On the Continued Social Decay

With people like Quillette’s @claire Lehmann–and she’s hardly alone–denouncing conscientious objectors to the COVID-19 vaccines as neurotic, low-IQ conspiracy loons, even further societal division than was sown during the Trump administration is upon us. But what is really fuelling this divide? The ones promoting overt segregation (Lehman excluded, her piece in The Australian indeed shows a live-and-let-live attitude toward the objectors; a somewhat softer approach than that of the likes of Noam Chomsky and Don Lemon) will say it’s merely to do with safety, but so many of them have been shown to eschew their own purported values and rules regarding the COVID-19 endemic that this face value explanation ultimately falls short. However, it would be simplistic and self serving to boil it down to low intelligence or fear, even if that may be a part of it for some. More realistically, there are several intersecting factors at play.

Lehmann is quick to point out the correlation between higher education and vaccine uptake, but we mustn’t forget the most well known rule regarding the relationship between correlation and causation. As Quillette has shown time and time again, academia today is a harsh world of conformity quick to punish those even rumored to have diverged from the prevailing groupthink. The pressure to conform is enormous. Heretics are routinely made into examples of what happens when one dares to exhibit free thought.

But what of the academia of yesterday? The sorry state of education today doesn’t explain the large cohort of the well-educated vaccine-compliant over the age of 40. Could it be that these educated individuals truly are simply weighing the pros and cons of the vaccines according to their merits without considering any outside influences? Some portion of them, yes. Particularly the ones who were first in line to receive it. But even amongst these eager pioneers in the mass human mRNA vaccine trials, there is a subset who oppose the various restrictions placed onto the unvaccinated on an ethical basis. And with the pressure to behave and not make waves, we can safely assume this subset is larger than the subset who actually stand up and speak out about it.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate against COVID-19 is not a question with a universal “correct” answer. The high uptake, even if it could be said that there was no outside pressure whatsoever, still would not be reason for everyone else to vaccinate. Particularly young people.

It’s not possible that vaccine enthusiasm alone accounts for the uptake, given the amount of said influences that still apply once removed from academia and into the business sector or as Aydin Keskiner says, the college educated class.

Keskiner, President of Clinical Research, West Florida, has been contracted by Pfizer for 20 years. He is on record in a video released by Project Veritas saying “They are forcing the educated class. The government is doing everything they can to make it impossible if you’re college educated and you’re not vaccinated.” He says he personally got vaccinated so as to retain “some normal semblance of my previous life.” This educated man says he is skeptical of the science because “I do this for a living so I know how long it takes to get the real data and I’m skeptical of how fast they (Pfizer and “all of them”) were able to get it.”

So yes, education almost certainly influences people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but this may not always be for the reasons people think or claim. It is coerced, and so the decision of all these credentialed people to vaccinate doesn’t necessarily say a thing about the safety or the efficacy of the vaccines per se.

But it’s not just going along to get along. Wherever there is pressure to conform and vaccinate, it must have some source. There are educated (and uneducated people alike) in every imaginable field who are honest to God true believers, the kind of people who (mostly right wing) meme warriors refer to as Branch Covidians: those who will defend at all costs the official mainstream narrative of the Holy Trinity that is distancing, masks, vaccines, and so help you, nothing else.

It’s easy to understand pressure and coercion, but what makes these true believers tick? Let me stress that I do not refer to those who happily chose the vaccine. This is not a matter of vaxxed vs unvaxxed. It’s a matter of collectivists vs individual choice. With their talk of vaccine numbers, Covidians presume to speak for all of the vaccinated, so it’s important to disclaim that in our responses and rebuttals, we are not speaking to all of the vaccinated. Only those who promote or enforce the distance/mask/vax Trinity or those who believe it’s a civic duty to actively pressure others into their choices about when to stay home, when to mask up, or whether to vaccinate.

