Another Round

Parts of Australia are in lockdown again?? Even crazy Canada is starting to reopen. What’s wrong with English-speaking countries that aren’t the US? Why have they been so insane? I’ve still not seen an explanation for the shared COVID lunacy of such geographically and climatically distant societies as the UK, Canada, and Australia.

I’m still upset over a ten-week lockdown I experienced in April-May of 2020. We’ve been back to normal since then but I’m still not over that ridiculousness. For people to stay in it for over a year – I have no words. I mean, I do but I don’t want to make anybody feel bad.

11 thoughts on “Another Round

  1. You forget Ireland, which also went absolutely bonkers.
    As a continental European now stranded in the UK, I’ve thought a lot about the question you pose here. I have several theories, none of which completely satisfactory. Good old puritanism? Safetysm? The fact that Australia and NZ could pull out a ZeroCovid by virtue of being islands, which made all the other Anglo countries think they could do the same? (of course Aus/NZ are on the news in Europe but they aren’t part of the imaginary to the same extent). Perhaps more disturbingly, nihilism – Anglo countries have spent the last years trashing their own history, values, culture, “white supremacism” etc. etc. (to an extent that Europe has not), and then a pandemic comes and hey, why not take up the opportunity to commit mass suicide and destroy something that it’s not even worth a penny?

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    1. I didn’t know about Ireland but this confirms the general trend of English-speaking countries going at it in a very crazy way.

      Is it because the English-speaking world is the cradle of neoliberalism and is ready to embrace the neoliberal realities before anybody else? This possibility includes what you say about nihilism. The neoliberal revolution requires that national cultures, values, and achievements be wiped out to create a sense of complete uniformity.

      There’s definitely a lot to think about here.

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      1. I think the neoliberal mindset plays a huge part in it, yes.
        Something I realized during this pandemic: the liberal (i.e. neoliberal) Anglo elites – academia first, then trickling down – have spent years if not decades denying that human nature exists. In fact, in Humanities academic circles, uttering the words “human nature” makes you suspect of being sexist, racist or at the very least right-wing. Everything is in flux, everything is hybrid, everything changes, we are all tabulae rasae, even biological sex isn’t an immutable reality, etc.
        It is true to an extent that human beings and societies are very adaptable. But obviously this has its limits.
        Looking back at the enthusiasm with which many of these liberal elites embraced lockdowns in March last year, part of what I see is an appetite to demonstrate that they are infinitely adaptable, infinitely malleable, unlike those Trump supporters who insist that wanting to spend time with other human beings regularly is “human nature”. But online teaching is better! But online concerts are better and more in-clu-si-ve! But who needs cinemas when you have Netflix! But Zoom dating is so much better because you can be sure your date won’t just grab your arse at the first opportunity!
        Now some of the people I saw saying these things 15 months ago are starting to come round and admit that they too are missing normal life. But yes, clearly they couldn’t resist the pressure to demonstrate that they are more malleable and adaptable than the plebs.
        Others are still insisting that the Zoom life is great and they dread coming back. I suspect that some of them are still pretending, some of them genuinely mean it.

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  2. “What’s wrong with English-speaking countries that aren’t the US? ”

    Well traditionally English speaking countries have really good governments (comparatively speaking) which means there’s greater trust and greater willingness to undergo short-term inconvenience…
    So… that’s probably going to be a victim of the madness….
    Trust, as they say is built over decades and ruined in a set of short-term bad policies….

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    1. That’s true. More and more people are forgetting how to trust anybody. This is so dangerous because what if something serious does happen tomorrow or the day after? What if there is a real pathogen? A really serious pandemic? Or anything like it? Who will take it seriously any more after all these lies?

      Bret Weinstein was banned on YouTube today for talking about Ivermectin. Ivermectin! Seriously. And this is the mildest, wishy-washiest, politest fellow in the world, too.

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  3. Australia is months away from a major election. Whichever party can take credit for controlling COVID will win the election. Whichever party can be blamed for losing control of COVID will lose the election. The bureaucracy of Australia is partisan, which means that the employment of the average bureaucrat is tied to the party that wins the election. That includes health bureaucrats, which means that the health departments of every state are extremely cautious about doing anything that might result in some kind of blame.

    At the same time, a large proportion of the voting public is a welfare recipient of some kind who is deathly afraid of a COVID outbreak, who has no business or job to lose, who will vote for whoever they think will keep them safe.

    Those kinds of conditions lend themselves to lockdowns and showmanship.

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  4. Australian here, there’s less than 200 active cases in the entire country and apparently we’re still going for zero cases. It’s dumb, yes. The best part of the whole thing is that the typical mass immigration the government typically encourages to keep the Ponzi scheme running is off the table. Lowest immigration numbers since the mid-90s is absolutely fantastic!

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  5. Have the Anglo countries really been uniquely crazy? I have not followed the small-scale Covid countermeasures in all the societies of the world, but (for example) I’m just learning that in Spain, they had to wear masks outdoors for the past 12 months.

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