It couldn’t possibly get worse, and then it did. Do we ever get out of this mess?
About a year ago, I wrote “The World at its Darkest”. With a title like that, it clearly wasn’t a happy piece. I was reflecting on the madness of Cuckoo-19 which dominated the lives, politics, media and moral conversations for most of last year.
Obviously, the title was somewhat hyperbolic as the world has been much darker in a not-so-distant past — take your pick between Cold Wars, genocides, World Wars, and the various horrific oppressions of this or that historic kind.
Though, in my lifetime, I don’t believe the world has been this dark: Despair, political divisions the size of oceans, social and moral divides that cannot be bridged. The forces that want to dominate others, either by political rules or moral edicts, have moved forth their positions greatly, and have not — will not — let go.
In many years of lecturing at Mises University, Judge Napolitano has given the same-terrifying-ending to his…
When I wrote that piece in the literal dark days of deep Northern-Hemisphere winter, I thought I’d eventually look back at it with embarrassment. It was a little too much. Things that seem bad rarely are as bad as we think at our pessimistic worst, and despite the pessimism that corrupts our minds, the world steadily gets better.
In some unspecified future — perhaps after the s*fe and *ff*ective needles, approved by Team Science™ — things would get back to normal. I would realize that the societal horrors that I had prematurely foreseen didn’t come to pass — that I had exaggerated, falsely extrapolated and fallen into the trap that all pessimists eventually do: to believe that which goes up must eventually come down. That the present madness of my times were so much worse than the previous madnesses out from which history showed us a pretty reasonable path.
I thought Cuckoo-19 restrictions would lift. I thought that we wouldn’t resort to the same failed set of policies we did last year. That even the most corrupt and incompetent health officials, politicians and media leaders would not-so-gracefully exit and that would be the end of this odd episode. Some years out, say 2025, we would chuckle at this period, lying to one another about how we never really believed the erroneous or propagandistic stories they told us, that we defied and disobeyed and dissented every step of the way.
I was wrong.
Instead, we doubled down on madness. We relied on precisely the same set of policies, in response to precisely the same predictable events, and cried precisely as loudly as before about unprecedented emergencies and the unprecedented concessions of individual liberty we just *had* to make. And we relied even more exclusively than we had envisioned last year on technical magic fixes that don’t work.
This year, then, I’m in the unenviable position of having to repeat an unbelievable prediction.
The world has changed with Cuckoo-19 — permanently, I fear. And not because of the meek virus itself, but the kind of political and moralistic package we swallowed, dead-set on needlessly torturing ourselves.
I truly thought last winter was the low point of the Cuckoo-19 stupidity. That the free world would bounce back from that brief infatuation with tyrannical central planning and merrily continue on our journey. Spring came. Vaccine roll-outs came. With summer and flourishing Vitamin-D, we rolled back restrictions and opened borders and everything seemed fine again. Finally we could go back to bickering over the usual stuff — climate change and childcare and veganism and monetary policy and such.
Again, I was wrong. Last round wasn’t the lowest point. We tore even deeper cracks into already fracturing societies, separating the chattering classes of zoomers from the rest of the lot who merely delivered our groceries or catered our hot-shot events. We forcibly separated the enlightened Cuckoo maniacs from the filthy unvaxxed.
Weren’t the vaccines supposed to solve this, they said? In countries with 90% or more vaccination rates, somehow it is still the unvaccinated’s fault. M-hm.
Vaxxies as public policy have been a colossal failure: the magic bullet didn’t work, and now we need a new scapegoat. In countries with lockdowns and mask mandates and gathering limits, the virus spread all the same, as if it just wouldn’t obey the edict, decreed from on high. We legislated on a natural phenomenon that did not care, and we were surprised that it wasn’t following the latest recommendations from Health Official Supreme. How odd!
Wasn’t the deal, to quote Jordan Peterson, that I take this shot and you leave me alone? Well, nobody left you alone — and you got played by the oldest of political tricks. Jokes on all of us.
Sadly, nothing actually *solves* this (no, not even Bitcoin…), because what we broke in the last two years — or five years, or 12 years, or 50 years, or really in 1914 — cannot be fixed by magic bullets and quick-fixes.
What solves this is a respect for the scientific method (not Science), a desire for truth (not Money, Bias, Race, or Vaxx status), and honesty and truthful dealings. We need a long-lost commitment among peoples high and low to do what’s right — and to leave each other’s lives the eff alone!
Let me then, hopefully, be wrong again and say: next year won’t be better. It’ll be more of the same Cuckoo, until some societies break. I don’t know how much, for how long, or how deeply — but break they will, and Cuckoo they will go. That’s a dark future, indeed.