Lockdowns are incompatible with Western civilization

 

As someone who has been speaking out against the lockdowns since march 2020, there are some things I’ve noticed that we could have done better. Fundamentally I think, not enough emphasis has been placed on a very simple principle: That the notion of a government prohibiting social interaction among healthy people to avoid overburdening the healthcare system is unprecedented in Western history. In the atmosphere of collective mass hysteria of March 2020, this simple fact received little attention.

And yet, as I argued on Eugyppius’ blog recently, it is within the fundamental incompatibility of the concept of a lockdown with our Western values, where we are going to find the key to avoid ever again repeating the tragedy that befell us on March 2020. And the reason I call what happened a tragedy is not because people died, but because we responded to a psychological assault against our values with submission.

It’s clear that people like Ferguson exaggerated the threat we faced. This became obvious within weeks, as Sweden failed to suffer the mass death their models had prophesied. And yet, in rejecting the lockdowns, we often fell victim to the temptation of taking the failure of the doom prophesies they strategically deployed to convince politicians to embrace their policies to extreme conclusions.

I would summarize this as the “just the flu” narrative. When you argue that the lockdowns can be abandoned because SARS-COV-2 is “just another flu”, this inherently puts you at a disadvantage. To start with, you as an average man in the street, don’t decide how the death toll is recorded. This became quite glaringly obvious, once we started to see people with gunshot wounds recorded as COVID fatalities.

To this day, estimates for the death toll from the Chernobyl disaster range from around fifty people to around a million, depending on who you ask. Sometimes it’s just hard to say how many people died from a particular cause, especially when the deaths are drawn out over long periods of time and the responsible cause gradually affects multiple organ system in various manners.

But more importantly, you have to understand that this is unlikely to be the last pandemic you will face in your lifetime. As I’ve argued many times here on this blog, the 21st century is not exactly going to be as comfortable of a ride as the second half of the 20th century was for those of us in Western industrialized nations. Resource depletion, overpopulation, climate change and genetic experimentation are the sort of problems we face that will make our lives increasingly difficult.

The immunocompromised share of the population will only grow in the years ahead. More people will receive transplanted organs, more people will live with severe obesity, more people will be treated for cancer and more people will simply grow very old. The situation is in fact severe enough, that we could very well expect a future in which influenza again starts to cause the sort of problems with hospital capacity people feared from SARS-COV-2.

Additionally, we have every reason to believe that more viruses will jump into our species. Sub-Saharan Africa now has regular Ebola outbreaks, started by flare-ups in people who were infected in previous outbreaks years ago. Many animal populations will respond to our changing climate with mass migration, bringing them into contact with other animal populations and human settlements. We also have no real idea what sort of germs will wake up as the Siberian permafrost begins to melt. It has already caused the first anthrax outbreaks.

Worst of all, scientists seem utterly unwilling to abandon their gain of function experiments. In fact, new BSL-4 labs are being built around the world. How has humanity ever benefited from any of their discoveries of viruses that are able to jump from one species to another with some simple tweaks? Has it ever prevented a pandemic? It hasn’t, yet they continue with their work.

And yet, when faced with this prospect, we have to keep in mind that many of our ancestors lived through events far worse than what we are likely to face. In the 19th century, your ancestors would have faced infant mortality rates of around 25%. You were lucky, if you could live to see half your children reach the age of adulthood.

And similarly, life was not just cut short by infectious disease, it reduced our vitality as well. Your daughter could have her marriage prospects ruined by smallpox scars across her face, your son could be rendered sterile by mumps, or you could spend months laying in bed with tuberculosis. And yet, life went on. Faced with these circumstances, people had to be psychologically resilient. As evidenced by what happened in March 2020, we do not share their resilience.

You could argue that people simply did not have the tools available, to address their misery in the ways that we address it today. To some degree this is correct, as people long believed that infectious disease does not jump from person to person: They blamed foul air (miasma). And yet, even with this realization that infectious disease jumps from one person to another, we never before embarked on a lockdown type experiment, in which healthy people are prohibited from interacting with one another.

Please keep in mind that we have faced similarly deadly influenza pandemics before, especially if you adjust for the smaller share of elderly in the population back then. When the 1957–1958 Asian flu pandemic struck, hospitals were also overburdened with patients. We responded by instructing people how to treat each other at home.

