How the virus struck back -- Bruno Maçães

"As I argue in my recent book Geopolitics for the End Time, many psychological obstacles to technological developments are crumbling at the same time. They can be grouped into two areas, both related to our state of exception. First, we have realised that time is scarce. Moving fast is the responsible choice, now that we understand deadly threats can arrive suddenly and catch us unprepared. Second, societies have a collective responsibility to address common problems, and consent cannot become a veto power held by each individual that affects our ability to act collectively.

We have even started to notice how a kind of decayed libertarianism stops us from embracing new technological developments. It goes like this: governments cannot do anything about a raging virus and should just refrain from interfering with natural processes. The concept, bizarre as it may sound, has been growing in popularity. Florida wrote a natural immunity exception into state law on 17 November that would allow the state to sidestep vaccine mandates. Republican lawmakers elsewhere are pushing for similar measures. Joe Rogan, the host of the popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, told his listeners that young people in good health should skip the vaccine. Thus libertarianism – the government ­cannot plan everything – has reverted or involuted into a premodern fatalism: we must resign ourselves to fate."

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It doesn’t sound bizarre to me at all.

I sure hope he’s right.

Wrong. Joe Rogan is a proponent of good health practises. He’s about the last guy anyone should crudely caricature as a fatalist “fuck it, gonna die anyway, might as well smoke em if you got em” type. If he were advising everyone to forego the jab then yes. But he asvjses the young and healthy, which isn’t fatalistic but merely sensible risk/reward (negligible reward vs unknown risk).

This comes across as very weak, very desperate propaganda. I hate to get any hopes up, but maybe it’s possible Bruno is right about the tide turning.


Posting this pro-government-intervention / anti-libertarian article back-to-back with DEEP DIVE Covid Myths - How the Medical Establishment and Skeptics Failed might be seen by some as schizophrenic since they appear to present diametrically opposing views, but I see it as presenting all sides.

Kudos, Quillette. It’s why I come here.





I like language like this:
. I particularly appreciated these sections, which decisively refute some of the anti-lockdown and anti-vax arguments made elsewhere on QC

They don’t decisively do anything other than decisively form half of an argument. The idea that people are anti-vaccine is ludicrous given that almost all people on planet Earth have been vaccinated in some form with other vaccines. It is therefore only this vaccine that has caused such an outcry. As for being anti-lockdown who actually wants to be held hostage by the state within their homes? Why are the Swedish doing so bloody well in comparison to elsewhere. They have 1.8 million children attending school, all unvaccinated and their teachers have the same levels of Covid antibodies in their bloodstream as any other citizen there.

I wonder about the levels of denialism spreading like a contagion amongst pro vaxxers that they’ll hit any positive commentary toward any argument that seems to support their narrative. This does seem to correlate largely with Stockholm syndrome. Is it not really the case that many pro-vaxxers have made their bed and must now lay in it? I do wonder, because it’s a very strange way to think that such people don’t themselves have reasonable doubts. Surely that wouldn’t be too conspiritational to suggest?

My fear is that this subject has had so much one way propaganda directed to collect impetus that peoples anecdotal experiences and fact checking contrasts so much collectively that many may avoid hospitals and effective vaccines altogether. A very normal reaction in view of the vast emerging evidence that differs immensely from earlier government advice and statistics. Tony Fauci says “He is Science.” Seems he’s not the only science. Would one inject their own child with such science when it’s still so open…For if you would be hesitant to do so can only truly indicate one thing and that is that ones belief is that vaccines carry risks too. I wonder what they are? Time will tell us no doubt.


That was flagged? Some weak constitutions around here.


It’s still debatable whether the vaccine is a net individual positive for most under 25s, and given the fact that the argument for vaccination preventing other getting infected (except in the rare instance when one lives with someone medically vulnerable) has completely fallen apart there is no longer an argument that vaccination is a social duty. Even the WHO now admits that the best vaccines only reduce the chances of catching the virus from a contact by about 40%, which also declines by 25% after only three months. Anyone with any knowledge of network theory will tell you this is next to useless for limiting virus spread, or substantially reducing the R number.

Covid will now become endemic. Vaccination as a means of conferring herd immunity has failed. This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get vaccinated- it still makes sense from the point of view of personal risk, for most people. McKinsey has seen the writing on the wall, and they have better quants than anybody:

Briefing Note #79. November 3rd:

We can still dream about putting the COVID-19 genie back in the bottle, but the more likely reality is that the virus will become an endemic problem we just have to get used to.


I must have missed my calling as a McKinsey quant and/or epidemiologist because I made this assessment in early 2020, once COVID started getting some press. The fear and panic porn generated by and spread on behalf of interested parties has completely overshadowed the basic reality of SARS viruses that would have come to light had this not become a global fear pandemic.


Yes like that humanity suffers many ill health consequences as a result of economic stagnation(Or collapse), recession and or depression. Stress factors heavily in compromising the immune system. What is the Swedish model teaching us?

Thanks for keeping the conversation sane Geary. As always.


“As for global vaccine coverage, it continues to be low in many countries, with only 27 per cent of health workers in Africa having been fully vaccinated against Covid.”

This sums up the issue. Vaccines were not the silver bullet, but bought some time, and allowed some steps towards return to some version of “normalcy”. It bridged us to this point where effective anti-virals should be around the corner (although I am not keen on the molnupiravir mechanism (unlike the wingnuts who blathered on about mRNA vax changing your DNA, which was unbridled nonsense all along, the ligand substitution mechanism of this agent gives me pause)).

