Fear-Addled Bugmen

On the Transformation of Small-Souled Bugmen in the Age of Covid

In recent years Western society has given rise to the proliferation of a novel subspecies sometimes referred to as the bugman. The microcosm of the intellectually and morally decaying contemporary technological dystopia, this bugman is mentally and physically insipid, oversocialized, and undertested, devoid of purpose and even individual character. In my capacity as a freelance cultural entomologist, I previously analyzed the figure here. Comparable to the Nietzschean Last Man, we can think of him as a debased, shriveled puppet of the neoliberal elite.

As a result of the Covid agenda, however, the bugman has mutated into something almost unrecognizable. His familiar open-mouthed smile has been muzzled by white polypropylene and the childish glee in his eyes replaced with a look of unprepared apprehension. His life is now defined by an omnipresent feeling of dread that has infiltrated his mind through the array of digital screens he switches between throughout the day. What has happened is the bugman has been patched.

The new software update includes a brain augmentation which more deeply intertwines the bugman’s synapses with the media industrial machine. What we previously called the ‘small-souled’ bugman — the term is borrowed from the Aristotelian idea of being small in mind and spirit — is now almost extinct, outcompeted by the new bugman variant. What we have now is the ‘fear-addled’ bugman, a new generation model that disrupts feelings of self-confidence and independence to extraordinary new extents.

Plugged into the feed of social media-generated news, the bugman had initially been alarmed by ominous clips showing a plague wreaking havoc in China. At first his instinctive fears were soothed when trusted sources brushed off the threat and stressed the greater threat of racism. Soon enough, however, these same sources changed their tune and cranked the bugman’s panic levels to eleven, where they have remained ever since. Facing the most extensive and pervasive psychological campaign in human history he hunkered down at home to help flatten the curve. Lockdowns weren’t so bad, he thought, working now from home in his pajamas. They had given him a chance to reflect on life and watch shows on Netflix, order overpriced fast food from Uber Eats, and toy with the gizmos in his studio apartment.

As some began to recognize the virus itself was not the biggest problem, the bugman entertained himself with pure escapism. In an astonishing twist, he cheered as schools were closed, business owners had their lives destroyed, and mask compliance became total. A surveillance tech fanatic, the fear-addled bugman welcomed the announcements that the new technocratic order was intending to impose an all-consuming social credit score. Whatever keeps us safe, he said, whatever keeps us safe…

In retrospect, the mask is what the bugman always craved. It is a great equalizer, subduing those with individual identity and character into the faceless drone collective. This is where the bugman feels most at ease, unthreatened by any flicker of superiority, in an empty sea of sameness and monotony, the machination of humanity into an anonymized blur of fleshy cogs.

Later entering the vaccination phase, the bugman dismissed any extremist skepticism of the manufacturers’ intentions as the gene therapies were rushed through regulatory checks and into mass production. He tweeted the obligatory selfie donning his “I’m vaccinated!” sticker — another proud and happy customer. At first agreeing that just 70% of people needed to be vaccinated to contain the deadly virus and save lives, he moved with the shifting goalposts all the way to tentatively and then to brazenly demanding the extermination of the unvaccinated, to keep everybody safe.

Demands to “get vaccinated before it’s too late!” and assertions that “we’ve always had vaccine passports” filled the bugman’s timeline as governments stripped away rights and the new normal industry ballooned into a trillion-dollar cash cow. This is perhaps the most abject thing about the fear-addled bugman. He has willingly made himself into the totalitarian state’s PR officer free of charge. He recites the official line word for word, one unthinking tendril of the great media beast that swallowed up the entire culture, and he blinks.

Most strikingly, the bugman seems to be incapable of either seeing or acknowledging the vast contradictions and inconsistencies in the crumbling narrative. He seems unable or unwilling to make even the most obvious connections, interpret the most basic data, or form arguments of substance. Does he actually believe the bizarre official story or is he playing a sick political trick? He will tell you repeatedly that you are, quite simply, just plain stupid. The whole thing is so strange that we cannot rule out the possibility of it all being an elaborate revenge fantasy.

The psychology of the fear-addled bugman is remarkably easy to generalize. He is soft in the center, the result of a coddled upbringing that was too safe and too easy, rendering him incapable of facing the slightest adversity. School has taught him to respect the claim of science as a self-correcting method, and a new cult of lab coat-wearing preachers led by an Italian-American Pope appealed to his perverse religious impulses. He believes it is blasphemous to question how it is that being baptized with a jab “protects others,” or how a polyester face mask keeps out microscopic virus particles.

The bugman often felt anxiety before the roll-out of the pandemic due to his inability to exert control. Now the impudent resistance — even breezy nonchalance — of the disobedient and non-compliant provokes extraordinary rage. He does not fully grasp why they have not submitted, like he has. He finds it hard to imagine a being who cares more about liberty than being able to go to a pop music concert. Angry and humiliated, he blurts out the wish that has harbored his whole life: “Round them up, put them in a camp, segregate them from society, force it on them at gunpoint!” Afterwards he finds that he feels calm.

Of course the bugman, like all champagne socialists, never did really care about ‘equality’. That was always just a strategy for political power, which was useful at the time. But the new normal has made possible a whole new level of retribution against the strong. The fear-addled bugman has made an important contribution to the biggest and the darkest psychological experiment ever conducted on mankind. Combining a total lack of understanding with unwavering compliance reminiscent of the Milgram experiment, he will be studied in the history books for centuries to come.

It is tempting to think that the fear-addled bugmen do not exist except as Chinese bots or trolls. But they do exist, and they are growing. Physically pitiful though they are, beating them will not be easy on a battlefield on which the bugman holds all the institutional aces. But what value is a man who, rather than taking pride in protecting hearth and home, cowers before an imaginary omnipresent virus? The bugman feels his lack of worth, and his ressentiment manifests as a rejection. Whatever else, everyone else, must not be allowed to get on with their lives.

Adam Winfield is a family man from the British Midlands. He’s the author of the novella “Under-Toronto“, which can also be found on Medium. He blogs at Palimpsest.

Scroll to top