After Two Years of Hell, a Reminder of the First Days
Some Reflections on the Early "Pandemic"
“No illness that afflicts a living human can be known…This simple thought did not occur to the doctors (just as it cannot occur to a sorcerer that he cannot do sorcery), because their life’s activity consisted in treating patients, because that was what they were paid for, and because they had spent the best days of their lives doing it. But above all, this thought could not occur to the doctors because they saw that they were unquestionably useful, and indeed they were useful…not because they made the patient swallow what were for the most part harmful substances…but they were useful, necessary, inevitable…because they satisfied the moral need of the sick girl and the people who loved her.” - Leo Tolstoy [War and Peace]
“The first waterproofs made their appearance. Indeed, one was struck by the number of glossy, rubberized garments to be seen. The reason was that our newspapers had informed us that two hundred years previously, during the great pestilences of southern Europe, the doctors wore oiled clothing as a safeguard against infection. the shops had seized this opportunity of unloading their stock of out-of-fashion waterproofs, which their purchasers fondly hoped would guarantee immunity from germs.” - Albert Camus [The Plague]
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March 12 marks two years since Trump, in an illegal and unprecedented power grab, suddenly shut down travel from Europe. Few made a sufficiently big deal about it at the time, and even fewer are making a big deal of the anniversary, but it was the harbinger of a total loss of freedom for billions around the world. The public gave them an inch, and they took several miles.
So far, Jeffrey Tucker has been almost the only person I’ve seen discussing this terrible second anniversary of the beginning of the horrid “covid era”:
Being as I don’t truly have the heart to go through it all again, this piece will be far more sparing on links than is usual for me and I will trust you all to remember how it was. Plus, I for sure don’t have it in me to go through the mind control machines [search engines] and try to find more information about what is probably literally the most discussed topic in human history.
But let us go back to our lives in early 2020. It was the beginning of the last year of Trump’s first term. We had weathered years of the most asinine Russiagate garbage imaginable. Trump had just murdered Qasem Soleimani. Besides being exhausted from years of anti-Trump mania and already burgeoning woke nonsense, our most recent fight as a society was about Jennifer Lopez and Shakira shaking their asses at the Superbowl. For myself, I was arguing with many people- most of whom I no longer talk to- about how both Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are white, but also that it was idiotic for anyone to be upset about the half time show, especially as these are artists from when today’s parents were growing up.
For real, think about just how goddamned long ago that Superbowl show feels. That was only two years ago. We had no idea what the government would do to us.
For myself, my first child was nine months old. Things in my often-tumultuous personal life were trending in a positive direction. Though neither my wife nor myself are disease-fearers, having an infant we did pay attention to the stories of a new disease in China- nothing makes you fear for safety like having a baby [or joining a death cult about avoiding a cold, as we would find out.] My wife stayed up late reading about it one night, and learned what was always known: covid is extremely unlikely to harm children. That was in January.
Though I knew scary government disease control plans to exist, I didn’t think they would happen. They had tried to scare us with diseases periodically so I was used to it. Disease-fearers are just like that. Every government agent wants you to fear the thing they are in charge of protecting you from. I believe I was in highschool during SARS. As ever, they made a huge deal about it, the Chinese went around in masks, but the whole thing was a “dud” so to speak.
Then, when I was in college, Swine Flu broke out. My school, Washington State University, even made the New York Times the beginning of my senior year, as a hotbed of disease. Some people were panicked, but I figured we would all get it and all be fine. Some of my friends did actually get very sick, I may have caught it for I did get sick at the time, but it was mild. The school told us- I kid you not- to avoid going to the doctor and that there was no reason to get tested. The only official policy change was the sensible policy that you did not need a doctor’s note to get an excused absence. They behaved completely reasonably with an eye to using medical resources for the sickest people. Despite that people like Niel Ferguson were giving insane predictions for mortality, calm won the day. The only thing that changed in my life was that we started playing beer pong with water in the cups to avoid “Miss Piggy” as we called it, and then the game was ruined because people never went back to beer.
You know, it was the beginning of the Obama era, and no one in the media was going to let a pandemic damage his presidency. Of course, Swine Flu was massively more dangerous to healthy young people than covid, but our geriatric politicians only care about themselves- something which was known a long time in advance of covid [these are the same people who were once decribed as being “drunk at the mall with their grandchildrens’ credit cards.”]
So, there I was, along with the rest of you, a relatively less traumatized person living in the late stage of a dying empire. The Democrat campaigns were going nowhere. I thought it completely unimaginable that anyone would ever vote for Biden. My kid was doing great, my marriage moving along, my economic situation manageable if I just did a decent job at going to work, and my drinking on the path to getting relatively under control. Then scary things started to happen.
