Three Years Later
Jesus in the wilderness faced three temptations from the Devil himself: material comfort, fame, and power. Needless to say, he declined every temptation and passed all three trials.
So too did the couple seeking to enter the order of virtue in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. They blasted right through the tests of silence, isolation, and fear. In the opera, much celebration ensues.
Fairy tales too are often framed by three chances. The Miller’s daughter is given three chances to guess Rumpelstiltskin’s name, for example, and I’m sure you can think of other instances.
The final movement of the 6th “Tragic” Symphony by Gustav Mahler features three hammer blows, the third of which was later removed by the composer for superstitious reasons: the fear that the third signifies death.
To this day, audiences wait in anticipation to see if the conductor will motion the percussionist to deploy the third or not. When he does not, the blow is even more conspicuous in its absence.
And here we are in year three of the times after the pandemic response sent our lives and those of billions into extraordinary upheaval.
To most of us, it seems like a crazy blur of edicts, propaganda, revelations, fear, confusion, division, and shock, so much so that it is hard to keep the history straight. Indeed, many people just want everything forgotten or at least completely mis-remembered.
Daily, we are bombarded by fake history that we know is wrong. We lived through it. The Brownstone Institute, which I founded, has been accumulating all the receipts: the emails, speeches, edits, threats, impositions, demands, and so on. In the face of all this attempted revisionism, it’s hard to keep one’s bearing.
One way to think about these last three years is a succession of compliance tests: how much liberty and good sense are we willing to surrender to the regime and on what terms? The policies seem to be constructed for just that purpose.
As if to fit the model, they came in three great waves: lockdowns, masks, and vaccine mandates.