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Liberals did not polarize the pandemic

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Via Brad DeLong: Shadi, this makes zero sense. Liberals made masks, expertise, and science a "cultural identity marker" because it is stark raving insane in a pandemic to adopt any other culture. You seem to be assuming it's normal, somehow, that half our country has entered a mass psychosis– https://t.co/jFdPhPa5qi— Claire Berlinski. (@ClaireBerlinski) December 28, 2021Berlinski understates her case. The notion that liberals claim to “follow the science” and conservatives claim to do something else (what exactly?) is wrong.  Everyone appeals to science in a pandemic.  Conservatives claim that the science favors their preferred policies, and that people who disagree with them are corrupt, incompetent, or even tyrannical.  It is these charges of

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Via Brad DeLong:

Berlinski understates her case.

The notion that liberals claim to “follow the science” and conservatives claim to do something else (what exactly?) is wrong.  Everyone appeals to science in a pandemic.  Conservatives claim that the science favors their preferred policies, and that people who disagree with them are corrupt, incompetent, or even tyrannical.  It is these charges of corruption and incompetence that turn what should be an uncertain debate over how to respond to a difficult situation into a politicized stew of outrage and resentment. 

You can certainly criticize the policies and messaging of public health officials and the Biden administration, but don’t lose sight of the big picture.  Conservative politicians, media, pundits, and think tanks used the policy debate over Covid-19 to stoke polarization by constantly dialing the outrage up to 11.  Some did it as part of their ongoing effort to motivate conservative voters and to discredit government, some no doubt did it for personal financial gain, career advancement, or public attention. 

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