Ideology and Corona Response

One interesting thing I observed is that there doesn’t seem be any discernible ideological pattern to the decisiveness/quality of Corona responses across the world.

Right-wing populists

Trump and Bolsonaro have performed atrociously, dismissing Corona as a hoax or a nothingburger before switching to proclaiming its too late to do anything anyway and “What About The Line”, before submitting to reality/becoming ignored by his own governors, respectively. Ironically, their policies – if they were/are followed through to their natural conclusion – will, first and foremost, most negatively impact on their own ageing, less-educated electoral bases.

However, when “right-wing populists” are mentioned in global politics discussions, other names that usually come to mind (quibbles aside) are Modi, Orban, and Putin. Modi has ordered India into a 21 day lockdown, even though – arguably – the relative benefits to lower income nations doing this are far lower than for First World nations. Bold political moves aside, Hungary’s response was nothing out of the ordinary by East European standards, which are so far coping far better with their epidemics than Western Europe. Contra Western propaganda, Russia’s response has been relatively competent as well.


Mexico’s President has been encouraging his compatriots to go out into the streets, hug each other, and visit the shops and restaurants. And he has also been very forthright about practicing what he preaches, declining to use hand sanitizer and making various bizarre remarks (e.g. “El Chapo protects me”).

Belarus is one of the last countries in Europe with open borders and absolutely no quarantines. Based Potato Dictator: “It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.” At least they’re testing quite widely (23,000).


European and American libs were agitating against “racist” and/or “ineffective” travel bans, engaging in Mask Denial, and decrying China’s “totalitarian” quarantine measures. Meanwhile, the more outright neoliberal wings posited implausibly law predictions of ultimate Corona deaths (libertarian think-tanker Richard Epstein initially predicted 500 deaths, before revising it to 5,000; too bad he was initiatially the White House’s main authority on the subject) or even offered to sacrifice themselves up in service of the Line (amusingly, one 28 year old had to cash in within three days).

At the political level, their main representatives were the UK, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Their initial plan was one of attaining “herd immunity” while doing minimal mitigation, letting the coronavirus roll through their populations. At least the Brits rapidly backed away from that plan when they realized that their models didn’t include a term for ventilators, and the Netherlands followed soon after (though Sweden is still going strong).

That said, again, no definitive pattern. For instance, low-tax, low-business regulation, and pro-Western Estonia and Georgia have both been doing very well – not to mention a whole bunch of low-tax, free trade enterprepots in East Asia.


East Asians

OK, there’s one obvious to poor performance: East Asian states run on MATH (TM). And some other not entirely minor details, like experience with SARS and a bunch of other epidemics, cultural acceptance of masks, etc.

Anyhow. Internal political structure – chaotic democracies, authoritarian technocracies, Communist one party states – doesn’t seem to matter all that much. They’ve all managed very well to date.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Swarthy Greek says

    North Korea, China and Vietnam, which remain one party states which apply ( to a different extent) Marx’s economic program of state capitalism-/ ( state monopoly over credit institutions, no private land ownership etc..) all responded pretty competently to the crisis. Wouldn’t that argument counter your assertion that political regime type/structure doesn’t matter?

  3. Bored Lockdownee says

    Some back-of-envelope calculations about the UK’s now fairly standard partial lockdown…

    Say there’s a 5% hit (I think that optimistic?) to UK GDP (about $2.7T), i.e. $135B. Say 100,000 corona deaths are prevented. Since it mostly kills people near the ends of their lives, let’s say that means a saving of 500,000 life-years.

    (Neil Ferguson said as many as two thirds of those who die with the virus would not have survived another year anyway. So 5 years of life saved per patient seems a generous estimate.)

    Cost per life-year saved: $135B/500,000 = $270,000.

    The UK has, in theory, a maximum cost of treatment it will accept in terms of £ per ‘QALY’ (Quality Adjusted Life Year). Wikipedia says it was £50,000 in 2005. That’s about £75,000 today, or $92,000. So the current corona cure of crushing the economy is costing around three times the usual maximum rate, probably more.

    This suggests a panic reaction, not rationality. The Potato Dictator might turn out to be the smart one. Anyone know of any serious attempt to work out cost-benefits of “everyone panic” versus “keep calm and bring out your dead”?

  4. The Alarmist says

    So the real problems are the elected officials or authoritarians who need to save face with the people?

  5. The clearest pattern is that East and SE Asia showed competence and stemmed the outbreak buying the world a chance to keep this contained.

    White countries, save for Russia, bungled the response entirely and turned it into a pandemic.

    White people, well into the outbreak, thought it was a virus that could only kill Asians. Was just the flu bro, or only dangerous to old people. So they bandied about going to spring break, mardi graw, and smurfs festivals. Now the rest of the world has to pay the price.


    Now, white people are lol burning 5G towers because they think it will protect them from the American Virus. Nice science and propaganda America!

  6. That is because all the post WW2 allowed ideologies are shit. If fascist or national socialist governments existed today they would be way more efficient and intelligent than the nonsense we have now.

  7. Meanwhile, the more outright neoliberal wings posited implausibly law predictions of ultimate Corona deaths

    That’s “low” not “law”!

  8. Agathoklis says

    This is incorrect. There are a number of so-called white countries that have done very well so far and stemmed the outbreak. For example, Australia, Greece, Norway, Poland, Czechia.

  9. E. Harding says

    I do think my explanation of ideology and corona response has stood the test of time. Nations with inferiority complexes tend to do better. Which is why I don’t think Hillary “American Exceptionalism” Clinton would have done all that well -but Bernie would have done pretty well by American standards.

    It was ironic that the Netherlands has the highest or close to the highest math IQ in Europe… and yet its initial response was hot garbage.

    Lyman Stone is actually a good follow on effective v. ineffective responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The West emulated the least effective and most economically damaging part of China’s response (lockdowns), but not the parts that actually made it nuke the curve (centralized quarantine, rapid mass screening). This video on the Chinese response is a good watch.