Again, there are several factors at play regarding the increasingly overt calls for societal division. So I’ll start with perhaps the most generous, which is a mere difference of priors–people who truly believe zero covid is possible or that 100% vaccination across the entire human population would meaningfully impact transmission and death rates. I imagine this would also have to coincide with an exaggerated view of the dangers of infection, likely driven by the ubiquitous alarmist media push. In my heart of hearts I truly hope it mostly comes down to this difference in understanding, and that their actions mostly come from a well meaning place. I might even be willing to believe that this “face value” reason of safety and public health truly underlies the small majority of these coercive actions amongst the general populace. However there is plenty of evidence to believe that this noble cause is not the sole explanation for the Covidian phenomenon.

Among the common citizenry, promotion of the Covidian Holy Trinity may also afford individuals social capital, may alleviate their anxieties about chaos and death, may be a means to make their presumed virtue more easily presentable for egotistical or strategic purposes, and it may offer them a safe and accepted way to engage in the instinctual us-vs-them tribalistic clashes that we have been taught are wrong for decades and have suppressed down into dormancy in the recesses of our minds. For some people, and again it will be many more than readily admit, this is about making things as simple to understand as good-vs-bad, and being continually assured through reinforcement that theirs is the good side…

And this tribalistic indulgence, for as much as it warrants the religious terminology I’ve been using to describe it, isn’t even the primary reason that this manifests itself like a religion with its own talismans (masks) and baptisms (vaccines) and a deep need to know if those around them have been saved.

For yet another subset, their Covidianism quite literally acts as a surrogate for religion itself. Nature abhors a vacuum, and we have seen the God-shaped hole in things become filled with one fleeting substitite after another throughout the generations: the drug culture, the sexual revolution, Hollywood & pop culture, Diversity Inclusion & Equity, navelgazing gender madness, and now, vaccines.

It should be acknowledged that just as each individual Covidian might have different motivation from the next, the various motivations may also intersect and overlap with one another within the same individual, so the reasoning can be multifaceted and fluid with time and context, and it becomes difficult if not impossible to map an accurate pie chart of the motivations of one person much less any group. So the question itself, “what motivates Covidians?”, is purely an academic exercise, however it may be useful to know all of the possible motivations so that one may assess different situations with different people with a broader understanding of the options so as to tailor responses and courses of action thusly. I have listed some of what I consider the more likely and common possible motivations of regular people. I am sure there are many more as well. Particularly among the ruling class and their powerful bedfellows.

The everyday Karens and Covidians busybodily filling their God-shaped holes are not the original source of this pressure to vaccinate. They are merely the unwitting useful tools of powerful people with a deceptive agenda which is kept hidden. But one doesn’t have to be willing to go very far down that rabbit hole to be met with accusations of so-called conspiratorial thinking, whatever that may mean. One merely has to demonstrate an actual conspiracy (such as the conspiracy at Pfizer to hide from the populace any knowledge of the fetal cell tissue that was used in production of the vaccine) in order to be summarily dismissed as a looney tune. After all, if they admit to the existence of a conspiracy that is visible in the open light, then they must acknowledge that “what else are they hiding?” becomes a perfectly valid question, and so they dig their heels in preemptively to avoid it, becoming completely unreasonable in the process as religions have historically been known to affect people.

I will not opine on the possible motivations of the high secret-keepers at this time other than to say the obvious ones that anyone with basic common sense should acknowledge, namely profit, and securing profit to come in perpetuity. That major companies would prioritize their profits over transparency and accountability to the public should not be a surprising or controversial claim to anyone, but, anecdotally, I know a conservative boomers who always said that nothing’s free. I’ve seen him become so absorbed and twisted by his fear and his newfound religion that he attempted to rebut some of my information with uncharacteristically flawed arguments about how the vaccine is “free” so how do the companies even make money? Being shown how they make the money and just how much money they do make only resulted in his reflexive naysaying.

