Though this piece is long, we at Left Lockdown Sceptics feel that is worth reading and digesting in its entirety. Many who identified themselves as being on the “mainstream” left found that the mainstream left wanted nothing to do with them, culminating in what may be an irreconcilable rift:
The only thing I wish to build for the Left — and will do everything I can to ignite it — is the pyre on which it will be burned to the ground, so that from its ashes a socialist movement of and for the working-class can be built.Simon Elmer, Architects for Social Housing
In casting a critical eye on the interplay between the engines of the COVID crisis: Illness, capital, class oppression and state overreach. By developing the idea of the mainstream left’s support of a “Pandemic-Industrial Complex,” analogous to the Military-Industrial Complex, Shannon’s work raises questions that those on the left would do well to consider.
As Covid fever continues to subside globally (apart from China’s latest lockdown spasm which has attracted no mimickers), and as Covid restrictions and mandates start to crumble, it is time to take stock of the last two years of irrational fear and policy madness. Learning from the economic, social and political debacle of the global response to the virus will be necessary in ensuring that the temptations of authoritarian rule by public health ‘experts’ in cahoots with their political facilitators are resisted for the next health ‘crisis’.
It will be particularly crucial for the Left to learn what it got wrong, which was just about everything, in its Covid theory and political practice which wound up squarely aligning almost the entirety of the Left with the authoritarian capitalist state (and its neo-Stalinist counterpart), with the corporate interests of Big Pharma and with the other pillars of the new Pandemic Industrial Complex.
After two years of a wild Covid policy ride, we have learned, yet again, about how fragile freedom and liberty are, during a manufactured crisis in which the strategy of ginning up fear is adopted to make people willingly obey the diktats of the state.
We have also, again, seen how the primitive, animal side of human nature can be so easily mobilised for the cause of strengthening the power, prestige and profit of our ‘crisis’ managers, a cause which was most evident during Covid with the moralistic division between the obedient, unquestioning Good Covid Citizen and the granny-killing Covid miscreant and ‘anti-vaxxer’. We have learned, too, about the psychological mechanisms of our own subjugation to authoritarian rule.
There are, however, more positive lessons to take from the whole sorry Covid episode. We have learned how to stand up against all the social and political forces seeking to frighten us into giving up our personal freedoms, civil rights and economic wellbeing.
Below are fifteen of these Covid lessons, both negative and positive. Feel free to add more.
LESSON #1: Viruses will do what viruses do
The path to the Covid policy disaster began with the failure to recognise that a new respiratory virus is going to do what every respiratory virus has ever done – spread rapidly amongst the population (apart from those who have prior, cross-reactive immunity from exposure to related viruses) until the more virulent variants die off with their more vulnerable hosts and less-virulent variants become dominant, resulting in the familiar Gompertz curve of rapid rise, plateau and swift decline, on a recurring seasonal pattern, as herd immunity develops from robust, naturally-acquired infection.
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that is behaving exactly according to this evolutionary blueprint and it is the utmost hubris to imagine humanity can ‘socially distance’ it into defeat.It is the height of unwarranted technophilia to think that it can be vaxxed into submission with a revolutionary concoction that has never worked against any coronavirus after many decades of trying. Governments can only pretend, for political reasons, to alter, or prevent, the predictable trajectory of a virus. We wasted two costly years failing to learn the very old lesson of viruses being viruses.
Failing to understand viruses and to accept that we would have to learn to live with a new endemic virus was the foundational error that set in train all the inevitable policy errors that followed.
LESSON #2: Lockdowns are unethical, anti-democratic, anti-worker, anti-scientific and socially damaging – as well as ineffective
After the world’s first ever global social experiment in locking away entire populations of healthy people to stop the spread of a virus the verdict is in. Every cross-comparative analysis between national and state jurisdictions, in chart after chart of viral incidence and mortality the world over shows that lockdowns do not work, even the brutal, full-strength Chinese brand. Yes, the Covid ‘case’, ‘hospitalisation’ and ‘deaths’ figures are politically-manipulated rubbish but they are rubbish in the same way across all jurisdictions which makes them valid for comparative analysis and, besides, the Covid True Believers swear by the dodgy metrics as clinically meaningful so they have to own them when the data go against the ordained narrative).
