Covid: What we have learned
Fifteen lessons from two years of virus hysteria and policy mayhem
As Covid fever continues to subside globally (apart from China’s latest lockdown spasm which has attracted no mimickers), it is time to take stock of the last two years of irrational fear and policy madness. Learning from the economic, social and political debacle of the global response to the virus will be necessary in ensuring that the temptations of authoritarian rule by public health ‘experts’ in cahoots with their political facilitators are resisted for the next health ‘crisis’ (monkeypox, anyone?).
Below are fifteen of these Covid lessons, both negative and positive. Feel free to add more.
LESSON #1: Viruses will do what viruses do
The path to the Covid policy disaster began with the failure to recognise that viruses are viruses and a new virus on the block will do what every respiratory virus has ever done – spread rapidly until the more lethal variants die off with their more vulnerable hosts and more transmissible but less deadly variants become dominant, resulting in the familiar Gompertz curve of rapid rise, plateau and swift decline as herd immunity develops from robust, naturally-acquired infection amongst the healthy and their ripper immune systems.
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that is behaving exactly according to this evolutionary blueprint and it is the utmost hubris to imagine humanity can ‘socially distance’ it into defeat and it is the height of unwarranted technophilia to think that it can be vaxxed into submission with either a revolutionary new concoction that has never yet properly or safely worked, or with more traditional vaccines that has never yet worked against any coronavirus after many decades of trying. Governments can only pretend, for political reasons, to alter, or prevent, the predictable trajectory of a virus.
We wasted two enormously costly years by failing to remember this very old lesson of viruses being viruses. This was the foundational error that set in train all the policy errors that followed.
LESSON #2: Lockdowns are unethical, anti-democratic, anti-scientific and socially damaging - as well as ineffective
After the world’s first ever global social experiment in locking away entire populations of healthy people to stop the spread of a virus the verdict is in. Every cross-comparative analysis between national and state jurisdictions, in chart after chart of viral incidence, hospitalisation and mortality the world over, shows that lockdowns do not make a bit of difference, even the brutal, full-strength Chinese brand.
Indeed, lockdowns don’t just fail to save any lives, they cause loss of life from mental health problems, suicide, economic deprivation and from (non-Covid) medical neglect.
That is why no pandemic planning, pre-Covid, ever seriously considered implementing lockdowns, not during the flu pandemics of 1957-58 and 1968-70, and not during the H1N1 panic in 2009 (apart from Mexico, which abandoned the costly failure after just 18 days). Even the WHO, before it lost its mind to Covid fear, specifically ruled out lockdowns as a strategy for managing a flu-like virus in a report it published in 2019.
Even if really pitiless lockdowns could be made to ‘work’, and even if a genuinely deadly virus was in our midst, it is never acceptable, morally or politically, to virtually imprison everyone at home and deny them all their freedoms in the name of virus control. People may voluntarily choose to hide from the world but such decisions should be up to the individual based on their own tolerance for risk. State compulsion should never be an option – it is anti-liberty in its very essence.
LESSON #3: ‘Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions’ (NPIs) are an absurdist joke
No amount of politically-driven hygiene rituals or ‘social distancing’ pantomime, no bleak landscape of deserted streets, empty schools, silent stadia or vacant airports, or any of the other spells and incantations from our Covid policy wizards can thwart the pre-ordained life-cycle destiny of a respiratory virus. Only large-scale economic destruction and social disfigurement can result from such fruitless NPIs. They are, without exception, goofy pseudoscience staged to give the illusion of control and to showcase the stern action that our tough-loving ‘pandemic’ managers are taking to ‘protect’ us.
LESSON #4: Covid ‘vaccines’ are a dangerous farce
The never-before-used mRNA biotechnology of the Covid ‘vaccines’, hastily and inadequately tested, doesn’t work - in fact, the ‘vaccines’ have 'negative efficacy', making vaccine recipients more likely to ‘get Covid’ by temporarily suppressing (or even damaging long-term) their natural immune system, and it causes great harm (here is a concise, plain English summary of the myriad pathways to mRNA harm). Further, no vaccine of any kind against any coronavirus has ever worked because they fail to achieve sterilising immunity and their safety profile, too, though slightly less disqualifying than its mRNA cousin, still poses risk.
LESSON #5: Big Pharma sucks
The Covid ‘vaccines’ do not work and are dangerous but what they are highly successful at is in making a ton of money for fat Pharma cats. For Big Pharma, the Covid policy frenzy has been a godsend because it means getting more shots, more quickly produced and more cheaply, into more arms, more often (including through lucrative, liability-free, government agreements for universal jabbing of their populations). The financial wellbeing of Big Pharma’s shareholders and top executives is the industry’s sole priority, not the health and welfare of the consumers of their product.
Follow the Covid money – it leads, as always, to Big Pharma’s accountancy departments.
