“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?
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.”