[From "The Birth of the Viro-Fascist"]
When President Bush talked about promoting democracy in the Middle East, there was a phrase he liked to use: “Freedom is the desire of every human heart.” Really? It’s unclear whether that’s really the case in Gaza and the Pakistani tribal lands. But it’s absolutely certain that it’s not the case in Berlin and Paris, Stockholm and London, New Orleans and Buffalo. The story of the Western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government “security,” large numbers of people vote to dump freedom every time—the freedom to make your own decisions about health care, education, property rights, and a ton of other stuff.
This passage from Mark Steyn's address at Hillsdale College in 2009 has been ringing in my head a lot this past week. Look at the comments from rank and file people on a variety of Wuhan Flu related articles and you'll see the same sentimentality rising surprisingly fast to the surface: the government needs to force more people to do the thing I want them to be doing to "self-isolate"/"social distance" or "#PlankTheCurve or whatever the trendy formulation is this week.
It reached (what I thought was) peak idiocy with the recent story that people were upset that EB Games in Toronto was the site of a long line of people outside. The reason? The store itself was closed, but they were letting people who pre-ordered big video game titles to pick them up on the much-hyped release date. Let's all remember that people can watch the news -- with things like the ongoing French lockdown or the various "Shelter-In-Place" US States -- where they see they may be essentially locked inside their homes for days/weeks/months/whoknows, and figure that a popular new videogame (one of which I'm told is expected to be an immersive Skyrim-level masterpiece that could occupy hundreds if not thousands of hours) might just come in handy. Stores were merely asked not to open, and EB Games decides to only open to honour the pre-orders and enforce a ten person social distancing rule inside the store. Not everybody finds digital downloads as fun and easy as the urban elites with their high speed internet (my own ISP estimated I would need 11 hours to download Doom, presuming after all that time it didn't freeze and force me to try again), and of course crossing half of Toronto to get to the store meant they weren't anxious to turn back around. So they waited in the street, probably too close together but outdoors and not in a situation where they were touching anything but the door to the store and the game they walked out with. But people freaked the fuck out and the primary thing which caught my attention was how utterly fascist they were about it. The same people who think Mike Pence is a creepy invasive weirdo for thinking maybe we shouldn't teach kids the homo agenda are suddenly a-okay with the government shutting down a specific business and fining/jailing its executives/employees/customers for the crime of -- not even selling! -- distributing their legal product at a time it is legal for them to do so with sensible precautions for a disease which nobody had any more than an infinitesimal chance of contracting.