With any luck we are now coming towards the end of the worst of the draconian restrictions that have formed the basis of most Western governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus itself appears to be doing what most viruses of this type do when introduced to a susceptible population. It appears to be becoming more transmissible but less virulent. At the same time, the collective resistance to infection and disease within the population, known as herd immunity has become ever greater with time.

Daily Sceptic – Dr Simon M Fox –

What have we learned about ourselves during this pandemic? It would be easy to write many words about the importance of family, the importance of human contact and the little things in life that we take for granted. But important as those are, I would argue there is something just as important we need to learn. This is not the last emergency we will face, of that we can be sure. Unfortunately this probably isn’t even the last coronavirus pandemic that we will face.

As Warren Buffet once said: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you discover who’s been swimming naked.” And over the last two years, the tide went well and truly out. We have to pay attention to the ways in which we, as a society and as individuals, were swimming naked and why.

By some measures we were very lucky with this pandemic. There have been many tragedies that we should rightly mourn, but mortality was not in any way as high as predicted. Perhaps most mercifully, our children were left almost entirely unscathed by the virus itself.

It is now, while the traumas of the pandemic are still fresh in our minds, that we need to process what has happened and try to learn its lessons.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction

Fear is contagious, and far more so than any infectious disease. While fear is a great motivator and can focus the mind, it frequently produces irrational behaviour. Unfortunately, fear can also allow people to justify and accept things they would not normally tolerate. The promulgation of fear as a central plank of public policy has no place in a modern democracy. It is not justified as a mechanism to engender obedience, however high-minded and well-meaning the motives are. But we must accept this is what occurred in much of the Western world: deliberate and orchestrated fear as government policy, ably abetted by the media. Voices of dissent, reason and concern were crushed in a manner not seen for generations in the West. In a collective process of self reflection, we must acknowledge as citizens that we allowed our governments to claim for themselves fundamental liberties in an exchange for a false promise of security. It is a matter of great urgency that we claim each and every one of them back.

Just as important, we need to re-state the case, particularly to the young, for the importance of basic rights; among them freedom of conscience, liberty and bodily autonomy. If they are to mean anything at all, they must be able to withstand moments of crisis and peril. If these principles cannot weather these, then they are meaningless. Given the state of open thought and debate in our schools and educational institutions, this will be no easy task.

Reality matters: a population with an aversion to uncomfortable truths

Why did we fail to defend our freedoms and why were we willing hand to the state such minute control over our daily lives? Why were we so easily manipulated by fear?

When the pandemic struck we needed clear thinking and rationality, not just in our leaders, but in the population, and there was little to be found. What little was present was drowned by howling emotionality.  

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