A nation cannot think sanely under the influence of a great fear

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”

Bertrand Russell

With the direct implication, that if a government wishes to drive a population under its control insane, give them something to fear.

Which is what makes this so relevant: Editor-in-Chief of Germany’s Top Newspaper Apologizes For Fear-Driven COVID Coverage.

The editor-in-chief of Germany’s top newspaper Bild has apologized for the news outlet’s fear-driven coverage of COVID, specifically to children who were told “that they were going to murder their grandma.”

In a speech delivered to camera, Julian Reichelt said sorry for Bild’s coverage which was “like poison” and “made you feel like you were a mortal danger to society.”

Reichelt directed his main sentiment towards children who have been terrorized by fearmongering media coverage which has caused child depression and suicides to soar across the world.

“When a state steals the rights of a child, it must prove that by doing so it protects him against concrete and imminent danger. This proof has never been provided. It has been replaced by propaganda presenting the child as a vector of the pandemic.”

Hardly unique, but it is something to apologise for. And not just the media, but our governments as well.

PLUS THIS: From Instapundit.

THE MASKING OF AMERICA: Faceless people make compliant subjects, not good citizens.

In its worldwide impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst in a century. As a threat to Americans’ health, however, it is closer to the 1968 Hong Kong flu or the 1957 Asian flu—neither of which noticeably altered Americans’ everyday lives—than to the 1918 Spanish flu. In a head-to-head comparison, COVID-19 makes the Spanish flu look like the Black Death of medieval Europe. According to the best available figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and elsewhere, the typical American under the age of 40 in 1918 was more than 100 times as likely to die of the Spanish flu than the typical American under the age of 40 in 2020 was to die of COVID-19. Whereas COVID-19 sadly shortened the lives of many older people already in poor health, the Spanish flu took people in the prime of life and left orphans in its wake.

Americans’ reaction to COVID-19, however, has been radically different from their behavior in 1968, 1957, or even 1918. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the Hoover Institution’s Niall Ferguson recalls that President Dwight Eisenhower asked Congress for $2.5 million in additional funding for the Public Health Service during the Asian flu. Overall, Congress has authorized about 2 million times that much for COVID-19. In 1957, there were no widespread school closures, travel bans, or mask mandates. Ferguson quotes one person’s recollection of those days: “For those who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing unusual about finding yourself threatened by contagious disease. Mumps, measles, chicken pox, and German measles swept through entire schools and towns; I had all four…. We took the Asian flu in stride.”

One major difference between then and now is the increased role of public health officials. Long before their ascension, Socrates made clear in Plato’s Republic that he did not want doctors to rule. Philosophers or even poets would be better governors of society, because they at least attempt to understand political and social life in its entirety and minister to the human soul. Doctors, by contrast, tend to disregard the soul: it is the nature of their art to focus on the body in lieu of higher concerns. Moreover, Greek philosophers and poets alike celebrated courage in the face of death—Plato’s Socrates and Homer’s Achilles were undeterred from their noble missions by fear of the grave. But rule by public health officials, under which we increasingly live today, encourages excessive risk-aversion and almost transforms cowardice into a virtue.

Cowardly citizens are easier to rule.

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1 thought on “A nation cannot think sanely under the influence of a great fear

  1. Pingback: A nation cannot think sanely under the influence of a great fear - The Rabbit Hole

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