The Callousness of Modern Conservatism

I’d love to believe this was a satirical site, but in my experience of conservative folk (not all, it must be said, but many), it’s usually all too true. The website Conservative Woman is a new one to me, and I suspect it won’t take long for me to find many articles filled with disagreeable content, but let’s begin with the author’s (Laura) post on the UK’s reaction to the coronavirus.

THE same people who tell us that we cannot under any circumstances torture a terrorist to save the lives of 1,000 people, perhaps 10,000 innocent people, as torture ‘fundamentally compromises our democratic values’, are the same people who tell us we should shut the entire country down over the coronavirus. So far, it has killed 56 people in the UK. 

I wasn’t aware we should aspire to torture, nor am I entirely sure it is even remotely comparable to the current crisis. This isn’t war or terrorism – we cannot fight or interrogation our way out of this. The shutdown – as half-hearted and ineptly enacted by the Tories as its been – is nonetheless an important step in slowing down the spread of a potentially deadly disease. Covid-19 kills – not everyone, obviously, but nearly everyone will have a friend or relative who is high-risk. These measures are designed to protect the vulnerable. We’re not dealing with a tangible enemy we can see, so Laura is flat wrong with her comparison.

On Monday, the Prime Minister, perhaps having little choice given the pressure put on him by the hysterical media class, decided that yes, we will crash the entire British economy and restrict the liberty of freeborn citizens because of the coronavirus. 

No doubt the schools will be closed, suspending the education of an entire generation of children. 

There will be bailouts of industry after industry, the cost of which will be borne by that same next generation whose education we will destroy. It is not their fault the open border lunatics wouldn’t hear of closing the border in January. Yet, as usual, they will pay the price. 

I wasn’t aware that Johnson was even considering closing borders back in January, as it was hardly on the agenda for any country. No one could have easily predicted the spread of Covid-19, and if he’d pandered to far-right reactionaries, it would have hurt this country far more in the long run. Instead, when he should be shutting schools, and supporting the vulnerable, he’s dithering. Laura should focus her ire on that.

If the economy crashes, it won’t be solely to do with the coronavirus. It will be in the failure to properly contain this in the first instance, with actual testing. We could learn lessons from countries like South Korea, but instead Johnson has done his best to waste time. Keeping schools open ensures other measures of containment will fail, as kids, teachers and parents inevitably mingle and spread the virus. The education of our children will recover, the economy can survive and recover with proper management, but the dead will stay dead.

This time last year, anyone who said we should restrict the freedom of movement on non-citizens over Britain’s external borders were painted as a bunch of fascists. Today, the British public have their free movement restricted to the greatest place on Earth – their local pub.

Maybe that’s because a lot of the people talking about the borders were motivated by jingoism, rather than pragmatism?

If you want to know what a Godless, meek and weak society looks like, mark 2020 in your calendar. It was the year we knew Europe was done for. Country after country is put in lockdown, police arrest citizens who go to the shops, all because the big bad germs are coming to get them. 

Countries are invoking measures to contain a deadly disease. What does Laura think should happen? That we act as though nothing has changed? That our friends and family will all emerge unscathed? When outbreaks happened in the past, we couldn’t have foreseen how deadly they would be, and in some cases, they were very deadly indeed. No one is comparing this to Spanish Flu, but that killed at least 17 million people, and the toll might actually be higher. We should not pretend this is not serious.

But people will die, I hear you shout. We all die. We are not entitled to immortality. I’ll take my chances, as I’d rather die as a freeborn citizen doing the things that freeborn citizens do, than cower like a dog in a kennel because the Government has ordered me to do so. I won’t do it. 

We’re not immortal, but some of us would like a long life. Laura’s cavalier attitude would deny that for some, all because she isn’t willing to spend a few weeks doing things differently.

As France goes into lockdown, they’ve stopped rebuilding Notre Dame – the magnificent cathedral that went up in flames last year. It’s a sign, I tell you, like the flames itself, it’s a sign. That cathedral was built by people of faith in the medieval times, times when a mouth ulcer could take you out. Today, they down tools over the flu. 

Would Laura prefer a return to the era when Notre Dame was built? When it was easy to press people into labour? When as she says, something simple could kill you? In her rush to bemoan society, she convieniently ignores or forgets the progress society has made, in more ways than one.

There is more, so there may be a second part to this, but for now, this is where my dismantling of this particular article ends.

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