This is a virus of the mind and the cure will involve brave people in the right positions standing up to speak out. The kind of people Quillette is generally known to have platformed. I would hope to see Quillette once again reclaim it’s role as megaphone for dissident individuals who stand against the mob, but I would not hold my breath or put any money on it regarding this very relevant issue today. Lehmann seems to have since become too much of a true believer to let Quillette echo any of the pro-choice sentiment she showed in The Australian article, which was a nondescript call to let people be. Sadly I have not seen any Quillette article do the same much less offer any real condemnation of any of the restrictions being imposed upon what she once called “conscientious objectors” in The Australian (as opposed to the various terms bandied about Quillette which include anti-vaxxers, refuseniks, covidiots and perhaps most absurdly, vaccine rejectionists).

Still, fingers crossed. I’ve seen it happen where people come back to their senses, including the conservative boomer I mentioned earlier, a dear family member I have since welcomed back to reason with open arms. I hope to welcome more in the days ahead as the contrived COVID-19 narrative slowly crumbles away.

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I, for one, am glad that Quillette’s editorial standards preclude it from publishing barmy and conspiratorial essays like this.

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So what your’e saying is Quillette has a duty to ignore facts & evidence that may result in people’s health & lives being put in jeopardy in favour of platforming unreasoned dissidents?

Free speech isn’t just for the sake of free speech it’s to assist human flourishing not prevent it.

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My local community centre today had outside a marquee the entrance with two guys. One was a white skinny anglo council official to sign you in and check your vaccination status, the other was a bored skinny Indian security guard to deal anyone who argued with the skinny anglo, or tried to just barge in.

This seemed like a lot of effort for people to go to the pool, gym or library, and raises questions about the meaning of “community.”

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And this is the heart of it. Since most of the resistance seems to be from the Uber libertarian end of town it’s really about the conflict of responsibility to the community in my view. Deeply individualistic cultures like the US struggle more with this issue.

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I don’t agree. I would say that Sweden’s decades of effective social welfare systems paid for by half the economy demonstrate a strong sense of community there - but they entirely rejected lockdowns, vaccine mandates and so on. Whereas there are other countries with a stronger history of individualism - like Australia - who embraced them. I’m all on board with bashing the US, but we should do so on a factual basis.

The truth is that “community” is a complex thing.

For example, while social interaction carries disease risk, it also carries health benefits. This is why we have sex with others, whether casual sex or marriage - it carries the risk of disease, unplanned pregnancy and heartbreak - but it’s fun, and it connects us to other people, if we’re lucky it gives us the closest social connection we’ll have in our lifetimes.

Beyond that one intimate relationship, a person’s level of social interaction has a stronger effect on their longevity than diet and exercise. The classic example is of course the old couple where one dies, and the other drops off within six months. You live because others give you a reason to live.

By placing that marquee and security guard outside the community centre, the government has eroded community. And this will have effects on people’s social, mental and physical health in the years to come.

So when considering social interactions and community, which should hold strongest, the health risks or the health benefits? And who is to judge these? Certainly, I do have a responsibility to the community to protect them from possible dangers from me, and to give them the benefits of socialising with me - but from that it does not necessarily follow that it is the government’s jobs to enforce my doing so. We should have safe sex, this does not mean the government should prohibit sex without condoms, or sex outside marriage.

This goes far beyond traditional concepts of left and right, individual vs community and so on, and there are not easy answers. And looking around the world at results, we can see that no single solution is clearly better - yes, anti-lockdown Sweden had more deaths than pro-lockdown Denmark or Norway, but it also had far fewer deaths than pro-lockdown Belgium, UK and so on.

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I have a feeling the high handed nature of government mandates probably ends up as a good thing. I started to imagine the tribalistic divisive illusion of vaxx vs no-vaxx playing out in society without one side being ‘officially’ supported. Like a many personed MMA match with no referee. Methinks it would have been nastier than current times. At least one side gets the smugness of government backing and can be comfortable in that ivory tower.

