Musings in Descent

Today, nothing upsets the earnest and panic-stricken more than comparing the coronavirus to the flu. “How dare you?” they object, as though you had just called their wives trollops. They need this virus to be something of an entirely different order, something so utterly incomparable and unprecedented.

Why? To justify their fears, which they are loving more than life itself at the moment. How, you may ask, can one love one’s fear? I don’t know, since I do not love mine. On the other hand, I know millions enjoy horror movies, which proves that fear for its own sake — and the more grotesque the fear the better — holds a great attraction for many people in a nihilistic age.

But why should so many people love their fear of this virus outbreak? I suppose it has something to do with the fact that for many years, so many of them have been clinging, for reasons of tribal dogmatism, to their “anti-socialist” position, while at the same time privately cultivating a secret longing for progressive state “protection.” Due to vanity and shame, they lacked the gumption to admit to their developing weakness for a state that “takes care of people.” This coronavirus quasi-crisis has provided just the moral cover they need to shift openly toward embracing the totalitarian nanny state while insisting, for the sake of their egos and reputations, that it is the peculiar nature of this situation, rather than the condition of their souls, that has changed.

The flu, according to the current popular wisdom, is an insignificant little health nuisance that couldn’t hurt a fly, and is therefore in no way comparable to the deadly coronavirus. Of course, this insignificant nuisance kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. Those hundreds of thousands of deaths, however, are not reported on the news, which goes to show how insignificant the flu is. After all, only the most significant viruses are allowed to take over the news cycle for weeks. What do death totals have to do with anything?

We are seeing the fruit of the political right having, for generations, reduced freedom to “capitalism.” Through this reductionism, liberty becomes defensible and desirable only due to its being the most efficient economic system, from which it follows that there is no good reason not to dispense with liberty when economic concerns become secondary. In other words, the so-called defenders of liberty have no leg to stand on the moment any considerations beyond material productivity enter the discussion. Or rather, as we are seeing now, and as I have explained above, when non-economic considerations become primary, the so-called defenders of liberty are only too eager to prove their moral decency by cutting off their own legs, i.e., joining the collective submission to tyranny.

The precedent being set throughout the West, and most sadly in America: The government assumes the authority to apply the most extreme suspension of all basic freedoms on the basis of nothing but a highly disputable scientific hypothesis and some very uneducated “expert” guesses. The people, reduced to panic by doomsday scenarios from these “experts,” bow their heads and accept the yoke without resistance.

This virus will pass. The establishment of unlimited government powers over the entire population in the name of “crisis management” will be with you forever. And soon you’ll start to notice more and more “crises.” (Climate change, anyone?) And finally you’ll just get used to it.

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