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‘He dreamt that the whole world was condemned to a terrible new strange plague that had come to Europe from the depths of Asia … Some new sorts of microbes were attacking the bodies of men, but these microbes were endowed with intelligence and will. Men attacked by them became at once mad and furious. But never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth as these sufferers, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible. Whole villages, whole towns and peoples went mad from the infection … Each thought that he alone had the truth and was wretched looking at the others, beat himself on the breast, wept, and wrung his hands. They did not know how to judge and could not agree what to consider evil and what good; they did not know whom to blame, whom to justify.’
Thus dreamt Raskolnikov in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic novel, Crime and Punishment. Published in 1866 and a dream in a work of fiction it may be, yet the passage could be used with some accuracy to describe human behaviour during this covid-19 pandemic.
Since the novel coronavirus arrived on the world stage, I’ve touched on pretty much all of the contentious issues. Namely, the collateral damage of wholesale lockdowns together with the certainty of those endorsing them that they actually work and are worth it, and the coercive mass vaccination drive that with each passing day leaves more questions than answers.
As the pandemic becomes endemic, it’s that vaccine question that vexes the most. When I wrote The case against vaccine passports it was thought likely that getting a jab would mean one would carry less of a viral load if infected, thus helping to reduce contagion, while also becoming less ill. The latter appears to hold true for the elderly and vulnerable yet data are emerging showing that the former is not the case.
So, the vaccine pushers’ argument that young, healthy individuals would be ‘doing their bit for society’ by being jabbed loses its weight. Basically, the vaccine may help to provide protection against severe covid-19 infection, particularly in the elderly, yet one is not protecting others by getting it.
However, judging by social media, many still seem to believe that in getting a jab they’ve helped save humanity. It’s become common practice to publicly declare it, normally via updated profile pictures with colourful I-got-the-vaccine graphics. You’d swear they’d just discovered the cure for cancer.
These pietistic pronouncements are nauseating considering there is much we still don’t know. They only serve to distance those with genuine questions that have yet to be satisfactorily answered.
‘One must be willing to change tack when new information dictates but even allowing for that our decision-makers have been suspiciously contradictory, within the myopic mindset that covid is practically the only mortal threat we face.’
Even worse is the palpable anger from some of those vaccinated directed at those who are not. It’s baffling. You’re protected, guys, so why the annoyance? In fact, maybe all of us ‘stupid folk’ not pharmaceutically protected will die from covid soon, pruning humanity of much of its current asininity. You should be happy.
I must add, I’d rather see vaccines administered to those who would truly benefit from them, no matter where they are in the world, ahead of some young Sam or Samantha in a high-income country, with the finest medical care at their disposal.
Just to be clear, I’m not anti-vax as a rule, despite being labelled thus by some people. I’ve had numerous inoculations throughout my life. It’s simply that when it comes to the covid jab, I’m far from convinced of its benefits for somebody like me at this remove.
It also doesn’t help that the leaders and public health officials now imploring, nay threatening us to get vaccinated have been anything but consistent throughout the pandemic.
OK, one must be willing to change tack when new information dictates but even allowing for that our decision-makers have been suspiciously contradictory, within the myopic mindset that covid is practically the only mortal threat we face. That many have now lost any remaining trust they had had in them is not at all surprising.
This returns us nicely to that prescient passage in Crime and Punishment. Raskolnikov’s dream concluded:
‘The alarm bell was ringing all day long in the towns; men rushed together, but why they were summoned and who was summoning them no one knew … Men met in groups, agreed on something, swore to keep together, but at once began on something quite different from what they had proposed. They accused one another, fought and killed each other … The plague spread and moved further and further. Only a few men could be saved in the whole world. They were a pure chosen people, destined to found a new race and a new life, to renew and purify the earth, but no one had seen these men, no one had heard their words and their voices.’
For our 21st Century, real-life pandemic, there were early hopes that we would come out of it cleaner and greener, renewed and purified, with more shared responsibility.
Alas, it looks like we’ll only become more centrally controlled, less independent and with greater inequality.
In the same way that people both believe(d) and fear(ed) a god that we cannot see, Big Tech and its affiliates are now filling this godless void. Largely invisible, unaccountable masters, moulding the masses to fit into their utopia. Worryingly, most are marching merrily to the madness.
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