The Coronapocalypse Part 19: Government and Mass Hysteria

Way back in the very first post in this series I stated that my position right from the start of the corona event has been that it is a mass hysteria on a global scale facilitated by the internet. I was not the only one to make this analysis. Several psychologists also came out with the same conclusion. They noted, and this is something to bear in mind for those wondering when all this is going to come to an end, that a mass hysteria would take years to sort itself out. Certainly 2021 looks like a write-off. Whether corona will extend beyond that is anybody’s guess.

This week I came across a very interesting scholarly article which examines the notion that corona is a mass hysteria but with a focus on how the actions of governments contributed to it. It’s one of the best articles I’ve read on corona and backs up a number of my guesses about what’s going on with scholarly references. It also ties in with an idea I’ve been thinking about recently which is that, politically and psychologically, the corona event is a lot more like war than pandemic in the sense that most western governments (with the exception of Sweden) have been egging the population on rather than trying to calm them. It seems to me that the closest event in recent western history to the corona event is not previous pandemics like Asian Flu or Hong Kong Flu (both comparable as public health problems) but rather World War One. The correspondences are there. Remember “two weeks to flatten the curve”? Those kind of promises happened at the start of World War One too. Kaiser Wilhelm told his troops they would be home by the end of autumn. In Britain, it was assumed victory would be had by Christmas at the latest. Of course, it was four years and millions of deaths later before it all finally came to an end.

The bill for the corona event is going to be similar to that for the wars. Australia already has $1.5 trillion of national debt baked into the cake but that’s only the start. I would guess it will be many trillions by the time all gets counted. Like with war debt this will create massive inflation and we have already started to see that in soaring property prices and ridiculous stock market valuations.

Then there is the mass hysteria part. In a mass hysteria, people do things that look crazy in normal times. In WW1 this involved telling young men to jump out of trenches and run into machine guns. The corona event can’t compare to that for sheer madness but things have happened in the last year in western societies that nobody would have believed possible prior. This week here in Melbourne we saw Australian citizens wearing garbage bags being hauled out of quarantine hotels. We have seen pregnant women handcuffed in front of their children over social media posts. We have seen grandmothers pushed down the aisles of the Queen Victoria Market by baton-wielding stormtroopers (errr, police). State borders have been closed at days or even hours notice while governments welcomed in Hollywood movie stars and sports players. In the middle of all that, the Prime Minister decided to change a line in the national anthem to read “we are one and free”. Really? We have never been less ‘one’ or ‘free’ since the Federation of the country. Probably not the most appropriate time for that change, mate.

In many states in the US, it looks like children and teenagers will go two years and maybe more without in-person schooling while many elderly people in nursing homes may also go years without being allowed to see their loved ones in person. The list could go on and the whole thing is not over yet. Who knows what else will come especially the biggest unknown which is the long term effects of a mass vaccination program.

Like the events of WW1, our response has been radically disproportionate to the initial problem. Also like war, there is a big geopolitical element to corona. Once governments went with the plague story interpretation they needed a vaccine to end the story. But that has big implications for international travel and commerce. Any country which decided to break ranks and deny the importance of corona would set its citizens up to be excluded from other countries on the basis of vaccination status. How exactly all that gets sorted out is going to be something to watch carefully. Presumably countries will have to recognise each other’s vaccines as valid so that, for example, Chinese citizens can take a Chinese vaccine to travel elsewhere and vice versa. Will that actually happen or will countries make foreign citizens take ‘their vaccine’ to enter?

The idea among some that we can take the crisis and use it renew our society also harks back to the post WW2 era. A nice little Marshall Plan (Great Reset) to rebuild shattered economies this time with a green energy agenda. Sounds nice in theory (actually, it sounds horrible in theory as anybody who has read about the Great Reset would know). But the future that awaits us is almost certainly much more like the post-WW1 era: political instability (already there in the USA and Europe), inflation (already here), massive debts that can’t be repaid perhaps leading to currency collapse (Germany had a hyperinflation and reset its currency in the 1920s/1930s). Oh yeah, and the great depression.

Most importantly, if both government action and the internet have contributed to this mass hysteria, there is no reason why other hysterias will not break out. We have the WHO there to identify ‘new’ viruses. The technology is there to create PCR tests and distribute them instantly. Big Pharma is there waiting to make billions from vaccines and testing. In short, there is nothing stopping this whole thing from happening again unless governments put some safeguards in place. Safeguards like defunding the WHO. But we know what happened with that idea. If, as the authors of the paper cited above note, bigger government makes mass hysterias more likely and mass hysterias create big government (by shrinking and curtailing civil society) then we have a positive feedback loop. Just like WW1 made WW2 more likely (some might say inevitable). Another reason to bunker down and buckle up.

