O Lord, help me to be pure

but not yet.

Saint Augustine

Many years ago, I was on a plane about to depart the airport in Lagos (the one in Nigeria, not Portugal).

Sharing the row of seats with me was my colleague, Ricky (not his real name) and an elderly Nigerian woman to whom I’d yet to be introduced.

Some background to Ricky; he was also Nigerian, living and working in London. In his spare time he was a lay preacher at a (very) large Christian church in a converted warehouse in North London.

He didn’t miss an opportunity to remind you of this fact. Think about the most annoying vegan you’ve ever met, then stick a copy of The New Testament in their hand.

Prior to take off, I introduced myself to the old lady and politely asked where she was headed.

Geneva

Oh lovely, do you have family there?

No, I have a serious medical condition and my family have saved up to pay for me to be treated by the worlds best surgeon for that condition”

At which point, spying an opportunity to talk about his favourite subject, Ricky usurped the conversation:

“I’m a pastor, I am qualified in prayer and the laying of hands. Would you like to pray with me for a cure?”

Oh yes, I’d like that very much”.

There then followed five tediously long minutes of Performative Christianity with several references to scripture and a grand finale with the claim, through faith, Ricky had cured the old lady of the, presumably, terminal cancer or whatever it was she was going to have removed.

“Oh, thank you so much”, responded the old dear.

No walhala”, Ricky modestly replied in the vernacular.

Curious, I enquired whether she believed she was now cured.

Oh yes

“What, fully cured?”

Yes, I believe in the power of prayer

“Well, the plane doors haven’t closed, there’s still time to leave the plane and save your family a lot of money in medical bills”

No, I think I’ll still go and see the surgeon”

Bill’s Opinion

I’m constantly reminded of this memory whenever I see people, presumably already with the benefit of four shots of a vaccine that prevents them catching and being made sick from Covid, walking around in public wearing non-surgical grade masks.

Now Jesus he came in a vision
And offered you redemption from sin
I’m not sayin’ that I don’t believe you
But are you sure that it really was him
I’ve been told that it could’ve been blue cheese
Or the meal that we ate down the road

I’m a young man at odds with the Bible
But I don’t pretend faith never works
When we’re down on our knees
Prayin’ at the bus stop

Hallelujah

Give me back the Berlin Wall

….Give me Stalin and St. Paul
Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby
It is murder

At some point in the last few decades, we seem to have lived through what Leonard Cohen predicted in the song quoted above, The Future: There’ll be the breaking of the ancient Western code.

One important aspect of that ancient western code was that children mattered more than any other demographic and we should sacrifice for them, not the other way around.

But consider three significant points of evidence in the argument this is no longer our code:

1. Abortion.

It’s always happened, true. From secret potions to beating of bellies to coat hangers and back street arrangements. In countries where it was made legal, the argument was that, if it no longer carried a criminal offence it might be made safe, early and rare. Those words were much used in the campaign during the original Roe vs Wade ruling.

Early and rare seem to have been dramatically forgotten in subsequent years, however.

Approximately 1 million abortions are performed annually in the USA of which, up to 18,000 are in the third trimester. Let’s hope they were at least safe.

2. Lockdown.

For two years, most countries went through several phases of closing the schools and shutting their children away in bedrooms to be educated remotely. School and community sport was banned, as was playing in the parks or even meeting with friends.

We all knew this would impact the most vulnerable kids, those without computers and parents at home, those with abusive family members, those with emotional and mental health issues. But we did it anyway.

Why? To save them from a disease we knew didn’t pose any material risk to the young. We sacrificed those at the start of their lives for the sake of those at the end of theirs.

3. Transgender.

We’ve accepted fiction as fact and figures of authority have presented this to children.

Quite reasonably, many children have now acted upon this lie and genuinely believe they are born in the wrong body and, worse, this unhappy situation can be ameliorated by a mixture of powerful drugs, life changing permanent surgery and the rest of society going along with this charade.

A study of 81,000 teenagers discovered 2,200 thought they were a different gender to the one everyone in the world would have said they were if asked about 10 years ago.

A not insignificant proportion of these confused kids are going to physically act upon these thoughts by taking drugs, slicing bits off themselves and acting out a cosplay fantasy of their new gender.

We can be bloody certain this will not improve their happiness at all.

Well done, everyone. Seriously, well done.

Bill’s Opinion

Golda Mier famously said of the Arabs;:

“We will only have peace with [them] when they love their children more than they hate us.”

