James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.
Lockdowns: How to Crush the Middle Class
"Fifteen days to flatten the curve." That is what they told us. "Stay home! Save lives!" A two-week vacation didn't sound too bad to most Americans. Experts warned us that hospitals could be overrun with patients. The experts knew what was best. The bureaucrats, nearly all of whom are Democrats.
Two weeks turned into a year in many states. Once Democrat governors realized the authority they could wield to make everybody do what they said, they were filled with the lust for total power. They made exceptions for the destruction of our cities from Black Lives Matter riots and Antifa violence and mayhem. Their targets were conservative voters, often found in churches and small businesses. They must obey their progressive overlords and be demoralized and depressed.
Never had healthy people been subject to quarantine in the history of the world. Fear, based on false premises, was utilized to make Americans surrender their precious freedoms. The plan was to make voters miserable because miserable voters do not vote for the incumbent president, history shows. The goal was to use lockdowns to get rid of President Trump.
President Trump Was Impeding China’s Plans for America
We now know that the idea of locking down our country came from China. Democrats concealed this from the public. Those in the media that knew kept quiet about it.
Donald McNeil of the New York Times would spearhead the lockdown movement. He and his paper promoted panic and declared that America should follow the example of the Communist Party of China. To use totalitarian tactics that would crush freedom and ruin our economy.
McNeil wrote to Anthony Fauci, February 25, 2020: “The truth is that a lot of average Chinese behaved heroically. Meanwhile, in America, people tend to act like selfish pigs, interested only in saving themselves.” He bizarrely added, “Trump is popular in Alabama.” Dr. Fauci responded, “You make some very good points, Donald.”
We now know McNeil was parroting Chinese Communist Party propaganda. McNeil and Fauci worked together to persuade Democrat governors to lockdown their states. Mark Zuckerberg offered the assistance of Facebook: “We can help you get your message out.”
Beware Social Engineers
“The state strives for power, and what grants power is fear and dependence,” writes Per Bylund for the Mises Institute.
The social engineers that inhabit our bureaucracies long to replace the will of the We the People with their own desires. These self-styled 'experts' believe that if they could force everyone to do what they say, they could build a better world. Karl Popper pronounced social engineering “the greatest and most urgent evil of society. Even with the best intentions of making heaven on earth, it only succeeds in making it hell—that hell which man alone prepares for his fellow men."
The dream of social engineers is to rule the world. The first step is to control the narrative. This requires that our media abandon its traditional role as watchdog for the people and become a propaganda organ for the Almighty State. Censorship of opposing views is imposed.
Our betters enormously inflated Death from Covid statistics. They falsified them. They listed people who died from motorcycle wrecks, shotgun blasts, and terminal cancer as “Death by Covid." The government paid hospitals to falsify these statistics. Meanwhile, Covid tests were used that yielded 85-90% false positives, as admitted even by the New York Times in a momentary lapse of mendacity.
Democrat State Governors
Drunk on power, Democrat state governors used lockdowns to punish their political enemies and reward their supporters. They had no constitutional means of accomplishing this. So they declared for themselves 'emergency powers,' defined as “government temporarily empowered to implement policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of its citizens during a crisis." That requires a crisis. And 'temporary' could mean "two weeks to bend the curve." It does not imply a year.
Democrat state governors issued one dictatorial decree after another. They decided how many people, if any, could be in various types of businesses, what hours of operation were permitted, and what sort of face diapers shoppers and workers must wear. Tens of millions of Americans were essentially placed under house arrest and threatened with imprisonment for violating rules made on a whim. Such restrictions were not legislated by representatives of the people after public deliberation and public voting, as would be legal and proper.
Governors commanded small businesses to close, as well as schools and even churches! Social gatherings were banned, cultural and sporting events canceled, curfews imposed, hospital and nursing home visits prohibited, confining and isolating citizens, as well as outlawing personal interactions and movement. Freedom became a thing of the past.
Essential vs. Nonessential
Democrat governors took it upon themselves to define what is 'essential' and 'nonessential' in our lives. It took a big load off our minds not to decide that for ourselves, so we must be thankful to them. Essential means "extremely and fundamentally necessary and important." What is nonessential is not esteemed or necessary.
Governors taught us that Amazon, Walmart and other giant globalist corporations, national chains and franchises, abortion mills, liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos were essential. We learned that mom-and-pop stores, entrepreneurs, and small businesses are unnecessary and not valuable. And indeed, spiritual nourishment and the sense of community provided by houses of worship have no value or import. Alcohol is essential, but Alcoholics Anonymous is not.
