Unpersoning social misfits
Cast your mind back to the recent past when refugee rights activists adopted the powerful slogan “No Human Being is illegal”. Unless you’re a psychopath lacking the most basic compassion for other human beings on the planet, it’s hard to disagree. Of course, the statement in and of itself does not mean endless waves of economic migration are either socially or environmentally sustainable. Migration is not a black and white issue in complex societies, but hold that thought while we consider what it could mean in our post-lockdown world.
Did anyone see this clampdown coming? In little more than a month, jurisdictions spanning much of our planet have placed billions of human beings under virtual house arrest, severely limiting our freedom of social interaction and movement, not so much across national borders, but within our towns, cities and surrounding countryside. Never before have so many people followed the diktat of so few. From Singapore to Saint Tropez and Manhattan to Milan, people have been forced to adapt their lifestyles to comply with new rules that turn us all into potential transgressors if we step out of line. The authorities seem to facilitate only activities controlled either by the state or by big business. The big retailers, and especially the likes of Amazon and Apple, have all done wonderfully well as the only ones geared to meet the new logistical challenges imposed by lockdown restrictions. Tesco rolled out its new human traffic management system with almost military precision. They now employ people not to serve customers, prepare food or stack shelves, but make sure their customers stay 2 metres apart.
The alliances and demographics of the people who toe the establishment line and those who challenge the mainstream narrative have once again shifted. Only last December the UK seemed divided mainly over national and metropolitan identities. All of a sudden the arguments we once had over Brexit, mass migration and Scottish independence have faded into the background. How can any country be independent if we depend on tech giants not only to deliver life’s necessities, but to closely monitor all human movements and interactions and coordinate healthcare policy on a global scale? The coronavirus scare has accelerated the transition from geographic to online communities and from human-operated machines and vehicles to robots. There were plenty of warning signs in the pre-corona world about creeping authoritarianism in the guise of hate speech laws, but few imagined that government ministers would soon talk openly of outlawing any challenges to the new scientific orthodoxy or welcome the corporate censorship of politically incorrect authors. The new divide pits social conformists firmly against critical thinkers. Social conservatives and latter-day hippies are in both camps. We now witness the ugly spectacle of Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell and Boris Johnson agreeing on the need to limit basic civil liberties allegedly to combat an elusive virus. Boris Johnson played the clown by initially suggesting herd immunity as a strategy and stressing the importance of keeping the economy afloat, but in a matter of weeks he changed his tune 180 degrees. Perhaps we have learned who’s really in charge. Some of us may have been hoodwinked by a temporary obsession with the European Union and the false belief that Tory politicians somehow wanted to take back control, only to cave in to the diktat of another global organisation at the earliest opportunity. Some even believed the Tories better represented the desires of the core British working classes or would downgrade the BBC from the Ministry of Truth to a mere public service broadcaster. Yet it pains me to admit that in the pantomime squabble between Boris Johnson and the BBC, the latter won the battle of hearts and minds as millions now parrot the new pseudoscience of flattening curves, contact-tracing, miracle vaccines and saving the NHS by staying at home. The same talking points have been replicated on all the other leading news outlets and echoed by celebrities. Yet at the fringes of society social conservatives and transgressive types have found common cause in their resistance to a new breed of borderless totalitarianism at war with human nature.
You may well have been one of the trendy lefties who welcomed refugees at the height of the Syrian conflict, unaware they were mere pawns in a grand chess game over global control. I have no doubt that many so-called activists genuinely believed they were helping desperate human beings fleeing unspeakable horrors, oblivious to the role of the global Deep State (centred around the US, UK, France and Israel, but now merging with the EU, India and China) in arming rival factions of foreign mercenaries on Syrian soil, and turning a blind eye to large numbers of economic migrants who had learned via social media about generous welfare in far-off lands. Remember the iconic picture of a Syrian boy drowning as his father failed to board a boat from Turkey to a nearby Greek island? No human being is illegal became a rallying cry for metropolitan elitists and revolutionary communists alike in their common desire to destroy anachronistic nation states and transform the whole world into a giant theme park. Do you really think our ruling classes promoted global governance because they cared about starving Africans or the hapless victims of civil wars rather than exploit their desperation to build an empire that treats all jurisdictions as mere colonies? It should hardly surprise us that the prime advocates of global policing in the form of endless military interventions with humanitarian pretexts, mass migration and superstates have crept out of the woodwork to champion a global response to the current pandemic. Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger and Bill Gates have all lent their support to a synchronised global lockdown. Now their enemies are no longer local despots like Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic, angry nativists or terrorists, but flesh and blood human beings who in one way or another refuse to cooperate with their new medical martial law. Those who flout social distancing or face mask rules stand accused of endangering other people’s lives. Simple everyday activities that would until recently have been quite innocent with no ill-intent have suddenly been criminalised.