Lockdowns do not stop or slow the spread of a respiratory virus therefore they can not save lives or protect the health services. Lockdowns don’t just fail to save any lives, they cause loss of life from mental health problems, suicide, economic deprivation (especially in poorer countries) and from (non-Covid) medical neglect in a health system, geared predominantly to the phantom threat of the new virus on the block.
That is why no pandemic planning, pre-Covid, ever seriously considered implementing lockdowns, not during the flu pandemics of 1957-58 or 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 lockdown as a strategy for managing a flu-like virus in a report it published in 2019 (the WHO even stopped short of recommending the quarantining of exposed individuals).
Mass isolation through lockdown is also impractical. People need to move about to produce, distribute and access food and the other essentials of life. People need to get out and about to attend to medical issues. Emergency services and essential trade services still need to be active and these necessarily involve social mixing (and no futile masking or obsessive sanitising or any other of the pandemic theatre is going to materially mitigate any risk of infection).
More than that, even if really pitiless lockdowns could be made to ‘work’, and even if a genuinely deadly virus was in our midst, it is never acceptable, morally or politically, to virtually imprison everyone at home and deny them all their freedoms in the name of virus control. During virus season, voluntary reduction of social mixing will tend to occur naturally, anyhow, by those who contract the virus seriously enough to be quite unwell.
Those fearful of being stricken (whether justly, because of their immuno-compromised status, or simply because they don’t like the idea of sickness) may choose to hide from the world but such decisions should be up to the individual based on their own tolerance for risk. State compulsion should never be an option – it is undemocratic and anti-liberty in its very essence.
LESSON #3: ‘Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions’ 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 or vacant airports, or any of the other spells and incantations from the Covid policy wizards can thwart the pre-ordained life-cycle destiny 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 our tough-loving ‘pandemic’ managers are taking to ‘protect’ us.
The public health cabal and their political collaborators who authored the giant pandemic freakshow have lost all credibility. The medical caste who go along with any of it, especially the wearing of medically-useless masks, have forfeited any right to automatic trust ever again.
LESSON #4: Covid ‘vaccines’ are a dangerous farce
The never-before-used mRNA biotechnology of the Covid ‘vaccines’, hastily and inadequately tested, doesn’t work (in fact, the ‘vaccines’ have ‘negative efficacy’, making recipients more likely to ‘get Covid’ by damaging their immune system) and it causes great harm. Further, no vaccine of any kind against any coronavirus (including the common cold) has ever worked because they fail to achieve sterilising immunity and their safety profile, too, has been disqualifying.
For those keeping count (here, for example, is a very useful, concise, plain English, scorecard), the pathways to Covid ‘vaccine’ harm, despite explicit promises to the contrary by Big Pharma, include:
- the toxic nature of the mRNA spike protein itself (and its chemical stabilisers);
- The fatty “lipid nanoparticles” used in mRNA vaccines (which encase the mRNA to help it breach the cell walls) are bio-distributive and spread the mRNA far and wide from just the injection site muscle to all the body’s organs, including the heart;
- The use of immuno-suppressant adjuvants (which are necessary to ward off immediate termination of the invading spike protein by the immune system thus enabling it to turn your cells into Stakhanovite spike production workers) make the body more susceptible to all other sorts of microbial infections (often misreported as ‘long Covid’) or reactivation of viruses lying dormant in the body (such as the varicella virus that causes shingles);
- The ability of some components to cross the blood-brain barrier;
- The mRNA in an mRNA vaccine may also permanently enter the cell nucleus, altering your natural DNA (“reverse transcription”) and possibly rewire it to keep producing toxic and debilitating spike protein forever.
All of this poses an immense challenge to the injected body for the clearance and disposal of its spike-infected cells thus risking increased levels of autoimmune problems. Thanks, Big Pharma!
LESSON #5: Big Pharma sucks
The Covid ‘vaccines’ don’t work and are dangerous but what they are highly successful at is in making a ton of money for fat Pharma cats. The mRNA technology slashes the time and cost needed to produce the immunising agent and it is being promised (threatened, rather) by Big Pharma to be used for other vaccines. This can not end well yet governments are welcoming this development because Big Pharma has long captured governmental ‘independent’ regulatory agencies through funding them and by installing a revolving door of key personnel between the two institutions.
