Like Thomas Hobbes, the media say that an almighty State is needed to protect individuals from one another.
When someone asks me these days if I’m okay, it takes me no time to answer yes, very well. But that is not the same attitude I have observed in others.
So, how are we doing as a society? We do not know how many people are suffering from the psychological consequences of confinement, lack of work, money and freedom to move about their lives.
Something similar happened after 9/11.
“The pandemic and its associated stress sources are likely to have serious consequences for mental health,” says Roxane Cohen Silver in an editorial in Science.
Cohen Silver knows very well what she is talking about. She is a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine and president of the United States Federation of Brain Sciences, she was one of the first experts to sit in the White House a few days after 9/11, and has dedicated her professional life to investigating human resilience after catastrophes such as earthquakes, hurricanes, wars and outbreaks of violence.
Not surprisingly, she is now dealing with solutions in the aftermath of a pandemic that has so far allegedly killed half a million people worldwide, and that will continue to kill more in the coming months, perhaps years –not necessarily due to covid-19 infection.
During this pandemic, young people miss their graduation ceremonies, and other suffer because of the unscientific reasons behind the confinement, which has led many people to fall into depression and give in to suicide.
These are urgent issues to address, because in the long run, they may kill more people than the coronavirus.
Psychologically speaking, there is no manual that works for everyone. There are many people who were already very upset before the pandemic due to their poverty and insufficient medical and psychiatric care. Others, who have lost a family member or close friend and many, many more who have lost their jobs and their way of life, access to meeting points in their neighborhood, many that have been manipulated by their political leaders and the toxicity of social networks that are their only source of information, or disinformation.
There is always a cause of misfortune, but it is not always easy to identify. Psychologists have many clues on how to help the population in these cases, based on the cornucopia of misfortunes that have affected the world in recent decades. Politicians must listen to them.
The effect of confinement on the youngest
Although academic-related stress may have been reduced, humans are not used to being confined, and unnecessary government-driven confinement has taken its toll in the minds of many.
There are signs that can show that boys or girls have anxiety, stress, or depression.
The questions about anxiety, stress or depression in children are: Do you have a sad expression? Do you cry for no apparent reason? Are you excessively hyperactive? Do you feel guilty for no apparent reason? Do you have difficulty concentrating? Do you have difficulty completing school assignments? Do you frequently complain of headaches or stomachaches? Do you have difficulty sleeping?
The excuse to become China
Many media outlets, whose owners hold globalist ideologies and who are akin to the Chinese model of totalitarian control, are now peddling the idea that governments may need to start adopting population control and surveillance policies such as those employed in China. According to them, only this Chinese model can ensure a successful performance in future stressful events.
Obviously, this position is one that only lunatics would accept and adopt. The powers monopolized by Western governments after the start of the pandemic have proven to be just that, power-grabbing opportunities without any effective measure to stop the “crisis”.
The globalist media want us to believe that now more than ever, it is time to adopt the Chinese model of surveillance and totalitarianism.
Like Thomas Hobbes, the media say that an almighty State is needed to protect individuals from one another. In his opinion, society prospers only if it submits to the will of this Leviathan. In times of great uncertainty, when there is a need for high levels of coordination and leadership, many people’s first instinct is to turn once more to Hobbesian solutions.
In the case of covid-19, says Spain’s globalist newspaper EL PAIS, “one of the most obvious lessons from the crisis is that large-scale emergency management requires the existence of a strong State.”
In fact, says EL PAIS, western democracies may try to imitate China, not worrying so much about the loss of privacy and surveillance and allowing greater state control of private companies.
After all, one of the typical narratives that emerged from the pandemic is that the surveillance and social control infrastructure that China already had in place allowed it to respond to the virus faster and much more effectively than the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth. Total control allowed China to manipulate perspective and information, not to minimize the pandemic.
It is possible to imagine citizens of developed economies deciding that democratic governance is too inefficient or chaotic to face the challenges of a globalized and interconnected world.
