Paul Peele writes for The Remnant — I’ll begin by stating the obvious. When vulnerable people are at risk of harm, most of us would willingly and keenly do our part to protect them. But the question not being addressed at all, is what actions are proportionate to the danger at hand and what course of action will do more harm than good?
Now that the necessary research has been done and published to settle the debate, we can finally talk with clarity about whether the cure was worse than the illness. And maybe even more importantly we can ask why a sledge hammer looked so much more proportionate than an Advil.
Dr. John Ioannidis and Dr Jay Bhattacharya (and others); professors of medicine at Stanford, have studied how many people actually had contracted the virus and recovered, in a given location (southern California). They have tested people for antibodies made by the body in reaction to the virus. The results of this study are described in this interview.
Now that this number is known we are finally able to calculate what the case fatality rate was.
Media, public and health officials, and others have widely circulated rumors and projections (conjectures) that there were likely to be huge numbers of deaths, numbering at least several percent of the population and suggested quite possibly many times that. But in fact, the case fatality rate is likely much the same as the seasonal flu, which we see every year. Not one or two in a hundred but more like one or two in a thousand.
Every year many thousands of the frail and elderly die of influenza, worldwide. Some years are worse than others. 2017 was a bad year. Many people get a flu vaccination which might or might not help. Throughout human history, this has always been the case. Nobody is happy about it, but it’s always just been a fact of life. But because this is and has always been such a regular yearly event, it never makes the news. You’re sad when it’s your grandmother but we never heard much about it on TV. Every case of pneumonia was not headlined like a presidential assassination by media reports as proof of our impending doom.
But now all of a sudden, it’s different. Why??
We are now going through the greatest instance of mass hysteria in all of human history.
There have always been those occasions when great numbers of people went collectively insane as a group. Killing “witches”, hating and killing Jews are examples. Also, several groups perception of their own persecution, real or imagined, has led some to the enthusiastic mass persecution of others. But while humans are prone to collective insanity and it happens often, the present situation is of another order of magnitude entirely. This is the first instance of mass hysteria taking over the entire planet and every household.
Just a quick glance at a few features will suffice:
- Hysterical media have convinced nearly every nation on Earth to lock their citizens under house arrest and forbid those citizens from making a living or arranging to feed their families.
- They have convinced most everyone to allow the cancelling of all their rights and freedoms which it has taken millennia to secure.
- They have convinced billions of people who grew up in relatively free countries to wait in long tedious bread lines for whatever few necessities they might still allowed to buy, as if we were all living in Russia or Red China.
- People are being arrested or fined and harassed or publicly shammed for being on the ocean with a surf board, going for a walk in the country or on a beach alone, or driving too far.
- No one is allowed to travel as if we all lived in Russian occupied East Germany.
I could go on ad infinitum. Many jurisdictions are asking citizens to rat on one another to enforce irrational and arbitrary restrictions.
I’ll suggest just a few possible contributing factors to account for this perfect storm of mass hysteria and how everything so quickly went off the rails.
First of course there were always human foibles, making us more prone to mass hysteria. Humans are pack animals. We like to fit in, belong and go along. We are afraid and don’t want to be the target of the mob’s actions. Most people don’t think for themselves so they go along, supposing that other people in a group consensus are probably right. A reasonably large percent of people also make excellent hypnotic subjects.
But there are also a large number of new factors to make us all the more vulnerable to mass hysteria.
One obvious reason of course is that covid-19 is new. You grew up in a world where the seasonal flu swept round the world every year, killing thousands and thousands of people. But what if you had not? What if there had never been such a flu and it just popped up now, killing the same huge number of people? Everyone would freak out and overreact. The novelty and uncertainty of covid-19 has provoked exactly the kind of reaction you might have if the usual flu had only erupted this year for the very first time.
Another reason is that for the past couple generations society has been infected with the post-modern philosophy which claims that reason itself is neither legitimate nor a necessary counterbalance to feeling. Today feelings are touted as the penultimate arbiter of reality. If you feel offended then someone else must be offensive. If you feel unsafe then you ARE unsafe and so others must accommodate you in any way you specify. In the post-modern world, hysteria enhances rather than weakens your credibility.
