“The toilet paper crisis confirms that we have more arseholes in the world than we thought.” – I accidentally came across those words yesterday instantly concluding that every hour, every day and every week so far have proved this statement of being absolutely correct.
This week ‘arseholes highlight’ has to be related to various conspiracy theorists who are questioning and doubting everything related to the pandemic, including the existence of the virus itself. I guess this will end up being yet another positive thing about Covid-19 in a sense that it isn’t only taking the masks off from the horrible predatory system that we live in, but also from various individuals of whom, until few days ago, we might have thought of being clever, reasonable and reliable people.
Coronavirus conspiracies that I have been bombarded with via various social networks and other means of communication go all over the place – from grand conspiracies that everything was planned years ago and now perfectly executed with an idea of establishing one world government that will keep us all infinitely enslaved within AI controlled planet, all the way to theory of intentional collapse of world economy so that all small and medium size business can eventually be swallowed up and taken over by huge corporations. Inbetween such and similar nonsense, there are also numerous other rhetorical fallacies blaming 5G technology, evil communist China plot of world domination, evil American plot of bringing down China and Iran, evil Bill Gates who wishes to vaccinate us all and in the process embed some sophisticated chips into our bodies that would result in easy manipulation of human beings in some dystopian cashless society and much more – in fact, handful of listed dubiosities are barely scratching the surface of collective lunacy that has, so it seems, taken over vast amount of world’s population. Surprisingly enough, I still haven’t read or heard any Alien invasion theory which would at least be significantly more entertaining if not exactly more believable.
Writing phantasmagorical stories about shape-shifting lizard people who are serving secret alien races while ruling this planet from the shadows is one of the ‘hard-core’ conspiracy theories from the 1990s but regardless how silly it sounds, it is ultimately harmless and in some instances can even serve as rather amusing replacement for a cheap Hollywood sci-fi movie. No problem there! However, current conspiracy theories based around Covid-19 are extremely dangerous and are literally putting numerous human lives at risk – here and now!
Most common trigger for Coronavirus conspiracy theories is the low mortality rate in combination with the fact that the vast majority of people dying from it are of old age and / or suffering from other serious illnesses. No one is denying this, however, the problem that this virus is causing is not directly associated with mortality rate but with the potential collapse of the entire health system that will cause unimaginable consequences for the entire society. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that numerous hospitalisations of Covid-19 patients will overload and ultimately collapse already overstretched health services in most countries, so it is beyond just worrying to witness such levels of utter ignorance and stupidity publicly displayed by so many people in such a short time. And guess what, the ‘one percent’ they all appear to hate, loves conspiracy theories! Such theories make the masses oblivious to the real things going on out there while keeping them endlessly occupied and distracted with the nonsense.
It makes me cringe for having to waste my time writing all this but the real thing out there is a rather nasty little virus that is spreading around the globe with the speed of a bushfire on a windy summer day.
The real thing is that hospitals, regardless how large and advanced they might be, can’t possibly accommodate all the people who will need care if we let the virus sweep across our cities, countries and continents. To illustrate this point, let’s take the UK as an example. The UK population is hovering around 66 million and if only 1% needs hospitalisation, the UK will need 660.000 hospital beds. The UK currently has around 170.000 hospital beds out of which there are only around 5000 in intensive care units. Now, add to this the fact that the NHS was already overstretched before the pandemic started and you should be able to get a pretty clear picture what this is all about.
The real thing is utter neglect and incompetence all western governments demonstrated in recent weeks with almost complete unpreparedness for such crises even though they have had months worth of warnings from WHO and China as well as years worth of warnings from CDC and other institutions regarding likely pandemic outbreaks. The real thing is that they all did next to nothing and in some instances appeared to be welcoming pandemic with an open arms!
Most importantly, the real thing is that the potential collapse of many western countries’ healthcare systems is some 40 years in the making. It all started when the West adopted neoliberal policies, shrunk and privatised their healthcare systems and other social services. Neoliberalism, together with week, incompetent, corporations-serving leaderships, made us all vulnerable to infinite range of disasters, including pandemics – regardless of the severity or virulence of the disease itself.
Why do we need conspiracy theories when we have blatant facts of neoliberal capitalism, morphing itself right in front of our eyes, from a robber, torturer and relatively slow paced killer to a fast paced methodical and tyrannical blood-for-business mass murderer?! I do understand that most people are confused, under some kind of a shock and in a state of disbelief due to obvious reasons, but I am afraid to say that such conspiracy theories and similar thought processes are painting a rather bleak picture of our collective future.
Finally, I completely agree with Covid-19 conspiracy theorists when they say that people should ‘wake up’. Absolutely! People must ‘wake up’ to the reality, recognise the real causes of the problems we are facing, mobilise and then take actions with the first opportunity. This is the real ‘waking up’ – everything else is nothing but a self-induced coma.
As if onslaught of mass blindness and utter nonsense wasn’t enough, in the past week we have entered something that many rightly call – the war of masks! Everyone needs facial protection masks these days and methods of getting them have been recently described by some officials as, quote: “wild west tactics”. This is mainly directed towards the U.S. which is outbidding and intercepting face mask deliveries as recently ordered by certain European countries. I won’t defend the U.S. actions here – of course not! – but dear Germany, France and others, isn’t an act of ‘outbidding’ and general selfishness something that is characteristic to the way you are usually dealing with the world around you? Why haven’t you ordered our masks earlier, or indeed, why haven’t you produced them locally, not weeks, but months ago? Past week Twitter was flooded with images coming from Afghanistan showing Taliban leaders and fighters handing over the face masks to their population. If Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan was able to obtain masks for their population, why exactly Western countries haven’t done so is anyone’s guess! I believe that we won’t find the answer to this and many other questions related to pandemic horrors of mismanagement before main political actors are lined up in public hearings and high courts. Sooner the better, if I may add!
Few days ago, a friend of mine suggested calling the time of the Covid-19 pandemic the Orange Death period. Not quite accurate, in my opinion, but if ‘Orange Death’ ends neoliberal capitalism in the same or similar fashion Black Death ended feudalism, I certainly won’t have anything against it.