I believe that quote is relevant today but it needs a slight modification to reflect our pathological self-loathing:

We will only have peace when we love our children more than we hate ourselves.

Freedom – Technical analysis

Technical Analysis is a method used by some to make investment decisions. From Wiki:

A core principle of technical analysis is that a market’s price reflects all relevant information impacting that market. A technical analyst therefore looks at the history of a security or commodity’s trading pattern rather than external drivers such as economic, fundamental and news events.

Or as my financial adviser puts it, “follow the market”.

A key aspect of Technical Analysis is to look for patterns and trends over time. For example, a pattern of higher highs is thought to indicate an upward trend, such as this one:

Conversely, lower lows suggests you’re going to lose heavily betting on that stock.

Using that simple logic, how are your freedoms looking these days?

Taking Australia as our case study, what has the trend been over the last few decades?

In the chronology below, I’ve tried to show key moments for and against individual freedom and liberty, making a purely subjective justification for each item. For example, Responsible Service of Alcohol legislation could be argued as a positive for freedom because it might assist those who don’t want to be beaten up by drunks, but in my view it’s an unnecessary imposition on the rest of us, if only for the additional cost overhead (training, enforcement, regulation, dedicated government departments) applied to our drinks.

Since the 2001 September 11th attacks, you can be detained without trial for 14 days.

The government can keep your “metadata” (I bet nobody knows what that means without searching) and you can have your citizenship revoked, even if you were born here.

You can’t write or publicly speak about an alleged disconnect between the people profiting from Aboriginal grants and employment perks and their ancestry or skin pigmentation.

Your right to employment, travel, entry in to shops and restaurants, and to protest can be revoked immediately without parliamentary debate or approval but on the word of an unelected Chief Medical Officer.

You must take an experimental treatment to remain employed in a huge number of jobs in a wide range of occupations. The source of this may be State government legislation OR private employer mandates, but the freedom to choose has been revoked either way.

On the plus side, Uber rideshares are legal (although you had to bail out the taxi licence speculators).

Bill’s Opinion

If freedom was charted, I reckon it’d look something like this:

(That’s Bitcoin for the last month, if you were curious).

You might get some temporary wins, and these should be cheered, but it’s just lipstick on a pig.

We’ve been losing rights and freedoms at an increasing pace for quite some time. It’s an interesting question to ponder; when did it start?

My guess is we were most free probably just prior to the First World War. The government interfered in our lives to such a minimal degree, you could go through a day without interacting with its officers. In fact, a passport with a photo was only introduced by the UK (and by extension, Australia) in 1915.

However, there’s a pragmatic aspect to the answer too; “freedom” isn’t worth much without access to dentistry, penicillin, clean water, power, affordable protein, etc.

It’s just an opinion, but I think the rot set in when the Berlin Wall fell. We bought a lie that we had the best system so what’s the only logical action from that conclusion; MORE of that system. Let it take care of us from cradle to grave.

I hate it.

Coerced consent

No plan survives contact with the enemy.

My employer unilaterally made vaccination a condition of employment.

I thought I’d anticipated this well by obtaining a vaccine exemption certificate from a sympathetic doctor, which was duly accepted by my employer.

However, the doctor would not load this on the official immunisation register, presumably so they (deliberate neutral pronoun to obfuscate) could remain under the radar.

I now have to travel internationally for business and the immigration department requires the record on the register.

So, I ran out of road and excuses.

Bill’s Opinion

This government coercion for what should be a very personal medical decision is morally wrong.

It’s also medically wrong – the injection won’t prevent me catching the virus or passing it on. In fact, some studies are now suggesting a higher infection rate amongst the vaccinated.

It’s also an abuse of human rights, as documented by the /checks notes/ Australian government’s Human Rights department in 2019.

There will be a consequence to this, at a minimum a protest vote at every future election, perhaps there’s more tangible actions I can take. Suggestions below, please (and no, I’m not planning to go “postal” on anyone).

Hi ho Silver! Away!

The Lone Ranger famously used a cunning disguise in the form of a mask over his eyes, causing such confusion that bad guys had no chance of ever discovering his real identity of Texas Ranger, John Reid.

As you can see in the photo above, this was completely effective and not at all a rubbish cinematic device which required the complete suspension of belief by the audience to enjoy the show.

