USA, Russia, UK are leaders in coronavirus infection: What do they have in common?

Author : Der Spiegel

Source :

The fact that the number of patients with coronavirus is especially large in the USA, Russia, Great Britain and Brazil is not an accident. In all these countries, people in power are ready to view reality as something optional
11:32, 2 June 2020


Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro, Boris Johnson - these people have a lot in common. It has long been obvious that they are not at all interested in how well their peoples live, but now this can be measured in numbers. These four people lead the countries with the largest (as of May 2020) number of people infected with the coronavirus. And it is unlikely that in the foreseeable future they will miss their "leading" position, and Brazil may even get second. At least.

It would be wrong to adhere to leftist or liberal positions and assert that the situation in the four countries mentioned is related to the fact that their leaders represent right-wing forces. In addition, there are many countries led by authoritarian politicians, and these countries (except Russia) can be called truly democratic (again, as of May 2020). But there is no need to unnecessarily complicate the search for causes, because the parallels are quite obvious. All of these politics, at least sometimes:

    downplayed the severity of the pandemic or even completely ignored it;
    neglected the lives of elderly and sick people;
    made decisions based on their own political interests and not taking into account scientific evidence;
    preferred economic measures, relegating to the background the health of the nation;
    and finally misled the public of their country.

All four are united by patriarchal confidence in their own infallibility, insolence and lack of empathy. The consequences of this are also similar: they do not listen to advice and seek to manipulate the audience. It is clear that the autocrat who is ready to use violence behaves differently than the liar Johnson, limited in his actions by democratic norms. But the number of infected in these countries speaks for itself. After all, the virus spreads most quickly where people, on the one hand, are accustomed to a certain freedom of action, and on the other, do not want to change their own behavior. So, despite the differences between these four politicians and their methods, the leading positions of their countries in a dubious ranking are related to their willingness to perceive reality as something optional.

There is a direct causal relationship: to be right means to be ready to neglect other people, thereby casting doubt on the fundamental equality of all people among themselves and, finally, putting their own right to life higher than the similar right of others. Only then can it suddenly seem adequate, for example, to refuse protection to people at risk, or to ignore the huge number of victims. However, the aforementioned definition of "right", in fact, simply implies a rejection of the basic principles of human dignity.

The fact that the politics of the right means a threat to life has always been clear for everyone who was interested in this topic. But rarely has it become so obvious how ruthless the denial of reality can be - and how many people it can cost a life in peacetime. This is what unites the four leaders of the "infected world". They not only put their own stay in power above human lives - this is not uncommon. But this four subordinates even reality itself to the task of maintaining power. From the statements of Trump and Bolsonaro it was repeatedly possible to conclude that they are not only engaged in propaganda ("mild flu", "soon there will be no new infections"), but they themselves already believe in their own lies. But viruses do not care about such misinformation ...

But supporters of right-wing leaders are more open, and this is the reason for the "successful" spread of the virus in countries with right-wing politicians at the head. Without a vaccine and immunity, it is possible to slow down its spread only if the population changes their own behavior. Those who do not understand this are contributing to the fact that their countries are stepping up in a dubious infection rating.

But that is not the end. Supporters of the four leaders mentioned know or suspect that something is wrong, but that does not bother them. Trump cannot even bother to bring his past false statements in line with the current ones. Thanks to his “own” media like Fox News, he has already given his supporters a “vaccination” against reality. And in Putin’s country, doctors who criticize the authorities, by some strange coincidence, fall out of the windows, and although no one believes in this kind of accident, this has practically no consequences. Boris Johnson, who can be called the smallest “undemocrat” out of the four, nevertheless brought the lie and ability to distract the masses from uncomfortable topics to such perfection that voters continue to support him.

Related: Coronavirus mapping dashboard: world online

The rating of countries by the number of coronavirus infected indicates the shortcomings of the right authorities, which lead to fatal consequences. But since right-wing ideologies, in principle, spread from the position of the victim and focus on finding other guilty parties, the tales of the right are becoming more absurd, but at the same time they are bringing them more and more new supporters.

As for the coronavirus, they - these tales - are so irrational that some are trying to blame even Obama and China for Trump's loud failure. In almost all Western societies, right-wing, undemocratic, and esoteric circles can hardly come up with a grotesque that would not be ideally embedded in ideology. Everyone who believes that almost all the governments of the world at the direction of reptilians destroy their own economies to do a favor to the pharmaceutical industry, simply believe in everything.

The slogan of The Washington Post is: "Democracy is dying in the dark." Right now, during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, we are witnessing that democracy can’t be saved with the help of a searchlight. The media and revealing journalism can no longer serve as tools to combat the autocratic danger emanating, for example, from Trump. The aforementioned newspaper warns with concern: "We must be prepared for the fact that Trump may not recognize the election results." The likelihood of such a development of events is connected with the arrogance and outrageous contempt of the Republicans for reality, and therefore with the fact that Trump supporters are as little interested in measurable reality as he is.

In the twentieth century, representatives of the left forces were often scornfully called "dancers-dreamers", implying that they did not want to recognize harsh reality and believe in their (supposedly) unattainable dreams. Now, in the 21st century, this kind of fantasy has become the lot of the right. But this is no longer a dream, but a nightmare and dance of the dead.

Related: Ukraine’s Ministry of Health reports 328 new coronavirus cases

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