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West Stockbridge, Mass.
Politics/Government | Soft news
8 January 2021 10:20AM
John Isaacs

www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/12/28/the-great-barrington-declaration-ruffles-locals-feathers

The Berkshires town, known for its cozy second homes and its convenient cannabis dispensaries, is distancing itself from a think tank’s herd-immunity message.

“Steve Bannon wasn’t angry, but he was very disappointed. “You know, I’m pretty low-key,” he said one recent evening. “And I think my instinctive reaction was ‘I really wish they had not done this to our town.’ Because I love our town, and we didn’t deserve it.” He was sipping hot chocolate outside a busy café in Great Barrington. “And I must tell you, with my name,” he added, “it seemed like a double whammy.”

“Bannon, who frequently receives “very nasty” e-mails meant for the right-wing political operative, is a pharmacist and the chair of the select board in Great Barrington, a town of around seven thousand souls in the corner of the Berkshires where Massachusetts meets Connecticut and New York. A popular second-home spot for New York City residents, the town was until recently best known to city dwellers as the nearest place with a full-service pot dispensary. But that distinction was overshadowed in October, when more than three dozen epidemiologists, physicians, and statisticians, as well as a stray philosopher, published a report called the “Great Barrington Declaration.”

“Sponsored by the American Institute for Economic Research, a libertarian think tank based in the town, the declaration argues against lockdowns and in favor of a strategy of herd immunity as a way to contain the coronavirus. Its chief signatories are professors at Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford, the last of whom asserted in May that covid was “on its way out” in the United Kingdom. The document immediately attracted international attention. Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical adviser, told a parliamentary committee that it was “scientifically weak, probably dangerously flawed, operationally impractical, and, I think personally, ethically a little difficult.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization’s director-general, said that it was “scientifically and ethically problematic.” Anthony Fauci dismissed it as “ridiculous.” The White House embraced it. …”

Read the whole thing at the link above.

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