Passionate about matters that touches the common man and that brings out the best and worst out of him.
Instilling Fear for better governance or for complete control
Epidemics have been as old as human civilization. Measles, flu and bubonic plague of Europe terrify us till date. The recent global epidemic of Corona virus has overwhelmed most of the governments in the world. The virus, that belongs to the same family of SARS has claimed many lives through respiratory failure. The virus being very contagious in nature and as no medicine or vaccine has been found effective to stop the virus, the strategy of isolation has been the only solution of the governments to protect their citizens.
Challenge of confining the masses
The strategy of isolation has not been easy. It amounted to curbing of democratic rights of the citizens to move around and congregate freely. Convincing the population to stay indoors for extended period of time was difficult. Closing offices, factories, airports, railways, highways, shops, restaurants would tantamount to loss of livelihoods, loss of tax revenue for the governments and meant a complete economic disaster.
Fear of contacting disease
One way to control the vast majority of the population is to instill fear: the fear of sickness and the fear of death. Draconian measures were implemented to close down all avenues of work, education, ports and in fact sealing the borders. Fear was instilled among the masses to prevent popular uprising. The fear of contacting a disease: Nosophobia was instilled intentionally by the government.
Fear of death: the ultimate fear
Nosophobia created the compulsive isolation in the minds of the masses. No one knew if the other human being was infected. As there was no effective cure against the virus, the fear of contacting the disease led to another more depressive phobia, the fear of death: Thanatophobia. These two phobias have been wonderfully articulated by the governments through the mainstream media to keep the masses as distanced as possible till an effective cure was found.
Fear of institutional violence against the rebellious
Prolonged isolation gave rise to various diseases that were caused not due to the virus but due to depression due to lack of societal contact. When people started complaining about staying indoors and stepping outside in complete defiance of the public law, fear of the government was instilled through arrests and police violence. The masses retaliated as in most parts of Europe, rules are made more severe by extending prison terms to the disobedient masses. Using fear of police violence, prison sentences and hefty fines: Traumatophobia, people were again put in order, rather conditioned to isolated survival for longer time.
Consequences of absolute government highhandedness: Poverty
The economies of the world tethering on the brink of collapse. Many sectors of the economy like manufacturing, hospitality, airlines, land travel services like bus and rail services, retail, entertainment are laying off people in droves as no amount of government subsidy could keep them afloat. All these sectors need business to come in not tax cuts. The lack of demand created due to less income in the hands of the people made the matter worse.
Fear of the uncertain future
With the recession looming due to lack of demand and spiking unemployment, the governments are at the receiving end of the fear that they propagated initially. Pressing the panic button, the governments started printing money and putting the same in the hands of the people by direct money transfer to overcome the distress. The direct money transfers created marginal demand as the people only bought the necessities and saved the rest due to the fear of the future which is uncertain: Chronophobia.
In spite of vaccines being discovered by various drug companies, and hope of cure and life returning to normal being instilled by the respective governments, many are skeptical. Subsequent passage of time has led to virus mutating to more than 4000 types as found by the British medical Association. Whether the new vaccine will be able to counter the mutated forms is yet to be tested. Many among those who took the vaccine fell ill is leading to skepticism. As the masses fight the virus and the government rules a deep sense of betrayal has set in; a new kind of fear Pistanthrophobia .
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 JAYANTA DAS
JAYANTA DAS (author) from Kolkata on February 18, 2021:
This is an personal opinion of the challenges faced by the common man.