Post-Pandemic Response to Failed and Fascist Leaders

Thanks, @DukeTrout and @ficuswhisperer to split this off. As you will see below, I derailed while trying to prevent exactly that. I hope something good will come out of this.

While my major concern is the pandemic itself, I do expect more of this. You and me and everyone will have to be very, very careful with blame.

I know it it hard to ask, but I would even include Trump and his admin in this: noone is to blame. We are in this together. Let us look at the future (mostly), and try to fix the issue at hand.

And in the aftermath, let us try not to ask for revenge. Let us fight, but not veer in extremism.

For the record, we need to be very wary about people who want to topple “the system”. And to be clear, I am of the opinion we cannot go on like we did with our form of economy. (I am a biologist, ecologist, statistician, botanist, systematicist, entomologist, with a minor background on political sciences, some organic chemistry, and some computer science. I know we are in for ecological disaster which endangers not only is, but countless of other species and ecosystems. But the problem at hand is a humanitarian and a humanist one, and very acute. I try to think for the future, but to act for the present and near future. I know it is much to ask, but bear with me and help us all.)


I mean. It’s not that I can do anything to stop this from happening. There’s nothing anyone can do, in fact, considering the deadly virus going around. I’m mostly just venting, and offering some perspective to the people here - yes, Trump is bad, yes, Boris is bad, yes, leaders are mismanaging this terrible situation all over the world. But in some places the mismanagement includes grabbing the opportunity to strip away the last veneers of democracy and rule of law, that they had been eroding in the past 10 years, and turning a country into a full-on autocracy under an incompetent, infinitely corrupt, infinitely megalomaniac, infinitely amoral dictator. (As bad as Trump is, at least he’s not doing that.)

Orbán doesn’t give two shits about the virus - not yet, and when he’ll start giving a damn it will be too late. He only cares about power and lining his pockets. All these days since the first case here in my country, they could have introduced measures that other countries introduced, or should have introduced right away - they could have called on experts to analyze the situation and come up with an action plan. But no, they were - are still - downplaying everything, they’re still approaching the whole situation from a political angle, and all this time instead of taking steps against the virus, they were more busy preparing this political move. And I’m not under any illusions that efforts to curb the virus will not continue to be a vehicle to political maneuvering, strengthening of power and silencing critical, opposing voices - under the guise of “battling the coronavirus”. The virus situation will end one day, one way or another, but this - this will stay. And with the brutal recession that’s inevitable now, nobody will be in any shape to fight it.

And as for blame? I’m sorry, but there’s tons and tons of blame, all around the world - for allowing circumstances under which viruses like SARS or now COVID-19 are born and spread, for being unprepared even in face of overwhelming evidence of what’s coming our way, etc. For this particular thing in my neck of the woods, there’s so much blame on our (= my) entire society, on our amoral leaders, on the people who keep voting for them, on the people who are unable to join forces against them and instead keep squabbling among one another like children on the playground. So much blame. Not to focus on, not right now, but to consider and keep in mind.

Obviously, the virus now overrides everything and anything. There will be no resistance, everyone will sit on their ass while armored vehicles roam the streets (two under my window just this morning), hoping that maybe, just maybe, now that he has what he’s wanted all along, Orbán will practice self-restrain and focus on “fixing the issue at hand” instead of using his newly gained powers to further silence critical voices - knowing fully well that he won’t. As a country, we’re utterly, completely fucked, by the virus and by our own incompetence, and now we have no choice but to suffer the worst possible consequences.


That is frightening. I’m really worried about right wingers like Orban taking advantage of this crisis to consolidate power. I’m worried about that with our own right wing leader, too.

Yes, but the last thing we want is for right wingers to use this crisis to destroy our democratic systems, because that is a very real possibility here.

Entirely right. There are plenty of people using this pandemic for their own ends. Which is a scary thing, but not entirely unexpected, either.


Just to be VERY clear about this: fascists like Orbán MUST be stopped.

Please do not take my post as an attack. Please continue on informing us what happens in Hungary.

What I am trying to say is this:

Also, what I definitely want to prevent at all costs is a further rise in neo-fascism which includes, as a inherent marker, putting the blame for large problems on someone.

I already posted my experience with a friend from Basque country, where apparently rumors were (are?) that “gypsies” are to blame for the high number of infected, especially in hospitals.

This is exactly what we don’t need. And I even include my political opponents in this. At the moment, I won’t even put any focus on Trump.

On thinking about this a bit, I realise that US politics are far away, and I would probably be more inclined to blame Trump and the American neo-fascists if I was there. So, YMMV. And rightly so.

But I stand by one thing: this is not a blame game. It is not a game at all. This is real. People are dying. Blaming someone, anyone, for making the wrong decision two weeks ago is not helping in doing the right thing now.

Let’s keep the decision and who and when documented. But let us help that the next decision is a humane, and humanistic.


But I think there is a big difference between this kind of scapegoating and accurately noting the actions of authoritarian leaders. That’s just noting what’s happening and trying to make others aware so that we can try and prevent it. We can’t ignore what they are doing in fear that they will become the “victims.”