Most importantly to the post-modern, the traditional, loyal solidarity of citizens has been replaced by tribal warfare of identity groups supposedly at war for dominance over one another. Not that everyone always saw or treated each other as brothers and sisters before, but there has never been a time when adversarial in-fighting was so much taught and celebrated as a virtue. So, for all these reasons, being hysterical is now considered self-justifying and requires no rational basis.
Before this generation, Social Media was never a thing. Today with social media we can fan each other into a frenzy and coach each other to conform to the hive-mind better than ever before. You can be mobbed, fired, jailed, ostracized and driven out of the tribe for expressing a different opinion, better than ever before. Often by people you’ve never met.
This has created a society where virtue signaling passes for virtue and actual virtue or reason might be mercilessly punished, often by an anonymous mob, from the comfort and safety of their own bedrooms. Since the ascendance of social media, people are justifiably terrified of ever contradicting the hive-mind. There is an ever-present awareness that the hive might turn on you.
The world financial system has been so badly mismanaged that it is ready to implode. There are therefore many powerful people who would welcome some other explanation to blame the coming economic collapse on. It’s a big glass house just waiting for a brick. There are influential people who would love to be able to say; “It’s not my fault!” rather than having to say “Whoops!” instead.
The business model of traditional corporate media is in sharp decline. Newspapers are shrinking fast. The same applies to TV. The response from these extremely endangered businesses is to become the tabloids. They desperately need click bait that will sell. Hyperbolic drama and hysteria are the only life preserver they can cling to in the dark waters of oblivion swirling around them. They need to make you mad, make you scared, make you divided in order to keep you watching, keep you reading. To keep themselves employed, media NEEDS a catchy story. So, screaming, “You’re All Gonne Die!!!!” is a Godsend to them. It just doesn’t get any better than this! Selling panic is their bread and butter.
It’s also important to remember that both the seasonal flu and covid-19 mostly kill the frail, the elderly and the sick. So in other words, they mostly kill the same people. Therefore, these are not two separate columns of numbers but strongly overlapping sets. Both kill many people but since these two illnesses are competing to kill the same people, the total number of deaths will likely be far less than you would expect if you added the fatality rate of the two. People killed by either might well have been equally likely to have been overcome by the other illness or by some other pre-existing cause.
So, while it is still terrible that the vulnerable are now at risk of two illnesses; it is not twice as dangerous as it might at first appear to be. Also, since these illnesses mostly finish off people already at risk of dying, it is often unclear to what degree each of the co-morbidities were the cause of death. If you die while suffering from three or four illnesses, it’s more accurate to say that, rather than to just pick one and say that was the cause of death.
Politicians and public officials are just people. This new illness was full of unknowns. It’s likely that many public and health officials thought that if they did not assume the worst case and exercise an overabundance of caution then they would be blamed if bad things went badly. So they went hair-on-fire overboard to avoid any possible blame later.
Another sad thing about some people is that they like and enjoy having power over other people and exercising that power just because they can get away with it. Whenever there is a crisis, there is a tendency of some such public officials to extend and abuse their authority and to use any crisis as an excuse for that. Some people just like power and significance a bit too much to be trusted with it. So, there will be a tendency for such people to exaggerate any crisis and thereby create a bigger alibi for throwing their weight around.
A real health emergency will actually come along some day.
But one very destructive side effect of crying wolf so extremely is that if government and health officials ever need to be listened to regarding a REAL health emergency, who on Earth would take them seriously now? They’ve proven they have no idea what they are doing or what actual science looks like. Math models based on false assumptions have been advertised as science and they are not. Just waving some math models over a lot of conjecture doesn’t make it science. The only thing that might save us from the cry wolf syndrome is that public officials and media will never admit their fiasco and a hapless public may never know they’ve been had.
