Sharing various and sundry links I’ve been collecting over the last few weeks, waiting for the tidal wave of election hysteria and COVID fear to die down. Alas, neither of those things are happening.
Just as some light at the end of the tunnel emerges ever-so-slightly, it seems to dissipate, and winter in the Northern Hemisphere is approaching.
From the Law & Liberty blog, “A Declaration of Independence from COVID fear:”
“Waiting in isolation for months without a clear set of goals decreases cohesion and trust among the governed. At the regime level, this opens up the possibility for a growing chasm between the governed and governors.”
From Mike Solana of the Pirate Wires blog, “No More Clown Shit:”
“Trump is an entertainer, and on Twitter he’s a troll — a darker kind of entertainment for a darker kind of world. There were questions early on if America could survive its first Mad King, but notwithstanding his gaudy, golden palaces Trump is not a king of any kind. There is no king. At every level of government we are a nation adrift with no leadership. What we’ve rather become accustomed to from our president is a kind of stewardship, a man in whom we expect, above all things, a presidential tone, a patting of our heads, and a presidential reassurance that everything is fine. Trump could never give us that because Trump is also not a steward. He’s a jester. He is I think technically the most successful clown in human history, and from America’s vacant throne he did what all truly great clowns do: he pulled back the curtain of our reality, he showed us who and what we really are, and he laughed.”
Matt Taibbi, “Which is the Real Working Class Party Now?”—he’s a journalist I wasn’t enamored with some years ago, but who has emerged as one of the sharpest observers of our increasingly degraded national political press:
“The 2020 election showed that the Democrats’ imperious smart-set arrogance, open belief in the idea that minorities owe them their votes, and basically undisguised hostility toward the ordinary small-town person who hasn’t “learned to code,” finally began competing with Republican tone-deafness on race as a negative factor to be weighed by working class voters, of all races.
“Unless they stop lying to themselves about this, and embrace a politics that pays more than lip service to the working person, they will become what the Republicans used to be: an arm of the patrician rich, sneering at the unwashed majority and crossing fingers every election season. It’s not that Trump deserved those votes more. But he at least asked for them, and that was almost enough.”
From British journalist-turned flak Matt Townsend, a Twitter screenshot of a paywalled column by Janet Daley, “How modern democracy has given rise to lockdown totalitarianism,” in The Daily Telegraph and as a second national lockdown in the U.K. is underway:
“Something in our political culture and our view of ourselves, must have changed very dramatically—and oddly, almost without our noticing—for the founding principles of our liberty (not to mention the basic understanding of what gives life meaning and value to human life) to be so readily discarded.”
Daley goes on to say that they’re “the belief that the state is now morally responsible for all outcomes” and that “the state must promise not just the best healthcare but it can provide, but a kind of immortality.”
Bingo! That’s one of the few serious thinkpieces I’ve read anywhere about what I believe underpins the mass psychosis at the heart of the Western response to COVID. With our medical advances, technology and policy expertise, advanced states presumed they could “crush” the virus.
Instead, they’ve crushed only economies, livelihoods, educations, social well-being and souls, in wholesale fashion, for nine months now. We’ll be at this through a whole year and longer, because of the other factor in Daley’s analysis that also rings true to my ears:
“But this collectivist ethic is strangely contrary to the other strand of popular culture playing a major role in today’s events. This is the legitimising of chronic hypochondria. I cannot remember a time in which there was such a neurotic obsession with health as a positive condition, rather than a simple absence of illness or disability.”
More ahead of Britain’s second lockdown, “Welcome to Covidworld,” by academic philosophers Ian James Kidd and Matthew Ratcliffe in The Critic:
“In the context of this altered way of finding ourselves in the world, a new system of rules, projects, practices and pastimes has taken hold. Fear of the virus is the single fulcrum around which everything now turns, shaping our attention, concerns, conversations, and activities. For many, the world feels altogether different, like the inevitable onset of a winter that must be endured with grim resignation.
“Over time, Covidworld tightens its grip, eclipsing all other concerns. It reminds us of Wittgenstein’s example of a culture dominated by belief in a Last Judgment, a conviction expressed “not by reasoning or by appeal to ordinary grounds for belief”, but through its role in “regulating” all aspects of life. Similarly, Covidworld offers a simple, internally coherent substitute for the messier and more complicated reality we once inhabited.
“A reluctance on the part of many people to engage in serious debate can be understood in terms of the transition into this different world, a place complete with its own foundational beliefs and performances. Lockdowns work; masks lessen transmission; the second wave is an unacceptable threat and must be suppressed.
“Since all of this is beyond doubt, questions about the adequacy of evidence are often reinterpreted in moral terms and dismissed as irresponsible acts of ‘covidiocy’. Many of those who would more usually insist on examining alternative possibilities or challenge the party line now fall strangely silent. Lack of critical reflection is further fuelled by a distrust of those who do not belong to Covidworld.”
Interjecting here another continuing complaint—just not seeing this kind of mild skepticism, much less serious criticism—in any mainstream publication in the U.S., even the ostensibly conservative or libertarian kind.
There’s a lot more I could link to and comment on here, but some of it is so unremittingly lacking in any sense of optimism. While I share many of those sentiments, finding a way to endure and rise above a third wave of hysteria is paramount.