From my aggregate, non-sterizing vaccines just don’t seem to be very helpful in the long run except to mitigate exceptional personal risk. Masking up is incredibly effective with perhaps very low and lingering airflow being an exception. I certainly hope we in the west take a normalization of masking up when ill as a normal society function.

I know someone who contacted covid and had to do the isolation thing. His own family threatened to report him if he went out for exercise(walk) at 5am on empty suburban streets like he always does(which is not allowed while ‘isolating’). Definite overreach, imo.

No doubt anything that goes against status quo can take on an exaggerated persona that many plug their nose at. Yet I find it is best to look at these actions as representative of a sizeable sentiment by the silent majority. I totally empathize with the protest side of this whole affair. I know from too much experience that when a large number of people act out, there is deep and difficult to articulate reason for it that must eventually be acknowledged by society at large, a reckoning per se.

I work low volume/high service retail. I rarely find someone who is noticeably acting against the mandates. Most don’t seem to take it seriously. Some do. And a few, too much.

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Sweden did not have to coerce their citizens as being a community minded culture they voluntarily acceded to restrictions including but not restricted to hand washing, masking, social distancing, going out only when necessary, smaller gatherings & working from home as well were vaccination friendly. And let’s not forget their borders as well as their neighbours borders were closed through out the worse of it & their economy took a big hit too which indicates their businesses weren’t doing the same sort of trade. They also have a large population of people living alone rather than in large families & are a relatively small population of 10 million so that made a difference as well to whether enforced restrictions were necessary.

I would categorise Australia as a balanced individualist & collectivist culture . Our fair go philosophy points straight to community responsibility as do our comparatively generous safety nets, community & government services.

I think most people would read it as ‘if people had been more community minded sooner this would have been over months ago’. And I also think the bipartisan reaction to covid in Australia particularly by those who were least at risk indicates to us we do indeed respect community as best we can in big city conditions.

In terms of life threatening events? Umm, medical experts?

It does if your choices are life threatening to others. The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins…’
And sexual health choices are hardly in the same ball park as the health risks of covid.

No evidence has been presented that Australia needed to, or Belgium, and so on. Simply because something was done does not mean that it had to be done. Generally-speaking, if an advocate of a policy presents it as inevitable, even given no other information we will now have reason to doubt the wisdom of that policy. “But… it had to be that way!”

Things which are actually inevitable nobody has to say anything about. Nobody is running around shouting at the top of their lungs that if you drop something it’ll fall, or that the sun will rise tomorrow. Aggressive statements of inevitability indicate significant doubt. “The recession we had to have,” and all that.

Maybe the government could have just asked nicely and got the same or better results? We don’t know. Nobody tried.

The experts who said we’d have 150,000 deaths if we did nothing, and 50,000 if we locked down? The medical experts who say we should oblige people to be vaccinated, or the medical experts who are losing their jobs for refusing the vaccination? The medical experts who say we should fire other medical experts for vaccine refusal… sack doctors and nurses for public health? The medical experts who caused vaccine hesitancy by casting doubt on a perfectly safe vaccine because their husband worked for a rival vaccine’s company?

The experts who, by focusing on one communicable disease, had us in 2020 close hospital wards and prevent aged care residents from having visitors, have caused almost 700 extra deaths a month in 2021? The ones whose advice has led to $450 billion of spending - 5 times the federal health budget, but still an increase in mortality, not only now but ongoing, since that money won’t be available to spend on our children’s health? The ones whose advice has led to hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, marriage breakups, a rise in domestic violence, the destruction of small business and the dominance of large businesses which will cause more poverty and unemployment in the future and thus worsen people’s health?

Those geniuses, eh?

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In many western countries, vaccination rates exceed 70%. It’s doubtful one could expect each individual who adopted vaccination to identify their “one reason”; more likely, for most people, it will be a confluence of factors (with substantial individual variability).

At the same time, each person has employed some manner of cost-benefit analysis, or risk-benefit analysis. And ultimately, the vast majority of people have determined, for themselves, that the benefits outweigh the costs, or the risks.

