We are living in an interesting time. A time where the society is so polarized that being a member of any group has become a challenge. The lists of criteria one needs to fulfill in order to be a proper X are exceedingly long and thorough. One checkmark missing – and you might be kicked to the curb. Just as one needs to uniformly hate the Affordable Care Act, call BLM people “thugs” and oppose abortion rights if one is to be a “worthy” conservative, being a “good” liberal has also become quite a quest to take upon oneself. While I identify as a liberal and, on my personal political compass, align 99% with the most leftist of Democrats in the USA and with the non-radical left in Germany (the two countries whose politics I follow closely), I have recently been even called a [fascist!] for holding the views that I hold on the Corona lockdowns.
In academic circles especially, treading carefully and walking on eggshells has become the new norm. One wrong thing you say – and you may be associated with unfortunate labels. What bugs my mind is the astounding lack of understanding on the part of the angry leftist mob of how identical their methodologies are with what liberalism as a movement is supposed to condemn in its core. Liberalism is a philosophy that is supposed to encourage diversity and pluralism, and opinion differences on thing – even critical things – are supposed to be welcome. The urge to silence those who dare think differently is a fascist impulse in its very essence, and is to be condemned whenever it surfaces.
2020 is a year that has inflicted a lot of pain upon many individuals. Many people have lots their lives, many others have lost loved ones to a horrendous virus that has been raging for a whole year across the Globe. Yet, the statistic we barely ever hear about is the number of suicides associated with the Coronavirus. We hear about hospitals overfilled with Corona patients, but no TV channel is offering a look inside psychiatric clinics and even isolation wards, providing shelter to those victims of the pandemic who have lost hope, joy, their jobs, their friendships. People across the world have been ripped out of their work environments and their support circles because of repeated lockdowns. People have lost their ability to work and have been laid off, losing income in turn. People have lost family businesses their parents and grandparents invested everything they had into.
The consensus seems to be that these victims of collateral damage inflicted by Corona are not very numerous. Anyone who opens their mouth and mentions these very legitimate victims of Corona are angrily labeled as ‘insensitive’. The virtue-signaling machine defines compassion unilaterally. In 2020, it’s about the death toll of the virus. Bringing anything else up makes you a right winger.
It is time to say ‘Enough’!
Everybody’s life is equally valuable, and if someone lost theirs to suicide because of their inability to cope with the pandemic, this loss is not any less horrendous than someone who perished after being infected with the virus. There are people who cannot survive prolonged periods of time in isolation. There are people for whom live social interactions are just as essential for their mental and physical intactness as drinking and eating are. These people cannot just be “pushed aside”, as one of the state leaders in Germany suggested the other day. There are people who have mental illnesses that will be dramatically exacerbated by any kind of movement restrictions or curfews imposed onto them.
Across Europe, there is no concerted effort on the part of the governments to reach out to people affected by the lockdowns and provide mental help for them. It is good news that Germany has so far not resorted to fascist measures akin to those that were implemented in places like France. I call the measures fascist and barbaric deliberately – because that is what they are in my opinion. As a ‘democracy’, France should be deeply ashamed of its actions, and its people should take the lesson of this pandemic and use it to make decisions in the upcoming elections.
For most of us, there is currently no mechanism in place to protect ourselves from these barbaric measures, so freedom of speech is one of the last things we can use to defend ourselves (if we disregard the fact that, in the most radicalized left-wing circles, this freedom has been vastly relativized and is in grave jeopardy).
As an imperfect liberal whose personal ranking of fundamental human rights priorities people’s freedom to move around and have a life over people’s freedom to [not have others infect them], I would like to ask everyone the following question: do the countless ruined lives really not matter to you? Or is it really OK for you to know that someone survived physically despite having become an empty shell and an emotional wreck?