Even in the age of the Internet, the lockdown concept was hardly taken seriously among Western policymakers. Every major Western government had a pandemic preparedness plan, where you would not find any of the sort of policies endorsed that Western governments implemented in March of 2020. In fact, you would often find the sort of arguments that lockdown opponents made after they were implemented: Harmful side-effects exceed the benefits, authoritarian measures violate humans rights, infections merely end up delayed, etc.

And these are all valid points that deserve to be made, but they don’t address the real problem with these lockdowns. They don’t address what leads regular working class people in the Netherlands to go out onto the local town square or field, carrying umbrellas in their hands, to hold up as their only way of defending themselves from a water canon deployed by the police.

Those people don’t go there because they are convinced the IFR is 0.17% instead of 0.8%. They don’t go there because they believe the herd immunity threshold lies at 25% instead of 90%. They don’t even go there because there is no significant correlation between lockdown stringency and excess mortality. And ultimately, they don’t even go there because they believe the WEF wants to implement a Great Reset.

No, those people go there, because what happened in March 2020, is incompatible with what we are. They reject it, the way your body would reject a pig’s heart implanted under your rib-cage. They reject it, because lockdowns are incompatible with Western values. Those values are interwoven with who we are as individuals, so many of you will have rejected it without even comprehending why.

As articulated by one man whose sign I saw at a protest: “Something is not right about this.” The concept of a lockdown originated in China, with the regime of Xi Jinping. It is inherently a product of a culture that is alien to ours, a culture with values some of which are paradoxical to ours. And because this concept is intrinsically paradoxical to our most deeply held values, it can never be “right” to you. We will never be able to make peace with it.

Most of the time, when you point out that non-Western cultures simply have different values than Western cultures, you’ll be accused of xenophobia. Western values are so self-evident to most Western people, that to suggest some cultures don’t share them will outrage them.

I once had a teacher who went to Africa to work for a company. He said you couldn’t pay the locals too much, because they’d simply stop showing up and hang out until they needed money again. If you’re a Western cultural supremacist, your gut reaction is: “HOW DARE YOU CALL THEM LAZY!”

If on the other hand, you attempt to dissociate your mind a little from our Western cultural framework, you would see that calling this mentality “lazy” is merely an outgrowth of your own culture. We all know the average office drone doesn’t work very hard, that you spend a lot of time engaged in busywork, TPS reports, pointless conference calls or browsing social media. We all know most of our jobs are bullshit. And additionally, we all know there is something a little undignified about salaried labor.

In Papua New Guinea, there were tribes where a man who was an expectant father was supposed to decapitate another man from a neighboring tribe in a ritualized fight, so that he could then name his own child after the man. Their way of life in the forest as hunter-gatherers required a low population density, it could not be sustained otherwise.

Separation of church and state, individual property ownership, bodily autonomy, economic growth, freedom of speech, these are some of our typical modern Western values. And any single one of these values can be compatible with other cultures, yet incompatible with still others. There are ways in which our culture is more compatible with Indian culture and there are ways in which our culture is more compatible with African culture.

Cultures are not static and it’s not intrinsically wrong to export our own values abroad, or even for us to learn from other cultures. But we need to accept that some societies simply have a value orientation that clashes in certain fundamental aspects with our own, that some of our most deeply held values are rare and in no means universal.

What we need to reject, is the intrinsic psychological bias we have, to assume that our own Western values are somehow universal, or some sort of intrinsic good, hard-coded into the laws of the universe. We need to avoid the progressive universalist temptation, to imagine that the only thing preventing other people from embracing our values is some authoritarian dictatorship, or a lack of education.

And I would go a step further, by saying that we need to be honest to ourselves and accept that our values have certain fundamental downsides: Freedom of speech for example means accepting that certain falsehoods can spread. Society would probably function more efficiently, if we prohibited people from arguing that smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer.

However, we didn’t choose our Western values because they somehow create the perfect society, or because they are truths intrinsic to existence itself. Rather, we embrace these values, because they are fundamentally interwoven with what we are. We exist to some degree in a symbiotic relationship with Western values.

Lockdown, the concept of promoting public health by rationing social interaction to prevent the spread of germs, began in China. That it didn’t work in the West may be down more to the fact that it clashes with the Western way of life than something intrinsic to the concept.

Consider for example, how the lockdowns in the Netherlands unfolded. It was a clear example of a culture clumsily adopting another culture’s trait and trying to assimilate it, in the same manner as we have copied the cuisine from our former colonies and made it something entirely different.

