US social commentator Walter Lippmann once said that ‘responsible men’ make decisions and must be protected from the ‘bewildered herd’ – the public. He added that the public should be subdued, obedient and distracted from what is really happening. Screaming patriotic slogans and fearing for their lives, they should be admiring with awe leaders who save them from destruction.
During COVID, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern urged citizens to trust the government and its agencies for all information and stated:
Otherwise, dismiss anything else. We will continue to be your single source of truth.”
In the US, Fauci presented himself as ‘the science’. In New Zealand, Ardern was ‘the truth’. It was similar in countries across the world – different figures but the same approach.
Like other political leaders, Ardern clamped down on civil liberties with the full force of state violence on hand to ensure compliance with ‘the truth’. Those who questioned the COVID narrative – including world-renowned scientists – were smeared, shut down and censored.
It was an internationally orchestrated campaign involving governments, the big tech companies, media and the WHO, among others.
The EU Times reported on 17 December 2022 that the US Centers for Disease Control worked with social media to censor facts and information about COVID that ran afoul of official narratives.
The organisation America First Legal noted in a press release that the fourth set of documents it released – obtained from litigation against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – revealed:…further concrete evidence of collusion between the CDC and social media companies to censor free speech and silence the public square under the government’s label of ‘misinformation’.”
The official narrative was about protecting populations from a deadly virus. And any dissent that did seep into the edges of mainstream discourse (like Tucker Carlson on Fox News or a few presenters on Talk Radio in the UK, for instance) tended to focus on politicians going too far on lockdowns and restrictions and being caught up in their egotistical lust for power and control.
Such a superficial explanation avoided a deep, critical analysis of the situation. Indeed, any focus on big finance’s – Wall Street and the City of London – role in this was conspicuous by its absence.
On 15 August 2019, BlackRock issued a white paper instructing the US Federal Reserve to inject liquidity directly into the financial system to prevent “a dramatic downturn”. The message was unequivocal:
An unprecedented response is needed when monetary policy is exhausted and fiscal policy alone is not enough. That response will likely involve ‘going direct’.”
Vighi’s shows why the hegemonic class reacted so severely to a public health issue that impacted a minority of the population. This response only makes sense when viewed within the context of economics.
Come late 2019 and especially 2020, pumping trillions into the financial system followed by lockdowns (to prevent hyperinflation) were used as the “unconventional monetary policies” that the BIS had called for on 9 August 2019.
Did you really think the authorities cared so much about something that mainly affected the over-80s and those with severe comorbidities that they would lock down the entire global economy?
Did they really care so much about ordinary people, especially unproductive labour – the working class old and working class infirm – when through the years of imposed austerity, we saw the working classes being treated with utter contempt?
And did those who imposed restrictions and lockdowns really believe there was a ‘deadly’ virus on the loose?
Think of booze parties at Downing Street, Neil Ferguson’s breaking of lockdown rules to carry on an extra-marital affair, Matt Hancock breaking his own COVID rules with his lover, maskless world leaders gathering in London while their servants wore masks, various US political leaders ignoring their own rules and the public theatre of Fauci et al masking up for TV cameras then maskless as soon as they were off camera.
And while billions of dollars are being spent to achieve this, a wholly unnecessary ‘cost of living’ crisis (resulting from reckless economic neoliberalism which has finally imploded) is being imposed on working people in the Western countries – regarded as mere collateral damage when it comes to economic policies, war and corporate profit. The result is misery and poverty and the demonisation of some of the (now striking) workers who were lauded as ‘heroes’ during COVID.
But – of course – the powers that have so much demonstrable contempt for the lives of ordinary people at home and abroad will close down the entire global economy to protect their health!