Lockdown Imitates Art as “They Live”

“We are living in an artificially-induced state of consciousness … They have created a repressive society, and we are their unwitting accomplices.” — Scientist in “They Live”

As countries around the world struggle to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and as America struggles to recover from a terror-driven lockdown, it’s easy to see parallels with the 1988 dystopian movie “They Live.”

Think about it. Mindless obedience is the order of the day. People are terrified of going anywhere, doing anything, or interacting with anyone. Just as in the movie, they’re “in an artificially-induced state of consciousness.” They’ve learned helplessness:

  • Do social distancing, but it won’t really help since the virus floats in the air for hours.
  • Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. It won’t help, unless it does.
  • Don’t touch anything. Forget that, it’s safe to touch things. We might change our minds again tomorrow. We’ll let you know.
  • The virus kills three percent, no, five percent, seven percent, no, maybe zero point one percent or zero point zero one percent. But mainly, you should be afraid.
  • If you’re exposed to the virus, then you’re as good as dead, unless you don’t get infected, get infected but don’t get sick, or get only somewhat sick like a case of flu.
  • There are no treatments except some that will kill you, like the one that wasn’t in the fish tank cleaner that a woman apparently used to murder her husband. Society can’t re-open until there’s a vaccine, which might be never.
  • President Trump is taking one of the deadly treatments, which makes his critics sad because they love him so much.
  • Everyone is in danger. Well, mainly the elderly, people who are already sick, and nursing home residents in New York. Healthy people under 50 are in almost no danger, but you wouldn’t want to get infected and then kill granny, would you?

The Garcettis, Whitmers, and De Blasios send police to arrest people for opening small businesses, walking in the park, sitting on the beach, or exercising their Constitutional right to free speech. You vil obey! Ve have vays of making you comply! Tech monopolies back up the new dictators by censoring arguments that contradict the ruling narrative or that question the danger. The censorship alone makes me smell a rat: truth has nothing to fear from the free exchange of ideas.

Politicians know that the best lies are based on a grain of truth. Yes, Covid-19 is a real illness and you really don’t want to get it, especially if you’re in a high-risk group. Beyond that point, all of the 24/7 terror is mainly panic and propaganda.

Let’s be fair: in the beginning, nobody was sure about the danger. The crisis in Italy, where hospitals were overwhelmed, was scary as hell. It was totally reasonable to warn people to take precautions. It was debatable but not totally insane to lock down society for a couple of weeks, then see what happened.

And now we know what happened.

It’s a bad virus, to be sure, but it poses little threat to people outside of specific risk groups such as the elderly, the obese, and the chronically ill.

At the same time, people who need treatment for other illnesses aren’t getting it. The lack of social interaction causes mental illness and “deaths of despair.” The economic damage might take years to fix even if business and government do everything right, which almost never happens.

We need to accept the fact that life involves risk, and to tell the Covid Commissars what to do with their un-American, un-Constitutional diktats. High-risk people should continue to be careful, and nobody should behave recklessly. But even the CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci agrees that most of us need to get back to work. It’s time.


Check out my book Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace. Kirkus Reviews called it an “impressively nuanced analysis.”

About N.S. Palmer

N.S. Palmer is an American mathematician.
This entry was posted in Political Science, Psychology, Society and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lockdown Imitates Art as “They Live”

  1. I know you realize that to say what you just said will not make you friends in this new culture we are creating.

    Like

    • N.S. Palmer says:

      I’m not sure. I have friends and family members who strongly disagree with me, and vice versa, but we respect each other and are open to rational argument. Friendship shouldn’t depend on total agreement. And I think that disagreement can be a good thing if it gets us to examine our reasoning.

      Liked by 1 person

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