I am co-writing a book on the Great Panic to explain what happened and what can be done to avoid a repeat. In the course of our research for that book, me and co-authors are scouring websites in the rest of the world to find out how others in the Covistance have experienced the events of 2020/2021. A fascinating aspect is how similar all the stories across the world are, even though the Covistance people in different continents are extremely diverse in terms of their education, their political orientation, their religious beliefs, and what they read.
There are 5 features of Covistance people that I have found to be nearly identical the world over:
- Stunned incredulity. The common experience of Covistance people in February-April 2020 was one of bewilderment at what the majority were doing. Neighbours one saw for decades as sensible people suddenly became wildly in favour of Chinese-style lockdowns on no other basis than that they were afraid and that they saw lockdowns on tv. Colleagues one thought were no-nonsense people loudly started advocating everybody wears masks everywhere, insisting that would save millions of lives. Family members one thought one knew since birth started signing petitions to close the schools and the offices for no other reason than that it sounded like an appropriately tough response to their fear. Covistance people around the world saw their neighbours, colleagues, and family do such things, thinking “What the hell is happening here? Have these people all lost their minds?”. There was a very distinct sense of being left behind, of not being able to join in with the madness, feeling slightly lonely at that realisation.
- Slow divorce from mainstream media. Covistance people everywhere started looking at the main newspapers and tv stations with different eyes, hardly believing what they were being bombarded with. Whether they were themselves highly educated or not educated at all, they all became gradually more detached from the media they had until recently seen as their main source of truth. They started to doubt everything that came out of the mainstream media, even if just before they would swallow all kinds of stories. Suddenly they started to re-evaluate, such as what had really gone on with gas attacks in Syria, or whether the Chinese government had been coercing the WHO. Essentially they felt their ‘general truth’ had become a whole lot less clear and they needed to re-anchor.
- Dogged resistance. Covistance people all experienced the determination to hold on to their humanity and not get sucked into the madness around them. As ‘Annie’ on lockdownsceptics worded it perfectly in her new year’s resolution on January 1st 2021:
I will not be turned into a zombie.
I will not gibber in fear of a disease that has a 99.97% survival rate
I will not cower in a hole like a frightened rabbit.
I will not exchange living life for living death.
I will not kow-tow to a tinpot Stalinist dictator.
I will not believe government lies.
I will not be terrorised by media death porn.
I will not consider other people as squelching sacks of poison.
I will not delete my face.
I will never surrender.
I will remain human.
- New communities with a new tolerance towards old enemies. The Covistance is made up of very odd bedfellows, uniting people who just beforehand got on like water and fire. I have found myself in the company of smart right-wing people who never believed in climate change or vaccines (which I do believe in). I have also found myself in the company of old-style socialists believing the whole thing to be concocted by large corporations trying to oppress the workers. I have found myself in the company of the super-woke and the anti-woke, pro-Brexiteers and pro-world government. Many old distinctions have become unimportant within the Covistance, leading to enormous tolerance for all kinds of views that would previously have been cause to run away from that company. That increased tolerance is felt heartily by Covistance people who have invested in at least gaining some understanding of where the others are coming from and why they believe what they believe. A real appreciation of radical diversity as a source of strength has emerged within the Covistance.
- A search for a clear culprit. I have resisted this myself, but see the very powerful pull within the Covistance towards a clearly named enemy: some organisation or country that is to blame for the madness and that has planned all this. My own stance is that it is all ‘correlated madness’ but not ‘planned evil, at least not initially’. At best I would say ‘fear itself’ is the common enemy, internal to all of us. That idea is a minority position in the Covistance though as it searches for an external identifiable common enemy to turn all arrows towards. Some blame the Chinese government, others the World Economic Forum, yet others the CIA or Big Tech. New names are popping up to identify the enemy, whether that is the Great Reset or Techno-Facism. A common cause has created images of a common enemy.