by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog
Eight months into the modern, digitised world’s first-ever global pandemic the results are in: Every government has failed miserably.
Despite the vast differences between socialist-inspired nations and capitalist nations every single government in 2020 has forfeited the chance at the possibility of maybe perhaps having something like a little bit of a rightly-guided mandate of heaven.
Our 2019 taxes must be refunded everywhere. What a waste voting has been, to say nothing of those few countries which have sustained modern revolutions.
Those in the know are hunkering down and bunkering up because the pandemic is proving that “government” (social organisation and collective unity) is an outdated concept in our modern, digitised, disease-ridden world.
Thus, the way you certainly are – wherever you are – being egged into hating your local, rather-poorly paid bureaucrat is something of a major propaganda coup for government-slashing neoliberalism, is it not?
Neoliberalism, per its tenets, cannot congratulate any government for anything other than self-immolation, so how can Western corporate media – owned by a handful of neoliberals – publicly congratulate any government for their handling of this unprecedented corona crisis? They cannot, so neoliberals are publicly shining in glorious vindication that all government is bad, unless and inept, period: the pandemic has decisively proven There Is No Alternative to neoliberalism.
Who knew a virus had enough innate intelligence to contain a political ideology, and despite not even being a life form with a cellular structure? This only proves that God – in His wisdom – is an American neoliberal.
Preposterous, faith-based radicalism, of course….
But firstly: Call me contrarian if you must, but don’t call this “Leibnizian optimism”: I think every nation has done spectacularly well in dealing with Covid, regardless of their guiding ideology.
The West got what they hysterically demanded, yet government is still a Satanic beast?
I think countries like China, Iran, Cuba and Vietnam had a fantastic response to Covid. People died, but not anywhere as many as we initially feared. Tons of radical measures were taken designed to protect the public good, armies of volunteers answered the call, hardships were attempted to be standardised, their peoples showed huge amounts of bravery, self-sacrifice and patience.
However, I see nearly all of these same virtues in the peoples of Western nations as well – don’t you?
Sweden succeeded without a Great Lockdown because their people – who also compose their government – acted so correctly and courageously. The idea that the exact same self-sacrificing virtues aren’t evident all over the place in the US as well is contradicted by countless individual testimonies. The first article I wrote on corona was a backhanded compliment to the West, after all: Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? The West FINALLY issued some “People’s QE” – that was a huge improvement over the West’s previous decade of fiscal policies, certainly.
Indeed, the global pandemic response was the best of all possible worlds, worldwide: incredible concern for public health, a rollback to rabidly right-wing economic policies, and not anywhere close to the number of deaths we all had wild-eyed fears about.
Some systems had more limitations than others – be they cultural, political, financial or whatever – but every government tried to limit the pandemic amid these differing limitations. And they did it democratically, in the broadest sense of that term: Which government truly defied the will of their own majority? I can’t think of any.
The West got exactly what they wanted according to all the polls back then – a Great Lockdown – amid total hysteria, and in total disregard for the political and socio-economic laws which govern their societies and… they are still not happy with their government?!
Clearly, those in their media are shaping public perceptions in order to foment unrest and dissatisfaction instead of urging clarity and stoic realism – this article praising governments should not be such an outlier, but it certainly is.
To be clear, the problem was not necessarily the Great Lockdown but what will come after such a drastic move in certain countries. The West has capitalist-imperialist ideologies which ensure that a Great Lockdowning cannot be coped with – in the US the Republican Party, which is refusing to extend unemployment insurance, is currently insisting this be proven emphatically.
I insisted from the start that when a natural disaster hits – you have no choice but to dance with the girl that brung ya. Mid-crisis is not at all the time to reinvent the wheel, but the time to trust the defences you have been building (or in the case of neoliberalism: not building). The West, of course, has very poor political defences thanks to four decades of anti-government neoliberalism and an even longer history of deranged frontier libertarianism. All the West can do is throw their tons of money at the problem – too bad that can’t buy a modern political infrastructure, culture, perspective, etc.
Building that modern, post-1917 political infrastructure is what the West now has to do, or collapse. Thus, covid is going to drag the West kicking and screaming into political modernity.
Voltaire never lived in the digitised world, much less a truly democratic one
I wouldn’t take down his statue but I would reject the bitter and individualistic (and thus very French) outlook he presented in Candide, where optimism is only for fools. For Voltaire the mantra of the character Pangloss – that “this is the best of all possible worlds”, despite his encountering one misfortune after another – is something to be derided: Pangloss is an idiot for not giving in to black resentfulness.
Well, that’s one view – a mighty cynical one. For those of us lucky to still be alive and fully healthy in August 2020 – that seems like a rather ungrateful perspective, no?
Voltaire’s final moral of “tend your own garden” sounds like Taoist individualism from a guy who was supposed to admire Confucianism, which is active, social and judgemental. We are all stuck at home tending our garden and, guess what: a monkish existence is a lonely, self-centered, unsatisfying and even unproductive life – it is unsurprising that the extremely social and active religion of Islam forbids monasticism and demands charitable social works.
I don’t know what people expected from our modern digitised world in our first-ever response to a pandemic, but judging from the criticism of civil servants it’s clear that many people were expecting way too much. No state worker could make unfat all the Americans who have perished prematurely; no state worker had a fountain of youth for the over-80s who compose the bulk of Sweden’s dearly departed. The Western “Karen’s” babyish “war on dying” was always setting up governments to fail and for faith in political institutions – any institution – to be incorrectly lessened.
Those who read the paper regularly know that the world was not paradise back in December 2019. When we consider how badly things were supposed to get back in spring, pondering the possibility that this is the best of all possible worlds is truly worth more than a moment’s reflection.
And then you can explain to me how this pandemic could have possibly been better handled with less government? This is the impossible task of the deranged American libertarian, the European technocrat, and the neoliberal aristocrat/comprador around the world.
If there is one thing I know for certain it’s this: Covid has definitively proved that big government is our ONLY defense against an often-cruel natural world.
Duh…. Countries who have endured an actual war – not a pandemic war – already knew this.
The US and Eurozone governments have done well in spite of the limitations presented by their elitist and reckless neoliberalism, but the “anti-all government crowd” will eventually be forced to admit that – when compared with socialist-style governments, with their central planning and authority to lead in a crisis – their neoliberal ideals have failed everyone, will continue to fail everyone, and are expressly designed to fail everyone and leave people at the mercy of that often-cruel natural world.
Honest critics of neoliberal capitalism saw all that long ago.
Covid will ultimately be seen as the killer of neoliberalism, not its vindicator.
That’s why it’s not surprising to see so many anti-socialist commentators trying to declare the opposite: they are the ones saying 2+2=5, not any “Big Brother” central government. Again, this pro-government article shouldn’t be so rare – this went pretty well for the first modern, digitised global pandemic. But what do we do now?
Answer: no way we go back to anti-government neoliberalism. This exact light is being switched on in minds around the world.
So, for socialists: it came at a very heavy cost, but this is the best of all possible worlds!
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.
A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020 – March 25, 2020
If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020
Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020
Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020
The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020
The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020
Why do Westerners assume all African-Americans are leftists? – June 5, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.