In what might be the most appropriate forum imaginable, Scott Atlas has resigned his spot at the head of Donald Trump’s “coronavirus task force” with a post on Twitter. As might be expected, Atlas’ exit letter contains a glowing amount of self praise for his brilliant handling of all things COVID-19 including a claim that he always worked from the “latest science and evidence, without any political consideration or influence.” That he’s delivering this auto-tongue-bath as hospitals and ICUs across the nation are full, only makes it more perfect.
Unmentioned in Atlas’ note is how his uninformed, wholly political actions helped drive the nation to a point where literally millions have become infected in the last month, create a third surge that makes everything which happened previous to the fall seem like a warm-up act. Also unmentioned is the pure fact that he was wholly and completely unqualified for this position, with neither the experience or the knowledge to deal with any aspect of a pandemic.
In fact, Scott Atlas is a prime example of a form of government few saw coming: Trollocracy.
In a trollocracy, people are selected purely on their perceived ability to piss off “the other side” with no regard for actual ability to govern, or the resulting real world damage. That Atlas racked up a fresh hundred thousand dead and urged the nation toward a goal of herd immunity that, at best, would require millions of victims, and at worst, was simply unattainable, will not be counted against him. After all, he really, really made people mad. And that’s the only score that counts.
For the GOP trollocracy, Newsmax, OANN, and talk radio serve the role of discovering and promoting “troll talent.” That is, elevating those perceived as most offensive to people who actually know something about the subject being trolled. In this anti-Darwinian proving ground for selecting the most repugnant nonsense, Atlas defeated all comers. He was the choice to stand at the White House podium and spout libertarian-tinged anti-science lies after Trump himself tired of the job.
Atlas is still out there feeding not just anti-mask sentiment, but making statements about the “harm” caused by masks that wouldn’t pass muster in a sixth-grade science class. He’s constantly contradicted both the CDC and FDA, as well as common sense. And he’s been especially disdainful of the members of the task force, like Anthony Fauci, who actually have decades of experience and knowledge concerning communicable disease.
Believe it or not, Scott Atlas actually wandered onto the White House stage just four months ago, when his “contrarian views” (i.e. bull-headed ignorance) caused Trump to pick up from the right wing media and plant him in front of the experts who were desperately trying to get the White House to do … something. Anything. It was that which probably made Atlas the most attractive candidate for Trump, because his real argument was that Trump was already doing the only thing appropriate for a government facing a crisis: Nothing. But Atlas actually did less than nothing, because his confusing and contradictory statements actually worked out far worse than plain old nothing.