There was a fascinating clip on the news last week. ITV was reporting from a crowded beach in Brighton. People were sunning themselves, chatting with friends, necking beers. All to the fury of lockdown fanatics, of course, who view these pleasure-seekers as selfish, unwitting murderers. ‘You’re killing people!’, as the demented cry goes.
During ITV’s report, a man holding a bottle of beer and mingling with his family said something really revealing: ‘I know we’re down here drinking beer… but if we carry on the way we’re going, I think we’re going to have a major lockdown in two weeks… and we’re going to see a massive rise in deaths again.’
So he was breaking the lockdown, or at least infuriating lockdown fanatics, while simultaneously genuflecting to one of the core commandments of the lockdown ideology – that individual bad behaviour can cause social mayhem and even death. Covidiot Definition Sh... Buy New $16.95 (as of 06:33 EDT - Details)
It was a telling snapshot of where I think many people are at right now. Instinctively, growing numbers of people are bristling at the lockdown, recognising that it is deeply harmful to work life, social life, and liberty itself. But they know you aren’t meant to hold this view, far less act on it. So they make a performance of fealty to the lockdown strictures.
So overbearing is the lockdown ideology, so widespread is lockdown conformism among the opinion-forming set, that people recognise that opposing it is a socially risky business. You’ll be demonised, Twitter-shamed, branded a killer. You will be reduced to a ‘Covidiot’. To be a lockdown apostate, to question the rituals of social distancing, is not a pleasant experience.
Indeed, our beer-drinking friend, despite publicly swearing allegiance to the cult of lockdown, was still judged to have lapsed too far from the lockdown belief system. He was mauled online. He should be denied medical treatment if he requires it during the second spike he’s helping to bring about, the lockdowners cried. Let him die.
COVIDIOTS: Stories of ... Buy New $9.99 (as of 06:33 EDT - Details) His expression of devotion to the gospel of lockdown was not enough to save him from the Twittermob. His sin was too grave, his joy over that cold beer too iniquitous. No amount of bowing to the lockdown narrative could wash away such moral error. Like the heretics of old who made a desperate last-minute conversion to godliness but still got burnt by the yapping mob anyway, our Brighton friend failed to convince the self-elected policers of lockdown fidelity that he is one of them.
Saying one thing and doing another – expressing support for the lockdown while breaking it on the sly – is probably widespread in lockdown Britain. In a sense it’s a healthy hypocrisy, speaking to some people’s scepticism of the lockdown and their willingness to take risks to do things that are essential to the human soul: have a beer on Brighton beach, visit family members, pop into the office, swing by a sexual partner’s house.
These are good things, as nutritious to the individual as food and exercise are. Despite what the lockdown fanatics might think, man cannot live by Morrison’s microwave meals and dog-walking alone. We need connection, engagement, touch, art, religion. It is testament to the nanny state’s successful reduction of human beings to units of health that so many in officialdom think it is acceptable to deprive us of social, spiritual and sexual interaction for so long.