People Giving Up Their Thinking During Pandemic in an Emerging Dystopia: Novelist Walter Kirn

Walter Kirn, a novelist, essayist, and journalist, has witnessed individuals give up reason to obey authority figures’ COVID-19 guidelines and mandates, he says, pushing us to further resemble a dystopian society.

Dystopian societies are often characterized by government and technological control, loss of individualism, and people mainly being concerned with survival.

“We’re told it’s self-interest that rules, but in fact, as demonstrated by this story and many others, what seems to be the most prominent … social instinct in people is to please those who have power over them,” Kirn told the host of “American Thought Leaders,” Jan Jekielek, in an interview published on Jan. 22.

Kirn told a story about a bank CEO who was at Warren Buffet’s golf tournament in 2001. The same day the Twin Towers were struck by terrorists, Buffet put a prohibition on using cell phones on the golf course. In order to comply with and please Buffett, no one revealed that they had used their cell phones in secret, even though they had all just heard horrific news, they kept silent about the towers and the U.S. Pentagon being blown up.

“I think that [the Buffet story] explains a lot about human behavior generally, but especially lately, as people’s sense of what’s going on around them and the sort … of difficulties they’re facing in this COVID era are inconvenient to state because the line coming from the top is, we’ve got this handled, or the vaccines are working, or lockdowns have no cost, or whatever the lines coming from the top are,” said Kirn.

The former Princeton graduate said he has seen people submit to the directives coming from the top, even if that contradicts their own experiences. “And that’s a reflex I’ve seen, almost endemic to this situation.”

He has also seen people vilify others (at their own social level) who may not agree with these pandemic-driven guidelines and mandates. “The thing that’s happened during COVID is that time and time again we’ve gotten a scapegoat for the situation,” said Kirn. “At every step, we’ve been asked to blame someone, usually to the side of us rather than above us, for the pandemic itself and for the toll that it’s taken.”

He said it is not at all surprising if you know anything about social sciences and the 1961 Milgram experiment. Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted a series of experiments in which he wanted to find out how far people would go to carry out orders from an authority, even if it meant hurting another person.

Milgram’s conclusion was that most people will harm another human to carry out orders given by a government official or authority figure.

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the White House and heads of government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have implemented various measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including lockdowns, closing schools, shutting small businesses, mask-wearing, social distancing, vaccination cards, and vaccine mandates.

“We are promised ways out of this pandemic. It’s like one of those escape rooms that people go to for amusement, and the door opens but there’s another locked door behind it.” Kirn recounted the various measures used by the government to end the pandemic: “If you mask, you’ll be out of it; if you distance yourselves; if you stay in your home; if you order your food from DoorDash; if you take the vaccine; if you take the booster—every one of these commandments … has led to a new surge of hope that this new difficult regime is about to end, and then a new crashing wave of disappointment, that in fact, it isn’t.”

Many of the measures used to end the pandemic have been ineffective at stopping the spread of the virus, and many people, including President Joe Biden, have blamed this and the recent Omicron variant on those who choose not to get vaccinated.

“But it’s here now, and it’s spreading, and it’s going to increase,” Biden said at a White House address on Dec. 16. “For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death—if you’re unvaccinated.”

Many medical professionals would disagree with Biden; vaccinations are not a foolproof way to prevent severe illness or from being infected with Omicron. Further, Omicron has been a mild variant as compared to the initial strain.

“The vaccines themselves have basically now become obsolete as the virus has continued to mutate,” Dr. Peter McCullough told NTD’s “Capitol Report” in an interview broadcast on Wednesday. McCullough said some recent studies have shown the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines dropped significantly with the new variants.

Epoch Times Photo
Dr. Peter McCullough in an interview with NTD’s Capitol Report during the “Defeat the Mandate” march in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2022.

“We are deep into the process of denial about the consequences of the COVID regime, and we’re also deep into the sort of occult adoration of the people who have made these mistakes and propounded these, to my mind, awful policies,” said Kirn.

Kirn criticized the COVID lockdowns as irrational because small businesses had to close but mega-companies like Costco and Amazon were allowed to stay open.

“The wealth transfer has been immense. It’s been measured. The number of new billionaires, the extent to which those 15 top billionaires quadrupled or multiplied their wealth has been now calculated. The results are in: The rich got richer, and they got richer faster than ever before.”

Kirn believes those with the most to benefit from the COVID mandates don’t want things to go back to pre-pandemic status. “It’s frightening, frankly, to see the most powerful people in society incentivized to continue this regimen, which is such a disaster for everyone else.”