The Ideology of Corona Containment
The system of political beliefs and demands that have grown up around mass containment increasingly resemble a novel, malignant ideological system.
Many are fond of comparing Corona containment to fascism or communism, while others detect, behind the scenes, the agenda of the vapid globalists at the World Economic Forum or the United Nations. The broad phenomenon of Corona containment, it seems, can never be about the virus itself – it’s either a recurrent historical evil, or a Trojan horse for the fever dreams of Klaus Schwab. While I’d never dispute anyone’s polemical use of historical analogies, and I understand how hard it is to believe we have endured all of these absurdities because of a virus, I think it’s worth taking Corona containment seriously, as a developing ideology in its own right.
Containment is indeed overtly authoritarian, and perhaps that’s the only point that analogies to communism or fascism are trying to make. Nevertheless, these policies are not rooted in the hard authoritarianism of a Stalin or a Mussolini. Excepting the special case of China – special because it is where all of this came from – there is a markedly reduced enthusiasm for Corona restrictions beyond those places that proclaim themselves bastions of freedom and democracy. Most of the hardest-line Corona regimes are members in good standing of the liberal West, and they prefer the softer, distributed authoritarianism pioneered by liberal democracies.
The truth is that no other political system could have produced Corona containment, as we’ve experienced it. First-world democracies are anything but systems for channelling the will of the people. Instead, with the rise of mass media and mass society, they have become elaborate consensus-farming operations. Unique in history, they are governing systems that use mass media to call into being the phenomenon of public opinion, which is then shaped by a combination of propaganda and political participation into a tool of governance and consensus in its own right. The majority is thus first acclimated to the agenda of the state, and then deployed to enforce governmental directives and to repress dissidents, the non-compliant and, increasingly, even the disinterested. Corona containment is an obvious product of a system like this, depending as it does on widely distributed consensus policies that are enforced less by the police than by enthusiastic majorities deputised by journalists.
So, there is an authoritarianism here, but if we’re being pedantic, it’s of a different nature than the kind we tend to encounter in history books. It’s highly significant, and a sign of desperation, that Austria is contemplating brief prison terms for those who refuse vaccination. Austria would much prefer the soft authoritarianism it has used until now, and that most of our countries still prefer: ‘Nudge’ behavioural engineering, disingenuous media messaging, regulatory harassment, and directed public opprobrium. Taken together, these things are more insidious than blunter tactics like imprisonment; they take aim at your will and your soul, not merely your body.
What is the purpose of all this enforcement, then? While nothing any of our countries do is ever at any point about just one thing, for me the most parsimonious theory is still that the underlying, originating policies really are, at their core, about suppressing a virus. This doesn’t mean that the odious people running this circus are sincere, or that they have your best interests in mind. It’s very much the opposite.
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