When the lockdowns were declared, there were long lines in every Dutch city, as people hurried to the coffeeshop to stack up on cannabis, as people believed they would be closed. There was some chaos, then the Hague declared that the Dutch model of lockdown would look as following: All non-essential shops have to close, but coffeeshops would be exempt.

The lockdown idea never truly caught on here and never seems to have accomplished what it did in China, because it is not compatible with how we experience life. The Dutch lockdown, could never be more than a joke. The police would have to visit the woods and abandoned construction sites at night, because hundreds of young people would gather there, after agreeing to meet up through Instagram. What were the police supposed to do, torture them as punishment for their failure to comply? The police would simply stick to chasing the youths off, because we are not an authoritarian society.

Western supporters of implementing the lockdown concept will often argue that “we never had a real lockdown” like China. And in a sense they’re right. We were never going to shoot dogs and separate parents from their children over a virus like this, or weld people’s doors shut. That’s not who we are. And because it’s not who we are, this Chinese invention never seems to have accomplished anything substantial in our society.

I would personally argue, that the concept of a lockdown, is to some degree interwoven with Chinese philosophy and history, particularly with the culture of its ruling class. Michael Senger has written about this a bit, arguing that it is an outgrowth of Xi Jinping’s concept of Fangkong. In his words, it is: “the same policy that inspired the reeducation and “quarantine” of over one million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities “infected with extremism” throughout Xinjiang and Tibet.”

Between the 6th century BC and 221 BC, Chinese society saw an explosion of various philosophical schools of thought, this is called the era of a hundred philosophies. Some of these naturally lend themselves to Western sympathy, like Taoism. Others like Confucianism are more alien to us, in their emphasis on deference to authority of the elderly and social harmony.

Shang Yang

My goal here is not to depict Chinese culture as an authoritarian caricature of itself, but there are other philosophies that appeared at this time and became highly influential, that appear like a polar opposite to how we view society. Chinese legalism fits into this category. One of its primary proponents was Shang Yang, who played an instrumental role in ultimately unifying China under the Qin dynasty.

How Shang Yang accomplished his success, was by implementing the sort of policies that we would interpret as nightmarish totalitarianism. He declared for example, that anyone who knew of a crime but did not alert the authorities to it, would face a punishment identical to that of its perpetrator.

To ensure that people would fight his wars, he effectively abolished the notion of property rights. Aristocrats who refused to fight would be stripped of their land, which would be reassigned based on soldiers success in war. Farmers who failed to produce enough food would be enslaved and could be handed out as rewards to those who met the government’s expectations as their property.

Yang was not popular among the nobility, who lost their traditional rights. He was tied between horses and torn to pieces, along with his whole family. His influence nonetheless reverberates through Chinese society to this day, particularly in the culture of the Chinese Communist Party. When Mao took power, he wanted to move away from the conservative Neo-Confucianism that characterized the political culture of the Qing dynasty. He looked towards Chinese legalism for inspiration. Under Shang Yang hierarchies were not entrenched, but based on total devotion to the state.

With Xi Jinping, we see a return of Chinese communism to the rigid authoritarianism of Mao. China is becoming more illiberal. Like Mao, Xi draws strong inspiration from Chinese legalism. It’s here, in this direction, where we can find the deepest roots of the atrocities that happen domestically today in Xinjiang, along with the authoritarian model of society that Xi Jinping successfully exported abroad in March of 2020.

The main motive for exporting authoritarianism abroad should be simple to understand: As the world’s last major communist dictatorship, the Chinese elite feels threatened by Western liberal democracy. But if Europe or the United States were to become a society, where people can be detained without having committed a crime, where people can be locked up in their homes, where social interaction can be rationed by our government, or where we can be tracked at any moment, in summary, if Western nations become more like China, then what would Xi have to fear? We can only appear as a threat to the Chinese regime, as long as we remain beacons of liberty.

I would argue that most of the Western supporters of the lockdown concept, mainly bourgeois types found in academia, simply don’t support Western values. Our Western values, are just not interwoven with the fabric of their spirits, the way they are for the people who faced the water canons with their small umbrellas held out in front of them.

And in a way, this makes perfect sense. In China, upward social mobility was historically only really achievable by passing the imperial examinations. In certain aspects, Chinese culture perhaps just seems to feel more at home for them: People are generally more ambitious and conscientious. You have to pay great respect to people in positions of authority, whereas here we prefer to think of power as a dirty word and pretend that your boss is just your friend.