They cancelled SXSW in a completely unprecedented move. Covid had barely been proven to be anywhere, but that didn’t stop the insanity. Italy had embraced Chinese-style lockdowns. Trump banned international travel, and said extremely incorrect things about covid as Jeff Tucker explained in the link above. San Francisco locked down, and then came my home state of Washington.
One of the most confounding things is how they got to Trump. It’s true that he is a fat, elderly, disease-fearing retard, so they may have just found his Achilles’ Heel. But he quite clearly didn’t want to do it, and the whole time it appeared as if someone else was in charge. He was somehow denied the power to stop what he had helped start. And why did he keep Fauci? What we came to learn about Fauci as a person aside, in general a alleged major problem like this should not be handled by a man who should have retired 10 years before. Why did he not remove him and leave him in an emeritus position at the beginning before he had a media cult and was seen as the main opposition to Trump? One way or another, they got Trump to devastate the economy he was so proud of and embrace massive government, and from there he was somehow ensared.
As a long-time libertarian anarchist (for I was still that thing), the terrifying civil liberties implications were like an earthquake. I was in 8th grade for 9/11, so my maturity was formed around a dangerous panic that never properly went away: I was raised on insane and panicked government and society. When the schools were closed for a long period I knew everything was fucked. My wife is a bartender and her industry was the first to be closed. Our entire social life has been based around that bar for years. And then the whole state was put on house arrest. Society went absolutely batshit crazy.
Early on, I did have a very small amount of disease fear, because of the kid and because she often sees my parents, who live nearby. I used hand sanitizer before and after the store. I did keep the kid away from my parents, but with my wife home we didn’t need babysitting, and she was so destabilized by her employer being shut down she didn’t want to be apart from her baby. I remember on about her second day of mandatory unemployment she had a tea party with the kid where they both dressed in costumes, simply for something to do. We all watched Tiger King.
While many other people simply took the break from their lives in good humor- initially at least- I was losing my mind. It was a combination of two things: the first, my fear of losing liberty; the second, rule by cognitive dissonance. Society as a whole had gone crazy. People had absolutely no rational perspective on disease. They truly are NPCs and can be controlled by a switch. This was especially hard for me, as I already thought the vax fanatics were totally crazy [back when we used to argue about measles outbreaks.]
But why did the flip switch? We still don’t know. In February, Tucker Carlson was telling people that the disease could be more serious than they were saying and and Fauci was telling everyone to remain calm. Then for some unknown reason, everything changed and an intrusive, unprecedented, and a completely untested method based on computer modeling was the only acceptable option. It was forgotten that a disease has to run through a population. Somehow people did not realize that “Flatten the Curve” meant to intentionally make a disease last longer. In the earliest days, they told us it was to prepare the hospitals, which is at least theoretically rational [the amount and quality of care is the only thing that can genuinely be controlled through pubic policy.] But suddenly it became that we could not face covid ever and testing positive for the virus was metaphysically bad.
To ration care, they stopped all other medical procedures for weeks in regions where there were not any cases- literally zero hospitalizations in my county for the first several weeks of lockdown. We got the horrible trend of TikTok nurses demonstrating the hospitals were empty but wanting to be called heroes anyway. Meanwhile, you couldn’t get a cancer screening and your grandma had to die alone. All of the policies were profoundly cruel and irrational but it just didn’t matter.
Plexiglass went up everywhere. Sanitizer was everywhere. They had no evidence these things helped with this disease. Masks were just starting, but we were fed the allegedly “noble lie” that they were not necessary, before the government massively changed course and suddenly had a cult-like devotion to masking, the same as the waterproof coats in the quote above [I also read Camus’ The Plague around this time: the most striking feature was that the restrictions for a cold were more severe than for the actual fucking plague.] The internet was a lonely place, and even a lot of anti-government types, being by nature paranoid, bought the idea that the disease was extremely dangerous and would destroy society [which of course, the government chose to do.] The evidence that covid is only dangerous to very select people with advanced age and/or serious health problems was ignored, or when acknowledged it was to say I wanted grandma to die [they mostly lived, despite my best efforts.] I became increasingly savage in the comment threads, and there were very few of us willing to say anything early on when there were so many unknowns.