Follow the Covid money – it leads, as always, to Big Pharma’s profit ledger.
For Big Pharma, their ‘Moses and the prophets’, their Alpha and Omega, is profit, and, for Covid, that means getting more shots, more cheaply and more quickly produced, into more arms, more often (including through lucrative, liability-free, government agreements for universal jabbing of their populations). The financial wellbeing of Big Pharma’s shareholders and top executives is its sole priority, not the health and welfare of the consumers of their product. This lesson has been comprehensively unlearnt by all the frenzied pandemicists, including, most ironically, the Left.
LESSON #6: Propaganda Works
Terrify the public with daily ‘Covid cases’ and ‘Covid deaths’ data shouted from the rooftops. Deploy the adjective ‘novel’ to describe something which, although it comes from the common cold family of bog-ordinary viruses, has apparently never before been confronted by humanity. Weaponise emotionally manipulative advertising to infect people’s brains with fanatical public health ideology through simplistic PR slogans (‘two weeks to flatten the curve’, ‘stay home to save lives’, ‘nobody is safe until everyone is safe’). Drill the populace into being ‘Covid Safe’ at all times. Thus did the political establishment’s crude but hugely effective propaganda offensive go into overdrive to promote irrational fear of the virus and drive public obedience to all the panic-fuelled lockdown, masking, ‘social distancing’ and mass ‘vaccinating’ orders of the pandemic authorities.
Propaganda works well on people who are by nature trusting of the authorities and who gain all their news and information from the idiot box with its continuous drip-drip of lies, big and little, of commission and omission, whilst they deliver the carefully crafted ‘nudge’ messages from the professional behavioural scientists skilled in engineering the public into political acceptance of their own subjugation to government diktat.
We have also learnt, however, that propaganda does a surprisingly effective number on people who should know better, the intelligentsia – the professional caste of people who are paid to think, those people trained in how to respect science, evaluate evidence, practice due scepticism and value truth. Those with a public podium and policy influence, people like medical scientists, public health bureaucrats, celebrity ‘experts’, academics, journalists and Supreme Court justices, for example. Almost to a man and woman, they, too, proved easy meat for the propagandists, once they could be scared out of their wits about the virus. Like the rest of the human race, the highly credentialed have a lizard brain, too.
All government, and third party, Covid propagandists have now forfeited any right to be automatically heeded on anything health and medical (or on whatever the Current Thing is – Ukraine, I believe it is). If a doctor, for example, is wearing a useless mask, or is a willing part of the jabbing program, don’t take their word on anything they tell you about your health without further scrutiny and hard questioning. Any member of the intelligentsia who used the word ‘case’ in relation to Covid without the quotation marks or an eye-roll, has lost any easy assumption of professional competence. Now, more than ever, get a second opinion.
The lesson to be learnt? Demystify expertise and question authority. If the ‘experts’ shy away from transparency (like not exposing the ‘science’ that underpins the administrative state’s health ukases to public scrutiny), assume they have plenty to hide.
Oh, and give the idiot box a rest now and then.
LESSON #7: ‘Othering’ – the demonisation of ‘enemies of the state’
‘Covid’ has delivered the latest lesson in how a large segment of the population can be made to turn against an officially designated outgroup of scapegoats. Perhaps one third of Nazi Germany’s population happily persecuted another third whilst the remaining third (the ‘Good Germans’) watched on passively or averted their eyes. In Covid Land, we have seen a large majority of the population righteously demonise those who refused to buy into the Covid quackery and were thus fined, arrested and assaulted for being Covid rule-breakers.
They wished unemployment, discrimination, permanent home detention and, in extreme cases, even death, on the vaxx heathens. Those in the middle didn’t want this fate to befall them and they have left the new outcasts, many of whom are still suffering from jab mandates, to their fate, whilst moving on to the latest Hollywood distraction or approved war. This “I’m alright, Jack” attitude, perhaps with fingers crossed, serves only the interests of the Covid Czars.