In the not too distant past people would regularly break loosely enforced rules. Back in the 1970s and 80s, it was technically illegal to tape records for a friend, yet everyone did it. When the Italian government first made it mandatory to wear front seat belts in 1989, most Italians ignored it and after a few half-hearted fines the police failed to enforce the law. People would complain that seat belts were uncomfortable or prevented a quick escape if your vehicle careered off the road into deep water. Way into the late 1990s Italians regularly flouted crash helmet laws, especially in summer. Now they are expected to wear face masks for fear of catching an elusive virus and transgressors are routinely accused of wanting to kill others for the crime of being flesh and blood living organisms capable to transmitting pathogens to bystanders. This begs the question: Who owns your body? Yourself, your parents, your spouse or the state? Who has the right to decide what you do with your body? The usual caveat is that you may do anything that doesn’t infringe on someone else’s freedom or safety without their consent. However, such notions are subjective. In a dynamically integrated society, many of our actions may potentially harm others, but the risks to others are relative and usually outweighed by their benefits to our emotional wellbeing. Over recent decades the state has taken a greater and greater interest in our personal habits such as smoking, drinking and junk food. It treats us as children unable to look after ourselves without their constant guidance. On the one hand the state undermines personal independence by subsidising dysfunctional lifestyle options often leaving us with little choice but to depend on welfare handouts, while on the other it seeks ever more invasive ways to regulate our behaviour and make key medical decisions on our behalf for the common good. If you take personal responsibility for your actions, then a healthy diet may help you live longer, but you are free to ignore advice and prioritise ephemeral pleasure over theoretical longevity. The world’s longest living woman, Jeanne Calmert, died at the ripe old age of 122 in 1997, but smoked and drank red wine with her meals for most of her life. Besides there has never been a consensus about the healthiest diets. State agencies seem obsessed with recommended daily intakes for cholesterol, sugar and fat, often favouring sugar-free or low-fat alternatives that nearly always contain artificial flavourings that may also harm our health. However, if you can’t source your food from local farmers whom you trust or even better grow your own, you can only rely on the honesty of supermarket chains. It should hardly surprise us to learn that the same IT billionaire who has invested billions in worldwide immunisation programmes, now has plans to corner the market for synthetic meat to satisfy the demands of billions of new consumers.
Conscientious workers or useless eaters?
Let us briefly dwell on this confusing epithet for person, citizen or worker. We may well all consume to meet basic human needs and desires, but consumption has not until recently defined us. We could just as well call everyone eaters, breathers or defecators, all essential activities. While we may view a worker, mother or father as someone who contributes to the betterment of their family and wider community, a consumer is little more than a user of products or services that another entity else has created or in crude terms a useless eater.
In a complex society such as our own with a high degree of interdependence, workers retain bargaining power only as long as the ruling classes depend on the fruits of our labour. The lockdown has only accelerated the trend towards greater smart automation with a shrinking proportion of the nominal workforce responsible for mission-critical tasks. Well-paid jobs such as train drivers could have been automated years ago were it not for public distrust of malfunctioning technology, but now media-driven fear about covid-19 have led to louder calls for driverless vehicles. Smart remote-controlled robots could soon replace plumbers, hairdressers and dentists too this avoiding the need for close proximity to other human beings. Yet the mainstream media focuses mainly on teachers and carers employed to mould the next generation and micromanage the private lives of vulnerable consumers. All of sudden, we have all become vulnerable, unable to go about our daily lives without succumbing to a deadly virus. The disability industry has successfully labelled every mild medical condition or psychological challenge as a handicap that redefines our lives. Early 21st century corporatism has simultaneously deprived us of independent means of subsistence and then humiliated us if our intellectual or practical skills fail to find a niche in a rigged marketplace. Some of us feel trapped between successful professionals with substantial independent financial wealth and a growing army of state-dependants, whose livelihood depends more on social conformity than diligence or talent. We strive for greater personal independence, but have to sell our souls to large corporations to pay off mounting debts. No wonder, so many have welcomed the extended furlough that the covid-19 scare has provided kissing goodbye to any dreams of financial independence.
Social Credit Nightmare
We may soon have a new breed of unpeople, whose worthiness is diminished not by their skin colour, birthplace or parental wealth, but by their failure to fully cooperate with the authorities. The scariest aspect of mandatory vaccination, as promoted by health agencies and media organisations around the world, is not the vaccine itself, but digital certification. As any vaccine against an RNA virus is only ever likely to provide temporary immunity, we would need regular top-ups. Once a precedent has been set to only let those certified to be up-to-date with their vaccine schedule access public venues, the authorities may make such access conditional on other aspects of our social conformity. Have we had a recent mental health checkup? Have we taken meds prescribed for any mental illnesses we may have? Have we ever expressed politically incorrect opinions on social media? It’s not hard to imagine the rationale behind such invasions of privacy. It only takes a few tragic cases of random murders by mentally unstable individuals to justify the screening and forced medication of the general law-abiding population. You may be denied access to many public places not because you have committed a heinous crime, but because you have not submitted to psychiatric screening, whose purpose is not only to detect potential murderers, but to identify nonconformists who may challenge the dominant social order. Today opinion leaders may target antivaxers, as some sort of mad army of flat-earthers whose ideas endanger public health, but tomorrow they may target critics of psychiatry for the same reasons. More worryingly, once people have been trained to only trust official fact-checkers and to distrust outcasts, a totalitarian state can literally get away with murder. The covid-19 scare has already empowered governments to meddle with death certificates by allowing medical professionals, as opposed to doctors, to attribute deaths to covid-19 even if someone has other serious life-threatening conditions or is only suspected of carrying the virus without testing positive. The provisions of the 2020 Coronavirus Act now provide the state with the ultimate pretext for judicial murder of undesirables by forcing them to undergo unwanted medical treatment, potentially by being sectioned under 2005 Mental Health act if they refuse treatment, and then ascribing their death to a new contagion. This makes anyone who resists medical martial law an illegal human being.