Of all of the ways I thought we could lose our freedoms, a response to a virus outbreak is not one that I considered to be very likely. But here we are. Welcome to 2020.
COVID-19 is clearly a serious illness. There is no treatment (or at least nothing publicly available, while there are stories of treatments being tested or being ready and suppressed for whatever reason, depending on where you look) and the effects it has on respiratory systems of people who get it can be quite horrendous and even lethal in the worst cases. I’m getting this out of the way now because I don’t want this post to come across as an attempt to claim the virus is nothing to worry about. Clearly there is something to be concerned about.
At the same time it’s important to not let fear paralyse us or push us in to doing silly things. The fact is most people who catch COVID-19 get very mild symptoms which are no worse than the flu, and make a full recovery in a short time. Just like every other virus, a good immune system is incredibly helpful in fighting it.
The numbers , as I write this, show 645,158 people in the world are known to have caught COVID-19, and 29,951 of those people have died from it. That’s just under a 5% fatality rate. 139,550 people have recovered (just over 21%). Of the 475,657 remaining people who currently have it, 450,939 (95%) have a mild case, and 24,718 (5%) have a serious case. The pattern here is very clear: 95% of people who catch this virus get a mild case and recover, while 5% develop a serious case and die.
A 5% death rate is very high compared to the flu which has a death rate of about 0.1%. However the flu seems to spread faster and further than COVID-19, with between 340,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 people believed to catch the flu each year, compared to only 645,158 people globally in the last three months. We are seeing exponential growth in numbers of COVID-19 cases, so maybe the spread will be similar in time, but the indications are that it will last for one season and have much less spread and impact in future years as people who catch it seem to become immune to it after recovering.
Over the last many decades we have seen many pandemics come and go over a season, with many deaths and even more fear-mongering in the media and from various official government and health groups, but on each of those occasions most people got on with their lives, and the next year the virus in question was still around but in much smaller numbers. The fact is, when a lot of people catch a new virus, their immune systems adapt to it quickly, giving the virus very little time to mutate, therefore reducing the rate of spread after an initial spike in cases. This is why all of those flu strains hyped by the media over the last couple of decades are given absolutely no attention now…they still exist, but people have enough immunity to it that when they catch it, they are able to fight it effectively enough to keep it down to a mild case.
And yet, for some reason with this pandemic we are being fed fantastic Orwellian phrases such as being told to “flatten the curve” by “social distancing”, which is supposed to mean that if we all keep a couple metres away from each other and live under virtual house arrest, the rate of increase in cases will “flatten”. The graphs which are used to demonstrate this show the same number of people getting the virus no matter what, but it just happens over a longer period of time if the “curve is flattened”. Ostensibly this supposed to reduce the death rate by having fewer people in hospital at any given time. But this makes no sense given that there is currently no treatment so being in hospital is probably not helping people who have caught this virus, and makes even less sense when you consider that the longer the virus has to reach bodies which have immune systems which are unfamiliar with it, the more time it has to mutate and re-infect people who are immune to the original strain.
Some people are under the incorrect impression that this “social distancing” and the complete house arrest which is happening in some places and looming in others, will kill off COVID-19 completely if it’s done for a few weeks, but the information from the organisations pushing the “social distancing” message is the opposite of that (just as many people will get it over a longer period of time), and an analysis of how that would play out in reality shows that more people who get it and the virus would mutate and give us multiple strains to deal with. So why are we being told to keep away from each other and having our freedoms taken away when it is probably the more lethal option?
The answer seems to come from the very point that we are losing our freedoms. Even worse, much of our society is embracing and cheerleading the loss of freedoms and liberty, and actively encouraging others to go along with it. My phone carrier (Telstra) has even updated its network ID name on customers’ phones to show that it’s a caring corporation (ooh! Orwell would be aghast at how much influence he had) or some such nonsense by changing the display to a Directive By Hashtag “Telstra #StayHome”. Thankfully I don’t recognise the authority of a phone company to tell me what my travel habits should be.
