Homo homini lupus est, said Plautus. Our new masters beat the old Roman comic dramatist at his game by establishing Homo homini toxic est as the new norm. They have trained us to be afraid of each other, to wear masks, to keep social distance, or even better, to stay home. They prefer it this way, with us locked away, out of their way, ordering things by Internet and forfeiting our homes to digital debt collectors. A junkie would sooner part with his syringe than they would drop their lockdowns. For a while, we entertained the hope that they might end their morbid preoccupation with our health after a month or two. Now we know better.
Even if they decide that Covid-19 was eradicated, they have the next virus already lined up. There is a worthy candidate, a new strain of swine flu called G4 and they have great hopes that it has the potential for triggering a pandemic. If it fails the test (as all the predecessors did) they will find another one, don’t worry. The law of supply and demand is on their side. There are so many viruses, and so many gullible people who are pathologically unable to doubt whatever the New York Times says, that this music will never end.
The First Wave is history; the Second Wave is upon us, and throughout it all we are kept in isolation, with small breaks to forestall saturation. The Chinese, the fathers of lockdown (they pioneered it late January) have already locked down Beijing again. California is back under self-imposed siege; Moscow will return in the autumn. Israel is preparing a new lockdown to justify to the settlers its avoidance of the much-advertised land grab. The French have to wear masks, and so do New Yorkers. England has fewer deaths than ever this June, but English kids now think that social distancing is normal; they have learned that men are toxic to each other. Turkey improved the idea by letting people work weekdays and locking them in their homes on weekends. In the US, the riots during the lulls between lockdowns are supposed to convince us that to stay home is best for all.
There are good practical reasons for this strategy, and they have nothing to do with epidemics. It is the Digital Revolution, as I wrote, and such a transformative process takes a much longer time than a few months. Indeed, the Bloomberg Silicon Valley High Tech Index steadily grows, promising a 42 percent annual return (compare that with a negative rate on cash deposits). Lockdowns (not disease) provide the disaster that Disaster Capitalism needs to run its course. The lockdowns are an Americanised version of the Shock Doctrine, says Mike Whitney.
State structures, Intel agencies and security also like it, for the pandemic panic allows them to introduce a system of total surveillance. They do it by stealth, claiming they won’t spy on us when the danger is over; but as all smartphones are already equipped with relevant applications the surveillance net draws ever tighter. They support lockdowns to control our society.
As we look deeper into the unfolding disaster we notice features more designed to instil paranoia than profit and peeping should require. If you spell ‘Covid’ in Hebrew letters and read it from right to left, as Hebrew words are read, you will get דיבוק, “Dibouk”, the demon of the Cabbalists, the evil spirit likely to enter and possess a person suffering from ‘emotional intensification’, noted Bogdan Herzog, a Romanian mystic from Timisoara. Dibouk is a popular figure of Jewish folklore, the subject of plays and films. Herzog’s analysis continues: maybe the analogy with demonic possession is not superficial but profound. What if COVID is more psychological than biological? Perhaps through extreme fear induction (“emotional intensification”), people behave ‘as if’ possessed by the Dibouk? They certainly seem to act as though mesmerized, unthinkingly obeying the conflicting demands of the authorities and accepting unprecedented limitations on individual freedom.
That sounds bad enough, but Herzog takes it one step further: Perhaps the problem is not of psychological but of a spiritual nature, as the Jewish Cabbalists insist, and the only possible cure is a kind of exorcism? Perhaps for this very reason the churches were primary targets during the lockdown? Indeed churches were closed both in the East and in the West for the first time ever, even while shops were open. The Lutheran Church of Sweden had its churches open for services, but the most important function, the communion, was stopped. This is a most deadly spiritual attack, for the continuous divine sacrifice of the Eucharist sustains the very existence of society. “Is this the real reason Eucharist was forbidden during lockdown?” – asks Herzog. If the churches were open and communion given, the evil Dibouk would be gone.
