Are we killing ourselves through our cosmopolitan bustle of business, technology, immigration, cultural exchange, agriculture, and exogamous sex? The distinguished historian and transatlantic pundit-philosopher Niall Ferguson says so in this laboriously learned, encyclopedic catalogue, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.
No matter how much the public narrative tries to ignore it, no matter how much the media attempts to suppress serious discussion, critical voices are becoming louder by the day. Ever more people in both the old and the new Europe are demanding their fundamental rights and freedoms back.
International tourist arrivals are down by 85% from 2019. A third of the world’s borders are shut. There seems to be no movement in the direction of reversing this disaster and reinstituting the wonderful world of 2019. In fact, there seems to be very little awareness that this has happened to us much less of the terrible consequences. Forget the freedom of movement; the Biden administration has only promised to open up “when it is safe to do so.”
A health official said of the polio epidemic: “Nobody can shut down intercourse of people in communities.” Our rights survived. So did human liberty, free enterprise, the Bill of Rights, jobs, and the American way of life. And then polio was eventually beat.
The impossible promise of perfect control continued throughout the Great Panic. It seduced governments and populations alike, and still does. Traces of this false promise will probably survive its end.
At a time of crisis, such as during a pandemic, is exactly when such institutions are even more needed than ever, and when faced with uncertainty, many seek the comfort and support of religious institutions.Yet during the pandemic and the lockdowns, religious institutions were only too willing to shut themselves down, close their doors, and therefore abandon those that depended on them.
Their singular obsession, emotional intensity, and size lead to crowds sometimes attaining great power and dictating directions that can change the course of history for a whole country, or even for the world. The inherent danger is that their obsession blinds them to everything else that matters in normal times.
Today, you won’t find people in polite society who have kind things to say about the eugenic theory of social organization, at least not in public. But as vaccine passports and their disparate impact reveal, it turns out to be strangely easy to manufacture a public health excuse – drawing on the primal fear of infection and disease – to recreate what amounts to the same structure with an excuse that is different only in its details but not in its impact on the social order.
The Brownstone Institute is pleased to announce the impending publication of The Great Covid Panic: What Happened, Why, and What To Do Next, by Paul Frijters, Gigi Foster, and Michael Baker. Combining rigorous scholarship with evocative and accessible prose, the book covers all the issues central to the pandemic and the disastrous policy response, a narrative as comprehensive as it is intellectually devastating. In short, this is THE book the world needs right now.
One hopes that the WHO in the future will stick to science rather than allow its once-vaunted reputation to be manipulated and abused by political and industrial interests that do not have the best interests of the public in mind.
We’ve long misconstrued who precisely can be part of the intellectual battle. Everyone without exception can qualify as an intellectual provided he or she is willing to take ideas seriously. Anyone and everyone is entitled to be part of it. Those who feel the burden and the passion of ideas more intensely, in Mises’s view, have a greater obligation to thrust themselves into the battle, even when doing so can bring disdain and isolation from one’s fellows – and doing so most certainly will (which is why so many people who should have known better have fallen silent).
The Journal of the American Medical Association said of alcohol prohibition in 1920: “Most of us are convinced that it is one of the most beneficent acts ever passed by a legislature.”