Wednesday, March 18, 2020 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Can freedom, prosperity return at all?

The Covid-19 hysteria has shown us that many people – including many of those who pretended something else – actually hate the civilization as it existed up to 2019, with some freedom, technological achievements, culture, sports, human contacts, religious events, and other things. In fact, many people – including TRF commenters – literally love the idea to spend their lives in a cage. And they demand everyone else to spend the life equally. They probably think it's fair for everyone's life to suck because theirs does.

Wolfgang Wodarg, a German lung doctor, 11-minute English voiceover. He compares the Covid-19 virus with a hundred of others and concludes that the emperor of the Covid-19 hysteria has no clothes because some deaths that would happen on previous years are just attributed to Covid-19 which just happens to be intensely tested in 2020. The effect of Covid-19 on deaths can actually be claimed only after the number of deaths (significantly) exceeds the "percentage of coronaviruses in flu-dying patients" times the "number of flu-like deaths". (Well, I am pretty sure that this inequality was surpassed in Italy where only 240 people died of flu between October 2019 and January 2020 but otherwise I do think that his points are true and important. In particular, a rational discussion whether the virus is qualitatively new or new at all is completely non-existent.)

These people have been extraordinarily strengthened by the hysteria accompanying a somewhat new respiratory infectious disease. They have been strengthened because the 24/7 hysterical propaganda by the fake news media has genuinely scared tens or hundreds of millions of other people (although I believe it's still a minority that is really afraid of the virus). While China has ordered a "complete regional shutdown" for a month which allowed the country to return back to business soon afterwards, the rest of the world – and I mean the traditional "West" – seems to be doing something else.

Countries are ordering "almost complete" shutdowns whose efficiency is clearly lower (people began to wear masks in Czechia today – it looks silly but of course I think it's a more important detail than the cancellations of events themselves). But they plan these policies to last much longer. How much longer? For example, Australia's government just declared its desire to keep some bio-emergency regime at least for 6 months. Half a fudging year. Wow. And what happens next?

You may live in a country that is under a lockdown, like I do. It is supposed to end in a week or two. Great. What will happen then? Clearly, the numbers of new infections won't be zero globally by that time. They may double or drop to one-third relatively to yesterday. How will it affect the decisions to continue with these policies?

I think it's obvious that it won't. A reduction of the new cases to 1/3 won't be considered enough. Nothing will change truly "qualitatively" about the global existence of the disease within weeks. So the governments will probably find it convenient to continue or deepen their emergency regimes and lockdowns. The main problem is that there is no long-term plan, no real strategy, no algorithm for the exit from these extraordinary, draconian measures.

When governments gain these extraordinarily powers, they are highly unwilling to get rid of them. For the politicians it's more convenient to restrict everybody and maybe even cancel the new elections – we may start to see this phenomenon, too. Why would they be risking the end of their political career if they may use the sustainable hysteria about a virus to make their government jobs permanent?

Because roughly 1/2 of the conservatives have turned into a new wave of hardcore socialists, our side has felt extraordinarily weak when facing all this insanity, hysteria, and (increasingly successful) global calls for the martial law. Maybe we should have at least tried to do something, to ignite civil wars, to have a chance that the dystopia won't arrive because the probability that it will arrive now is increasing rapidly towards 100%.

There are lots of historical precedents – and also nice stories in the fiction – about the unstoppability of the totalitarian systems once a certain critical threshold is surpassed. The German Weimar Republic was considered weak, allowed hyperinflation, misery, then the Great Depression came. The pendulum went to the opposite direction and Hitler – promising to return the order and prosperity – took over. I think that already by 1933, it was clear that his regime would have to be removed by some truly violent means because his power was solidified right away and above a critical mass, the totalitarian regimes are self-solidifying because of a vicious loop. And indeed, the damn Soviet troops simply had to arrive to Berlin, otherwise the regime couldn't end.

It still seems possible that after a few years of the economic misery (by 2025?), the pendulum will swing to the opposite side in our real world as well. Strong leaders speaking on behalf of those who will be really upset about what will have happened will arise and take over, perhaps by brute force. Everyone who will have substantially contributed to the hysteria or SJW politics or stuff like that may be sent to similar facilities that Germany used in the 1930s and 1940s. We're not there yet.

Meanwhile, we may look at other examples. Between 1945 and 1948, communists were preparing to take over Czechoslovakia. They were formally one large but in no way "dominant" member of the National Front, the permanent coalition of all non-banned (i.e. non-fascist) parties (it was "democracy" in the sense that people elected their representatives but there was never any real legally allowed "opposition"). They were growing their influence (especially over the interior ministry etc.) by nasty methods and they wanted even more. A critical point arrived in February 1948 when most of the non-communist ministers saw the threat and they did a desperate thing. They submitted a desperate mass resignation. They hoped that the president – a co-founder of the interwar Parliamentary democracy – would find some ace in his sleeve that would turn their despair to a fix. President Dr Edvard Beneš, hugely afraid of a civil war, saw the power of the pro-communist street and decided to accept the solution that was obviously favored by the communists: he simply accepted the resignation and allowed the communist prime minister Klement Gottwald to replace all these ministers by communists or communist-controlled ones. The resignation was a suicidal stunt but it's questionable whether there was a better possible approach at all.