EL PAIS even lays out the way in which a country like the United States may become China.
“… it may happen that it is gradually adopted until it crosses an indefinite limit after which its internal surveillance regime, its privacy laws, its conventions and its economic policies begin to resemble those of China. By then, the United States will have become a version of China, but a bastard version, because it probably will not yet have a level of State capacity like the one developed in China over the last two millennia. For example, less democratic governance can be combined with less effective and more arbitrary bureaucracy in many areas.”
In the same article, the author, Daron Acemoglu, continues to narrate how this scenario would take place.
“Instead of the suffocating but generally competent despotism of the Chinese state, it could happen that the US ends up functioning as a hypertrophied digital version of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) —one of the country’s most notoriously inefficient bureaucracies— combined with random disruptions that can lead to failure and, in doing so, can activate dynamics of a scenario of “tragic continuity”.
Dominated by Big Tech
If you don’t like state authoritarianism, how about surrendering to your freedom to Big Tech multinationals?
It would be a situation of total control by technology companies; a kind of digital servitude. This is currently being experienced throughout the western world, especially in the United States, where Twitter, Google and Facebook manipulate public opinion via their algorithms, imposing censorship on conservative thought.
As confidence in the Government and in public institutions deteriorates; and with good reason, multinationals accumulate much more power than governments. Private companies such as Apple and Google intervene to direct the minds of the population, executing contact traces and other measures with great efficiency and without limits.
Apple and Google have already announced an agreement to track COVID-19 infections through mobile devices with iOS and Android operating systems.
As more and more of these technologies begin to seem “indispensable”, private companies behind them will accumulate more power; and in the absence of a viable state alternative, people may not question it too much.
The same companies, of course, will continue to collect personal data and manipulate user behavior, but they will have even less to worry about in relation to the government, which has become a kind of servile auxiliary of Silicon Valley.
Over time, the champions of the pandemic economy will grow even further, exacerbating pre-existing conditions such as rising inequality.
Silicon Valley will then propose its own solutions, pressing for a universal basic income, publicly subsidized private schools, and the expansion of digital government which will ultimately be under their control.
But since these measures will barely cover up the underlying problems, they are likely to end up causing even more discontent and frustration.
Will the increasing number of State-dependent people settle for a miserable monthly income in the absence of real economic prospects? Probably not. In the long term, the third trajectory ends in the same dystopian place.
How about a bigger more powerful State?
If you are not bothered by today’s totalitarianism, what do you think of a Welfare State 3.0?
The first version of the Welfare State emerged from the Great Depression and World War II. In the United States, it included policies like social security and unemployment insurance, and later expanded with other programs like Medicaid and Medicare (the state health medical insurance for people over 65) in the 1960s.
Leftist lunatics believe that governments must take even more responsibility, and at the same time become more efficient –a physical impossibility.
It would not be crazy to assume that increased spending, regulation, liquidity provision, and other measures that resulted from this pandemic will become somewhat permanent added to an increase in taxation.
However, this expanded state will be fundamentally different from the “DMV state” mentioned in China’s imitation scenario. In this case, as the State becomes stronger, so will its mechanisms of control.
An example of the previous outcome is The Great Depression, which was used to justify the existence of an almighty State. The emergence of the Welfare State 1.0 is a clear example of the current dynamic. However, the failure of the Welfare State 2.0 demonstrates that the more power the State is given, the less efficient it becomes, and the more corruption is created in its structure.
In spite of this, the justification for the existence of the State is always the same: we need better and socially more responsible institutions, as well as a more equitable way of sharing the benefits of technological advances and globalization.
The possibility of a new improved welfare state is a fantasy because power has been and will continue to be in the hands of the almighty whose deep pockets allows them to buy elections in almost the entire western hemisphere. It is almost impossible to uproot the Deep State from any society. Its roots are too deep and too strong.