    Back in the day, on some other planet, Western experts used to condemn China’s lockdown as
    They’re doing it because people who are in political leadership always think that if you do something dramatic and visible that you’ll gain popular support,”.

    Turned out to be perfectly true… just not for China.

    Also, the initial American response was truly a dramatic failure of socialism. Scott Sumner (who, despite banning me, has been pretty good and very close to my views on this whole crisis) agrees.

  10. That young guy who died after worrying about the economy, Rehman Shukr… anyone else notice how chubby and unhealthy he looked?

    It makes sense for so many weak-sauce bugmen to be shitting their pants over this disease. I don’t think I’ve seen a single photo of a victim who was not fat or old. For the same reason, it makes sense that most alt-right bloggers are losing it.

    Of course, now that I’ve written this I will probably die of it in a few days, my healthy BMI and chiseled good looks notwithstanding.

  11. Scrolling down the title page of the Unz Review, I read:
    “Ideology of Corona Response” instead of “Ideology and Corona Response”

    In retrospect, that is not an uninteresting take on what is happening.

  12. Yes, Australia had it’s first case on the 25th of Jan, and banned anyone who had been to China in the past 14 days from entering the country on 1st of February which was a week later. While the Chinese ambassador to Australia was asking for compensation for “racial targeting” the Government was actually attempting to stop the spread instead of bending over. As of today there is a bit less than 6k cases and less than 40 deaths. Considering the proximity to China and the number of Chinese travellers the fact that Australia has kept the numbers this low is wonderful.

    The funny thing is looking back at old articles, when the media was downplaying the virus because of ‘racism’, and reading the dumb things people said:

    “It’s an overreaction,” Abbey Shi told Al Jazeera by telephone.

    Shi is an international student from Shanghai, and the general secretary of the University of Sydney Student Representative Council. She believes that students are keeping themselves well-informed about the coronavirus.
    5th of Feburary 2020

    Abbey Shi, our glorious general secretary has spoken! It is an over-reaction!

    “I have absolutely no idea what will happen from here,” Ritsu says, describing the travel ban as an “excuse for racism”.
    4th of February 2020

    There is no good reason for a travel ban, it is simply racist Australians at it again oppressing the Chinese.

    Dozens of people have rallied outside the immigration department’s Sydney offices calling on Canberra to lift the travel ban on foreign nationals travelling from China amid the coronavirus outbreak.
    Some held signs stating “No politics of fear – we stand with the Chinese community” and “Solidarity with Wuhan” while others chanted “No racism, no fear, Chinese people are welcome here”.
    7th of February 2020

    It certainly doesn’t make responding to a crisis easier when foreign nationals are calling you racist for stopping people coming in from affected countries, nor when foreign ambassadors are demanding you compensate them for being affected.

  13. Some points:

    1. Staying home won’t give you immunity.
    2. Covid-19 can be asymptomatic, and it’s extremely easy to transmit. This will ensure it will continue to infect new people, albeit at a much slower pace while the lockdown is in force. But does this matter? Only if your aim is to not overwhelm the healthcare system.

    3. After lockdown is over, the people who stayed home, and which continue to have no immunity anyway, will just get infected and the cases will pick up again. Or do you think they will somehow be immune? The characteristics of this virus make it perfect for superspreaders.

    Not one commentator has reconciled these points.

    Karlin, care to point out how the non-immunized people will be safe after the lockdown is lifted?

    By the way, coronavirus is a family of viruses, and coronaviruses accounted for 7~15%, perhaps 5% ~ 14%, of all virus related acute respiratory diseases in a Glasgow study between 2005 and 2013, according to this German doctor:

  14. reiner Tor says

    One appalling thing in Orbán’s response has been that he did nothing to alleviate the economic hardship of those who lost their jobs as a result of the lockdown. While each of our neighbors pays something (usually 60-80% of the previous salary, in the case of Serbia 100% of the minimum wage, as far as I know), Orbán’s Hungary pays… 0% of previous income.

    Today he is going to announce a big financial package, but at the very least he won’t be able to avert the huge surge of unemployment (the idea being that money is paid so that firms don’t have to lay off their workers – well, this has already happened to a large extent in Hungary), it could at least compensate part of the financial loss both to the unemployed and to the small business owners who lost all of their incomes.

    Orbán also often expresses shockingly psychopathic sentiments. In a radio interview last month (one or two days before finally they closed schools) he was musing that closing schools would cause enormous hardship to teachers, because… they would have to be sent on unpaid leave then.

    Now last Friday he said that “the world hasn’t heard of a case of such a large group of people getting money without work.” Someone should inform him that in all neighboring countries it’s happening, and also that these people are now entitled to unemployment and welfare payment anyway. (Though the latter only after they have burned through their reserves and crashed – why wait for it?)

    Orbán’s response so far also comprises of things like taking away half of the money parties get (in lieu of their vote) from the budget (this is a lifeline for opposition parties, but doesn’t matter much to Fidesz which is largely financed by corruption), taking away lots of money from municipalities (which at the same time get lots of extra responsibilities, as well as having to pay some welfare to people now without incomes…), and similar ideas, while doubling down on lots of the unpopular prestige projects (like building stadiums etc.)

    He has been flexible in the past, so I’d expect him to correct course, but the fact he’s thinking that way (“no pay for anyone after we close their businesses or shut down their jobs, they don’t work lol”) is appalling enough. It’s not like he’s had to worry about how to pay his bills for a very long time now, but he could show a little empathy.

  15. Today he is going to announce a big financial package, but at the very least he won’t be able to avert the huge surge of unemployment (the idea being that money is paid so that firms don’t have to lay off their workers – well, this has already happened to a large extent in Hungary), it could at least compensate part of the financial loss both to the unemployed and to the small business owners who lost all of their incomes.