Similarly, in those jurisdictions where we’ve “been given our freedoms back” (and what a godawful phrase that is to utter in a country governed by Common Law and a history which includes the various iterations of Magna Carta) there are still plenty of not so Lone Rangers walking amongst us with the flimsy light blue paper over their mouth and nose.

Unusually for these times, I’m of the view people are allowed to make their own health choices, and my opinion of the efficacy of these decisions is and should be entirely irrelevant to them.

If only others would afford me the same courtesy, heh?

My opinion may be irrelevant to these mask wearers and I’d never be so gauche as to confront anyone over these facial nappies (“diapers” if you’re from the former colonies).

But it does leave me with some unanswered questions though. I genuinely would like to learn the answers, so if you are still performing the Covid holy communion of applying a face mask when you are out and about, I’d appreciate it if you could comment below.

Specifically:

Do you have an underlying health condition requiring the mask, and if so, wouldn’t it be safer for you to stay home?

Do you use the medical standard N95 version? If not, why not?

What’s your best estimate of the marginal additional percentage protection your mask confers? 90%? 5%?

What data point would make you consider reverting to the mask free life?

Do you think that data point will ever be achieved or is this a permanent part of your routine now until the end of your life?

Bill’s Opinion

I don’t understand the reasons for continuing to wear the masks. Perhaps I would be persuaded by the arguments for it but these are presumably unique to the individual.

In my mind, it almost falls in to the category of neck or facial tattoos; I’m sure you have reasons, I just can’t think of what they might have been.

The critical question must surely be, what is the data point required to stop wearing them? I honestly hope they’ve thought about the answer to that question otherwise we would have to assume a terrible failure of cognition and agency by somebody whom we might have previously thought to be sentient.

Anyway, for the current time, we are back to a situation where personal choice is a thing again. Enjoy it while it lasts.

The first casualty of war

…is presumably the poor bastard who gets shot first.

Oh, sorry, “truth”.

Before we get into today’s topic, let me apologise for the low frequency of updates here. Life has been hectic, not in a bad way, but something had to give and discretionary time spent here was the loser.

Last week, someone who reads this blog asked me why I had nothing to say on the Russia/Ukraine situation? Here’s my reply:

Because I assume everything I read or watch on the subject is, at best, unintentionally false but more probably, propaganda and misinformation.

But Bill,” they exclaimed, “surely you can’t deny Russia illegally invaded an independent sovereign state and is committing war crimes? It’s right there on the evening news every day“.

I have three words in response; Gell-Mann Amnesia.

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.” 
– Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

We’ve just sat through more than two years being spoonfed absolute horseshit whilst being told it was the highest quality truffles and champagne; viruses that didn’t but then suddenly did originate in a Chinese lab, masks that didn’t work then worked so well you’d be arrested for not wearing them, vaccines that stopped the spread so well that nearly everyone you know has now caught the virus at least once regardless of the number of booster shots they’ve had, transitory inflation that seems intent on staying long after the last night bus, etc.

The paragraph above could be far longer, as I’m sure you’ll agree, but that’s enough to illustrate my my point; our governments, opposition parties, doctors, police, state funded scientists, news media and even the independent judiciary have been exposed as incompetent, mendacious and unfit to uphold the principles many of our ancestors were sent off to wars to defend.

Does that statement feel a little strong? Am I using hyperbole unnecessarily?

Do you know someone who lost their job when the government decided to stop the economy? Perhaps you know someone who had to watch the funeral of a loved one over a Zoom call? Or was handed a fine for sitting too close to a friend on a park bench? Or was slammed to the ground by a Melbourne policeman for protesting lockdown? Perhaps you know someone who has lost their job due to vaccine mandates?

These people might not see the paragraph as hyperbolic.

Regardless, you now KNOW we were told utter bullshit, were subject to creative new laws with no basis in logic or scientific observation. People who pointed this out contemporaneously were booted from the internet public square and became non-persons.

We were fortunate with the virus, and therefore the data about it, in that it was “democratic”; everyone with a phone or a keyboard could post new information. Some governments kept their fingers off the scales and published raw data, regardless of whether it agreed with other governments’ narrative. Put simply, some personal effort in searching for answers often paid off with information that better explained and predicted than any of the crap offered up in government press conferences or in the pages of our once trusted newspapers.

The war in Ukraine, on the other hand? It’s back to the old information model; gatekeeper media organisations “embedded” on one side or another and pure unadulterated propaganda from Russia and Ukraine governments or their supporters.

