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Reblogged:Not a New Ideology, but a Symptom -- and Camouflage

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In a thought-provoking essay titled, "The Totalitarian Ideology of Lockdownism," Jeffrey Tucker argues that the totalitarian response, mainly from the left, to the coronavirus pandemic is a new totalitarian ideology, and that it very much resembles a religious cult.

I disagree with the former, but very much agree with the latter. Perhaps the following paragraph best encapsulates at once the good and the bad of the essay:
Image by Andrea De Santis, via Unsplash, license.
Lockdownism has all the expected elements. It has a maniacal focus on one life concern -- the presence of pathogens -- to the exclusion of every other concern. The least of the concerns is human liberty. The second least concern is the freedom of association. The third least concern is property rights. All of this must bow to the technocratic discipline of the disease mitigators. Constitutions and limits on government do not matter. And notice too how little medical therapeutics even figure in here. It's not about making people get better. It's about controlling the whole of life.
Boy, Tucker hits the nail on the head regarding the bizarre focus on avoiding disease to the exclusion of all other considerations. (And he's absolutely correct later when he calls this fanaticism.)

That said, this frankly reminds me of any number other concerns leftists have turned their attention to at any given moment in recent history. Remember last summer's anti-police protests?

Avoiding crowds went out the window in a heartbeat with the rise of ... let's call it Anti-Policeism.

You might protest: No! Let's not: It doesn't need its own name, Gus. It was just the infatuation of the moment for the left.

Exactly, and I'd argue that the term lockdownism is also superfluous. (Indeed, I'll briefly offer a bit later that it's a hindrance to understanding.) Its origins are in the same ideology and its manifestations are symptomatic of a kind of thinking common on the left. The hysteria over what is currently known as the "climate crisis" is quite similar, too. It's all there: the maniacal focus on a problem blown wildly out of proportion; the failure to consider all evidence for and against their argument; the failure to give weight to other considerations; the totalitarian proposals.

I might briefly note this striking similarity to religion and recommend a podcast by Harry Binswanger, "The Left's Bible Thumping," which argues that the similarity of leftist politics to religious fervor is no accident and is a Bad Thing.

So "lockdownism" hardly describes a new ideology: It's just the latest application of an old totalitarian ideology.

So much for the good and the bad. Now for the ugly: While I find the author's opposition to totalitarianism laudable, I must protest that lockdownism does a disservice to the cause of liberty by zeroing in on the sins of the left, while whitewashing the right.

I have argued here, and others elsewhere that conservative governors have also been guilty of sins against individual rights. In his response to the coronavirus, Ron DeSantis has, for example, attacked freedom of speech, property rights, and the right to association with his ban on so-called vaccine passports. He likewise forbade cruise lines from asking that their own customers be vaccinated before embarking from Florida.

Currently, he's forbidding school districts from enforcing masks at school. What happened to the wide latitude he started off giving county officials to make calls based on local conditions? Trick question: One could rightly counter that government officials shouldn't have the power to order masks or issue stay-at-home orders for the uninfected/non-contagious. DeSantis was wrong then and he is now: He's acting autocratically and arbitrarily.

That said, the schools (which should be private) should have more latitude, given that a private school would ideally be free to set its own mask policies.

So DeSantis is hardly a "lockdownist," but here he is, ruling by decree, which is no different in principle.

Focusing exclusively on the abuses of the left will cause many to miss that fact, and mistake DeSantis and other like him for advocates of freedom, rather than the authoritarians that they actually are.

If only we merely had a lockdownism problem! But it's worse: It's authoritarians to the left and to the right.

-- CAV

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