    Hungary announced its lockdown a little over a week ago, on March 27, and it isn’t alone in enacting a lockdown first and an economic relief package a few days later. Which makes sense, because ordering the shut down of non-essential businesses and services can be immediate, whereas it takes time to write a comprehensive economic relief bill.

    I’d be surprised if the bill doesn’t cover said businesses and workers that you mention were affected. Do tell me later today after he has announced it.

  16. “Orbán also often expresses shockingly psychopathic sentiments. ” – Should not be too surprising. The psychopathic thing may partly explains his success. And possibly he has entered the hubris phase that as they tell us ‘goeth before destruction’.

  17. …it takes time to write a comprehensive economic relief bill.

    True, we should wait. But reiner Tor’s point was more about the attitudes on display. Orban’s rhetoric has shown the predictable neo-liberal ‘makers and takers‘ nonsense, not exactly a good fit in a time of crisis and economic collapse. It translates into policies.

    This is about math, and not primarily the Corona epidemic math. The economy is based on agreed on concepts like work and money – and we are taking away 30 to 50% of that overnight. Something has to give, the numbers don’t add up. Orban hallucinating about “a large group of people getting money without work” completely misses the point.

    The countries that do well are more nationalist, more socialist, and have math-based rational governments. (I see that Australia is an exception, maybe another factor is the ability and willingness to isolate.) Trump is a nationalist only rhetorically, he has non-existent socialist instincts, and his rationality is random – but in that he reflects US quite well, this will not be their brightest moment.

  18. Pericles says

    Scandinavia in itself is an interesting Corona-microcosm. Apart from Sweden’s bold take, the Norwegian turn to normiedom and Danish fast isolationism, there is also the intriguing sleeper, Finland. As far as I’ve heard, they seem to have pretty much not been visited at all.

    Perhaps we have something to learn?

  19. Ma Laoshi says

    Not that I’m compelled to go all patriotic or otherwise defensive over the wording, but why are you calling Taiwan a chaotic democracy? “Chaotic” compared to Italy? India? The US of A? Before clicking on the link I thought it was going to refer to the Philippines LOL.

    And in the 2nd last para, did you mean to write “obvious EXCEPTION TO poor performance”?

  20. calling Taiwan a chaotic democracy

    I think we can all agree Taiwan is a democracy. Any democracy where lawmakers brawl can be called chaotic:

    Apparently, all this was over capital gains tax on share trading.

    South Korea also fits the bill:

    Kudos to the older national assemblyman for ragdolling younger members with Judo.

  21. Maybe you could add a respect for authority/individualism/risk aversion meter, which could explain it, like all the countries which are botching the response have higher individualism, more atomised society, and lower respect for the elderly/authority figures, and maybe a higher percentage of psychopathy among the population? Also maybe you could factor in high vs low conscientiousness cultures? And third world countries that declared lockdown like the Philippines and Pakistan may not have high conscientiousness, but they have a high degree of respect for the elderly, unlike in Anglo countries where the elderly are banished by the young to retirement homes to wither away and die, and low individualism. Could also be the reason why nationalist movements in continental Europe that are not part of the Anglosphere are a lot more effective?

  22. If your culture banishes the elderly to some place to wither and die like they do in Anglo countries, “voluntarily” of course, then it is easier to regard them as disposable in nature. And maybe that is the reason why they are so pozzed as well?

  23. Levtraro says

    One obvious aspect of nations (in addition to the ideology of the government) to look into for correlations with the magnitude of the corona virus blow and measures taken, is the magnitude of tourism. In Europe, the 4 countries that receive the highest number of international tourists (France, Spain, Italy and Germay) are the 4 countries with the higjhest number of recorded infections. In the EEUU, New York is the No 1 destination for overseas tourists and it is the state/city with the largest number of infected. This would also explain why countries like Finland, Norway, etc, are not having that much trouble yet.

  24. Anonymous (n) says

    Don’t you get common logic? Those examples fall within the East Asian block, which has UNIVERSALLY adopted common sense responses to the pandemic, even while other Marxist entities outside the East Asian sphere (Belarus) have not. The credit thus goes to their Asianness, not Marxism.

  25. Swarthy Greek says
  26. Anonymous (n) says

    You’d never see such violent chaos in superior, civilized Western legislative bodies where the esteemed representatives are given their marching orders by financiers and media moguls long before stepping foot in the debate halls. These videos are visual proof as to why taking decision making power out of the hands of elected officials and handing it to NYC and London based moneymen should be our highest priority. Help stop violence!

  27. Jaakko Raipala says

    Definitely not from Finland. It’s out of the way with far fewer links to continental Europe, in fact we are almost an island except for the border with Russia. Russia was much faster at restricting travel but of course our politicians are going to take credit even though they were denouncing Putin’s authoritarianism and xenophobia when it was actually happening.

    Right now we are still getting a few corona cases from Sweden since the wilderness border isn’t actually closed but our media keeps feeding us stories about how Russia is just about to collapse and flood us with corona refugees. (It has been a recurring theme that “refugees” come from Sweden but our media blames Russia.)

    One ridiculous thing about all of this is how our left-wing pin-up government at first told us that this is an Asian crisis that won’t affect us at all, just like Trump did, and the right-wing opposition kept screaming for virus panic and lock downs. But of course we are told that Trump is the most evil man ever for doing exactly the same thing that our government did.

    Though of course things are diverging now as Trump is trying to stop the lockdown while Finland is still in a virus panic. Me, I think Trump is correct and our politicians have made a disastrous mistake by plunging us into a depression that’s going to kill more people than the stupid powered up flu. Our nationalist party probably fucked itself by pushing for lockdowns so Finland is going to be really screwed with no political alternative for the next few years.

  28. Europe Europa says

    The response everywhere has mostly been high levels of state control and socialism. In Britain even “ultra right wing” Boris Johnson has gone full socialist.

