Caitlin on Covid

5 Aug

Caitlin Johnstone not only has a flair for articulating counterintuitive truths simply and vividly – where counterintuitive = contrary to mainstream power-serving fairy tales. She also has a way of voicing nuances of thought and mood that echo my own. Is she psychic?

Probably not. Just tapped into a certain zeitgeist.

I don’t share her view that narrative is everything. That if we pierce the propaganda narrative by which criminal lunacy is normalised, then real change of the scale and kind needed will follow.

I deem that piercing of illusion necessary but insufficient. In Western ‘democracies’, premised on a consent meaningless because misinformed, our rulers prefer to fool us. It’s cheaper. But should the grip of narrative management loosen, naked force will replace or at least demote it.

But until that day, I’m with Caitlin. On Covid too. She’s had stick for not writing what her critics want her to write on that subject. So have I.

In my case it’s come from both sides. I had a friend recoil in horror when, face open to the skies, I approached her at a Palestine rally. I’ve had similar elsewhere, though I’m no scamdemiologist, masklessly strutting supermarket aisles before ‘freedom day’. And, yes, I’ve had two jabs – with no ill effects beyond continuing to piss people off.

On the other I’m attacked for, well, let this exchange do the talking. Below the line of a post on a totally different subject, one GrannyK demanded to know:

So are you just going to keep on ignoring the elephant in the room? We are on the verge of mandatory experimental vax for a virus that harms fewer healthy people than the flu. There are meanwhile doctors all over the world warning this vax may be dangerous or deadly and lead to mass infertility or death. And at the same time we are now being told the ‘pandemic’ will lead to food shortages, and we have government advisors advocating permanent lockdown to alleviate climate change.

How can anyone run a current affairs blog and act like this isn’t happening? I used to read you regularly here and on OffG. You were saying last time I read you that you were waiting to see how this covid thing rolled out. Well, are you still waiting? What more do you need? Even if you totally believe the virus is real and dangerous it must be obvious it’s being used to do very bad tyrannical things. We all need to be speaking out for the sake of our kid and grandkids.

My reply being:

Well I’ll overlook the rudeness, the off-topicality and the sheer reductivism of your comment. I’ll just say this. I’ve written several posts on this topic, on this site and clearly the work of one Philip Roddis, also known as yours truly.

I’m sure your own writings on the subject are more numerous, of higher quality and, at great risk to yourself, leading the fightback against lockdown. It’s just that when I search for them – covid … lockdown … GrannyK – I draw a blank. Can you help me out?

I haven’t heard from GrannyK since. In another exchange, on-topic with a reader using his real name, my ‘silence’ on the issue was lamented. I engaged him point by point, opined that he hadn’t read my post – he had the decency to fess up – and asked why, other than preaching to the choir on FB, he wasn’t himself writing on the subject.

It was courteous and he put me onto a writer, Simon Elmer at Architects for Social Change, I consider to have a sound grasp of things. His is a dialectical materialist (my term not Simon’s) rejection both of mainstream Covid narratives and of overarching conspiracy.

So where do I stand on Covid? FWIW I believe that:

  • Its danger is real but overstated.
  • That subset of covid ‘scepticism’ detecting a ruling class scam (as distinct from ruling classes doing what they do best: turn crises real or manufactured to their advantage) has what Simon Elmer calls a weak grasp of how things work in the 21st century.
  • The ‘cure’ is worse than the disease on many fronts – human rights, economic hit, and other negatives less immediately obvious.
  • Bullet 2 aside, I may be wrong on the above. I find an eerily messianic certainty on this subject. Mostly, in my limited experience, that’s on the ‘sceptic’ side.
  • We should be dismayed that intelligent, evidenced dissent from relevant experts with a right to be heard – as we have to hear them – are ignored by the media.
  • I have done more than most of my critics to draw attention to such dissenting experts. See for example this post.
  • Corporate media and politicians have shown themselves, to anyone paying attention, unworthy of trust on pretty much every important matter. While this does not prove they are lying on this subject too, it is folly to rule that out.
  • There is no reason why ‘sceptics’ and ‘believers’ can’t work together to resist (a) the threats to liberty (always made amid moral panic; always prone to scope creep), (b) the inevitable moves to saddle the many with the bill for lockdown while the few walk away richer than ever, and (c) a neoliberal world order which makes a killer pandemic – whether or not this is the big one – a matter of when not if.
  • The divisiveness now in play is deeply alarming. (As I write this, France appears on the verge of ‘medical apartheid’. My choice to get the jab does not mean I want it forced, directly or indirectly, on others.) Apropos the previous point, I’d be more inclined to believe ‘sceptics’ serious about arguing their case if they (a) left social media comfort zones and (b) stopped calling everyone else ‘morons’ and ‘sheeple’.

