Don’t let fear of falling sick stop you from being fully alive
“These [academics] have to tell you how intelligent they are, because they can’t show you. They have to talk about their credentials, talk about what they’ve done… but nothing they say will ever be intelligent or insightful, so they have to use these cues like arrogance, eye-rolling and all this other stuff, because these are bluffs. They bring nothing to the table and they’re, personality-wise, absolutely disgusting and reprehensible. I have nothing but complete contempt for them, and the more they’re treated with disrespect the better.” — Michael Malice
“For example, the evidence now shows that wearing masks reduces transmissions. Masks should be mandated in NSW, indoors and on public transport. People should be required to work from home if possible, but workplaces should be allowed to stay open with COVID-safe plans. Cafes and restaurants should remain open, but with appropriate and enforced social-distancing rules. The number of people at outdoor gatherings should be capped, and there should be a lower cap on the number of people at indoor gatherings.”
This is pointless, and does more harm than good, if applied just against people who are generally not vulnerable. You’d want to target in-person interaction between those who are vulnerable and non-vulnerable instead, eg visitors to aged care facilities. That is, pool resources into protecting the vulnerable against the non-vulnerable, rather than applying blanket rules that have unintended consequences. Going for zero no matter the cost to the economy and mental health? Whatever happened to flattening the curve to help our hospitals cope…
The Great Barrington Declaration calls for lockdowns to be replaced by “focused protection” to protect the most vulnerable people from the virus, while allowing those at much lower risk to work and/or return to school and life generally. Meanwhile the recent three-month Melbourne lockdown has led to 1,200 jobs lost per day, 30% surge in mental health services, and $6.3bn lost economic activity. Not to mention:
- Neighbours suspicious of non-mask-wearing neighbours
- Peaceful protesters arrested in approved dystopian fashion
- All sports, schools and churches shut down
- Constant daily brainwashing press conferences telling us ‘we’re all in this together’
- Elderly dying of loneliness, not COVID-19
- Erosion of democratic process and rule of law — the list is extensive and cannot be measured in terms of money or percentages alone.
“Without the relentless drumbeat about cases in the media — often induced by mass testing rather than actual illness — few would even know there was a pandemic in Sweden or anywhere else.
A more reasonable conclusion from the data would be that Sweden has had much the same level of death as other countries, without resorting to mask orders and authoritarian lockdowns, whose costs are yet to be assessed.
In the US, for instance, excess deaths this year are far greater than the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19, and their average age skews lower, suggesting lockdowns, rather than the virus, are to blame.
Every country ahead of Sweden in COVID-19 deaths has imposed far tougher restrictions for far longer. It will take statistical genius to tease out a correlation between lockdowns and lives saved, let alone causation…
What does distinguish Sweden — and why it is attacked so viciously — is because, rather than copying China, it followed the conventional advice for responding to influenza-like pandemics.
It issued recommendations and banned large gatherings. It eschewed forcing people to wear masks, which countless studies had shown to be ineffective. It tried to strike a balance between health and wellbeing, broadly defined. Quarantining entire healthy populations for months, by force, was considered so extreme it wasn’t even canvassed. Nor was the mass testing of healthy people.
Lockdowns, to the extent they worked in theory, are meant to “flatten the curve” to give health authorities time to build capacity.
Let’s be frank. This isn’t really a debate about saving lives. Cost-benefit analyses will show the expenditure on saving people from COVID-19 was magnitudes greater than we spend to avoid other deaths
Communicable diseases kill about five million people, of a far younger age than COVID-19 victims, every year. And there’s barely a peep of concern about that from those who are suddenly dripping with compassion for nursing-home residents, urging action from their salubrious homes with tenured incomes.
This is a debate about the rights of the individual in relation to the state. It’s a debate about whether the ends always justify the means, and whether the risk of a tiny increase in mortality among the over-80s justifies interventions unseen in modern history.
On these deep questions, coronavirus case and death numbers are unlikely to change the minds of many.
Jane Fonda was right when she said COVID-19 was God’s gift for the left. The pandemic has bolstered the public sector as the private sector shrivels. It has fuelled panic that has pushed people to seek safety from government. It has made millions dependent on government for their income. It has seen the rights of assembly, of association, to work, to conduct business, to have a private life all suspended indefinitely in the service of public health. Meanwhile, Facebook and Google brazenly have censored dissent, perhaps to curry favour with governments they fear will regulate them.
In short, 2020 has been a chilling display of how quickly rights fought for across centuries can be snuffed out temporarily. It will be interesting to see how quickly they come back. Maybe we should keep the QR code infrastructure in place just in case. Why shouldn’t governments know your whereabouts if it can help save lives?
As for Sweden, it will be difficult for its leaders, who have started introducing more stringent regulations, to resist the siren call of lockdown. The political economy is simple: there are no political costs from locking down. Only COVID-19 deaths matter politically, so it’s safer to be seen to be doing something than not.
American journalist HL Mencken once said the average man wants to be safe, not free. We should be aware, though, that as technology improves, governments will be able to provide even more safety — but at a much heavier cost to our freedom.”