Michael P. Senger, Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World (2021). 220pp. ISBN: 978-1957083780. $10.99. I will never tire of typing that the whole question, of how lockdowns became the default response to Corona, is very hard. Some points are nevertheless clear: There was, without a doubt and in the earliest stages, a kind of lockdown cabal, a small group of people in different countries who worked to bring some simulacrum of the Hubei response first to Italy and then to most of the globe. An insidious, coordinated information campaign accompanied their efforts, and this should warn us against easy assumptions that they had good intentions.
>Some will nevertheless hesitate to accept the entirety of Senger’s view that “Everything is Fake” (the title of his sixth chapter)
I was quite receptive to these arguments back in 2020, but I think this view has steadily grown less credible over time, especially now that China has again locked millions of people up in their homes.
Rather, I wish to repeat what I've argued a few times recently: Whether SARS-COV-2 is a uniquely dangerous virus and whether or not lockdowns work to stop it from spreading are ultimately red herrings. The more important point is that it should not be the job of our government to stop viruses from spreading by rationing social interaction among healthy people.
This is not a question we had to ask ourselves in the past, because we've only known how viruses spread since the discovery of germ theory and only relatively recently developed the ability to do most desk jobs without leaving our homes.
However, it's a question that will merely grow more important in the future, as there are two factors we're not about to run out of:
-New viruses that jump into our species
And so when the argument against the lockdowns becomes some esoteric theory like "Covid has been around since 2018", "most of the deaths were caused by the ventilators" or "the herd immunity threshold lies around 25%", we risk simply replaying March 2020 when the next virus shows up.
It's similarly strategically useful that the lockdowns had no meaningful impact on the spread of SARS-COV-2, as it helped mobilize the critical mass that was necessary to make these lockdowns a form of political suicide, but it won't be enough to cast the whole concept into the dustbin of history where it belongs.
Rather, we should see the idea of locking healthy people up in their homes to stop viruses from spreading as the epidemiological equivalent of eugenics: Government infringing on inalienable human rights under the excuse of promoting human health. That's how you slay this dragon.
Nobody argues over whether eugenics could improve population's IQ, cut down on genetic disorders or help us grow the economy. The whole concept is so outrageous, so unthinkable to most people nowadays, such a fundamental clash with their value orientation, that it fundamentally doesn't matter to most people in the Western world whether it works or not.
And lockdowns, along with the whole social distancing concept, needs to be seen in similar terms. It's an outgrowth of an alien culture with a fundamentally different value orientation than our Western civilization.
Any opposition to what happened in March 2020 based on pragmatic terms risks maneuvering itself into a dead alley when the next virus mysteriously pops up a stone toss away from a BSL-4 lab, that happens to have a higher IFR, a longer incubation period, or some other variable that will resurrect the whole concept of endowing a technocratic cabal with the responsibility to ration social interaction.
yes spot on - and much of this can be said of masks in the west... not about a virus but about the assertion of control
Great article, but I think that you're giving the Chinese too much credit (or maybe not enough). We know it was a complete psyop because of the completely faked videos of people dropping dead on the streets and in the grocery store.
If you want to get a little more in-depth:
The masks are everywhere here in Scotland and the triple vaxxed are dutifully isolating as they develop sore throats, runny noses and a few aches and pains.
To a convinced dissident like me, this latest development shows what an utter farce this blundering sinister intrusion has been. However, the compliance is entrenched: this morning I spoke to a member of staff at our local supermarket and asked if she wasn't fed up with her ditsy fabric mask: 'O no! I wear it all day long and then on the bus home'. I had difficulty hearing some of what she said, so she did the usual, pulling it down to reveal her face and then replacing it.
Having just finished reading Miranda Devine's account of the Hunter Biden saga, Laptop from Hell, I realised just how deep and influential the PRC's ties and influence are to the Bidens and the US establishment.
What else is being manipulated by the PRC? What would they gain from western Ukraine related meddling and the headlong rush to Net Zero? A priority claim on Russian oil and gas? Payments in yuan are now being accepted, apparently.
