• Alastair Cavendish

The Lunacy of the Lockdown Left

At first it seemed puzzling. Why did so many of those on the Left who were eager to condemn Boris Johnson as a Fascist when he won the 2019 election change their attitude completely when he actually started to behave like a Fascist a few months later? When Johnson placed the entire British population under house arrest in March 2020, a measure that had never been taken before in the history of the country, the reaction of the Left-wing press and the official Opposition varied only between cringing compliance and strident calls for greater extremism. This has remained the case ever since: the bellowing of Piers Morgan and the simpering of Keir Starmer either echo the words of the Prime Minister or goad him on to unplumbed depths of totalitarianism.

The answer to this question is simultaneously obvious and unexpected. It is unexpected only because the assumption that Fascism is a Right-wing philosophy is seldom questioned, and the people who call it Right-wing never define what they mean by the Right. Fascism has far more in common with Socialism than it has with any form of either Conservatism or Liberalism. Mussolini and Gentile objected to Communism primarily because of its international focus, a point which becomes obvious in the Nazi concept of “National Socialism.” This has not changed in contemporary politics. Richard Spencer, the most mainstream of those fringe politicians in the United States who campaign for an all-white American state, with people of other races being compelled to return to the lands of their ancestors, espouses a social program well to the Left of the Democrats. When one understands this, the fact that Spencer is continually shouted down in interviews comes to seem like more than mere virtue-signalling: his Left-wing interviewers have something to hide. Since most Americans are unaware of his policies, they do not challenge the description of his racist views as “Far Right.” In fact, so far as such terms have any meaning, he is on the Far Left.

The terms Right and Left have become so convoluted as to be very nearly useless. In debates about Britain’s departure from the European Union, for instance, it tells you nothing that a particular voter describes herself as Right-wing or Left-wing. There is perhaps one lingering distinction which these terms describe, concerning one’s attitude to the state. Those who say they are on the Left tend to see the state as the solution to all problems, while those on the Right see it as a nuisance at best and a threat at worst. In this sense, Fascism is on the Left, and is not much more than a Nationalist version of Communism. This is why the Left have been so supportive of government policy, criticising it only for being insufficiently draconian. They like the idea of a problem to which the state is the solution.

The idea of Lockdown is peculiarly attractive to Fascists. Even the name appeals to them, with its unmistakeable penumbra of humiliation. House-arrest has a certain perverse dignity about it: one thinks of a colonel in a Central American Republic whose regime has just fallen, stalking impatiently through the rooms of his extravagantly stuccoed mansion as he awaits the sniper’s bullet. Lockdown is what you do to rioting prisoners: caging them like animals until their spirits are broken. The message from government to the public could not be clearer: You are all criminals. Keep your filthy, disease-riddled carcases off the streets.

People who are unfamiliar with the interiors of prisons may well have known neither word nor concept at the beginning of 2020. Then, suddenly, it was everywhere. Conversations on air and in person began with the enquiry: “How’s your lockdown going?” It was a though everyone had suddenly started to preface every conversation by asking “How’s your syphilis?” Any interlocutor would reply comfortably: “Oh, it’s not too bad. I can feel my brain rotting away, and my wife’s nose fell off last week, but none of our children have died yet.” No one would ever talk about why it was that everyone in the world suddenly had this disgusting ailment, of which they had barely heard before now.

Those who identify as “lockdown sceptics” have come in for a great deal of abuse. They have been told that they are spreading misinformation and have blood on their hands. I am not a lockdown sceptic myself, partly because I refuse to accept any of the labels with which the Covid bed-wetters attempt to smear those who do not share their abject terror, but also because I do not think “scepticism” comes close to being a description of my attitude to lockdown. Imprisoning an entire population in their homes is evil, barbaric, and murderous. It is the behaviour of tin-pot dictators and swivel-eyed fanatics. Lockdown is a concept which, like rape or child abuse or, for that matter, syphilis, should not be mentioned in polite society. I write about it now because it is my subject, but I would no more mention it at a dinner party, in mixed company, or in front of children, than I would launch into a discussion of child prostitution or genital mutilation. To hear this vile and deeply insulting word bandied about by ministers and journalists every day is nothing short of sickening.