But, I had the sense to know that even 1% of the population dying in a couple of months is a very manageable problem, especially if it’s concentrated among people who usually don’t have jobs. [As a point of interest, the plague can kill 50% of a population and tends to attack the most vigorous.] My town has 1000 people, so it is easy to see that 1% would be 10 lost to seasonal illness. That is eminently manageable, but we were told somehow having too much work would collapse the funeral industry [wut?] Two years in the US is pushing 1,000,000 alleged deaths…so 1 in 340 people over the course of 2 years- think about how many people they wanted us to believe would die, and now they want us to believe that number is the worst disaster imaginable. [Not to mention the completely irrational belief that somehow without Trump we would have zero covid deaths…the liberals are truly so insane they think this is divine punishment, liking blaming a hurricane on the gays.] In an already profoundly irrational society, the “Coalition for Reason” grew extremely weak.
After a few weeks, when I was ready to let my kid see my dad- a disease scientist by trade, by the way, who never feared the virus- I stupidly told my stepbrother, who “advised them not to do that”, threatened me and my child if I were to do so, and proceeded to say I would be a murderer if either got sick. [Except to fight one other time, I have not spoken to him since, one of many people I’m happy to have out of my life.] My stepbrother is an idiot with a degree from a defunct technical school, and my father has a Master’s Degree in Animal Science and 35 years of disease research experience, but somehow the former is the one setting the family’s disease policy: this is a poignant microcosm of what we have all experienced.
So I fought and I fought. I drank and I drank. In the first days of the bar being closed I had gotten people together to drink at the park in protest. Then the parks were closed: we were trespassed from our own parks. I did my best to keep seeing people and not give in [also, I had the sense to know it is better if a disease should pass through the healthy part of the population rapidly and that “slowing the spread” was neither possible nor desirable.] Despair, loneliness, and massive frustration about living in a propaganda psy-op writ large set in. I impotently thrashed at everything in opposition and fury. The world was reminiscent of the famous line from Macbeth:
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” - Shakespeare [Macbeth, 5.5]
A close friend, one of the only people fully on side at the time, said to me pretty early in this, “I have to admit, if it turns out we’re wrong about this, I am not admitting it publicly, we are in too deep.” I affirmed the same thing, “If I am wrong at this point I’m going down with the ship.” Remember, in these days covid hadn’t broken out most places. They were doing nothing with the idled hospitals. We still didn’t know what would happen when it broke out at large. [Of course, it was in the United States much earlier than they said, so their models were always nonsense for multiple reasons.] But it turned out, he and I were more right than we possibly could have imagined. It turned out to be the case that having taken a positive covid test in the last 30 days isn’t associated with mortality. Lockdown stringency is a random variable for case rates. It was all truly nothing but a power grab and social panic. Several times since then, I have told the public they have two options: “Admit you’ve been had, or be retarded”, but very few people have admitted they were had, and most the ones who did, did so long ago.
Just to give a vignette of early lockdown life for those of you who have pushed it out of your mind: a couple or few weeks into this I was at the grocery store, and saw a beloved co-worker of my wife’s outside. This is someone I usually would have seen a the bar multiple times a week. I said to her, “I would give you a hug but I don’t know what people would do if they saw us,” and she looked at me with kind of mischievous eyes and started scooting towards me in a funny and needy way. We hugged, and though no passerbys threw anything at us, it was heavy in both of our minds that we were not supposed to do that basic gesture of human friendship and would be seen as grandma-killing enemies of civilization.
But, in those early days the uncertainty of everything was much greater. I was losing my goddamned mind. We had all been indefinitely imprisoned by an insane lie. Our basic human rights were gone, and there was nowhere but South Dakota, Sweden, or Belarus to escape to. What the fuck was going on?
I was trying to make everyone understand the dangers of lockdowns, and all the deaths they would cause, and no one wanted to listen. I made a major personal mistake whereby I felt that acting crazy proved the point I wanted to make about lockdowns and mental health. You know how when you do basic things to control your life and appear sane to other people it makes you more sane, in the same sense that remembering to smile can make you feel happy? Suffice to say, acting crazy to prove a political point about mental health, makes you substantially more crazy, creating an unfortunate feedback loop. [I should have known this: years before I copied George Costanza and used acting stressed as a client management technique and it in fact made me much more stressed even if it did stop people giving me grief.] It was bad, like its kind of incredible I survived it bad, I don’t like to think of what I put my wife and daughter through- and I will tell you very few besides them cared about me at the time. Everyone was also going through this bullshit, in one way or another, though the delusional people we now call Branch Covidians seemed to generally think collecting unemployment while watching Netflix and eating delivered food was their Normandy Beach.