LESSON #6: Propaganda Works
Propaganda works, such as terrifying the public with daily ‘Covid cases’ and ‘Covid deaths’ data shouted from the rooftops whilst deploying the adjective ‘novel’ to describe a new virus, the scale of whose silent and invisible threat has apparently never before been confronted by humanity. Remember all the melodrama about how ‘novel’ SARS-CoV-2 was because of its unique liking for surface (fomite) transmission (busted by even the CDC which advises that fomites are a Covid transmission vector in only about one in 10,000 cases) and because of its frightening ability for asymptomatic transmission by the healthy (busted even from within the heart of the Covid establishment here). And who can forget the horror show of victims suddenly dropping down dead in the streets of Wuhan (all so obviously faked). All of it’s viral superpowers are nothing but urban myth.
Neither should we forget the propaganda technique of weaponising emotionally manipulative advertising to infect people’s brains with fanatical public health ideology through simplistic PR slogans (‘two weeks to flatten the curve’, ‘staying apart keeps us together’, ‘nobody is safe until everyone is safe’).
Propaganda works well on people who are by nature trusting of the authorities and who gain all their news from the idiot box (as some 61% of Australians do) with its continuous drip-drip of lies but it also does a surprisingly effective number on people who should know better, the intelligentsia, the professional caste of people who are paid to think, those brain-workers trained in how to respect science, evaluate evidence, practice due scepticism and value truth - those with a public podium and policy influence, people like medical scientists, public health bureaucrats, celebrity ‘experts’, academics, journalists and Supreme Court justices, for example.
The ‘liberal’ intelligentsia, in particular, barely broke stride from hyperventilating about Brexit (racist!), Trump (racist!, fascist!) to joining the Covid frenzy and embracing authoritarian lockdown to defeat the new Beast of Covid. Almost to a man and woman (and men pretending to be women), they, too, proved easy meat for the propagandists, once they could be scared out of their wits about the virus. Like the rest of the human race, the highly credentialed thinking class have a lizard brain, too.
The lesson to be learned? Demystify expertise and question authority. If the ‘experts’ shy away from transparency (like not exposing to public scrutiny the ‘science’ that underpins the administrative state’s health ukases), assume they have plenty to hide.
Oh, and give the idiot box a rest now and then.
LESSON #7: The demonisation of ‘enemies of the state’
‘Covid’ has delivered the latest lesson in how a large segment of the population can be made to turn against an officially designated outgroup of scapegoats. Perhaps one third of Nazi Germany’s population happily persecuted another third whilst the remaining third (the ‘Good Germans’) watched on passively or averted their eyes. In Covid Land, we have seen a large majority of the population righteously demonise those who refused to buy into the Covid quackery and were thus fined, arrested and assaulted for being Covid rule-breakers. They wished unemployment, discrimination, permanent home detention and, in extreme cases, even death, on the vaxx heathens. Those in the middle didn’t want this fate to befall them and they have left the new outcasts, many of whom are still suffering from jab mandates, to their fate, whilst moving on to the latest Hollywood distraction. This “I’m alright, Jack” attitude, perhaps with fingers crossed, serves only the interests of the Covid Czars.
LESSON #8: Bread doesn’t always need circuses
As a recipe for pacifying the plebs, bread and circuses is as old as the Roman hills but sometimes just bread alone will do. You can cancel all their public circuses (football, parties, entertainment … although leave them Netflix) but providing you keep their bellies full (by firing up the money-presses for JobKeeper), you can buy a surprising amount of compliance, at least until the resulting inflation and interest rate death spiral presents its bill.
LESSON #9: Governments can not solve every problem besetting humanity
Some problems, respiratory viruses for example, simply can’t be solved by government action or bio-technological ingenuity. Viruses are too well-honed by evolution to be foiled by Perspex or cloth, or the magic figure of 1.5 metres of separation, or over-hyped vaccines. We never had government-ordered lockdowns before, or compulsory jabbing, for any viral outbreak and yet humanity survived by the simple means of unavoidable self-isolation by the properly sick whilst the healthy, with their good immune systems, went about their normal life, perhaps getting infected but tossing it off without the spectre of imminent mortality, and so bringing on herd immunity and thus protecting the more vulnerable in the process.
Boosting your personal immune system will do more than any government policy of forced separation of people, or the superstitious masking ritual, or any of the other bright ideas of the ‘Must Do Something’ brigade, but that will mean taking personal responsibility for lifestyle risk factors and no government can do that for any individual. Expecting governments to solve everything, including virus spread, has been partly responsible for getting us into the mess of the last two years.
It is never the job of government to embark on the fool’s errand of stopping viruses by rationing social interaction. It is never acceptable for government to take away personal rights, civil liberties and democratic freedoms and hand them over to an unaccountable, technocratic elite of public health officials or regime-friendly ‘experts’.
