The COVID-19 pandemic will alter and shape the history of mankind beyond being a healthcare crisis. Allow me to share why I think so.
Looking at the world’s stage after 18 months of COVID-19, I’m getting a little tired of the recurring themes in the news daily. We hear of COVID-19 protocols enforced or relaxed. There are two sharply drawn sides, the vaccine proponents and the anti-vaxxers.
We hear of Social Distancing and stay inside versus others saying ‘let’s party’! There is a lot of information and likewise misinformation. News and fake news. The Left versus The Right and the age old ‘Good vs Evil’ narrative being played out. These recurring themes and messages align with the ‘Truth’ vs ‘Lies’ debate. So powerful are the proponents that it has been rebranded- Truth vs Alternative Truth.
Sadly and unfortunately the alternative truth has had influencers at the highest level. Leadership & Authority have ignited and fanned the flames here. Notably political authority has been pitched against scientific authority leaving the masses often betwixt and between not knowing who to believe or trust.
Let it not escape us that even though there has been a leadership change in the USA, the message and the movement of the alternative truth remains very strong today. It speaks to how deep the dogma runs and it must not be ignored. What is sad is that the children who have to go back to school in the US with face to face classes, are doing so within earshot of parents protesting ‘for masks’ or ‘no-masks’ in school, the shouting throng reflective of the times.
What is interesting to me is how blurred in some respects, the lines have become with both sides of the divide, Left and Right. On one hand the Pro-choice and Gay Rights movements speak to the right of personal choice and self-determinism. The Conservatives in response to the corona virus and the vaccine have been the ones saying ‘I have the right to choose’ , ‘my freedom is important’, ‘freedom is the patriotic thing’!
LEADERSHIP AND AUTHORITY
The other thing to note in my estimation, is how the ‘alternative truth’ is questioning and redefining Leadership, Authority and Legitimacy with lies and deceit.
There are three main types of Authority. There is Traditional, Rational-Legal and Charismatic authority.
Traditional Authority is by succession as in the case of a Monarch. Rational-Legal is given, appointed and approved by society. Charismatic Authority is by exerting considerable influence and by the sort of person he/she is.
We have witnessed in our lifetime a huge swing of authority and leadership to the Charismatic, which has successfully challenged the two other forms of authority.
Challenges to authority and leadership are not new. Jesus’ authority was challenged by the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders and elders of the Jews.
Jesus makes his triumphant entry to Jerusalem on a donkey as the people waved palm branches, spread their garments shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’. He enters the temple creating quite a stir, driving out the traders ‘My house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ This could not go without the attention of the leaders of the day.
Three branches of leadership, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came and asked Jesus, who gave you the authority to do the things you were doing? Jesus’ answer came by way of a question: “John’s baptism- was it from heaven or from men?”
John the Baptists’ calling and ministry was validated by Jewish leadership and scripture. As a prophet, his ministry was to call the people to repentance and to declare the arrival of the Messiah. John gave Jesus his authority which was traditional authority. John baptised and announced Jesus as ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’.
When the religious leaders realized they were backed into a corner they answered ‘We don’t know where it was from’. Jesus’ reply was superb, ‘Neither am I going to tell you by what authority I am doing these things’.
‘Jesus refused to answer the delegate’s question after showing that they were unqualified to assess him. The Jews were prejudiced, obsessed with their own power, envious of Jesus, unprincipled, lacking integrity, materialistic and spiritually blind. They were skilful manipulators and political chancers who did what served their purpose rather than what was right. Jesus had no time for them!’ – John Reed ‘The Authority of Jesus’
A NEW ORDER
The growing voices of dissent, questioning the authority of elected leaders not just in the US, but in Europe, Canada, South America and elsewhere is just a part of an ongoing movement of ‘new order of things’. One where alternatives are embraced and accepted. A new way of defining the family, a new way of defining marriage, new norms of working and new decentralized digital currencies emerging at a rate never seen before. What’s alarming is the push for global acceptance of the new order by powerful stakeholders often with punitive economic sanctions for nations who spurn these overtures.
This ‘alternative’ movement is most attractive as it carries a philosophy of self-determinism. I can decide that ‘I’m a man trapped in a woman’s body and it’s ok’; ‘I prefer to identify as a man’. Wait for it, but soon you’ll hear ‘I prefer to identify as a child’. The ability to choose is a divinely given right of man but carries eternal consequences. But modern society has edited the ‘eternal consequences’ and are glorifying ‘my right to choose’. ‘I choose if I want to take the vaccine’. ‘I can choose whether to wear a mask!’ ‘The authorities should not tell me what to do, afterall what does science really say?’ ‘Can I believe this is good for me without some hidden agenda?’ ‘What is the truth?’
The ‘alternative’ movement is stronger than it has ever been, spurred on by leadership’s response to COVID-19. Its message is strong, there is money behind it and the media to spread the word is agile and vibrant.
I believe everything is in place except the person who will coalesce this movement, gain legitimacy and authority by charisma and charm, and will make lies, doubt and alternative facts mainstream. COVID-19 has helped set the stage for this person to arise.
It is later than you think.