Against the Corona Panic


For earlier entries “Against the Corona Panic,” see:
Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven,
Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve

____________

Where were YOU during the Great Hysteria Pandemic of 2020,” they’ll ask.

(Or, during the Corona Coup D’etat; more on that later.)

Were you a sidelined consumer of the relentless media drumbeat? Were you an indulger in apocalypse fantasy? A store raider/hoarder? Were you an active, panicked promoter of bad-data-based scaremongering? If so, did you do it maliciously, or innocently and out of garden-variety social panic?

What did you think at the time of the prospect of ruining lives for years to come? Of the sudden social revolution the CoronaPanic-pushers had carried out? Did you go along?

Did you oppose your leaders self-destructive measures against their own economies, as one after another they caved in to alarmism, a traceable chain-reaction of overreaction? Or, were you among those who asked questions and eventually emerged to see through the fog?

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It is hard, for most people (I’ve realized through experience), to ask critical questions whenever there is a “media drumbeat” going on. By a ‘Drumbeat’ I mean a seeming consensus, steadily repeated, with the level of alarmism steadily dialed up, with dissenters marginalized and slammed as unpatriotic or some equivalent (ironically, in the world of CoronaPanic and the Drumbeat around it, the marginalized dissenters are themselves often specialists and experts in epidemiology).

It seems impossible for most to resist the Drumbeat when it’s being blared at them. That’s the way it is. This is as true in the Internet age as it was before, and in fact it might be worse now (social media; more on this in a future post). In any case, this is usually a bad thing, and in some cases it can fairly be called disastrous.

The ongoing Corona Panic is looking to be disastrous. It began about late January and continues into April.

In Your People’s Hour of Need

The Corona Panic has the hallmarks of a kind of coup d’etat, at least by metaphor. Taken by surprise as we were, we lost. The war, though, is never over.

The Great Corona Hysteria of 2020 is exactly the kind of time, our people’s hour of need, that voices with courage are needed. In a sadly grand-scale example of our people’s leadership crisis, few were able to hold out to the monster of CoronaPanic. Especially when taken off-guard by something like this, it is hard. Some performed better than others; Sweden is the best performer in the West (no shutdowns), and others will no doubt soften the blow by re-opening earlier.

As for leaders. What is a leader? True leadership, it is said, is about standing out in front, which means standing alone, not running to the front of an assembled or assembling mob and declaring yourself the ‘leader.’ With few exceptions, our leaders have all caved into the mob, to irrational thinking, to media-promoted  hysteria, to paranoid thinking based on sloppy or bad data. This is not a simple matter as it has many layers, including the international.

As for individuals, true strength of intellectual character belongs to those who ask critical questions, especially when a Drumbeat is going on. If they do find the “Drumbeat”-consensus to be wrong, they come out early against it, if that is what the data says.

In both cases (government-leaders and others), this means evaluating a problem using data, not anecdotes or gut-feelings. In both cases, it means doing basic cost-benefit analysis.

Turning against the Corona Panic

After weeks of following the news on this, with a concerned but skeptical neutrality and desire for fuller information/data, I realized during the third week of March that we were making a big, big mistake. I began arguing this in fuller form by March 19, that we were going too far with the panic-driven drive towards shutdowns. I wrote about this at length on March 26. At the time, I called the move towards endless shutdowns The Big Mistake.

In the same time period, and somewhat earlier, I witnessed many figures I respect and admire cave-in to CoronaPanic, which has been dismaying to see. One of these is Tucker Carlson. More on this in a subsequent post, too. I am not sure why they did it. Some dove in deeper than others.

The media-generated Coronavirus Panic (or “CoronaPanic“) looks especially surreal given that we had sufficient data by mid- and late-March to defeat CoronaPanic. It all pointed to very good news, namely that the so-called “novel” coronavirus was a minor affair, one many virus mutations that happen regularly. Maybe slightly worse than other strains, but not fundamentally different than usual flu waves; in any case, no mass killer. (These kinds of movements, of ‘new’ [mutated] viruses, happen literally every year without exception. How does one think some years have worse flu seasons than others?)