Democrats claim the Church is 'non-essential' because their ideology rests on a foundation of Atheism. They love to harp on the so-called ‘wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must go both ways. If it means the Church cannot tell the State what to do, it certainly also means the State cannot tell the Church what to do. Both can ask. The Church can ask, “How about reversing Roe v. Wade?” The State can ask, “How about you cancel worship services?” It is unconstitutional for the State to close worship services—and arrest pastors and congregants. It has no authority to do that, any more than the Church can close Congress.
But If It Saves Just One Life
"If it saves just one life" is the mantra used to take away our liberty. As Antony Davies and James Harrigan point out in FEE: "5,000 Americans die each year from choking on solid food. We could save every one of those lives by mandating that all meals be pureed. Pureed food isn't appetizing, but it must be worth doing if it saves just one life. Your chance of dying while driving a car is double your chance of dying while driving an SUV. We could save lives by mandating that everyone drive SUVs. If it saves just one life, it must be worth doing. Heart disease kills almost 650,000 Americans each year. We could reduce the incidence of heart disease by 14% by mandating that everyone exercise daily. If it saves just one life, it must be worth doing."
Lockdowns Do Not Work
There is no evidence that lockdowns accomplished anything worthwhile unless widespread devastation was your aim. After almost one year of lockdowns in Democrat states, the Covid deaths per million were: the Free States 1475; Lockdown States 1558, according to the American Institute of Economic Research.
The Great Barrington Declaration was published in October 2020. It was signed by over 800,000 Americans, including 63,000 scientists, medical professionals, infectious disease epidemiologists, and public health specialists. The media mostly ignored it. The Declaration put forth the proposition that, except for the sick and the elderly, everyone should immediately go back to living their normal lives. "Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health," read the group's website. "The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health — leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice."
By December 2020, three extensive studies had proven that lockdowns were worthless, as free states such as Florida had much less death than authoritarian states, e.g., New York and New Jersey. The studies were published separately and independently by the Lancet, Frontiers in Public Health, and Tel Aviv University.
In January 2021, Newsweek reported, “A new [Stanford] study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic did not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease. The study compared cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the U.S. – all countries that implemented mandatory lockdown orders and business closures – to South Korea and Sweden, which implemented less severe, voluntary responses. The researchers found no clear, significant beneficial effect of lockdowns on case growth in any country."
It is the rare, good man who admits he was wrong these days. Philippe Lamoine is such a man. In March 2021, Lamoine confessed in the Wall Street Journal: “A year ago, I publicly advocated lockdowns because they seemed prudent given how little was known at the time about the virus and its effects. I’ve looked at more than 100 regions and countries. None have seen better or worse results regardless of whether a government lockdown or other stringent measure was imposed. The coronavirus lockdowns constitute the most extensive attacks on individual freedom in the West since World War II. Yet, not a single government has published a cost-benefit analysis to justify lockdown policies—perhaps because officials know what it would show."
Headline March 2021: “Florida reopened its schools seven months ago—and the predicted COVID disaster never materialized.”
Our precious children were kept isolated even though Covid posed no threat to them unless they were already sickly. They are in much greater danger from the flu, swimming, playing sports, or riding in your car. Fifty thousand children died in the United States over the same period in which 400 fell to Covid.
NBC News reported that New York state health officials were stunned to discover more than two-thirds of those who contracted the virus had been locked down at home, afraid to go anywhere.
In April 2021, Canadian professor Doug Allen published his findings. He reviewed 80 papers from around the globe on the effects of lockdowns. He found, "Lockdowns may be one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.” Allen used a cost-benefit analysis to calculate “how many years of lost life will have been caused by the various harms of lockdowns versus how many years of lost life were saved by lockdowns.” The conclusion: Lockdowns caused 282 times more harm than benefit to Canadian society; 282 times more life-years lost than saved.
In June 2021, the RAND Corporation and the University of Southern California published a joint report on the results of lockdowns, using data from all 50 U.S. states and 43 other countries. “We fail to find that shelter-in-place (SIP) policies saved lives. We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states” that did not. They found lethal delays in medical care unrelated to the virus and increased child abuse, mental health issues, and drug overdoses. The study finds that there were 2.7 more deaths from all causes per 100,000 souls for every one-week increase in lockdowns.
The Hero of Our Story: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
If there is a hero in this sordid tale, it must be Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. Despite enormous pressure from the powers that be, he did not make everyone wear masks, did not enact lockdowns, did not close schools, did not cancel sports, and certainly did not close churches. Florida stayed open for business and open to visitors. The results have been a high quality of life, very few sick people, a whole lot of delighted people, and a booming economy. The bars and restaurants are packed.
