“Economics is not an ideology, it is a principle in nature, nothing is wasted in nature. There is no separation of health and economy, we support our health by working for our existence.”
I love this quote by businessman and philosopher Daniel Model, who is the subject of a fascinating interview in the video below. He expounds a lot on freedom and how fully living requires the belief that your own thoughts and actions can and do influence the direction of your life. This is called personal agency which is essential to psychological well being and healthy relationships.
Some other quotes from the video:
“Money is the big illusion, work is the real purpose in life and to have experiences and a journey of development.”
“If money is used (by the government) to prevent you from working, then you in a way have lost completely the contact stuff of your life. Then you are a kid, maybe getting milk from your mother. You’re not independent, you’re not thinking, you’re not really a respectful person anymore.”
“The fear spirit speaking is government, you must do something, it is urgent, it is life or death!”
Personal agency is a large part of what makes us human. Living in fear erodes this and moves us towards the animal instinct of survival; merely existing over living. Governments and media are experts at taking us down this path through hyperbole and demonization of our so called enemies, which primes us to willingly give up our freedoms in return for the illusion of safety.
The obvious example here of course is the shutting down of large swaths of society to combat a virus for whom most people the odds of dying are very low. The drumbeat of fear from the media egged on by exploitive and power hungry politicians and the censoring and shaming of less apocalyptic views all but assured the general public’s acceptance of unprecedented societal lockdowns and the overall thrashing of civil liberties.
This has been and will continue to be devastating in many ways for many years, not least of which is the giant shove towards more government dependency coming our way. That shift has been happening in America for several decades, the Pandemic merely exposed it for all its rotting glory.
In other words, the government used fear and hysteria to get us to agree with the closing down of most societal functions and destroying million of jobs. Now they want to spend trillions of dollars to repair this damage which will fail. Money cannot replace dignity and purpose, nor bring back lost human connection or restore mental health. It is very good however at creating a victim mindset and increasing dependency on more pay outs.
On top of this, the government crippled our own personal agency in deciding what’s best for ourselves and families in dealing with the virus. I believe it’s the moral duty of those of us who don’t face much threat from it to keep things running as normal as possible, while sharing in the risk of getting it and becoming immune. By taking this choice away from us the government made itself the moral arbitrator of accepted behavior and decider of what is and is not considered acceptable risk.
This brings to mind British-Indian Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta who often uses the phrase social contract when discussing the pandemic and how lockdowns badly warp it.
In her words from this article:
“What politicians can do is maybe alter their language to reflect that we do live with risk, we have to make quite difficult decisions about trade-offs that exist between ways of life, between livelihoods, and sacrifices that have to be made at a societal level. They would do well to urge people to think at a communitarian level.
I think the lockdown is really individualistic in its general construction. Things that we normally disperse within the community, such as individual risk, and individual blame. Now I see young people being terrified, even though they realize the risk to themselves is low, that they might infect a friend who will then give it to their grandparents. This chain of guilt is somehow located to the individual rather than being distributed and shared.
We have to share the guilt. We have to share the responsibility. And we have to take on board certain risks ourselves in order to fulfill our obligations and to uphold the social contract. So I’d like the politicians to remind people of that, because that’s what they’ve been elected to do – to see the social contract is being properly transacted.”
Yes, exactly, but this is impossible for people saturated in fear to grasp. The outlandish hostility Ms. Gupta has received for her perfectly reasonable coronavirus views is a testament to this.
Excessive fear is a direct threat to personal freedom. The greater the fear, the larger the perceived threat and the more acceptable sweeping, normally unthinkable measures become to combat it.
Endless school closures, mask mandates for years to come, digital vaccine passports, no international travel, social gatherings, concerts, plays or festivals, new variants, wash, rinse, repeat…..when does this all end?
Only awareness can stop this panic and a strong sense of personal agency that is naturally allergic to government overreach. Until this happens, we will continue our merry slide towards authoritarian rule.