This is a tragedy for these academics, who live in a society with values that clash with theirs. But for the rest of us, we unfortunately need to recognize them as a de facto fifth column: People who aim to subvert our society from within. And when I say this, it may sound too extreme to you, but please keep in mind that these academics are not going to show you the back of their tongues: They are intelligent people, whose value orientation fundamentally clashes with yours.

They’re not going to tell you whether they would want your dog shot dead if it tested positive. They won’t tell you whether they think we should have just locked you up in your home, or should have thrown those teenagers holding secret parties here in the Netherlands through Instagram in prison for a couple of months. China itself doesn’t publicly discuss the atrocities it commits in Xinjiang either. These people are not going to show the boot they want to stamp on your face with forever to the cameras.

But the important thing to understand is that these academics in our midst, are not compatible with Western civilization. They have souls built of a different fabric than you and me. A product of our Christian heritage is that we reject cruelty against individuals with a strict passion, even when it would benefit the societal good. This is what you and your ancestors have learned, what you had ingrained into your souls, for over a thousand years.

Yes, I am talking here about a notorious Jewish hippie, a young troublemaker who angered the pharisees. A man who went around violating Levitical law, by touching people with leprosy. What’s hard-coded into our brains, is empathy for individuals. It’s easy to forget that Christianity teaches that Jesus was both God and Man, a man who didn’t just bail you out of hell, but lived a life by example.

And whether you are today a Christian, a heathen, an atheist, a follower of the path of Dharma or something else entirely, the reality remains that you have grown up in a culture that is Christian in its essence, like the proverbial fish who fails to recognize water he has always lived in. And the great innovation that Christianity brought to the Roman empire, is the fundamental dignity of the individual.

Lockdowns are harsher on some people than on others: Their overall impact is limited on the academics and other members of the laptop class, compared to the impact on vulnerable demographics, like teenagers, opioid addicts and people with autism.

My hope is that these academics will figure out their wet dream is incompatible with our Western values, pack up their bags and leave. If they keep undermining our society from within, it is inevitably going to lead to a conflict. The Western mind will never put up with it.

When society goes to shit from one disaster or another, which happens more often than we would like, we are geared to look towards the individual, rather than making an abstract cost-benefit analysis for the benefit of societal harmony. And so what we can’t do is what China has done, which is to sacrifice the dignity of the individual for the benefit of society as a whole.

Because, I will emphasize it again, this is what we will never become:

28 Comments

  1. You are making a caricature not of China, but of the “West”, whatever that may be. Outside of the liberal Netherlands and a few other – smallish – countries, preoccupation for the individual is not nearly as widespread as you seem to believe.

    I am from Italy, and I can tell you that respect for the elderly and for figures of authority is a lot stronger there than in Protestant countries. Italian bosses are definitely not your friends. What others think is more important than your “rights”. You are taught to conform, not to stand out. I suspect most Catholic countries are comparable.

    The “West” has brought about all sorts of nightmarish dictatorships and committed all sorts of crimes in the past, and “we” were definitely not copying the Chinese.

    That some parts of Europe and the US protect the dignity of the individual, is only because they outsourced the suffering to their (former) colonies, and because fossil fuels have been abundant for the past 150 years.

    As the rest of the world breaks free from Western domination, and as resource depletion continues, “we” (whoever that is) will re-shore the suffering to our own countries, without the slightest hint of cultural shock.

    The Chinese system of social domination is not al all alien to our political systems and will become ever more prominent in the future.

  2. >That some parts of Europe and the US protect the dignity of the individual, is only because they outsourced the suffering to their (former) colonies, and because fossil fuels have been abundant for the past 150 years.

    This is overly pessimistic and it reeks of self-hatred.

    Long before fossil fuels were a thing, the British empire set out to abolish the slave trade.

    And the reason they set out to abolish the slave trade, is because the British intellectual class came to the conclusion that it contradicts their Christian principles.

    To lump everything that happens to humanity in history into some environmental determinist category is typical of the modern left, because then the only thing you have to do is argue that your own model of utopia is the inevitable logical outgrowth of what happened, as Marx did.

