Factors in foresight

Clare Craig’s book, Expired, contains the interesting statistic that only 2% of people in the UK opposed lockdown at the time it started. Having been one of that tiny minority, I am greatly surprised that I was quite such an outlier to the norm, and thought it might be worth trying to understand, in retrospect, why it was. I was not, after all, a leading expert in anything apart, perhaps, from the irrelevant content of my published books. Perhaps such an analysis might help others – and even me – to be better prepared when the next catastrophic mistake is advocated by government.

I wrote my first sceptical piece here on 18th March, 2020, five days before Boris Johnson announced the first lockdown. But the idea had been in the air for two days, Johnson saying that now was the time to stop “non-essential” contact and travel, I believe with the implied threat that it might become compulsory.

The fact that lockdown came out of the blue is indicated by the fact that I hadn’t even blogged on the emerging epidemic up to that point. My experience was that such scares come and go. In fact, my article starts by comparing the new outbreak with previous pandemics that did come and go. In retrospect, knowing what I do now, I strongly suspect COVID would have come and gone almost unnoticed, apart from the calamitous interventions that were made: separated from deaths due to those measures, COVID scarcely registers on measures of excess deaths from year to year.

Skipping over those “pandemics” I had been involved in myself as a GP, I cut to the Hong Kong Flu of my teenage years, and compared it with Ferguson’s modelling, which I seem to have accepted too quickly, not knowing either his appalling prediction record nor the crappy nature of his computer code. However, I did note that he had already defended himself against “overreacting,” suggesting I did not fully accept his figure of 400,000 deaths even then.

I noted that we already knew this virus to affect almost entirely the elderly, and that even accepting an 80% prevalence (it was closer to 10% per wave) and a 1% mortality (it turned out to be 0.2% overall, and much lower for the non-elderly), that would mean only 3 elderly deaths in my village, which is scarcely “Bring out your dead” territory.

I then turned to the dire economic, and hence lethal, effects of trying to shut down the entire society. My first thought here was a mental parallel with stopping the heart of an individual and hoping, with no previous evidence, that you could restart it without ill effect some time later. It was clear to me, as it proved not to be to a number of prominent but stupid journalists at later press-conferences, that the economy is not a luxury, but the means by which people eat and stay alive.

It was clear on first principles – as I spelled out – how shutting work places, schools and so on would cause massive damage to health and to life-expectancy:

For even while most of us know nobody with the disease, already whole industries have been abruptly curtailed, creating financial crises not only in travel, hospitality, entertainment, retail, child-care and many others, but for all the individual employers and employees who will have to put themselves in quarantine. Or who must stay home to look after children ordered to miss school until, perhaps, the end of summer, and forbidden from playing with their friends or stay with granny. After the 2008 crash, many jobs were threatened, but this time all my children’s families, not to mention every working person I’ve met, has been seriously threatened either with redundancy or the folding of their companies.

This paragraph shows that the known effects of the 2008 economic crash were at the front of my mind, leading me to some quick research on the known health effects of recessions such as we were likely to face. That took me a quarter of an hour, tops, but the government never got round to doing even such a basic cost-benefit analysis. I even noted the inevitable, and blatantly obvious, economic costs to future generations of the already-announced £330 billion furlough payments.

Now, none of this was rocket science, and I scarcely even had to appeal to my professional medical knowledge, except to point out that I’d managed pandemics before – but then so had everyone else in the country. So why, according to Clare Craig, did 98% of people fail to see the same things? I’ve no doubt that Clare is right to blame the prevailing atmosphere of fear, which shut down even her own medical reasoning until later. But why, I ask myself now, was I apparently immune from that fear?

There are a couple of clues to jog my memory in the piece itself. The first is my general attitude to life. I wrote:

I’m in the at-risk age group for this one, but have known for years that I might die at any time from a coronary event or some form of cancer: dying’s what you do as you get old.

One of Clare Craig’s chapter-heading quotes, from Edward Abbey, is a good lesson for us all:

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.

Or, as John Wesley put it, emphasising that this is a spiritual matter:

Every Christian should be ready to preach, pray, or die at five minutes’ notice.

If you’re not too afraid of dying, then you’re certainly in a better position to assess the risk of death to others with a cool head. That ought, at least, to be the mind-set of every physician, whose concern should be saving his patient, not worrying whether he will get ill himself.

The second clue is that I seem to have noticed a parallel with the ongoing discussion on climate change:

For better or worse, this may be a dry-run for the carbon-free society they were all hustling for before Coronavirus emerged: it will either plunge us all back into mediaeval living a few decades early, or shock us so much that we abandon the renewable caper and count the blessings of a society that is economically prosperous, and socially liberated from the draconian state controls (though, like Egypt after Joseph’s famine, government may find totalitarianism too valuable to give away now they have it).

This insight, I now realise, was the direct result of having spent the previous year researching the propaganda and deception engulfing society in my e-book Seeing Through Smoke. In March 2020 I’m pretty sure I had not yet begun to twig that the COVID response was not just due to error, but to malice. But I was sensitized to the potential for that by the work I’d already done. If you are interested enough to work forward from my March 2020 post, as more of my posts were about COVID, you will see that within a month or so I had begun to understand the whole thing as yet another case of mass-deception, apparently long before the Mike Yeadons and Fat Emperors and Bret Weinsteins began to suspect a put-up job. I had already been writing about the Gates Foundation, the Rockefellers, and so on, for a year or more.

If you ask what led me to write Seeing Through Smoke in the first place, it was probably the experience of seeing how the entrenched hegemony of Neodarwinian Science sold its case and silenced all opposition in the name of conformity to Science™ (soon to become Fauci’s “The Science”). It is not coincidental that BioLogos pushed hard on conformity to lockdowns and vaccination, whilst dissidents like Doug Axe, William Briggs and Jay Richards questioned them.

How I found the courage to oppose lockdown is easier to answer – I had no idea that what I was writing was in the least controversial. I was not yet aware that every existing pandemic plan excluded lockdowns, but since they had been missing during every previous pandemic during my life, and never mentioned by anyone in my profession, there was no reason to regard lockdowns as anything other than another harebrained government cock-up.

That said, speaking out against error is a matter both of training and habit. I’d by that stage had a decade of swimming against the tide of poor theology in Theistic Evolution circles, but in truth being willing to dissent went right back to being a new Christian at school and challenging the liberal anti-supernaturalism of the Religious Education department.

For as Clare Craig realised, it is not enough to know the truth – one has to bite the bullet and face the cost of speaking it. So far the powers that be have obviously decided that I’m not influential enough to harass in the way that people like Clare have been harassed, and I’ve just suffered the usual loss of friends, alienation of family, accusations of conspiracy theory at best and hatred of the human race at worst. Small beer.

But that’s not the point – the truth is the truth, and if we know the truth but keep silent, we not only leave others in the devil’s snare, but get tangled up in it ourselves. We need people to be truth-telling now even more than we did in March 2020. Keep yourself informed. But practise informing others, too.

Avatar photo

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
This entry was posted in Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply