Fear, Credibility, and the Threat of a Police State

The Worldwide Lockdown May Be the Greatest Mistake in History

By Dennis Prager

The idea that the worldwide lockdown of virtually every country other than Sweden may have been an enormous mistake strikes many — including world leaders; most scientists, especially health officials, doctors and epidemiologists; those who work in major news media; opinion writers in those media; and the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people who put their faith in these people — as so preposterous as to be immoral. Timothy Egan of The New York Times described Republicans who wish to enable their states to open up as “the party of death.”

That’s the way it is today on planet Earth, where deceit, cowardice and immaturity now dominate almost all societies because the elites are deceitful, cowardly and immature.

But for those open to reading thoughts they may differ with, here is the case for why the worldwide lockdown is not only a mistake but also, possibly, the worst mistake the world has ever made. And for those intellectually challenged by the English language and/or logic, “mistake” and “evil” are not synonyms. The lockdown is a mistake; the Holocaust, slavery, communism, fascism, etc., were evils. Massive mistakes are made by arrogant fools; massive evils are committed by evil people.

The forcible prevention of Americans from doing anything except what politicians deem “essential” has led to the worst economy in American history since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is panic and hysteria, not the coronavirus, that created this catastrophe. And the consequences in much of the world will be more horrible than in America.

The United Nations World Food Programme, or the WFP, states that by the end of the year, more than 260 million people will face starvation — double last year’s figures. According to WFP director David Beasley on April 21: “We could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries. … There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself” (italics added).

That would be enough to characterize the worldwide lockdown as a deathly error. But there is much more. If global GDP declines by 5%, another 147 million people could be plunged into extreme poverty, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Foreign Policy magazine reports that, according to the International Monetary Fund, the global economy will shrink by 3% in 2020, marking the biggest downturn since the Great Depression, and the U.S., the eurozone and Japan will contract by 5.9%, 7.5% and 5.2%, respectively. Meanwhile, across South Asia, as of a month ago, tens of millions were already “struggling to put food on the table.” Again, all because of the lockdowns, not the virus.

In one particularly incomprehensible act, the government of India, a poor country of 1.3 billion people, locked down its people. As Quartz India reported on April 22, “Coronavirus has killed only around 700 Indians … a small number still compared to the 450,000 TB and 10,000-odd malaria deaths recorded every year.”

One of the thousands of unpaid garment workers protesting the lockdown in Bangladesh understands the situation better than almost any health official in the world: “We are starving. If we don’t have food in our stomach, what’s the use of observing this lockdown?” But concern for that Bangladeshi worker among the world’s elites seems nonexistent.

The lockdown is “possibly even more catastrophic (than the virus) in its outcome: the collapse of global food-supply systems and widespread human starvation” (italics added). That was published in the left-wing The Nation, which, nevertheless, enthusiastically supports lockdowns. But the American left cares as much about the millions of non-Americans reduced to hunger and starvation because of the lockdown as it does about the people of upstate New York who have no incomes, despite the minuscule number of coronavirus deaths there. Or about the citizens of Oregon, whose governor has just announced the state will remain locked down until July 6. As of this writing, a total of 109 people have died of the coronavirus in Oregon.

An example of how disinterested the left is in worldwide suffering is made abundantly clear in a front-page “prayer” by a left-wing Christian in the current issue of The Nation: “May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.”

“Merely inconvenienced” is how the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, a Protestant minister and president of the North Carolina NAACP, describes the tens of millions of Americans rendered destitute, not to mention the hundreds of millions around the world rendered not only penniless but hungry. The truth is, like most of the elites, it is Barber who is “merely inconvenienced.” Indeed, the American battle today is between the merely inconvenienced and the rest of America.

Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at Stanford Medical School and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry, recently stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor.”

To the left, anyone who questions the lockdown is driven by preference for money over lives. Typical of the left’s moral shallowness is this headline on Salon this week:

“It’s Time To Reject the Gods of Commerce: America Is a Society, Not an ‘Economy,'” with the subhead reading, “America Is About People, Not Profit Margins.”

