The C19 virus reveals the failure of scientific knowledge as a guide to action – and even pragmatic neoliberal capitalism isn’t sure whether to preserve consumer lives and maximize anti-viral commodity production or to focus on keeping businesses open and sacrifice lives.
In the UK the government errs, currently anyway, on sacrificing the lives of the vulnerable (the unwell, older people and care workers for example) whilst handing out lucrative contracts to the already wealthy such as Serco (even though these fail to produce the goods). The lack of even limited guiding scientific knowledge for political action, and the confusion, paves the way for left and right wing protests leading to mutually reinforcing (right and left) populist and political totalitarian ideologies that will enable both so-called liberal democratic as well as more obviously right wing (manifestly elitist and hierarchical) authoritarian voices to coalesce around increased control. And this is increasingly totalitarian in kind, affecting all areas of public and private life.
This political control is intensified by public obedience which emboldens power and leads to an excess individual subjective identification with new restrictive laws or, and it works both ways, anti-restrictive edicts. public co-operation with restriction may save lives but is self-subversive, that is, turns us into uncaring and paranoid slaves of the Master and his system, and will eventually, I think, lead to a further demonizing of the enemies, enemies identified by our infantile masters, arbitrarily but most obviously including those most vulnerable and already marginalized – the unemployed, the mentally unwell, the immigrant of Colour or the asylum seeker, or the foreigner in general.
To simplify, I see two alternatives now: totalitarian nationalist pragmatic capitalism or totalitarian feudal and pragmatic nationalism.
So, the Masters total control is not guaranteed, alternatively, the contradictions between capitalism’s needs and the Master’s will to power may lead to the downfall of the Master. in this case amoral, and even eugenic, capitalism may demand that the virus will be allowed to run rampant through the apparently expendable surplus populations home and abroad and we will have full capitalist totalitarianism (as for example illustrated by Stalin’s Soviet Russia). Or, the Master may decide to risk holding up the normal flow of commodity exchange, tighten restrictions, collapsing capitalist systems, and lead us to a more feudal and myth-based nationalist totalitarianism, and intensified global war.