Now let me hand over to Caitlin, in the form of her post yesterday, here replicated in full.

After Russiagate, Why wouldn’t people be skeptical about Covid?

You hardly ever hear about Russiagate anymore. The last time it made a blip was when disgraced Collusion author Luke Harding published a very thinly-sourced story in The Guardian claiming proof that Donald Trump was a Kremlin asset, but other mass media outlets barely touched it and it vanished as quickly as it came.

Looking at mainstream news in 2021, you’d hardly know they’d spent years hammering the story into public consciousness that Vladimir Putin had infiltrated the highest levels of the US government, day after day after day after day after day.

But they did. Fortunes were raked in off click-friendly stories about the latest bomb-shell revelation involving some peripheral member of Trump’s associates perhaps maybe having some kind of contact with a Russian national at some point. Entire careers were built on this.

The Mueller investigation invalidated the entire claim by failing to indict a single American for conspiring with the Russian government, and the media who’d spent years bashing everyone in the face with that story slowly sidled away from it.

And now they act like it never happened.

So put yourself in the shoes of someone you might not normally be inclined to.

Imagine you’re on the political right watching this whole thing unfold. Imagine that from late 2016 to mid-2019 you were watching media shove down everyone’s throat that a US president, whom you support, is working for a hostile foreign government to subvert the United States. The media you consume have been highlighting the massive, glaring plot holes in this narrative so you know it’s not true, yet you’ve still got friends, co-workers and family who believe it is.

Can you imagine how disgusted you’d get with the media watching this happen day after day? How outraged? How resentful? 

Now imagine a year later these same media start telling you there’s a novel coronavirus which we’re all going to have to sacrifice personal liberties to stop. We might have to stay in our homes, wear a mask, get injected with new drugs we’re not sure about, possibly while watching our bank account drain and our business go under, and all these media you just watched lie to everyone’s face for years on end are saying you need to do this and support this or you’re a dangerous monster whose voice should be banned from social media.

How well do you imagine that would go over with you?

Now we’re seeing article after article after article and news segment after news segment after news segment from these same institutions, freaking out about “the unvaccinated”, a new label for a new category of human we’re all meant to have very strong opinions about. The very media which cultivated the distrust of these populations are now whipping up public outrage at the people they alienated.

It’s not just right-wingers; people of color across the political spectrum have relatively low vaccination rates as well. What do those groups have in common? Distrust for institutions which in their experience have an extensive history of being untrustworthy. People on the left who saw through the Russiagate madness would be skeptical as well.

The sane way to counteract the public distrust that’s been caused by generations of lies, wars and depravity would be a tremendous increase in transparency, accountability and contrition on the part of those institutions, showing the public that they have changed and are working to become more trustworthy. So naturally what we are seeing is vaccine mandates in New York City, pundits calling for forced injections, and soldiers policing the streets of Sydney.

People are acting as if  trust in media-sanctioned narratives should be a given, when those media literally discredited themselves in front of everyone. It’s insane. You don’t have to believe anything odd about virus or vaccine to understand the distrust. It was entirely predictable that this trust crisis would occur, and there were people who did predict it. Now this predictable thing is being used to ban people from social media, justify vaccine passports, etc. I find that immoral.

I don’t know what’s going on with this virus; my brain just doesn’t work in a way that lends itself to science. One of the most annoying things about the indie media scene in the age of Covid has been gaining an audience because I’m good at logic and writing and then being told by lots of people “Oh you’re good at writing? Cool. Now you have to be good at science or I hate you.” People expect me to either understand things I don’t understand or pretend that I do, and maybe that’s good enough for them but it isn’t for me.

What I do know is that things are getting increasingly ugly and authoritarian as global capitalism looks more and more like the end of a Monopoly game, and that media institutions have no business complaining that people don’t trust them after spending years actively alienating their trust. The sooner humanity wakes up from its unwholesome relationship with mental narrative, the better.

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