Undeniably, we live in the most scientifically advanced, information plentiful, medically sophisticated time in human history. Which spawns a fascinating question:
Why are our governments, media outlets, and scientific institutions operating at such a high level of ignorance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic?
This leads us to a second, even more pressing question:
Have we reached the state when Thoreau’s “Duty of Civil Disobedience” has become our moral responsibility?
To ponder this last question seriously, we need to figure out where we’re at in terms of the virus and society – and how we got to this point. I will posit that we created and allowed a number of behaviors, beliefs and mind viruses to come together into a “perfect storm” of politics, ignorance, greed, fear, polarization, and misinformation. This has all infected social policy making, media reporting, and destroyed the ability for rationality, logic, and critical thinking from a huge swath of the population. The greatest contributing factors are:
A huge percentage of people don’t actually understand the meaning and purpose of science. There are people on both sides of the mask, vaccination, and lockdown issues proudly proclaiming they are “following the science.” Their smugness is misplaced. The role of scientists is to postulate a theory, then do everything in their power to prove it wrong. When the theory can’t be proven wrong, it’s accepted as consensus – until our understanding or knowledge increases, and we reach a new consensus. Science is a continuous process of advancing knowledge. Doctors who prescribed leeches and conducted lobotomies thought they were “following the science” too. There is way too much we don’t understand about Covid to start suggesting theories are scientifically proven beyond reproach.
Journalism has devolved from a public service reporting the news, to a for-profit business model that requires fear-based clickbait to survive. If a media outlet reports that case counts are up, but hospitalizations and deaths are down, their clickthrough rates crash. So they make sensationalized headlines about the case count and bury the good news in the 15th paragraph. As a result, the population is in a constant state of frenzy and anxiety, which causes them to make poor choices.
The political environment has deteriorated to bitter acrimony and polarization. Even well-meaning, idealistic people who joined politics to make a difference have come to believe that campaigns of hate, fear, and demonization are justified for what they believe are altruistic ends.
Immoral and irresponsible social media platforms are ignoring the dangerous societal damage they are creating. Their business model is selling your eyeballs. And that only works if they keep you on their platforms in a constant state of fear and outrage. The major apps have devolved to bastions of misinformation, fear-mongering, and demonization.
A huge swath of the population has lost their ability for critical thinking. And many more people are choosing to give away their critical thinking ability for what they perceive as security from nanny states.
At this point, it doesn’t feel like any of the leaders or institutions we look to protect the greater good are actually trying to do anything in terms of helping solve the problems Covid is creating. Instead, it feels like everyone is desperately searching for sources of information that support what they believe – and that they can use to demonize those that think differently than they do. The proclamations, rules, policies, and information our governments are disseminating are irrational, ignorant, and dangerous.
These leaders and institutions have failed the world on a catastrophic scale, and they need to be removed from power over our health, security, and freedom.
It’s likely by this point many of you will be ready to label me an anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorist or selfish grandma killer. If that’s the case, it’s worth thinking about why you are having the knee jerk reaction to judge me - instead of mindfully considering the ideas I’m placing on the table for discussion. And here’s what else you should know: I’m a vaccine fan boy! I’ve been vaxxed for measles, mumps, hepatitis, shingles, flu, Covid-19, and the third booster shot. I actually had Covid early in 2020 and am a long hauler who suffered serious and sustained injuries to my lungs. Finally, I’m HIV positive since 2006 with a compromised immune system. I’ve spent almost two years sheltering my mom from having to leave her home, isolating myself, and posted more “flatten the curve” updates than I care to admit. Also suffered through the anguish of losing two close friends to Covid – knowing they were alone in the ICU and there was nothing I could do to comfort them. So don't be too quick to peg me into a category.
We need to talk about how our institutions, governments, and collective society are reacting to the pandemic, and how these actions are harming us.
I’m not speaking as a medical professional or scientist, since I’m a high school dropout. This conversation is about logic, critical thinking, and simple common sense.
Let’s begin with some empathy and understanding…
No one in the world could really have been prepared for the situation we encountered at the start of all this. A once-in-a-century pandemic that never existed before requires a certain amount of making assumptions based on similar scenarios in the past, etc. Every airborne virus is different, viruses that mutate are completely unpredictable, and this particular strain never existed before. To look back today with hindsight criticizing the moves made in early 2020 is disingenuous. Everyone was making the best decisions they could with what they had to work with. Which wasn’t much. They did what scientists are supposed to do: they created hypotheses and tested them.