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. You can cancel all their public circuses (football, parties, entertainment … although leave them Netflix) but providing you keep their bellies full (by firing up the money-presses for furlough and wage subsidies), 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 not solve every problem besetting humanity
Some problems, respiratory viruses for example, simply can’t be solved by government action or bio-technological ingenuity. Viruses are too well-honed by evolution to be foiled by Perspex or cloth, or the magic figure of 1.5 metres of separation, or over-hyped vaccines. We never had government-ordered lockdowns before, or compulsory jabbing, for any viral outbreak and yet humanity survived by the simple means of unavoidable self-isolation by the properly sick whilst the healthy, with their good immune systems, went about their normal life, perhaps getting infected but tossing it off without the spectre of imminent mortality, bringing on herd immunity and thus protecting the more vulnerable in the process.
Boosting your personal immune system will do more than any government policy of forced separation of people, or the superstitious masking ritual, or any of the other bright ideas of the ‘Must Do Something’ brigade, but that will mean taking personal responsibility for lifestyle risk factors and no government can do that for any individual. Expecting governments to solve everything, including virus spread, has been partly responsible for getting us into the mess of the last two years.
Rather than mandating useless and personally invasive ’social distancing’, masks and dangerous experimental vaxxes, governments should focus on promoting the conditions that foster healthy living strategies such as freeing up more of workers’ time for recreation and leisure (including physical activity) and constructively interfering with ‘the market’ to make fresh, healthy food more affordable and accessible rather than letting the profit motive deliver the overprocessed, addictive junk food that not only compromises the immune system but causes many chronic diseases.
It is never the job of government to embark on the fool’s errand of stopping viruses by rationing social interaction. It is never 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
The architects of the demented response to Covid now want us to either forget their dysfunctional handiwork completely and to pretend that the last two years didn’t happen, or to blithely accept that it all worked and that lockdowns, masks and all the other pandemic circus acts are entirely normal and good to go for next time (the ‘Liberal’ Prime Minister of Australia, for example, facing a national election in two weeks, is crowing that “40,000 people are alive today because of the way we managed the pandemic”).
We should never forget that it was all a panicked, politically-driven and thoroughly disastrous over-reaction to an over-egged virus by a political and bureaucratic elite who were desperate to avoid being seen to ‘let it rip’ and thus be portrayed as ‘uncaring’. Our pandemic managers’ radically desperate strategy was entirely pointless, unscientific and unethical. They must be volubly reminded of this, for the rest of their sorry lives, and duly held accountable.
LESSON #11: Time for a new Left
Covid has made the contemporary ‘Left’ (whether hard, soft, centrist, statist or anarchist – all branches of it) so rightwing now, and today’s social and political ‘progressives’ are the new reactionaries. The Left has been a major part of virus hysteria and the draconian state response to it. The Left’s position on Covid has meshed with the class and power interests of the propagandist media (both corporate and state), censorious Big Tech and the authoritarian state (including the police states that were all the vogue in some jurisdictions).
The Left has embraced the new apartheid of medical discrimination. The Left has adopted the anti-working-class ideology of lockdown and jab mandates and has denigrated those who resisted the authoritarian Covid state as somehow being ‘racist’, or ‘anti-vaxxers’, or ‘far-right’ populists. The Left, the ‘Party of Science’ when it comes to climate change, for example, has now abandoned any right to say that it owns science.
Big Pharma and its corrupt, criminal, money-hungry ways, has melted the hearts of the Left which now declares ‘I love Big Pharma’ in an echo of the abject capitulation of Winston Smith in 1984 who, at the end of his conversion to conformity, declared ‘I love Big Brother’ (the lockdown-loving Left seems to have developed a soft spot for NATO, too, by the way). True, the Left may have gestured towards it past by demanding the nationalisation of Big Pharma during Covid but what the Left had in mind is nationalisation under state control solely as a managerial means to enable even more of the deadly goo to be produced for the world’s poorer countries so they don’t miss out on the treat.
Nowhere in the Left’s demand for appropriation of the means of production of the pharmaceutical industry does it envisage any increased scientific rigour or transparency around Covid ‘vaccine’ efficacy and safety because their minds are already made up about the scientific wonder of the ‘miracle’ elixir as the operatic climax to the epic saga of lockdowns against the Beast of Covid. We now have the remarkable phenomenon of leftists (of the lockdown-loving kind), who were 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.