Despite being a haven for retirees – the most vulnerable demographic for the virus – Florida has had fewer hospitalizations and deaths than Democrat-run states such as Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. People are moving to Florida right now in droves—from states dominated by Democrats.
All the world over, it's so simple to see. People everywhere just want to be free.
Sweden: Formerly the Darling of the Left
I cannot tell you how many billions of times on social media that Democrats have lamented, "If only America could be like Sweden." After China promoted unprecedented-in-human-history lockdowns through its mouthpiece, the World Health Organization, Sweden was the rare country that did not lockdown.
For exercising its sovereign rights, foreign governments and the worldwide media vilified Sweden. Here are some headlines from major news outlets in 2020: “Sweden Steadfast In Strategy As Virus Toll Continues Rising.” “Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Drives Up Infection Rate.” “Sweden Has the Highest Daily Coronavirus Death Rate in The World – And It’s Getting Worse.” “Deaths Soar in Country That Didn’t Lock Down. Officials Identify Big Reason Why.” “Will There Be a Reckoning Over Sweden’s Disastrous ‘Herd Immunity’ Strategy?” “Sweden's renegade COVID-19 policy looks like a disaster — but the country is quietly determined to see it through despite the cost in lives.” “The Swedish COVID-19 experiment is almost certain to result in death and suffering.”
Experts predicted that 100,000-200,000 Swedes would soon be dead from Covid. Sweden’s most prestigious university, Uppsala, predicted 100,000 deaths from Covid by June 2020. As of October 2021, total Covid deaths are under 15,000.
While Europe locked down, Sweden remained free and healthy. And yet, Sweden has had fewer deaths from Covid—and total deaths—than the average European country. The United States has had the 18th most deaths by Covid per capita despite draconian lockdowns. Sweden, without lockdowns, ranks 45th among nations and has only had 60% as many as the U.S.
Shutting down society does not eliminate disease transmission. Johan Carlson is Sweden’s chief health officer. He proclaims, “Some believed that it was possible to eliminate disease transmission by shutting down society. We did not believe that, and we have been proven right.”
The only two countries whose economies thrived in 2020 are Sweden and China. All the others suffered. Sweden choosing freedom has had many benefits to its people. Recent surveys show Sweden is one of only two countries whose citizens feel their children will have a better life than they had. Among Swedes, 86% say their economy is good, compared to 49% of Canadians, 44% of the British, 29% of Americans, and 26% of the French. Swedes are #1 among the world’s peoples to say, “our government did a good job handling the pandemic.”
Who Benefitted from Lockdowns?
Cui Bono is Latin for 'Who Benefits?" The term identifies perpetrators of crime by identifying who benefits financially because usually, those who do the crime stand to gain from it. In the case of lockdowns, it is easy to see who gained from them.
Amazon and Walmart saw millions of their competitors—small, independent businesses—driven out of business by lockdowns. While lockdowns demolished Main Street America, the five Big Tech companies gained trillions in value: Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook & Microsoft. Wall Street zoomed, Silicon Valley prospered, Washington D.C. insiders made millions, the richest men in the world got vastly richer, teachers’ and government workers’ salaries went on while they sat at home.
Jeff Bezos, the one man who gained the most, championed censorship of anyone opposed to lockdowns. Bill Gates made tens of billions from the lockdowns he promoted. The ten wealthiest men on the planet increased their wealth by $500 billion.
In other words, the kind of people who vote for Democrats, support the Chinese Communist Party, long for a New World Order without borders or countries, want to see the world depopulated to ‘save the planet,’ and socialists who believe in totalitarianism, benefitted from the lockdowns. The world's elites prospered and consolidated their power. Hundreds of millions more people became dependent on big government.
Among the winners from the lockdowns are those who perpetrate or applaud election fraud. The lockdowns were the best thing that ever happened to those who favor stuffing the ballot box, no ID voting, voting by illegal aliens, ballot harvesting, and mass unchecked vote-by-mail schemes.
Here are two headlines from Business Insider:
April 7, 2021: "Nearly 500 new billionaires joined the ranks of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk last year, and the worlds richest became $5 trillion richer."
June 25, 2021: "Workers lost $3.7 trillion in earning during the pandemic. Women and Gen Z saw the biggest losses."
The worst economic depression in history hit America. Conservative voters were the big losers. The entrepreneurs, the small business owners, and their employees. The middle class and the working poor. Independent, self-reliant, self-controlled, frugal, hard-working people who believe in freedom. Patriots who love God and country. And now inflation runs amok.
