As COVID fever, in contrast to actual cases, continues to subside globally it is time to take stock of two-plus years of irrational fear and policy madness. Learning from the economic, social and political debacle of the global response to the virus is essential to ensure the temptations of authoritarian rule by public health ‘experts’, in cahoots with their political enablers, are resisted when the next health ‘crisis’ hits (monkeypox, anyone?).
Below are fifteen of these COVID lessons. Feel free to add more in the comments thread.
LESSON #1: Viruses will do what viruses do
The path to the COVID policy disaster began with the failure to recognise that any new virus will do what every respiratory virus has done – spread rapidly until the more lethal variants die off with their more vulnerable hosts and more transmissible, but less deadly, variants become dominant, resulting in the familiar Gompertz Curve of rapid rise, followed by a plateau and then swift decline as herd immunity develops from robust, naturally-acquired infections amongst the healthy and their immune systems.
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that is behaving exactly in accord with this evolutionary blueprint and it is the utmost hubris to imagine humanity can ‘socially distance’ it into defeat, and it is the height of unwarranted technophilia to think it can be vaxxed into submission with either revolutionary, rushed-into-production concoctions subjected to scant and hurried clinical trials. Governments can only pretend, for political reasons, to alter or prevent the predictable trajectory of a virus, a fact by now which should be apparent to all.
We wasted two enormously costly years by failing to remember this very old lesson about viruses being viruses and doing what viruses do. This was the foundational error that set in train all the policy errors that followed.
LESSON #2: Unethical, anti-democratic, unscientific and ineffective
The verdict is in after the world’s first-ever global social experiment in locking down entire populations of healthy people to stop the spread of a virus. Every cross-comparative analysis between national and state jurisdictions, in chart after chart of viral incidence, hospitalisation and mortality the world over, shows that lockdowns do not make a bit of difference, not even the brutal, full-strength Chinese brand.
Indeed, lockdowns don’t just fail to save lives, they cause loss of life from mental health problems, suicide, economic deprivation and from (non-COVID) medical neglect.
That is why no pandemic planning, pre-COVID, ever seriously considered implementing lockdowns, not during the flu pandemics of 1957-58 and 1968-70, and not during the H1N1 panic in 2009 (apart from Mexico, which abandoned the costly exercise after 18 days of total failure). Even the WHO, before it lost its mind to COVID fear, specifically ruled out lockdowns in a report published in 2019 as a strategy for managing a flu-like virus
Even if pitiless lockdowns could be made to ‘work’, and even if a genuinely deadly-to-all virus was in our midst, it is never acceptable, morally or politically, to ordain mass home imprisonment while stripping those thus incarcerated of their freedoms in the name of virus control. People may voluntarily choose to hide from the world but such decisions should be up to the individual and based on their own tolerance for risk.
State compulsion should never be an option. It is anti-liberty at its very essence.
LESSON #3: ‘Non-pharmaceutical interventions’ (NPIs) are an absurdist joke
No amount of politically-driven hygiene rituals or ‘social distancing’ pantomime, no bleak landscape of deserted streets, empty schools, silent stadia, deserted airports or any of the other spells and incantations from our COVID policy wizards can thwart the pre-ordained life-cycle of a respiratory virus. Only large-scale economic destruction and social disfigurement can result from such fruitless NPIs. They are, without exception, goofy pseudoscience staged to give the illusion of control and to showcase the stern action that tough-love ‘pandemic’ managers enforced to ‘protect’ us.
LESSON #4: Covid ‘vaccines’ are a dangerous farce
The never-before-used mRNA biotechnology of the COVID ‘vaccines’, so hastily and inadequately tested, doesn’t work — in fact, the ‘vaccines’ may well have a ‘negative efficacy’, making vaccine recipients more likely to ‘get COVID’ by temporarily suppressing (or even damaging long-term) natural immune systems, and it causes great harm (here is a concise, plain-english summary of the myriad pathways to mRNA harm). Further, no vaccine of any kind against any coronavirus has ever worked, all having so far failed to achieve sterilising immunity. For more on the coronavirus, vaccines, efficacy and public health, Professor Robert Clancy’s explanatory essays for Quadrant can’t be beat.
LESSON #5: Big Pharma, big bucks
The COVID vaccines do not work as billed and have inflicted side effects that would have seen any other treatment withdrawn. Where they have been highly successful is in making a ton of money for Big Pharma as more jabs go into more arms more often, each blessed with legislated no-liability protection for the manufacturer. Make no mistake, the financial wellbeing of Big Pharma’s shareholders and top executives is the chief priority. Follow the COVID money – it leads straight to Big Pharma’s accountancy departments.
LESSON #6: Propaganda Works
Terrifying the public with daily ‘cases’ and ‘COVID deaths’ certainly works. Remember all the melodrama about the ‘novel’ nature of SARS-CoV-2 and its purported strategy of lingering on surfaces to ambush victims at their slightest touch? Well, that has been busted by even the CDC, which advises that fomites are a COVID transmission vector in only about one in 10,000 cases.