    It’s the left that will almost certainly come out of this as the ideological winners, as the ideology that saved the day.

  29. John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan says

    Hell, even Calvin Coolidge would handle this shit better than the idiots and feminist women in charge now.

  30. John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan says

    Not one commentator has reconciled these points.

    Karlin, care to point out how the non-immunized people will be safe after the lockdown is lifted?

    Interestingly, Planned Parenthood’s are still open across most of the country (but not Texas, as of a few days ago), at the same time scientists are using tissue from aborted fetuses (presumably ones aborted before the virus) as a part of designing their Corona virus vaccine.

    Now, all these folks here can pretend otherwise, but the truth is that if America wasn’t a dysgenic hellhole with a degenerate abortion/health care industry, there wouldn’t be a money motivation for a lockdown that enables these disgusting bastards to turn a profit off abortion.

    Now, in my opinion, most of the motivation comes from other sources, but that is part of it.

    Imagine putting your complete trust in such “experts”!

  31. reiner Tor says

    BoJo now has an actual chance of dying soon. I hope he won’t, probably he’s far from the worst politician in the UK or the world.

  32. John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan says

    If not Orban, who would you like to see ruling Hungary?

  33. reiner Tor says

    I can’t think of anyone better. This is not really a praise of Orbán, rather a critique of the rest of the field.

  34. LondonBob says

    Coolidge signed in to law the 1924 immigration act. Part of that based Puritan elite like Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant that really could have seen the world go on a different path.

  35. Jaakko Raipala says

    That’s assuming that people are going to be happy about the measures when the bill comes. A lot of people who were screaming “screw the economy, how can you think of the fat cats of the stock market when there’s a plague happening???” are going to find out that their jobs and pensions were in fact tied to the stock market.

    Panic and fear is also something that subsides. Right now you’re not thinking objectively because your neighbors is panicking, your spouse is panicking, your parents are panicking and you take all that as proof that the crisis is real. If you asked your neighbors why they’re convinced that this crisis is real they’d say that it’s because all their neighbors are panicking.

    It’s really just an aggressive flu. Only old people and the sick are dying. Of course afterwards they are going to claim that the reason why nothing much happened is because of these drastic measures which is why they can’t let any country go without lock downs.

  36. Pericles says

    Lol, I’m actually amazed there are corona-infecteds crossing the border at all up there. (For readers not familiar with the geography, it’s something like a ten hour drive northward from Stockholm, and through fairly sparsely populated territory at that. So normal diffusion seems a bit unlikely.) Who are they? Truck drivers?

    The positive take on Finland’s situation would be that a strong dose of isolationism appears to work quite well on its own; the government simply doesn’t have to be very competent or extravagant to handle the situation. A bit of hysteria about infected foreigners swarming into the country is a further good, traditional remedy to keep the problem contained.

    Having no herd immunity might be a future problem if Corona-chan becomes endemic, of course, but if the rest of the world stands by with ventilators and what not, then it might not be a huge issue.

  37. Agathoklis says

    Ok, then how do you explain Greece?

  38. Pericles says

    It seems fairly obvious that globalism and open borders should be the ideological losers, because of fast, ideologically-assisted global spreading of Corona-chan; because of fragile and quickly collapsed global supply chains; and because of privatizing the gains and socializing the losses of a couple of trillion dollars just in this most recent round of stimulus and just in America at that. Put it on their tab.

    However, it also seems fairly certain that these unfortunate reactionary hate facts will be covered up with extreme prejudice by the media and elites.

  39. reiner Tor says

    Right now you’re not thinking objectively because your neighbors is panicking, your spouse is panicking, your parents are panicking and you take all that as proof that the crisis is real.

    I don’t get the feeling anyone else takes this seriously, to be honest. I’m not sure where you get the idea that people are panicking, I have yet to meet people who are panicking. In the comments there were some people who bought up huge supplies of hazmat masks, and apparently are going out wearing those, but I have yet to see anyone doing that.

    I’m not panicking, but I find it strange that with the kind of numbers Covid-19 has, people can proclaim it’s nothing but the flu, or perhaps like the flu in 1968. While it’s obviously not the Great Pestilence, it’s just as obviously way worse than the flu in 1968.

    I also have yet to see evidence that the economy would be doing well without the lockdown. I think the lockdown should be stricter (and accompanied by many other aggressive measures), to make it as short as possible, because it’s the length and not the severity of the lockdown and the epidemic which does the most damage.

  40. Manfred Arcane says

    Thank you for that. The TRUMP IS MORON! narrative hawked so constantly by Unz, Karlin, and 90% of the commenters here is so counter-factual yet invariable that it’s nice to see some reality. If Hillary was in charge of this, as Karlin has admitted he would prefer, there would have been no restrictions placed on China travel at all, and we’d instead be relying on “screenings” by the CDC clowns, which the media would repeatedly assure us was the best option and that any more comprehensive alternative would not only be futile but racist. Once cases spiked, a federal national lockdown would have been implemented and red state governors reluctant to comply would have been threatened with federal troops if they balked too long. All media outrage would be directed at ignorant “science deniers” in flyover country who wouldn’t give up their livelihoods to save New York, and foreign traffic would continue to travel in and out without question by Fauci or the other hacks at CDC.

  41. John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan says

    In that vein, you should look into George Van Horn Moseley.

    The guy was a complete champ.

    His unpublished memoirs are on file at the national archives in DC.

  42. John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan says

    It is certainly true 1) That Trump early on proposed a ban of travel from China, etc, and that 2) There is no sane way to criticize him for this.

    But a large part of the people supporting heavy lockdowns are, quite frankly, mixing serious takes worthy of respect with simple self-aggrandizing smartass nonsense. They won’t criticize him for it; rather they’ll just ignore it.