Covid alone didn’t cause this transmogrification of the Left into its polar political opposite, rather Covid accelerated and completed the gradual drift of the old, class-based Left to a new Left which is driven by divisive identity-politics enforced by censorship of differing opinions in alliance with the state, Big Tech and Big Media. The ease, and predictability, with which the contemporary Left has fallen into lock-step with the capitalist state has operated under the cover of saving people from ‘populism’, from ‘racism’, from ‘hate’, even from ridgey-didge ‘fascism’, and, now, from viral death.
This record has surely doomed much of the contemporary Left to political irrelevance with the working class. It is up to the left-wing Covid dissidents to resurrect the vision and principles of the Left based on its founding values of working class empowerment and democratic socialism.
LESSON #12: You can lose every battle but still win the war
You can lose every battle but still win the war by demoralising and sapping the energy and resources of the enemy. The Vietnamese movement for national independence against American imperialism lost every major military battle (including, in the end, the mighty Tet Offensive) but still won the war when the last US helicopter took hasty flight from the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon. So, too, the anti-restriction/anti-mandate movement against Covid repression lost every major legal challenge, and saw every truckers’ convoy/strike dismantled, whilst the massive freedom rallies seemed to make no immediate headway against monolithic lockdown regimes.
Nevertheless, Covid restrictions and mandates started to be scrapped or diluted by governments soon after all these apparent defeats, a move that was often in sync with the phases of the election cycle. This freeing up of restrictions has come about not because the actual science changed (the regimes’ pretend 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 from fear-driven embrace of restrictions to opposition to them as more people stopped listening to their rulers. This made governing their populace increasingly politically costly for the Covid regimes. It’s an old lesson, but never give up, no matter how often you seemingly lose. Dare to struggle, dare to win!
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 throughout 2020 and 2021. We all felt that we stood alone in the path of an towering tidal wave of government, media, ‘expert’, professional, academic – and popular – enthusiasm for lockdown and deliverance by miracle vaccine. Perhaps all this unanimity, we thought, meant that the lockdown, the mask and the jab were indeed the way to go, that there was some science to it all and that we should all therefore do as we were told by people who knew better than us.
Slowly, however, we got our act together (who ever thought that there would be such a thing as a Left Lockdown Sceptics webspace). The early pacesetters of the resistance came from the political Right but the restriction/mandate resistance forces marshalled more cadre from across the political spectrum to mount a broader challenge, often tearing up the left-right playbook as it did so. In the process, we discovered that people from the Right of politics did not have two horns and a forked tail and that it is possible, and necessary, to work together where our aims are shared (this includes voting for the rightwing freedom parties In order to punish the parties of lockdown, which some segments of the Left, such as Redfire Online, understand), whilst reserving the right to pugilistics on other issues.
We, the Covid resistance, from all points of the political compass, have also developed new skill sets, having been forced to become home-brew artisans of virology and immunology, lay experts amassing knowledge in these areas and bookmarking key resources to counter the relentless Covid propaganda, a project aided by sorting out the nutty Covid professors of lockdown from the sane but banished voices. We now know, in advance, who in the scientific community does, and who doesn’t, deserve our trust, which institutions have, and haven’t, earned the right to be listened to.
The on-line anti-lockdown space now also has extensive mailing lists and a readership which will make more of a difference, much earlier, if and when our Covid rulers get an itchy finger for lockdown and restrictions, or more jab mandates, again. When the lockdown fanatics tried it on last time, they met very little resistance early on, using the alleged ‘novelty’ of the virus to justify the very real novelty of the disastrous response to it and to obtain public buy-in.
Next time, they won’t have it anywhere near so easy. Upping the political costs of a repeat of 2020/2021, which will mean developing our political outreach strategies, will be essential from the earliest signs of renewed Covid derangement because we have seen just how rapid, deep and enduring is the descent into collective madness as mass panic and elite panic become mutually reinforcing in a spiral of craziness that spares few – and which left those few questioning their own sanity instead of the sea of insanity around them.
