British Scientists Say That “Totalitarian” and “Unethical” COVID-19 Response Used Fear to Control People’s Behavior
Some British scientists have admitted that their committee exploited fear in totalitarian and “unethical” ways to control people’s behavior throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical,” said Gavin Morgan, a psychologist and member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behavior (SPI-B). “Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.”
SPI-B, according to The Telegraph, is a subcommittee that advises the British government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). In one damning example of their unethical use of fear, the subcommittee said in March 2020 that “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened” by COVID-19 and that British leaders needed to increase the population’s “perceived level of personal threat.”
The regret from some SPI-B members over their tactics appears in a new book written by Laura Dodsworth titled A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised Fear During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Dodsworth’s book seeks to answer the following questions, according to the book description:
Why did the government deliberately frighten us? How has this affected us as individuals and as a country? Who is involved in the decision-making that affects our lives? How are behavioural science and nudge theory being used to subliminally manipulate us? How does the media leverage fear? What are the real risks to our wellbeing?
“In March  the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down,” one SPI-B member told Dodsworth. “There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear. The way we have used fear is dystopian.”
Another SPI-B member said that “without a vaccine, psychology is your main weapon […] Psychology has had a really good epidemic, actually.” Still another said that “we have to be very careful about the authoritarianism that is creeping in.”
Of course, the British government was not the only one responsible for adopting totalitarian messaging strategies, but practically every other Western government as well. We the people invite leaders and scientists in these other nations to express regret over their fearmongering too.