There was a cartoon on TV when I was little called Pinky and The Brain, watched by small children and ironically appreciated by culty (perhaps stoned) teenagers alike. It followed the wacky adventures of two white mice living in a science lab.
There was a running gag in the show, at some point Pinky (the dumb mouse) would ask The Brain (the smart mouse) what they were going to do tonight, and The Brain would answer:
The same thing we do every night Pinky…try to take over the world!
This quote goes through my head a lot when I’m reading the news or following Twitter or the like.
The novel coronavirus is still all anyone in the media is talking about. While many bemoan the UK government’s inaction, other governments are being far from inactive. The “states of emergency” continue to spread, and the lockdowns are getting broader and stronger.
Eventually, Boris Johnson will likely be told he must “do something” enough that he’ll cave and shut down all the schools, ban public gatherings and put army checkpoints up on all the roads. Totally against his will, you understand. That absolutely wasn’t the plan all along.
That seems to be the thing about this particular pandemic, it seems to be terribly terrifying and yet only ever spurns people to do stuff they would have been happy to do in the first place. It’s been pretty convenient.
How are we going to respond to this crisis Brain?”
“The same way we respond to every crisis, Pinky…try to take over the world!”
Look at Bolivia, for example, where a mighty three people have reportedly tested positive.
Their interim government – the result of a military coup against a democratically elected President – has just declared a state of national emergency. Schools are closed. Public gatherings banned. They may even have to cancel the elections, scheduled for May this year. Won’t that be sad? I guess the unelected Junta will just have to keep running the country until the crisis is over. Darn.
Oh, while we’re in the area, let’s look in on Venezuela.
The collapsing medical system can’t handle a coronavirus outbreak on its own.
And even, potentially, a global threat:
Government actions that have contributed to Venezuela’s collapsing health care system not only violate Venezuelans’ right to health, but they are now a threat to global health.
The solution? Well…take a guess:
The international community must step in […] sustained international pressure on the Maduro government, including targeted sanctions such as asset freezes and the cancellation of visas for top Venezuelan officials. There should also be a push for international accountability for crimes including torture, given the absolute lack of judicial independence in the country.
In another article, Foreign Policy also suggests the pandemic should be a reason to suspend the presidential election campaigning in the US. Opening the article with the foreboding line:
It’s time to ask, during a time of plague, whether — and if so, in what form — democracy can continue as usual.
Which means no big crowds chanting Bernie’s name, no televised debates where Biden forgets where he is, and no lines of voters being turned away from the democrat primaries over “misunderstandings”.
The article even dances around the idea of postponing the vote itself. Voting “during a time of plague” can have an impact on the turnout and result, Laurie Garrett argues. She stops short of that, but only because “Orange Man Bad”. If it was Hillary in the White House, not Trump, the media would already have vociferously called for a postponement of the election altogether.
As it is, they make do with this:
Actual voting can, and should, proceed with heavy emphasis on mailed ballots.
Given the reported irregularities surrounding Britain’s postal ballots in last year’s general election, and their historic ease of fraud, this is an interesting suggestion. (There will come the idea, someday soon, that all future voting be done digitally from home, at which point any even slight democracy left in the US system will be entirely stamped out).
Just as important as what we’re being told we must do, is what we’re being told we must not do.
For example, Trump’s decision to suspend travel from 26 EU nations was met with derision (even though these same publications were praising “going medieval” on pandemic prevention previously). Is this just because it’s Trump? Or is it because the idea of a nation isolating itself for protection plays into tropes of nationalism and sovereignty that clash with the open-border, globalist agenda?
It’s hard to say, since so many journalists would criticise World Peace or a cure for cancer if Trump brought it about.
Perhaps one clue is found in France, where Macron has banned public gatherings (say goodnight, Gilets Jaunes) but left his borders open, claiming “viruses don’t carry passports” and warning against “nationalism”. This is hard to reconcile with the alleged danger of the virus, given the fact he shares a soft border with Italy.
The CBC ran an article headlined Why travel bans won’t work to stop spread of COVID-19, quoting Steven Hoffman, Professor of Health Law:
[Travel bans] don’t work…They undermine the public health response. They undermine trust in governments and violate international law in the process.”
Interestingly, Hoffman uses the same exact phrase, word for word: “viruses don’t carry passports”. I don’t know what that means, if anything. I don’t believe anyone ever suggested viruses do carry passports, but they don’t buy football tickets or attend the theatre either.
How much sense does that make? Does quarantine work domestically, but not internationally?
Apparently it’s not safe to watch a movie with a hundred strangers, but sitting on a plane with them for 10 hours, breathing (famously unhygienic) recycled air is perfectly fine. That seems entirely irrational to me, but hey I’m no professor of health law.
(My favourite quote from that article: “if people want to travel, they’ll find ways to do so. Instead it’s best if people travel through official channels”, mostly because I’m not sure how you travel without using “official channels”. He seems to be suggesting that if Virgin Atlantic turned me away from my flight to JFK, I’d just grab a kayak, head to the beach and start paddling.)
What else are you not supposed to do? Well, read misinformation of course. Sharing it can be dangerous. Make sure you read only officially sanctioned government information. Report all perpetrators of click crime and disinformation propagation.
Don’t worry. Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and Google are all working with the state to make sure you only get the information the government decides you need. They’ll also be scrubbing “misinformation” and “hoaxes” from their platforms. To protect you. You’re welcome.
It’s funny, when you think about it.
It turns out in order to best deal with the coronavirus we need to ban large public protests, introduce martial law, prevent socialists being elected in Bolivia, effect regime change in Venezuela, stop using cash, vote digitally or by post, leave our borders wide open, censor the major social media networks and start enforcing compulsory vaccination.
Which is very fortunate, because they wanted to do all of that anyway.