And, of course, to smug editors and writers of The Atlantic, in article after repetitive article, the fault lies not with the lockdown but with President Donald Trump. The most popular article in The Atlantic this week is titled “The Rest of the World Is Laughing at Trump.” The elites can afford to laugh at whatever they want. Meanwhile, the less fortunate — that is, most people — are crying.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” came to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

May 12, 2020 | 15 Comments » | 428 views

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  1. According to an article in today’s Israel Hayom, Israel has managed the coronavirus crisis effectively from a health standpoint, but badly from a diplomatic standpoint: “One Israeli diplomat said that in each case the decision to ban entry [of foreign tourists] was made unilaterally by health ministry officials without informing the relevant countries. Another senior official said Israel is the only Western country to hermetically seal itself.

    Yet another diplomatic source added: “At the moment everyone is focused on handling the crisis, but in a few months we will feel the consequences. The countries which we have currently cut off will be the first to advise their citizens not to visit the moment there’s a security escalation. No other country has stopped tourists, already mid-flight, from entering their territory, as Israel has done. On the other hand, the country hasn’t expelled tourists who are already here. These are countries we want to have relations with, and the measures Israel has implemented will have a price.” Israel Hayom says that “friendly” foreign governments are particularly annoyrd that some of their tourists were sent back in mid-flight, or when their planes had just arrived in Israel.

  2. “t’s time for America to wake up and look at the real numbers behind the China coronavirus. If we are truly experiencing a “historic” pandemic with unprecedented deaths then this should be obvious in the data. We should see our total deaths for the first four months of 2020 greatly exceed the previous years’ numbers where there was no pandemic, but this is not the case.

    The CDC website indicates U.S. death totals for 2015 through 2020 for the first four months of the year average (Jan – Apr) to be at 921,603. This year the total deaths during this period were 944,251 which is slightly more than average but slightly less than the number of deaths in 2017 (Note – to obtain below data we summed up all deaths for weeks 1 through 16 for each year from the data in the CDC website) . , .” From today’s Gateway Pundit.

    The total increase in the death rate for the months January-April of this year is about 24,000 more than 2019. That is much less than the alleged number of deaths from CV-2. Why? Has there been a substantial decrease in deaths from other causes? Or is the actual number of CV-2 deaths much less than what the CDC and Johns Hopkins University have reported?

  3. Israel is and will be safe place to visit including from the disease standpoint.

    Israel said to join tourism compact for countries bringing virus under control
    Initiative proposed by Austria would see 7 nations adopt joint coronavirus protocols and open up to tourism and trade with each other; Vienna airport offering 3-hour virus tests

    Israelis enjoy the blooming of flowers in the Dead Sea, February 20, 2020. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

    Israel is among seven nations that have made progress in combating the coronavirus, which are joining together to promote tourism and trade between them as they look to rebuild economies battered by the virus, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

    The initiative, proposed by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, would provide a way for the countries, many of which are heavily dependent on tourism, to begin opening borders without the fear of letting in virus carriers.

    Full article on the seven countries and the tourism initiative: https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-said-to-join-tourism-compact-for-countries-bringing-virus-under-control/

  4. “The idea that the worldwide lockdown of virtually every country other than Sweden may have been an enormous mistake…”

    Mr. Praeger did not mention Brazil, which is far larger than Sweden and is dealing with a larger problem. The President of Brazil, far from “not locking down”, has been denigrating ANY anti-pandemic measures so far as I can see. The result has been catastrophic, both in the major metropolitan regions around Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, and in the Amzzon basin. Denying and/or ignoring the pandemic problem is clearly the worst possible “solution” to the crisis.

  5. What could possibly account for the gap between the CDC’sreported total deaths and and reported CV-2 deaths in the first four months of 2019? A decrease in fatal auto accidents due to less cars on the roads is one possibility. But according to a study by the GSHA, a nonprofit that represents a consortium of highway safety departments in many state governments, that may not be the case. “Some states are finding reduced crash rates but more serious crashes. In Massachusetts, the fatality rate for car crashes is rising, and in Nevada and Rhode Island, state officials note pedestrian fatalities are rising.
    In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities have more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half those deaths were related to speeding or to careless or negligent driving.” (https://www.ghsa.org/index.php/resources/news-releases/coronavirus-reckless-driving20). I can’t think of any other explanation for this mysterious statistical gap. Based on the available statistics from CDC concerning total deaths in the U.S. during the first four months of this year, and taking into account additional deaths in May, it is like that the actual death toll from CV-2 is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-35 thouand deaths this year, not the 88,000 ‘officially” reported by Johns Hopkins University and the CDC. Still a horrific death toll-but not the catastrophe that Fauci, Birx and company keep talking about. And possibly less than number of flu deaths in 2017, when no emergency was claimed.

