Imagine a scenario in which we discovered that an asteroid was hurtling towards our planet – the kind that was likely to kill half the life on earth and it was inevitable. It was going to strike and there was nothing we could do to prevent that.
How would you spend the little time you had left in anticipation of that event? Would you spend every waking moment you had trying to ensure that you were one of the ones who would survive by digging a bunker in your backyard?
Or would you accept that a bad thing was happening that was outside of your control and use the time you had left to maximize whatever good you could do with the time you had left?
You could spend that time getting right with God, getting right with other people, and saying and doing the things with your loved ones that the business of daily life may have compelled you to neglect.
How you respond to that question says a lot about your priorities and while it’s not a perfect analogy to what I’m going to be talking about in this video, I do think there is enough to compare there that I’m going to revisit it before the end of this video, so try to keep that hypothetical scenario in the back of your mind.
I’m not the kind of person who would stubbornly insist that there is never a reason for us to consider locking ourselves down to avoid a potentially greater risk if we didn’t take those measures. But there is a case to be made for why lockdowns are a bad idea, and since that side of the debate doesn’t seem to be getting much breathing room, I thought I’d try to share some thoughts on it.
The first thing we have to admit is that locking down is an extreme measure with devastating effects. It’s the kind of thing that can plunge people into economic desperation because of employment and income loss.
It can breed loneliness and isolation, exacerbate mental health risks, place sundry vulnerable people at risk of domestic abuse, and it can discourage countless people from accessing necessary health screenings and checkups that, if avoided, will be the difference between life and death.
Because of these effects, I’ve come across some estimates which have claimed that the last lockdown we went through caused FAR more loss of human life than it prevented.
For example, according to Dr. Scott Atlas, so called deaths of despair (suicide, drug abuse, etc) have and will continue to dramatically rise, estimates as high as 46% of the most common kinds of cancers which would have been caught by routine screenings, have gone undiagnosed. That means that by the time they are diagnosed they will be stage 3 or 4 instead of 1 or 2.
Half of people who had chemotherapy appointments scheduled, did not show up. Half of people scheduled for regular immunizations, did not show up.
During the last lockdown, there were over 200,000 cases of child abuse in the US that went unreported because there was nobody outside of that domestic situation to notice anything unusual.
Another statistic I read said that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there is a 2.8% increase in suicides. The last time we did a lockdown, the unemployment rate in the province I live in went from 7.2% to over 15%. That’s an increase of about 8%. I’ll leave you to do the math on what that means for the rate of suicide.
And think about what this is like for the mental and social development of kids. It’s one thing to say, we have to do a one-month lockdown to flatten the curve. That’s what we were originally told. But now this thing has been going on for months approaching a year.
When you were a kid, a year seemed like a lifetime and that’s because they are absorbing every experience and being irrevocably formed by them. They’re making lifelong neurological connections. And when you’re only 7 years old, 1 year is one 7th of your entire life.
And in that time, they’ve learned that they are a danger to other people, other people are a danger to them, faces from which the majority of non-verbal communication precipitates, should always be covered up, and rights and freedoms don’t count for much.
Every time I see a minor outside, by themselves, they’re wearing masks. I was out for my morning run today, not wearing a mask because that would be a health hazard, and I ran past a bus stop where a teenager was waiting and he looked at me like I had just threatened to murder him.
These are not healthy and rational lessons that they are learning. Now, again, there can be justifiable reasons for these measures, but is the current threat a justifiable reason.
Any policy maker knows that before you implement a policy, you should do some kind of cost-benefit analysis which means that you try to assess if the cost will be greater than the benefit, and if it is, you don’t do it.
I haven’t heard anyone talking about that except for my own premiere Jason Kenney. But the media and the pro lockdown policy makers are taking a defeat COVID at all costs approach with no consideration if the costs are worse than the disease.
If the measures we’re willing to take have equally or even greater devastating negative effects such that we’re just taking a possible death toll from one column called COVID-19 and putting them into another column called lockdown, then what have we accomplished?
We’ve desperately scrambled to survive, like that person digging a bunker in their backyard, but the negative thing we were trying to mitigate came for us anyways. Instead, we could have been using that time to do the good that was available to us.
Imagine being an elderly person who is at risk of catching and dying from this thing. But instead of being able to spend a significant portion of the final moments of your life with those who matter most, you’re locked in some assisted care facility for months until the virus comes for you anyways and then you die alone and isolated.
That is what we’ve actually done to a considerable # of people. The average age of death by COVID in the province I live in is about the same as the average life span – 82 years old. All of those people were forced to lockdown and be isolated first before they eventually died alone. That is an unspeakable cruelty. And we are currently guilty of it and many are calling us to do it again.
So what does this say about our priorities. It seems to say that our highest priority is survival at all costs. A bad thing is headed our way and our highest priority is survival such that we’ll implement policies that do nothing more than move loss of human life from one column to another in the hopes that we’ll be in the right column.
And consider this as a measure of our very distorted priorities. Easter was cancelled during the last lockdown. Thanksgiving was cancelled for many and now we’re facing the threat of Christmas being cancelled. But you know what hasn’t been cancelled. Black Friday.
Notice that when we started to reopen, they said, you can go back to work, but limit your social interactions. In other words, money matters, but your relationships don’t.
Amazon and Walmart are doing just fine through this whole thing. But the local retailer, the local baker, the local mechanic, sorry, you guys are out of business. There is a massive transfer of wealth from the small business owners and the working class to the monopolies which is one more way our society is being irreversibly reset by this whole thing and those who are supposed to be protecting our rights are letting it happen.
I live in a democracy, or that’s what I’m told. The concept of a democracy is one in which the government represents the people in the best approximation we can devise to reflect the will of the majority.
In Canada, it’s known as a representative democracy. It means that we govern, the people govern through their representative. It’s what informs statements by people like Abraham Lincoln who described the government as by the people and for the people.
Now this whole experiment called democracy is only effective if we trust that the people can self govern – in other words, that they don’t need to be told what to do through force of coercion.
So for a lockdown to be compatible with democracy, it can’t be implemented in such a way that disregards the inalienable rights of the people and in such a way that concedes a lack of trust in the people to make the right decisions in governing themselves.
So, at best, the authorities should be giving us information to make decisions and then making recommendations. What they can’t do is force their policies on us for as soon as they do, we are no longer a representative democracy predicated on the will of the people.
Now, I’m not saying that democracy is the be all and end all of political systems. There are good arguments against democracy, but what I am objecting to is the idea that we are being told we’re a democracy while conceding that the authorities do not trust the people to make reasonable decisions for themselves and are instead forcing us to make the decisions they’ve decided are best.
In closing, I want to revisit that analogy at the beginning. The kinds of decisions we make when our lives are under threat says a lot about our priorities. As a Catholic, my priority is to remind myself that this life isn’t for keeps and that I should hold it loosely.
And when I do, I find that my temporal priorities shift too. I’m prioritizing the opportunity to spend that time getting right with God, getting right with other people, and saying and doing the things with loved ones that the business of daily life may have compelled me to neglect – that is unless the authorities say I’m not allowed to do that.
A bad thing is happening to us and our distorted attempts to manage it have proven futile. If that should teach us anything it’s that only God can save us. If he doesn’t exist, we’re screwed. If he does, then we should be focusing as much effort on prayer as possible.
So, to my Catholic audience, that should remind us that closing public masses, which btw haven’t contributed to a single instance of outbreak that I’m aware of, is a really, really bad idea.