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:-