But the big issue is new variants, and those new variants will come from all over the non-first world with abysmal vax rates to date. Simply observe where variants have come from thus far (first before there was any vax anywhere…then from places with low vax rates), and you’ll know where subsequent ones will arise. (if high vax rates caused variants…where is the Israeli variant?).

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While I generally appreciate Bruno’s commentary, he is blaming ideology without considering whether people have legitimate reasons for what they are doing. There is nothing unusual about natural immunity exemptions and the Florida law does require proof to be shown. Most international research seems to show that it outperforms vaccines, if people who can show evidence of infection want an exemption, why not let them and move onto actual problems? Keep in mind that Florida’s vaccine coverage among vulnerable populations is actually not bad, if concerned about vaccine coverage there are many areas that should be focused on instead. Kind of the like the time everyone had a national meltdown over hypothetical Covid spread on Florida’s beaches and ignored the issue of the NYC subway.

What reasonable proposals have been rejected in Florida out of ideology? Lockdowns? Based on the Australian and New Zealand experience they seem to be heavily dependent on border controls. 10% of Miami’s population are unauthorised immigrants, the required level of border control was not going to happen. In addition, immigrant communities are more inclined to have extended family sharing a house and members of that family working in essential services. A situation where lockdowns seem quite likely to do more harm than good.

Mask mandates? From the beginning many medical people said that casual mask wearing was worthless. I thought they were exaggerating, evidence points to them being right. While masks do not have to be perfect, a certain quality of mask and fit is required, the more people have to wear masks the less likely it is to meet the minimum standard to have any impact.

I appreciate the more measured tone of Bruno’s commentary, but with hysterical commentary people generally know that it is performative. Everyone knows that Australia is unlikely to be running literal concentration camps, people are less likely to know how often the truth of a story in America is very different to what they read.


Because none of this is actually about any of that. It’s about submission and conformity.


I read Bruno’s article and by the end of it all I could think of was the British raj. From “The Jewel in the Crown” min-series I remember Teddy Bingham using the “I am you mother and your father” mantra to dominate an errant sepoy with the specter of Ronald Merrick dancing in the background.

Well, the government is not my mother and father and the sooner the current raj is destroyed the better.


Erm in South Africa we are almost 90% immune to covid. Omicron is raging literally - we are all getting it - but it has no obvious symptoms.

Omicron was picked up in hospitals from people admitted for other reasons - emergency mostly - first. Suddenly the covid tests were mostly coming up positive but people were not being admitted for covid symptoms. Mmm.

If you look at South Africa’s covid infection and death graphs - South Africa COVID: 3,180,785 Cases and 90,148 Deaths - Worldometer - you see typical societal response to a new virus without medical intervention. Yes, in a youth-skewed society.

Very clear waves of infection. Death rate falling to almost zero compared to other ambient medical and non-medical risks in the Omicron wave (now).

Stupidly in South Africa the medical community still seem obsessed with vaccination. I cannot say it too often. Recovery from exposure/infection is way more effective at repelling future strains of covid than any vaccine can be, particularly RNA vaccines.

We are now 90% plus covered in our urban areas, and mostly, like India, from actual exposure/infection not vaccines.

Omicron might just be the silver bullet for countries like Oz and NZ that are still isolating. Covid is a coronavirus like the common cold. It will become endemic. It will continue to morph. We animals have a very good immune system that deals with all viruses, as long as we have a useful viral imprint.

It’s worth pointing out that viral infections killed way more people than guns did in colonial conquests. Smallpox eradicated communities. Why? The colonials carrying smallpox were already naturally immune although infected.

Isolation is a very dangerous ploy. When you @claire open up again, you will need to deal not only with newer strains of covid, but also whatever flu or common cold viruses have been doing the rounds. I expect your zeitgeist will be to lock down again. Isolate. Cry for mommy in the form of a burly militant?

Be careful what you wish for.

Remember people, this is just a virus - and dense connected human societies allow viruses to flourish. Remember too that we animals have been designed to deal with virus attack.

Covid is super interesting because it is the first true zeitgeist panic about natural pathogens. Ebola was close and Ebola is easily contained because it is so locally deadly.

It is so interesting that we are even considering a world where vaccines are mandatory. Like really, take a step back. We are admitting that humanity cannot exist without medical intervention to everyone. Always. Perpetually. Top ups every 6 months.

That is not going to happen. Parents will volunteer for MMR and polio vaccines for their kids. But not covid. There is no danger in covid infection for kids. There is little danger in covid infection for young adults.

It’s a very weird world where all humans require medical intervention just to live. Require by law. Take these drugs or you are not allowed to be part of society.

Practically it won’t happen. Most humans currently living are below the economic limit of government vaccines. Many humans will not care because they are more focused on survival.

Between the medical pragmatic - only old and infirm people are really in danger, the shorter term pragmatic - most poor people in urban dense areas are already exposed/recovered - and the silly intent to enforce vaccination and isolation - natural infection is way more effective than vaccine - we have been taken hostage by the female intent. Protect everyone always.

Trust me, this is not how life works. I do prefer freedom.


Interesting development (behind paywall, but you get the gist):

Addendum: It’s interesting that Cleveland Clinic is one of the systems dropping the requirement. They are commonly a trend-setter.