We can never again allow a ruling class to exercise such brutality against the people. It has not ended well for the lockdowners and mandators. They are perhaps now beginning to realize that they are not the authors of history. We are. Everyone is.
While there are clear specificities between the suffering of Africans under the system of chattel slavery and the deprivation of civil liberties endured by most citizens around the world during the current pandemic panic, Anastásia reminds us of certain transhistorical constants in the process of dehumanization and subjugation of populations through the gagging and muzzling of their bodies to quell their protestations.
The dismissive, well-rehearsed messaging of our public health officials has created a highly efficient machine that does not publish its evidence or engage in debate, but only issues orders that we obligingly follow. With the help of the media, its mistakes are hidden, its policies unquestioned, its dissenters silenced.
If we are people in a society with an authoritarian structure, where our ability to participate and do the things we wish to do every day are conditional on the approval of government, then our way of relating with power structures is no longer one of “We are all in partnership together” but one of “behavioural correction.” In such a system the mask becomes a tool for enacting that behavioural correction.
Both immunity to vaccination and infection protect against severe disease, but the scope of immunity that develops after infection is broader, generally more durable, and more specific to lung reinfection. Stronger immunity derived from infection comes with increased risk of severe disease and a higher incidence of long-term effects, especially in older people and those with comorbidities.
In this ‘Age of Lysenkoism,’ the approach is to use the hysterical media to go on the attack, to smear, and blame the skeptics who question failed policies and mandates, for the very failure of the policies and mandates that were implemented. It has gotten to a point now where the media has garnered near zero credibility and the public believes near zero in terms of what the media prints.
Any regime that wants to stay in power needs to know this secret to hegemony: the desire to cleanse society of the enemy is what compels compliance. Every tyranny in history has depended on recruits to its own ranks from within the culture. They believe the lie knowing full well that it is a lie. The lie allows them to participate in the purge. They become the willing executioners. It’s been true throughout history, regardless of the particular and shifting desiderata of the despotism of the moment.
The overwhelming desire of a terrified public for evidence of interventions that effectively eliminate the risk of infection will inevitably pressure scientists to provide that evidence. Ideally, an acknowledgement of this bias would result in increased skepticism from other scientists and media outlets, but that hasn’t happened
We have already seen many instances during the Covid pandemic where despite assurances to the contrary, things did not evolve as expected. It seems clear that we simply don’t know what is going to happen next, or what the consequences of our actions and choices will be. What is perhaps most troubling is that this acknowledgement has been almost completely absent from the rhetoric of our leaders and decision makers. It does not show ignorance or weakness to be honest about this reality, it shows wisdom and discernment.
We must bring this sad state of government-promoted mandates to an end. And we must follow the wisdom the field of public health has acquired over a hundred years about what works, what protects people from both COVID and other health risks, and what protects the social fabric of our larger human experience.