The pandemic goes on: on August 3, it surpassed 200 million officially registered cases worldwide, of which at least 4 million have ended in death. The seriousness of the crisis is indisputable, but this does not mean that it is time to throw all our freedoms into the hands of the supposed protective goodness of governments.
Let us be very clear about one thing: what we give up now under the pretext of the pandemic will be very difficult to recover at the end of the emergency.
Pandemics and emergencies as excuses to expand the state
Some decades ago, Murray Rothbard explained, based on Randolph Bourne’s approach, that “war is the health of the state” because it allows the action of government bureaucracies to expand, taking advantage of the emergency to consolidate their power far beyond what would be tolerable under normal circumstances.
Well, this same phenomenon applies to the current pandemic: the unquestionable seriousness of COVID-19, added to the mass-produced fear from the industrial press, generated a very favorable scenario for the expansion of the control that governments exercise over their citizens.
Over the last year and a half, under the pretext of preventing contagion, governments have promoted public policies, “socially acceptable” behaviors and even legislative changes that give them unprecedented control over the way their citizens produce, travel, live and coexist.
Entire countries closed their borders even to their own citizens, millions of companies were forced to suspend work and even disappeared because they were not considered “essential” in the opinion of some enlightened bureaucrat, even religious life was put on hold, while thousands of temples were closed for worship, some of them for more than a year.
Under normal circumstances, these reforms would have provoked a devastating reaction, and their promoters would have been expelled from political life, but now (under the pretext of the pandemic) they are praised in the media as heroes and protectors of the health of their citizens.
The authoritarians move forward
To the “success” of confinement and the closure of entire industrial sectors, government planners are now adding that of forced vaccination through “passports” and similar gimmicks that limit the citizen’s employment, free transit, and way of life, based on whether or not they have had any of the Covid-19 vaccines, which are still experimental.
I am not opposed to vaccination. As for Covid-19, I received the Cansino vaccine a few months ago and then, on my own, I went for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I did so because I believe that, under my personal circumstances, getting experimental vaccines is a reasonable risk compared to their potential benefit in preventing or containing an eventual contagion.
However, it is one thing for people to decide freely and individually, based on their own priorities, to undergo an experimental medical procedure (as are, once again, all the Covid-19 vaccines) and quite another for the government and its corporate accomplices to force the population to become guinea pigs in an experiment whose medium- and long-term effects remain a mystery.
Moreover, it is worth remembering that politicians and dirty politics don’t cease to be politicians simply because they disguise themselves under a doctor’s coat. Do we blindly trust our politicians when they make economic or foreign policy decisions? If the answer is no, then the obvious question is, why should we in this case?
Covidiots in the pandemic
Yes, the pandemic exists and it is serious. It totals more than 200 million cases and four million officially recognized deaths worldwide. That is true, and to deny it is covidiotic.
However, it is also covidiotic to fall into paranoia, especially when that paranoia is exploited (in an increasingly obvious way by very unreliable politicians) to limit what we produce, what time we go out, what countries we travel to and how we live.
Hey, but, “it’s an emergency”. Yes, it is true; but it is also true that there is always an emergency. There will always be a new ailment, a terrorist attack, a civil war, an economic crisis. Wanting to find it, there will always be a pretext for governments to retain the powers we now grant them.
The pandemic thus becomes the health of the state, delighting politicians with an influence and room for maneuver that they will not easily relinquish. So, before you support any new restriction, keep in mind that you may have to tolerate it for the rest of your life, because in politics the temporary often becomes permanent.
And this is not a new phenomenon. In the past, there was no Covid-19, but there were many other diseases, many other wars and many other pretexts for the political class to control the rest of the citizens, turning them into subjects. Now, as before, we would do well to remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Will we do that?