    In any case, Trump has, on most other issues, followed along with the medical experts. Karlin aside, I didn’t believe for one second that Trump would actually have the churches full by Easter. I predicted he would change his tone, and I was right.

  43. John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan says

    While it’s obviously not the Great Pestilence, it’s just as obviously way worse than the flu in 1968.

    In what ways is it “obviously way worse”? Those are two pretty big words to use in comparison with 1968, “obviously” and “way” worse.

    In any case, I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: in a post a few days ago, Karlin finally hinted at a big story by saying that Western democracy is no longer capable of handling a type of flu that, in terms of raw effect, is not unprecedented.

    But he hasn’t focused on that interesting question.

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, that is something that should be discussed in detail.

    Also, most of you folks outside America probably aren’t aware of how differently “confirmed case” is defined from one American state to another. It’s one reason why the stats are so screwy.

  44. Levtraro says

    Well, Greece does not receive as many international tourists as the 4 EU countries I named. In 2018 (millions): France: 89; Spain: 83; Italy: 62; Germany: 39; Greece: 30.

  45. Athletic and Whitesplosive says

    I don’t know how this is so confusing, the pattern to me seems totally obvious: structural liberal democracy = bad handling of pandemic, deeply embedded illiberal leadership = better handling.

    It’s a mistake to include Bolsa and Trump in “right-wing populist” responses since they are insurgents fighting against the majority of the organs of their own state, the issues which made effective measures impossible are structural (closed borders = racist discrimination!, travel restrictions and movement tracing = violation of muh freedum!). The de jure head of state is largely irrelevent when almost the entirety of the permanent bureaucracy is against them.

    Likewise, Orban is an example of the opposite, he’s a strongly embedded illiberal operating in a nominally liberal democracy, but the de jure self conception of the state is again irrelevant when the real levers of power operate differently.

    Smaller outliers that might not conform to this pattern are mostly irrelevant I think, since basically every major world power does in my view.

  46. Athletic and Whitesplosive says

    There can be benefits to chaos. I propose instituting a “trial by combat” option for all new legislation, this will eliminate all legislation of that most spiritually and morally deficient part of society, since the most morally backward are also the most physically weak.

  47. Kent Nationalist says

    His successor would be a Jew or an Indian

  48. I see it mentioned in this threat that China is a one-party state.
    As good a place as any to remind colleagues that China has a bunch of parties in Parliament:

    “Institutional minor parties In the official order of precedence:

    Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang (Chinese: 中国国民党革命委员会 or Chinese: 民革). Formed by leftist members of the Kuomintang (KMT) who did not escape to Taiwan, it has 53,000 members. It is considered “second” in status to the Communist Party of China. Thus it has 30% of the seats in the People’s Political Consultative Conference. (Chinese nationalism, Three Principles of the People)

    China Democratic League (Chinese: 中国民主同盟 or Chinese: 民盟). Originally a league of pro-democracy parties. Formed by 130,000 members, mainly middle-level and senior intellectuals. (Patriotism, Socialism)

    China Democratic National Construction Association (Chinese: 中国民主建国会 or Chinese: 民建). Entrepreneurs from the manufacturing, financial or commercial industries, in both private and state sectors. Formed by 69,000 members. (Market socialism)

    China Association for Promoting Democracy (Chinese: 中国民主促进会 or Chinese: 民进). Intellectuals, mostly in the education, technology and publishing sectors. Some 65,000 members. (Social democracy)

    Chinese Peasants’ and Workers’ Democratic Party (Chinese: 中国农工民主党 or Chinese: 农工党). Most of its 65,000 members work in the fields of public health, culture and education, science and technology. (Socialism)

    Zhigongdang of China (Chinese: 中国致公党). Returned overseas Chinese, relatives of overseas Chinese, and noted figures and scholars who have overseas ties, with 15,000 members. (Chinese federalism, Reunification of China)

    Jiusan Society (Chinese: 九三学社). Most of its 68,000 members are high- and medium level intellectuals in the fields of science, technology, education, culture and medicine. (Socialism)

    Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (Chinese: 台湾民主自治同盟 or Chinese: 台盟). 1,600 people, most of whom are prominent people that are from Taiwan or are of Taiwanese heritage, but now reside on the Mainland. (Taiwanization, One country, two systems)”

    While this does not change the authoritarian nature of today’s China, it nevertheless shows the difference between “one party state” and “multi-party state with one dominant party”.

  49. Duke of Qin says

    There is a problem with your theory. That millions of people would carrying on as if nothing was happening as 500,000 people dropped dead over the course of 2 months. That millions getting badly sick even if not choking to death would have ZERO impact on productivity or consumption patterns. It isn’t 5% GDP hit or 500,000 dead. It’s a 5% GDP hit and 500,000 dead or a 5% GDP hit and 15,000 dead. There is no “good choice” here, its the difference between bad and worse. Any politician going with the “its just a flu bro” while casualties mount will be lynched by angry mobs who are seeing other countries in lockdown and not taking as many casualties, aging Western Liberal Democracies are particularly risk adverse. Even in non-lockdown Sweden, traffic and economic activity is only marginally above neighbors that are shut down because people will choose to voluntarily avoid activities that can lead to them getting sick.

  50. Manfred Arcane says

    My only real complaint on Trump so far is that he has been too deferential to the insufferable Fauci, who’s both a Deep State hack and a Bill Gates/Big Pharm puppet; I would have much preferred to have the lockdowns lifted early, rather than extended. However, the fact that Trump was aggressively touting hydroxychloroquine again last night is to me a hopeful sign that he’s not willing to kowtow to Fauci forever, since Fauci has continually ignored and/or downplayed hydroxychloroquine. That’s another benefit of having Trump in charge; if we had Hillary at the reins, rest assured that hydroxychloroquine would be banned for covid treatment in all fifty states and the media would be able to easily discredit its proponents without any pushback from the Oval Office.

  51. There is this thing called modern science, and modern science is looking for a vaccine and drugs that can mitigate the progression.