(As it happened, the only Christian Orthodox country that had communion this last Easter was Belarus, a small East-European state led by the indomitable Mr Alexander Lukashenko, a.k.a. the “Last Dictator of Europe”. Some years ago I was accused of providing him with secrets about the American meddling in the Belarus elections. Though it was a false allegation, it is well known that both the Americans and the Russians meddled in Belarus, considering Lukashenko too stubborn and fiercely independent for their likes. Both Russians and Americans wanted to loot Belarus, buy their industries and take over their agriculture; Lukashenko told them no. Belarus is the only ex-Soviet state that was not de-industrialised, privatised and broken up; the only one that didn’t send waves of economic refugees to work abroad. Putin was reportedly envious that Lukashenko dared to take communion at Easter and had his military parade on VE-day, while Moscow followed WHO advice by closing churches, postponing the parade and locking the city down; however last week Putin and Lukashenko apparently made up and unveiled the memorial to Soviet soldiers at Rzhev, the “Verdun of WWII”, together.)
This idea of a spiritual enemy had occurred to me 20 years ago when I wrote:
“For two hundred years or more, Christendom tried to live without God. Some denied His existence, some didn’t, but believers and unbelievers explained our existential problems without appealing to God’s presence in the Universe. Occam’s Razor rules: ‘Do not multiply entries beyond necessity’. That is why we do not usually appeal to spiritual categories while explaining mundane events.
While we relaxed in our totally material world, another principle of medieval logic, the Law of Manifestation, was preparing to ambush us. This law decrees that ‘an existing entity will eventually manifest itself’. A non-manifesting entity could be called non-existent as well, without loss.
Theoretically, a believing man should be prepared to observe a manifestation of the spiritual world, of God and of the evil Forces. Practically, we refused to believe in such a possibility. While we turned away from God’s presence, and screened Him out of our life, we have helped His adversary at the checkerboard. Now, his influence and plans have become palpable. The latest developments in human history, gratuitous destruction of nature, and war against the spirit can’t be plausibly explained by rational material causes. Beyond all-too-human figures of big corporations, beyond capitalised Greed, beyond the paradigm of Domination, the faceless Destroyer has made his appearance as Lord Darth Vader on the captive planet.”
You do not have to be a mystically inclined scholar to come to similar conclusions. There is a Moscow-based group of interdepartmental scholars dealing with advanced aspects of modern warfare. (This group was established by disciples of Vladimir Lefebvre, a remarkable man who worked for both Russian MoD and the Pentagon. I met him a few years ago at some exotic get-together on a Greek island). The leader of the group told me: “You may consider Covid a fake pandemic but it is a full-fledged psychogenic plague on a Biblical scale. We didn’t do it, but somebody did”.
A ‘psychogenic plague’ is just mass hysteria on an unprecedented scale. St Vitus’ Dance, or choreomania is an example, and it was cured with exorcism. It occurred in the Middle Ages, but since then there have been many outbreaks of MPI (mass psychogenic illness), though none so universally acknowledged as such. Yet we still do not understand the workings of this illness. Some symptoms of Covid infection are identical to MPI symptoms; they also coincide with the symptoms of mild chlorine poisoning that one may acquire in a recently disinfected space. In Moscow, where the City Hall ordered the disinfection of apartment houses and public spaces with chlorine twice daily, many people complained of sore throat, irritated eyes and difficulty breathing. They were usually taken to Covid-hospitals and beefed up the Covid statistics. The same symptoms are usual for MPI. This could explain why the tests were so indecisive. WHO recommends that people with such symptoms be ‘presumed positive’. Presence of any coronavirus (and there are many sorts of these usually harmless viruses all around us) is now considered sterling proof of Covid.
We might think of the Covid pandemic as MPI on a global scale, riding upon a moderate viral infection. Its ‘success’ can be explained by multiple forces seizing the opportunity, among them, infernal forces. God unites people together in His Church; the devil wants to separate people from each other and from God. The Covid pandemic is a great separator: for months people have lived separate from their kin; old men live and die alone without benefit of sacrament and are buried without last rites. Perhaps the recently acquired ability of the military to induce fear and cause MPI on a large scale is a part of a demonic plan.