As if to promote fear, a new name was given to the disease, COVID19/COVID-19 (which is otherwise undiagnosable and indistinguishable from “flu”) and widely promoted. The power in a name. This ‘naming’ in and of itself is one of the things that aligned to create and fan the flames of CoronaHysteria. More on this in a future post.

Rather than a death count of up 2% or 3%, which are sometimes still being pushed by Corona Alarmists, expert consensus has now long been that it is something a lot more like 0.02% or 0.03%, or 100x less in magnitude. Almost all the victims are the elderly and those with serious health problems. This is what all the data said by mid-March, and all the troves of new data corroborate it.

By late March, “Coronavirus mass death estimates” were obviously nothing but prolefeed (and always were, but were harder to see as such at first), with the experts converging on a consensus on a 0.01% to 0.1%. Given that coronavirus was overhyped by a factor of a few hundred and its true impact is in the range of regular flu (a bad strain, but still flu), one can only be left to shake one’s head, angry at those who promoted this fraud and did such damage to us all. Why did they do it? This is a big question and one that begs an answer.

On the need to fight CoronaPanic; do not let the most destructive of the CoronaPanic-pushers win

Something very bad has happened here. It is not that a new virus made the rounds late in the flu season in 2020, which is itself totally unremarkable (even if subject to the creation of hysteria, if a lockstep media measures the virus’ spread, and blares rolling infection counts and purported death counts [up to 90% in patients who would have died anyway] at people, nonstop).

Therefore: The first few months of 2020 will be remembered (and of this I am confident), for years to come, as one of the world’s largest cases of mass delusion and group hysteria yet seen in the 21st century, the kind of thing that will be studied across all kinds of disciplines, as an example of “What Not To Do” in public policy; “Statistical Fiascos” in mathematics; or “case studies in mass hysteria” in sociology; “case studies in moral panics” in psychology; and “media narratives that negatively affect public health” in the medical field (the risk is of a Boy Who Cried Wolf Effect, once corona-panic blows over); not to mention any number of troubling areas within economics, “When leaders cave in to panic and commit chain-reaction economic suicide.”

Something like a largely-unopposed revolution has occurred in connection with this CoronaPanic, with governments seizing powers that are akin to what occurs during, again, coups d’etat or revolutions.

Among the disastrous consequences of Corona Hysteria are that governments have, without real opposition, shut down their societies and instituted a weird mix of soft martial law, rule-by-paranoia, and dramatically empowered the media, as we are suddenly subject to a religious-cult-like regime directed by the media, a Corona Religion.

The economic self-harm, which a Martian observer would be forgiven for thinking deliberate (it was actually “just” grossly negligent, probably), hurting the lives of millions for years to come, inducing many suicides and Deaths of Despair. All over a virus which all the best evidence says is at the level of a bad flu strain, nothing particularly to worry about (granted, this is a lonely position to hold still as of this April 6 writing, but all the data bears it out).

Yes, it is not controversial to say that Corona Panic and its after-effects are many, many times worse than the virus. Governments’ overreactions and shutdowns will lead to recession and many years of pain. The a smugly hostile media tears off the mask and reveals its inner face as Enemy of the People, or perhaps as the Scorpion (as in Aesop’s Scorpion and Frog; the media just can’t help it, they sting us even if they go down with it; it’s what scorpions do). The media’s cocaine-binge-like state of CoronaBloodlust demands more victims to wave around — and they increasingly have as many as they want given their shockingly dishonest death-accounting, having long defined any deaths who test positive for contact with the virus as Corona Deaths.

All told, a situation so surreal as to make me scoff at none who would choose use the term coup d’etat. The Corona Coup D’Etat.


In two coming posts I’ll post/report (from comments elsewhere):

  • The Data. No unusually high threat from the new Coronavirus. The best evidence we have for the coronavirus have a death rate about the same as a regular flu strain. This will be a data-driven. Observed data, not wild, gut-feeling-based projections of CoronaApocalypse pushed by some.
  • How the Corona Panic happened. Cultural-political analysis of The Great Mistake (shutdowns). The Great Hysteria Pandemic of 2020 has no single, simple explanations. It was a combination of forces, “a perfect storm.”

