COVID-19 restrictions have led to populations being forced to wear masks, get vaccinated, and lockdown – measures that would’ve been considered unthinkable and outrageous breaches of liberty prior to COVID-19. What’s possibly worse than the restrictions themselves is the fact that the mere questioning of them is often considered blasphemous, and can get one fired from their job or censored on the internet. This rise in authoritarianism and intellectual dishonesty is among the many disturbing trends that have advanced since the COVID-19 hysteria.
Here is a summary of some of those disturbing trends that have advanced from the COVID-19 (mis-)handling
- Authoritarianism – Mask/vaccine mandates and lockdowns would’ve been non-starters before COVID-19. The draconian measures taken in Wuhan were initially considered a violation of human rights, and then a few months later the West decided to adopt these same tyrannical measures. The State of Emergency was also used to justify the breaching of laws such as protecting privacy of healthcare data. Many of the lockdowns were implemented without clear or rational conditions upon when they would be ended, leading many to wonder when if ever they’d be lifted at all.
- Reduction in freedom of speech / Cancel Culture – People including who questioned healthcare policies were fired from their jobs and banned from big tech platforms (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit). You were not allowed to be critical of the mandates or else be dismissed as a selfish, uneducated, Trump supporter. Protesting of the mandates was banned.
- Media bias – Any pretense of the media being unbiased and intellectually honest was completely thrown out the window. The media went full force in blatant COVID-19 fearmongering, advocating for COVID-19 restrictions, and silencing opposition, effectively acting as propaganda arms of the government.
- Reduction of logic / dumbing down of the public – Rather than a culture of educating the public and allowing them to draw their own conclusions from the data, the COVID-19 mandate restriction was mercilessly shoved down our throats. Any criticism was met with emotional vitriol and censorship. Mention of side effects such as increased depression and suicides was dismissed and even mocked. Many of the restrictions logically make no sense, yet continue because many people are stupid and have no interest in logic and facts. These idiotic restrictions include outdoor mask mandates, cloth/surgial mask mandates (only FFP2/FFP3 masks properly worn effectively protect one from COVID), mask and vaccine mandates at non-essential establishments like gyms, restaurants, and hotels, etc. Booster shots were forced without adequate data attesting to their efficacy. False narratives like “the hospitals are overwhelmed” were spread, with media parading high hospital utilization numbers without providing context (eg. hospitals normally run at 85% capacity)
- Lack of intellectual honesty – The implementation of pointless and ineffective COVID restrictions and silencing of criticism shows a clear lack of intellectual honesty. COVID-19 was presented as a serious and grave danger when in reality the virus is not statistically dangerous unless one is very old and/or immunocompromised, and the infection fatality rate is around 0.2%. When COVID-19 was found to be less dangerous than expected such as with the latest Omicron variant, officials refused to relax restrictions. Ends were used to justify the means.
- Appeal to authority – The weak appeal of “trust the experts” became the new norm to justify COVID-19 restrictions, made more ironic by the fact that organizations like the WHO were initially recommending the opposite of what they’re recommending now such as regarding mask recommendations. Rather than seriously considering the numerous tradeoffs (eg. increased social isolation, depression, suicides, unemployment, bankruptcies, inflation such as from supply chain shortages) of COVID-19 mandates and respecting individual freedoms, policy was implemented solely for the single-handed goal of minimizing COVID-19 at all costs while ignoring all side effects as if nothing else mattered. Ethical considerations such as the defending of basic human rights were dismissed, with the ends being used to justify the means.
- Shifting of responsibility from healthcare systems to individuals – In the past it was seen as a healthcare systems responsibility to provide healthcare. A bad flu season was never used to justify forced flu shots or mask wearing, and individuals were free to live their lives how they wanted. If hospitals were overwhelmed, that was seen as the responsibility of the healthcare system, not justification to restrict everyday activities on the population in an attempt to reduce the number of hospital patients. Now over 2 years after COVID-19, population-wide mandates are still being used to attempt to alleviate so-called nursing and hospital shortages. These extreme measures that were only supposed to be temporary and used as a last resort in a state of crisis are now accepted as the norm. All despite the fact that healthcare systems have had over 2 years now to address the “supply” side of the healthcare equation.
- Human contact reframed as involuntary manslaughter / Guilty until proven innocent – COVID-19 restrictions such as restaurant closures were justified by claiming that anyone could potentially spread the virus to someone else at these establishments. But then by logical extension all human contact could be considered involuntary manslaughter, and then be used to justify draconian lockdowns.
- Shifting of individual healthcare responsibility from individuals to everyone else – Expanding on the previous point, the act of human contact was reframed such that anyone (especially the unvaccinated) doing anything around other humans is considered something analogous to potential involuntary manslaughter. Instead of the burden of responsibility of safety being on individuals themselves who can opt in to whatever level of risk tolerance they desire (eg. staying home, wearing masks), the burden is now on the entire population to go out of their way to minimize their risk of potentially spreading it to others – meaning wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and getting tested. We are all potential COVID-19 murderers, guilty by default, who must prove our innocence via COVID-19 tests and vaccines before doing basic everyday activities like going to the gym.
- Being against restrictions now considered “selfish” – Arguing that we should be able to do basic everyday things like get a haircut from a barber willing to offer a haircut was mocked as “selfish” since we could potentially spread the virus to one another, and subsequently to others, who apparently bear no responsibility in their own containment despite the fact that anyone is free to live to their desired level of risk tolerance (eg. staying inside, wearing FFP3 masks).
- The normalization of vaccine mandates and passports – Prior to COVID-19, the idea of a population-wide vaccine mandate or vaccine passport (a more indirect way to mandate vaccines) would’ve been considered unthinkable, similar to eugenics. Whether or not someone had a flu vaccine would’ve been considered none of their business, but now must be showed to dine in at restaurants and travel. People now have less rights over their own bodies because the ends allegedly override individual liberties, not unlike the argument for eugenics.
- Virtue signaling – Although many people knew how utterly stupid and pointless many of the restrictions were, they continued to support and abide by them because they wanted to portray themselves as virtuous. People were actually jogging and bike riding while wearing masks. Masks and vaccine shots became analogous to religious garments/rituals.
It’s a shame the direction society has taken with increasing authoritarianism, silencing of opposition, intellectual dishonesty, and decreasing freedoms. The silver lining is that people are now finally starting to realize that they were fooled and taken advantage of. Hopefully we will learn from this and never allow it to happen again. The worst that can happen is we learn nothing and repeat the atrocities of the past. If we continue to blindly trust the authorities incapable of admitting their mistakes, then we will have learned nothing.