This special communist-only regime could have ended in a few years, after a political cycle, but of course it didn't. Once politicians who really don't find anything wrong about totalitarianism gain a supercritical fraction of the power, they just keep it! It becomes very easy to keep it. So communists (of variable flavors) have controlled Czechoslovakia for the following 41 years before their regime peacefully died of high age and a complete lack of interest. ;-)

Now, take the 1984 Polish comedy Sexmission (with EN subtitles) that you may finally watch if you're confined somewhere. Max and Albert undergo the hibernation experiment, there is a war in between, and they're awaken 50 years later than expected. A war has taken place, delayed the dehibernation, and a weapon to cripple male genes was used in that war. The remaining, women-only population was moved under the ground.

That population was kept there by a sophisticated system of stories (and imagery) about the "dangerous life on the surface". There are some X units of something, indicating it's lethal to be there for minutes. We later learn that this story was fabricated. The leader of all these girls and women, Her Excellency – who obviously turns out to be a male survivor – found it easier to govern all the women when they're under the ground. Xe had a 20th century house on the surface where xe spent much of xir time and where xe traveled in an elevator ending in some furniture.

The two men hibernated in 1991 hated the underground feminist society and wanted to go to the surface and regain their freedom, even if they had oxygen just for 2 weeks of life. That's exactly how proper men would behave. These days, the "role models for men" prefer to spend their whole life in a cage instead of embracing a very small probability that they contract a fatal infection.

The movie – and the reality around us – shows how extremely easy it is to enslave billions of people. You just scare the people about some plausible story and they become obedient sheep. Covid-19 is a real virus that may kill O(1) percent of mankind if (or by the moment when) it really spreads everywhere. But even if you assume that it won't happen or if you assume that there's no interesting new virus at all, it would be so easy to fabricate a similar story in order to enslave the billions of people.

You could have just picked some new strain of flu or another disease, showed that it's more deadly in some way, and hysterically observe the exponentially growing number of carriers. And of course it would be exponentially growing. Every noteworthy infection is exponentially growing in some phase, before it enters another phase that can no longer be described in this way.

Would have any infectious disease been enough to enslave mankind? Or how high numbers or how fast rates would be needed? Just try to imagine that 10,000 U.S. infections is enough to turn Trump into an obedient puppy that starts to build a CNN-preferred government-controlled country. Now, lots of "progressives" surely want such an outcome. Imagine that the number of infections is below 10,000. Could they realize their dreams about socialism in the U.S.?

You bet. It would be enough for 10,000 "progressive" activists to be infected with that virus and be diagnosed. You would easily find a similar number of "progressive" volunteers. I think that you would actually find millions who would be ready to do much more self-harming things (than to catch a virus that is safer for them than flu) to fight against Trump as we have known him.

Similarly, the Islamic terrorists look stupid now that they haven't been capable of inventing and executing "terror attacks by infections". They could have brought some infection from somewhere and spread it in Western Europe (maybe they're doing it now). The crippling effect on the societies would clearly be far higher than some pathetic stabbing.

So if the American (or another) society is ready to switch to the martial law or a similar type of heavily centrally regulated regime because of such numbers of infections that are still a tiny percentage of the population, and it seems to be the case, then it means that the switch to these de facto totalitarian regimes is basically unavoidable. A trivial strategy seems enough for the haters of freedom to achieve that outcome. With hindsight, it looks amazing that the leftists haven't done it before.

And it seems to be the case in mankind as it exists now. This insight is vastly more shocking than the Covid-19 worst case scenario. Whether or not the number of fatalities due to Covid-19 becomes substantial in comparison with other causes of death in the world, it seems that mankind is entering a completely different political system – and pretty much globally – for quite some time. Tens or hundreds of millions must first become really miserable before they realize that these curfew stunts weren't funny and that the cure was surely worse than the disease.

P.S.: Czechia has 464 cases on Wednesday morning, including 3 that are said to be serious. We have 0 fatalities at this moment. Fatalities are clearly not needed for a country to be almost completely locked down. PM Babiš is unsurprisingly rather aggressive in these policies. Just to be sure, I am trying to be as loyal as possible. But my criticism applies especially to countries like mine where the health impact of Covid-19 is almost non-existent. Even if we could reduce the number of daily new cases to 0, would it mean that we reopen for business? I doubt it.

I think that he has been trained in those Civil Defense (CO, Civilní obrana) regular exercises during communism – that is the "mental picture" most of Czechs have about "crisis situations". Once a year, instead of regular classes, we the kids would be forced to march in the anti-nuclear outfits with gas masks, listen to various sounds from sirenas, learn about death in bunkers, and stuff like that. In the early 1980s, the "nuclear war Armageddon" was still the most important scare that was around. I felt almost certain that there wouldn't be a big nuclear war – so far my expectations work. And I thought that even if there were one, all these lame methods to "save ourselves" would be pretty futile. If the Pentagon were ordered to eradicate Pilsen, they would succeed. To believe otherwise means to insult the skills of us, the nuclear physicists. ;-)

When it comes to the leading scares, I still think in a similar way as when I was a kid. The psychological terror involving stories about the evil imperialists who were going to nuke us was a part of the tools that kept the population obedient. Wars and pandemics are often real but the abuse of fear is far more widespread.

By the way, the positive Czech cases already make 6% of the tested people. We don't know how cleverly targeted the tests are. If you assume that they're not cleverly targeted at all, then of course it could mean that 6% of Czechs are actually infected now. ;-) The "origin of infection" is about 50-50 now, domestic-vs-foreign. Italy leads with 54% of the foreign ones, followed by Austria with 21%.

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