Watch out, the last wave is a doozy!
You have been hearing it for months. It has been a constant background chatter, a shiver at the surface of daily life. It insinuates itself into almost every conversation with relatives, old friends, coworkers, random acquaintances. “This virus is so frightening.” “I’m worried about my kids getting this thing.” “What scares me is the second wave — that might be even worse!”
Late modern man, socialized to his marrow through a lifetime of government schooling and constant immersion in mass information, mass entertainment, and mass opinion of all kinds, has evolved a new state of the soul: fear-on-demand, social contract fear, collectively willed fear, fear as a form of right-thinking. We all know we are supposed to be afraid — the news tells us so, the government insists upon it, “everyone says” the situation is frightening. Therefore, in order not to seem non-compliant or hardhearted or selfish, we tell ourselves we are afraid too, until we actually feel something almost indistinguishable from real fear.
The purpose of this social contract fear, of course, is not our own, but that of our masters and overseers. For our fear smothers, and is intended to smother, all doubts about government responses, restrictions, and new powers — save the one acceptable doubt, namely the concern that these actions may not be strong enough to save us from this frightening crisis, that perhaps we need a government less restrained by traditional attitudes about excessive power, less hampered by institutional limits on state action. In the simplest terms, this artificial fear-on-demand that poisons our air at the moment is a tool of authoritarian mass manipulation. More specifically, it is a propagandized moral premise. For the one thing we have all learned during this so-called crisis — a clear mark of distinction between today’s artificially-induced panic and the real thing — is that you will be reminded every day, in a hundred ways, by friends, family, media, and government alike, that if you are not afraid, then you are being bad. In a real crisis, courage is regarded as a great virtue. In this manufactured crisis, fear is upheld as virtue — or virtue signal, if you will — and courage universally rebranded as selfishness and lack of compassion.
Let us come at this issue from a different angle, my fellow sinners against right-thinking. I have said that the purpose of this willed fear is to grease the wheels of expanded government power. Perhaps the extent to which this is the case will be clearer if we compare our current position with regard to this coronavirus outbreak to that of one living through a genuinely frightening disease outbreak.
If you have watched three members of your family die of a disease this year, with dozens of relatives fighting for their lives; if you have watched your entire community succumbing to the same level of loss, with local businesses closing all around due to death or severe illness; if you are living through such a nightmare, as millions of real (non-virtual) humans did during the plague epidemics of the past, for example, then you have a right to be scared. And in a moment of that sort, with sudden death running through your community every day, seemingly closing in on you, you may be forgiven for thinking, or rather for hoping against hope, that immediate and extreme state action, in defiance of all norms of liberty and government restraint, might bring some respite from the despondency and dread.
During an authentic deadly pandemic, such as parts of the world have witnessed in the past, the condition I described in the preceding paragraph was the norm — everyone was living through that same nightmare, thus heightening the sense of inescapable doom.
Now I ask you: Is there even one person — one person on the entire planet — who is living through a predicament even remotely comparable to that today, due to this current coronavirus.
Instead, we have billions of functioning, healthy, nominally rational worker units begging for those despotic state controls, not due to ravaging loss and demoralizing despair, but due to websites and television networks — entertainment sources — that waft through their mostly unaffected or minimally affected lives, telling them they are experiencing what they are manifestly not experiencing.
Meanwhile, their families, local businesses, and communities are being ravaged by a disease even more virulent and long-lasting than a genuine plague outbreak, and yet not only do they not fear it, but they actively contribute to its spread, serving as willing carriers of the progressive authoritarian germ. They are cowering in their corners, meekly begging for salvation from a problem they have not felt. They are driven to extreme acquiescence to tyranny by a fear with no objective source in their own lives. They live with a well-indoctrinated fear-on-demand, and their owners now see how easily that latent condition may be activated by a few days’ simple mass manipulation from the greedy and conscienceless media. That lesson has been catalogued, and will henceforth be exploited again and again to achieve increasingly tyrannical aims.
The “waves” of this outbreak will be crashing upon our shores for much longer than this coronavirus, and what they are bringing is worse than anything a mere illness can do to us. Illnesses, even the most truly terrifying among them, bring only physical death.
Courage is the true virtue, and one that will be increasingly necessary in the years ahead, whatever our purveyors of social contract fear would like us to believe.