It was not until the late nineties that new regulations began to emerge around the dangers of smoking, owing largely to big tobacco lobbying the World Health Organization (WHO) since the 1950's, to downplay the public health risks associated with smoking. Likewise, the nuclear Industry has been a strong lobbying force of the WHO, around events like Fukushima and Chernobyl, glossing-over the effects of radiation poisoning to support the feasibility and safety of nuclear energy. And why not? 75% of WHO funding is from voluntary donations, notably big Pharma and foundations who exert aggressive policy influence.
The erroneous declaration of the H1N1/ Swine Flu pandemic in 2009, followed the unorthodox relaxing of rules around the definition of a 'pandemic', specifically the criteria, ‘severity of illness' and 'mortality rate'. Amendments that followed secret deals between European governments and GSK, Sanofi and Roche, resulting in a paycheque for big pharma to the the tune of billions of dollars, for a vaccine that was not required, for a pandemic that did not happen.
With COVID-19, most European nations, with the exception of Sweden, took China’s lead, underscored by WHO policy, which, as we have observed, is driven by corporate interests. The common response of most governments suggests a centralised strategy, rather than one worked out independently and democratically by each sovereign state, especially when multiple options have always been on the table, including herd immunity.
A global Transformation
The stratagem of government in the 21st century plays out as a game of ‘us’ and ‘them’, particularly when a government’s bid for more power, happens simultaneous to the rescinding of the rights of the people, in what feels like an endless struggle by the people to sufficiently voice and mobilise, in an orgy of centralised politics. The government policy under Tony Blair, was one of vicious assault on civil liberties, using amongst other oppressive laws to repeal our freedoms, as the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. Legislations that criminalised protest and muted free speech. Political ideals now being accelerated at speed within the framework of the pandemic.
The mass surveillance state, censorship, monitoring, tracking and tracing of citizens, nations under house arrests, social distancing, the universal living wage system, are all deeply ingrained ideologies of totalitarianism, long been in the planning, already normalised in China, and now rapidly moving to the shorelines of Western democracies. Stripping the citizenry of its rights and retracting the political process far from the scrutiny of a disorientated citizenry.
The current economic system is clearly not working. On the eve of the pandemic, the combined debts of all governments, companies and households in the world equalled 322 % of global GDP, and perhaps the West is now looking to China’s quasi-communist, capitalist model, especially with the giant overstep of government beyond the boundary of its jurisdiction into multiple private sectors and the unilateral adaptation of China's COVID response.
Uber has been the single biggest investor into driverless car technology, Deliveroo is looking to roll-out drone delivered food and drink, and supermarkets are migrating to self-checkout and online retail models. Widespread industry standards towards gross displacement of human workforces, that will soon see millions of workers dumped, as deregulation of industry upholds corporate interests over workers rights. And unsurprisingly the pandemic provides some pretext to catalyse this transformation.
Hong Kong Flu
In 1969, the Hong Kong flu pandemic killed 100,000 people in the US alone. In terms of lethality, interpreting the data, it was as deadly as COVID-19, if not more. But the pandemic happened without the shutting down of democracies, rescinding of human rights, famines on the horizon, or quarantining of healthy people. Instead Woodstock took place.
Data rather than political rhetoric is a more sound approach, granted, but data can also be skewed to support whatever result you are looking to achieve. How many lollipops can you fit into a swimming pool?
But lets, for argument's sake, observe that data:
99% of those who died in Italy had one or more illness.
In China, the CDC reported 'a fatality rate of 14.8% in people 80 or older, likely reflecting the presence of other diseases, a weaker immune system, or simply worse overall health. By contrast, the fatality rate was 1.3% in 50-somethings, 0.4% in 40-somethings, and 0.2% in people 10 to 39.'
There is no doubt that dying from COVID would be tragic and being sick for 2-6 weeks, best avoided. But at what cost? Each person who dies from seasonal flu goes through incredible suffering too. Likewise, for all other diseases, dying is unpleasant, full stop. At some point we need to cross the Rubicon and put things into context and perspective, moving away from fear to common sense. A disproportionate response to something is counter intuitive.
Viruses have been with us since our ancestors, ancestors first swam or crawled out of water. The only thing that is assured in this life, is death. From the moment we are born, death is hardcoded into the anatomy of life. Its non-negotiable. And interpreting the message from most spiritual systems, is a teaching that resonates within the context of surrendering to the inevitability of death while relinquishing worldly illusions. Yes, we ought to aim for survival, but that does not mean surrendering to the idea that government or institutional authority is better equipped than nature, to manage our safe passage through this life.
In the vast majority of cases, those who die from a virus or respiratory illness, fall victim to complications arising from a weakened immune system. That’s why pneumonia or other conditions appear on death certificates (pre-COVID), and not influenza. Yet, government and the WHO, are not driving awareness campaigns to build public immunity, and instead are directing policies towards the rescinding of human rights, at which point alarm bells should be ringing loudly. Because, no matter which way you slice it, giving up our freedom is never a good idea, and I would personally rather die free, than live my life in chains, when giving up our human rights is a volitional surrender to slavery.
Ex supreme court justice, Lord Sumption has been the establishments voice of reason throughout the pandemic. His perspective is based on common sense, ethics and the rule of law. Lord Sumption is 72, and therefore most at risk, but in defence of his human rights, he would rather run the risk of catching the virus, than lose his civil liberty. In other words, he would be back in social orbit tomorrow given the opportunity. And why not? He is over the age of consent, of sound mind, and has every right to choose to protect himself, or not, including, avoiding the risk of contamination, and following lockdown protocols. But for those of us who trust our immune system, or have faith in the natural order of things, no matter where it takes us, then any attempt to revoke our liberty on the basis that we might harm others is preposterous.