    I would much rather get a vaccine next year or see what studies show on different drug regimens.

  52. Grahamsno(G64) says

    Agree New York is the most expensive Leper Colony in History.

  53. Thorfinnsson says

    First, decreasing the number of new persons infected by carriers beneath one leads to exponential extinction of the virus.

    Second, the lock-downs reduce the burden on the medical system and help prevent it from being overwhelmed. Not just by restraining the number of COVID-19 cases, but also by reducing the transmission of other communicable diseases and sharply decreasing the numbers of accidents, injuries, assaults, etc.

    Third, this buys time for the development of medical treatments up to and including effective vaccines.

    Things are not going to go back to business as usual until one or more of the following is achieved:

    •Exponential extinction of the virus
    •Herd immunity
    •Development and distribution of effective vaccine

    Until that happens we’ll eventually see partial relaxations of the lock-downs to restore economic activity and a semblance of normality. Widespread testing, masking, and cleaning will be part of daily life while more vulnerable populations will continue to be isolated. Effective track, trace, and isolate systems will be implemented–at least in some places.

    This isn’t that complicated.

  54. for-the-record says

    While it’s obviously not the Great Pestilence, it’s just as obviously way worse than the flu in 1968.

    The “flu” in 1968, as I recall, is credited with killing a minimum of 1 million, which would be 2 million today. It may have been as many as 4 million **, which would be 8 million today.

    More recently, as I have cited several times previously, the 2014/15 flu is reported to have caused 217,000 “premature deaths” among the 65+ in the EU alone. I’ve asked several times for predictions as to what the corresponding figure will be for Covid-19, but so far no one has bothered, or dared, to respond.

    Is it really so sure that we are “way worse” than the 2014/15 flu, let alone the 1968 “pandemic”? By what measure?


  55. Daniel Chieh says

    IIRC only Jiusan Society actually has much of an impact.

  56. I quite like the rift between two altright centers of Daily Stormer and Fash the Nation myself. Anglin tripled down on just the flu/worship the line program, while FtN sullied itself further still(if it even was possible in the first place after having a fed) with incredibly bluepilled take on metooing of Weinstein earlier.

  57. Bored Lockdownee says

    Duke of Qin, comment 51:

    There is a problem with your theory.

    Whose numbers you apparently cannot challenge; instead, more alarmist “facts” (half a million deaths in two months, etc). Thanks for helping make my point about panic reactions.

  58. Kent Nationalist says

    FtN sullied itself further still(if it even was possible in the first place after having a fed) with incredibly bluepilled take on metooing of Weinstein earlier.

    Is being redpilled like a horseshoe, eventually you become so redpilled you start defending predatory Jewish deviants?

  59. Toronto Russian says

    It’s really just an aggressive flu. Only old people and the sick are dying.

    Overwhelmed hospitals raise the probability of young people dying or getting permanent damage after accidents, because there will be no space or medical personnel to treat them. They will be stuck in a hallway until their condition worsens irreparably. Also, regular childhood vaccinations are interrupted where I live. If doctors aren’t relieved from the flood of Corona patients soon, things like measles will come back as they already have because of anti-vaxxers, but on a larger scale. Finally, even if you don’t die from a postponement of a planned surgery, you’ll spend extra months in pain and misery, maybe not able to walk or see well. Slowing down and stretching out the infections is necessary for more reasons than just sympathy for your grandmother (this I have, too; thankfully, she’s been protecting herself from the start and has good chances of not catching it).

    No panic here, in fact people are quite resilient and cheerful. They avoided getting into strangers’ personal space before (Canadian politeness eh, they’re normally obliged to say sorry upon any accidental touching) and they do it now with just a little adjustment. Still smiling and chatting across the distance.

  60. Except nobody ever defended Weinstein. Hell, it could have been the goyest of goys just as well.
    It was always about calling whore a whore and implications of trusting whores in court of “law”.

    But don`t mind me and enjoy your metooing.

  61. Kent Nationalist says

    Wasn’t it about defending Weinstein?

    Only AWFLs will think this is not excessive— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) March 11, 2020

    Brilliant optics.

    This was happening to ordinary men long before Metoo. Metoo was just it being applied to powerful Jews and homosexuals.

  62. You keep repeating the approved party line about muh defending Weinstein exactly like Peinovichstein kept repeating “gay op” instead of explaining a literal fed in the ranks, which I guess is sort of cute in a sad way.

    Now this brand of metooing will happen to so much more muh ordinary men, because le zog decided to let go of an asset that was burned anyway. With you cheering on.

    Powerful homosexual Kevin Spacey is fine, by the way.

  63. Jaakko Raipala says

    The problem with the Sweden/Finland border is that it follows a river and the towns on both sides of the shore are connected and essentially a part of a common economy. Much of it is wilderness which doesn’t matter but in Haaparanta/Tornio etc people live on one side of the border and have a job on the other side and they can still all travel…

    Here’s a map of cases in Finland per 100k people.

    Notice the mysteriously low number in the easternmost provinces. They’re going to try to claim that Finland was “more prepared” than Scandinavia but it’s really because Russia is firm with borders and because the border with Norway and Sweden (which isn’t really closed) is mostly in the middle of nowhere.

  64. Grahamsno(G64) says

    Thanks for the sensible comments it looks as if more than half the posters lost their minds over this Coronavirus crisis.

  65. Ma Laoshi says

    If you read it as “Taiwan has sometimes chaotic politics”, then I start to see your point; I was reading it as “chaotic society which happens to be a democracy”, which seemed to be off the mark. Then again, as others also comment, it might as well suggest some actual disagreement and power contest, instead of a “diverse” crew of bought representatives just nodding along. Sadly, I think even friggin’ Turkey is ahead of the West when it comes to genuine political pluralism.