All we can do is select which fire hose to wrap our mouths around and get ready to unquestionably drink in everything we’re given.

Perhaps there’s some truth flowing in among the torrent, but it’s likely to be at a level of dilution even a Homeopathic quack would blush at.

Bill’s Opinion

Is Putin a dangerous sociopath who neutralises his political opponents with methods Stalin would recognise and approve of? Yeah, most likely.

Is Zalensky a hero who has made no misteps and has done nothing we’d consider beyond the pale. I highly doubt it.

Do I have any chance of getting even close to the truth of what is going on, why and how it might play out?

Not a fucking chance.

So, I choose not to play their game. I minimise my consumption of news on the subject. Avoiding it totally would be unadvisable; if I had done that last year, I wouldn’t have managed to get a vaccine exemption certificate before my employer made it a condition of employment.

But I’m generally ignoring the articles offering explanations and predictions from the exactly the same people who got so much wrong, either by accident or design, in 2020 and 2021.

Wrap my battered flathead fillet and hot chips in it, that’s the only use I have for their paper. And don’t skimp on the salt and vinegar.

A long time between drinks

Life has somewhat got in the way of maintaining this organ recently, for which I apologise.

By way of recompense, I’ll put an unusually personal post up today.

Two months ago, I posted this little missive, which ended with some advice:

  • Find a doctor who will give you a vaccine exemption. It might be accepted by employers, airlines, restaurants and governments for a while,
  • If you are eligible for a passport from another country, apply. Having options is wise. Ask any American male with a Canadian passport during the Vietnam draft era.
  • Consider alternative education models for your children. Take control of their curriculum and hire tutors. If you stay within the current system, focus them on what matters only. STEM.
  • Spread your assets across jurisdictions. Be nimble.
  • Perhaps move away from major population centres, if these are where all the police and army presence is focused.
  • Learn to sail. If you one day find it necessary to steal a yacht from the harbour and sail away, having the skills learned in the Day Skipper qualification would be important

What of this, if any, have I since done?

All of the above, with the exception of learning to sail, that’s a skill I’ve had for a while.

I found a doctor who’d provide an exemption, just in time as my employer brought in a no jab, no job policy. Firing me now will be expensive for them. Don’t bother asking for the doctor’s details; they’ve since been told by the Dept. of Health to stop writing them.

I renewed the family’s second passports. Nice post-Brexit blue ones too.

Our kids have left the education system and are now homeschooling on the Euka programme. It’s very good and Year 9 English, in particular, is studying the classics rather than this piece of bollocks they were sent home with from the high school last term.

Our assets are now split across two jurisdictions. A house here, cash and pensions elsewhere.

We move house next month. We’re leaving Sydney and will be living in a small community within an acceptable commute from my work, assuming I’ll ever need to go there again. in addition, I’m looking for work internationally, pitching myself at employers with global roles who would need people who can work flexible hours.

….and this winter I’ll be putting my yacht on a stand in the driveway to renovate it and upgrade it to being capable of long ocean passages.

Bill’s Opinion

Predictions I would have dismissed as on the extreme lunatic fringe two years ago are now reality.

The smart thing to do with that knowledge is to assume other dire predictions are more possible than you would have previously assumed and prepare to ensure you have options to avoid these if they were to happen.

Everything is a balance of course, you don’t want to be the Kung Flu equivalent of the Heaven’s Gate disciples, but listening to what is being said about mandatory this and compulsory that, and responding accordingly would be wise.

Enough. Really, enough now

The modellers have been modelling.

Some idiot gave a laptop with Microsoft Excel installed to researchers at the University of Melbourne with, sadly, the predictable result that we now have yet another bunch of unprovable predictions and what/if scenarios to scare our politicians with.

They even got a WordPress website registered and set up, bless ‘em.

The website allows one to plug in whatever assumptions you’d like and spits out a result demanding MOAR lockdowns, masks and mandatory 17th booster shots of whatever vaccine the government procurement department managed to buy on eBay this week.

The Melbourne University report addresses some of the gaps in the Doherty modelling but it also points out the uncertainty around several factors that could make a big difference to results.

Here we go again. Repeat after me, children; multi-variable situations are almost impossible to predict. It’s an incredibly idiotic mental feat to convince yourself otherwise. Some of our worst human decisions are made as a consequence of thinking we can calculate complex probabilities.

This includes the proportion of people who get Delta that are asymptomatic and can spread the disease without knowing, and how effective the vaccines are at stopping vaccinated people from spreading the virus.

