Skip to content

Painful Truth: Elite panic and the monkeypox

Are we really going to do this again? Really?

Let’s get a quick show of hands out there – who likes being told “Don’t panic,” especially after two years of a miserable pandemic?

The monkeypox has arrived in Canada, and we’ve been told not to panic.


Frankly, I’m a little on edge, because the last time a rare/novel disease arrived in Canada, and we were told not to panic, it didn’t go so well.

Maybe if we’d panicked a little bit back in January and Feburary 2020, we could have gotten a better government response. Maybe care homes could have been better protected. Maybe domestic mask manufacturing could have started up sooner. Maybe fewer people would have died.

However, this does not seem to be what senior bureaucrats, elected officials, and rich people mean when they worry about “panic.”

Faced with any problem in society – plague, racism, anger at police, environmental protest, natural disaster, take your pick – and governing elites will often worry more about how people react than they do about the actual problem.

READ ALSO: Painful Truth – The glass is half-empty

In fact, in disasters, whether slow-motion ones like the COVID-19 pandemic, or sudden ones like major fires, storms, or floods, people act pretty well. They generally try to help their neighbours and share food and supplies.

Face it, the worst thing we did was buy too much toilet paper, and a couple of jackasses tried to re-sell hand sanitizer for $20 a bottle.

But elite panic is a fear among those in power that we’re just one bad day away from a Mad Max movie, with hockey-pad-wearing punks looting the Costco and setting fire to the fancy houses in the nice neighbourhoods.

The thing about monkeypox is, no one is panicking in that way. No one is going to drive their SUV straight into the Walmart tomorrow and steal all the toilet paper and canned beans.

When people start getting anxious and talking a lot about monkeypox, it’s because we have a real and genuine fear, based on recent experience, that our leaders are not panicking enough!

We don’t want our leaders to run around screaming, as if their hair’s on fire.

We want to hear what they’re going to do about this. Because frankly, we’re all a little cynical when someone tells us that things won’t be that bad, it’s not that contagious, we’ll be fine.

Okay, but what if it is more contagious than you think?

What if it spreads and makes a bunch of health-care workers sick?

What if it starts killing people?

Here’s the deal: I promise that I will not drive a spike-covered dune buggy down to the mall and burn Baby Gap to the ground, and you promise that you, our overlords, will make a coherent plan, tell us what it is, accept reasonable criticism of said plan, and modify it as necessary.

How does that sound?

Frankly, after the last few years, I think I’m owed a little panic.

I mean, c’mon, monkeypox?

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
Read more