And then of course, there are the puppet masters. It’s an unfortunate feature of the modern world, that most of the world’s wealth has been allowed to fall into the hands of a few dozen people. I’m sure most of them are nice people; content to live their own lives and just leave me alone to live mine. But for that reason, we’ve probably never heard of most of them.
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They are not the people I worry about. But don’t all of us know someone who knows what YOU should do and how you should live? Aren’t there people whose main purpose in life involves controlling and interfering with other people? Rather than focusing on their own affairs, a few people need to have MORE say over your life. They know what’s best. Their views and values count and other people’s beliefs and values are mistaken at best, and wrong, bad and awful at worst. Such people know that other people absolutely require the benefit of their supervision.
This affliction can range from the garden variety control freak who torments their own family to the petty bureaucrat who obstructs whomever they can reach. But the syndrome’s full flowering is in the entitled billionaire, for whom the whole world must change to accommodate his bottomless insecurity. Since this character trait is not that rare, then it just stands to reason that the obsessively competitive, driven and insanely ambitious people will occasionally have this same foible.
Rather than being satisfied with being completely free, some need to take away the freedom of others to feel complete. And in it’s most extreme form, this unfortunate personality type even includes those who only really feel one up when someone else is brought low. If I can make everyone else wait in bread lines then I must somehow be better than them, even if I am miserable.
So, if you happen to be a controlling billionaire, you would definitely not let a perfectly good crisis go to waste. You would do everything in your near limitless power to convince the world that they are in terrible danger; that drastic action is required; that we all have to make sacrifices to save the weak and the vulnerable. If you happened to own the media, public officials and the politicians, people would hardly notice that all your proposed solutions were things you’d wanted to accomplish all along. The ‘Plandemic” would be the opportunity of a lifetime. So much so, that a few have conjectured that the whole affair might have been orchestrated. I’m not so sure about that. But you don’t always have to know where a gun comes from, to see clearly what was done with it.
- Let’s give unlimited additional wealth to those who already own most everything already.
- Let’s try even harder to ban cash because it is dirty, filthy and carries disease. This is only “temporary” and it’s just a happy coincidence that this policy allows unlimited surveillance and control of your every transaction and location. Also, if you are REQUIRED to let them hold all your money then they can charge you negative interest for holding it or more fees for transactions.
- Let’s track everyone using their cell phone to know if they are at risk of being near someone who had a germ. (Yeah, right!)
- Let’s use ever more manipulations of, censorship of and control of the internet to protect you from hearing any fake news (dissenting viewpoints) which they don’t want heard.
- Let’s take away any semblance of rights, freedoms or independent businesses. Desperate people make better serfs than uppity people.
I could go on all day but you get the idea.
And one question which has been deafeningly avoided in this melee is this:
In the hue and cry to do absolutely anything possible to avoid those deaths which might be hastened by covid-19, what about all the deaths and suffering which will be caused by a disproportionate overreaction to covid-19?
Endless fear mongering, confinement, poverty, isolation and desperation kill by many means which aren’t being discussed.
What about completely erasing everyone’s rights and freedoms that so many people fought and died for, so that we all live instead in totalitarian states more like Red China than the west. Do all those lives, all that suffering and poverty, all that crushing of people’s lives and dreams, count for nothing?
So there were powerful incentives for those who already own and control too much, to see a new germ as a golden opportunity to seize and control even more.
There is danger here. I agree with the tsunami of media hype about that. Mass hysteria has wrought untold harm all through history. But now we are more vulnerable to mass hysteria than ever before and there are nefarious forces poised to take advantage of that, to create a less beautiful world, which they of course will claim is our salvation. If you have either children or precious memories you might want to stop them. Overly greedy Bison hunters sometimes simply got bison herds to collectively stampede over a cliff. I’m hearing more and more stampedes lately.
But the creepiest thing is how everyone around me has that glazed-over look with the Kool-Aid dripping down their chin and no idea what I’m talking about. CNN hypnotically blaring in the background, behind their empty eyes. I feel as though I’m in one of those body snatcher movies.
Paul is a retired counsellor in Victoria Canada.