By Paul Collits
The fear, even hysteria, among the population over Covid is unprecedented. Yet there is a precedent for the strategies now being used by governments and others to generate the fear we are now witnessing. We merely need to look back a few years to the great climate change scare to see the parallels. Indeed, it might be argued that climate change was the perfect dress rehearsal for Covidmania.
The estimable John O’Sullivan, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher and internationally recognised conservative journalist and writer, is one of the lucky few who invent a “law” and have it referred to by others in published documents. O’Sullivan’s Law states something along the lines – every institution that does not start by being explicitly right wing will drift inevitably leftwards.
Well, here is a variation on O’Sullivan’s Law. Any institution that doesn’t start its life being ultra-liberal (in a good sense) will, over time, merely become more and more totalitarian.
Here is the historian Guy de la Bedoyere:
All states progress towards totalitarianism. This does not mean that they will get there, or even get very far along the way, though some do. But the direction of travel is always towards totalitarianism. The only possible way of preventing this is constant vigilance.
Let us focus on the modern “democratic” state, in which people think that because they vote every few years, ergo, they control their governments.
From the Old Testament prophet Job to the seventeenth century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan has been considered a monster, or at least an entity with monster-like characteristics.
Variously described as a hideous sea creature and a dragon in the Bible, for the prophet Isaiah Leviathan was the devil in disguise – wearing a mask, perhaps. The Biblical Leviathan will be destroyed at the end of time as per the Book of Revelation.
According to Britannica:
In Leviathan (1651), Hobbes argued that the absolute power of the sovereign was ultimately justified by the consent of the governed, who agreed, in a hypothetical social contract, to obey the sovereign in all matters in exchange for a guarantee of peace and security.
In other words – we asked for it.
With insidious stealth from the nineteenth century on, the state has assumed greater and greater powers, such that now in some countries (try Canada), governments can force citizens under force of law to say certain things (ask Jordan Peterson about pronouns).
In many countries, of course, governments can make you wear muzzles in order to prevent the spread of a largely mild and harmless flu. They can, it seems, without constitutional challenge, impose curfews for the same reason, place citizens under house arrest, force businesses to close, smash car windows to achieve compliance with state diktats, restrict travel, close borders and prevent legitimate overseas travel.
In short, modern democratically elected governments can seemingly do whatever they like, with or without the permission of we-the-people. This is Leviathan. A Hobbesian world – where life is nasty, brutish and short, only now with masks. “Cultural Maskism”, you might say. Or cultural masochism.
Those, apparently many, among us who think Covid totalitarianism is either good or necessary (or both) seem not to have noticed what has been going on, a little like the unaware, slowly boiling frog.
It might reasonably be argued that the coming of Covid has seen the authoritarian State’s apotheosis, certainly in the non-communist, non-Nazi West.
With the imposition of Covid fascism, the democratic state has shed the last vestiges of liberalism, seemingly with great ease, with little opposition and with apparent popular consent.
The latter is demonstrated by the opinion polls, which show great popular support for the heavy handed state deemed to be needed during a perceived public health crisis, by the absence of public protests in Australia and by the non-appearance of legal challenges to the lockdowns.
Clive Palmer is only challenging border closures at this point; there have been legal challenges to lockdowns in the UK and New Zealand.
First Order Questions
There are so many questions about the coming of Covid Leviathan, one hardly knows where to begin. One is – conspiracy or accident? Did governments set out to use Covid to impose previously unheard of restrictions of freedom, or are they merely bumbling along without any plan whatsoever, and it just looks like a totalitarian play in hindsight?
Guy de la Bedoyere has posed this question:
There are plenty of people who think this Government, indeed almost any government, is hell-bent on a systematic plan to destroy individual liberty, force people to be vaccinated, inject them with chips, monitor social media accounts, use algorithms as a mechanism of control and to do it all with the cynical efficiency of a Bond villain.
Others think governments are exercises in accidental chaos, masked by spin, staggering from one crisis to another, fuelled by individual self-interest, opportunism and chronic disorganization.