There are people who think we have it too good. They think we did nothing to deserve our high civilisation. They think we shouldn’t be able to afford food, the roof above our heads and other goodies. This is the view of some very wealthy people. They are annoyed at seeing Tom, Dick and Harry going to Acapulco and eating in a restaurant, instead of being at their beck and call. They want to lower our income and raise the cost of living. They are willing to fund anyone who calls for more austerity.
Now they support lockdowns, claiming that it is the best way to fight disease. Yesterday they were calling on us to shut down industry in order to save the climate. Today these same people are still trying to reduce us to poverty, this time for the sake of Covid. Greta Thunberg and her followers welcome the lockdown because it will force people to live in bankruptcy and scarcity.
While rich Malthusians support this progress towards austerity, not all participants in the movement share or understand their goals. There is a streak of noble sacrifice built into human nature, and many of Greta’s followers indulge in that. Mortification of the flesh, fasts, and the denial of gratification are as human as hedonism. Andrew Joyce recently reminded us of the Flagellants, the masochistic movement who rose and fell with the medieval epidemics. Shi’a Muslims still practice flagellation on an annual basis. In normal European society the Great Lent before Easter was sufficient to satisfy this need for suffering, but now, as Lent fades into abeyance, this unfulfilled psychological need plays into the hands of the self-destructive supporters of lockdown.
China is a separate case. The Chinese were the first to practice lockdown to fight their infections in 2009 and in January 2020. Their example was all-important to set the trend. However, Chinese mores are different from ours. In their lockdowns they sealed off the doors of the apartments and even welded the gates. The idea of human dignity is quite foreign to them. They are great people in their own way, but rather extreme, as their Four Pests Campaign, an attempt to eliminate sparrows, etc. shows. I would not blame it on communism, for anti-communist China (Taiwan) was even more cruel than the mainland. People who complain about the ‘Chicom’ mistreatment of the Uygur (who are exceedingly tough) might consider the Kuomintang Chinese genocide of the Taiwan Natives.
Face recognition, genetic databases and a social credit system may be fine for China. Being the very opposite of a neo-con, I do not accept R2P, the White Man’s Burden and a duty to impose freedom upon them. May the Chinese live the way that suits their Confucian souls, but I hope to God I’ll never have to fit myself into their system. For them, locking down millions of citizens is easier than for our rulers to raise the VAT by one point. The problem is that Western security agencies love the Chinese way of life and very much wish to import it like any other Chinese gadget.
Lockdowns are not necessary. The best proof of this is not Belarus or Sweden, though both managed fine with very little government interference. The best proof is Gaza, the narrow strip of land in the Eastern Mediterranean, a home for two million Palestinians. This poor besieged slice of Palestine had only recently its first Corona victim, an 80-year old lady who arrived last week very sick from Egypt. That’s all, folks! Two million people living in unhealthy poverty and density without any lockdown or social distancing lived through the great Muslim feast of Eid el-Fitr, and didn’t suffer one outbreak of Covid. Watch this short video of joyful Gaza at the feast and envy them! These poor people locked in by the Israelis for 14 years are freer than the prosperous Israelis and Saudis who locked themselves down.
Covid is an epidemic of fear. Where is no fear, there is no Covid. However, let the response be a matter of personal choice. Whoever wants to lock himself in, to seclude and withdraw from society, let him. But we must deny the state’s right to lock us down. Americans are proud of their Second Amendment, of their right to own guns; but did their guns prevent their mayors from ordering them into indefinite detention for no crime? For Russians, Europeans and other nations it is also the time to forbid lockdowns. If and when there is an outbreak of disease, let it be treated as it always was. Whoever considers himself ‘vulnerable’ let him decide what to do about it. But no lockdowns, no masks, no social distance or other measures can be forced onto free people.
While we still have elections in our countries, let us make it the litmus test in the coming election campaigns. Let’s support only those who promise never to infringe on personal rights, and reject everyone who demands that we all be locked down “for the greatest good”. Make every election, everywhere, from 2020 onwards, an election about personal freedom. Perhaps we should establish the world-wide movement dedicated to this very goal.
Israel Shamir can be reached at email@example.com
This article was written with the assistance of Paul Bennett and first published at The Unz Review.