    Now that others have brought the Ukraine Rada into it, may we also notice that for those Taiwanese ladies, by all appearances, this brawlin’ is merely a side gig–they’re not exactly built for it. In contrast, in Kiev politics a frame like a night club bouncer is pretty much required for the job.

    At least we can probably agree that that Seoul assemblyman knew his moves!

  66. Kent Nationalist says

    Now this brand of metooing will happen to so much more muh ordinary men, because le zog decided to let go of an asset that was burned anyway. With you cheering on.

    I’m cheering on my enemy being punished for things he deserves to be punished for. Where’s the evidence that ordinary men being falsely accused of rape has anything to do with this? That was happening before. Even the scenarios aren’t similar.

  67. In the Anglosphere there’s a big push of late comparing the fight against this virus to WWII, with the apparent ulterior motive of psychologically prepping people for WWIII. The word being heard everywhere on TV, radio, and print, is ‘together’ we shall defeat the virus. I visited an acquintance’s apartment complex a couple of days ago and there was a sign at the entrance referencing the anti-virus campaign with the word ‘together’ featured and the US flag and Statue of Liberty in the background.

    Yesterday (Sunday) the fight against Coronavirus was specifically compared with Pearl Harbor and 911 all day on the radio. Here in the US on a nation wide radio broadcast one of the networks actually played original eighty year old audio from the fourteen year old future British monarch Elizabeth’s first UK radio broadcast in 1940, a speech not surprisingly centered upon WWII which had then just started, and then excerpted the Queen’s speech yesterday in regards to the virus.

    In regards to the UK it won’t be long I suppose (if it’s not being done already) before we start seeing images like the one below being associated with the ‘war’ against the Coronavirus.

  68. Okay, grug style then.

    Strike one: Kavanaugh.
    Strike two: Weinstein.
    Strike three: (((lawyers))) in the aftermath of Weinstein case excitedly tell you verbatim they are gearing up for le many new exciting cases.
    Strike four: haha case printer go brrrr.

    The question is, why am I wasting time here with this instead of asking about the fed in le inner circle of TRS straight away. Are muh book clubs really fed clubs already?

    Oh, and on a tangential note, listen to FtN 298 or 300 for le terribly exciting new details of how Kavanaugh is ruling as a supreme. Le zog got what it wanted, through an accusation by a whore.

  69. Kent Nationalist says

    Normal men like Brock Turner or (also in 2015) the head of the Oxford Union were being prosecuted for the actual situation you are worried about (not the Harvey Weinstein perversions) long before MeToo. So why would Weinstein set a precedent?Why would you choose to defend the most loathsome case?

  70. a sportschad
    the head of a university
    le normal everyday goys
    Congratulations, you are legit retarded.

    So, where am I defending Weinstein, grug? Do you even have another fed and party approved talking point, a lousy single one, or did Peinovichstein`s handlers get even lazier with them, unbelievable as it is?

  71. Kent Nationalist says

    You don’t think that Weinstein should have gone to prison; you are defending him.

    Do you think that Brock Turner wasn’t a normal man because women were attracted to him?

  72. “You don’t think that Weinstein should have gone to prison”

    Citation, grug, citation.

  73. Agathoklis says

    Per capita Greece receives many more tourists than those countries.

  74. reiner Tor says


  75. Europe Europa says

    Other than weekends in Berlin, who actually goes to Germany on holiday? Supposedly more tourists visit Germany than Britain which I find hard to believe, I assume a significant percentage of those “tourists” are business travellers being recorded as tourists in the stats.

  76. Levtraro says

    I think the total is more important than the per-capita in this case.

  77. Levtraro says

    You could be rigth. Anecdotically, I was on holydays in Germany, several cities, and I know two more couples who were there also on vacation recently.

  78. Ms Karlin-Gerard says

    LOL – just goes to show what a semi-hoax much of this coronavirus fuss is-

    An idiot, in one minute, has shot and killed more people in Ryazan oblast (5)… than the coronovirus has killed in regions of Russia totalling 100 million+ people in one month.

    Some young people were making some noise outside, he killed them despite not even being drunk….. and he’s married to a doctor – such a lowlife being married to a doctor and involved in such a tragi-farce event, admittedly, doesn’t happen in the west.

    Surely one idiot killing more in a minute, than a virus has in one month…. puts into perspective losing billions in money and making 100s of 1000’s or even millions of people unemployed or extremely claustrophobic and getting ill from reduced exercise and fresh air.

  79. Did Orban deliberately sideline potential rivals within his party?

    In Canada Stephen Harper basically sidelined anyone of substance within the Conservative Party of Canada, and packed his cabinet mostly with lightweights who no one could imagine being prime minister. As soon as someone showed promise he moved them into positions that either diminished them or resulted in them leaving politics altogether. It was either him or the dreaded Liberals running the country so everyone on the ‘Right’ toed the line. When he lost to Trudeau in 2015 his party was a shell of its former self – not that it was great to begin with – and since then has lost a very winnable election to a wounded Trudeau and today shows few signs of recovering. Unfortunately, right wingers love these strongman personality-types – think Salvini too – who are personally successful but don’t build up an infrastructure to take on the Left after they are gone. Hopefully Hungary is different.

  80. It’s surrounded by countries with substantial populations and decent spending power so it probably gets a lot of weekend visitors. It also has a lot of cities and towns of interest whereas Britain doesn’t have many internationally recognised cities beyond London.

  81. martin_2 says

    The notion that Third World countries have masses of respect for the elderly is just another aspect of the Noble Savage myth. I am in the UK and have known many very elderly people in my work capacity and I cannot recall a case where their children have abandoned or neglected them.
    It often happens, however, that the old person in question prefers to continue living alone rather than move in with their children since they like their independence.

