Geoffrey Clifton-Brown says that it’s time to ignore the lockdown fanatics and reopen Britain. Joining in this call is Graham Brady. Alas, Britain remains populated with lockdown fanatics, not the least of whom is British strongman Boris Johnson.
What makes us a free society is that, although the state has vast powers, there are conventional limits on what it can do with them. The limits are conventional because they do not depend on our laws but on our attitudes. There are islands of human life which are our own, a personal space into which the state should not intrude without some altogether exceptional justification.
Liberal democracy breaks down when frightened majorities demand mass coercion of their fellow citizens, and call for our personal spaces to be invaded. These demands are invariably based on what people conceive to be the public good. They all assert that despotism is in the public interest.
The problem is perfectly encapsulated in a recent interview with Professor Neil Ferguson, whose projections were used to justify the first lockdown last March. Before that, as Prof Ferguson related in that interview, Sage had concluded that the Chinese lockdown had worked but was out of the question in Europe. “It’s a communist, one-party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought. And then Italy did it. And we realised we could … If China had not done it, the year would have been very different.”
How can anyone look at a picture such as this one from the U.K. and not conclude that the reaction to Covid is hysterical – that it is so disproportionate that it cannot be spoofed? Look closely, people, at what we’re doing to our children and to ourselves!
Speaking of spoofs, here’s a recent one from the Babylon Bee – one that, were it instead to have appeared in the New York Times or Washington Post, would be taken without question to be a genuine report written by serious journalists. (HT Todd Zywicki)
The first was how eerily empty London was as we walked around each day. We wondered when the great city of London last looked so deserted – not during WWII’s Blitz, not during WWI or the Spanish Flu, not at any point going back at least to the 17th Century. And for what? For a virus that in no-lockdown Sweden has led to 5,000 excess deaths for the year. Tops. And that’s if you don’t correct for population growth or an ageing population. For a virus that has a fraction of a soupcon of the lethality of the Spanish Flu, and all that it has concentrated on the elderly and vulnerable (who one might think should be the overwhelming focus of concern and action).
Next there was all the propaganda everywhere. The BT tower made me want to vomit – “Stay inside. Stay safe. Protect the NHS.” I always thought health services were there to protect citizens, not the other way round. (Leave aside that for someone like me who has lived and worked in a lot of countries the NHS product is one of the worst I’ve ever experienced, perhaps marginally better than the health service in my native Canada but miles worse than Australia’s, New Zealand’s, and even Hong Kong’s.) Meanwhile the orchestrated clapping was nauseating. Can you imagine our ancestors clapping for the Battle of Britain pilots? Or those pilots wanting this to be done?
And let’s not forget all the posters on bus shelters, straight out of some authoritarian government’s propaganda handbook. “Look him in the eye and tell him you can’t work at home.” Or “won’t wear a mask”. Or “It’s not that serious a disease.” These slogans ran below a photo of some deathly ill looking chap with an oxygen mask. Again, leave aside the subtle manipulation here that is involved in showing photos of actors far below 83 years old, that being the median death age from Covid. It is also dishonest because it presents only one side of the equation. The young are being decimated not by the virus – for them it is less risky than the flu – but by the Government’s response to it.
Better to be governed by Ron DeSantis than by New York State strongman Andrew Cuomo. The former, unlike the latter, had the good sense to be appropriately skeptical of the models predicting that many states would run out of hospital beds.
I agree with Phil Magness:
I’ll be blunt. If Fauci, as an 80 year old, was vulnerable and at risk, he should have done the responsible thing and stayed home. He also should have retired a decade ago. Instead he irresponsibly ventured out into public every day, even gravitating toward crowds of potentially disease-carrying reporters at every opportunity he had and often appearing maskless in public along the way. In doing so he transfered the burden of accounting for his own relatively high risk onto other innocent people at lower risk levels than his own, expecting them to incur the costs of providing him with a disease-free space so he could continue basking in public attention. Why did he do so? Who knows, but I will go ahead and assume selfishness is at play because he draws a half-million dollar salary and he clearly enjoys being a celebrity.