Brazil to UN: We’re agin’ this “great re-set”, you know

A bit of twitter bait here from the Brazilian Foreign Minister:

Bait because, actually, the full speech is here, in English, and, interestingly, he doesn’t actually mention “the great re-set” once in his seven minutes and twenty seconds. He talks a lot about the importance of getting the vaccine to people, and keeping industry and business open, and opposing restrictions on people’s freedom and liberties, but it’s not the great rant against the “great re-set” that you might think, if you just read his tweet:

What he does say is very interesting, and we’ll come to it in a second. But first, let’s talk about this “great reset” idea.

The idea of a globally orchestrated “great re-set” is a bit dramatic, and almost certainly overblown, despite what the World Economic Forum might say. There wouldn’t be much point to having a world economic forum if it wasn’t constantly pushing some wacky new economic framework to improve the world. Yes, there are those who openly fantasise that the Covid pandemic will finally bring about the just and equal world (on their terms) that they’ve always fantasised about, and yes, there are those in positions of political power who’d like to re-make the global economy according to an idealised, utopian vision of equality and sharing and kittens and puppies, and all that, but there’s nothing new there.

That’s the whole point of supranational organisations, after all – to preach and bleat about a brighter future, while totally ignoring the preferences of voters across the globe. That’s what the UN does, and what the World Economic Forum does, and what the Paris Climate Accords do, and so on. They’re forums for dreaming, and making visionary speeches. They’re not forums for governing, no matter how much they wish that they were. The “Great Reset” will last right up until the moment some Government has to seek re-election on a platform of re-making the economy on the basis of huge tax rises and massive funding for the third world.

What the Brazilian Foreign Minister is saying though, is largely correct. There most certainly are those across the globe who would very much like to make some of the Covid restrictions permanent. They may not say it out loud, for example, but it’s hard to square the life-long hostility the Irish public health sector has held for the Irish Vintners with the idea of NPHET shedding tears of sorrow as they close the pubs. It’s also hard to imagine climate activists relishing the idea of ten thousand planes taking to the sky again, once it’s safe for middle class families to start taking their summer holiday in Lanzarote.

“Those who dislike freedom always try to benefit from moments of crisis”, he says. He’s not wrong.

None of this is particularly hard to understand. After all, if you’ve spent a lifetime pushing for big, dramatic changes to the way we live, and then the crisis necessitates some of those changes, you’re going to be tempted to say something like “see? Isn’t this better?”.

The big problem for “Great Re-set” proponents, of course, is that the average voter doesn’t see it that way. To the extent that support for restrictions exists, it’s support that is driven almost entirely by self-interest. I don’t want to get the virus and die is a much greater motivator for the idea of staying at home than I want to change the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere or I don’t want to have cirrhosis of the liver in my seventies. 

And, in time, even if the vaccine fails, and we end up living with Covid for the next decade, support for the present restrictions will fade. Don’t believe me? Consider, then, that in March, the public were totally in favour of closing schools. Today, politicians daren’t mention the idea. It’s a step too far, even if it did mean saving lives, or whatever. As it is, the idea that the public are going to obey the Irish Government’s call to stay at home from St. Stephens Day is fanciful. Some will, of course, but others will rationalise their decision to break the rules.

One of the reasons I’m so sceptical of conspiracy theories about plans for global control, and totalitarianism, and great re-sets, and all the rest of it, is that it’s just not possible. Try as you might, you can’t control six or seven billion people. Especially not, if, as some contend, the control is being exercised by a small, shadowy, cabal. The only country in the world to manage true totalitarianism is North Korea – and to maintain it, they’ve had to shut off the outside world entirely, and make sure that nobody can access any information at all. What’s the Covid excuse for shutting off the internet going to be? There won’t be one, and therefore, this kind of conspiracy is impossible.

But that doesn’t mean that voters have no reason to be vigilant. Watch, in 2021, for efforts by Irish politicians, and NGOs, to ensure that we never go fully “back to normal”. Some of these people are quite contented with parts of lockdown, and would like to see them become permanent.

That’s what the Brazilian Foreign Minister was talking about, and he’s right. It’s where the fight will be, in the coming year.

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