the fearmongering sorcerer's apprentice: UK edition
you can start them dancing, but can you make them stop?
while any cat can tell you not to trust a mouse around a spell book, the classic disney film “fantasia” still holds some useful lessons for us all about the risks of using power one cannot control.
it starts like this:
but somehow always winds up like this:
because power corrupts and things get out of control.
using means that are dishonest and evil and dangerous “just this once” because “it’s really important” and “we’re all good folks” and “we mean well” and “we won’t let it get out of hand” is like listening to a bunch of snowflakes piling on and claiming that they’ll know how to get “just the right kind of avalanche.”
nobody wants to live in the village near snowflakes like that.
so learning to stop it before it starts is the key to a strong societal immune system.
and so we come to the UK
that deceptive isle where early signs of standing up to covid, talking sense, and following sweden underwent perhaps the most aggressive policy volte-face in the west. others may have locked down as hard, but none changed their tune so dramatically and so suddenly.
now, as the dust clears from the avalanche, it increasingly looks like the messaging was not just wrong and not merely fear addled, but was deliberately fear inducing. it was a manipulation, a psyop and it was done on purpose and with malice aforethought.
this was not an accident, this was a monster sent tottering off toward the townsfolk without any consideration as to what might happen because some mad scientists thought it would be easier this way and gave short shrift to risks of it getting out of control.
the leaks, recanting, tattling, and search for career lifeboats has begun and the mainstream media is PICKING IT UP. (it’s paywalled. will excerpt below.)
suspicions have long abounded, but poof is now leaking out and once this trickle starts, it’s going to become a torrent.
grab your popcorn, because the movie is about to get good.
from smoke and mirrors to smoking guns
well, that’s quite a lead in, but journalists can get a bit excitable so let’s read into the article and see just what these scientists admitted. apparently, it started with a guideline from on high from the SPI-B (scientific pandemic influenza behavior), the subcommittee of SAGE (scientific advisory group for emergencies) the UK’s key pandemic body.
and this was apparently driven by a very simple calculation:
fear = compliance.
now, if this is starting to sound a little orwellian to you, well, you’re in good company. not everyone on this team seems to have been ok with what was done.
some got quite direct:
now, i know some have called me out and wondered if i were overstating cases in the past when using words like “weaponization” and discussing experts getting drunk on power and losing sight of science and morality as the whole thing got gamified. perhaps some of these critics (especially those enamored of credentialism) might reconsider their stances on these issues when hearing them raised by the actual psychologists who did it.
i think the meme stands. (and that we could likely add “morality” to “science”.
power is a great corruptor. pretty famous for it. and not all the gang over at SPI-B really seems to quite get it.
well, we try to be positive! we’re the good guys! sure, it’s been misused, but we can handle the power! we’ll be careful! our would be sorcerer’s apprentices are sure they can control this vast power they are turning lose.
worse, some veered into complete gamification. how else is one to read this?
hey, look! new high score on sim city! oof.
but in the end, you lose control. it’s a panic. setting one off is not a “let’s keep control” kind of scenario.
and so we wind up with crazy political persecution, outlandish diktats, kids out of school for a year, and vaccinated people triple-masking and refusing to eat indoors
fear is the opposite of rationality. fear is derangement. they gave us unrelenting fear in a full blown social psyop for over a year.
the media, who loves monsters and scare stories more than literally any other thing on earth, was thrilled to amplify, exacerbate, and enable this. panic porn is ratings gold.
what, precisely, did they think was going to happen?
and now, like respectable folk trying to find their togas and gowns and shoes and perhaps a few of their wits and to become human once more on the morning after the dionysia, it begins:
the cold sobriety of morning looks out upon a landscape that few can believe went this far. “my god, how did THAT seem like a good idea?”
unlike our greek forbears, it wasn’t even a fun party.
books are being written.
hearings are being called.
(though i fear that letting “boris the guilty” run them is a bit like letting the fox commission look into last night’s henhouse events)
but we can learn.
we can remember.
and we can make damn sure that nothing like this EVER happens again.
this year has been a revelation. i knew about psyops. i knew about propaganda and its power. i knew about “the big lie” and “repeat it until it’s true.” hell, i had studied these things. but i’m not sure i really believed in it. not in the way that it matters.
it had never been pointed at me. i had never felt it, never felt it move the crowd around me, never seen how helpless you become even when you know exactly what they are doing and how much worse it gets every day you let it build.
it seemed quaint, like something that happened to old fashioned people, not sophisticates such as we.
it turns out that reading a sex-ed book and actually having sex are really very different. (and boy did we get <insert your favorite euphemism here and add “ed”> last year)
well, now you know. now we know.
they do this stuff because it works. but now you’re seen it. so build your immune system.
remember who to trust and what media went full vichy and become propaganda amplifiers.
learn to stand up early. learn to draw the line. once you give them the first 2 weeks, the rest gets easier. every new outrage is easier than the last. each new taking larger and less resistible.
you need to hold the line from the start. once they break it, they have you. unlearn all the claims about “rights absolutists are crazies.”
ask yourself if maybe they had a point. stopping this before it really starts is the only way. once it gets rolling, you’ve basically already lost.
it’s never “just a little tyranny just this once for a good reason.”
food for thought.