Could this become the new normal?

Society has been shut down across the world not because of deaths that have actually happened, but because of projected deaths.  Well, one might say–giving our leaders a reasonable benefit of doubt–doesn’t this indicate far-sightedness, not waiting until disaster has struck, but proactively averting it?  The trouble with “safety” issues is that their demands are insatiable, so one cannot prioritize them absolutely.  A flu that ends up being an order of magnitude worse than the the regular flu could kill millions.  How many would die from crashing the world’s economy?  Are we sure that locking down the developed world won’t do this, or that if it will the deaths will be few?  Because we must be sure of this before talking about “lives” being more important than “money”.  (Similar doubts apply to other situations in which people so easily say that “lives” are more important than “rules” or “institutions”.)

The media is working hard to make me panic, but I reserve my right as a monarchist not to have an opinion.  Even if, suppose, the decision to shut down society was right and prudent this time, what was unimaginable a week ago has happened with no resistance, and a precedent has been set.  One doesn’t need corpses in the street to cancel school, outlaw private assembly, and (most ominous of all) for the Mass to be suspended–in many places voluntarily canceled even before being prohibited.  Just a month ago, we were all hearing the argument that the movement of peoples is something that is beyond any government’s power to control.  Now, it turns out that governments can lock down entire populations.  For good or ill, we see that many governments do have this power.

Is the threat of disease really worse now than in Western civilization’s past, when such measures were not taken, or have we re-evaluated our priorities?  And if the latter, to what extent will we ever get our sociability and our religion back?  Because tens of millions of people will always die each year of something, and new viruses will always be coming along with at least some period of exponential growth.  I can imagine a time when we look back on the times before this week and be amazed that once people crowded into buses, churches, concert halls, and sports stadia, that they walked outside without masks and shook strangers’ hands, that they went to public parks and let their children play with strangers’ children.  The traditional sociability of Westerners, and the social dimension of Christianity, might come to be seen as irresponsible, something governments, “health experts”, and public opinion have a duty to discourage.

I know I will be making many readers angry by voicing such concerns, but as we’ve seen with the self-destruction of the Catholic Church, complete fixation on one problem, however legitimate the problem, is dangerous.  We should get comfortable with the idea that the Mass might be something whose continuance we’ll have to argue for every few years, usually with our bishops on the other side.  “But germs!” can’t be allowed to be an absolute trump card; it’s a concern to be balanced against others.

11 Responses

  1. Well, true. But, these kinds of things were quite normal in the past, when Polio was a concern. Even measles led to strict quarantines.

    We just went a very long time without this kind of thing. Sometimes a new virus really gets people spooked when it spreads this fast.

  2. Does this mean we can finally drop the Sign of Peace from the N.O. Mass?

  3. “Is the threat of disease really worse now than in Western civilization’s past, when such measures were not taken, or have we re-evaluated our priorities?”

    These measures actually have been taken in the past. Milan was famously successful at combating the original Black Death through its use of extremely strict quarantines. When Plague hit in subsequent years many places shut down all kinds of group institutions, including churches. The difference is that this time is has been done “preemptively,” before the body count starts rising, but this may have as much to do with better communication and testing than with attitudes.

    Right now I really can’t see any evidence to validate your concern about this being a repeat phenomenon. Coronavirus seems to be a freak event in that it is especially virulent. Remember the mortality rate is *conservatively* 1%, probably higher. If we do nothing, that’s 3 million totally preventable deaths in the US, plus additional deaths after it becomes endemic. If we start seeing this kind of thing a second time within a few years, I’d start to be worried, but all indications are that it actually is unique.

    I also don’t think the complete social collapse of the West can be linked to the response. In fact we saw that societies which are still more socially-oriented and traditionalist, like China, have implemented the most severe measures, while the almost entirely de-cultured and atomized UK has been probably the most lax.

    IMO one good move that some churches are doing is holding special or lengthened Adoration hours. This at least allows people in church and praying with the sacrament while still maintaining a physical distance.