There is, of course, a third possibility – that governments are indeed idiotically bumbling along, pursuing “whack-a-mole” policy making in relation to Covid, but that the outcome of all the bumbling is, indeed, a more totalitarian state.
On this view, it hardly matters whether there was a conspiracy or a stuff-up. The result is a massive loss of personal freedom and personal autonomy.
Jeremy Warner correctly describes the bumbling UK Government as a “ship of fools”, who couldn’t organise a booze-up in a brewery let alone a finely tuned conspiracy.
In Plato’s The Republic, Socrates describes a ship on which the sailors mutiny and try to pilot the vessel with no knowledge of “the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his [a pilot’s] art”. Success on this “Ship of Fools” is defined not by having the skills to navigate the vessel but only by the ability to persuade others that such skills aren’t actually necessary and that the job can be done regardless.
The story is intended as an allegory on the downsides of democracy, of the danger that in such a system of government, ignorant fools elect persuasive fools and are then led to ruin. After the Government’s latest shambolic, Covid-related failing, it seems an appropriate description of today’s political leadership.
Yet even if governments are Covid bumblers, this doesn’t mean that there are not other, non-governmental forces working away at Covid-created opportunities for advancing what are essentially totalitarian agendas. We know who these people are. The desire for world government is not hidden. Nor is it new. It goes back (at least) to the aftermath of World War One and Woodrow Wilson’s attempts to create a utopian, liberal world order through the League of Nations. This was a concerted attempt to still the “strong god” of nationalism, as Rusty Reno has termed it, and to create an international governance structure before the word “governance” had even been thought of. The same thing happened after World War Two with the creation of the United Nations. German and French do-gooding liberal internationalists did the same thing exactly by creating what would eventually become the European Union, the prototype for world government. The belief in, and move towards, a one world state and the complete defeat of nationalism and nations is no secret, and to highlight its aims by drawing attention to the behind-the-scenes work of the likes of George Soros, Barack Obama, Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates is no conspiracy theory. They have a public meeting every year – in Davos.
Nor has the bungling of elected governments prevented the very focused takeover of power by unelected public health and other faceless bureaucrats, daily carving off new areas of control over our lives and persuading governments of the need for this. The Deep State so long associated with spies and the military in the USA is very real, far more widespread in Western governments and now it is wearing a health muzzle.
Another question is – how have they pulled it off? The powers assumed by government – overnight, literally – are utterly breathtaking. How can such patently mindless and hugely costly public policy get implemented, and, worse, implemented on a wave of public approval? There are several answers, or part answers. I have written on the useful idiot role of the corporate media in advancing the interests of the Covid fascist state previously. The Covidian governments perhaps could not have pulled it off without a pliant media.
Then there are the tech giants who censor Covid sceptics by deleting social media posts that question the scale of the “pandemic”, the seriousness of the illness, the possibility of various treatments that would obviate the need for totalitarian measures and the proportionality and rationality of the government response.
Platform businesses have become the means through which people now share news and views, where debates and discussion occur. Often these are heated and ill-informed, even offensive. So?
These are private businesses, and private businesses go have the right to control these businesses, you might say. Yet they are free to subscribers and there is an implicit agreement (we thought) between the platform controllers and users that the platforms will remain open and uncensored. That is, until the tech companies that run them formed policy agendas and started to realise their own political and cultural power.
The science-medical industrial complex, aka Big Pharma and friends, has its own useful idiots. For example, the science journalist Philip Ball has attacked Covid sceptics like Toby Young, James Delingpole and Peter Hitchens as conspiracy theorists and spreaders of fake news.
Perhaps the ease with which the totalitarian state has arrived on our doorstep is explained by people’s submissiveness, ignorance and willingness to believe anything an “expert” ever says. This has been termed white coat syndrome. Always believe anything said by a doctor. (Note – medical practitioners are actually not doctors. Doctors are only people with doctorates).
Climate Change as a Dry Run
This is starting to sound a bit familiar.
