Why can’t I ask questions?
Enormous changes have occurred over this past year, that have had significant impacts on my life, and on the lives of everyone I know. They’ve happened to a limited extent here in Japan, they’ve certainly happened in Britain, a country to which I’m currently not sure I ever want to return, so authoritarian has it become, and they’ve happened all around the world, and almost always in the same way: the removal of civil rights, and the imposing of restrictions.
These changes have occurred because of the coronavirus, partly, but not simply because of the coronavirus. The virus doesn’t write policy. The changes now in place are the reaction to the virus, as decided by people. Citizens with whom I might once have thought I was supposed to be an equal. And this reaction was not inevitable, it’s just one of an infinite number of reactions that could have been hit upon.
So I’m confused. If massive changes are being enacted, that are affecting people’s lives in ways they have never previously experienced, then why is it suddenly considered a bit right-wing, a bit undignified and ignorant, a bit Daily Mail, to ask questions? Or to be skeptical? Or even, just maybe, to object?
It seems that you can be locked up, have your business shut down, and be yelled at to put on a mask, but to suggest that you might prefer to go about things a little differently is outrageous.
And let’s not forget who’s making these decisions that are not to be publicly questioned. It’s prime ministers, presidents, and other senior politicians. It’s tech billionaires. It’s Tories in some places, Socialists in others. It’s individuals with enormous wealth and power, but not enough accountability. And it’s dictators, too, like those in the Chinese Communist Party.
These are the people whose motives and decision-making prowess I’m not allowed to doubt? This is for whom I’m suddenly meant to have endless deference and obedience, because we’re absolutely certain that they only have our best interests at heart?
Never before in my life have I seen this lack of skepticism, or this level of agreement around the single version of events presented in the news. It is, frankly, disturbing. When did everyone become this credulous, this trusting, this frightened of dissent? When did everyone lock into and believe everything they see on the news? When did people forget that journalists deliberately sensationalise and dramatise and focus only on death and fear, because that’s what reels people in?
We knew not to pay too much attention to the news media, didn’t we? Five minutes ago? Or back around the end of 2019, anyway.
Maybe what’s freaking me out the most, and making me feel like I’m in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, is this requirement to agree with and repeat whatever opinion was on TV last night, and to pretend that what’s unfolding is a great plan that’s working well, because there is no conceivable approach other than to accept anything–absolutely everything–thrown at us by the authorities, while at the same time declaring that anyone who objects is an awful, stupid person.
Maybe that’s what I don’t like.
Or maybe I don’t like any of this, and I’m starting to find it extremely creepy.
It might be new, but it’s far from normal.
I’d call it a mass derangement