As Lockdown 3.0 descends on Britain, the time for reason and argument is over. Only dissent will save us now
The restrictions placed on us by authoritarian governments aren’t driven by logic, but the emotion of phrases like ‘Don’t kill Granny.’ I prefer Albert Einstein’s words: ‘A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.’
Here we are again. After what was for many people a fraught and upsetting Christmas, and a revelry-free New Year, the UK is back in lockdown. It is slated to last until February, but without major dissent, the true end is not in sight.
Is Lockdown 3.0 ‘justified’? Is the NHS ‘about to be overwhelmed’? Will the big bad new strain come and get me? If you are still asking these questions at this point you may be beyond reach. Plenty of better minds than mine have for ten months tirelessly and repeatedly made watertight arguments that lockdowns do incalculable harm and just about zero good. The situation in the NHS is not markedly different to just about every previous winter going back as long as you like — just Google it. And the ‘new’ strain is transparent propaganda. Sadly though, there is a problem with my arguments: they are based on nothing except reason and rationality.
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Logic is clearly overrated
I refuse to once again become bogged down in discussions of cases, infection rates, ICU beds and the rest of the flotsam and jetsam of this debate. In constantly reacting to the government’s latest claims, we forge the weapons of our own defeat. In any case, there is really only one statistic that matters when you are assessing the impact of a pandemic: overall excess deaths. That is, the number of people dying of ALL CAUSES compared with previous years.
As this latest briefing from Dr Malcolm Kendrick shows, there have not been significant overall excess deaths this winter in the UK. Nor has there been in any other country he assesses. In fact, nowhere in the world have I seen evidence of excess deaths outside of the range of what’s happened before in bad influenza years, notwithstanding the first and much more serious Covid spike in spring.
Dr Kendrick has been one of the finest and sanest scientific voices of this debacle, and he has now devoted almost a year of his life to fighting the good fight through his brilliant research and writing. I do not know him personally, but I hope he will not take it the wrong way when I say that he has failed. All of his stellar work, although it has provided discursive ammunition and intellectual vindication to many of us, has not served to hold back the tide of authoritarianism sweeping the world.
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The reason why he, and the rest of us trying to hold back the tide, have failed, is because we have not appealed enough to emotion. This fascinating exchange on the excellent Lockdown Sceptics website gets at the heart of the matter. Our doomed strategy was to appeal to logic, reason and rationality, while the establishment took the more effective approach of cynically targeting human emotion.
They cry, ‘Don’t kill granny’, sums up why we have lost this battle. Our enemies’ argument, having nothing to do with science or logic, can be boiled down to this simple emotional trigger. Wear a mask so you won’t kill granny. Do as you’re told so you won’t kill granny. I still hear people of all ages citing that cliched slogan today. We have stuck to the rules, while our enemies have flouted them at every turn. They have demonstrated time and time again that they have not the slightest interest in having a proper, informed discussion about this issue, the biggest catastrophe of our time.
But enough is enough. It is time to draw a line in the sand and refuse to comply with their diktats any longer.
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I want YOU for lockdown resistance
If you are still sitting on the fence about this, I don’t blame you. Never before has my generation (I am in my mid 20s) been called upon to serve something larger than themselves. But if nothing else motivates you, just consider the next year of your life. The mainstream media won’t address this, but exactly how long do you think it is going to take to vaccinate most of the population? The wildest optimists say that it will take most of this year, and that is if a state-of-the-art programme to vaccinate millions each week materialises presently. Do you honestly believe that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening?
And we have it from the horse’s mouth that this ‘new normal’ is here to stay until most people are vaccinated. Do you believe that Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson, SAGE and the rest mean it when they assure us of this? I do. These people have no intention of releasing you from under their thumb. The feeling titillates them far too much, and they are now fully in the throes of an ecstatic power trip.
All of this being the case, it is time for each individual freedom-loving person to have a quiet conversation with themselves, and to remember the words of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority”. Or those of the former US Senator J. William Fulbright, “In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith”.
Ask yourself how much more of your remaining days on this earth you are willing to hand over to these authoritarians. Ask yourself where your personal line in the sand is, and what it would take for you to say ‘no more’. And finally, ask yourself what you will be willing to do, what lengths you will be ready to go to, when the time for action comes. Because as sure as Boris Johnson tells porkies, it will come.
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