top of page

Pandemicism and the Foreknowledge of the Virus Planners

When I write of the pandemic response as a basically undirected social and institutional contagion, the same question always comes up: What about Event 201, and the 2017 SPARS exercise, and all those other creepy prophetic pandemic wargames? Don’t they indicate some of kind of unified plan? How else to explain the foreknowledge of the planners?

I’ve given partial replies here and there, but I’ve never laid out all of my ideas in one place. I think these strange exercises seem much less bizarre when considered against the broader backdrop of the pandemicists and the beliefs they share. You might call their most central article of faith pandemicism, which is the doctrine that pandemics represent a serious threat to human health, and that they can be prevented or substantially ameliorated with the right scientific interventions.

Aspects of pandemicism are as old as 1918, but the proximate origins of this mind virus are much more recent. Tellingly, they don’t lie with any kind of pandemic at all, but rather with the WHO campaign to eradicate smallpox. This started in 1967, and it took ten years to complete. Any institutionalised enterprise that persists for a full decade will acquire institutional momentum, such that it can’t simply be turned off when the mission is over. Just as the push for trans rights and trans acceptance owes a lot to the institutional forces accumulated by the gay rights movement since the 1970s, pandemicism became the next stage of advocacy for the smallpox eradicators after they had put themselves out of business. All the careers, institutions and grand funding schemes that had been thrown at smallpox needed a second act.


bottom of page