I am not a lockdown sceptic because I object to lockdown on principle. Imprisonment is an evil thing, used far too frequently even for those who are convicted of crimes, and completely indefensible in the case of those who have committed none. The policy of mass imprisonment has been accompanied by a relentless propaganda campaign aimed at making people feel that they deserve such treatment, with the shrill accompaniment of a complicit media shrieking at anyone who dares to flout continually changing “rules.” The government tells people that they should act as though they are sick, responding with guilt, fear and disgust to the possibility of human contact. Of course, it is a possible view of humanity to think that people are primarily vectors of disease and carriers of pathogens, but it has not previously been the view of healthy people, or of sane ones.

It is important to stress the principle that lockdown is evil, because this objection is anterior to any examination of the numbers, and because what we continue to call the Left does still cherish a few principles. The main principle it has which is genuinely decent and honourable is a dislike of racism. It is worth pointing out that a racist lockdown policy is easily imaginable, and that ministers could find justifications for it which would be just as coherent as any they have adduced for the current state of affairs. It has been widely reported in the media that black people are disproportionately affected by the virus. There have also been several reports about its prevalence in the Orthodox Jewish community, members of which have often continued to attend large public events. It is easy to predict how the Left would react to calls that black people should be locked up, though some sections of the Labour Party might welcome the same treatment of Jews. In either case, the instinctive reaction of horror which any decent person will feel should tell you all you need to know about lockdown. It is a disgusting thing, and a vicious punishment. This would be true if it were inflicted on a racist basis, and is just as true when it is meted out to everyone.

It would be quite reasonable to leave the objection there, and refuse to discuss the numbers. If one objects to something on principle, it does matter whether it is effective or not. There is, however, no evidence that lockdowns are effective. Perhaps the best controlled trial is the United States, where states have pursued widely differing policies. To date, the five states that have suffered the highest death tolls (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Rhode Island) have all been ones which pursued a policy of lockdown over the winter. States such as Texas, Florida, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Utah, which have not locked down, have all had a lower than average death toll. Or you could simply look at the United Kingdom, which has one of the highest death tolls in the world, having spent months in this miserable condition. The lockdown fanatics will always say that this is because we have not had enough lockdown, but they have not a shred of proof for this contention. Countries which have had no lockdown at all have fared much better.

The attitudes of the lockdown Left defy not only the scientific method, but the most basic concepts of logic and reason. One of these is the notion that someone who wants to pursue a new, high-risk strategy for tackling a problem needs to make the case for it. The burden of proof lies with him. As Lord Sumption pointed out in an article which appeared in The Mail on Sunday on 7February, experts had been planning for a pandemic for several years, and had in place a perfectly workable plan which did not involve mass imprisonment. The only credible reasons for abandoning this plan are mad panic or cynical opportunism.

Every day, one hears new calls for anyone who does not agree with government policy to be treated as pariahs, or even silenced by force. Ian Dunt asks how we can sleep at night. James O’Brien says that we have blood on our hands. George Monbiot wants the government to pass a law preventing us from speaking. These luminaries of the lockdown Left self-identify as liberals, a notion which would be amusing if their influence were not so noxious. Liberals believe in freedom and in free speech. The lockdown Left believe that free speech and freedom are luxuries. Their response to disagreement is the all too familiar cry “We’re in the middle of a global pandemic.” The implication is that we cannot afford freedom in an emergency. These people are so ferociously bigoted in their certitude that they believe, in any emergency, everyone else should stop protesting and simply do exactly as we are told. The idea that any alternative ideas, even the ideas of some of the world’s leading virologists, might be of any use does not occur to them.

Lockdowns are intrinsically evil. They are a cruel, unusual and degrading punishment, employed by fascist governments to subjugate and humiliate their people. Not only this, but they are actively murderous, and the deaths of those they kill are reasonably foreseeable. The lockdown Left are fond of telling those who question them that we obviously do not care about the lives of the elderly. This is pernicious, defamatory tripe. No one has suggested that the elderly should not be protected. However, there are plenty of other people whom the fanatics are perfectly willing to sacrifice.

What about the young people with no employment and no prospect of any, who see no future for themselves? What about the people who have lost businesses built up over a lifetime of hard work, or jobs that gave their lives meaning and dignity? What about those who have become estranged from their families? What about the elderly people who live alone and have been deprived of any opportunity for human contact? All these people are suicide risks, and many others are at increased risk of severe violence and abuse. What about dementia, or cancer, or heart attacks, or any number of other serious conditions, left untreated until death is inevitable? Tens of thousands of these people have already been condemned to death by the lunatics of the lockdown Left. How many more hecatombs of sacrificial victims will it take to appease them in their monomania?

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