LESSON #10: Never forget
The architects of the demented response to Covid now want us to either forget their dysfunctional handiwork completely and to pretend that the last two years didn’t happen, or to blithely accept that it all worked (reference Australian (ex)Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s pre-election boast that “40,000 people are alive today because of the way we managed the pandemic”) and that lockdowns, masks and all the other pandemic circus acts are entirely normal and good to go for next time.
We should never forget that it was all a panicked, politically-driven and thoroughly disastrous over-reaction to an over-egged virus by a political and bureaucratic elite who were desperate to avoid being seen to ‘let it rip’ and thus be portrayed as ‘uncaring’. Our pandemic managers’ radically desperate strategy was entirely pointless, unscientific and unethical. They must be volubly reminded of this and duly held accountable.
LESSON #11: The contemporary Left finally loses it
The Left’s Covid theory and political practice wound up squarely aligning it with the authoritarian state (including the police states that were all the vogue in some jurisdictions), and with the propagandist regime media, and with censorious Big Tech, and with all the other pillars of the new Pandemic Industrial Complex. The Left gleefully went along with the new apartheid of medical discrimination and denigrated those who resisted the authoritarian Covid state as somehow being ‘racist’ (the Canadian Freedom Convoy truckers) or ‘anti-vaxxers’ or ‘far-right’ populists. The Left, the self-proclaimed ‘Party of Science’ when it comes to climate change, betrayed every scientific principle when it embraced virus hysteria.
The Left, too, declared ‘I Love Big Pharma’ with all the abject fervour of Winston Smith in 1984 who finally conformed by announcing that ‘I love Big Brother’. So, we saw the remarkable phenomenon of leftists who were once fierce critics of Big Pharma and capitalist governments falling over themselves in the rush to be injected with the former’s dodgy product on the say-so of the latter.
Just as, medically, Covid targets the already very sick in their dotage, politically it also looks like being fatal to the Left which has long been ailing with multiple ideological comorbidities including chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome, delusional woke pieties, the psychopathology of ‘cancelling’ all that offends it, a tendency to fall to the knees resulting from acute imagined racial grievances, etc. The Left’s more-draconian-than-thou Covid performance could well finish it off, apart from a (vanishingly) few honourable survivors of the Covid fiasco such as the The Workers league, which has got the whole Covid issue (and Ukraine/Russia, for that matter) bang to rights and thus stands in splendid isolation from almost the entirety of the Left on Covid.
LESSON #12: You can lose every battle but still win the war
You can lose every battle but still win the war by demoralising and sapping the energy and resources of the enemy. The anti-restriction/anti-mandate movement against Covid repression lost every major legal challenge, and saw every truckers’ convoy dismantled, whilst the massive freedom rallies seemed to make no immediate headway against monolithic lockdown regimes.
Nevertheless, Covid restrictions and mandates started to be scrapped or diluted by governments soon after all these apparent defeats, a move that was often in sync with the phases of the election cycle. This freeing up of restrictions has come about not because the actual science behind them changed (the regimes’ pretend science was always a work of politically-convenient fantasy) but because the on-the-ground resistance both reflected and enhanced the swing in popular opinion from fear-driven embrace of restrictions to opposition to them as more people stopped listening to their rulers. This made governing their populace increasingly politically costly for the Covid regimes.
The lesson here? Never give up. As the old lefty slogan put it – ‘Dare to Struggle! Dare to win!’. Feel free to borrow it – most of the Left isn’t using it during Covid.
LESSON #13: We are much better placed for next time
We are now better prepared, better resourced and better networked for the next time. It all seemed so hopeless through 2020 and 2021. We all felt that we stood alone in the path of an towering tidal wave of government, media, ‘expert’, professional, academic - and popular - enthusiasm for lockdown and deliverance by miracle vaccine.
Perhaps all this unanimity, we thought, meant that the lockdown, the mask and the jab were indeed the way to go, that there was some science to it all and that we should all therefore do as we were told by people who knew better than us.
Slowly, however, we got our act together, building a broad movement of opposition to Covid authoritarianism. This has resulted in some surprising political realignments (if quite rare, given Left orthodoxy on Covid). Whoever thought that the uncompromising Australian conservative magazine, Quadrant, would be on the same page concerning Covid with the aforementioned legacy Trotskyist party, The Workers League, but, hey, that’s Covid for you - just as too much alcohol can make you put on the beer-goggles and see someone as a temporary bed-fellow who, in more sober mood, would not warrant a second glance, so, too, too much Covid policy overreaction can result in the oddest of (strictly temporary) political pairings.
