According to the UN, lockdowns are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in the developing world. The disruption from school closures is leading to devastating outcomes for children. And as studies already show, lockdowns hardly had any effect on deaths from COVID-19, while they are surely to a large extent responsible for the spike in excess deaths from other causes.
Now that the virus has become endemic, it is time to move on. But it is not time to forget. For if we forget we are in danger of repeating this horrifying experiment.
In short, the situation is this. Information about the failure of lockdowns is slowly emerging. More and more information on the catastrophes caused by them is becoming known, increasingly being covered by the mainstream media. People are starting to feel on their own skin the economic consequences and attempts to pin all that on the war in Ukraine are doomed to fail. Even if the majority of the vaccinated may still hang on to their belief that vaccination did something for them, the spiking excess mortality and the obvious failure of the vaccines to prevent transmission are too clear to be denied. And now it even appears the original claims of efficacy were based on a twisting of data.
At the same time, most people have become complicit in the lockdown and vaccination narrative. They have repeated the mantras so often they have become stakeholders; it is now their narrative also, which means changing opinion is difficult. It is hard to admit having been fooled, especially when you‘ve taken an active part in fooling others also. And if you‘ve been active in ostracising your unvaccinated friends and relatives, there may be no way back for you.
Most people still believe in the narrative and consider those sceptical of the vaccines as crazy ‘anti-vaxxers’; the belief in the efficacy of lockdown is also based on a very strong fallacy of intuition, which is hard to escape. Admitting that what you‘ve wholeheartedly supported is not only causing misery and death all around the world, but even scarring your own children for life, is probably too difficult for most people. So they close their eyes.
Before I continue, a word of caution. Almost from the very outset, I realised there was something fishy about the whole story; there was such a huge discrepancy between the facts and the narrative. In fact, I had been focusing hard on the application of critical, logical thinking in the months before, publishing a book on the subject just before the pandemic struck. So I was in a questioning mood already. Mostly, my predictions have been proven correct, whether it is the consequences of the lockdowns, the ineffectiveness of the vaccines, or the uselessness of masking or the lockdowns for curbing transmission. But being right on one count doesn‘t mean you have to be right on the next, and belonging to a small minority with strong views may well taint my analysis and predictions.
Anyhow, here‘s what I think: I believe we‘re approaching a tipping point. The facts speak for themselves, and facts have the annoying habit of becoming known; in the end they always do. We are still in the phase of denial, we still cling to our false beliefs, we still cannot comprehend the consequences of what was done to us, what we did to ourselves, perhaps by succumbing to mass hypnosis as claimed by psychologist Mattias Desmet. But this stage cannot last long; this is the quiet before the storm hits.
Most people don‘t know the storm is about to hit. But those who have a questioning mind and can think clearly and critically have seen the indications, and based on those they are able to look ahead and predict where we‘re heading. They see how inflation, supply disruptions and shortages have been caused by lockdowns and unprecedented money printing to support them; they understand basic psychology and the devastating effects of school-closures and masking on children; they have read the reports on rising hunger and collateral deaths caused by healthcare disruption and isolation; they have read the studies and understand the data on vaccine effectiveness and the VAERS reports.
Many of the longer-term consequences will emerge slowly. The deterioration in children‘s education, the psychological scarring – those will emerge gradually and the cause-effect relationship may not be clear to most people. Hunger and deaths in developing countries will be ignored in the affluent West as usual, though not in the countries affected. The damage from the vaccination campaigns will become more visible as time passes, especially if the most pessimistic predictions regarding people‘s health hold true. But it is the economic reality we are facing that will be the loudest wake-up call. Surging inflation is leaving people considerably worse off. Many will lose their homes, living standards will fall, the poorest will go hungry.
In Iceland, after the financial crash of 2008, when the local currency was devalued by half and all the country‘s banks went bust, thousands lost their homes and unemployment surged. In early 2009, massive protests drove a democratically elected government out of power and the blame was pinned on reckless bankers – admired by all a few months before based on a fairytale of unfailing ingeniousness – and of course on politicians for not having seen what was on the cards.