    • Lol, now what, whoever disagrees with you is a self-hating Marxist intellectual? You must be a lot of fun to be around.

      a) “Self-hatred”: I am Italian. Italy tried the colonialism thing, but failed hilariously. As a result, Italians are not particularly sorry about our colonialist past, which we tried to remove from collective memory.
      Also, my great-grandparents migrated to the US and were paid less, and treated worse, than black Americans. So I am not very inclined to “check my privilege” or that kind of things.

      b) “Long before fossil fuels were a thing”: oh come on, you can do better than that. If there is one person who can read statistics, that’s you. The British abolished slavery in the middle of their coal-powered industrial revolution. By the 1830s, Britain had colonies on all continents. Christian principles my ass.

      c) “To lump everything that happens to humanity in history into some environmental determinist category”: I am sure that toying with a make-believe civilization is much better.

      • I’m talking about the transcontinental slave trade. This was abolished long before slavery itself as an institute was abolished. Why? Because of idealism: People thought of it as horrifying and unethical.

        For people to pretend that this was not a product of idealism, of people’s conviction that slavery is irreconcilable with Christian ethics, to me just looks like leftist hatred of Western culture.

        Slavery itself was thought of as a nasty institute that had to be abolished too by abolitionists, but the manner in which it was economically entrenched in society made that difficult.

        However, abolishing the slave trade was easier: Britain had a massive fleet and so it was easy to stop people from taking slaves from West Africa to the new world.

        • I will repeat my points. Please do not reply again with the “leftist hatred” nonsense. I grew up before that was even a thing. My upbringing was remarkably patriotic, as unbelievable as it sounds in today’s world. The recent woke wave came well after my formative years, and took me by surprise: I am a child of the XX century and, in my mind, I still live in a modernity made of nations and social classes. LGBTI+/woke/postracial postmodernity means nothing to me.

          1) The West does not exist.

          It was, I suppose, an American idea to propagandize the US-led order post WWII, but has no foundation in reality. Catholics and Protestants are not part of the same whole. Neither are Latins, Germanic people and Slavs. We just happen to be on the same side of Empire, but as soon as the Americans leave, we will happily go back to slaughtering each other as we’ve always done.

          When you talk about Western values, I do not know what you mean: as an Italian living the Netherlands, I feel like I have more in common with the Turkish or Arab minority than with the Dutch majority. Probably Spengler would have agreed.

          My former Religion teacher hated the Dutch with a passion, and blamed them regularly for everything from air pollution to his wife breaking her arm when visiting Amsterdam. The Reformation was to him the beginning of the end of humankind, a gateway to atheism and the death of the soul. After 15 years in the Netherlands, I am starting to see what he meant.

          2) Do not romanticize the West.

          Europeans are not better or worse than other cultures. They pillaged, looted, enslaved, murdered and raped just like other civilizations have when it was their turn. They did it with more hypocrisy, yes, and some enlightened souls truly regretted it, but they still did it.

          The exploitation of fossil fuels allowed the Europeans to industrialize both their cruelty and charity, so for each example of remarkable goodness, you can find an example of heinous savagery. You should look at both sides of the coin.

          3) Use civilizational identity in the lockdown debate at your own risk.

          It was home-grown social mores, not Chinese manipulation, that made strict lockdowns possible in France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, the UK or New York. People were not doing it because the evil Chinese made them, but they really thought it was the correct way forward. So do not go whining about how bad the Chinese are to us good souls enlightened by Christ: the Pope supported the lockdowns and vaccination, and he’s got JC’s number on speed dial.

          If anything, the cultural imposition goes the other way around. Italy’s or Belgium’s haphazard attempts at statehood are clear examples of Spenglerian pseudomorphoses. Not making a “brutta figura” with our Western betters was a strong motivator for Italian lockdowns. The lockdowns were a way to process our inferiority complex towards our lords North of the Alps. I blame the Germans and the Dutch, not the Chinese, for always looking down on us.

          Something similar applies, I am afraid, to New Yorkers, who would like to believe that they are more European than they are in fact.

          The same way, China’s Communism is not home-grown, but imported from the West. Pseudomorphosis again. They even started writing rtl to be more like “us”, and less like themselves. In Chinese eyes, fighting Covid is a way to make them more like the West. It is part of the Party’s promise to make China prosperous and efficient: less Chinese and more Western.

          Unrelated to Covid, but in a similar vein: the Ottoman Turks were clearly more tolerant and civilized than the Europeans, until they started looking up to Europe after the Industrial Revolution. The Armenian genocide was not an example of Eastern savagery, but of a weakened culture trying to process the concept of Nationalism – again pseudogenesis.

