As recently as on February 14th 2020, I wouldn’t have believed that it was possible for billions of people in the world – plus their elites and “elites”, governments, Parliaments, media, bosses of the business world etc. – to voluntarily agree with government regulations that force them to stay home – with the justification that it’s desirable to fight against a cousin of flu.
But here we are. 25 million Americans became unemployed in 5 weeks, the U.S. GDP dropped by 4.8% in Q1 of 2020 and Q2 will show much worse numbers. The situation is similar across the world – not only in “the West” but in most other countries, too. Many people want this insanity to continue. As far as I know, it has never happened in the history of civilizations that the bulk of a large enough nation, let alone the world, was kept at home for several months.
The general public has failed in the test of common sense, the would-be elites have failed, and yes, I must praise Elon Musk as an exception. How did it happen that a majority of the people have agreed with the lockdown – something that only seems to bring catastrophes and no advantages?
I think that this outcome should be blamed on the increasingly pathological propaganda that was spread in the recent decades and especially on the precautionary principle.
Yes, the climate hysteria has been the most important rehearsal of all these insane aspects and methods to brainwash the regular (and not so regular) people and to strip them of the last traces of common sense. But the precautionary principle hasn’t started with the climate hysteria. Nevertheless, this kind of fallacious thinking isn’t too old, either. The Wikipedia article I just linked to reveals that the precautionary principle has only been promoted as a meme since the 1970s when it appeared as the “Vorsorgeprinzip” in German discussions about the deforestation and sea pollution.
The precautionary principle is an extremely dangerous fallacy whose purpose is to make an absolutely irrational assumption – namely that some risks must be considered infinitely more critical than all other risks – sound more intelligent or maybe even scientific. Needless to say, there is really no controllable method to pick which of the risks should be considered infinitely more important than others. The choice is always being done by the filthy demagogue(s) who have the power to determine the details how the precautionary principle “should” be applied.
Luboš Motl – April 29, 2020.