Recommended videos:

This entry was posted in The Corona Mass Hysteria Pandemic and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Against the Corona Panic

  1. Thank you for the link-back, Mr. Hail. I only noticed this morning that you’d had this post up for a couple of days. We’ve agreed on this thing being one big Infotainment Panic-Fest for almost a month now. They won’t let up, and nobody will EVER apologize.

    That’s what I wanted to discuss: The imaginary professors of Medicine, Statistics, Sociology, etc, in your one paragraph may be using this as an example of mass hysteria in the far future, but I doubt the ones in Academia and government today will admit to ANYTHING. There are always ways to verbally backtrack, fudge the math models on the back end, and just come up with “it’d been lots worse if you hadn’t have listened to us”. There will be no apologies, and I present Ron Unz as Exhibit A here.

    • Hail says:

      As late as the second week of April, here, we still see some government, at various levels, “doubling down.” The messaging is getting more muddled, but there are still “shut it down” advocates who are refusing to admit the Big Mistake. There are ways to do it without losing too much face, but many won’t.

      Supposedly Obama has come out in favor of the camp that supports monitoring people’s movements, presumably to pinpoint the most flagrant breakers of stay-at-home orders, presumably to arrest them if needed. I hope this was not a correct report, because a former president endorsing that kind of out-and-out Chinese Communist Party-style mass-public-surveillance, and turn-in-your-neighbors-ism plan is both disgraceful and worrying, another datapoint for the Corona Coup d’Etat narrative.

      True leadership would be tacitly admitting you were wrong and starting an optimism-campaign to pave the way for an early re-opening.

    • Hail says:

      I genuinely don’t understand Ron Unz’ angle on Corona.

    • Jim McDonagh says:

      Where were you during the Coronavirus panic-demic hw /she was asked ? Why buying toilet paper in bulk at the local Walmart with 300 million other Americans he/she replied.

  2. I’ll just make this a separate comment:

    I believe we would be in agreement that this Kung Flu deal was no huge conspiracy, by any of the usual suspects. As you wrote, a Perfect Storm. Maybe. As this virus got around Wuhan, like every city in China, a place jam packed with people, and at the WORST possible time – the Spring Festival, the media over here had already gotten into a frenzy about it. It sounds like a movie plot Movies are very entertaining!

    The Lyin’ Press along with government agencies, that both like to be the focus of attention and to exert power just ran with this thing like OJ, back before his biggest entertainment stint,, which was arguably the last time the LP got this much viewing. It’s even better for them when it’s over here, as they can get the whole population scared, even better this time, stuck at home, and tuned in like an electronic piano.

    Lastly, I think there’s even MORE to worry about, regarding the aftermath of this shitshow, than you wrote about. It’s one thing that the economy has been put into a stall/spin, but the Socialism that will be, and is being, implemented will be PERMANENT.

    I will watch your videos lter tonight, or tomorrow, Hail.

    Thank you for another great essay!

    • Hail says:

      One unsung big winner to emerge from the Corona Panic is “UBI,” Universal Basic Income. Whatever its merits or not, in 2019 it had been laughed off the stage when Andrew Yang (an ineffective debater) pushed for it in the D-Team’s primaries. Now, out of nowhere, it is public policy pushed for by DJT’s inner circle. Every American citizen adult is getting $1,200 UBI checks/deposits in April and May, and who knows how many more? (Depends how long the media and the opportunists who have gained from the Corona Coup D’Etat can keep up the pressure.)

      There is much more of the like. It is for that reason that I like the Corona Coup D’Etat concept/phrase.

      Who was it that said, “There are decades where nothing happens; there are weeks where decades happen”?

