Current Affairs Economics Health Politics

How Fake News And Fake Facts Are Being Used To Undermine The Lockdown

With some business leaders beginning to push for a premature end to the Covid-19 lockdown across the country, and with a handful of conservative journalists and newspaper columnists amplifying that demand, there is growing pressure on the Government to clarify when the restrictions placed on the general public back in late March will come to an end. Hopefully Leo Varadkar’s caretaker administration will hold fast against the siren calls of the hard-right and stick to the advice given to it by the health experts, despite the grumbling coming from some backbench Fine Gael TDanna. And which is now being echoed by the equally irresponsible noises coming from a handful of Fianna Fáil representatives. The circumstances that brought about the lockdown in the first place still apply today, regardless of the cautious optimism being expressed by some officials, and any easing in the rules will undo much of the hard-won work of the last several weeks.

Fortunately we have yet to reach the levels of recklessness that have come to the fore among the political classes in some other jurisdictions, notably the United Kingdom and the United States. Far too many in the former country seem obsessed with the response to the coronavirus crisis by their ex-partners in the European Union, despite otherwise disdaining their actions. There is a vociferous bloc of minority opinion in Britain that is behaving as if there were some sort of race to cross the no-lockdown winning line in Europe. With the UK determined to beat its apparent competitors because… British. Hopefully a suitably chastened Boris Johnson might reject that impulse following his own experience of the severity of the virus.

Meanwhile the US is an even worse place, with mixed reactions to the pandemic across the nation, leaving it incredibly vulnerable to an uncontrollable spread of the contagion. There are all sorts of reasons for this, from the geographical spread of a continent-spanning superpower, to the systems of local, state and federal government which have occasionally been more of a liability than a plus during major emergencies. However a significant factor in all this is the nature of American politics and American political culture itself. The YouTube channel Renegade Cut touches on this in another excellent video essay.

6 comments on “How Fake News And Fake Facts Are Being Used To Undermine The Lockdown

  1. It really does feel like a concerted effort. And yet, I keep coming back to the thought that the more people who were about on public transport etc after a premature end of lockdown the less people would feel safe going into work. I can’t see how that circle could be squared.

    • True and it was was actually a bit quieter on the roads this morning at 8 and this evening at 6. Less pedestrians around too. Maybe people have been community shamed into behaving again. Or just a blip.

  2. This Toby Young is a fine fella, isn’t he: “Spending £350bn to prolong the lives of a few hundred thousand mostly elderly people is an irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money.” (Quote taken from the Guardian)

  3. Actually the biggest problem with this damn virus in the US is an extreme shortage in testing available. The majority of state governments and to some degree the private sector has really stepped up for this one. Researchers at the CDC and various universities and hospitals have done a great deal of research-and there are some interesting collaborations between North American, European, and Asian scientists that have managed to start despite bad conditions.

    While the media look crazy, ordinary people and state and local governments are not even 5% as bad.

    Of course Trump is a fool. However the reasons we have such a terrible testing shortage are much more complex than his administration or even just politics. In some ways the testing in PPE shortages point to some almost Soviet-like “cracks” in the US economy. The cruel irony is that those cracks were mostly created by people in power who listened to Ayn Rand-who said that if people didn’t do as she said the whole world would be like the USSR. More traditional American progressive were not to blame for this. People like Ayn Rand and those who listened to her were. If that seems contradictory, I’m looking at this from the perspective that both “pure” capitalism and socialism/communism are abstract models that no real society can conform to 100%-That trying to force a real living society to conform to them is inherently damaging and dangerous. The Ayn Rand crowd couldn’t stop the US from being a mixed economy as it had been from inception, but in a way I think they created a lot of damaging “self-fulfilling prophecies” for the public and private sector alike. To understand how the PPE and testing shortage got this bad, you really have to look at how both the public and private sector have been damaged and corrupted by Ayn Rand and her native born American followers.

  4. gendjinn

    There’ve been reports that DeVos family money is asstro turfing the Liberate rallies, trying to rerun the Koch Tea Party play of ’08.

Leave A Comment (Please familiarise yourself with the ASF Terms of Use and Commenting Policy before posting a comment)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: