The architects of this collective madness remain immovable, and proud of it. Now, as ever, they meet every move toward normality with accusations of “murder” that are invariably proven incorrect, and yet are repeated in precisely the same tone and with precisely the same confidence the next time around. Now, as ever, they greet evidence to the contrary by either dismissing it out of hand, filtering it through a conspiracy theory, or issuing a never-to-be-revisited injunction to “wait a couple of weeks.” And, on the rare occasions that their position becomes untenable, they quickly change the subject, moving the material question from whether there is any evidence that one needs to wear three masks while skydiving to asking impatiently what harm can come from doing so. Every deadline is delayed; every argument is elastic; and nothing but COVID is written in on the ledger’s negative side. They’re zealots, for whom it will always be March 12, 2020. They must be stopped. I do not believe that the initial panic over the coronavirus was driven primarily by cynicism or by expedience. But I do think that there is something both cynical and expedient about the glacial pace at which this country is being permitted to return to normal. For a certain sort of political progressive, our COVID-led status quo — with its rampant safetyism, its reliance upon experts, and its outsized role for government — is just not that big a deal, especially now that it can be used as an all-encompassing pretext for the Biden administration’s attempt to “remake” the United States. Add in that progressives seem to wildly misjudge how dangerous the virus really is — the chance that somebody with COVID must be hospitalized is between 1 and 5 percent, and yet 69 percent of Democrats believe that the number is more than 20 percent, and 41 percent believe that it is more than 50 percent — and you have a recipe for disaster. In the press, in the blue states, and in the federal government, that recipe is still being followed . . . well, well past the point of being overdone.