An ideology promoted by the state, endorsed by the mainstream media, endlessly hyped, which features the wheeling out of preferred experts, the abuse of dissenters, name calling – covidiots, conspiracy theorists, promoters of fake news, and so on – the criminalising of opposing views as “dangerous”, social media censorship, the pretence that there can be no debate and no dissent, the prioritisation of one issue over all others, the pretence that failure to address the issue will lead to the destruction of the world as we know it, the conceit that the official view is the only view, the appeal to supra-national organisations to reinforce policy.
Yes, you guessed it. There has been a perfect dress rehearsal for the Covid mania of 2020. It is called climate change. So many aspects of the Covid wars are reminiscent of the climate debate. We have heard it all before. Lockdown zealots have clearly imbibed the climate change Kool Aid. Fauci and Ferguson and all the boys in the Covid band have replaced Gore and Flannery as the Jim Joneses of the 2020s.
The quotation in the picture above this article is from a paper delivered to the UK Government’s ill-named “SAGE” Group (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) and was unearthed by the indefatigable Covid realist Peter Hitchens. It lets the cat out of the bag. It suggests that when people just aren’t scared enough of Covid, then we (the government and its assorted hangers-on) need to do even more to ensure everyone is sufficiently hysterical to believe us and follow us like sheep. Or worse, lemmings.
In the battle for hearts and minds, the targets of extra messaging are “the complacent”, just as they have been previously in the state’s climate change propaganda.
Does this picture unearthed by Peter Hitchens not remind us of something? It should. We have known for decades that climate change scientists have used fear as their default currency. Why, they even admit it themselves. \
Here is the climate alarmist Stephen Schneider admitting that scaring people witless is part of the deal for an expert on a mission:
On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.
Then we have the British climate eminence Sir David King, who as early as the 1990s was admitting that scientist/activists needed to exaggerate the dangers of climate change in order to get everyone on board with the coming climate fascism. As recently as 2019 he was still claiming that we should all be scared.
Recently the former climate activist Michael Shellenberger wrote a whole book length mea culpa, Apocalypse Never, about how the elites have lied and scared the rest of us about climate change, creating hysteria through hype. Sound familiar? And he apologised for it!
There is even an Imperial College London connection with climate change and the Branch Covidian sect perpetrated by Professor Neil Ferguson, of Professor Pantsdown as he is sometimes affectionately known (in honour of his treks across London to see his married girlfriend for sex, breaking the very lockdown rules his dodgy modelling had inspired in Britain and indeed across the globe).
Imperial College London is also climate change fear central. As leftists might say – “it is no coincidence …”
It was one of Ferguson’s then Imperial College colleagues (one Professor Joanna Haigh) who in 2019 backed up David King:
David King is right to be scared – I’m scared too. We do the analysis, we think what’s going to happen, then publish in a very scientific way. Then we have a human response to that… and it is scary.
Oh yes, spreading fear is the common thread between climate alarmism and Covid mania. It is their trump card, in fact.
And speaking of modelling, have you noticed the common use of “scientific” modelling in generating both the climate hysteria that has taken root since the 1990s and the more recent Covid panic? As someone wise once said, modelling is evidence of nothing. Modelling predicts nothing. It merely projects data inputs. Yet its utility in generating widespread fear is profound. People ignorant of scientific method – most of us, alas – do not understand the power of modelling in creating the false narratives on which fear is subsequently ingrained. If generating fear has been the common trump card in both the climate and Covid hoaxes, then it is fear based upon false narratives generated by ersatz scientists – that is, modellers posing as the real thing. White coat syndrome again among the coronaphobic.
There is, indeed, a shared ignorance of science among the climate brigade and the Covidians. A senior British civil servant has (anonymously) belled the cat:
There are few among our political elite and the supporting Senior Civil Service who have STEM degrees and the consequence of this narrow pool is a failure to understand basic concepts, e.g. they believe “the science is settled” when it comes to climate change, and that they’re “following the science” regarding COVID-19. What they fail to appreciate is that science is rarely settled. By its nature, it is about investigating and challenging assumptions, collecting and evaluating evidence to test hypotheses, and seeking to avoid bias and misrepresentation of results. The current narrative regarding testing and ‘cases’ is a classic example of this lack of numeracy and statistical knowledge. If you test more you are likely to find more occurrences and they may be actual positives or false positives.