Even the far left-wing extreme extremists at Oxfam dubbed Covid ‘The Inequality Virus.’ People in poverty were hurt the worst. While Americans who make over $100,000 a year enjoyed a rise in income, everyone below them saw income dwindle, with the lowest-paid workers suffering the most—40% of them lost their jobs. Tens of millions of Americans saw their life savings evaporate. And their debts mount. Eight million of them, mostly children and the elderly, fell into poverty—all to fight a virus with a 99% survival rate.
The lockdowns caused a massive wave of mental health problems and suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, and drug overdoses, especially among those under 18. Domestic violence and child abuse rose as tensions soared. Obesity ballooned. Lockdowns lowered the immune systems of my fellow citizens. We suffered an epidemic—of loneliness.
Doctors canceled appointments. Hospitals postponed medical care, diagnostic screenings, and surgeries. That has sentenced thousands to an early grave, resulting in perhaps millions of future deaths from untreated non-Covid health issues. One study concludes that 78% of cancers went undetected during lockdowns—a million people with unfound cancer progressing unimpeded. The National Bureau of Economic Research predicts a 3% increase in mortality among Americans, a drop in life expectancy that will last for 15 years, and premature deaths of 890,000.
Sixty percent of small businesses arbitrarily closed by Democrat governors have now gone bankrupt. Before the lockdowns, small businesses comprised 99% of American enterprises. They employed half of all working citizens and produced half of our national GDP. However, they were well known for supporting President Trump. They, therefore, had to be crushed, if not by lockdowns, then by riots, vandalism, looting, and arson by Democrat operatives that were encouraged and excused by Democrat mayors and governors. Years of hard work were lost, and dreams were destroyed for political reasons. Not for science.
A study reported by the Wall Street Journal reveals that for 89% of Americans, the costs of the lockdowns have enormously exceeded their benefits. Researchers weighed Covid deaths against the damages of lockdowns, including “reduced schooling, reduced economic activity, more loneliness, reduced contact with loved ones, delayed cancer diagnoses, delayed childhood vaccinations, increased anxiety, lower wage growth, travel restrictions, reduced entertainment choices, and fewer opportunities for socializing and building friendships.”
Since the lockdowns began, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, intellectual freedom, freedom from coercion, freedom to act based on one’s own will and views, and economic freedom have been all violated. As Birsen Filip concludes, writing for the Mises Institute, “The destructive consequences of the totalitarian lockdown measures will undoubtedly be felt for decades to come.”
Two original signers of the Great Barrington Declaration, professors Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya, wrote in the Federalist:
“The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have not only been devastating for society, but they have also had a chilling effect on the scientific community. For science to thrive, opposing ideas must be openly and vigorously discussed, supported, or countered based on scientific merit. Instead, some politicians, journalists, and (alas) scientists have engaged in vicious slander of dissident scientists, spreading damaging conspiracy theories, even with open calls for censorship in place of debate. In many cases, eminent scientific voices have been effectively silenced, often with gutter tactics. People who oppose lockdowns have been accused of having blood on their hands, their university positions threatened, with many of our colleagues choosing to stay quiet rather than face the mob.”
I am writing primarily about the United States since it is my home. However, the devastation from lockdowns has been far worse in the Third World, creating mass starvation. The United Nations World Food Program declares that the lockdowns caused 260 million to face starving to death. The International Monetary Fund estimates the world economy lost $9 trillion, including $900 billion that would have been spent on health care. The World Health Organization states that because of the diversion of resources for Covid, 400,000 more people will die from tuberculosis. And keep in mind, as Scott Atlas says, even though they were attributed to Covid to create panic in the populace, in reality, "Mortality data shows that anywhere from a third or half of the deaths during the pandemic were not due to COVID-19.”
Dennis Prager, therefore, calls lockdowns "The Greatest Mistake in History."
The True Nature of the Lockdowns
The lockdowns were an exercise of naked power by Democrat governors and mayors. They were not necessary or legal. No science justified them. They were unconstitutional and designed to ruin the reelection of President Trump—who was headed for a landslide victory—and to devastate and humiliate his hated supporters.
Government officials justified lockdowns, even though they knew full well they were useless, in the name of ‘asymptomatic spread.’ They held in their hands a study from China of ten million people that shows “not a single transmission of Coronavirus from a person without symptoms.” The average age of death by Covid is 78. Which just happens to be the average life span of an American anyway.
Any such lockdowns or mask mandates rightfully belong only in the hands of democratically elected legislators, not mayors or governors. A command for masks or lockdowns should have been openly debated on the floor of state legislatures or Congress and publicly voted on by those accountable to voters. Not imposed on us from on high by imperious imperial decree.
