Received from a contact of mine, currently using the handle, “Pyro”:
Knowledge is impossible without observing reality. That is why mountebanks and power seekers, seeking to deceive, always and must find some excuse (eg. faith, suppression of heresy, blasphemy, "the science is settled," the cautionary principle, a nihilistic rejection of the legitimacy of cognition, your own good, nationalism, patriotism, for the poor, for the widows and orphans, for the sick, etc.) to dissuade or prevent people from doing so. To the contemporary mind set it is plausible, even so obvious as to be unquestionable, that it is possible to achieve any end by the application of sufficient coercion and, indeed, that that is the only way to accomplish an end with certainty. This belief makes the promotion of a crisis, real or imaginary, an effective tactic (as famously advocated by Rahm Emanuel) for the development of totalitarian power. Clearly this is what is taking place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been used as an excuse to impose on a large part of the human race, with their substantial acquiescence, a previously unthinkable suicidal lockdown. Besides politicians' own propensities, prevalent popular beliefs place them under almost irresistible political pressure to take such totalitarian measures. The Economist Magazine smugly expresses the conventional wisdom: Leaders section: "Everything´s under control" ... For believers in limited government and open markets, covid-19 poses a problem. The state must act decisively. But history suggests that after crises the state does not give up all the ground it has taken. Today that has implications not just for the economy, but also for the surveillance of individuals. It is no accident that the state grows during crises. Governments might have stumbled in the pandemic, but they alone can coerce and mobilise vast resources rapidly. Today they are needed to enforce business closures and isolation to stop the virus. Only they can help offset the resulting economic collapse. ... ... and suggests that the totalitarian changes are likely to be permanent. Is this conventional wisdom about the necessity and efficacy of totalitarianism true? Is, as most people believe, liberty only an impractical luxury that, for transcendent reasons, like survival, must be surrendered in emergencies? There are powerful reasons to think it is just the opposite. But aside from the logic of the theoretical arguments, the ultimate resolution of the issue requires a scientific test of the matter; which would be to try both approaches and see what the real consequences are. To look at reality requires an experimental control case. Such an experiment would be difficult to deliberately conduct for obvious ethical reasons. Also, it would be rejected by the advocates of totalitarianism on the basis that it would subject free people to unnecessary death and disease that coercion could avoid; it would never occur to them to consider that their methods might be decreasing well being rather than reducing death and disease. And they would never be willing to allow the possibility of conducting a test that might show, in practice, that they are wrong. However, in spite of the overwhelming pressure to conform, the country of Sweden has so far resisted adopting the worst and most destructive totalitarian measures. If they persist, their experience may offer a bit of a control case to observe. Also, surprisingly, Nicaragua, of all places, may provide another one. So far it appears that, aside from isolating themselves on a private island, the only measures that the government of the dictatorial couple has imposed in Nicaragua is organizing marches and large public meetings to chant slogans against the coronavirus. Nevertheless, the people of Nicaragua seem well informed and to be taking their own private measures to protect themselves while going about their normal business. We will see what the results are. If these two control cases turn out with favorable results we can be assured that the facts will be suppressed by the political classes in the rest of the world to avoid being held responsible for the unnecessary evil they have caused.