The Butcher’s Bill Is Now 1 Megadeath

a rant about COVID-19; read at your own risk

Thu, 12 May 2022

WARNING: This is a rant. Read at your own risk.

Are you sure you want to read this?

I knew this would happen. The death toll for COVID-19 in the US has exceeded one million. If this were a nuclear war we’d call it a megadeath. Maybe we should anyway, since indifference and outright malice on the part of right-wing politicians and pundits has driven millions of otherwise sensible Americans to refuse to take measures that would save their lives and those of their families and friends.

I’m not happy about this, but I’m not in a position to do much about it. I’ve already done what I can; I’m vaccinated and I wear masks in public so it’s less likely to happen to me.

In the meantime, I think I’ll mark the occasion by putting on some Megadeth and browsing r/HermanCainAward. Why? Because fuck you is why. I’m sick of this shit, and I’d rather see COVID-19 eradicated by vaccination, but if every anti-vaxxer and anti-masker dies of COVID first I suppose I can live with it.

It suggests that Planck’s Principle doesn’t only apply to science.

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it…

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarized with the ideas from the beginning: another instance of the fact that the future lies with the youth.

—Max Planck, Scientific autobiography, 1950, p. 33, 97

If the arc of history does indeed bend toward justice, it does so one funeral at a time. This is not an argument for hurrying the process along. If Neil Gaiman is right in depicting Death as a lady, it is rude to rush her. Even if he isn’t, rushing conservative politicians and pundits and those will willingly gulp their Kool-Aid into the arms of their maker is a good way to fuck up one’s own life.

History shows that single angry man with a gun does not a revolution1 make.


  1. Gavrilo Princip doesn’t count, since he ended up trigging the First World War. Neither does John Wilkes Booth, even if post-Lincoln Republicans gave up on Reconstruction after the assassination.↩︎