In the European imagination, the harbingers of contagion (whether plague or cholera), were conjured as shadowy, cloaked, and hooded forms, presenting a vaguely human silhouette, yet within the stygian recess of their black hood, no face was discernible – only a long, grey, birds’ beak jutting out. These ‘doctors of the plague’ inspired the shivers. Cities were portrayed deserted, immobilised by an extensive, lofty, sinister power. Behind those walls, people were dying. Silence. Still today, the beaked-bird masks of the plague doctors are to be found in Venice.
Maybe the Medieval mind-set does not seem to comport with that of ours today. But nonetheless, it remains a truism that biological fear of the lottery of Death, and political fear, are often found entwined in a danse macabre. Contagion may not be the direct cause, but whether it be the plagues of Italy, or cholera in nineteenth century Europe, the fears of the élite, and the anger of an infected, hungry, and hope-shorn mobs have combusted to overthrow established orders.
In the space of a just a very few years – in the late 1400s – Florence would invert from being guided by a recreated Platonic Academy, to a dictatorship headed by the sinister, black-robed Girolamo Savonarola – an extremist, ascetic cleric, who burnt Florence’s civilisational artefacts in huge ‘Bonfires of the Vanities’. Society, in the wake of many pandemics literally has cascaded into revolution – as did choleric Europe in the 19th Century, with Kings deposed, and the élites gripped in a hysteria of fear at rising mob populism.
Today, political ‘fear’ again is palpable. Legendary, financial and geopolitical-cycle analyst, Martin Armstrong, encapsulates that medieval sense of society ‘immobilised, and sucked up by an extensive sinister power’:
“Shutting down the economy is just scare-mongering: there is another agenda going on …”
“The WHO is part of the UN, and the UN is for this climate change, and this is what their objective has been: Shut down the world economy, bankrupt everything you possibly can, and then rebuild from scratch …
“The devastation in the economy is unbelievable. Our computer is very well known. Just about all the intelligence agencies look at it because it’s the only fully functioning artificial intelligence system in the world. It was saying unemployment was going to rise dramatically and retest the Great Depression highs.
“That’s never happened like that. Even in the Great Depression, it took three years to get to 25%. We passed 13% in the first month … From the very beginning, I said something is not right. Something is wrong …This is really going to push the debt bubble over the cliff …
“The number that has died is minimal. More than twice that die from the flu. What [Trump] needs to do is open up the economy instantaneously … I think he needs to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate who started this. All the information I have is pointing to a deliberate and intentional movement to harm the economy. These people are elitists”.