Checkpoint Normal

Governments around the world are well along the path toward forcing all places of employment to monitor their employees or potential employees for vaccination status; forcing all private gathering places, such as restaurants or theatres, to restrict access to their businesses (i.e., their private property) to people with “their papers” in order; and forcing all individuals in and out of the “health care industry” to comply, in all public statements, with the official proclamations and judgments of the government’s chosen public health experts.

Meanwhile, the vaccines themselves have proved less effective than promised, particularly on newer strains of the virus, and have also shown a lack of durability. As a result, booster shots are becoming increasingly necessary in order to ensure any sort of long-term protection, and these too, of course, will be subsumed under the general umbrella of mandates and restrictions on social and economic life. Furthermore, in the name of achieving unfathomable profits for the corporate giants developing these deficient drugs — oops, I mean “in the name of defeating this pandemic” — as well as of ensuring that the restrictions on social life are more easily enforceable on a universal basis, governments are increasingly insisting that even very young children be injected with the currently available vaccines, although the Covid-19 risk to children and young adults has been consistently lower than the risk to those age groups during an ordinary flu season. In other words, the children are being forced to take unnecessary but powerful medications — including a theoretically infinite series of boosters — not for their own good, but for the sake of making their elders feel safer. Ponder that moral calculus for a moment, and then ask yourself what has become of adulthood in the late modern world. 

The spokesmen for the governments imposing these demands — both the official and ideologically-allied mouthpieces — regularly announce and defend these constantly-expanding dictates and restrictions concerning the private activities and decisions of every human being on Earth as “the only way to get back to normal life.” That phraseology is a deliberate deception on two fronts.

First, these privacy- and rights-obliterating controls may only be described as “the only way to get back to normal life” in the sense that they are the only way the world’s governments are any longer prepared to allow. In other words, the old language of natural rights and the corresponding reasonable limits on government authority — aka individual sovereignty and the consent of the governed — is officially and permanently out of bounds, obsolete, unacceptable in polite (i.e., compliant) society. To invoke that language of individual rights and limited government today is to publicly identify oneself as not only antisocial, anti-science, and pro-pandemic, but increasingly to open oneself to the accusation of moral (and soon legal, no doubt) culpability for millions of deaths. 

Secondly, the “normal life” our rulers (read “owners”) are promising to let us “get back to” may be called normal only in the sense that a prison cell decorated like your living room may be called home. Our daily lives — our lunch appointments, workplace meetings, classrooms, coffee shops, and Sunday drives — are at this moment being steadily transformed by national governments the world over into an inevitable, inescapable network of de facto police checkpoints. And as with all government powers once established — a crisis alleged to warrant overstepping existing boundaries on authoritarian reach always becomes the thin edge of the wedge — these checkpoints will increasingly be found “useful” for an ever-evolving series of contexts. Leaders and popular voices will determine that, people having already accepted X amount of government encroachment into this or that area of private life, there are no reasonable grounds for not applying those same powers to another urgent priority or two. (“There is really no new authority involved here,” they will assure us about these new applications, and in that judgment they will be at least partly correct.)

If we are to defeat the climate pandemic, the racism pandemic, the wealth-gap pandemic, the tax fairness pandemic, the educational inequality pandemic, and so many other parallel diseases infecting Utopia, then — as the mouthpieces will tell us, and as most of us will surely agree, in time — it is only reasonable to apply the same principle of lockdowns, social morality passports, economic life-permits, and “contact tracing,” in the name of ensuring the public good in these other areas as well, all the while allowing a few well-connected mega-corporations to profit mightily and exclusively from their assistance in implementing all these necessary new restrictions and mandates.

After all, “this is the only way to get back to normal life,” where “normal” means something decidedly new, as they say. This “new normal” (i.e., abnormal) to which we are all being urged and cattle-prodded to retreat, step by step, would more accurately be dubbed “Checkpoint Normal.” Its more colloquial name, in today’s terms, would be China.

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