Use of fear to control behaviour during the Covid crisis was ‘totalitarian’, admit British scientists

[NB – I believe that one day this moral panic and mass hysteria will be over (it is being artificially kept alive through sensationalist media reports) and there will be a lot of regret and recrimination. Those who participated in destroying and controlling the lives of others for careerism or profit will live to regret it. Those who followed their consciences, even if it cost them their jobs and society’s approval, will be vindicated. That day seems closer in the UK than here, but it will come to the rest of the world eventually. This charade cannot be kept up indefinitely. This article is a reason for hope.]

Nov. 29, 2021, printed here
Original source: The Telegraph

Scientists on a committee that encouraged the use of fear to control people’s behaviour during the Covid pandemic have admitted its work was “unethical” and “totalitarian”.

Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) expressed regret about the tactics in a new book about the role of psychology in the Government’s Covid-19 response.

SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase “the perceived level of personal threat” from Covid-19 because “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened”.

Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: “Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature, I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.”

Mr. Morgan spoke to author Laura Dodsworth, who has spent a year investigating the Government’s tactics for her book A State of Fear, published on Monday.

Ministers have faced repeated accusations that they ramped up the threat from the pandemic to justify lockdowns and coerce the public into abiding by them – a claim that will be examined by the forthcoming public inquiry into the pandemic response.

Ministers have been accused of ramping up the threat from the pandemic to justify lockdowns
Ministers have been accused of ramping up the threat from the pandemic to justify lockdowns Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

SPI-B is one of the sub-committees that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), led by Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.

One SPI-B scientist told Ms. Dodsworth: “In March [2020] the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down. There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear. The way we have used fear is dystopian.

“The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared.”

Another SPI-B member said: “You could call psychology ‘mind control’. That’s what we do… clearly we try and go about it in a positive way, but it has been used nefariously in the past.”

One warned that “people use the pandemic to grab power and drive through things that wouldn’t happen otherwise… We have to be very careful about the authoritarianism that is creeping in”.

Another said: “Without a vaccine, psychology is your main weapon… Psychology has had a really good epidemic, actually.”

As well as overt warnings about the danger of the virus, the Government has been accused of feeding the public a non-stop diet of bad news, such as deaths and hospitalizations, without ever putting the figures in context with news of how many people have recovered, or whether daily death tolls are above or below seasonal averages.

Another member of SPI-B said they were “stunned by the weaponization of behavioural psychology” during the pandemic, and that “psychologists didn’t seem to notice when it stopped being altruistic and became manipulative. They have too much power and it intoxicates them”.

Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said: “If it is true that the state took the decision to terrify the public to get compliance with rules, that raises extremely serious questions about the type of society we want to become.

“If we’re being really honest, do I fear that Government policy today is playing into the roots of totalitarianism? Yes, of course it is.”

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Ungekrzte

"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity ... the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This immaturity is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) "Have the courage to use your own understanding," is therefore the motto of the [European] Enlightenment. "Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large part of mankind gladly remain minors all their lives, long after nature has freed them from external guidance. They are the reasons why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor. If I have a book that thinks for me, a pastor who acts as my conscience, a physician who prescribes my diet [or vaccine], and so on--then I have no need to exert myself. I have no need to think, if only I can pay; others will take care of that disagreeable business for me. Those guardians who have kindly taken supervision upon themselves see to it that the overwhelming majority of mankind ... should consider the step to maturity, not only as hard, but as extremely dangerous. First, these guardians make their domestic cattle stupid and carefully prevent the docile creatures from taking a single step without the leading-strings to which they have fastened them. Then they show them the danger that would threaten them if they should try to walk by themselves. Now this danger is really not very great; after stumbling a few times they would, at last, learn to walk. However, examples of such failures intimidate and generally discourage all further attempts. "Thus it is very difficult for the individual to work himself out of the immaturity which has become almost second nature to him. He has even grown to like it, and is at first really incapable of using his own understanding because he has never been permitted to try it. Dogmas and formulas [e.g., Leftist ideology, identity politics] these mechanical tools designed for reasonable use--or rather abuse--of his natural gifts, are the fetters of an everlasting immaturity. The man who casts them off would make an uncertain leap over the narrowest ditch, because he is not used to such free movement. That is why there are only a few men who walk firmly, and who have emerged from immaturity by cultivating their own minds." - Kant, "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment"

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