All posts in this series:-

The Coronapocalypse Part 0: Why you shouldn’t listen to a word I say (maybe)

The Coronapocalypse Part 1: The Madness of Crowds in the Age of the Internet

The Coronapocalypse Part 2: An Epidemic of Testing

The Coronapocalypse Part 3: The Panic Principle

The Coronapocalypse Part 4: The Denial of Death

The Coronapocalypse Part 5: Cargo Cult Science

The Coronapocalypse Part 6: The Economics of Pandemic

The Coronapocalypse Part 7: There’s Nothing Novel under the Sun

The Coronapocalypse Part 8: Germ Theory and Its Discontents

The Coronapocalypse Part 9: Heroism in the Time of Corona

The Coronapocalypse Part 10: The Story of Pandemic

The Coronapocalypse Part 11: Beyond Heroic Materialism

The Coronapocalypse Part 12: The End of the Story (or is it?)

The Coronapocalypse Part 13: The Book

The Coronapocalypse Part 14: Automation Ideology

The Coronapocalypse Part 15: The True Believers

The Coronapocalypse Part 16: Dude, where’s my economy?

The Coronapocalypse Part 17: Dropping the c-word (conspiracy)

The Coronapocalypse Part 18: Effects and Side Effects

The Coronapocalypse Part 19: Government and Mass Hysteria

The Coronapocalypse Part 20: The Neverending Story

The Coronapocalypse Part 21: Kafkaesque Much?

The Coronapocalypse Part 22: The Trauma of Bullshit Jobs

The Coronapocalypse Part 23: Acts of Nature

The Coronapocalypse Part 24: The Dangers of Prediction

The Coronapocalypse Part 25: It’s just semantics, mate

The Coronapocalypse Part 26: The Devouring Mother

The Coronapocalypse Part 27: Munchausen by Proxy

The Coronapocalypse Part 28: The Archetypal Mask

The Coronapocalypse Part 29: A Philosophical Interlude

The Coronapocalypse Part 30: The Rebellious Children

The Coronapocalypse Part 31: How Dare You!

The Coronapocalypse Part 32: Book Announcement

The Coronapocalypse Part 33: Everything free except freedom

The Coronapocalypse Part 34: Into the Twilight Zone

The Coronapocalypse Part 35: The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Safe

The Coronapocalypse Part 36: The Devouring Mother Book Now Available

The Coronapocalypse Part 37: Finale

8 thoughts on “The Coronapocalypse Part 19: Government and Mass Hysteria”

  1. Hi Simon,

    Yup, super strange days. The thing I can’t quite get my head around is that if there are no community acquired cases, how come we still have to wear the masks? That story makes no sense to me at all, and other states don’t seem to be so encumbered. One of the interesting things about masks is that it is sold as a small impost, but on a hot summers day in a rural area, let’s just say that it doesn’t win my vote.

    One of the problems as I see it is that this sort of reaction provides an opportunity for some political opportunists who can reconnect with the forgotten middle ground. Dunno.



  2. Hi Chris,

    The mandatory mask thing is clearly done for political reasons. As pointed out in that article I referenced, mandatory masks is one of the things that will extend the hysteria. If masks weren’t mandatory, you’d have a lot of people walking around with no masks. To the extent that they didn’t get sick, the people wearing masks would slowly stop wearing them as they realised there was no danger. But with mandatory masks you don’t get that circuit breaker and so the panic will continue on indefinitely (well, until a vaccine gets rolled out and then the vaccine, and by extension the government, can take the credit).

    You’d think there would be heaps of political opportunity arising out of this but so far the opposition hasn’t been able to make anything of it. I doubt half of Victorians could even name the leader of the opposition.

  3. Hi Sean,

    Looks like a plain vanilla, official history of the Spanish Flu. Given the official history of corona is going to be radically different to what I believe to be the case, I’m sceptical of it but haven’t really really delved into that topic in detail.

  4. Ah, so I’m not the only one who thinks this is just like WWI! Great minds think alike. (Anyway, hello. I came here via JMG’s blog.)

    A couple of minor comments. Plenty of people in nursing homes will *never* see their families again. What’s the life expectancy of a nursing home resident? Something like a year or two, isn’t it?

    Second, one question that’s been on my mind is what exactly the lockdowns will do to our collective physical fitness. Maybe you’re one of those lucky devils who have a private gym in their basement and are using the opportunity to get fitter than ever before. Maybe. How many people like that do you know?

    Third, I’m rather worried they’ll start locking us up every time there’s a worse-than-usual flu season. Heck, a month long winter lockdown could become standard fare from now on. Please tell me I’m paranoid…

  5. Hi Irena,

    All good questions. Logically speaking, this could go on indefinitely. My analysis is that logic is not driving events (if it was we wouldn’t be in this mess) but we’re running on a myth called The Plague Story. Governments have to bring the story to an end which they will do via the vaccine. If they can’t or won’t do that, we’ll start to see some real dissent. Incidentally, that’s also what happened in WW1. The war didn’t end ‘properly’ and many soldiers in Germany, among them some bloke named Adolf, felt betrayed. We all know what happened next.

  6. Thanks, Sean. When you look at the conditions in the trenches in WW1, it’s no surprise that disease was rampant. Even without the Spanish Flu, many soldiers died of various bacterial/viral diseases.

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