  82. Paleo Liberal says

    The differences between Coronavirus and the HK Flu are:
    1. Much higher R0’for Coronavirus.
    2. Much higher death rate for Coronavirus. The Hong Kong Flu is estimated to have had a death rate of 0.2%.
    I was one of the 500 million who survived. That is about double the death rate of the average flu season.
    3. Coronavirus survivors are showing up with serious lung and heart and possibly even brain damage. Too early to tell if that is reversible.

    Also, remember the Hong Kong Flu came in two waves. Far more people were infected, and killed, in the second wave which is believed to have had a higher R0 and a higher death rate.

    Even the Hong Kong Flu is estimated to have killed at least 100,000 Americans and about 1 million worldwide. The 1957-58 Asian Flu was slightly worse. Killing slightly more people in a slightly less populated world.

    Comparing the death rates of HK Flu with Coronavirus makes no sense. These are not comparable.

    For one thing, the HK Flu did that much damage when little was done to stop it. We didn’t lock down the planet over a virus with a 0.2% death rate.

    Comparing a virus we did little to stop with a virus we are doing everything to stop is meaningless.

    Also, we are still before the peak in the first wave of Coronavirus. We have no idea how many waves there will be, and how bad subsequent waves will be. Comparing that to the FINAL death toll of a virus with two waves — the second deadlier than the first — makes no sense.

    The Coronavirus appears to spread more easily, kill more, and do more lasting damage than the HK Flu. The death rates and R0 appear to be closer the Spanish Flu.

  83. Jason Liu says

    Really? East Asian countries tend to have noticeably flatter curves, at least at first. I chalk it up to collectivism.

  84. Sweden and Belarus: birds of a feather?

    Joking aside, I agree that the ideological link re corona is weak.

  85. Toronto Russian says
  86. reiner Tor says

    Is it really so sure that we are “way worse” than the 2014/15 flu, let alone the 1968 “pandemic”? By what measure?

    Percentage of population killed if we do nothing. As, indeed, in 1968 there were no lockdowns, nor were even people wearing masks.

    We already have a town where 70% of the population got infected (which would be impossible with any flu strain, because of the partial immunity thingy), and 1.3% of the population died by March 21 (and lots of people have died since and will die still – probably it’ll be over 2% of the population when all is over), and this is likely way milder than if the epidemic spread freely throughout the country, you know, number of hospital beds etc.

    I and many others (including this very blogger under whose posts we are commenting) have already made these points, and you have not responded to any of these, nor did anyone else, as far as I remember, except someone saying that Italy was an “outlier.” Yes, it is, because that’s where we have towns with 70% infected.

    More recently, as I have cited several times previously, the 2014/15 flu is reported to have caused 217,000 “premature deaths” among the 65+ in the EU alone. I’ve asked several times for predictions as to what the corresponding figure will be for Covid-19, but so far no one has bothered, or dared, to respond.

    So apparently the only way to convince you that a lockdown was necessary is if we didn’t do anything, the virus would infect 70% of the population, it’d kill tens of millions (for example, say, 5 million Americans), and then you’d say, “well, in retrospect, I’m now convinced that this was way worse than the flu, and we should’ve locked down our economies to prevent this.” You’d be a great Captain Hindsight.

  87. reiner Tor says

    Well, most potential successors around Orbán are either super-unpopular, or they are, as you thought, already sidelined. (Or both.) It’s also hard to say how much they’d continue along the same ideological lines.

    Sometimes deliberately grey and seemingly incompetent successors surprise all, I think John Major managed to win another election when all thought it would be Labour’s turn, or in dictatorships there are the examples of Sadat or Khrushchev, but in general it’s not a very good omen to stake our future on just one man.

  88. Toronto Russian says

    However, the fact that Trump was aggressively touting hydroxychloroquine again last night is to me a hopeful sign that he’s not willing to kowtow to Fauci forever, since Fauci has continually ignored and/or downplayed hydroxychloroquine.

    You don’t want hype-influenced mobs to steal pills from people with arthritis, nor idiots to self-medicate with fishtank cleaner. Therefore doctors should downplay it publicly until it’s proven safe and available in sufficient quantity for prescriptions. Ukrainian Dr. Komarovskiy (a pediatrician famous for his books and TV show about kid health) is also very cautious about mentioning any drugs in his Covid-19 videos. I’m sure he’s taking into account possible unwise actions by some members of his large audience.

  89. Orban is perhaps the only seriously “neoliberal” (or we can say “19th century style of liberal”, as the former word has a different meaning in this blog) politician currently in Europe.

    Just don’t complain when/if you have 5% GDP growth again in future years.

  90. With this virus, it seems that numbers of healthy young people dying will be only a proportion of the total deaths. But the question is small proportion of how many deaths?

    If a large proportion of a country becomes infected, then total numbers of healthy young people dying in that country could be a lot of unexpected deaths for peacetime standards.

    people dying or getting permanent damage after accidents,

    Although lockdown has a nice effect of reducing autoaccidents, deaths from airpollution, and fights from public drinking.

    Some argue that in China, the reduction of air pollution, has saved 50000-70000 people.

  91. reiner Tor says

    Orbán is in favor of nationalizing companies. He is, therefore, not a neoliberal in any sense of the word.

  92. If true that he is nationalizing industries which are not natural monopolies, this is strange – and presumably just a way to give jobs to his friends.

    On the other hand, nationalizing natural monopolicies is correct according to neoclassical economics, and classical liberals. Whether things like trains are natural monopoly, is where a controversy will be (in my opinion, trains are natural monopolies, where it can be correct to nationalize).

    • Orban seems to be described as “neoliberal” , to the extent people (i.e. leftwing people) use this word.

  93. By the way, all superficial indication is that Orban is a very good leader for Hungary’s economic development (or “regressive neoliberal”, as an above article calls him for this).

    Under Orban’s government, it has lowered corporate in Hungary to the lowest in Europe, apart from some small tax havens. Hungary under Orban has lowered corporate tax from 19% in 2010 (already low), to only 9% corporate tax rate now.