I often disagree with columnist Peter Hitchens (brother of the late Christopher), but I have to say that his latest column does resonate with me, because he points out what I often say: that Gummint often uses apocalyptic messages to clamp down on our freedoms. And he does it using facts and history (always the most difficult argument to refute). Here’s an example:
The former editor of The Times, Sir Simon Jenkins, recently listed these unfulfilled scares: bird flu did not kill the predicted millions in 1997. In 1999 it was Mad Cow Disease and its human variant, vCJD, which was predicted to kill half a million. Fewer than 200 in fact died from it in the UK.
The first Sars outbreak of 2003 was reported as having ‘a 25 per cent chance of killing tens of millions’ and being ‘worse than Aids’. In 2006, another bout of bird flu was declared ‘the first pandemic of the 21st Century’.
There were similar warnings in 2009, that swine flu could kill 65,000. It did not. The Council of Europe described the hyping of the 2009 pandemic as ‘one of the great medical scandals of the century’.
And Hitchens’ devastating take:
In only one place – aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess – has an entire closed community been available for study. And the death rate there – just one per cent – is distorted because so many of those aboard were elderly. The real rate, adjusted for a wide age range, could be as low as 0.05 per cent and as high as one per cent.
About 1,600 people die every day in the UK for one reason or another. A similar figure applies in Italy and a much larger one in China. The coronavirus deaths, while distressing and shocking, are not so numerous as to require the civilised world to shut down transport and commerce, nor to surrender centuries-old liberties in an afternoon.
Fortunately, our government in the US is not as quite as panic-stricken as the BritGov, and while we’re being warned to be careful and take healthy precautions, we’re nowhere close to facing the governmental excesses that the Brits are.
This latest Wuhan-virus pandemic may be as terrible as we’re being told; but I agree with the above conclusions that it probably won’t be — and all our well-meaning precautions may end up costing us more than necessary: a lot more than necessary.
This means that we should continue to be vigilant — not just against disease, but against the loss of our freedoms — and Hitchens’ article serves as a very timely warning why we should always be on our guard against the doomsayers because very often, their motives are not altruistic.
For a much, much longer examination of the thing, go here. While the article is long, it’s definitely not too long to read — and its conclusion is even better than that of Hitchens (with my emphasis in red):
The COVID-19 hysteria is pushing aside our protections as individual citizens and permanently harming our free, tolerant, open civil society. Data is data. Facts are facts. We should be focused on resolving COVID-19 with continued testing, measuring, and be vigilant about protecting those with underlying conditions and the elderly from exposure. We are blessed in one way, there is an election in November. Never forget what happened and vote.
You may ask yourself. Who is this guy? Who is this author? I’m a nobody. That is also the point. The average American feels utterly powerless right now. I’m an individual American who sees his community and loved ones being decimated without given a choice, without empathy, and while the media cheers on with high ratings.
When this is all over, look for massive confirmation bias and pyrrhic celebration by elites. There will be vain cheering in the halls of power as Main Street sits in pieces. Expect no apology, that would be political suicide. Rather, expect to be given a Jedi mind trick of “I’m the government and I helped.”
The health of the State will be even stronger with more Americans dependent on welfare, another trillion stimulus filled with pork for powerful friends, and a bailout for companies that charged us $200 change fees for nearly a decade. Washington DC will be fine. New York will still have all of the money in the world. Our communities will be left with nothing but a shadow of the longest bull market in the history of our country.