When the lockdown fanatics tried their disastrous social experiment, they met very little resistance early on, using the alleged ‘novelty’ of the virus to justify the very real novelty of their ‘Hail Mary’ response to it and to obtain public buy-in. If we up the political costs for any attempted rerun of 2020/2021 from the get-go, they won’t have it anywhere near so easy the next time virus derangement comes around.
LESSON #14 National Stereotypes – What are they good for? Absolutely nuthin’!
What of the image of Australians as anti-authoritarian larrikins, tall-poppy-scything Crocodile Dundees? I’ll leave the post-mortem diagnosis to Gigi Foster, UNSW Economics Professor and early lockdown sceptic, who has argued that “Australia has been shown to have produced some of the most docile, authority-loving, uncritical people in the developed world: people ripe for brainwashing and manipulation”. Our “cultural tradition of ‘mateship’ made us into docile compliers during COVID times … exploited by politicians across the spectrum to make us obey rules they sold to us as ‘for the greater good’ that in fact delivered horrific losses to our country that will cripple us for a generation”.
LESSON #15: What a sensible public health program would have looked like for Covid (and for future respiratory viruses)
With hindsight all round (though the early dissenters can validly claim it was with foresight), a science-based, liberty-preserving, proportionate public health strategy for Covid would have allowed the vulnerable (the immuno-compromised, the very old/sick/obese) the option of choosing to minimise time spent in risky environments whilst everyone else stayed level-headed and carried on thus contributing to the inevitable development of herd immunity in the shortest time possible through naturally-acquired infection or impregnable immune systems.
Government regulatory agencies of any integrity would have honestly appraised the drugs that work such as hydroxychloroquine, and ivermectin with doxycycline and zinc which knock the Covid ‘vaccines’ into a cocked hat but which were scorned because they interfere with the pharma cartel’s desire for superprofits from its Covid vaxxes.
The now-tried-and-failed extremist policies of lockdown, ‘social distancing’ Public Health Orders, useless and disruptive contact tracing and quarantine, mass testing, the non-functional theatrical prop of The Mask, and the disastrous experimental ‘vaccines’ (and their coercive job mandates and discriminatory passports) would be prohibited. It is not worth any degree of cannibalisation of society, including the economy and young people’s futures, to engage in a doomed-to-failure quest to beat a respiratory virus simply to extend the already very time-limited lives of the very old, very sick (who are far-and-away the most at risk of severe Covid) by a few months of poor quality, lockdowned ‘living’.
Emergency powers which enabled the dictatorship of unelected pubic health officials and police supremoes, would be deemed inappropriate for pandemics and restricted, on a strictly temporary basis, to natural disasters such as bushfires and floods, for which they were originally intended.
Pandemic management should be prevented from metastasising into a self-perpetuating institutional bureaucracy which rewards its public health officials with media flattery and political influence. These administrators must be placed on a tight accountability leash and should be reminded, often and loudly, just who they are meant to serve.
Public health messaging would stress the need to eat less, eat better, move more and get some (safe) sun to boost the body’s natural virus-fighting immune system.
Old-school public health issues of clean air, water and soil, and public hygiene and sanitation, would be central to public health by promoting a population-level, toxin-free living environment. These issues may lack the drama and prestige of a pandemic ‘crisis’ (who wants to be the spokesperson for all things sewerage?) but that would be desirable as the state officials and scientists responsible for them labour away in humble obscurity.
Freedom of speech would be crucial to pandemic management – the Covid establishment’s crusade of fighting ‘misinformation’ through censorship under the guise of saving lives should have no place in pandemic management. Errors of fact or policy, from any camp, are best exposed in the public sphere and subject to debate. Covid-crazy restriction zealots, mandate fanatics and vaxx obsessives, who showed no compunction about pointlessly ruining our lives with two years of public health tyranny, must be made to justify, and not simply robotically assert, their position whilst they ban contrary views.
Finally, ‘gain of function’ virus research (an obfuscatory euphemism for bioweapons research) would be outlawed – outbreaks of naturally-evolving viruses are enough to be going on with.
The pre-modern, and frankly childish, urge to run from a virus, a primitive urge given free reign by irresponsible governments, got us in a right pickle with Covid. How different it all could have been if we had done what has worked in the past - soldiering on and accepting that life is about more than hiding from pathogens. Valuable, and realistic, folk wisdom would be honoured such as accepting that, sadly but not tragically, very old, very sick people die from many causes, often pushed over the edge by virus infections.
We should also treat adults as adults, capable of making up their own minds, in an environment of freedom of choice, unlike the state’s handling of Covid which was marked by the deliberate infantilisation of the public and ‘nudging’, nannying and bullying by a politically-motivated ‘public health’ elite. What we should learn from Covid is that personal responsibility and risk assessment for one’s own health is a both a right and an obligation of adult citizens.
Out of the political carnage of Covid, something good may yet arise if enough people learn some of the lessons from it all.