They wrecked social and market functioning and cannot fathom why we have a demoralized population, a mental health crisis, falling financials, soaring inflation, and shortages of goods and services that are essential to life. This is what the experts recommended and yet here we are today.
Despite Tedros’s censored words, it’s no wonder that Xi Jinping continues to feel vindicated and affirmed, and sees no real political danger in choosing his own power over the health and well-being of his people. Governments around the world still cannot muster the courage to make a full-throated and solid attack on zero-covid, for fear of the implications of such a concession. Nudges and hints, even from the WHO, will not do it.
We shut down the world for a year or even two and during that time, the stock market boomed and money arrived in our bank accounts as if by magic. It seemed like government could do anything and nothing would break. Now we wake to a world in which breakage is everywhere. It turns out that governments have no magic wands to defy the realities of cause and effect in this world, and that applies to public health, economics, and culture too.
We preach non-discrimination, equality, and democracy, but when confronted with what seemed to be a potentially mortal threat to our health and lives, we reverted back to pre-modern forms, almost overnight creating a new caste system, shoving the lessers among us in front of the virus to keep the elites pure and clean.
Looking back, there is nothing terribly surprising about any of this. It’s a consequence of safety culture, arrogant elites, and a belief that powerful, rich, and intelligent people can manage the world better than the rest of us. We’ve been here many times in history, and it has always foreshadowed a long period of suffering.
It shows that: we were rich! And then suddenly we were not. They gave us lots of money! Then they took it all away by taking away a huge slice of the purchasing power of that money. If there is a case for mass outrage, this is it. Sadly, most people cannot figure this out. It is opaque and the lines of cause and effect are too complicated for the Tiktok generation.
The damage is done already but it is wise to be aware now of what is possible. Much of the infrastructure was set up over these two years and it all still survives. There is every intention in place to deploy it all again if covid mutates again or if some other pathogen comes along. Lockdowns seem to be in disrepute among the public but the ruling class is still in love with them.
I’m sorry to report that the entire book is a study in mysophobia, more worthy of study by a student of abnormal psychology than a public health official, much less a scientist. That no one has ever pointed this out to him is a disgrace. It’s the trouble with being so rich that you become uncriticizable.
Let us not forget those months when the haircut was illegal. When governments finally allowed them, it didn’t allow blow dryers and made customers follow arrows on the floor and use only “touchless” payment methods. That’s pandemic control in a nutshell. What a disgrace this entire period was to science, rationality, human rights, and freedom.
No authority can substitute for the activity, creativity, and adaptability of the human mind. We need systems that celebrate that, and not attempt surreptitious methods for imposing Orwellian-style thought control. Ideas are more powerful than armies, and the urge to censor is an implicit recognition of that. Still, it didn’t work in 1798 and it surely cannot work in 2020.
Governments in the US crushed market functioning in the name of virus control, and all the rest fell into place after: the spending, the debt, the monetary floods, the panicked purging of the labor force of the noncompliant, the wrecking of trade networks, driving people out of work, ruining businesses, low growth, and all the rest.
Finally we come to the biggest problem of all. What kind of society do we want to live in and build? Is it based on the presumption that freedom belongs to all and is the best path for progress and good lives? Or do we want the rights of the people always to defer to the mandarins in the walled-off bureaucracies who give orders and expect only compliance and no challenge to their rule?