Are We Facing Lockdowns 2.0?

Are We Facing Lockdowns 2.0?
(Bahadir Yeniceri/Shutterstock)
Jeffrey A. Tucker

National Public Radio (NPR) was in a frenzy Tuesday morning but it felt like the movie Groundhog Day: they were spreading tremendous alarm about the rise of COVID cases. We have to stop the spread, the announcer said, and that’s why masks are coming back to classrooms. However, they added, relief is on the way in the form of a new vaccine.

Rinse, repeat—as the shampoo bottles say.

This line of thinking—stop the spread to reduce strain on hospitals, mask up, and so on—is being echoed by all major media organs. Leading the way is of course the New York Times.

I’m a bit superstitious about stories in the New York Times designed to drum up disease panic. It was Feb. 28, 2020, when this paper threw out one hundred years of editorial policy on infectious disease to counsel panic over calm, thus paving the way for what would come two weeks later: the astonishing wreckage of COVID lockdowns and everything that entailed.

There was a reason the Times was chosen to be the first media outlet to take this line on COVID. It would be exceedingly naïve to think that this was driven by an independent editorial judgment. Someone likely put them up to it.

Regardless, I knew that day that the darkness was falling, that this was likely the beginning of a grand experiment in public health that would not only fail to achieve its aims but also wreck American liberty and prosperity. After all, sectors of the ruling class had been gaming pandemics for twenty years. They needed to justify the endless hours and billions put into the grand project of pandemic planning.

The result was a calamity without precedent. We are nowhere near recovered. Substantial numbers of people today fear lockdowns far more than Covid, and for very good reasons. It was the crisis of our lives.

Even more striking, we’ve yet to have a reckoning. The people in charge today are the same people who did this or their direct successors. There have been no apologies but rather quite the reverse. They worked hard to codify lockdowns as the preferred policy for pandemics, and we have every reason to suspect that they will repeat the experience if they can get away with it.

That’s why my heart jumped a beat at the above-the-fold headline in the Times Monday morning.

This happens at the same time we are getting more reports of new mask mandates, school closures, and the rollout of a new COVID vaccine invented by the usual suspects that President Biden has personally suggested that every American take. From all appearances, it does seem like another lockdown could be coming, or perhaps they are just trying to scare us into the reminder that they can do it if they want to.

Just Tuesday morning, the White House spokesman took to the lectern to warn Americans about ominous subvariant BA.2.86, not to be confused with all the other subvariants being tracked in a pseudoscientific track-and-trace operation being run by the usual suspects.

The Washington Post was chosen to announce the terror behind this one. “While only about a dozen cases of the new BA.2.86 variant have been reported worldwide — including three in the United States — experts say this variant requires intense monitoring and vigilance that many of its predecessors did not. That’s because it has even greater potential to escape the antibodies that protect people from getting sick, even if you’ve recently been infected or vaccinated.”

You will notice that BA.2.86 is not on the current list. That only means it could be the worst yet, whatever that means.

It will surely be added. And no doubt every commentator on TV in the coming months will have great expertise with all this coded gibberish, spouting off these letters and numbers like they are known friends while the rest of us stare at our screen in amazement at the flashy science these experts are tossing around.

Our pro-lockdown friend and Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb is already at it, letting all these subvariant names roll off his tongue on CNN and thus display his astonishing mastery over the microbial kingdom.

This could be the way in which Lockdown 2.0 will be different from 1.0. The last time, the main spokespeople like Deborah Birx spoke to us like children to make sure we got the message. The downside of that approach is that it invites regular people to comment on the wisdom of lockdowns.

The next time around, they will be much more sciency about it, with all this talk of subvariants, R-naughts, hospitalization rates, wastewater examinations, and so on, and do so in ways that intimidate regular people into thinking our opinions cannot possibly matter much.

Let’s take a closer look at this New York Times piece.

“But for Americans who have become accustomed to feeling that the nation has moved beyond COVID,” the newspaper says, “the current wave could be a rude reminder that the emerging New Normal is not a world without the virus.”

Are we really continuing to imagine the goal of eradication still? That seemed to be the purpose of the lockdowns in the first place, if there was any goal at all. It’s utterly impossible to create a world in which there are no viruses. And actually such a world would be stunningly dangerous, for it is the presence of pathogens that themselves train the immune system in the art of resistance, same as exercise makes the body more healthy.

Sadly, this was the great taboo subject for three years, and, as a result, there was almost no talk of natural immunity during the last COVID mania. And there has been little to no reckoning since those days about the meaning of endemicity, the failure to recommend repurposed drugs as therapeutics, and the positive contribution of widespread exposure to creating the public health benefit of stronger immune systems. All of these topics were denounced and then censored. Oddly, they still are.

To this day, public health officials continue to pretend that they did everything right. Oh sure, they could have locked down earlier, forced masks earlier, and imposed vaccine mandates with much more ferocity. So far as they are concerned, this was their only failing. And they have no intention of making those supposed mistakes again.

In my own circles, everyone believes that they will never get away with it all again simply because there is too much resistance. I’m not so optimistic actually. Let’s say that 20 percent of the population is still convinced of the entire COVID religion. These people working with media and Big Tech, combined with daily propaganda from COVID, might be enough to overcome a large portion of the public that swears they will not comply this time.

Honestly, I never believed they would get away with it the first time. How in the world do you convince Catholic Bishops to demand the closure of Churches on Easter under the excuse of the widespread circulation of a virus with a 99-plus percent survival rate in which the verified deaths from COVID alone is centered on a population older than life expectancy itself? I never could have imagined such a thing would be possible.

But the desire on the part of aspirational professionals—in academia, industry, and religion—to stay out of trouble and continue to ascend the ranks is so powerful as to cause multitudes to bury their best instincts for what they imagine will be a temporary but prudent compliance. I do not for a moment believe that bravery on the level of the Amish or the Hasidim is widespread enough in the population to create a mass resistance movement.

“Some institutions have responded to the recent increase in Covid infections by reinstating pandemic-era rules,” writes the Times. Then the article proceeds to celebrate all the cases of pandemic restrictions, without a hint that these didn’t work last time and won’t work this time either. Again, there has been no reckoning, which only increases the likelihood of a new round of lockdowns.

Lockdowns were the most successful state/corporate policy in world history for convincing the population to give up volition, liberty, and money to the biomedical cartels and all its associated parts.

Every government benefitted and so did all the biggest companies, particularly the digital ones that had been working for a leg up and a big win from the great reset. Something that is this monstrously successful for them becomes a model for the future, which they try and try until the population gets utterly and completely sick of it, as they did with the religious wars of old.

Until that day comes, lockdowns will be an ever present threat.

Views expressed in this article are 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 Ludwig von 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.
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