Arguing the conspiracy-or-emergence question with respect to pandemic policy is a little like weeding the garden. You are never quite done with it, and every few months you find you have something more to say.
In this instance, I must thank friend-of-the-blog Igor Chudov for providing the opportunity. He disagrees with my view that Covid policies owe less to creepy conspiratorial globalists, than they do to the unbounded stupidity of our leaders, boring institutional dynamics, and feedback effects. He’s explained why in an extensive post that everyone should read.
I don’t have an issue with most of the points Chudov raises, though I take a different view of their cumulative significance. I’d note only that the World Economic Forum article he leads with dates to April 3rd 2020, long after the entire Western elite had embraced mass containment. In general, the WEF merely echoes current trends and policy fashions, which makes its real-world influence an obscure matter. It’s additionally important that Event 201, held in October 2019, explicitly rejected lockdowns and mass travel restrictions in the event of a deadly pandemic, preferring instead minimal measures like advisories.
From its Call to Action (emphasis mine):
Travel and trade are essential to the global economy as well as to national and even local economies, and they should be maintained even in the face of a pandemic. Improved decision-making, coordination, and communications between the public and private sectors, relating to risk, travel advisories, import/export restrictions, and border measures will be needed. The fear and uncertainty experienced during past outbreaks, even those limited to a national or regional level, have sometimes led to unjustified border measures, the closure of customer-facing businesses, import bans, and the cancellation of airline flights and international shipping. A particularly fast-moving and lethal pandemic could therefore result in political decisions to slow or stop movement of people and goods, potentially harming economies already vulnerable in the face of an outbreak.
In other words, planners as late as Fall 2019 viewed widespread closures in the event of a pandemic as a risk to be countered via nebulous stuff like “improved decision-making, coordination, and communications.” In this, Event 201 was entirely typical.
This raises an important, if often-neglected question: What about the 2020 response was normal and long-planned, and what about it was novel and unexpected?
We don’t need clandestine plots to elucidate measures that the pandemicists have been formulating entirely in the open and promising to deliver for decades. Where they might help, though, is with strange policies and responses that nobody ever heard of before.
Strictly speaking, none of what happened was all that new. Testing, contact tracing, lockdowns, accelerated vaccine development – all were discussed prior to 2020 as part of an increasingly elaborate and authoritarian pandemic toolkit intended to save us (mostly) from pandemic influenza.