By this point, those who might be receptive to vaccination will likely have done so already. Those who are still holding out might self-aggrandize as being the “true un-believers” who have escaped the fog that has bedeviled the masses…when they could just as easily instead be characterized as “true believers” in their own unique brand of naysayer-ism. And power to them. As long as they recognize that choices have consequences.

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We were like most countries flying blind at the start & as such proceeding on the side of caution is what most reasonable folks expect. Once we had the opportunity the Doherty report provided solid evidence.

No doubt there was bungling some of it a direct cause of the unknown but mostly dependant on the state you lived in but let’s face it you get the government you deserve….

This is vile. There are natural consequences of free choices (if I choose to eat this spicy meatball sandwich, I will probably get heartburn), and then there are manufactured ultimatums thrust upon others by external actors (if I don’t fellate this rapist as he has demanded, he will shoot me with that gun in his hand).

“You will fire those loyal long term employees or you will be fined into oblivion,” is an example of the latter.

If you don’t trust the vaccine enough to protect you then the choices and the consequences thereof should be on you. You are free to stay home and isolate for the rest of your life and deal with the resulting consequences like an adult, but you abdicate your choice by pushing it onto others as an either/or, easy or hard way “choice,” and then you have the audacity to preach about making choices to the very people you’ve just fucked by refusing to make the hard choice for yourself. Absolutely disgusting.

What does this mean? What is this essay conspiring to do? It’s the second time you’ve said this word without explaining what you mean by it or making any real argument. You’re 2 for 2 in proving me right that people will simply whip it out at the drop of a hat like some kind of magic word akin to bigot, racist or any other ill-defined terms that are simply used as catch-all slurs against opposing viewpoints, but I have to ask: what do you actually mean?

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What I mean is that you rely on conspiratorial thinking in making your argument.

Yes, it does have a source: the fact that vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect individuals from COVID and reduce the spread of the disease. Not because “Covidianity” is some sort of religion (a clever but absurd claim) or because the Powers That Be are trying to divide society for some nefarious purpose. Yes, drug companies are corporations that seek to maximize their profits. It doesn’t follow that they are “high secret-keepers” (to use your infelicitous phrase) who are manipulating the public behind the scenes. The rapidity with which they developed highly effective vaccines for COVID is nothing short of remarkable.

I don’t think your essay merits a substantive response. So far, it looks like other members of the community agree – nobody has responded directly to your barmy claims.

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Not remotely, no. :no_mouth:

I don’t think Quillette has any duty to do anything any more than anyone else. I was merely saying it would be great if they could go back to being cutting edge again and standing against the authoritarianism du jour as they once did with SJWs before getting on board and necessitating awkward disclaimers in parentheses in the body of their articles to explain their timestream fuckery in referring to trans individuals as their new sex when specifically talking about events well before any transition. I mean honestly all of those Olympic records belong to Bruce Jenner. Do they retroactively transition into records held by a woman after the fact? Insanity.

But getting back to what I’m saying, exposing the connections and very real conspiracy to keep certain things hidden and influence public opinion doesn’t actually have to jeopardize anyone’s health, does it? What about things like this?

There’s plenty of room to fight this contrived mainstream narrative without it being the equivalent to injecting Covid directly into everyone’s eyeballs. That is what your’e saying it’s equivalent to right? :sunglasses:

No, their keeping secrets (ie, the emails about keeping info about fetal tissue use from “getting out there”) from their elevated position before disseminating the selectively edited information down to the lower rungs of society (ie: from on high) is what makes them high secret-keepers.

And yes this secret-keeping is no doubt for the purposes of manipulating the public, primarily into having a favorable opinion of their product. If you disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts on why those secrets were demonstrably conspired to be kept from on high.

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Interesting ‘silver-lining’ analogy you’ve made there but it stops short of the full picture so if you don’t mind I will attempt to ride this to it’s logical conclusion.