We had no idea when it might end. Trump wanted the nation opened by Easter [of 2020!] and all of the other power sources said he was crazy. Early on Easter seemed unimaginably far away. He couldn’t be let to undue what he had done. In his fatal hubris, they had convinced Trump that he could defeat this and it would help him. Of course, it burned his administration to the ground, and it looks as if it will defeat the Democrats after him. Staking your political fortune on eliminating an infectious respiratory disease- a never previously achieved goal- is absolutely insane, but our bureaucratic and academic classes have no grounding in reality.
On Easter, with essentially all the country but South Dakota and possibly Florida [for it re-opened quickly] closed, I went to an Easter service at a friend’s church. It was held outside, but at a church camp, near a small lake and it was a nice day; it was lovely enough you didn’t think too much about being outside. The people shook hands and hugged and everything else, in this time when we had all been told to deprive ourselves of human touch. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life, actually going to an illegal Easter service in America. At this time I had become really religious, thinking for some reason that is now unclear to me that Jesus and God might deliver me from this insanity. A short while later, my faith would entirely collapse seeing that no one believed in the Gospel or eternal life, and in fact they were absolutely terrified of natural death at an old age. The fact that they would shutter churches demonstrated that the faith did not possibly offer what I was looking for.
That Easter service is one of my only good memories of that time. I was essentially so powerless that I felt that self-immolation was my only option, and that only by my own death could I show people the harm that was being caused and the consequences they would ultimately pay. But, no one would have cared, at all, it only would have harmed my wife and daughter. Plenty of other people did do it, and their despair was all but ignored.
At some point, I couldn’t tell you the timeline, I announced that I was done fighting, and intended to drink myself to death in peace. I left normie facebook and began using facebook as my cat. This was before the rise of the “Cult of Covid” but in the time when the average person you know was being extremely stupid and still wholly bought the narrative.
After seemingly forever in the wilderness, spontaneous, leaderless opposition began appearing on the internet. And not just some of it: local comment threads were flooded with people calling for an end and calling it a scam and demanding a re-opening. Protests occurred, re-open facebook groups exploded. It seemed as if it was coming to an end, but it didn’t end. The genie was unleashed, and it was not going back in the bottle.
It seems as if the protests only strengthened the resolve of the lockdowners. I remember at the first protest, there was a merciful aspect where most people who would counter-protest knew they couldn’t go in public with “stay home” signs. But I remember distinctly a car being left there with a sign that said “Bad dogs, go home”, as if the person thought people protesting this would be swayed by the statement that they have all the civil rights and personal freedom of your family dog.
From there, society truly split, in a million insane ways. Masks became an object of cult adoration. Your virtue was judged only by your fear. The sole purpose in life was avoiding germs. Once the initial panic subsided, what was left was an earnest belief that our society needs to be arranged around getting a few more years out of the most death-prone people: you should be willing to be miserable the first 80 years of your life that you might be alive to be miserable from 80-85. Genuine insanity.
And when you thought doctors and vaccines and everything else were bullshit in the first place, it was very hard to watch. You know early on in this the few people who said “best case scenario we have vaccines by spring of next year and then can re-open” were seen as lunatics, but then when we had vaccines they still didn’t re-open. It is as if they are pathologically incapable of declaring victory [this will yet destroy the Democrats.] Huge swathes of the population simply fell into the belief that there was no moral good except to try to cure with extreme medical and governmental intervention what would have burnt out on its own. The idea of taking a cautious neutral stance was already weak in America and was truly a victim of this insanity. It became dominated doctors who can’t think in any other way but using government and corporate power to fight an invisible enemy that they basically made up as a problem. [It needs to be noted, that it should be that statesmen listen to multiple experts in different fields and then make a balanced decision: turning over the government to unelected “experts” is extremely unwise.]
The government had a long history of creating problems and then failing to solve them, but global society launching a kamikaze attack against a cold was a whole new level of the concept. And despite that they were more wrong than should be humanly possible, it appears most of the public learned nothing, and their NPC switch can move them straight to the next narrative [which is of course “Russia bad.”]
We live in a profoundly irrational and depressing society, but I survived the covid panic, if barely, and I intend to survive all the rest, even if still screaming impotently from the sidelines. Hopefully, though, in the long run, a strong reaction can leave us better than where we started. However, I’m not hugely optimistic, as the world basically lost 70 years of progress and we will be dealing with the consequences the rest of our lives, but we do still have a chance of victory [assuming they aren’t ended abruptly by nuclear war.]
I will, as is my habit, leave you with a Machiavelli quote:
“Anyone who has to fight many enemies, although he is inferior in numbers, may yet win the victory if he can withstand the first onslaught.” [Discourses, III.2]
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