The coronavirus pandemic has seen some great and heroic acts of humanity, but we’ve also seen the re-emergence and mainstreaming of the morally repugnant ‘survival of the fittest’ ideology.
One thing about a health crisis, it sorts out the humane from the inhumane. Those who think all lives are equally precious from those who seem to think that some lives count more and that the ‘weak’ are a burden who have to be sacrificed so the strong can continue to dominate.
Probably the most repulsive take I’ve heard so far on Corona is the one which goes: “What are we having these lockdowns and ‘social distancing’ for? It’s only – or predominantly – the old and already ill who are dying from Covid-19 – and they didn’t have too long to live anyway.”
Writing for the Critic, UK commentator Toby Young, who has previously advocated what he called ‘progressive eugenics’, said that “spending £350bn to prolong the lives of a few hundred thousand mostly elderly people is an irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money.”
What, I wonder, does he regard as a ‘responsible use of taxpayers’ money? Invading Iraq? Bombing Libya? Bailing out the bankers? And how much monetary worth would he put on the lives of ‘a few hundred thousand mostly elderly people’? The Oscar Wilde epigram about the man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing springs readily to mind.
Young complains that the UK’s so-called ‘lockdown’ (it isn’t actually a proper one because flights from Covid-19 hotspots are still coming in unchecked) is extending the lives of 370,000 people by an average of one-and-a-half-years. He wants the lockdown to end straight after Easter, and if this leads to a surge in Covid-19 cases and the NHS being overwhelmed, well, that’s ok because “the majority of people whose lives could have been saved only have one or two years left and those will not be good years.”
I wonder if Young has elderly parents or grandparents alive, and if so, what they think of his views?
Young’s piece quite rightly was roundly attacked on social media, but he’s not the only one who’s been pushing this odious, anti-human line. On March 3, in the Daily Telegraph, financial writer Jeremy Warner opined: “Not to put too fine a point on it, from an entirely disinterested economic perspective, COVID-19 might even prove mildly beneficial in the long-term by disproportionately culling elderly dependants.”
Got that? As one tweeter put it: “We’ve gone from ‘only the vulnerable will die’ to ‘it’s good that the vulnerable will die.” How absolutely sickening.
Even Establishment-licensed, Inside the Tent over-70s have joined in on the psy-ops to make the elderly feel guilty for wanting to stay alive in the Age of Corona. “What we have to worry about is being a dead-weight on the NHS,” the author and former newspaper editor Max Hastings said on the radio. “We must try and promote getting economic activity going again. If we the elders, must pay an additional price for this then so be it.”
In similar ‘the elderly should be sacrificed’ vein, Sir David King, the Blair/Brown governments’ former chief scientific adviser (and former senior scientific adviser to UBS Bank), urged over-90s to stay away from hospitals to avoid ‘overburdening’ the NHS.
Leaving aside the shocking callousness of such a statement, did it not occur to King that the 90-year-olds whose lives he so loftily dismisses have probably paid between them millions – if not billions – in their lifetime, through taxes and National Insurance contributions, to the NHS?
We’re being encouraged to think that healthcare needs to be ‘rationed’ in the Age of Corona, but there’s more than enough money in Britain to make sure that every patient is treated equally, regardless of their age. The real scandal is not ‘90-year-olds clogging up hospitals’ but the fact that in November 2019, NHS beds were at a record low in England. The Guardian reported that 17,230 beds had been cut from the 144,455 that existed in April-June 2010, just before the austerity-imposing Conservative/Lib Dem coalition came to power.
We’ve seen bed cuts at a time when we should have seen bed increases. But instead of holding the politicians to account for underfunding the health service, and their failure to plan or prepare in any way for a pandemic, certain commentators want us to blame the most vulnerable for being a ‘burden’.
It’s not just the very old who the new social Darwinists (now billed euphemistically as ‘contrarians’ or ‘free thinkers’) are happy to throw under the bus. It’s also those who have ‘underlying health conditions’. Coronavirus is taking a high percentage of these people, we’re told, so what’s the big fuss? They were ‘sick’ anyway! But people with ‘underlying health conditions’ can live meaningful, quality lives for a long time. I personally know of one person who was told in 1944 that he had only six months to live because of an acute heart problem. He’s still alive in 2020.
The idea that in a pandemic, the lives of those ‘with underlying health conditions’ are dispensable or worth less than those without ‘underlying health conditions’ is – again – totally repugnant to anyone in possession of a moral compass.
Most people are rightly appalled by the utterly heartless eugenicist and social Darwinistic ideology and thought they’d seen the end of it several decades ago. But it’s back and ‘mainstreamed’ – and in the long run it arguably poses as big a threat to society as the wretched coronavirus itself.
By Neil Clark