Who will be blamed this time? Will it only be Putin? That‘s unlikely, or rather, that explanation will not hold for long; people will seek the culprits closer to home. The Americans, Chinese, Africans, Indians, many of whom have barely heard of Ukraine and to whom Europe is an unimportant and decaying part of the world, how likely are they to blame a far-away warlord, when at home their politicians have not only failed to keep their promises but have lied to them also on a massive scale?
The economic consequences will force people‘s minds to question the rest. Once they‘ve realised what drives the inflation and devaluation of their pensions, they may start questioning the vaccines, if only due to the rise in excess deaths and the adverse effects experienced by many. Once you‘ve found someone to blame for one thing, you‘ll quickly pin the next one on them also, especially when they haven‘t been entirely honest. You decided to believe them, even if you had a hunch what they said wasn‘t true; you chose to overlook it, but now; now they‘ve done this to me, I‘m losing my home, I cannot put food on the table, I still have those lingering side-effects ever since my vaccination, my daughter‘s been depressed since the school closures and it‘s only getting worse – what a fool I was to believe those scoundrels! This is the way it will play out. The tipping point will be the economic shock. The rest will follow.
But what then? Many of the key players behind the catastrophe have already started to distance themselves from their earlier propaganda. A few, like U.K. SAGE member Mark Woolhouse even seem to regret their actions. But many more will not. Recently, the Icelandic Chief Epidemiologist said in an interview the lockdowns hadn‘t been stringent enough. And he blamed those few politicians who voiced their doubts and worried about the wellbeing of society as a whole for undermining the solidarity behind the measures – as if he were the emperor, the politicians only his servants. And he is not alone. Many of those people will continue pushing the narrative even as it crumbles around them. They will be the first targets of people‘s anger. Then it will be the politicians, pharmaceuticals, media and Big Tech.
There will of course be strong pushback. There will be a scramble for alternative truths once the narrative starts crumbling, for something to keep the veil on the lies and atrocities. The push for continued masking, lockdowns, vaccine mandates and so on will continue for a while. And we shouldn‘t forget there are huge vested interests at stake here, not only reputations, but to many big business sectors, lockdowns were a godsend. The censorship will be ramped up even further. But despite all the power, money and technology, the facts will emerge, the truth will prevail in the end. It always does.
Some might say I‘m too optimistic, that we are already under the control of conspiring media, Big Tech and corrupt officials, with no way out. But is it really so? Recently a U.S. attempt at handing unprecedented powers over to the WHO was averted, thanks mostly to African leaders and strong public opposition. The vaccine mandates are disappearing and what will eventually come of the still existing plans for health passes is unclear. But of course the danger is still there.
What really matters is how we react as the narrative crumbles. Will we just shrug and move on with our daily lives, not caring about the threat to our freedom and humanity? Or will we face the consequences of our failure to think critically, of our gullibility, our lack of moral integrity, as the German people were forced to do after World War II, and as the Icelanders had to do after 2008? Will we bring those responsible to court? Will we learn, once again the hard way, how the only thing that can prevent such catastrophes in the future is taking responsibility as thinking, doubting individuals? And will we finally understand the true meaning of Hannah Arendt‘s conclusion in The Origins of Totalitarianism, that flawed as it may be, it is only a sovereign nation state of free people, governed by elected representatives who take their responsibility seriously – and not unelected officials, supranational organisations or huge corporations – that is really able to protect universal human rights? As it did in the tiny Faroe Islands during the pandemic.
We have to move on. We have to rebuild our societies, re-establish our moral values and our rights, rebuild trust in science and trust within our communities. But to truly move on, we must face, understand and act on the roots of the catastrophe, and take full responsibility for the part each person played. This is why we must not forget. We must never forget.
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an economist who lives in Iceland. Find him on his Substack page.