A New and Far Worse Policy Blunder and Threat to Freedom
Many of us previously thought that climate change was the single, most costly public policy blunder of all time, what with the sacrifice of whole industries and jobs, the renewables subsidies, the trillions of dollars spent, the masses of useless research – all hosing money we don’t have up against the wall for absolutely no purpose. And we probably thought, too, that Orwellian level political correctness, with its enforcement of speech codes, un-platforming, workplace fascism and so on, was the greatest threat to our freedom – certainly freedom of speech – in all of our lifetimes.
Well, climate change and political correctness have proven to be nothing in comparison to the great Covidian push towards government control of our private lives. A walk in the park. This time our freedoms really are being destroyed. At least climate madness only sent us broke as a nation. It didn’t actually obliterate our freedom and our fundamental human rights.
Yes, political correctness shuts us all up on pain of losing jobs, promotions, contracts, and so on. It ain’t pleasant. I would never downplay the hideousness and cultural power of political correctness. But political correctness and speech codes didn’t ever threaten freedom of movement – or stop me from visiting my overseas and interstate based children. Political correctness never made me wear a mask. It never smashed the cars of the innocent traveller. It never imposed a curfew. It never thought up the use of drones to hunt down non-mask-wearers, as they did in Western Australia and now have as well in MelDanistan. It doesn’t use track and trace technology. It doesn’t refuse 75% of requests for overseas travel. It doesn’t close interstate borders. It doesn’t have police thugs or the army roaming the street looking for the innocent to harass and/or fine. It doesn’t abrogate to itself the power to remove children from parents under spurious Covid rules, like they have in South Australia (Schedule 2 of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020).
These are powers never previously imagined, let alone used routinely on a daily basis, to enforce submission among the populace.
Even the (rightly) much feared Chinese capitalist imperialism that is slowly but surely taking over the world with next-to-no resistance from anyone except Donald Trump hasn’t (so far) achieved this level of Orwellian brutalism in countries other than China itself.
Australia now eerily resembles an episode of the wonderful but confronting TV series, Person of Interest. Even if this totalitarianism is all done for the “good” of the community, as our politicians, bureaucrats and their useful idiots endlessly proclaim, it neither justifies nor fully explains the achievement of complete government control of our lives, overnight, in a once liberal-democratic nation. As C S Lewis once stated:
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.
I think I would rather have Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson running the show if we are to run a police state in Australia. Certainly not third rate, nondescript chancers like Scott Morrison or fascist bullies like Daniel Andrews or puppets of the Photios Industrial Complex like Gladys. Or police thugs, for that matter.
What climate change especially did do, however, was to soften us all up for the big totalitarian play through which we are now being forced to live.
Through relentless and very broad based propaganda, big lies endlessly retold, bullying, the removal of debate, personal attacks on opponents, colonising educational institutions, corporate messaging, and the rest, the climate gauleiters have noiselessly and efficiently prepared the ground for the main totalitarian game.
This is Fascism 2.0, achieved on the back of ignorance and naivety.
It is totalitarianism in supposed democracies, with governments run by bungling fools, useful idiots among the “influencer” class, submissive, clueless populations, and evil men of wealth and power who do, in fact, wish to run the world and who now know precisely how to do it. All achieved without world government, as it happens. And we fell for it.
Many fell for the climate scare – about a third to half the population, according to various surveys at different times. Even more of us have fallen for Covid totalitarianism, alas. A far worse threat to our rights and freedoms.
Let us leave the final word to – who else? – Adolf Hitler:
The goal and the way have to be determined by the care for the preservation of our people’s health in body and soul. The right of personal freedom steps back in the face of duty of the preservation of the race.
Hitler as the nascent Covid fascist? You bet. Oh, and Hitler was a greenie as well.
Paul Collits is a freelance writer and independent researcher who lives in Lismore New South Wales. He has worked in government, industry and the university sector, and has taught at tertiary level in three different disciplines – politics, geography and planning and business studies.