Nine Thoughts On COVID-19 And What’s Coming
Nine Thoughts On COVID-19 And What’s Coming by Caitlin Johnstone for Medium
This gig is kinda weird at the moment. I write about what’s going on in the world for a living, and there’s certainly plenty going on in the world to be written about. But also there’s this acute awareness that anything I write about today is going to look petty and insignificant in the very near future.
I mean, we’re in the first moments of an unfolding pandemic which, from what I can tell just looking at the numbers, is about to change the world in some pretty significant ways. Governmental faceplant after governmental faceplant after missed opportunity after missed opportunity all around the world appears to have set us on a trajectory toward overburdened healthcare systems, severe economic downturns, and, of course, mass deaths.
And maybe chaos. And maybe healing. And maybe, when all is said and done, a total restructuring of power and the way we do things.
Standing on the precipice of that, how the hell am I supposed to write about how Bernie didn’t go hard enough at Biden in the last debate or whatever? So many of the arguments we’ve been placing so much importance on lately could easily look irrelevant in a matter of weeks.
Anyway, here are nine thoughts on COVID-19 and what’s coming.
1 — Everyone in conspiracy circles has strong opinions about what’s going on, so anything I could possibly say about this is going to get a ton of pushback from some faction or another. That’s fine. In my opinion the fears that the ruling class will seize this opportunity to advance preexisting authoritarian agendas are well-founded, and people are right to have suspicions about the official narrative on the origins of the virus, but people who are still saying the whole thing is fake from top to bottom and it’s just another flu/no big deal have been proved wrong by facts in evidence. People should minimize social contact to avoid overburdening healthcare systems and thereby killing people. No matter how certain you are that this is all fake, you’re not certain enough to justify needlessly risking lives.
2 — Google-owned YouTube has just announced that they’re going to be censoring a lot more videos during the pandemic, citing the need to rely on automated censorship as they scale back workers’ presence at the office. No attempt has been made to explain why YouTube staff can’t just review the material working from home. Definitely worth keeping an eye on; if widespread authoritarian measures are going to be implemented during this time, increasing internet censorship will likely be the first step.
3 — I think this is going to hit America much harder than other countries, unfortunately. Combine a literal joke of a healthcare system with a president who up until just today has been dismissive of the threat the virus poses, the fact that the majority of Americans can’t afford a $1,000 emergency expense at a time of mounting layoffs while being chronically uninsured or underinsured, an inability to make anything happen without massive corporations voluntarily going against their own profit margins, a culture of rugged individualism with a reflexive distaste for collectivist organization for the good of the whole, and a highly religious populationwith many preachers telling their underinsured parishioners to demonstrate their faith by gathering at the megachurch and shaking hands with everyone, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Please stay as safe as you can.
How did China 🇨🇳 beat coronavirus⁉️
One of China’s creative techniques was the ❝Disinfection Tunnel❞ which was invented & manufactured in days, NOT years.
— Erik Solheim (@ErikSolheim) March 16, 2020
4 — Meanwhile China is having success getting the pandemic under controlon its end, with its government’s ability to build hospitals and crank out brand new tech solutions with astonishing swiftness, and of course to clamp down on the public’s free movement as soon as it was deemed necessary. Now Beijing is moving into a world leadership position in tackling the pandemic, stepping in to aid nations which can’t get help elsewhere like Italy and Serbia.
5 — The US became a superpower after being left intact while competing nations were stuck rebuilding themselves from two devastating world wars, allowing it to surge ahead of the competition. China, as we’ve discussedhere many times, has been poised to overtake America as the dominant world power, so it’s possible we’ll see China’s relative success and America’s relative failure on this front dance in a way which gives a significant boost in that direction in the same way the US was given a boost by the world wars. It’s very likely China comes out of this notably further along in its agenda to create a multipolar world than before this all began.
6 — And the US of course realizes this threat, which is why my social media notifications right now are full of propagandized human livestock bleating about China being the Latest Official Bad Guy who I absolutely must believe very bad things about. A dying empire knows it’s going to need to take some drastic, dangerous measures to secure world dominance in the face of a surging contender, and it knows it needs to manufacture consent for those drastic, dangerous measures. Anti-China propaganda has been pouring into mainstream consciousness with more and more aggression lately, first and foremost within right-wing echo chambers but also within mainstream liberal ones — Joe Biden compared the Chinese government to Jack the Ripper just last night.
The result has been rank-and-file westerners beginning to lose their minds about China, which has looked exactly like a right-wing mirror of the Russia hysteria we watched unfold throughout late 2016 and early 2017. I have been encountering far more hysterical anti-China sentiment online than I was even a week or two ago; a poll published at the beginning of this monthreports US anti-China sentiment is at a 20-year high, and I’ll wager if they took it again today it would be significantly worse.
People are now constantly shrieking about how authoritarian the Chinese government is, which is stupid, because China has always had an authoritarian government. It hasn’t changed; the only thing that’s changed is the narrative management, with glaring adjustments like the mass media reporting on the Hong Kong protests vastly more than the anti-government demonstrations in US empire-aligned nations like France. All this irrelevant emphasis on where the virus originated isn’t there to protect you from the virus, it’s there to make China look bad. China is no more of a threat to you than it was two years ago; the only thing that’s changed is you’re now being hammered with narratives about how threatening it is. Mass media converging upon a single empire-targeted nation is never a good thing.