Yes, and we can indeed blame people who have made this worse rather than acted to protect the public. Pretending that they don’t play a role in the way this has gotten out of control will only give them leverage later. Trump is already attempting to rewrite history by saying he was on this all along when we all know he was not. That is just far more dangerous than pointing out what they are doing.

if we want to defend these things, we can’t let them get away with what they are doing, which is using this crisis to economically and politically benefit.


It is one of my main fears right now.
But the acute and current problem is what to do now, and how to come to a good decision for how to break the chain, and flatten the curve.

Very personally, I was much on the phone today despite other pressing matters. Most people I called are sensible. Some are in self-imposed quarantine, for a variety of very valid reasons.

However, I tried to convince my own brother of cutting the slack and stop seeing other people when not essential. He refused, and I am so angry right now that I cannot even summarise his reasons.

I mentioned my niece who is under medication to prevent her body from rejected a transplanted organ.
It’s his daughter.
He is now refused contact. And rightly so.

This is hitting home hard.

FTR, Germany just declared that any public assembly of more than two people will be illegal. No timing and duration yet communicated.

And rightly so, to judge from by very own siblings attitude.

ETA: I agree with you, @Mindysan33, on all your points in the preceding post.

As a historian, you know how important documentation is. I think that we can help to deliver justice to those who made the wrong decisions against better knowledge in a criminal way. We can also help to hold
those politically responsible who make decisions which are politically wrong. We must not confuse the two, and we will have to fight very hard - also against our own impulse and sometimes our political beliefs (n.b.!) - to use this pandemic politically. Which I hope you agree is something else entirely than holding people accountable and bring justice.


I’m unsure what that has to do with @tigerberry pointing out what Orban is doing (and other authoritarian leaders, including Trump), which is clearly to use the pandemic to consolidate power? Do you actually believe that he’s being treated in the same way as the Romani are treated, scapegoated across Europe, by us discussing his attempts to consolidate power?

Maybe you can clear up what you mean by treating authoritarian leaders humanely, given that they are not exactly in a position of being persecuted as a class right now?


Maybe this should be a different topic, as I don’t want to derail this one. But simply put, no.

When someone seeks the power of leadership, they are responsible for the results. Trump and his cronies didn’t cause the pandemic, but they failed so horribly at the response that they are directly responsible for the fallout.

Trump deserves prison time for the crimes he’s committed during his term before the pandemic. He deserves murder charges for the total failure of his response to Coronavirus.

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Before this gets heated, I apologise profoundly if anyone got the impression I would be defending Orbán or would ask not to post information on political stunts like this.

It was wrong to reply to @tigerberry with a general point I am trying to make.

I am still disturbed by the Aaron Ginn post, and I didn’t want this topic to delve into “I blame my opponent politics”, so to say. Now I know I even contributed to derailing.

Sorry for that. My point still stands, but Hungary is a particularly bad example for making it.


I don’t think anyone believed that, no.

Right, I’m just trying to understand your general point, because I’m not clear on what it is?

many of us are.

Fair enough, but I think @tigerberry was making the connection between the uncertainty of this pandemic and the attempt to leverage the panic for authoritarian ends, something we should be concerned with, given the rightward tilt of many countries right now.

Well, we’ve all done it, now and again. We can always split off, if we need to. NBD.

Which I’m still unclear on?


@orenwolf & @docosc, how can we split this off, keeping the thread in a new topic? Sorry to involve you, but I forgot how.


Sorry, took me a little while since I went backwards up the thread instead of down from the initial post.


Meanwhile, in Hungary:

It’s a “draft law” but it will be law, in any shape and form Orbán desires (Fidesz has absolute majority in parliament, voting is basically just a formality). I alternate between feeling like crying, and sinking into a deep sense of apathy. In a sort of disconnected way, it’s amazing to see the deep-rooted cynicism and amorality in this.


For those of us in the United States, we need to keep a close eye on our state and local governments as well, as governors and mayors are issuing directives left and right. In my own state, possible the most progressive in the country, the governor suspended some important open government rules in the name of public safety. These include allowing meetings, formerly covered by open meeting regulations, to take place without video streaming or other public oversight; elimination of land use and environmental impact regulations; waiver of qualified supervisor requirements for public works; and so on. While arguments can be made for all of these, together they represent a rollback of important protections against corrupt government.

If your state has a Common Cause chapter, they are a good source of local information on what your state is up to and how you can help keep them honest.


I also want to say that I appreciate the perspective from outside the US. I think it’s really important to consider outside perspective, as we may be too close to it.

Usually, I would say that in the middle of a crisis, it is the wrong time to change leadership. But when the leadership in place is actively making the crisis worse, that would be an exception to the rule. That’s why the military has formal mechanisms in place for relieving a commander from duty.


I’ll try to answer later to various points, and edit this post away. Got pressing issues.

(Also, just in that Merkel is tested positive and in quarantine. [ fill in this escalated quickly gif]

Transparent correction: her practitioner tested positive!

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What if the leader that I have been asked to follow wants to topple the system ?


Looks like a nonstarter, for now at least.