          Bad things happen when a weakened culture copies a stronger one to hide its own decline. Keep in mind that in the larger scheme of things, China is still the one doing the copying.

  3. Perhaps it’s not Chinese culture per say, rather it is the period the culture was in at a given time that resulted in certain philosophical developments. China is a much older culture and civilisation than western Europe,so perhaps the time of Confucius and legalism was equivalent to our 17th/18th/19th centuries, a period of change from tradition to new ways of doing things. With a very broad spenglerian brush, Confuciusism (China) is equivalent to Buddhism (India) which is equivalent to Stoicism (Classical) which is equivalent to socialism (Western). They are all distilled ‘rational’ systems unqiue to each culture which arose at the same corresponding time period in the cultures development. Socialism does not care about the individual as much as Buddhism and Stoicism do, so in some ways we may be more like China than other cultures (this actually plays out in the comparable work ethic).

    Your reference to the nobility not liking legalism is very interesting in this respect. It’s the nobility of a culture who are the holders of tradition, and their natural enemy is not the peasants but rather the city and it’s money value (as against the land value of the nobility). Therefore the victory of Legalism in China may just be the victory of the city over the tradition of the country. The same thing has happened in the west over the past 300 years, with socialist tendencies displacing more traditional patterns.

  4. Certainly explains why I felt the way I did about the covid containment tyranny from the get-go.

    I can’t tell if the fact I disagree that anthropogenic climate change is the threat you suggest it is, or that I disagree that free speech has downsides (seems to me like an absence of free speech just means falsehoods will not only spread but end up dominating us – the censors are self serving and just plain wrong more often than not), or that I’m skeptical that mass pandemics will occur more frequently in the future – is because I’m a blue collar rube who’s just zealous about his Christian western values to a fault or if my opinions are well founded.

    I tend to think those bougie academics pathologically fixate on “existential threats” that superficially seem to demand the top-down, authoritarian, “expert lead” society that they crave. So much so that I’m inclined to reject their premises entirely and usually find counter narratives compelling.

    The sanctity of the individual/family/community, liberty, free markets, natural elites, private property rights, bodily autonomy, etc. (supposedly) can’t “solve” CO2 caused climate change, or pandemics, or the unchecked spread of nefarious “misinformation”, or foreign despots who intend to take over the world, or the various Malthusian alarms… So they’ll push those notions incessantly, present them as being suuuuper important, shifting the goalposts constantly to keep those paradigms alive. Up to and including falsifying data, bastardizing science, actually manufacturing the threat or just becoming straight up delusional. So I can’t help but consider those phenomenons (as they are presented to us) with a whole lot of skepticism.

    Frankly I think organic bottom up “solutions” more in line with those liberal western values work much better at tackling those issues anyways. Even if those threats are real and pressing. The way of liberty will always be more dynamic, flexible, adaptive… and moral haha. Our way IS the best way! Yeah yeah I guess that means I believe that these values are universally correct, interwoven into the fabric of reality or whatever… But I really do.

    Anyways cool essay homie. Got me all hyped up and steeled my resolve.

  5. >I tend to think those bougie academics pathologically fixate on “existential threats” that superficially seem to demand the top-down, authoritarian, “expert lead” society that they crave. So much so that I’m inclined to reject their premises entirely and usually find counter narratives compelling.

    That makes sense, I think this dynamic goes on in a lot of people’s minds.

    I feel like emphasizing however, that James Hansen, who testified about the problem to US congress in 1988, has consistently sought a solution that is as compatible with libertarian and conservative values as any solution could ever be.

    Namely, Hansen proposes implementing a carbon dividend, which means that companies have to pay a tax per unit of carbon, that is equally distributed to every citizen of the country. It is basically an equivalent to Henry George’s tax on land, but applied to the carbon that ends up in our atmosphere.

    And if the American right had embraced this solution, they could have taken away the whole problem from the government’s hands. But rather, the Republican consensus became that there exists no legitimacy to the problem, so now it has become the domain of the left (see: green new deal).

    As the right wing response became to withdraw from the problem, to insist that it is not a legitimate threat, rather than to engage it, the solutions have become increasingly leftist.