LESSON #14: We now know what should have been done
With hindsight all round (though the early dissenters can validly claim it was with foresight), a science-based, liberty-preserving, pro-working-class public health strategy should have allowed the vulnerable (the immuno-compromised, the very old, very sick, very obese) the option of choosing to minimise time spent in risky environments (with state home-based support services, if necessary) whilst everyone else stayed level-headed and carried on thus contributing to the inevitable development of herd immunity (including for the vulnerable) in the shortest time possible through naturally-acquired infection or robust immune systems.
For those who would have benefited from pharmaceutical intervention, government regulatory agencies (at least, those which hadn’t been captured or compromised by Big Pharma), should have honestly appraised the drugs that work, safely, against the infection but which were scorned by the Big Pharma cartel because they would cut into the superprofits of their vaxxes and take the (highly profitable) heat out of the whole ‘pandemic’ production.
LESSON #15: We can imagine what a socialist public health program would look like
What would a socialist ‘public health’ vision look like concerning pandemics?
- ‘Gain of function’ research (an obfuscatory euphemism for bioweapons research) would be outlawed – outbreaks of naturally-evolving viruses are enough to be going on with.
- Proportionality of response would be the guiding principle of pandemic planning. In all cases, this would mean doing nothing beyond providing accurate information, and allowing the highly vulnerable the option to shelter, with support if desired. For everyone else, the advice would be that if you get sick, stay home, take to bed and trust your body’s own immune defences or take cheap, effective treatment drugs. That’s it. The tried-and-failed extremist policies of lockdown, Public Health ‘social distancing’ Orders, useless and disruptive contact tracing and quarantine, mass testing, the non-functional theatrical prop of The Mask, and the disastrous experimental ‘vaccines’ (and their coercive job mandates and discriminatory passports) would be prohibited.
- It is not worth any cannibalisation of the economy, or of young people’s futures, or otherwise self-harming society in a doomed-to-failure quest to beat a respiratory virus simply to extend the already very time-limited lives of the very old/sick, who are far-and-away the most at risk of Covid, by a few months of poor quality, lockdowned ‘living’.
- Emergency powers which enabled the dictatorship of unelected pubic health officials and police supremoes, would be deemed inappropriate for pandemics and restricted to immediate, and strictly time-limited, natural disasters such as bushfires and floods as they were originally intended.
- The state should implement policies which facilitate individuals to improve their natural virus-fighting immune system through improved accessibility to and affordability of fresh, nutritious food, gyms, community sports and cycling, and to free up time for such bodily maintenance by more non-profit-driven child care and a reduction in working hours (at the same pay).
- Old-school public health issues of clean air, water and soil, and public hygiene and sanitation (which much of the poor world still lack), would be a main pillar of a socialist public health system that promotes healthy, toxin-free living. These issues may lack the drama 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.
- Pandemic management should be prevented from metastasising into a self-perpetuating institutional bureaucracy which rewards its occupants with media flattery and political influence. These administrators should be reminded, in the strongest possible terms, as often as possible, just who they serve viz. those whose lives and wellbeing are threatened by pointless restrictions and mandates – the working class, who have copped much greater harm from their would-be ‘expert’ saviours than they ever faced from a faux Covid pandemic.
- Freedom of speech and the absence of censorship would be central to a socialist approach to pandemic management – fighting ‘misinformation’ under the guise of saving lives would have no place in such a framework. Those out-of-favour experts who have an alternative, more holistic and open-minded point of view on Covid simply did not get the ear of the Covid-crazy restriction zealots, mandate fanatics and vaxx obsessives once the latter were ensconced in their new positions of elite power and who showed no compunction about ruining our lives with two years of public health tyranny.
In public health, as in other fields of state activity, the state would need to be a democratic working class state, one in which, as Lenin put it, ‘every cook must lean how to govern’. Cooks, and other working people, would likely have done a better job of Covid management than the disaster the putative ‘experts’ dished up.
They certainly could not have done any worse because they possess a good amount of common sense (about soldiering on during just another cold-flu virus), they have a big-picture perspective of what life is about (accepting that life is about more than hiding from viruses and includes working, educating the kids, going out, visiting family and friends, etc.) and they are well-schooled in valuable, realistic folk wisdom (acknowledging that, sadly but not tragically, very old, very sick people die from many causes including viruses) – all of this would have worked wonders in gaining herd immunity against the virus whilst keeping every cook busily employed in the kitchen for the gastronomical pleasure of diners.