Initially we weren’t even sure how the virus was transmitted. We were hearing horror stories from China of apartment complex doors being welded shut and seemingly healthy middle-aged people dropping dead on the street. The government there was not proactively sharing good data and the World Health Organization (WHO) was completely in over their head. (And may have acted unethically or even criminally.) Second guessing and re-litigating all that will not bring us closer to a solution. It just drives up the rancor and takes us away from proactive steps to find a way forward. My hope for this essay is we can lose some of the vitriol, jumpstart common sense conversations, and a return to critical thinking. (Note: Hate to say it, but it must be said: If you think Covid-19 is a hoax, is spread by 5G towers, or vaccines contain microchips, you’ve succumbed to conspiracy theories. You’re not a rational, serious thinker so I won’t debate issues with you. Please go to Twitter for that.)
Let’s break down some accepted premises that simply are not true. They’re false, yet they’re being used to justify lockdown, mask and vaccine mandates, curfews, and other outrageous behavior that is not keeping us safe. Let’s talk an inventory of where we are at currently in the fight against Covid:
There is irrefutable evidence that one of the best protections against serious Covid illness is your level of Vitamin D. Yet we have politicians closing beaches, dog parks, and other outdoor spaces. And others imposing decrees locking people in their homes. This is not only foolish, but dangerous.
Vaccines are good. Hopefully you’ve been vaccinated. But we now know that vaccines don’t prevent you from catching Covid, or from transmitting it. (They do provide much greater security against hospitalizations and death.) That destroys the rationale for every vaccine mandate. And to think we have governments telling private businesses that they must require vaccinations for their employees? That is a level of nanny state control only witnessed in dictatorships before. And millions of people are happily cheering on this practice.
Cloth and paper masks are a multi-billion-dollar biz category that sprung up overnight – and they are virtually worthless against Covid transmission. The only ones that show practical value against transmission are N-95 surgical masks. Everything else is Kabuki theater. That fact alone should eliminate every mask mandate on earth, other than N-95s for hospitals and similar places. Yet we have mask mandates in every airport, government building, airplane, and are polluting our earth and waterways with billions of disposable masks every week. There are people driving outside by themselves on motorcycles and scooters wearing masks. There are people who wear a mask (or two) when they’re driving alone in their cars. The level of mass psychosis required to cause this type of behavior is astounding.
We’re talking about Covid, but why aren’t we looking at the co-morbidities? The CDC reports that 75% of vaccinated Covid deaths involved at least four co-morbidities. Four. That’s astounding. Covid-19 is similar to AIDS in the sense that it weakens your immunity and thus opens your body up to disease and death from other opportunistic infections and conditions. If we’re being honest, we’re probably losing more people to obesity than Covid.
How are we still ignoring the fact that people who already have had Covid may have stronger antibodies than the ones provided by vaccines? Are you really ready to live in a police state where people have to show vaccine passports to enter Walgreens?
We have millions of people who believe that restaurants have magic tables that protect them from Covid while they are eating but are at danger to catch Covid when they walk to the restroom. We have political leaders that impose curfews as if the virus is only airborne after a certain time at night. Do any of these people think rationally anymore?
As I mentioned in my recent newsletter, expecting toddlers and young kids to wear a mask through five or six hours of school is ridiculous. Those kids are taking the masks off and on, laying them down on all kinds of filthy surfaces, picking their nose, scratching their butt, and going to the bathroom where they’re probably not washing their hands. By midday those masks are super spreader petri dishes of germs and contamination. The kids who aren’t being allowed to go to school are facing terrible repercussions. Poor kids without home laptops and Wi-Fi are facing serious developmental damage. Even though there is an overwhelming volume of evidence to show kids are at the least levels of risk for serious illness and spreading the virus.
Society is viewing the situation from their adult focus. This needs to switch to a kid’s perspective. We forget how important the school experiences like art class, sporting activities, bonding at recess, music lessons, and field trips are to the development and mental health of children. These kids will never get this time and opportunity back. Every adult in the world should be sued for malpractice. (Or maybe we can send some of those magic restaurant tables to the schools.)