  6. I was one of the few who opposed New Zealand’s lockdown when it was announced back in 2020.

    It was shocking to me then how many people, the majority of the country, lapped it up. It’s even worse today when a good portion of the country still begs for restrictions even as the reality of the virus — that it is simply not serious for the vast majority — hits us.

    My opposition was exactly for reasons you say here. This isn’t what we do. This is not compatible with Western ways of living.

    The fact that none of the measures planned and undertaken by human beings has made a single difference to the virus (save prolonging the time we’ve had it around) is an important data-point. Control simply doesn’t work.

    But as you write, that is beyond the point. Locking us up on the say-so of smug unelected technocrats, who will face no consequences for being wrong, is not what we do.

    I’m very afraid for the precedent that has been set, both in policy and in the mass manipulation of the public’s fears to create justification for them.

    • I wonder if it’s better to think about what has gone down as a precedent (a dangerous one), or as a revelation (a horrifying one, a “so much for putting faith in my fellow man”-type one).

      • “ I wonder if it’s better to think about what has gone down as a precedent (a dangerous one), or as a revelation (a horrifying one, a “so much for putting faith in my fellow man”-type one).”

        Indeed.

  7. To be clear, I believe in God, old-school. But as far as Western values go, God is long dead and putrefied, and western values have long been progressively devolving into the inherently contradictory polymorphing absurdity of the swamp of liberal value-‘neutrality’ (wink-wink). If there hasn’t been much police brutality in the Netherlands, well congratulations. But is that because of the deep-rooted respect for the sanctity of the individual rooted in the souls of Dutch law-enforcers? (But then what about the law-makers?) Or is it just situational? Alter the circumstances a little and perhaps they too will show what universal forms of brutality lurk within their all-too-human hearts (i.e., hearts no different from that of the Chinese, or the German, or the American, or the Rwandan, or the Libyan, or the Amazonian, the Australian, etc., who finds himself in the right circumstances for various flavors of human sliminess to ooze up to the surface). And this kind of human universalism is an authentically Christian ‘value’: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Now that’s some real respect (as opposed to any kind of patronizing “the human heart is sunshine-and-lollipops” bullshit), and something an avowed misanthropist should be able to appreciate.

  8. This essay, as always, is thought provoking, Radagast.

    However I have to say: I am no longer surprised at your belief in the conventional climate change narrative given that you seem to believe in the conventional “smoking causes cancer” narrative, given that both rely on statistical/epidemiological trickery and sleights of hand.

    Check out this classic Imminst thread by user “nightlight”:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150211202544/http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/38868-smoking-is-good-for-you/

    • P.S. If you read through the whole thread, you might be reminded of yourself in his calm way of spitting facts against a hostile mob regarding a “taboo” topic 😉

  9. “We can only appear as threats to the Chinese ref me as long we remain beacons of liberty”

    LOL

    Of course!

    They hate us cause we’re free!

    It was so obvious all along. Well, this confirms the libertarian-to-Neocon pipeline, I wonder who your audience is supposed to be, at this point?

    There would be far more value in this blog if you actually bothered to engage with your readers, and it is regrettable that you end up reinforcing (even if only rhetorically) the most retrograde and destructive forces at work in the world today.

    Yet another false prophet with pretensions of being the knight on a white horse…

    • Yeah the neo-con vibes are getting pretty strong. I suspect its a benelux thing actually. Too close to the demonic center of europe.

    • >I wonder who your audience is supposed to be, at this point?

      Yeah there’s the thing. I don’t like writing for “an audience”. I write entirely for the simple purpose of demonstrating how I view the world around me. That’s it.

      The easiest thing to do, is to feed people what they want to hear.

      I understand this very well, it’s an easy temptation to fall for.

      People started asking me to set up a patreon or a substack, when I regularly wrote about these COVID vaccines. And once you descend down that road, it’s very easy to see what happens: You figure out what people want to hear, you come up with a way to make it sound plausible and then you continue doing that as you build an audience.

      Go back to march 2020 and take a look at how my articles on the lockdown were received back then. Everyone hated me, except for one they/them girl out there somewhere who linked to one of my articles.

      See, that’s the difference between me and the normies: I just genuinely don’t care. I don’t produce algocontent for algobrains, because I don’t do this for a living.

      • Then what’s the point of allowing comments on what is essentially your public online diary?

        You wouldn’t have to deal with the pesky imposture of other human beings’ thoughts if it were just you monologuing. Isn’t what autistic people enjoy more than anything else?