Oh, do continue…..

For example, the Doherty report assumed vaccination reduces the infection rate by 65 per cent but Melbourne University researchers believes this is too “optimistic” and they used a figure of 25 per cent on average.

And that’s it, right there. It’s over, folks. Go back to the office, open the schools, book your overseas holidays; the vaccines only reduce transmission by one quarter.

We are stuck with this thing forever. Get vaccinated if you want, take your chances if you don’t, but stop pretending this virus is not going to be around if only we could convince everyone on the planet to get the jab.

As for the fucking modellers:

“It is best practice for Governments and decision-makers to take a ‘many models’ approach to decision-making support,” the report says.

Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they. Remind me again, how do they get paid?

Bill’s Opinion

This is a mind virus now. Perhaps it always has been.

As commentator Liberator pointed out, Charles Mackay’s book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds has the perfect quotation for where we are, “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.

Happily, some of my friends are slowly recovering their senses. I suspect we will never speak openly of what happened to them.

Because

Because of a few songs wherein I spoke of their mystery, women have been exceptionally kind to my old age. Leonard Cohen.

That quote has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post, I just like it and it commences with “because”.

Conspiracy theorists always look for the “because”. It’s human nature to try to make sense of situations, particularly if they are causing you pain, suffering and anxiety.

It’s a fool’s errand though. The chances of someone affected by an externality to correctly guess the sequence of events leading to it are extremely unlikely.

What probably matters more is correctly observing all the pertinent facts about the present and drawing reasonable conclusions about how they might change in the future.

Some observable facts, then.

Using public health as the justification, despite 18 months of data showing it was, at a population level, a mid-severity flu and is now (with vaccines, regardless of what you may think about their safety), a very mild flu, the following changes have occurred:

  • International and domestic border closures,
  • Legislation and heavy-handed policing restricting freedom of movement, freedom of trade, freedom of association,
  • Curfews and military presence in suburban areas,
  • Legislation mandating quarantine of healthy individuals on the suspicion of infection,
  • Legislation mandating vaccinations for certain professions,
  • Closures of schools, replaced by very sub-optimal online lessons,
  • Vaccination of children against a virus that poses little threat to them,
  • Restriction of travel on several major airlines to those with proof of vaccination,
  • International airfares, for those allowed to travel, outside the budget of most people,
  • Unprecedented (there’s a word for our time!) government borrowing and economic stimulus, in the form of direct payments to business and individuals. In many cases, the government cheque is greater than the wage it replaced,
  • In those countries that have lifted some of the legislated restrictions above, the powers to re-impose them have been retained (the UK, for example).

That’s Australia today.

How might these situations change, do we think?

Borders will reopen and flights resume, but not for the plebeians for a very long time. The competition in international air travel drove prices down to a level where a middle class family could leave Australia once every second or third year. That’s not going to happen again for perhaps a decade. You’ll need a vaccination passport too.

Legislation restricting freedom of movement, trade and association will remain on the books, the powers to arbitrarily invoke the laws will be retained and used based on “cases” or new variants. Look at the decades old laws against terrorism for precedent.

Governments will not be tempted in the slightest to turn off the stimulus fire hoses. The creative destruction of free markets will be seen as a sign of policy failure. Universal Basic Income by another name will be here to stay.

Schools will re-open and close again several times based on “cases”. Masks for school kids, perhaps mandatory vaccinations too. Teachers’ unions will make demands for “safety” usually resulting in pay rises. The quality of the outcomes for pupils will be a distant footnote printed in tiny font.

Court cases will be brought by employees fired over vaccinations. They might win, they might not.

Bill’s Opinion

Don’t look for the because. You’ll drive yourself mad.

On the news every night, some idiot financial journalist will tell you “markets rose 17 points today because of new employment data”, or “fell because of new inflation data”.

Unprovable. All we can prove is markets rose or fell.

Similarly, we can’t be certain about the because of the situation we are living in now.

We can make reasonable extrapolations such as those I’ve offered above, though.

What to do then?

Here’s some suggestions:

  • Find a doctor who will give you a vaccine exemption. It might be accepted by employers, airlines, restaurants and governments for a while,
  • If you are eligible for a passport from another country, apply. Having options is wise. Ask any American male with a Canadian passport during the Vietnam draft era.
  • Consider alternative education models for your children. Take control of their curriculum and hire tutors. If you stay within the current system, focus them on what matters only. STEM.
  • Spread your assets across jurisdictions. Be nimble.
  • Perhaps move away from major population centres, if these are where all the police and army presence is focused.
  • Learn to sail. If you one day find it necessary to steal a yacht from the harbour and sail away, having the skills learned in the Day Skipper qualification would be important.

