David McGrogan

Cry Freedom: Britain has Weathered the Storm and Things are Now Almost Back to Normal – Unlike China

by Dr. David McGrogan Did you watch the Winter Olympics? If you did, you were probably struck, as I was, by its strange resemblance to the twilight zone of 2020: mostly empty stadia; deserted streets; everybody wearing masks; the theatre of Covid restrictions on vivid display. It was like being forced to look backwards on a past that one has long ago left behind. Apart from our December flirtation with madness, everyday life has been more or less normal apart from the odd mask here or there in the U.K. for well over six months. As of this week, we are, essentially, free – the real free, the old free. Beijing, by contrast, looked as though it was held in aspic. Folk wisdom has it that China did ‘well’ in the pandemic, while Britain did ‘badly’. The narrative that set in, very quickly, in the first months of 2020 was that the Chinese had identified a dangerous virus and immediately locked down ‘hard and early’ to stop the spread. We, meanwhile, lacking either the will or competence to do likewise, had ‘dithered and delayed’, with the result being many thousands of avoidable deaths. However, even if one ever believed that narrative (the credulity with which Western journalists reported news from China about lockdowns in early 2020 is something I still...

Why Have Our Points Landed After All?

by Dr. David McGrogan I can’t be alone in noticing that the public mood has quite radically shifted. There are still, I am sure, plenty of people who are scared, and still plenty of people who think that restrictions ‘work’ and should continue to be used. But in conversations with dozens of friends, family members and colleagues over the past month or so, I have noticed a particular phrase coming up over and over again, with slight variations: “We have to learn to live with it now.” There is a benign resignation (“We’re all going to catch it eventually so we might as well get on with it”) where once there was anxiety. It is profoundly irritating, of course, to have to grit one’s teeth and resist pointing out that some of us were of the view that we had to learn to live with the virus in February 2020. But it is also heartening – there will, after all, be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. I could of course be wrong – God knows I’ve consistently underestimated the capacity of the population to stoically go along with the mainstream narrative from the very beginning of the Covid era. But I hope I don’t jinx things to...

In Defence of the Handshake

by David McGrogan One of the first characteristics of the ‘new normal’ to appear in early 2020 was the avoidance of the humble handshake. And this has crystallised ever since. Pressing the flesh has now become one of those things, we’re told, like going to the office 9-5 each day, or appearing unmasked on a crowded train, that has been consigned to the dustbin of history. We won’t do that anymore, even if (when?) Covid completely disappears. Well, don’t believe the hype. The handshake is alive and well and living in Paris – not to mention London, New York, and Stockton-on-Tees. Prohibition never eliminates a practice, as any fool can tell you; it just drives it into the weeds. And handshaking is no different. People are still doing it. And now it has a subversive edge. When somebody offers you their hand these days, it is no longer just the meaningless ritual of yesteryear – it sends some important messages, which are all the more profound for the fact that they are not consciously sent or received. Human communication is not just verbal, but physical, and one only has to think for a second to realise that our physical ways of communicating – kissing, hugging, shaking hands – are often the most significant. What words are there that can surpass...

European Court of Human Rights Says Kids Have No Right Not to be Vaccinated

by David MgGrogan A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic Following yesterday's news reports about the pro-vaccination ruling in the European Court of Human Rights, we asked David McGrogan, Associate Professor of Law at Northumbria Law School, to take a look at the judgment for us. Turns out, everything wasn't as it seemed. A recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights has made something of a splash, because it appears, as the headline on the BBC website puts it, to suggest that the Court has "backed mandatory pre-school jabs". This immediately calls up images of small children being forcibly vaccinated irrespective of their parents’ wishes. As is often the case, however, the reality is a lot less dramatic. The Court’s decision is really just a faithful application of what must, perhaps regrettably, be the correct legal position. However, it is an important case for those Lockdown Sceptics readers who are wary about vaccinations to understand, because it is a foretaste of the conclusion that a UK court would almost certainly reach in similar circumstances. The case in question, Vavricka and Others v Czech Republic (App No. 47621/13) concerned a series of six applications...

The Lockdown Sceptics’ Library

by David McGrogan The lockdowns of 2020-2021 are that rarest of things: a phenomenon that is genuinely sui generis. There is nothing new under the sun, the author of Ecclesiastes tells us. Well, it turns out he was wrong – take a bow, Neil Ferguson. In the last 12 months we’ve actually managed to do something that human beings have never been mad enough to try before. But the sum of human knowledge is vast, and we can still draw from it to aid our understanding – of where ‘lockdownism’ came from, what perpetuates it, where it will end up, and what we can do about it. Here is the beginning of a library of resources for fellow sceptics, so as to arm ourselves with some of that knowledge in our ongoing efforts to figure out what the hell has happened. Read them and, well, weep: The Fear of Freedom by Erich Fromm, 1941. Fromm’s masterpiece set out to analyse the psychological roots of Nazism, but its insights are far deeper than that. The core of his argument – that freedom is, for many people, an unwanted burden, fraught with risk, and that this imbues them with the desire to conform to the strictures of authority figures of various kinds – has never seemed more apt than in 2020-21. The...

Lockdowns and the Death of Liberal Education

by Dr David McGrogan Of all the tragic, unnecessary and shameful consequences of the 2020 lockdowns, school closures may be the worst. A healthy society prioritises its young; we have sacrificed their life chances to ameliorate the terrors of the old. But the educational consequences of our collective reaction to this virus are more far-reaching than ‘just’ the closure of schools. Indeed, it is my fear that the death of liberal education is happening right in front of our eyes. This is a strong statement and requires some explanation. Thoughtful liberals have always recognised that education is the very foundation of liberalism itself. (And here, it is important to make clear that in using the word ‘liberalism’ I am not referring to the soft-left progressivism which is sometimes meant by that term. Rather, I am referring to classical liberalism – the political philosophy that, in a nutshell, considers it foundational that the power of the State ought to be legally constrained by a system of individual rights, such as those to property, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and so on.) This is because, contrary to how its adherents are often caricatured, they have long recognised that there is nothing inevitable about liberalism. Indeed, liberalism rather goes against the grain of innate human characteristics. It sits uncomfortably alongside democracy in...

The Failed Strategy of Lockdown Sceptics: We Appealed to Reason, Not Emotion

by Dr David McGrogan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXWhbUUE4ko It must surely now be evident to all of us ‘sceptics’ that we have failed. Despite our efforts, the message simply has not got through. While there is clearly a sizeable minority of the population who feel as we do, it really is only a minority. This has been brought home to me very strongly while away visiting family over Christmas. While most of my relatives and old friends have been happy to meet up, they are simply uninterested in getting to the bottom of what has happened over the past year. If the virus comes up in conversation at all, it is only in reference to overcrowded hospitals, discussed with sad shakes of the head and much tut-tutting. We have to face facts: most people simply accept the mainstream narrative, and with the prospect of the magic spell of a vaccine in the offing, there is little incentive for them to change their minds. The thinking of the great majority of our fellow citizens can be summarised as: a few more months of this and then it will be spring, things will be back to normal, and we can forget about all of this. Why is it that so few of our fellow citizens seem willing to even listen to arguments which we find...

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