In this Lenten season, readers may feel like the Israelites, under their heavy taskmasters in Egypt, forced to make bricks without straw. People must pay rent and mortgages and taxes without jobs or income; look for a job, when there are so few and nearly everything closed; maintain some sort of social life when most of that is verboten; even try to get married when getting within six feet of another is, well, you get the gist…
But there are signs of hope! Yes, Texas is opening up completely on Wednesday, (don’t tread on me!), following the breathe-easy examples of Florida and South Dakota (and Sweden, along with a few other places), chucking the universally-mandated masks, social distancing, curfews, stay-at-home orders, and other totalitarian terrors. So far – and ‘so far’ means now a year for some places, such as Sweden – such havens of freedom do not seem to have fared any worse in Covid statistics. (For an objective view of the current epidemiological literature evincing the inefficacy of lockdowns, border closures and such, please see here). And certainly in terms of quality of life, happiness, social cohesion, citizen–Church-state relations, worship, prayer and sacramental life, medical care for other conditions – as well as other incalculable incidental effects -they have fared far, far better.
Might we not ask ourselves if what we are doing might not be the best idea, and in fact might be a rather bad, and even evil, one?
Yet the other side of this debate – are we still allowed to debate? – often seems reduced to vilification and name-calling. Joe Biden described Texans as ‘Neanderthals’, for their quite reasonable boldness. That’s sort of a compliment, for those primitive humans – whoever they were and however related genetically – had bigger brains that we do. (And I will refrain from comment on Mr. Biden’s current cognitive capacity, but from the look of things, we may be headed sooner than later to a Kamala presidency).
One of the masterminds – yes, I know – behind the universal lockdowns is Britain’s Niall Ferguson – the man most responsible for turning the island nation into one vast prison, even though his initial ludicrously exaggerated doomsday predictions now fallen flat as a pancake. It’s difficult for doctors and scientists to admit they’re wrong, as we are all painfully discovering. But there was Dr. Ferguson, caught last May, 2020, frolicking with a woman, definitely not social distancing, right after his own recent draconian orders for everyone else (he claimed he thought he was ‘immune’). He resigned from the pompously and ironically named ‘SAGE’, or at least offered to, but seems now to sit on the secret star chamber, which has stopped the lives of over 50 million people. Yet we may wonder whether Justin Trudeau, John Kerry, all members of Senate, Congress, at the various state levels, the premiers and governors, all their hangers-on, the various mullahs across the Muslim world – are all keeping six feet distance from everyone else at all times, permanently masked-up, avoiding all their friends and relatives, and not traveling ‘unnecessarily’?
Never before in the history of human civilization have we quarantined an entire population of perfectly healthy people – indeed, the whole planet -even in the most dire of plagues. Rather, we have isolated and protected the sick and vulnerable, and allowed life more or less to go on, as it must, eventually, one day, one hopes, soon…
The Chinese, meanwhile, have developed a new test for Covid – an anal swab, using an instrument they insert quite literally up yours, about two inches, with a bit of a twist at the end, claiming it’s much more accurate than the oral variety. The Chi-Coms have already done this to American and Japanese diplomats – and the significance needs no further comment. Coming to an airport near you, perchance?
On the local front, where we all seem to be trapped indefinitely, our own medical mandarin was clearly upset in an interview in a national newspaper over fourteen new ‘cases’ – confined to one city – part of a rural area stretching about two thousand square kilometres. He warns us that we might all lose our coveted ‘green zone’ status, like naughty children – for the ‘egregious behaviour’ of a few.
Question: What is a ‘case’? A positive PCR test? Someone asymptomatic? who seeks hospital attention? Someone moribund? The only statistic that would even remotely justify these extreme measures put in place is death rate (and even then…) – who died, why, how, age, co-morbidities, and so on.
And second question: Who’s to judge what is ‘egregious’, the etymological derivation of which means ‘outside the flock’ (ex-gregis). Evocative, though, even if unwittingly, comparing us to sheep.
And a final question: Are we to live in perpetual fear of being ‘grounded’ by physicians for ‘naughty’ behaviour that is, in fact, quite normal?
Our medical mandarin ended his interview by urging people to spy and report on each other, in which dubious practice various nations made their own people quite adept – but they were not free ones.
Might we be so bold as simply to ask, what is the end point of all of this? To reduce transmission of an airborne virus to zero, a quixotic impossibility, something our Covid commissars must realize? Originally, it was two weeks to ‘flatten the curve’. Now, a year on and with no end in sight, it’s ‘stay at home’ to ‘slow the spread’. But would that not imply we should allow natural immunity to diffuse gradually the community, amongst those for whom this virus poses little or no threat? Might not many people be already naturally immune? Are we waiting for everyone to get the vaccine, and will this be enforced – a violation of our fundamental and constitutional rights, and which many will resist?
I’m more than open to anyone making this clear, for it would further along the discussion, and help get more on board with whatever is intended. Are our politico-medico overlords – who seem to have melded into one Sauron-like entity – simply flailing? Or is something else afoot?
For now, the coercion continues, unabated. The strange, Twilight-zone experience of a college student at a campus in Washington, D.C., mimics many such college grounds, churches, towns, villages and municipalities across our own fair land. So much for social cohesion and somehow getting along.
Speaking of which, the region of Peel outside Toronto sent out a flyer to parents demanding – at the risk of a $5000 fine – that if their child is in a class where another child gets sick, that perfectly healthy child has to ‘quarantine’ at home, locked in solitary confinement a bedroom for two weeks – which to a child is veritable eternity. And parents are going along with this – yes, egregious – child abuse, out of fear, trying to placate children crying behind closed doors, and communicating through via baby monitors. Reach out and touch someone, indeed.
They are scared, and perhaps rightfully so – five grand would wipe out many people’s savings, if they have any. And what are we to say of Trudeau’s $2000 forced stay in a ‘secret’ location for returning travelers – hotels apparently owned by Chinese businessmen, funnily enough – except that it is an exercise in raw dictatorial power, imposed without warning, stranding many outside the country. This is all enforced by private security companies, mercenaries (in Latin, literally: ‘hired men’), paid for with your tax dollars. Already two women have been sexually assaulted. One of them called for help, which took fifteen minutes to arrive – in a hotel; another in her own home, after being extorted for money. Are these Trudeau’s new brownshirts, ensuring the hoi polloi don’t get too uppity and restless? How long before we go full-bore banana republic? (No reference to our Prime Minster’s bizarre video antics).
On a note of hope, it seems you can refuse the Covid test at the airport, take the fine, and walk out. Whether you pay the fine, or take it to court, is up to you. There is little evidence to back up the validity of these tickets, and we should not allow our constitutional and God-given rights to be squashed by a jejune, totalitarian tyrant, whose own father avoided service in the war against totalitarianism, and was best-of-buds with the Communist dictator and professional human-rights abuser, Castro, amongst other usual suspects. (We will speak soon on Trudeau’s Bill C-6, which will more or less undermines parental rights in our dominion).
As things now stand, the writing seems to be on the wall – mene, mene, tekel, upharsin – our leaders being weighed and found wanting; people are waking up, saying enough is enough. So hope, dear reader: The Israelites spent forty years in the desert, but did eventually make it to the Promised Land. I don’t think this will last that long – and, the ‘Easter’ to which we all look forward, will be all the happier and more poignant for the parched pilgrimage.