What is astonishing is that the American people acquiesced so readily to having their behavior and every movement dictated by the government. That they would surrender all their precious fundamental freedoms, which previous generations fought to defend and protect, for a virus no more deadly than the seasonal flu. They did not fight back against their children being isolated and denied an education or their parents and grandparents dying alone with no one to comfort them. Americans acted more like children than adults, hiding behind the government’s aprons. Americans were not brave. They were cowards.
Americans quite simply succumbed to brainwashing: “A method that manipulates and modifies a person’s emotions, attitudes, and beliefs to induce someone to give up basic political, social, and religious beliefs and attitudes, and to accept contrasting regimented ideas.”
Yet all the while, Democrats went about their business like nothing had changed. Democrat elites threw parties by the score. Democrat operatives rained riots, violence, and chaos down on our cities.
The freedom to interact with other human beings is vital to our mental and physical health. Going to Church is critical to our spiritual health. As Joy Pullmann wrote in the Federalist, “In the face of mass government persecution of religious exercise over the past year and a half, Christian leaders overwhelmingly cowered and canceled services.”
She adds, “You can’t baptize or make disciples via Zoom. In addition, corporate gathering for worship is expressly commanded in the Bible. All this means the very people charged with feeding Christ’s sheep his most precious Blood and Word, as Jesus demanded of Peter before commissioning him as an apostle, instead spiritually starved Christ’s children. They left the sheep without the shepherds commissioned by Christ Himself to care for them even to the point of death. These are the acts of traitors. An abandoned and starving flock is easier prey for false shepherds and false teachings.”
In the words of one Julie Kelly, written in American Greatness: “One year ago I tweeted: ‘This is what the Left wants. They want people stripped of wealth, isolated, and terrified. They want sources of joy—Church, sporting events, vacations, large social gatherings—eliminated. This is how they get control. And it's far scarier than any virus.' It was not a popular sentiment at the time.
“The credentialed class declared war on Donald Trump the night he won. Scientific “experts” cannot be trusted to separate their political agendas from their professional obligations, which they proved last summer when the “social distancing” dogma they foisted on the rest of us suddenly didn’t apply to mobs of “social justice” protestors and rioters enraged over George Floyd’s death. Only in time of war has this country endured more permanent economic damage, more reckless government spending, or more widespread human suffering. This has been an unnecessary self-inflicted wound from which millions of families will never fully recover. But the ‘party of science’ wisely seized the opportunity. The strong overpowered the weak in the biggest political power grab in modern U.S. history.”
Democrats burned with such hatred for President Trump and his supporters that they were perfectly willing to ruin the lives of most Americans in exchange for political power. Their raw hatred for God and Jesus justified in their minds the banning of worship services for the first time in American history. They were also more than willing to destroy the lives of children. And purposefully cause the deaths of people in old folk’s homes by sending Covid patients there to infect them.
Democrats controlled the flow of information from bureaucracies, produced mountains of propaganda (fake news, fictitious ‘science,’ and falsified statistics) through their media acolytes, and engaged in mass censorship through their social media partners, the likes of which we have never seen before. The behavior of Democrats in this past year and a half has been totalitarian and Satanic.
James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 21, 2021:
L. M. Hosler ~ Thank you much for reading my writings. Your awesome accolades have made my morning. More to come.
L.M. Hosler on October 20, 2021:
I love your in depth articles and I will be waiting for the one on the vaccine. We desperately need more good journalists like you.
James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 20, 2021:
Oscar Jones ~ I appreciate you coming over to read my piece. Thank you for your insightful remarks. As you say, "When the treasury emptied itself due to this man-made plague, many billionaires were produced consequentially. There was no accountability while America was being pillaged, robbed and plundered by desperate political rogues."
James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 20, 2021:
Suzette Naples ~ Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I plan to write about vaccines and mandates soon. For now, I will say that the Jab is not a "vaccine" under the proper definition of the word. I am not getting Jabbed but I am not against you getting Jabbed you have all the facts about it and you want it. Mandates for medical care? Absolutely not.
Oscar Jones from Monroeville, Alabama on October 19, 2021:
Very, very researched and authenticated article. When the treasury emptied itself due to this man-made plague, many billionaires were produced consequentially. There was no accountability while America was being pillaged, robbed and plundered by desperate political rogues. America handed the pigs the good food and ate the slop. thank you!
suzettenaples on October 19, 2021:
I am curious as to your thoughts on Covid vaccinations snd vaccination mandates.