We’re all being told that restrictions on our freedoms are temporary and will go away when the virus subsides. That might be true, but that time won’t come soon and restrictions will become more onerous before they are relaxed, and the longer they are in place, the easier it will be to not relax them. Excuses such as “we need a staged return to normal to ease people back in to work” or “we need to keep sensible protections in place to continue to limit the spread of the virus” are very likely. And the longer we live with the restrictions, the easier they will be to reimplement down the line as they can be sold as “we did it before and we must do it again for the good of (insert next panic here)” which can then turn in to “we need to keep the restrictions in place to avoid more (insert Government-Speak for panic here)”.
Given the restrictions which are being put in place make minimal sense for the situation, it’s hard to tell if this is a dry run for taking away freedom in the future. Certainly, a lot has been learned about how people respond to having their freedoms taken away, and I’m probably getting myself put on a “dangerous person who is non-compliant and wants people to think for themselves” list just by writing this, which bodes poorly for me if we get full-blown restrictions in the future. The fact that so many people can be convinced very easily to voluntarily give up their freedoms, and are doing so with glee is a dreadful indictment of a society which has forgotten what it is like to not have freedom, and why people fought and died to secure it. Or maybe this is the real deal in taking away freedoms and not a dry run. Freedoms are only ever successfully taken away slowly and piece by piece, which could be why we didn’t all just get placed in house arrest on Day 1, and instead there seems to be a build-up towards it.
What does our authoritarian future look like? Andrew Korybko at One World Press  provides a very good summary:
COVID-19 has fundamentally changed life as we know it, and it’s more than likely that our future will be a dystopian one given how various governments have already responded to this viral outbreak. The skeptics among us are fearful that this whole pandemic is overblown and being exploited as a smokescreen for stealing our freedoms, and while their attitude towards this disease is questionable (and quite possibly dangerous), their suspicion about a government takeover of society is warranted. Never before have governments had so much power over the people, though in these emergency conditions, that might not be an entirely bad thing for the time being seeing as how it could very well be necessary for our survival. The problem, however, is that these newly assumed powers probably won’t be voluntarily surrendered after this epidemic ends, which is why many people are so concerned. They’re convinced that we’ve suddenly entered a period of global dictatorship, and it’s difficult to argue with them. So much else is also changing as well, and it’s hard to keep up with the “COVID World Order” that’s been thrust upon us, but what follows is an attempt to briefly describe everything that’s already taken place and predict what will probably follow:
* De-Facto Martial Law…:
There’s no other way to describe both the “recommended” and mandatory quarantines that many in the world are experiencing than to call them what they are, a state of de-facto martial law, which isn’t being formally declared in order to not provoke any more panic than there already is.
* …Is The “New Normal”:
Now that de-facto martial law of a seemingly indefinite period has been accepted by the people (whether willingly or begrudgingly), it’ll probably become the “new normal” and be implemented countless times in the future, be it as an “overabundance of caution” in the event of another outbreak or under any other pretext.
* Social Media Censorship Will Intensify:
“Big Brother” is already here, but he’s going to become a bigger bully than ever before by intensifying his censorship of people’s social media posts on the basis that they’re “socially irresponsible” (e.g. questioning the seriousness of this disease), after which the “politically incorrect” net will widen to encompass other topics too.
* Travel Will Never Be The Same Again:
Domestic and international travel will never be the same again, with internal restrictions on movement likely becoming commonplace and most foreign guests being required to self-quarantine for a period of time except in special circumstances, thus all but killing the global tourism industry.
* Border Control Will Become More Robust:
Gone are the days of so-called “open borders” where anyone can freely move between jurisdictions at will (whether legally or otherwise), with more stringent controls being put into place to protect the local population from outsiders (including their own compatriots from elsewhere in the country).
* Mandatory Vaccines Are Coming:
For whatever one thinks about vaccines, there’s probably no way to stop them from becoming mandatory after the COVID-19 pandemic, with it being predicted that people will have to prove that they’ve been vaccinated in order to do anything at all such as study, work, travel, and receive government benefits.
* Remote Learning & Working Will Increase:
With so many people stuck at home and unable to leave except to purchase essential goods in most cases, it’s predictable that remote learning and working (the latter which will of course be for those whose jobs allow them to do so) will pick up in the coming future as society gets used to this way of doing things.