  3. I had a 2nd, longer comment with some more feedback. What happened to it?

  4. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. II: “Honor the Truth, be Steadfast, Defend the Nation” — Say ‘No’ to jockeying for political advantage on the coattails of Corona Hysteria | Hail To You

  5. Anonymous says:

    In almost total agreement. From the perspective of sunk cost fallacy, however, I don’t think the elite will peddle it back anytime soon; I believe they are dumb, banal, and nefarious enough to push it along at least til 2021, given election season. They will continue to double-down as all such agents do when mired in denial, afraid of taking responsibility.

    For this reason, I don’t think we’ll see it studied in textbooks years from now, as that would imply that the “progressives” who write such books now would admit their role in pushing all this on us, or attain some kind of objectivity about their own fanaticism.

    So far you, me, and Anglin are the only people I know of calling it an incredible case of mass hysteria, with extreme political opportunism as a consequence. Very few seem to appreciate the magnitude of what is happening. I realized, sadly, that this is probably going to be a defining event of the rest of my life — all over a virus that some miniscule fraction of the elderly and sick will have died from. And we were mad about tranny story-hour in preschools!

    Here’s something I wrote over at Unz: https://www.unz.com/pbuchanan/what-price-victory-in-the-coronavirus-war/#comment-3837030

    • Hail says:

      What explains ‘Corona’?

      x parts Corona Mass Hysteria (symptoms include CoronaParanoia; CoronaGroupThink; susceptibility to falling into the clutches of a dangerous apocalypse cult with its evil god which demands blood-sacrifice of the young; and, ironically, an increased risk of death from fear and despair rather than from the mild virus).

      y parts Corona Coup d’Etat (a shorthand for that “extreme political opportunism” you mention; power grabs and cynical political maneuvers; the inevitable shift of the drumbeat to “Trump Virus”).

      z parts, genuine Virus Crisis needing special measures to stop it.

      There are two ways to judge ‘x,’ ‘y,’ and ‘z’ values: (1) “What actually happened.” (2) “How will it be remembered”? Both are important questions.

      Taking 100 points to work with, for (1) I would assign “z” no more than a few points. It now does look like more like a “bad flu,” and probably not even the worst strain that has hit countries in the past ten years. (As Dr. Wittkowski recently wrote: “As we have learned now, over and over again, this flu is a flu.” Austrian specialists have calculated now that they cannot reject the null hypothesis that corona-positive and corona-negative persons die at the same rate, in other words the statistical effect is very mild. As for how to divvy out the other 98 points, I’d lean towards significantly more for “x.”

      As for (2), given that the future is a long time, there are a lot of variants. What will people remember about it in Nov. 2020? 2025? 2030? 2050? For my hypothetical textbook write in 2030 to include this as a case study in terrible public policy or etc., you’re right that “x” would have to be the dominant cultural-memory. I cannot even think of a comparable example to this mass-hysteria event. The Salem Witch Trials come to mind, but that’s quite a ways back.

      It’s definitely a good point that there are, and may remain, lots of people who, for whatever reasons of their own, want to pump-up the ‘z’ value. Of course the media does. Others, I don’t quite understand why they’re doing it.

      • Marshall Lentini says:

        Good breakdown.

        I’ve been puzzling over why others have done it from day one. Media – easy, they lie for a living and are within sight of their goal of total domination. Politicians and elites – easy, they’re boomers, they want to eke out a few more years clutching their money, as “prime noticer” put it somewhere, and of course also want to achieve total domination.

        Why everyone else? I think it’s a mixture of herd panic and a vicarious will to power: by preaching “stay at home”, they get that unique frisson that comes with bullying others and trying to direct their behavior. And of course because it’s modern Americans, they’re not so much preaching as ordering: stay the fuck home.

        One analogy I thought of early on is ghost stories and jumping out at people to scare them. Evidently, people enjoy scaring other people – that is, analogically magnifying one’s own persona for a moment and minimizing theirs, putting them in a weakened state. This level of shadenfreude played a huge role in getting this going.