  4. “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

  5. You’re not making me angry! You and Briggs are the only ones talking sense!

  6. Let’s look at the positive side of things, shall we? Those mass indoctrination camps known as the public schools are shut down.

    If only we could make it permanent.

  7. If we’ll place a country under interdict for a virus, i suppose it’s back on the table for other offences too.

  8. The correct model for this panic is likely a medical equivalent to 9/11. The financial markets had been moving towards another crisis and this virus makes a convenient scapegoat for everyone getting poorer while the panic can be used to increase state control.

  9. seems you were right to be suspect Bonald. while yes the quarantines probably help, the virus spreads like the flu, and if there’s been only some thousand deaths (and with lowering numbers deaths from other causes of pneumonia, so it seems at least some fanciful counting is involved) instead of millions, it means the virus doesn’t seem that deadly. it’s also been said that more than 90% of deaths had comorbidities – and many countries don’t count fatness as one, for example. there’s also been talk of genetic predispositions, as East Asians, Persians, Mediterraneans and maybe native Americans seem affected more. of course, there’s many other vectors; for example in some places of America, more African-Americans are infected, either due to working in hospitals, having poor health/access, or having French ancestry (Louisiana), but still majority of patients aren’t black and Africa seems to avoid the infection mostly; in other example, in NYC and Florida it seems the Jewish community is more affected (oldies in Palm Beach specially) while Israel itself isn’t, perhaps because it’s younger and shut down earlier?

    what perhaps makes one even more skeptic is the terrible establishment response. only a handful of countries were sensible to do only some measures briefly or none at all (from lefty Sweden to populist Belarus). even Putin and Orban went all in, although could be justified if deaths keep plateauing and go down soon and they reopen things while keeping a more nationalist nation. sadly i doubt this will be the case for the majority of the West, as the media and the international left want to use this as an excuse for the brave new world. the media in particular has been devious, for example showing around as “youngest European victim of covid” a picture of a poor teenaged boy who killed himself a few years ago doing the blue whale creepy thing (which i believe may have been a satanic ritual spread by satanic hackers), and they change his country of origin around according to where the devious newspaper was published. of course, hunkered inside under 1984 rules, even told by their Church shepherds that Holy Week is canceled (!!!!!), normies cannot question any news. we have to believe, for example, that Chris Cuomo is good enough to be on national TV, yet the virus has hit him so hard he sees weird nightmares and visions in his sleep. there’s been people, some young, who have committed suicide due to knowing having the virus yet being asymptomatic or even false positive. nevermind those who asked for euthanasia and were freely given it. or those with cancer or heart attacks or even who had a bad fall, who had their spot taken in the hospital line for people with no more than bad coughs who just neeeed to get tested. not to mention hypochondria, in no small part caused by media panic.

    there’s also the weird facts. such as, that several players like Israel, China, and the nefarious Bill Gates with his globalist cohort, have been quite quick with the vaccine production. the revival of proposals like permanent ink marks, tracking through apps whoever is deemed infected. and, the strange increase of building infrastructure (if the virus is so dangerous, why risk construction workers outside?) including 5g towers. oh and, are supermarket employees immune or what?

    so yes, one has to be careful and prayerful in these strange times. the worldly elites seem on overdrive, so we must be ready too. meek like doves, smart as snakes. and as always, Deus vult.

  10. […] The media is working hard to make me panic, but I reserve my right as a monarchist not to have an op…. Even if, suppose, the decision to shut down society was right and prudent this time, what was unimaginable a week ago has happened with no resistance, and a precedent has been set. One doesn’t need corpses in the street to cancel school, outlaw private assembly, and (most ominous of all) for the Mass to be suspended–in many places voluntarily canceled even before being prohibited. Just a month ago, we were all hearing the argument that the movement of peoples is something that is beyond any government’s power to control. Now, it turns out that governments can lock down entire populations. For good or ill, we see that many governments do have this power. […]

  11. well time has answered your question. yes , this is the new norman. it is permanent.

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