        • >Then what’s the point of allowing comments on what is essentially your public online diary?

          I want people to be able to look at how I viewed the world, after I am dead. Friends, family, old lovers, I want to expose what I was to them. I might also come to the conclusion at some point, that I want AI to be able to resurrect a copy of me, based off everything it can figure out about me. To have your own blog is useful for that.

          And every once in a while, someone may show up here who I really get along with well, it’s perfectly possible. The fact that I constantly make all my readers angry by giving them the opposite of what they want helps filter them. I have in fact made actual friends thanks to this blog.

          If you have been reading my blog for a year and still enjoy it, then you’re probably the sort of person I want to talk to. If you read a post on vaccines and like it, but then read a post on food or climate change and hate it, well, then we probably don’t have enough in common to be good friends.

          Right now I have no desire to be resurrected by AI after my death, but I might change my opinion about that.

          While I’m at it, I should give AI a description of my appearance:

          I am skinny, with a low body fat percentage. I am more muscular than you would expect for a 73 kg 185cm tall man in my upper legs, my right arms is more muscular than my left arm. I have a nose with a bump (aquiline) and rather small but thick lips.

          My head is noticeably big and rather wide, my hair is dark brown, my eyes are hazel. I have attached earlobes, with ears that don’t stick out, but do seem to sit a little low on the side of my head, at a bit of an angle. I have long limbs and pale skin, I look like I have iron deficiency, even though I don’t have iron deficiency and am allowed to donate blood.

          My fingers are unusually long, my ring finger is longer than my index finger.

          I still have my appendix, so I don’t have a scar there.

          I barely have enough beard growth to make a beard that doesn’t look cringeworthy, but my upper cheeks and the area between my lower lip and chin are rather sparse. My chest is hairy. although the right side (for me) is strangely hairier than the left side.

          Those are the basics, I’ll post more eventually lol.

  10. Chinese culture does not accept lockdowns, this is totally ignorant nonsense. China is run differently from the west but the commonality is that the people have no power like in the west: how can they resist lockdowns?

    Firstly, there is rural and city China. The lockdowns were only implemented in cities, the countryside was occasionally locked down, but there is no enforcement. In Chinese cities, when lockdowns were implemented, the people do what they are told to do, there simply is no choice otherwise you will be beaten up, put in your apartment and the door welded shut, or thrown in jail.

    The communists have destroyed huge amounts of real Chinese culture, the payoff has been wealth and apartment living for new city dwellers, not so much has changed for village dwellers. Just 50 years ago 80% of the people were illiterate and lived in poverty. The solution to that problem has been education (including simplification of the written language), industrialisation and infrastructure development.

    The people in cities have experienced a huge increase in their standard of living and with such a good track record, the CCP has been trusted by city people to do the right thing. But, the locked down Chinese city dwellers accept this less than even people in the west accept this, there are loads of complaints flying around all the time about lockdowns and the suicide rate is through the roof.

    In China they have learned to accept that there is nothing that they can do to resist the CCP other than try not to do worse than the next guy. Chinese mentality: A man goes into a shop to buy one lot of fishballs (5 per lot). Ahead of him in the queue is a regular customer who receives 6 fishballs – an extra one. When the man recives his fishballs he only receives 5. The man complains to the owner “That man should have 5 fishballs and you gave him 6”. Why did he not complain to the owner “That man got 6 fishballs, why don’t I get 6”.

  11. >Chinese culture does not accept lockdowns, this is totally ignorant nonsense. China is run differently from the west but the commonality is that the people have no power like in the west: how can they resist lockdowns?

    I think there is dissent emerging now in Shanghai, but if you look at the polls, people were generally pretty happy with how the Chinese government handled COVID:

    https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/commentary-and-analysis/blogs/what-do-chinese-think-about-their-governments-response-covid-19

    It’s just a different culture, with a different set of values. What makes an American happy, is different from what makes the Chinese happy.

  12. US “rugged individualism” and demands for personal freedom are seen by many elsewhere as pure selfishness, like toddlers screaming for another kid’s toys. Europe (not all, but much of it) has a culture of looking for the best outcome for the largest number and “do as you would be done by”. That includes taking care of as many of the weaker members of society as economically possible. This is viewed by US Americans as dictatorship, denial of freedom and some evil philosophy they call socialism (but which is not socialism). The two cultures are totally incompatible. I know which I prefer. This article therefore disgusts me.

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