Neither should we forget the propaganda technique of weaponising emotionally manipulative advertising to infect people’s brains with fanatical public health ideology through simplistic PR slogans (‘Two weeks to flatten the curve’, ‘Staying apart keeps us together’, ‘Nobody is safe until everyone is safe’).
Propaganda works well on those who are by nature trusting of authority and get their news from the mainstream press and idiot box (some 61 per cent of Australians fit this category) with its continuous drip-drip-drip of lies bolstered by frequent recitations of the approved narrative. But it also does a surprisingly effective number on people who should know better — the intelligentsia, the professional caste who are paid to think, even those brain-workers imbued with a respect for science.
The ‘progressive’ intelligentsia, in particular, barely broke stride from hyperventilating about Brexit (racist!) and Trump (racist! fascist!) to joining the COVID frenzy and embracing authoritarianism to defeat the COVID beast. Almost to a man and woman (and men pretending to be women) they, too, proved easy meat for the propagandists upn being scared out of their wits by the virus and its publicity agents. Like the rest of the human race, it turns out the highly credentialed thinking class isn’t any more astute than those of whom they believe it their responsibility to dictate behaviour and policy.
The lesson to be learned? Demystify expertise and question authority. If the ‘experts’ shy away from transparency, like not making freely available for public scrutiny the alleged science that underpins the Administrative State’s health edicts. This what all the premiers have done, so assume they have plenty to hide. Victorians, for example, are still waiting to learn on what ‘scientific’ basis playgrounds were closed, curfews imposed and four-figure fines imposed on those caught straying more than 5km from their front gates.
LESSON #7: The demonisation of ‘enemies of the state’
COVID has delivered the latest lesson in how a large segment of the population can so easily be mobilised against an officially designated outgroup. Perhaps one-third of Nazi Germany’s population happily persecuted another third whilst the remaining third (the ‘Good Germans’) watched passively or simply averted their eyes. In COVID Land we have seen a large majority of the population righteously demonise those who refused to buy into the quackery and were thus fined, arrested and assaulted for being rule-breakers. They wished unemployment, discrimination, permanent home detention and, in extreme cases, even death on the vaxx heathens.
LESSON #8: Bread doesn’t always need circuses
As a recipe for pacifying the plebs, bread and circuses is as old as the Roman hills, but sometimes just bread alone will do. The elites now know they can grossly impede or outright cancel all the popular circuses (football, parties, pubs, weddings, funerals, religious services, entertainment). But provided you keep their bellies full (by firing up the money-presses for JobKeeper, to name but one item of pandemic spending sprees), you can buy a surprising amount of compliance, at least until the resulting inflation and interest-rate death spiral presents its bill.
LESSON #9: Governments can’t solve every problem besetting humanity
Some problems — respiratory viruses, for example — simply can’t be solved by government action or bio-tech ingenuity. Viruses are too well-honed by evolution to be foiled by Perspex shields, mass masking, the magic figure of 1.5 metres of separation or over-hyped vaccines. We had never before seen the like of government-ordered lockdowns or compulsory jabbing, and yet humanity survived by the simple means of unavoidable self-isolation, otherwise known as feeling sick and staying in bed.
Expecting governments to solve everything, including the spread of a virus, has been partly responsible for getting us into the mess of the last two years. It is never the job of government to embark on the fool’s errand of stopping viruses by rationing social interaction. Nor is it acceptable for government to take away personal rights, civil liberties and democratic freedoms and hand them over to an unaccountable, technocratic elite of public health officials or regime-friendly ‘experts’.
LESSON #10: Never forget, never forgive
The architects of the demented response to COVID now want us to consign all memory of their diastrous handiwork to the forgettery and act as if the last two years didn’t happen, or to blithely accept that it all worked beutifully. Here, recall Scott Morrison’s pre-election boast that “40,000 people are alive today because of the way we managed the pandemic”). How can he be so sure? What is the origin of that missed-death estimate?
We should never forget that it was all a panicked, politically-driven and thoroughly disastrous over-reaction to an over-egged viral threat by a political and bureaucratic elite desperate to be seen as doing something, lest they be portrayed as ‘uncaring’. Our pandemic managers’ desperate strategy was entirely pointless, unscientific and unethical. They must be volubly reminded of this and duly held accountable.
LESSON #11: The Left finally loses it
It should come as no surprise that the Left’s COVID theory and political practice aligned squarely with the authoritarian state and its tame media, with censorious Big Tech, and with all the other pillars of the new Pandemic Industrial Complex. The Left gleefully went along with the new apartheid of medical discrimination and denigrated those who resisted the authoritarian COVID State as being somehow ‘racist’ (the Canadian Freedom Convoy truckers) or ‘anti-vaxxers’ or ‘far-right’ populists. The Left, the self-proclaimed ‘Party of Science’ when it comes to climate change, betrayed every scientific principle when it embraced the virus hysteria.
The Left declared ‘I Love Big Pharma’ just as 1984‘s Winston Smith came to grasp that 2 + 2 = 5 and Big Brother as a figure to be loved and revered. Thus did we see the remarkable phenomenon of the same leftists, once fierce critics of Big Pharma and capitalist governments, falling over themselves in the rush to be injected with the former’s dodgy product on the say-so of the latter.
