The Origins of [the Response to] COVID

I recently finished one of the definitive works on World War I, a book called “A World Undone.” The book brings to life, says one promotional blurb, how the Great War crippled many of world’s mightiest empires, and “cracked the foundations of the world we live in today.”

Through simple editing, you could replace the book’s references to 20th Century events with the record of the past three years — and the book would read the same. Both world-altering events were driven by incompetent people, pushing useless and destructive government policies, who were unable to stop.


The overarching theme of World War I was the pointlessness of it all. Up to 20 million lives were lost — mostly conscripted troops sent to their death in meaningless battles of no strategic purpose. Millions of civilians on all sides also died, of starvation and every imaginable byproduct of war. In addition, something like 15 million soldiers were wounded, often grievously.

After all that, a mere twenty-one years later, Germany occupied half of France. The Entente could have just let the Germans descend on Paris in August 1914 and saved everyone 30 years of awfulness.

A century later, the COVID commissars said: Hold my beer. We got sanitized pens, one way supermarket aisles, and desktop plexiglass shields — still up at banks and post offices. In New York City, the madcap ventilating of patients, not the coronavirus, killed tens of thousands because doctors were afraid.
covid restaurants In restaurants, you had to wear a mask from the hostess stand to your table. Vaccine passports accomplished nothing while vaccine mandates injured or killed some unconscionable number – and are still in effect.

Useless, destructive government policies

The Battle of Verdun was fought from February to December 1916 on the Western Front in France. According to the book, “For months the battle had been little more than a struggle over a symbol. No one seemed capable of asking why the French were attacking or the Germans were bothering to defend.” In his postwar memoir, the German general explained that walking away from such a colossal waste of blood and treasure would have been politically impossible. The French, according to the author, “in the end were fighting for nothing more substantial than glory — not France’s so much as [the French General] Magnin’s glory.”

Here’s the translation into COVID: “To have walked away from such egregious human rights violations and to admit it was all for nothing would have been politically impossible. The public health establishment in the end was fighting for nothing more substantial than glory — not the public’s health so much as to uphold the image of the managerial class and Anthony Fauci’s glory.”

Unable to stop

In prose that could easily describe 2021, the book’s author wrote: “As the level of sacrifice being demanded of people in and out of uniform came to seem almost insupportable, as the death and deprivation seemed to be achieving practically nothing … governments responded in a variety of ways. They became harsher in suppressing dissent. They increased their emphasis on propaganda … the control and manipulation of information that all the warring nations had been practicing since August 1914 became more systematic, more sophisticated, and farther reaching.”

Just like with COVID, without a balance of opinions, official policy was driven with two accelerators, no brakes.

“Inevitably, to the extent that the propaganda was effective, it made an end to the fighting more difficult to achieve,” the book explained. In language that could have been pulled from 2020, all sides were told that, “the stakes were survival and civilization itself.”

When people are convinced of such ideas, it’s a challenge to walk all that back. Even now, adults shuffle around grocery stores, malls, and libraries with masks on, unable to accept the truth and occasionally, tragically, strapping a filthy rag to their kids’ faces too.

The book concludes by saying, “Historic events are often said to have changed everything … the war [and governments’ response to COVID] really did change everything: not just borders, not just governments and the fate of nations, but the way people have seen the world and themselves ever since. It became a kind of hole in time, leaving the postwar [post-COVID] world permanently disconnected from everything that had come before.”

This book was published in 2003, describing events from 85 years prior. In 2019, we had known for a cool century that governments are run by incompetent leaders, willing to frivolously demolish the lives of their own people, to protect their own status. 

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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