Propaganda is flourishing amid the COVID-19 pandemic – by Terry Glavin (National Post – March 19, 2020)

China lied about the outbreak for weeks. Now Beijing has deported Western reporters, and citizens who post uncharitable things are arrested

“Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky.”

That’s from Albert Camus’ classic 1947 novel The Plague, an allegory of fascism that eerily describes our current circumstances, up against that deadly microscopic beast that first began devouring people in China’s Wuhan province last November. “There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”

The thing is, there isn’t much in the way of a helpful real-world precedent to draw from, now that we’re all self-isolating and social-distancing, and movie theatres are closing along with the bars and restaurants, and the schools, and the hockey rinks, and almost all the important places where public life ordinarily unfolds.

The disruption of global supply chains, the near-total shutdown of international travel, the daily stream of nearly 200,000 people crossing the Canada-U.S. border dwindling to a trickle, and the radical contraction of the world’s primary economies: all bolts from the blue.

Sept. 11, 2001, was similarly one of those events that “crash down on our heads from a blue sky,” and 10 years later, beginning in Tunisia in January 2011, the Arab Spring took everyone equally by surprise, in the same way that the uprisings in Poland and Hungary did in 1989, when the Berlin Wall was pulled down, and the world was changed utterly.

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