In this analogy the government is the referee. A refs job is to ensure the fight is fair (no illegal holds, nothing below the belt) and to apply it to both or all fighters evenly. The heavy handedness by the govt doesn’t follow this objective standard of a referee. It reinvents the rules solely to benefit one side. So to make the analogy better fit this situation we could say the referee’s role in this cage match is not to ensure existing rules are followed but instead to implement new rules like all the members of the bad-guy team must have their hands tied behind their backs, thus making the overall fight less nasty by reducing the total amount of punches thrown.

But they still might be able to throw nasty kicks, so they should tie the ankles too. And they might still be able to say nasty words, so they should gag them as well (…this is getting kinky. @Schopenhauer started it). But they still might be able to make nasty motions with their bodies or communicate nasty messages by blinking in morse code. To truly ensure elimination of all possible nastiness from the fight, the referee may want to consider mandating yet another new rule from out of the blue: straight up murder whichever combatants he doesn’t want winning. Anything else would be nasty.

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I imagine then you don’t see much point in being a law-abiding citizen either, what with all these “manufactured ultimatums”. LOL. Sounds about right for you.

Yeah, choices have consequences. Best to grow up and deal with them.

Employees have to meet employer standards. Those standards need not be static. If you are no longer prepared to meet them, you are free to seek alternate employment. Your choice…but sorry, they do come with consequences.

I find it hilarious that all these anti-vaxxers are incapable of accepting this basic tenet of adulthood.

And that is what I seek. I want to freely cohort with fellow vaccinated people, and be free and clear of those who aren’t.

If you don’t want to get vaxxed, I literally could not care less. I just don’t want to be around folks like you. Vaccine passports make that possible. Pucker up and deal with it.

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Sounds about right.

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Nope. Not “instinctual”. Very much a conscious and active choice.

Well, it’s “tribal” in the sense that any dichotomy results in “tribes”. So congrats for recognizing that you can answer “yes” or “no” to vaccination. Well done. But “clashes”? Not necessary at all. Vaxxed people go about their day with other vaxxed people. Unvaxxed people are welcome to go about their day with unvaxxed people. No need for clashes at all. THe problem is that there are quite a few unvaxxed who are also very loud whiners, who don’t like to deal with the consequences of their choices.

So, where are you on “laws”? Do you follow them? LOL.

Why is any of this segregation necessary? On a scale from one to ten how effective is your vaccine?

The more any vaccinated individual pushes for this apartheid, the more it shows they don’t trust their protection. And I’ve just thought of another motivation I should have included in the original barmy essay:

it may be a means to save face and maintain their pride in response to the subconscious realization of the possibly of having made an irreversible mistake.

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Project Veritas (a misnomer if there ever was one) has a demonstrated record of shoddy, “gotcha” journalism and deceptive editing. Regarding the fetal stem cells claim:

A widely shared video by the group Project Veritas has led to a false claim online that purported emails among Pfizer officials show that the pharmaceutical company’s COVID-19 vaccine contains aborted fetal cells.

But the video — an interview between Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and a self-identified Pfizer employee who claims to show internal emails from the company — does not support that erroneous conclusion.

Instead, it shows that the company used a fetal cell line when testing the efficacy of its vaccine. Cell lines, which are key to medical research, are cloned copies of cells from the same source that have been adapted to grow continuously in labs.

Nevertheless, users spread the falsehood about the contents of the vaccine widely on social media with references to religious exemptions.

What’s not made clear in the video is that it is already public record that Pfizer’s vaccine was tested using such cells.

David Prentice, vice president and research director at the Charlotte Lozier Institute — an anti-abortion think tank that has followed this issue and that is critical of the use of such cell lines — also acknowledged that Pfizer’s vaccine does not contain fetal cells, and that the company used the cell line in question for testing the vaccine only. He repeated a phrase he once heard: “Nothing that goes in my arm ever touched one of those cells.”

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