Acclimatising to Tyranny

Imagine a virus so dangerous that you need a test to find out if you have it. Imagine one so hazardous that we locked down our people and closed down our society, even though its recovery rate was 99.9%. The daily diet of figures being fed to us by the media makes the numbers seem worryingly high. Have you noticed, though, that in April, they reported deaths, whereas now they are reporting “cases”? Rather telling. Ross Clark, writing for the Spectator, claims

that flu and pneumonia appears to be killing five times as many people in England and Wales. In the week ending 31 July, these are the Office for National Statistics tallies for cause of death (as measured by mentions on death certificates): influenza and pneumonia, 928; Covid-19, 193. This is nothing new: more people have been dying of flu than Covid-19 since the middle of June. (11/8/20)

I’m reluctant to keep writing about this virus. Like Brexit, it is a topic of which I grew weary a long time ago. Arguably, however, we’re running scared of the wrong thing. Old fashioned influenza is now deadlier, but from it we do not hide. Rather, we should be more afraid of Big Government. 

I have little time for conspiracies and their theorists. These people seldom apologise when one of their older claims proves to be nonsense. They also never tell us what we should do differently as a result of the special information they’ve generously shared. So the virus comes from a Chinese lab- therefore what? It’s a plot by Microsoft to fit computers in our brains- right, so what shall I do about it? The more I consider the government’s approach and that of most other nations’ as well, I have only a two explanations. They’re either bungling incompetents, sacrificing prosperity and freedom for the sake of an unpleasant but generally non-lethal virus which is not going to disappear any time soon; Or, the government is wonderfully skilled at achieving some currently undisclosed end. I’m currently minded to go with the former explanation as it seems the more likely. Still, it’s interesting to see the precedent which has been set. Having been locked down, bemasked and our freedoms restricted, we shall be less shocked when it happens a second or third time; it really won't be so big a deal. Conscription in World War II was expected and barely resisted on account of its introduction in World War I. Taxing our incomes is normal, but it wasn’t when Pitt the Younger first introduced it at the time of the Napoleonic wars. The precedent for closing down the shops, churches, places of recreation and everywhere else has now been set. We’re now more acclimatised to tyranny that we have been for a long time.

I obey the government even when I don’t agree with it. I wear masks inside premises. I am not visiting people’s homes or gardens. I will absent myself from groups of more than 6. The government is God’s appointed regent here on earth to restrict and limit human corruption. Yet it sometimes outgrows its brief, assuming powers to which it is not entitled. The puritans struggled with over-arching royal government in their day; nineteenth-century liberals and twentieth-century socialists in their own. This government’s curbs on everyday life and its threats to increase its control over us, is unlikely to end well.

Even so, Lord. Come quickly.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay