The war on dissent
We live in strange times.
As a critical criminologist I have been very worried since the start of the pandemic about the lack of nuance. Critical thinking is attacked at every turn and people are blinkered.
We should all be very wary of what is happening. It is easy to mock people protesting against lockdown and to call them ‘conspiracy theorists’ and mental health slurs, yet in doing so we potentially push them into the hands of the far right.
There is a war on dissent taking place. Very few investigative journalists are speaking out against the government and holding state power to account. We are being fed an endless churn of Bojo approved propaganda. Charts and graphs that are deliberately unpalatable for the layperson.
If ask about the non-covid harms we are told we are selfish, that we don’t care about people dying. If we point out the sheer ridiculousness of some of the ‘rules’ then we are called ‘deniers’.
Orwell, Atwood and Kafka have nothing on this.
The most perplexing thing for me is that the criminologists usually fixated on misuses of police power and state surveillance are nowhere to be seen. Some are advocating for stricter lockdowns.
Lockdowns are given different names in a bid to sound more appetizing, such as ‘circuit breaker’ and ‘tiers’.
Alleged misuses of police powers are being shared via social media platforms. Statements are put out to blame the alleged victim. Most of this goes without critique.
Since the beginning of the pandemic we have witnessed a range of dystopian and bizarre measures.
From fines given for ‘non essential trips to shops’,
We have disabled people being harassed and threatened over not wearing masks, despite such behaviour contravening the Equality Act.
Yet for many people, including ‘journalists’ and academics, the end clearly justifies the means. They are switched off from anything other than Covid. Other harms and the terrifying descent into totalitarianism doesn’t seem to bother them.
Updated to add this example from Lockdown 3.0. Derbyshire Police (yes, them again) stating that travelling to exercise is not in the ‘national spirit’ and that taking hot drinks on a walk is not allowed as it ‘constitutes a picnic’.
No matter what your thoughts on Covid are, should any of the above be happening in a democracy? As academics our job is to question, interrogate, prod, provoke, uncover, critique. Yet this is becoming harder and harder. People are governed by their funding and others are terrorised into compliance.
I am grateful for orgs such as Big Brother Watch, Liberty, Net Pol. I am grateful for the medics speaking out about the non-covid harms that many of us are battling. I am just thankful for those left who can add some nuance and critical thinking.
There are dark days ahead but we must not let this government and their cronies get away with this double-think. The critical social sciences have never been more crucial.