Such a cook-run state must avoid the bureaucratic degeneration that befell the Bolshevik state (and its subsequent imitators) by keeping its officials and representative on a tight accountability leash to avoid them getting too attached to power and perks or developing a God Complex.
This political framework of a socialist public health administration would have as one of its foundational principles that there must never be any state compulsion over the individual on health matters. ‘My body my choice’ is as applicable for public health as for women’s abortion and reproductive rights. For the left, this means that they can not endorse the ‘my body, my choice’ principle for abortion but deny that same principle when it comes to compulsory or coerced jabbing (this cuts both ways, of course – conservatives who opposed forced Covid jabbing as anti-liberty can not then go into ecstasy over the diminution of abortion rights as heralded by the Supreme Court’s imminent overturning of Roe v Wade in the US).
For pandemic management, a socialist state would treat adults as adults, capable of making up their own minds, in an environment of freedom of choice, unlike the capitalist state’s handling of Covid which was marked by infantilisation of the public and ‘nudging’, nannying and bullying by a politically-motivated ‘public health’ elite. What we should learn from Covid, is that personal responsibility and risk assessment for one’s own health is a both a right and an obligation of adult citizens.
For the Left, which so monumentally flunked its examination during the greatest social, economic and political challenge for many a generation that was the Great Covid Panic, we have learnt that, by abandoning its working class constituency, tossing aside universal civil liberties, personal freedoms and democratic rights as mere fripperies, and choosing fear over science, there is now no way back without a root-and-branch reinvention. Too many bridges have been burnt, too much rot has set in too deep, as was also the case when most of the socialist ‘Second International’ backed the war frenzy of their national ruling class during WW1 or when most Communist parties backed Stalinism against the Trotskyist and other Marxist dissidents in Soviet Russia.
So, it is now up to those leftists who survived the political carnage of Covid with their principles intact to regrow the Left as a viable force to challenge future waves of capitalist authoritarianism whether in public health or any other state assault against a society of material prosperity, freedom and democracy.
4 thoughts on “Covid: What we have learned”
nothing left of the left…
left only in name , fascist in core.
“Governments can not solve every problem besetting humanity”
What an anti-left conclusion.
Next you’ll tell me that governments often do harm and that usually the best they can do is ameliorate a problem. That is a liberal/conservative attitude. Note: small ‘c’ conservative, and “liberal” in the old British sense not in the American sense of illiberal and corrupt.
He who adopts a sceptical stance is simply Leaving the Left, as your diatribe implies. It may be that your best policy would be to find allies from other parts of the political spectra and see how far you can agree on future action. For example, I am a staunch anti-socialist and agree with almost everything you said here.
One continuing topic of debate ought to be about how to change the incentives for politicians, bureaucrats, and scientific and medical advisors. I suggest that many such people might behave differently in future if it were agreed that the present lot should be made subject to Lord Braxfield’s decision: “Ye’re a verra clever chiel’, man, but ye wad be nane the waur o’a hanging.”
Great article, Phil. You’ve covered the situation with detail and intelligence. Rare qualities in journalism these days.
‘Propaganda does a surprisingly effective number on people who should know better, the intelligentsia’
As you say, these people showed no more perceptiveness than any other demographic. Their weakness was trust in the system. All their lives they’ve lived within the system – getting the good qualifications at a good institution to ensure their attractiveness to a good employer. My last job was with a law firm, and the attitude there can be summarised by the oft-repeated phrase of one of the senior staff: We’re all going to do the right thing, aren’t we?
They trusted the system, and the system betrayed them.
Sadly, though, it remains to be seen whether the betrayal teaches them anything.
Here’s a bit from a German writer quoted on the Eugyppius blog:
“Respectable conservative politicians have failed above all, in neglecting those people who have suffered the most at the hands of globalisation, renewable energy, immigration, lockdowns and all the rest of it. We must defeat the leftist elite, not win them over; and to do this we must deprive them steadily of popular support, beginning among the lower classes and at the periphery …”
There you are: make common cause, as far as you can, with radical conservatives until something useful has been achieved in relieving the suffering referred to.
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