Lockdownism

by Don Boudreaux on October 1, 2020

in Current Affairs, Man of System

I wrote this earlier post before reading Jeffrey Tucker’s AIER essay on the same topic. Jeff says much of what I sought to say, only he says it better and more fully.

Compared to Jeff, I remain more in the camp of those who believe that the covid-19 lockdowns are mostly a gargantuan, tragic error – one that, should humanity ever regain some semblance of sanity, will one day be ranked with many wars and pogroms as a ghastly spasm of human stupidity, superstition, and cruelty. Our descendants in 2350 are likely to look upon the official actions taken in 2020 in the same way that we look upon the Salem witch trials.

But regardless of the details of the motives of Anthony Fauci, M.D., of the Hon. Andrew Cuomo, of Dr. Neil Ferguson, or of you-name-the-lockdowner, Jeff Tucker is perhaps on to something in identifying a new and tyrannical ideology on the loose: lockdownism.

Here are some slices from Jeff’s essay:

This year has given us a new ideology with totalitarian tendencies. It has a vision of hell, of heaven, and a means of transition. It has a unique language apparatus. It has a mental focus. It has signalling systems to reveal and recruit adherents.

That ideology is called lockdown. We might as well add the ism to the word: lockdownism.

Its vision of hell is a society in which pathogens run freely. Its heaven is a society managed entirely by medical technocrats whose main job is the suppression of all disease. The mental focus is the viruses and other bugs. The anthropology is to regard all human beings as little more than sacks of deadly pathogens. The people susceptible to the ideology are the people with various degrees of mysophobia, once regarded as a mental problem now elevated to the status of social awareness.

This year has been the first test of lockdownism. It included the most intrusive, comprehensive, and near-global controls of human beings and their movements in recorded history. Even in countries where the rule of law and liberties are sources of national pride, people were put under house arrest. Their churches and businesses were closed. The police have been unleashed to enforce it all and arrest open dissent. The devastation compares with wartime except that it was a government-imposed war on people’s right to move and exchange freely. We still cannot travel.

…..

Early on, most people went along, thinking that it was somehow necessary and short term. Two weeks stretched to 30 days which stretched to 7 months, and now we are told there will never be a time when we don’t practice this new public-policy faith. It’s a new totalitarianism. And with all such regimes, there is one set of rules for the rulers and another for the ruled.

The language apparatus is now incredibly familiar: curve flattening, spread slowing, social distancing, targeted layered containment, non-pharmaceutical intervention. The enemy is the virus and anyone who isn’t living their life solely to avoid contamination. Because you can’t see the virus, that usually means generating a paranoia of The Other: someone unlike you has the virus.

…..

Fauci’s entire essay reads like an attempted lockdown manifesto, complete with the fully expected longings for the state of nature and an imagined purification of life. Reading this utopian plan for a society without pathogens helps explain one of the strangest features of lockdownism: its puritanism. Notice that the lockdown particularly attacked anything that resembles fun: Broadway, movies, sports, travel, bowling, bars, restaurants, hotels, gyms, and clubs. Still now there are curfews in place to stop people from staying out too late — with absolutely no medical rationale. Pets are on the list too.

If an activity is fun, it is a target.

Comments

Add a Comment    Share Share    Print    Email

Previous post:

Next post: