by Jeffrey A. Tucker, Brownstone:
It’s common now to speak of the before times in contrast to the after times. The turning point was of course March 16, 2020, the day of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve, though authoritarian trends predate that. Rights were suddenly broadly throttled, even religious rights. We were told to conduct every aspect of our lives in accordance with the priorities of the bio-medical security state.
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Very few people anticipated such a shocking development. It was the onset of a new state-conducted war and the enemy was something we could not see and hence could be anywhere. No one has ever doubted the omnipresence of potentially dangerous pathogens but now we were being told that life itself depended entirely on avoidance of them and the only guide going forward would be public-health authorities.
Everything changed. Nothing is the same. The trauma is real and lasting. The claim of “15 Days” was revealed to be a ruse. The emergency lasted three years and then some. The people and machinery that did this are still in power. The pick to head the CDC has a long track record of enabling and cheering the lockdowns and all that followed.
It’s a helpful exercise to summarize the new things we’ve all discovered in these years. Together they account for why the world seems different and why we all feel and think differently now than we did just a few years ago.
Twenty terrible realities unearthed by lockdowns
1. Surveillance and censorship by Big Tech. The resistance eventually found each other but it took months and years. A censorship regime descended on all major social platforms, technologies designed with the intention of keeping us more connected and expanding the range of opinion we could experience. We did not know it was happening, but we eventually learned of the crackdown, which is why so much of us felt so alone. Others could not hear us and we could not hear them. The regime faces a bold court challenge on many fronts but it still goes on today, with all but Twitter constantly policing their networks in ways that are unpredictably authoritarian. We have ironclad evidence now that they are all captured.
2. Power and influence of Big Pharma. It was April 2020 when someone asked me if the goal of the vaccine produced by the pharmaceutical cartel was really behind the lockdowns. The idea would be to terrify us and ruin our lives until we were begging for shots. I thought the whole idea was insane and that the corruption could not possibly reach this deep. I was wrong. Pharma had been at work on a vaccine since January of that year and called in every form of purchased influence to eventually make them mandatory. Now we know that the major regulators are wholly owned and controlled, to the point that necessity, safety, and efficacy don’t really matter.
3. Government propaganda by Big Media. It was relentless from day one: the major media proved hardcore partisans of Anthony Fauci. The powers that be could tap the New York Times, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and all the rest, whenever and however they wanted. Later the media was deployed to demonize those who violated lockdowns, refused masks, and resisted the shots. Gone was the idea that “democracy dies in darkness” and the “paper of record” replaced by darkness itself and constant propaganda. They showed no real curiosity of the other side. The Great Barrington Declaration itself began as an effort to educate journalists but only a few dared even show up. Now we get it: the mainstream media too is wholly owned and completely compromised. They already knew what to report and how to report it. Nothing else mattered.
4. Corruption of public health. Who in their right minds would have predicted that the CDC and NIH, not to mention the World Health Organization, would be deployed as frontline workers in the imposition of totalitarian control? Some observers perhaps predicted this but implausibly so. But in fact it was these agencies which were responsible for all the absurd protocols from closing hospitals to non-Covid cases, putting up Plexiglas everywhere, keeping schools closed, demonizing repurpose therapeutics, masking toddlers, and forcing shots. They knew no limits to their power. They revealed themselves to be faithful agents of the hegemon.
5. Consolidation of industry. Free enterprise is supposed to be free but when workers, industries, and brands were divided between essential and nonessential, where were the howls from Big Business? They weren’t there. They proved willing to put profit ahead of the system of competition. So long as they benefited from the system of consolidation, cartelization, and centralization, they were fine with it. The big-box stores got to wipe out the competition and gain a leg up in industrial standing. Same with remote learning platforms and digital technology. The biggest businesses proved to be the worst enemies of real capitalism and the biggest friends of corporatism. As for arts and music: we know now that the elites consider them dispensable.
6. Influence and power of administrative state. The Constitution established three branches of government but lockdowns were not managed by any of them. Instead it was a fourth branch that has grown up over the decades, the permanent class of bureaucrats that no one elected and no one from the public controls. These permanent “experts” were completely unleashed and unhinged with no check on their power, and they cranked out protocols by the hour and enforced them as legislatures, judges, and even presidents and governors stood by powerless and in awe. We know now that there was a coup d’etat on March 13, 2020 that transferred all power to the national security state but we certainly did not know it then. The edict was classified. The administrative state still rules the day.
7. Cowardice of intellectuals. The intellectuals are the most free to speak their minds of any group. Indeed that is their job. Instead, they stayed quiet for the most part. This was true of right and left. The pundits and scholars just went along with the most egregious attacks on human rights in this generation if not in all living memory. We employ these people to be independent but they proved themselves to be anything but that. We stood by in shock as even famed civil libertarians looked out at the suffering and said “This is fine.” A whole generation among them is today completely discredited. And by the way, the few who did stand up were called horrible names and often lost their jobs. Others took note of this reality and decided instead to behave by staying quiet or echoing the ruling-class line.
8. Pusillanimity of universities. The origin of modern academia is with the sanctuaries from war and pestilence so that great ideas could survive even the worst of times. Most universities – only a handful excepted – completely went along with the regime. They closed their doors. They locked students in their dormitories. They denied paying customers in-person education. Then came the shots. Millions were jabbed unnecessarily and could only refuse on pain of being kicked out of degree programs. They showed a complete lack of principle. Alumni should take note and so should parents who are considering where to send their high school seniors next year.