The COVID Hierarchy Is A Power Hierarchy And Everyone Knows It

The COVID Hierarchy Is A Power Hierarchy And Everyone Knows It

In between the Met Gala and the Emmys, Bill Maher asked a question. “Do the germs know who the good people are?” he wondered on Friday’s “Real Time,” having observed a trend at events like the Met Gala where “the people going to the parties don’t wear masks, but the servers wear masks.”

“Let’s just make the help wear the mask? That’s the liberal approach?” Maher wondered.

At Sunday’s Emmys, the only masks in sight seemed to be fixed on non-famous faces, again projecting a ludicrous class dynamic that lets powerful people opt out of standards they seek to enforce on everyone else.

According to reports, Met Gala attendees were supposed to be vaxxed, tested, and masked (indoors). The Emmys mandated vaccines and testing as well. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, captured by “the spirit,” violated her own mask mandate during a concert on Thursday, one more prominent Democrat lawmaker in a long line of such figures who’ve ignored their own COVID rules over the last 18 months.

It’s not about the optics, feudal as they are. At work in these images is the same mindset that progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez purport to disdain when it comes in the form of tax loopholes. (Although those are, at least, mostly legal.) The standards do not apply to people in power so long as they have enough money or social capital to exempt themselves from the standards they apply to everyone else.

So confident are they in this power, they flaunt it on national television. They don’t fear the unwashed masses. What are they going to do, stop watching the Emmys? (Done.) Refuse service work in states like New York and California? Elect Republicans where there are none?

AOC would like to “Tax the Rich” in favor of the working class, so she says. But her actions and policies neuter the working class, and she likes it that way because her fantasy of the working class doesn’t include people who disagree with her. Even indoors, she accessorized her “Tax the Rich” dress with a maskless face while the help scurried around in cloth coverings.

As our friend David Marcus put it in a post-Emmys column for Fox News, “COVID has become an excuse for the special flowers of our society to create a caste system, in which their faces smile under their pancake powder and make up while the little people labor under masks.”

If Breed, Ocasio-Cortez, and our class of red carpet activists believe the threat of spreading Delta is so strong that vaccinated people should still wear masks and social distance, it stands to reason they would personally obey these guidelines and mandates.

It all boils down to a risk assessment: The public should follow these guidelines to mitigate the threat of mass hospitalizations and deaths. The guidelines, they say, mitigate that threat to the point where mandates are worth the costs of implementing them.

This raises four possibilities, all of which demonstrate the moral depravity of our ruling class.

Either 1) the mandates’ costs are so burdensome, elites can’t be bothered to follow them 2) they don’t feel the mandates are effective enough to warrant following 3) they’re as callous as the hordes of toothless MAGA rubes they theatrically decry 4) it’s okay to exempt important people because their potential for spreading the virus is outweighed by our need for them to look hot and party.

It’s true, the optics are bad. They have the very real consequence of worsening the very real class divisions that exist today, divisions the ruling left eagerly condemned when it was more convenient. Still, beyond the images, the hypocrisy reflects an emerging hierarchy incubated by the pandemic. The question is whether the powerful are right to assume the public can’t meaningfully push back.

Emily Jashinsky is culture editor at The Federalist. You can follow her on Twitter @emilyjashinsky .
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