Boris has resorted to his usual evasions and refused to rule out the need for future lockdowns, despite having assured us previously that this would never be considered.
The collateral damage here is spreading, as alarming increases in fuel, food and other essentials place additional stresses on the economy and push more folk into poverty.
If the PRC did start the covid ball rolling -and judging by the horrific news coming from Shanghai- shows no signs of relenting, what would the ultimate goal be? I shudder to think.
I haven't read it in full yet, but I'll tell ya' all one thing: I was pretty convinced for 2 years that this was at least partially a Chinese ruse to weaken the West.
Cui bono? very much suggested just this.
After Shanghai, I am not so sure about that anymore.
Placing the blame on "The Chinese" allows the actual perps off the hook.
Those at the head of the snake have no national allegiance.
Ever since the Shanghai shenanigans began I've held that it is nothing more than a second round of Chinese COVID theater meant to keep the West in a state of fear and thus fan the flames of the already well-along self-destruction. This was the point of the CCP's 2020 measures regardless of whither there was a lab leak of not. But did the ChiComs know the West would behave the way they did? Perhaps they knew they would have help in high places in the west, those "leaders" who were placed by the WEF over several decades. And perhaps all of them knew a vast number of their constituents, coddled in the pleasant west and schooled in igorance and obedience by our corrupt education establishment (also influenced by the Chinese), would be easily led into slavery. Will the second round of theater work as well? With the U.S. midterms approaching, I' don't doubt many are counting on it.
Jordan Schachtel called it the sale of the Zombie apocalypse. Remember those bogus videos of Chinese people dropping dead in the street? As for motive, consider this. Trump was bringing China to its knees economically. We already know Fauci used Eco Health as a front for finding illegal GOF research. The Dems and WEF wanted Trump out, so did the Chinese. Aligned interests.
Great article. It's genuinely difficult to know what's really going on in China, and I think many of the factors Jordan Schachtel wrote on The Dossier may come into play. There are some potentially complex phenomena here.
I saw this happen in New Zealand once covid arrived, so I am partial to his germophobe explanation. I am an American expat who was living in NZ for 7 years. I got out before the first big lockdown happened over ONE CASE. (!) New Zealanders have lost their minds over the past 9 months. I've also seen libertarians in New Zealand become complete totalitarians over this. I'm pretty sure they aren't privy to any information that China has about the virus, so in some sense this extreme authoritarian behavior in Australia, NZ, Canada is self-reinforcing because of insularity and mass psychosis.
There's one more possibility to add to the list. I saw a fascinating comment on Mathew Crawford's substack Rounding the Earth today re: China.
"If you study the long history of China you will discover periods where the entire country seems to be quite insane. The Cultural Revolution is just one example, and the system breakdown over COVID is another. Often the cause has been flooding or earthquakes or famine, but when the people see the omens they know that the Emperor has lost the Mandate of Heaven. The Emperor knows, too. I think the CCP may fear losing the Mandate of Heaven and they imagine that the only solution is to impose absolute, mindless and fearsome tyranny to keep it. That worked in Tian An Men square. No Chinese teenager has ever heard of the massacre, but this will be harder to hide."
Link is here: https://roundingtheearth.substack.com/p/false-pandemic-hegemon/comment/6027774?s=r
This is a great article and discussing why China does what it does, and did what it did, is of utmost importance because the virus originated, presumably but not certainly, in China.
And thinking in conspiratorial terms is also very important, especially dealing with Covid, which is totally dominated by various conspiracies, from its origins, to lockdowns, to vaccines appearing before official recognizance of Covid19, to scam vaccines promoted worldwide by strangely similar means, suppression of effective antivirals, to censorship and suppression of free thought, etc.
I have no doubt that Michael Senger is right, and you and I seem to both agree in that many things that happened, could not happen but for sinister motives of some players.
I have little doubt also that China used the pandemic to strengthen its insane control of its citizens.
