Lemmings are small rodents that live in the Arctic. They undergo vast fluctuations in population and are famously believed to commit mass suicide when they blindly rush off cliffs and into the ocean in vast numbers. That belief is likely based more on a misunderstanding than any real analysis of the animals’ behavior. Nonetheless, the perception remains. Lemmings behave irrationally and, blinded by some kind of hysteria, rush to their deaths.
Lemmings may not commit mass suicide. Humans do, and we are witnessing just such irrational, self-destructive behavior right now.
The press is filled with stories about airlines shutting down hundreds of flights because they are short of personnel. By now you know exactly how this is spun. ‘Omicron is raging. Infections are skyrocketing. Work forces are being ravaged by the infection, and there are too few healthy people left to keep operations moving.’
None of that is true. Omicron is killing almost no one. It may be highly contagious. Its symptoms are typically no more severe than an ordinary flu. It is not Omicron that is crippling the airlines. It is our reaction to it.
Driven by federal government mandates, corporations, including the airlines have adopted draconian policies in regard to COVID-19. They have mandated vaccines. They have implemented mass testing programs, even though almost every day new evidence appears showing how unreliable the tests are. Individuals who do not comply with these edicts are fired or considered unavailable for work.
Thousands of individuals who are showing no symptoms, many of whom likely have already had COVID-19 are prevented by these policies from working. To the extent the airlines are experiencing a labor shortage it is one they have created themselves.
FedEx right now has 30-40 pilots test positive every day. They cannot possibly continue to operate with that level of shortfall in staffing. Other airlines are experiencing the same kind of issue.
Airline pilots are subject to all sorts of rules about how many hours they can fly. Once they have flown a certain number of hours in a particular time period, they are deemed unavailable to fly until they have had a designated rest period. Nonetheless, the airlines are pushing the limits of these rules by offering huge incentive payments to pilots who agree to work extra hours. United is offering up to 300% regular pay to pilots who agree to work additional hours.
It gets worse. Both the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration are experiencing the same issues for the same reasons. That means the security measures in place at airports are suffering. That means air traffic control personnel are working extra hours and tower crews are shorthanded.
How long can that go on before a bomb makes its way through security or two aircraft on approach at JFK end up in the same air space at the same time? Only a few days ago the FAA had to shut down one of two air traffic control towers at Dallas Fort Worth airport due to staffing shortages. The impact of the shutdown was such that the FAA then had to ground all flights across the country headed to Dallas.
Israel is the most vaccinated nation on the planet. It fully embraced all of the lunacy of vaccination and mandates. Omicron is now making a mockery of all of that. The vaccines do not protect the vaccinated. They do not protect the unvaccinated. Virtually everyone who gets the disease recovers in a short period of time and experiences mild symptoms. Israel is now mulling the possibility of changing course 180 degrees and allowing the virus to spread in order to achieve herd immunity and end the pandemic once and for all.
Many American corporations have experienced the same epiphany. They have begun to walk away from vaccine mandates. They have read the writing on the wall. They cannot sustain operations if they continue to listen to mad federal pronouncements. They operate in the real world, and in the real world, people have to show up for work.
Nonetheless, in the bizarre atmosphere of the Biden White House where reality dares not intrude and the facts are whatever you say they are, there is no indication that any of this is having an impact. Joe keeps reading his teleprompter, Big Pharma keeps calling the shots and Congress sits impotently to one side counting campaign contributions from Pfizer and acting like none of this concerns them.
Meanwhile, out there are God knows how many planes full of passengers flown by pilots and copilots who have been pushed past their limits. There are air traffic control towers manned by exhausted, bleary-eyed controllers who on their best days struggle to avoid midair collisions. There are overworked, bone-tired TSA officers staring at screens and patting down passengers, and trying hard to prevent the next 9/11.
The lemmings keep running for the cliff, and there is no sign anything will stop them.