Grand Theft Auto
You only get to play once.
I encountered this game in 1996, and I loved it. All your most paranoid and sociopathic fantasies played out on the screen. The cops coming after you, the army, the tanks, the helicopters! What a bad-ass game. I remember joking about it with my friends later and saying, “You know, you can play in real life too any time you want, but you only get to go once.”
. . .
When the pandemic first hit in March of 2020, I fell for it. I was washing my hands when we got home, scolding Heather and Sasha to do the same. I wasn’t masking outside or afraid to leave my house, but I did only hang out with friends outdoors and didn’t shake anyone’s hands or have any kind of physical contact with anyone outside my family. I even scolded one of Heather’s friends for helping her up when she slipped in the mud on a hike! As I said, I fell for it. (When searching some old tweets last week, I came upon this thread I wrote in April of 2020, so I’m happy to report I didn’t let fear cloud my thinking entirely.)
But though I didn’t go full totalitarian, I had to ask myself why I fell for it to the extent I did for eight or nine months. I had fancied myself fairly red-pilled already — after the Iraq War, the phony Russiagate saga, the shoddy cholesterol-heart hypothesis, I did not place a great deal of trust in our politicians, media or medical system. And yet, there I was, washing my hands and not yet dining indoors even after it was possible to do so in the fall of 2020.
The best explanation I can muster is this: if Covid really just had an IFR of .15 percent (roughly the same as the flu, per Stanford’s John Ioannidis) and much lower for healthy people my age, why would governments around the world have shut down societies, destroyed small businesses and closed schools?
Surely, there had to be something much more dangerous going on, even though I personally knew no one who had died of covid, and, contrary to what one would have imagined in a pandemic of that magnitude, older rock stars and famous actors weren’t dropping dead left and right from the virus. Governments around the world went all in, ignoring century-long practices of quarantining only the most vulnerable and worrying only about symptomatic carriers. There’s no way they could react this severely unless the threat were truly apocalyptic.
It turns out my heuristic was mistaken. They did all those things, caused irreparable damage to society, which is not remotely all in when you consider the second and third order effects of disrupting the education of an entire generation and necessitating a money-printing spree the effects of which are still being felt via inflation and to which the Fed is reacting*.
* I won’t even get into the psychological effects of fear-mongering, coercing citizens to inject a dangerous and ineffective pharmaceutical product, the civil-liberty-violating lockdowns, the collapse in trust of medicine, government and media, among other things.
So why did I fall for the psyop perpetrated under the cover of a novel covid strain that leaked from a lab? Because I didn’t think they’d drive the car on the sidewalk, run-over innocent pedestrians and hijack a tank and helicopter in real life unless the situation were truly dire.
They did it, though. They played Grand Theft Auto at scale (and the theft part if you want to count the tens of billions to Pfizer, and the number of newly minted billionaires and deca-billionaires of the last three years, as inflation from money-printing has made the average person poorer, is unprecedented in human history.)
They’ve hijacked some tanks, helicopters, most of the universities, the corporate media, medical and scientific establishment and large swaths of government institutions. They went all-in, and like Nabokov’s Humpert Humpert, their lawlessness is now without constraint:
The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me—not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience—that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good.
Too many people are aware of what happened, their legitimacy is gone. The only way they can govern now is via force. The pretense of “consent” is as counterfeited as the ordinary person’s life-savings they diluted through their money-printing.
But, as I said, when you play in real life, you only get to do it once.