        There’s also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_polarization

        Group polarization is an important phenomenon in social psychology and is observable in many social contexts. For example, a group of women who hold moderately feminist views tend to demonstrate heightened pro-feminist beliefs following group discussion.[3] Similarly, studies have shown that after deliberating together, mock jury members often decided on punitive damage awards that were either larger or smaller than the amount any individual juror had favored prior to deliberation.[4] The studies indicated that when the jurors favored a relatively low award, discussion would lead to an even more lenient result, while if the jury was inclined to impose a stiff penalty, discussion would make it even harsher.[5] Moreover, in recent years, the Internet and online social media have also presented opportunities to observe group polarization and compile new research. Psychologists have found that social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter demonstrate that group polarization can occur even when a group is not physically together. As long as the group of individuals begins with the same fundamental opinion on the topic and a consistent dialogue is kept going, group polarization can occur.[6]

        Since most of this ball of anxiety and moralism rolling downhill was on social media, where polarization is a foregone conclusion anyhow, it was the perfect environment for rapid ideological formation and transmission.

        By the way, I’ve been quasi-banned by Unz. He’s gone off the deep end about this. Why is a guy who allows just about every line of inquiry verboten elsewhere, even Holocaust denial, so touchy about this one thing? isn’t that incredible?

        As for Ed’s comment, I’m firmly on the side of “a cock-up that becomes a crackdown to keep those responsible from being accountable”. Anything else is too far-fetched and places an unrealistic burden of agency on the parties involved; the psychological approach is to allow human error its due, then assume that those in power will try both to avoid responsibility, avoid sunk costs, and to capitalize on their mistake otherwise, being that most of them are establishment drones anyhow.

        I think we have a pretty good summa going between your stuff, prime noticer’s comments, and to the extent that they provide some insight or support, mine. That Swiss website is priceless, I’ve been following it from the beginning.

    • Hail says:

      Commenter Ed says:

      It really depends if the conspiracy theorists or cock-up theorists are right. It depends if the crackdown was designed to engineer a 1984-style dystopia or if it was a case of the rulers (some of whom probably have senile dementia) and parts of the general panicking. Of course, this could start as a cock-up that becomes a crackdown to keep those responsible from being accountable, or a crackdown that is really a rehearsal for the real crackdown and so is lifted temporarily.

      If the lockdown is lifted, it will be forgotten, or known as “the panic of 2020”, or even remembered as “the epidemic of 2020” and the small number of deaths forgotten. If not, then “the crackdown”.

  6. Hail says:

    Re a comment above:
    ______________________

    What explains ‘Corona’?

    x parts Corona Mass Hysteria […]
    y parts Corona Coup d’Etat […]
    z parts, genuine Virus Crisis needing special measures to stop it.

    ______________________

    Thinking about it again, I’m going to tentatively propose, on a 1000-point scale, these values:

    x = 700
    y = 299
    z = 1

    This ‘z’ value there means: If the virus had never sparked a Panic or the (seemingly successful) coup d’etat attempt(s) that it has, a reaction equal to the order of magnitude of 1000 times smaller might have been called for and justifiable given what we now know of the virus. Maybe the true z value should be more like ‘2’ or ‘3.’ I could be talked into that. ’10’ would be pushing it too far. The trillions spent, the millions of job losses, businesses ruined, lives disrupted, time wasted, is all so out of proportion as to be mind-boggling.

    Just the recent $2 trillion corona bailout spending is equal to 200 times the CDC’s annual budget, for instance.

    Oh, and ‘y’ is probably a function of ‘x.’ They are distinct dynamics that deserve to be identified separately, but there is no ‘y’ value without an ‘x’ value in the Corona Equation.

  7. Hail says:

    I provocatively suggested the appellation “the Hoax of the Twenty-First Century” for the Coronavirus Crisis.

    To that, a Steve Sailer commenter named Alice had an excellent comment:

    Honestly, I don’t think it was a hoax, but we punked ourselves, and then the politicians saw opportunity for graft. The media being teenage brats trying to get back at Daddy Trump while being too stupid to understand 8th grade math didn’t help.

    But bigger, the same kind of full throated mass delusion that makes Trans Pronouns a thing made this a thing. Everyone must be on board.