Cities like Ottawa are back in the stone age days of Covid, imposing a 10 pm curfew, delaying school openings, closing “non-essential” businesses. I kept an apartment in Sydney for five years, so when I see the level of Covid insanity there today it breaks my heart. Washington DC mayor Muriel Bower recently tweeted out: “If you're heading out to a restaurant, bar, or nightclub starting Saturday, you will need: 1. Proof of Vaccination and Photo ID (18 +) 2. Proof of Vaccination (12 +) 3. Mask.”
How can we have first world political leaders living in this level of paranoia and craziness still?
Let’s talk about another element that isn’t being considered enough. Those politicians instituting all those dictatorial policies on masking and lockdowns don’t actually practice those policies themselves. (Governor Newsom in California, Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the U.K., and literally dozens of others have been caught breaking the rules they set for the rest of us. They’re power drunk hypocrites who set regulations for their subjects that they don’t adhere to themselves. If you allow them to continue doing so, you have no one to blame but yourself.)
How can our political leaders justify such draconian, authoritarian policies when places like Sweden did none of that crazy shit and is one of the safest, healthiest places on earth? But nowhere is the insanity more outrageous than our current situation with the Omicron variant. This variant is a freak of nature situation because not only are the levels of sickness and death dramatically lower – but it has a reverse effect where the antibodies produced by contacting it protect you against stronger variants such as Delta. Omicron could be our best avenue forward to returning to normal life.
Although hospitalizations have climbed to nearly 123,000, the number of deaths has remained steady at around 1,400 a day. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby reported the other day that the carrier currently has 3,000 employees out sick with Covid – and zero hospitalizations. Zero. It’s possible that the best thing for the world would be if 50 million people contracted the Omicron variant tomorrow, and the whole world was infected within a couple weeks. The overwhelming majority of people wouldn’t even know they had the virus, and we might be able to comfortably live with the virus from that point forward. (Because at this point, it’s likely our best chance to create herd immunity, before another more deadly variant mutates.)
But because social media platforms need outrage and fear to grow, and media companies need fear to drive clicks, no matter how overwhelming the evidence, they’re always going to brainwash you with the evergreen but always effective bullshit they’ve been selling for almost two years now:
“But deaths always trail infections by several weeks. If we just buckle down for one last little stretch of sensible precautions like mask-wearing/curfews/lockdowns/ school closings/vaccine mandates – we’re showing our support for our noble healthcare heroes and will get hospitals over the hump until the situation improves.”
Sorry I’m not buying that bridge.
I bought it the first time. And the second. And the tenth and the fiftieth. But this is the hundredth flavor of the “flatten the curve” alleged logic that they’ve been dangling in front of us since February 2020.
There is no effective “Covid eradication” strategy. Just like there aren’t any effective strategies to eradicate the flu, measles, or colds. These are noble, worthwhile goals to pursue and while science is doing its best we’re not there yet and probably won’t be in the foreseeable future. People are going to die from Covid and they’re going to keep dying from Covid. Just like they die from the flu, cancer, heart attacks, and dropping toasters in bathtubs. Let’s do our best to focus on vitamin D, zinc, sunshine, therapeutics, and good fitness. But we have to STOP all the irrational, illogical, and harmful policies and behaviors attempting to eradicate Covid – and replace them with common sensible policies and behaviors to live with the virus and mitigate its damaging effects.
If you look around you today at what we have wrought as a society and reflect on the battle of critical thinking vs. Covid-19, it’s apparent. The virus has won the battle. Now it’s up to us to decide if we have the strength, character, and wits to fight back and win the war.
If I visit an elderly person with co-morbidity threat or an immunocompromised child in a cancer ward, I will happily don an N-95 face mask to protect them. But mandating that I have to wear one in the gym, supermarket, or softball field has reached a height of ridiculousness and absurdity I will no longer participate in.
We are now well beyond the time for civil disobedience. If you create a curfew in my area, I will break it. If you demand a vaccine mandate for my employees, I will ignore it. Any government official that supports mask or vaccine mandates, lockdowns, or curfews will never have my support again. And I will put up the money for the recall campaign and work feverishly to defeat them. Hopefully you will do the same. Please note this doesn’t mean hassling flight attendants or storekeepers who are required to insist on actions forced on them by their employer or the government. They are in a “no win” situation. Be kind. Stay peaceful. But make it your business to remove every power drunk politician pushing the mandates, lockdowns, and controls.
We’re down to fear versus freedom time.
These people were wrong. Hugely so. We can forgive that under the circumstances. But why are they still holding power and making decrees over us? It’s time they were gone.
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