On the other hand, it is always important to seek disconfirming evidence, or evidence that things might not be the way they seem to us. Only by looking, and not finding such contrary evidence can we become sure that we are correct.
To me, this disconfirming evidence is the current insanity of Chinese lockdowns, long after they made sense as a ploy, a way to frighten the West, a show. Two years into the pandemic, 25 million of residents of Shanghai are starving, desperate, welded into buildings, because their Communist government wants them to. Why does their government insist on that NOW? Surely not to frighten the West, which no longer cares and it totally infected.
Does China literally destroy its economy, livelihood of its citizens, starves tens of millions, paralyze its most important sea port, etc over a COMMON COLD, when the rest of the world abandoned containment? Does China know anything about Covid we do not know?
What if Covid is NOT a common cold?
Does common cold have gp120 HIV inserts that play crucial role in binding to T cells and to monocytes via same LFA-1 receptors as HIV? Does common cold cause heart attacks, lung fibrosis and blood clotting?
Our epidemiological situation is terrifyingly complicated due to vaccinated people who are unable to develop proper immunity, and are reinfected endlessly. Those who walk without symptoms, and yet carry a virus, actually represent immune system failure to mount strong resistance, like the sick people with fevers do. That covid seems to be "mild", keeps returning, and takes down immune systems, especially of the already vulnerable vaccinated people, is very worrying to me personally.
I am not advocating for lockdowns, masks etc -- none of that works, it does not even work in China. But we should not bury our heads in the same, this is an out of control lab chimera and we need to face it openly.
Senger just goes too far, in my not so humble opinion. I think the facts are pretty clear- the virus did originate at the Wuhan Institute, the Chinese knew that from the start, and simply panicked because it was SARS-1 related research, appeared to be much more easily transmitted through the air. The lockdowns in the Chinese case were inevitable- they didn't know any more than we did how unspecial SARS-2 really was. I think they did know that later in the Spring of 2020, but then so did everyone else. We are still to blame for shooting ourselves in the head.
Great piece and reminds me that I REALLY need to read Senger's book, which I've had for a while on my Kindle "shelf." I was suspicious early on that the lockdowns and virus hysteria were perhaps a response from CCP and Xi to the growing Hong Kong protests, which of course disappeared entirely. I've also read a bit of Chinese history, enough to know about their long long history of crushing rebellions, real and suspected, including the very brutal crackdown on alleged White Lotus coup plotters many centuries ago. Power corrupts...
Why did the world defer to Ferguson and his doomsday modelling projecting untold deaths? What did he know about the virus? Who did he consult with? And why only Ferguson? Why not others? That was always a red flag to me that the world listened only to him. Who set Ferguson up? Why did he get a platform so easily?
Yes, the term fangkong (防控 - from 防止 prevent and 控制 control) came to prominence in the original SARS outbreak and was dusted off again in 2020. I always translated it as "prevention through control" as it better reflects the CCP's conception of its own invincibility against all challenges of nature and man, that any and every problem can be subjected to the will of the Party, that it's just a matter of having a resolve of pure steel (steel, the root of "Stalin").
China is doubling down in their attempts to impress us.
Two days ago you replied "Senger" when I asked what book you were going to review (I guessed Viral), and I typed into Amazon "Senger Novel" and got nothing for Snake Oil. (I almost ordered "Islands in the Void" by Robert Senger, thinking this SciFi book must have some tenuous connection to humanity's response, but I passed). Thanks for nothing Amazon! (I don't use Twitter so never heard of this guy, which is surprising considering the vast number of people I subscribe to SubStack... I wonder who else I am missing out on?)
Now I found the book, but I'm a stickler for hardcovers so now have to wait 2-3 weeks to read. My starting position is to be skeptical (big surprise) that there was this level of planning involved, but I will give the argument a fair shot.
I do, however, wonder how the premise of this book holds up in light of what China is currently doing in Shanghai - perhaps I am completely misunderstanding their goals, but if they knew this was a bad policy and just wanted to dupe the west into repeating this psyop, why would they embrace this nonsense so hard 2 years later?