(LifeSiteNews) — The head of the “nudge unit” employed by the U.K. government said lockdowns would be accepted by the population in future pandemics because people already “know what the drill is.”
In an interview with the British Telegraph, Professor David Halpern said that the British public “practiced the drill” of working from home and wearing masks and “could redo it” in the future.
During the Covid crisis, the British government hired Halpern’s Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) – often referred to as the “nudge unit” – to provide the administration with “frictionless access to behavioural expertise,” the Telegraph reported, quoting a contract between the BIT and the government.
Halpern admitted that BIT and the British government used psychological manipulation to prime the population and he defended the use of fear-based messaging “in extreme circumstances.”
“There are times when you do need to cut through … particularly if you think people are wrongly calibrated,” he stated.
The behavioral scientist explained that posters designed by his group functioned as “visual prompts,” meaning that “when you go into a shop or somewhere else, it re-reminds you, it cues, it acts as a trigger for the behaviour.”
He said that the messages that promoted mask-wearing were meant to make people feel naked when they did not wear a mask in public.
“Put it this way,” Halpern said. “You would feel like, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t got my mask’. You feel naked, right?”
The professor furthermore explained that BIT used catchy slogans like “hands, face, space” to increase compliance with the draconian Covid rules.
He stressed that disastrous events “leave this enduring trace on society,” which, in combination with this “quasi-evolutionary” social conditioning, are strong indicators of the population’s future behaviors.
Halpern predicted that the British population would wear face masks again “relatively rapidly if they were persuaded” in a future crisis.
“They might protest, ‘do we really have to do it?’ Showing good healthy scepticism. But once you’ve exercised those muscles, they’re more likely to be reused again,” he claimed.
Addressing the critique that some of the BIT’s methods were “unnecessarily scary,” Halpern justified the group’s actions by stating that other campaigns used much tougher messaging. He pointed to the “tombstone campaign” for AIDS in the 1980s as an example that allegedly is “thought genuinely to have saved a lot of lives.”
He said, “It’s entirely appropriate for a democratic engagement to be had,” on the use of psychologically manipulative measures, indicating that using such methods should be discussed publicly, even though this was not the case at all during the Covid crisis.
Lockdowns caused more harm than good
Former British health secretary Matt Hancock, who hired Halpern’s “nudge unit,” recently said that the U.K. must prepare for even more stringent and wider-reaching lockdown in future pandemics.
Hancock’s and Halpern’s justifications for the lockdowns and the psychological manipulations used to achieve compliance come despite the fact that multiple studies have shown that the draconian lockdown policies cause more harm than good.
A review of 600 studies by a professor from the University of Washington looked at 10 specific categories of harm: “health, economy, income, food security, education, lifestyle, intimate relationships, community, environment and governance.”
It found “substantial” and “wide-ranging” collateral damage that “will leave behind a legacy of harm for hundreds of millions of people in the years ahead,” including increased “non-Covid excess mortality, mental health deterioration, child abuse and domestic violence, widening global inequality, food insecurity, lost educational opportunities, unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, social polarization, soaring debt, democratic backsliding and declining human rights.”
Most significantly, the review finds it “likely that many Covid policies caused more harm than benefit, although further research is needed to address knowledge gaps and explore policy trade-offs, especially at a country level,” with the main lesson being that future pandemics need to be met with a “wider range of expertise” than those that dominated the COVID response, which would allow for greater diversity of perspectives and more consideration of competing concerns.