Fear and Equality

Very insightful point by @mnwoodhouse on twitter:

the slatestarcodex post about masks points out that the “masks don’t work” propaganda goes back several years, so it can’t be entirely related to current supply concerns for medical workers. instead i think it might be an example of the notion in contemporary liberalism that any “fears” or risk/harm avoidance — with some specific exceptions — are necessarily irrational

You can see how this happened. Egalitarians do not want us to fear the other. The natural tendency of humans is to fear the other. Liberalism started in the 1700s (if you like) in the environment where there was exaggerated fear of people who were different. They argued that the fears were incorrect, that people of other countries, other races, other religions were not nearly as dangerous as people thought. They were right! Society became less fearful, more accepting, and saw concrete benefits as a result.

But in the late 1900s that process stalled. As reduced fearfulness came closer to actual equality, the concept that fears of the other were exaggerated ceased to be true, to the point that today, “FBI Crime Statistics” is a far-right slogan in its own right.

It was easy to argue against irrational fears. You used facts. How, though, do you argue against rational fear?

Well, I skimmed for arguments against John Derbyshire’s piece, but I couldn’t find any — just pointing and sputtering. And I think that’s the answer. You argue against rational fear by not even beginning to engage with it, but by ruling it out-of-bounds from the start. Derbyshire is wrong to tell his children to fear blacks, because it is bad to argue that some people are dangerous. We won’t even go into detail about exactly what is and isn’t bad to fear: we don’t want to get into tricky questions over FBI crime statistics, or anything, we will just say “stuff like that is bad” and leave it at that.

If Derbyshire is factually wrong, which he might be, that doesn’t actually change the argument. The important point isn’t that he is right, it’s that his critics do not dispute him on factual grounds, only on vague moral grounds. Everything else follows.

If someone had posted on Twitter that, in the fight against the novel Coronavirus, the World Heath Organisation had decided to take the side of the virus, I would have taken it as a joke, and a rather feeble and unfunny one. But I would have been wrong. The result of having a bucket of “ideas that are bad”, which you aren’t allowed to reason about in detail, is that “wear a mask to protect yourself from viral infection”, or “don’t let planeloads of people from an area with a dangerous epidemic land in your country” end up in the same bucket as “If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date”

Internationalists are literally defending the virus from prejudice in the same way they would defend minorities from prejudice. They are doing so in spite of the indisputable fact that the virus is dangerous, because you’re not allowed to get into facts when defending minorities from prejudice. They are doing so without having any actual desire for the virus to flourish, because you are not allowed to consider whether you desire specific oppressed minorities to flourish when combating prejudice. “You must protect yourself from this dangerous thing” makes liberals feel immediately uneasy, and they are conditioned to avoid even digging into that unease.

There is one exception. If the thing you are warning against is rich white people, or if you can at least claim it’s rich white people, you are safe. nobody is uneasy about that. So if you are in, say, the World Health Organisation, founded to fight infectious disease, your whole life is a little bit uncomfortable until you can shift attention to something where the only fear is directed at rich white people. Like, say, climate change.

WHO calls for urgent action to protect health from climate change – Sign the call

“The evidence is overwhelming: climate change endangers human health. Solutions exist and we need to act decisively to change this trajectory.”

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General

Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.

One thought on “Fear and Equality”

  1. (This was going to be posted on your Plague [try ‘Prison’] Diary post but you haven’t enabled comments there; so here instead.)

    Recommended posts:
    12 Experts Questioning the Coronavirus Panic, Off-Guardian, 24 Mar 2020.
    10 MORE Experts Criticising the Coronavirus Panic, Off-Guardian, 28 Mar 2020.
    And especially the at least daily updated ‘A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19’.
    And again The BlogMire but primarily for the comments this time (the important ones with supporting links): ‘Yet Another Covid-19 “Say What?” Moment’ and ‘Britain’s New Housing Minister, Liberty Snuff, Addresses the Nation’.
    I posted examples there (with perhaps too much snark) of media scaremongering here, here, here and here, while another provides this.
    E.g. one of the headlines is ‘Coronavirus: Grandma, 108, who survived two world wars becomes ‘UK’s oldest’ to die’—yeah, it woz Corona wot dun it; nothing to do with her being one hundred and f***ing eight years old.

    Note also how the previous predictions of doom by Parliament’s “””experts””” are being walked back:
    17 March: ‘510,000 would die from coronavirus by August’.
    25 March: ‘UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000’
    28 March: ‘Britain is on course for an estimated 5,700 deaths from coronavirus’
    And the latter figure of a projected 5,700 deaths from Covid should be viewed in the perspective of 2018 recording 76,728 deaths from ‘J00-J99 X Diseases of the respiratory system’ in England & Wales, 7,128 in Scotland and 2,201 in NI, for a total of 86,057 (source: E&W, S, NI)
    Parliament’s projections should also be viewed in light of their main “”expert”” being a f***witted spastic: Neil Ferguson, the scientist who convinced Boris Johnson of UK coronavirus lockdown, criticised in past for flawed research; Professor who predicted 500,000 Britons could die from coronavirus and prompted Boris Johnson to order lockdown accused of having ‘patchy record of modelling pandemics’.

    People are going to die because of this mass-hysteria (or maybe the NWO-conspiracy types were correct—f*** knows). Some, having lost their livelihoods—some the businesses they built themselves—are going to suicide. And the mass house arrest continuing long enough, between the strain of losing employment and being cooped up with no escape, will increase domestic violence—even flatmates will be killing each other, denied even the escape of going to work; and strained families, under greater pressure than ever before, now no longer neither having the escape of going to work or the safety-valve of going out for a pint and letting off steam—it’ll end up being a murder-fest; single-mothers with their serial boyfriends are already over-represented in child-abuse statistics—now, some who were never going to be nominated for Parent of the Year but at least wouldn’t kill their kids, will be murdering their kids.

    ffs, the entire population under house arrest? (South American military coups only imposed night curfews.) Roadblocks preventing all movement they deem ‘non-essential’? Hassling dog-walkers in the countryside? About that: if isolation was really their concern, you can’t get much more isolated than going from house to car to middle of nowhere; rather than, as the filth instruct, going from house to pavement (where they are likely to pass others at varying proximities) to a park (ditto); and Derbyshire Armed Response Unit swinging in on that thread was particularly disturbing—although they seem to have gotten nervous and deleted that post, but it is on the Web Archive (albeit removed from context).

    This is a nightmare—and it has zero to do with viruses.

    The old world is dead. The old causes are obsolete: Brexit and Remain, Unionists or Separatists, Left v. Right—who cares? They’re all on board with the Prison State: Conservative, Labour, LDs, SNP, PC, even IRA-Sinn Féin (whinged for decades about squaddies occasionally stopping and questioning them but put them all under house arrest and they could not prostrate themselves beneath the boot fast enough). And talk of liberalism would normally have me recommending Patrick Deneen but now: who cares?

    There is only one cause now: Parliament with their eager and willing slaves, versus those of us who wish to live as a free people.
    And when I use the term ‘free’: I’m a Reactionary because one obtains greater freedom and a better quality of life under kings than democratically ‘elected’ rulers (as argued by Hoppe and others); kings don’t have to gin up crises, they need not concern themselves overly with the gutter press—and no king in history has ever imprisoned his entire population (when Plato described democracy as leading inevitably to tyranny, I doubt he envisaged imprisonment of an entire country).

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