Add a Mental Health Crisis to the List

September 21, 2022 Updated: September 22, 2022

Commentary

The years 2020–2022 should go down in history as an epically cataclysmic failure of the intellectuals. They were put in charge of the levers of power and utterly wrecked the social and economic order all over the world, all under the guise of virus control.

Those who weren’t part of implementing destructive policies, but rather sat in the peanut gallery to assist in the formation of public opinion, failed to warn about the consequences of these actions, even though we had libraries of research that clearly predicted what a disaster would ensue.

The failures are ubiquitous, but they weren’t only intellectual. They were also ethical, simply because those who knew better sat by in silence for reasons of professional and social survival. They eschewed the courage that’s supposed to be part of the life of the mind, in favor of a craven deference to authority.

Scientists who knew better luxuriated in complacency as Dr. Anthony Fauci and the deeply compromised World Health Organization claimed that unleashing totalitarian measures of human control would somehow magically intimidate a pathogen to recede into irrelevance. They disparaged and even denied natural immunity, even though humanity has understood its workings for hundreds of years, even dating back to the ancient world.

Educators watched as schools were closed, wrecking the learnings and lives of hundreds of millions of kids and throwing the poor especially to the wolves of chaos—and too many said nothing at all. When the kids reemerged from the crisis, the elites tried to cover their crimes by forcing the kids to mask up and get an injection they didn’t need. The learning losses are extreme, like nothing seen before in the modern age.

Economists train their entire lives to understand the dangers of fiscal and monetary profligacy and its connection to financial instability and inflation, and also study the destructive consequences of halting trade and cutting supply chains. Yet, most chose to say nothing, as appalling policies were unfurled over months and years.

Now, we see the results with inflation that’s pillaging the poor and middle class.

Liberal intellectuals who preached human rights and humanitarian concern for decades watched in silence as churches and businesses were shuttered, travel was restricted, civic meetings were forcibly canceled, and even funerals and weddings were banned. What did they do about that? Sadly, most of these people said nothing, for fear of professional and social reprisals.

Medical professionals whose creed had always been the Hippocratic oath watched in obsequious indifference as the state and its connected private interests in the pharmaceutical industry did only harm, first, by shutting medical services to millions in the name of reserving resources for one pathogen, and, then, by using coercion to force unneeded treatments on millions and threatening the jobs of noncompliers.

Churches were, on the whole, a tremendous disappointment. Some resisted, especially those organized into geographic communities of belief such as the Amish and Hasidim. Independent evangelicals displayed some backbone, too. But mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Jews were utterly pathetic as they acquiesced even to the canceling of the holiest of days, even Easter, Advent, and Christmas services. Some imposed vaccine mandates and went along with the preposterous banning of singing.

Tech companies—businesses founded to promote and defend free speech and a renewed market for information—signed up to become amplifiers of state propaganda, staying constantly in touch with government agencies to find out what messaging they should promote and what they should ban.

Now, let’s talk about the psychologists and psychiatrists. A great way to destroy mental health is to crush life rituals under the guise of emergency. A panicked population isn’t a mentally healthy one. Unemployment and poverty lead to depression and suicide. Profound disturbance of the political and economic environment, such as that we see in wartime, has a devastating effect on mental health and leads to every manner of substance abuse and neurosis. The past 30 months have felt like war.

The Department of Health and Human Services has tapped an independent panel to assess the mental health of the U.S. population. It’s called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The results are incredibly terrible. The anodyne prose of the 700-page report might try to conceal the awful conclusions, but they weren’t lost on The New York Times, which summarizes:

“A panel of medical experts on [Sept. 20] recommended for the first time that doctors screen all adult patients under 65 for anxiety, guidance that highlights the extraordinary stress levels that have plagued the United States since the start of the pandemic. … From August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased to 41.5 percent from 36.4 percent, according to one study cited by the task force. … While the panel’s recommendations are not compulsory, they heavily influence the standard of care among primary care physicians across the country.”

This fits with every intuition I’ve developed over the course of the past 2 1/2 years. Get together with people in private and you hear horrible stories of job loss, confusion, shock and dismay, substance abuse and ill-health, disorientation and depression, and generalized loss of optimism and confidence in all institutions. The problem is extreme and affects nearly everyone, particularly children.

It should come as no shock to discover that human beings generally don’t thrive when forced to live in a cage. The idea of universal caging in the name of pathogenic avoidance isn’t only rooted in deep ignorance, but also barbaric intent. The lockdowns followed by mandates were certain to cause deep and lasting mental health damage to the population.

And yet, even now, even in this report, we see the refusal to name the real problem. The NY Times story comes close in its summary:

“The guidance comes as Americans are coping with illness, isolation and loss from the pandemic, as well as other stressors like inflation and rising crime.”

But a pandemic alone doesn’t cause isolation, loss, inflation, and crime. All those effects are a result of the policy response to the pandemic.

There’s no way that the journalists who write this tripe don’t know this. The lack of courage to call out the outrage at the time it was happening continues to this day, as the same journalists and intellectuals persist in pretending that what happened to us was simply “common sense public health measures,” as the ever-gaslighting Fauci likes to say.

In fact, it wasn’t normal. What happened was a violation of every civilized standard of law, science, economics, and morality. The consequences are all around us. It was precisely to avoid such a calamity that lockdowns were considered and rejected in every previous pandemic.

COVID-19 has been a beast of a virus, but it didn’t cause life to fall apart for so many to the point that medical professionals now recommend universal screening for depression, anxiety disorder, and suicide risk.

And I know what you’re thinking: This, too, will provide an opportunity for more medical infusions and drugs, state-prescribed therapeutics, and funding for a cure that’s even worse than the disease. Probably that’s right. The psychiatrists won’t save us any more than the epidemiologists did.

This is what the intellectuals did to us and to themselves. It’s time that the culpable admit what everyone knows. The solution to this crisis must come from within.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Jeffrey A. Tucker is the founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press, as well as 10 books in five languages, most recently “Liberty or Lockdown.” He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He writes a daily column on economics for The Epoch Times and speaks widely on the topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.