  6. At a gut level, I am against the lockdown. The available options for a country should not have included it as a choice. Yes deaths from the vitus or those attributed to the virus would have increased. I would have accepted such increase just as I accept deaths from traffic accidents of hurrican’s as normal.

    I do not believe in draconian measures to lessen either.

    Since when was it permissable for a government to force people to stay at home or to close their businesses. Unbelievable. Instead the government should have been forced to look for other solutions.. For instance, without the lockdown option, the governments would have been forced to focus on people with pre existing conditions or those over 75.

    I expect that when post mordems are penned, it will be seen that we were stampeded into the lockdown with misinformation.

  7. @ Reader:
    I read that article from the link, and can’t understand it exactly. It seems ambiguous or just referring to a certain class of the population- For instance, it says that the masks keep the viruses in, where they congregate in the nasal cavities causing illness- Well, to me that assumes that the wearer already has caught the virus, and this makes it safer for others-who haven’t-

    Also the discussion on the lack of oxygen caused by the masks If that is the case, then they are not properly made, are faulty-The flow of air should be non impeded-

    Naturally such poorly working masks would cause dizziness to those with lung ailments and it’s surprising that such masks were issued to those least fitted to use them- And I do NOT see the neccessity for those driving alone in their presumably well sanitized cars, should need to stifle themselves with masks-

    Just my opinion based on a casual reading of the article.

  8. My short addition to my post above suddenly vanished after 4-5 lines of the whole 7 lines- Couldn’t have been writing more than a minute and a half-

  9. @ Ted Belman:
    Lockdown worked in Israel along with other measures (such as contact tracking) and isolating the infected and exposed. Israel has also been doing lots of testing and kept its hospital system functioning at a high and professional level.

    The economy ends up locked down or completely dysfunctional from fear even if there is no government shutdown because of people sick, scared, hospitals over-run. So it really makes sense to try and shut-down hard and effectively like in Israel and then start opening up the economy with a minimal number of sick or dead. Israel’s lock down was relatively short.

    The US has a complete mess on its hand. The left hand is fighting the right hand and the virus is not reduced enough and social distancing is being halted and deaths are growing. The economy is in the tank and the government is wasting trillions of dollars they are raining everywhere with no idea if it lands in the hands of those who need it.

    Some places never shut down in time (e.g. NYC) and never contained the virus and its hospital system became overwhelmed. Then after they left the virus in they tried very ineffectively to shut down but it was too late.

    Then some people are going with their gut and not objective analysis in many cases to see what works or does not. Many people are even denying that a real pandemic exists and is killing people in large numbers. So how would they be able to analyze anything. Many of the articles you post are by such people.

    USA now has 83,769 dead from the Virus

  10. @ Edgar G.:
    The article is written by a doctor who had a long career as a neurosurgeon.
    The gist of it is that it may be harmful to wear masks for extended periods of time because this caused a significant drop in blood oxygen level (up to 20% with N95s) and an increased viral load (the concentration of the virus in the wearers’ bodies) – among other things (he lists several nasty complications).
    The increased viral load can make even healthy people sick.
    There was at least one bad car accident caused by the driver passing out because of wearing a mask.
    No, this is NOT because the masks are unsuitable or badly made.
    N95 is a safety device worn by medical personnel.
    I was forced to wear a (perfectly suitable) mask to enter a store (this is our new rule for May) and I had trouble breathing.
    This was BEFORE I found this article (anticipating your next objection).
    I am sure that if you read the article again (NOT casually), you will notice all the points the doctor is making against wearing masks for too long.
    I, for one, am amazed at people who wear them in empty streets, in their cars (driving alone), etc.
    Anyway, why all of a sudden?
    No one had to wear them for months before the sudden “decree”.
    I do think that they are just testing the mass response to various government orders (including the senseless ones).
    I also suspect that they actually WANT more sickness and deaths because that is how they act.

  11. “USA now has 83,769 dead from the Virus” Actually, USA now has 83,769 dead WITH the Virus.
    Also, based on the prior data, USA will have 600,000 deaths this year just from the four major cancers.
    That’s at least 10 times more than the number of Americans who died in Vietnam.
    People didn’t quit dying just because this virus popped up out of nowhere.

  12. To my mind, the litmus test will be to see the overall number of deaths from illnesses this year compared to last year.. And then to see what happens next year.

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