ONE neglected aspect of the criticism of Covid restrictions is the dehumanisation involved. That goes deeper than many think. The secular equivalent of the Christian injunction to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is to be found in the categorical imperative of the Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant: to treat other people as ends in themselves and never merely as a means. People, in other words, should be regarded as having intrinsic value, as subjects not objects. One should, in the words of the French philosopher Simone Weil, respect in human beings ‘their power of consent and refusal’.
But we are being treated as objects, merely as a means towards the impossible and hubristic goal of a Covid-free future. Setting aside all the lies we have been told about the severity and numerical extent of this disease, and about the capacity of hospitals, we are not treated with respect but as prisoners who have committed no crime. Everything is forbidden except for what the government permits. No mixing. No hugging – unless you are Neil Ferguson, Professor of Guessology (he of the amorous excursion and dodgy models) who is welcomed with open arms by the BBC. Compulsory vaccinations are ‘not ruled out’ by Matt Hancock, whose stony glint puts one in mind of a sadistic nurse in a psychiatric hospital (to use Boris’s own words about Hillary Clinton).
What is being done to us is more than just wrong; it is evil. Evil is a decreative and negating force. As the excellent philosopher Roger Scruton pointed out, actions which are evil seek to strip people of their humanity. The evil of communism, for instance, is that everywhere it has been put into practice it brutally extirpates people’s natural and wholesome needs and inclinations.
Similarly the bureaucratic zeal of Eichmann in the concentration camps oversaw not merely the torture and deaths of so many, but the camps were designed to humiliate them and to ‘deprive them of their humanity . . . to rob the inmates of their souls’. (Arguments for Conservatism, p 180).
And we can see soul-destroying humiliation with compulsory masks. These symbols of compliance, despite the mounting evidence against their medical efficacy, worn enthusiastically by the brainwashed, the fearful and, in some cases, by righteous virtue-signallers, are an offence not just against the human body but against the soul.
The soul is not a metaphysically separate entity like a supernatural, wispy and removable insole; talk about the soul belongs to a way of characterising our deepest attitude to one another as spiritual and moral beings.
The philosophical genius Ludwig Wittgenstein said of our dealings with another person, ‘My attitude towards him is an attitude towards a soul. I am not of the opinion that he has a soul.’ We are of course embodied beings but such a response to the other person is a response to an individual who is at the same time a fellow human being with all the moral implications that involves.
To force people to cover the face is to ‘deface’ them. Not merely in a physical sense. The face is not simply another ‘bit’ of the body like a kneecap; it is the place that shows our human nature with which we interact, and it symbolises and expresses our interior life. It is a repository and a vehicle of meaning within ‘the human world’ or the ‘Lebenswelt’, in which we live and move and have our being.
As Wittgenstein put it, ‘The face is the soul of the body.’ And another striking and moving remark, ‘If someone has a pain in his hand one does not comfort the hand but the sufferer: one looks into his face.’
We are not merely being indoctrinated into perpetual fear and obedience; we are controlled and manipulated, treated like mere things, pawns in a political game, while the power of the state rises like a Colossus. There is a mission-creep towards The Great Reset.
Of Huxley’s Brave New World, the philosopher Bertrand Russell remarked ‘It is all too likely to come true.’ He also enjoined ‘Remember your humanity.’ We are at risk of forgetting it. This government already has.