Just as, medically, COVID mostly targets the very sick and those in their dotage, politically it also looks like being fatal to the Left which has long been ailing with multiple ideological comorbidities, including chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome, Murdoch phobia, the psychopathology of ‘cancelling’ all that offends it, a tendency to fall to the knees resulting from acute imagined racial grievances, hallucinatory night sweats brought on by visions of St. Greta, etc. The Left’s more-draconian-than-thou COVID performance could well finish it off. Or perhaps I’m an optimist; in any case time will tell.
LESSON #12: Lose but win eventually
You can forfeit every battle but still win the war by demoralising the enemy while sapping his energy and resources. The anti-restriction/anti-mandate movement lost every major legal challenge and saw each truckies’ convoy come to nought, whilst the massive Freedom rallies seemed to make no immediate headway against the monolithic doctrine of lockdowns.
Nevertheless, COVID restrictions and mandates began to be scrapped or diluted by governments soon after all these apparent defeats, moves often in sync with the phases of the state and federal election cycles. This freeing up of restrictions has come about not because the actual science behind them changed (the regimes’ version of ‘science’ was always a work of politically-convenient fantasy) but because the on-the-ground resistance both reflected and enhanced the swing in popular opinion, shifting it from a fear-driven embrace of restrictions to opposing them as more people stopped listening to their rulers. This made governing their populace increasingly politically costly for the COVID regimes.
The lesson here? Never give up. As the old lefty slogan put it – ‘Dare to struggle! Dare to win!’. Feel free to borrow it – the Left hasn’t used it since COVID kicked off.
LESSON #13: We are much better placed for next time
We are now better prepared, better resourced and better networked for the next time. It all seemed so hopeless through the dark days of 2020 and 2021. Slowly, however, we got our act together, building a broad movement of opposition to COVID authoritarianism. This has resulted in some surprising political realignments. Whoever could have imagined that Quadrant would find itself on the same page with the Trotskyist anachronism, The Workers League? COVID policy overreaction can result in the oddest of (strictly temporary) bedfellows.
Early on, when the lockdown fanatics introduced their disastrous social experiment with all its threats and fines and pepper spray, they met very little resistance. But the opposition grew as the absurdity and the arrogance of its advocates became ever more apparent. They won’t have it anywhere near so easy the next time virus derangement comes around.
LESSON #14 Phooey to the larrikin stereotypes
What of the image of Australians as anti-authoritarian, tall-poppy-scything Crocodile Dundees? I’ll leave the post-mortem diagnosis to Gigi Foster, UNSW Economics Professor and early lockdown sceptic, who has argued that
Australia has been shown to have produced some of the most docile, authority-loving, uncritical people in the developed world: people ripe for brainwashing and manipulation.
This was confirmed by the dob-in-your-neighbour calls pouring in to specially set up to accomodate informers.
LESSON #15: What a sensible public health program would have looked like
With hindsight all round (though the early dissenters can validly claim it was with foresight), a science-based, liberty-preserving, proportionate public health strategy for COVID would have allowed the vulnerable (the immuno-compromised, the very old/sick/obese) the option of choosing to minimise time spent in risky environments whilst everyone else stayed level-headed and carried on, thus contributing to the inevitable development of herd immunity in the shortest time possible through naturally-acquired infection or impregnable immune systems.
Government regulatory agencies of any integrity would have honestly appraised the drugs that work such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin in combination with doxycycline and zinc which knock the COVID vaccines into a cocked hat, as demonstrated by the dramatic and immediate drop in India’s death rate.
Emergency powers, which formerly enabled the dictatorship of unelected pubic health officials and police supremos, would be deemed inappropriate for pandemics and restricted, on a strictly temporary basis, to natural disasters such as the bushfires and floods for which they were originally intended.
Pandemic management should be prevented from metastasising into a self-perpetuating institutional bureaucracy which rewards its public health officials with media flattery and political influence. These administrators must be placed on the tight leash of accountability and, just for good measure, should be reminded, often and loudly, just who they are paid to serve.
Public health messaging would stress the need to eat less, eat better, move more and get some (safe) sun to boost the natural virus-fighting immune system.
Old-school public health issues of clean air, water and soil, and public hygiene and sanitation, would be central to public health by promoting a population-level, toxin-free living environment. These issues may lack the drama and prestige of a pandemic ‘crisis’ (who wants to be the spokesperson for all things sewerage?) but that would be desirable as the state officials and scientists responsible for them labour away in humble obscurity.
Freedom of speech would be crucial to pandemic management – the COVID establishment’s crusade of fighting ‘misinformation’ through censorship under the guise of saving lives should have no place in pandemic management. Errors of fact or policy, from any camp, are best exposed in the public sphere and subject to debate. COVID-crazy zealots, mandate fanatics and vaxx obsessives, who showed no compunction about pointlessly ruining so many lives with two years of their public health tyranny, must be made to justify, and not simply ban or shadow-ban contrary views.
Finally, ‘gain of function’ virus research (an obfuscatory euphemism for bioweapons research) would be outlawed. Outbreaks of naturally-evolving viruses are quite enough to be going on with.