* 5G Is Inevitable:
The massive surge of online traffic from folks who are learning, working, or simply entertaining themselves online will necessitate the rapid roll-out of 5G technology despite what some people suspect are its serious health concerns.
* Society Depends On Just A Few Jobs To Function:
The “new normal” of de-facto martial law has made many people realize that society really just depends on a few jobs in order to continue functioning at the bare minimum, with these being techies, grocery store and pharmacy employees, bank clerks, healthcare professionals, food service workers, farmers, and truckers.
* Nationalization Might Be Imminent:
For better or for worse, governments across the world might go on a nationalization spree in order to take control of what they regard as “essential industries” (though whether some of them truly are or not is another story), which could lead to the informal imposition of either socialist or fascist economic models.
* “Universal Basic Income”:
Given the scale and scope of the global economic collapse that was catalyzed by the world’s uncoordinated response to COVID-19, it’s foreseeable that governments will unveil what’s been described as a “universal basic income” in order to ensure that their people can continue to at least purchase basic goods and services.
* Mandatory Medical Training In Exchange For Government Benefits:
Medical training is arguably more important than military service nowadays, so the state will probably make it mandatory in schools from here on out and for anyone who wants to receive government benefits, thereby enabling the government to draft them in the future whenever there’s a dearth of healthcare professionals.
* Say Goodbye To Cash:
The cashless society is coming, whether justified by the (real, false, or exaggerated) fear that lethal viruses can be spread by paper currency or as the government’s preferred method of dispersing its “universal basic income”, meaning that the authorities can cut folks off from their funds at any time that they want to.
There’s no guarantee that everything that was described above will come to pass, but there’s certainly a high likelihood that at least some of it will transpire with time, though it’ll remain to be seen how sustainable these socio-economic and political changes are and whether or not they can ever be reversed.
I don’t normally copy/paste full articles, but in these times of mass censorship of material which doesn’t toe the line, it is important to keep a copy of this here in case the source site gets blocked or taken down.
Looking at the restrictions which are being proposed, are already here, and are likely to come soon, one has to conclude that the Chinese Communists would be happy to see what is going on and could very well be behind the whole thing. Don’t forget, COVID-19 is a Chinese virus. It started in China. The Chinese government did everything in its power to ensure it rapidly spread beyond China (constant disinformation about it being “under control” and suppression of information about its spread within the country), while being aided and abetted by foreign governments (which all owe China gazillions of dollars) refusing to turn away or even screen people coming in from China, while the World Health Organisation placated the masses by praising China’s response to the virus.
Through enormous debts, China effectively owns most governments in the world. Through economic fallout making it harder for countries to meet their debt obligations, it puts China in an even more powerful position. It really doesn’t matter whether China manufactured COVID-19 as a bioweapon, or it naturally occurred and China took advantage of it by treating it like a bioweapon, the types of controls being put in place almost uniformly around the world are draconian and what you would expect from a community government such as the Chinese government, not governments in free and democratic countries. The economic fallout alone is enough to give China more power over how our governments work, and the fact people are giving up their freedoms and increasingly looking to government to solve their problems (there are even businesses which, rather than just making a decision, are pleading with the government to tell them to close) is incredibly scary. That people don’t seem to realise that something like a “universal basic income” couple with an end to cash would hand even more control over to the government to decide what can and can’t be bought and sold, and by whom, is the true start of a Chinese style Social Credit Score. And then a quick check of the behaviour of people to cheerlead the loss of freedom and “dob in” people who aren’t excited by a loss of freedom, is a sure sign that people are already taking part in a Social Credit Score system without the points being calculated, and will cheerfully welcome it when it is fully implemented, not knowing the horrors which await in years to come.
Freedom and liberty are under assault. The COVID-19 Chinese Bioweapon is the latest salvo and it has been very effective. Communism and tyranny are on the horizon. And nobody cares.
Those of us who do care about liberty are in for a tough time, maybe for many years, but I have confidence that given enough time and tyranny, people will rise up and freedoms will be restored. What happens between now and then will be the tough bit.