Thankfully, the Government remembered who elected them and rejected the NPHET call for Level 5 restrictions. It was clear that the leaking of the proposed lockdown last night had elicited a pretty wide ranging rejection. Unlike the announcement of the first lockdown in March when people were naturally in a state of shock and in ignorance of what might come, this time the reaction to the expected new decree was rather different.
The few people I met with this morning voiced concern, not over any greater chance of their contracting the virus or suffering potentially fatal consequences if they do, but over implications the closures would have on our society as a whole. Of particular concern was the potentially devastating impact this would have on people’s employment and ability to cope financially. There’s a growing lack of trust now in those who are in positions of power to decide correctly on these matters.
There is no doubt but that another prolonged period of lockdown would have forced the wider closure of more businesses and the loss of an unquantifiable number of jobs. Unemployment had already begun to creep back up in September, with the “Covid 19 adjusted unemployment rate” now at 14.7%. If a level 5 lockdown did come into place, those numbers would rise with further pressure being placed on the state’s ability to cope with this along with all the other related costs.
Of course, while there is overall relief that the state stepped back from the NPHET recommendation, Level 3 still means that all 26 counties are now subjected to the same level of restrictions as Dublin currently is, and had previously been in place in Kildare, Laois and Offaly. It is still not great news and will still stifle the prospects for economic recovery.
The impact of all of this was one of the points made by Dr. Martin Feeley during his interview last week on Prime Time to question the “new normal”? (And may God forgive me for using the term!)
The interview is well worth viewing if you have not seen it before as it is seldom that we get to see an authoritative voice given a chance to put forward a contrary position without having their views or indeed their integrity called into question.
On Prime Time Dr. Feeley pointed out that the fears (understandable back at the start of all of this) that we were facing something akin to the 1918 Flu pandemic, have thankfully not been confirmed. Covid 19 is not “universally lethal” and therefore the measures in place are now “unjustifiable” when set against their economic, social and even psychological effects. As he put it: “The mood of the people is depressed.”
Senior HSE consultant Dr. Sam McConkey dismissed the theory that we might attain herd immunity, and continues to place his faith in eradicating the virus. Dr Feeley believes that this is unattainable and that in reality we have to learn how to live with it, while continuing with the proper safeguarding of the most vulnerable to lethal consequences, who remain the elderly with underlying conditions. He believes that this is possible without further restrictions.
In a subsequent media interview Dr. Feeley expanded on his view that all aspects of our community have been damaged by the restrictions, and questioned whether the cost may not have been already too high.
Dr McConkey referenced Australia, Greenland and the Faroe Islands as countries that have succeeded in, or are close to, eradicating the virus. He referred specifically to their ability to control who comes into the country. But of course as several episodes in all parts of Ireland, from the Keelings scandal, to the advocacy of taking in more people whose origins or medical or criminal histories we have no idea about in reality, and the several hundred Chinese students in the north coincidental to a huge rise in cases there; prove, this is not going to happen here.
No-one questions any of the above because it fits with the open borders narrative of the left which is conveniently the same for all intents and purposes to the lust for low cost labour as we saw in the meat factories. Strange bedfellows.
Of course the left is also schizophrenically attracted by the vicarious pleasure of getting to tell other people what to do. Hence its laughable equation of people who question the state strictures on masks and other restrictions with “the fash.” Some of that rag and bobtail fantasize that economic and social collapse will lead to a revolution in which they get to be the bully rather than the bully’s labourer.
At the same time, the sort of social harm alluded to by Dr. Feeley and others in regard to people not being able to attend religious services including funerals, visit family or even indulge for an hour or two in the joy of the small accomplishments that make life worth living is frowned upon. We saw another incidence of this last night and today in the harsh criticism directed at the players and supporters of the Blackrock Hurling Club on winning a classic Cork county final
Without getting too philosophical about all of this, attitudes to the restrictions in large degree reflect wider states of mind. Are we content to merely exist? Or do we embrace life in all its complexity and unpredictability? A lot of people hate those willing to swim against the stream and to take risks that they are too frightened to. The “new normal” is a stifling conformity.
Humans can survive even the worst suffering, and live or die with dignity. And not in the sense advocated by the kindergarden leftists who share the Nazi enthusiasm for liquidating the socially burdensome. Some of our great literature came out of the experiences of men and women who survived the socialist and Nazi death camps. Men and women who faced adversity with courage and defiance. There are no memoirs I can recall of NKVD camp snitches or those who volunteered to push people into gas chambers.
Exaggeration much? Hopefully, but all of this is a work in progress. We are in uncharted waters for a people who have never experienced state authoritarianism of the scale that is now looming.
One wonders too if the same people who were spewing hatred over the interweb at the Rockies, and indeed anyone with the temerity to question what was assumed to be a step down to Level 5, will now organise protests in support of NPHET and call for the full monty? Or will they just do as well tutored subjects tend to, and behave as they are instructed?