You’re gonna live with it and play it out for as long as it goes, right? – Trapped in the same lie – Detective McNulty in The Wire
‘THE only dumb question is the one not asked.’ I’m sure you have heard that irritating cliché many times before, perhaps at school or, if you were really unlucky, at work spouted by some ghastly new-age management guru. Still, like many clichés it contains a kernel of truth: very often we don’t ask questions for fear of looking stupid in front of our peers, or because we are scared it shows that we haven’t really been paying much attention.
But there is another reason we don’t ask questions – because we fear the answers, and that is the basis of the Great Covid Lie we have been living through this past nightmarish year.
The Great Covid Lie – that the disease is of such lethal virulence that almost any measure, no matter how repressive, is justified to combat it – has been the settled narrative since the first lockdown began just over a year ago. From that point, it became inevitable that ever more extreme and destructive measures would be introduced, the latest of which is the deeply sinister ‘Covid passports’ initiative.
To understand how the Great Covid Lie came about, we have to acknowledge that Covid-19 IS a disease of potentially lethal virulence – when it comes to destroying political careers: had the NHS been unable to cope, the terrible optics of overwhelmed hospitals, the elderly and frail left in corridors while dead or dying, could have quickly proved terminal for those in power.
Unfortunately, there are no such optics for the patients whose yet-undiagnosed cancer claims their lives, or for the quiet suicide of the ruined business owner, or the child condemned to a future of dead-end jobs owing to lack of education. Now and in the next few years all these things will happen, and on a huge scale, but they will have considerably less impact on the careers of those currently in charge.
Whether or not you believe lockdowns and all the panoply of freedom-destroying measures we have had to endure were necessary and proportionate – I don’t – the important thing to remember is that governments simply refused even to ask that very question: there has been no serious attempt at cost-benefit analysis of the various options, which there would have been if governments were truly motivated by national well-being.
Another truism: ‘The greatest lie a conman tells is the lie he tells himself.’ To face up to the truth of what you are and what you have done to others is something that none of us entirely manages to do, and it is particularly difficult when what you have done is horrendous and on a massive scale. It is far easier for our political masters to convince themselves that they were behaving altruistically, that no other course of action was possible.
As disaster is heaped upon disaster, lie upon lie, ever more extreme, unnecessary and authoritarian measures are needed for the maintenance of the hysterical narrative. It is this, rather than some sinister conspiracy, that is now the major political driver behind the Covid passport scheme and all subsequent society-destroying schemes to come: as Covid becomes less virulent, the lie becomes ever more so – the disease could apparently still bounce back, sweeping across a now substantially vaccinated population in some ‘fourth wave’ – no doubt to be followed by a tsunami and subsequently a megatsunami. After all, if restrictions were universally lifted tomorrow and nothing much happened, the lie would be at risk of being exposed. Better instead to double down – and double, triple and quadruple down they will.
There are others who benefit from the propagation and continuation of the Great Covid Lie – those, such as the Machiavellian Tony Blair, who really do relish an increase in authoritarian power, or the media, who from the start prostituted themselves because cheap sensationalism was a bigger money-spinner than maintaining critical faculty, or the scientists given the power of gods over our civilisation, now able to conduct their experiments on an unprecedented scale.
All are ultimately trapped, as are the rest of us, by the same enormous lie.