I, for one, am feeling decidedly chipper today. Taking to heart the new age-y teaching that the world is what you make of it, I have spent the last few days assuming that, far from the apocalyptic scenario many believe us to be living through, we are in fact experiencing the dawning of a freer, more agreeable, altogether more decent society, midwifed by the coronavirus crisis.
It is, after all, undeniably true that over the last century we have seen our freedom and, with it, the quality of our lives steadily eroded by the twin forces of government overreach and consumer capitalism, both of which flourish by making us serve their needs at the expense of our own. But with this latest scam – and it is undoubtedly a scam, whether by design or simply through the manifestation of panic and mass hysteria on a grand scale – the scales have finally tipped too far.
What could previously be tolerated and ignored as ‘just the way things are nowadays’ has become blatantly obscene, ludicrous, laughable even if it wasn’t so deadly serious to so many who are losing their livelihoods and lives.
Nature exists in a self-balancing equilibrium, and we are part of nature, so it only follows that, having tipped so far in one direction, the scales will now re-balance. And so we are seeing. In Liverpool, England, gym owners have clubbed together to defy the lock down, and are vowing to share the costs of fines levied against any particular owner. Meanwhile, a group of girls flying back from protests in Germany have posted a photograph of themselves maskless on the plane, boasting of the fact that when asked to put their masks on they simply said ‘no’ – and the authorities simply backed down.
In Israel, we are four weeks into a second full lockdown… apparently. During the first, in April, Jerusalem was a ghost town. All the shops and markets were closed; the streets were empty of traffic; those few individuals who braved the outside world scurried through the streets, heads down. This time around things couldn’t be more different. I live by a main road and there has been a steady stream of traffic all day. The buses are less crowded than they were, but are certainly not empty. Around half of the shops are open – some have taken to stocking a crate of fruit and veg to get around the condition that only grocery shops may officially open – and the restaurants, which are only supposed to be doing deliveries, have instead simply lined their chairs across the entrance and are taking orders shouted across the premises from the queue of punters outside.
On Sunday, desperate to get back in the game, around a third of the big chain stores are set to defy the lockdown and reopen their doors too. They have taken it upon themselves to adhere to standards on social distancing and temperature checking at the entrance, which were in place over the summer, and will simply ignore the official lockdown to get back to business.
Good. It’s about time governments were put back in their places, and this wholly benign form of peaceful resistance is far preferable to the violent protests which may have come about had these measures been allowed to continue indefinitely.
As it is, the economic fallout is now inevitable. In Israel, some 100,000 businesses are expected to shut by the end of this year; 67,000 already have. Tourist numbers are down 98% on last year, a devastating blow to a country which relies on tourism for a good deal of its income. The knock-on effects will impact all Israelis, even those in safe jobs – the cheapest supermarket chain has already raised prices by 14% across the board, and food already isn’t cheap here as so much is imported. As elsewhere, the government has taken on massive debts in order to finance this panic, which will have to be paid back through taxes for decades to come.
But by quietly, stoically, putting a halt to this nonsense now, by enacting their own economic ‘circuit breaker,’ the public may well have safeguarded their children’s futures, ensuring the economy is positioned to bounce back relatively quickly.
Of course more needs to happen. To truly reach the Age of Aquarius or World to Come that the apocalyptics are hoping and waiting for, the power of the governments and quangos. and more importantly supranational organizations such as the UN and WHO must be dismantled. Tee same goes for the capitalist superstructures which shape our worlds today: the tech giants and big pharma spring particularly to mind. There will be losers in this transition. They won’t acquiesce easily. But already the shrill screams of these groups and their activist footsoldiers are growing increasingly more desperate, more panic stricken, more fear-mongering, for precisely one reason: people have stopped listening. Already the British government is starting to dither, not sure if it really has the cojones to carry its agenda through.
The simple fact is, there need not be World War Three to overturn the old way of doing things. Their power to invoke armageddon lies in our willingness to obey. So don’t.