It was Adolf Hitler who understood the nature of propaganda perfectly when he said ‘ When you tell a lie tell the big lie ‘ . What did he mean by this ? His explanation was that if you come out with something seemingly outrageous and untrue people will struggle to disbelieve it , but if you tell what amounts to a little white lie people will say to themselves maybe , maybe not. The big lie is irresistible . The little lie is very resistible.
The Neoliberalism virus told and then spread the big lie. The big lie that became second nature was that democracy and economic democracy are one and the same. This lie has been repeated and repeated by all the media as the essential condition for mankind. It is the conventional wisdom sine qua non and by offering bribes here and there to the populace ( think: the opportunity to buy shares cheaply in a newly privatised utility ) the lie has sunk in and as no alternative worldview has gained any traction over the last thirty years the Neoliberalism virus has created one party states throughout the world where democratic elections take place as a type of theatre where the actors ( politicians ) pretend to oppose one another , but go off to drink together in the green room after the show. Fringe alternatives were permitted to add colour and variety – green parties fulfilled this role perfectly by adding a bit of additional virtue to the mix – but nothing that would threaten the primal condition of neoliberalism.
The only core idea of the Neoliberalism was that set out in Powell’s memorandum that corporations should have supremacy over people. Everything that Neoliberalism became flowed from that singular idea, an idea which in its essence is dehumanising and the evidence of that is just about everywhere : deregulation, downsizing and privatisation theses are the three essentials of the Neoliberalism virus.
The Coronavirus has no truck with any of this . It has no goal, no memorandum to set out its mission and bring independent thinkers within its orbit. It simply doesn’t care meaning it doesn’t take seriously all human aspirations, vanities and greed . It is going to do what it is going to do and whatever changes result from that, we humans are going to have to work them out.