“Freedom is only ever one generation away from extinction”. Ronald Reagan
It really started for us with pictures of overrun hospital wards in Lombardy and Madrid. True, we had seen similar images from Wuhan a month or two earlier, but that is a place no one had previously heard of, and seemed very distant and foreign. Those awful European images understandably created a sudden sense of urgency and concern. Future historical analysis, done in the cool light of day, will no doubt demonstrate that we did over-react, but given the uncertainty at the time, we might all be forgiven for not knowing what to do. And so the country agreed to have restrictions on our liberties imposed upon itself.
However, what has transpired since then has moved from ‘understandable’ to ‘debateable’ to ‘illogical’. And now to absurd and downright scary. It seems as though, with every comparable indication that the situation is infinitely better than it was in the Spring, we are subject to a constant stream of further rules and restrictions. Particularly egregious are the instructions around wearing masks, and only being allowed to meet in groups of 6 or less.
We are in a new dystopian world. These instructions came at a time when there were almost no deaths and hospitalisations. So why are we getting treated this way ? Before answering the question as to what is really going on here, it is worth just articulating a few key facts about this ‘epidemic’ and where we are in it.
- Over 40,000 people in the UK have died of (or with) Covid-19. As we normally suffer ~ 1600 deaths a day in this country, that equates to about 3½ weeks worth of deaths. The average age of these deaths is over 80 and it is reported that 95% of those dying had other serious conditions.
- At the peak in April we had nearly 1000 deaths a day (7 day average). We now have around 20, a factor of 50 less.
- The stated objective of the lockdown we underwent, starting on March 23rd, was ‘to avoid overwhelming the NHS’.
- If 40,000 people have died in the UK of (or with) Covid19, it means the rest of us have survived with a survival rate of 99.94%.
- The global death toll is around 960,000, which is about 5 days worth of normal global deaths. The global survival rate is 99.99%, and save a handful of countries which still show some growth in cases and deaths, almost all countries are now in decline.
- At a global level, comparisons with the Hong Kong flu of 1968-69 and the Spanish flu of 1918-19 show they had fatalities per capita which were some 10x and 300x more deadly respectively than with Covid-19.
- Although it is a subjective statement, there appears to be no real correlation between death counts in countries and the imposition of any lockdowns. To give three examples of geographically diverse countries that did not impose significant social interruption: Pakistan, Sweden and Brazil have deaths per million at around 30, 580 and 650 respectively. Not any worse than many similar countries in their respective regions which did see the imposition of serious restrictions.
So, given these uncontested facts, why on earth are we now facing further nationwide lockdown threats and why do we have a population that seems so happy be compliant with these directives? Why have we so willingly relinquished centuries of hard-won freedoms and continue to seemingly accept whatever new undebated diktat comes along? What is really going on?
It is sad to say, but I have come to the conclusion that in every society there is a substantial element that unconsciously yearns for an authoritarian form of governance. And this pandemic is an absolute hard-left socialist’s dream. Hard left in philosophy and authoritarian in nature. In one fell swoop they have achieved what decades of effort have not. A cowed and controlled population, money printing galore, stay at home orders, restricted travel, enforced compliance, demonisation of non-compliance, Stasi-like informers, and on and on. In short, a truly hard-left socialist society. I think to understand what we are seeing, one just needs to put it into the framework that there are forces in our society that want to maintain and strengthen this socialist situation. There are three key components :
- Fear propagation: It has long been known that pretty much all our mainstream media are hopelessly biased towards left-wing agendas. The current situation is a perfect alliance between catastrophe story telling (which is what sells papers) and the required doom-mongering to keep the population in perpetual fear. And they know that a fearful population will just keep doing what they are told. They know that! It doesn’t matter what the truth is. The news outlets just keep pumping this catastrophe narrative. It is not news. It is propaganda. Every story is told from the worst possible angle. If the USA breaks some new infections record, it is splashed all over the news without any real context that infection cases there have almost halved in the last month or so. Two months ago we heard that Africa was going to be a death zone. What do we hear now on Africa ? That there doesn’t seem to be a problem ? No, we hear silence.
- Socialist tendencies: As I stated above, the societal pendulum regularly swings back towards social conformance and loss of individuality. Even though, decades after it has been shown that Communist regimes always impoverish their peoples, the drive towards it is so strong. Just look at the last election when the UK genuinely considered electing a Marxist government, and very nearly upended the democratic mandate of the 2016 referendum. As the amazing politics of that period showed, almost all of our institutions demonstrated sympathy for that goal. Sympathy towards an authoritarian unaccountable Europe. And now there is zero resistance towards anything that opposes the push towards a compliant population. No recognised institution or body is standing up to say “Stop this nonsense”. It is almost like they see this as an opportunity to punish their foolish and simple compatriots for the ‘mistake’ with Brexit. It is almost as if they wish this country impoverished.
- Sunk cost: It is a shame that Boris Johnson does not have the numerical literacy to understand the depths of the problems with this mistaken lockdown strategy. Even now, he could correct the wrong. He could stand up and say “I have been misled”. And he would be forgiven. But he won’t because he cannot face that music with the minimal understanding he has of the statistics, of the context. And neither can any of his henchmen. Nor the opposition. They are alI wedded to a strategy that has no possible success outcome. I watched last week’s Question Time in disbelief as both a Government Minister and the Shadow Secretary for Health aligned in their illogical disregard for the view of one of the country’s leading epidemiologists, as she called for an alternative strategy, given that lockdowns clearly don’t work.
How this ends is difficult to predict. All I know is that unless there is some major uprising of true resistance, we can all go a lot deeper down this rabbit hole of economic and societal destruction. It is very easy to visualise a country where we are perpetually restricted from any former freedoms in the name of our own safety. For our own good. And in a world where Covid-19 has long gone. What is there to stop it?