It’s all a bit tin foil hat, isn’t it?

But then, imagine a conversation between your 2019 self and your present day self.

Of course, once we’ve moved to Central Bank Digital Currencies, there will be nowhere left to hide anyway.

So enjoy your current freedoms.

I don’t want to give them any more ideas, but….

Imagine you were the supreme leader of a dictatorial superpower country, currently engaged in a de facto but undeclared cold, sometimes warm, war with another superpower and its allies.

One day, a trusted deputy brings you a plan which would result in massive disruption to the society of your enemy, dividing its population, driving a wedge between friends and families, weakening societal trust and inducing huge levels of fear in day to day interactions.

An added bonus of this fiendish plan is it would utterly ruin their economy, sending them into a series of recessions and economic slowdowns.

One assumes, as it’s highly unlikely a moral actor would have ever made it to the top job in a dictatorship, you are a sociopath or at least have sociopathic tendencies. Therefore, this awful plan would be given some consideration, you’d want to hear more about it, you may be very tempted by it.

Completely unrelated to this hypothetical scenario:

Last year, in the early days of the pandemic, pictures and video footage were broadcast around the world, showing people dropping dead in the streets of Wuhan. This one for example:

Footage emerged of authorities welding people inside their houses and of massive amounts of bleach sprayed around the streets of the city.

New hospitals were built in days, to both the shock and awe of international observers.

Stories emerged of mass cremations, perhaps up to 50,000 dead within the first two months of the outbreak.

The rest of the world took notice and, understandably, geared up for something similar to happen in their countries. Emergency field hospitals were built, temporary morgues were set up.

They were never needed. The UK’s “Nightingale” hospitals treated just 54 patients before being closed down and converted into vaccination hubs.

What if there was an element of deliberate misdirection and mendacity in the initial reports coming out of China in early 2020?

With the luxury of hindsight, many of those photos and videos seem a lot less believable than they did when we were all shitting our pants in fear in February last year. Several of those “man falls down dead in Wuhan” stories and footage look somewhat suspicious today. Do an internet search and have a look for yourself, ask yourself how credible they look now?

We have also since learned this was not a naturally-mutated virus, but likely to have had its evolution helped along in a laboratory in Wuhan.

So, what just happened?

What happened to us, what did we just put ourselves through to protect ourselves from a disease we now know has a infection fatality rate well below 1%, making it less deadly than several recent iterations of the seasonal influenza?

Bill’s Opinion

My nascent hypothesis is this; once the Chinese authorities realised they had a leak from the Wuhan laboratory, they made a decision to not let a good crisis go to waste.

It didn’t require the virus to be deliberately created or leaked but, once it was out there, a little elaborate kayfabe was all that was required to send their enemies into a hugely damaging state of national panic.

Of course, this is just another conspiracy theory written on a minuscule blog in a brackish internet backwater.

However, even if there’s not a shred of truth in this theory, everyone in the world, good faith actors and bad, have just learned it is possible in the future. A bad virus, correctly publicised, will result in most nations’ governments destroying economies and freedoms previously thought to be ancient and sacrosanct.

With that fact now known, what can we in what we still laughingly call the free world do to prevent this provoked self-harm happening again in the future?

Some possible solutions I can think of are listed below, perhaps you can think of others:

  • When a new deadly virus emerges, call a referendum to put the solution to the populace, “do you want an enforced lockdown or would you prefer support to take your own personal risk mitigation?
  • Call a general election, assuming there’s a difference of policy between the major parties (sadly, generally there wasn’t; we have unaparties in most countries).
  • In advance, publish a national policy based on differing infection fatality rates. For example, “we will never close our borders and prevent people going about their lives for a disease that kills no more than, say, 0.5% of those it infects and certainly not if the average age of fatality from the disease is greater than the average age of death in a normal year”.
  • Stop electing career politicians with no courage, imagination or real world experience.
  • Pass legislation requiring all journalists to have achieved a high school level of competency in mathematics and statistical analysis.

Regardless, well played President Xi. Well played sir.

(Hat tip, Ezra Levant’s recent podcast on “feelings”)