and jacked up that number to the 50 – 66% (half to two-thirds) range. Now, the Mayor demands 70% of the entire population of the Muni be VACCINATED with an experimental vaccine before she opens the Muni for business once again. This edict ignores the number of people who have had COVID and recovered, the number of people who tested positive and recovered, and children below age 18 who appear to be immune because few of them get the disease. Neither she nor any of the Yes votes in the Assembly have made any effort to look deeper into anything other than number of vaccinations.
If you do the math, things get more interesting. Current population of ANC is listed at 293k. Cumulative COVID cases since this began are 29k since March 31. Total number of single vaccinations (which will take you to 90% immunity) are 107k. There are roughly 50k school age children in the Muni counting both private and ASD schools. Add the three numbers together and you get 186,000 people somehow touched by COVID, a vaccination, or too young to get the disease. This is 63% of the population, making the Mayor’s edict yesterday little more than an exercise in “look at me and what I can do.” There is an analysis done by Ric Davidge’s group at the state level that lists 77% of the population either vaccinated or infected, making Alaska one of the top 4 states in the nation already reaching herd immunity. If we are top 4, what in God’s Name are we doing continuing the lockdown and masking?
Just as the Assembly and acting Mayor make this decision, we are faced with the recent removal of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine in Europe and the foolish CDC order stopping vaccinations with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, cutting down the availability of vaccines here in Alaska by up to half.
When does this end? With this majority and should one of them be elected Mayor, there is no end, for no metrics exist to define when an end should or will come just like the fail to exist to justify the extension. And they will keep moving the goal posts down the field as long as they can retain “emergency” control over businesses and individual citizens in Anchorage.
What to do about it? The Mayoral election this month is a good place to start. Assembly and School Board elections next year is another. In the interim, perhaps it is time for the Governor’s Office and State Public Health apparatus to get involved, much like Texas Governor Greg Abbott is with unreasonable lockdown and masking diktats by the local government in Austin. As for the legislature, perhaps legislation that removes the ability of any local governments to impose lockdowns or masking requirements might be in order. And long past due.
This epidemic is for the most part over. States who have dropped restrictions like Florida and Texas are thriving, as are states like the Dakotas who never locked down. States who have retained lockdown and other restrictions like Michigan are seeing the outbreak spread. The Anchorage Assembly and Mayor seem to following Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan down the primrose path of excessive caution and safety to economic oblivion, dragging businesses and the citizens of Anchorage along with them.
Bottom line? It is long past time for little girls and boys on the Assembly and as Acting and wannabee Mayor to quit playing doctor. And that is intended just as condescendingly as the Acting Mayor and her Assembly view us who are in opposition. Stop this. Now.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.