    Reading Mackay’s book had been quite helpful. Beyond that, we are, as a people, afraid of death more than we fear anything else. The background radiation atheism that means you really think THIS IS ALL THERE IS will do that, as well as the cult of health as the solution to it. These people are more afraid of dying than of not living in the first place.

    • Marshall Lentini says:

      She was dead on – basically parroting me down to the reference to Mackay, if I may be a little self-righteous – before slipping into “background atheism”. Even if everyone pushing for lockdown and the biotech state were shown to be a self-confessed atheist, G.B. Shaw’s rule from Androcles and The Lion applies even here:

      “The first common mistake to get rid of is that mankind consists of a great mass of religious people and a few eccentric atheists. It consists of a huge mass of worldly people, and a small percentage of persons deeply interested in religion and concerned about their own souls and other peoples’; and this section consists mostly of those who are passionately affirming the established religion and those who are passionately attacking it, the genuine philosophers being very few.”

      In other words, neither religion nor its absence are the motivation in taking sides here, at least not for the majority. Approximately no one has proceeded from the formula “this being all there is, why not a police state over this virus?”, not explicitly nor implicitly. Nor do you see anyone in the anti-lockdown camp even remotely pushing a religious line of thought.

      On second thought, I have seen a couple alt-right Facebook types with that showy attachment to Orthodoxy who advocate lockdown because “muh grannies” and “tradition”. But would I accuse their ideology of being one of the reasons for the hysteria? are we sure “atheism” is a passionate ideology of all these people haranguing us and braying for captivity?

  8. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. III: “Just the Flu” vindicated by the data, or, why to End the Shutdowns Now | Hail To You

  9. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. III: “Just the Flu” vindicated by the data, or, why to End the Shutdowns Now | Hail To You

  10. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic Pt. IV: What about New York City? A Case Study in Hysteria Pandemic vs. Virus Pandemic | Hail To You

  11. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. V: A Hero of the Hour, Dr. Knut Wittkowski | Hail To You

  12. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VI: Where has the regular flu gone? The CDC reports unprecedented crash in non-COVID flu-positives, raising questions | Hail To You

  13. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VII: Sweden’s vindication is complete; Graphing the actual coronavirus epidemic in Sweden against the pro-Panic side’s wild projections | Hail To You

  14. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VII: Sweden’s vindication is complete; Graphing the actual coronavirus epidemic in Sweden against the pro-Panic side’s wild projections | Hail To You

  15. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VIII: The coronavirus transmission rate (“R0”) fell long before the Lockdown orders; What caused the decline? | Hail To You

  16. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part IX: “Corona-Paranoia” and the case of pro-Panic US Congresswoman Haley Stevens, a character study | Hail To You

  17. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part X: The problem of “deaths with” the virus vs. “deaths from” the virus: Evidence that only one-third of corona-positive deaths are “deaths from” | Hail To You

  18. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part XI: Stay-Open Sweden set to lose 0.02% of total population to Coronavirus, in line with usual peak flu years; 2020 may equal 2018 in total mortality; why did we destroy the economy over this? | Hail To You

  19. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic Part XII: An anthropological study into the “Corona Cult.” Pro-Panic hardliners and the media succeeded in erecting a virus-centered apocalypse cult as state religion and inducing a mass-conversion event to it, in Marc

  20. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Pt. VII: Sweden’s vindication is complete; Graphing the actual coronavirus epidemic in Sweden against the pro-Panic side’s wild projections | Hail To You

  21. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part XIV: Total Mortality data in Europe now confirms the Wuhan-Coronavirus was comparable in magnitude to flu waves of the 2010s; the Panic and lockdowns are fully discredited | Hail To You

  22. Pingback: Against the Corona Panic, Part XIV: Total all-cause mortality data in Europe confirms Wuhan-Coronavirus comparable in magnitude to flu waves of the 2010s; Panic and lockdowns fully discredited | Hail To You

  23. Pingback: Against the Corona-Panic, Part XV: The coronavirus death curves in Stay-Open Sweden and the Stay-Locked-Down USA are remarkably similar over four months, discrediting lockdown-pushers | Hail To You

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