12 Arguments to Crush Anti-Vaxxer Rhetoric
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- Published on November 25, 2021
- Last Updated April 11, 2022
- In Essay
An alternative headline might have been, "A Dozen Ways to Ruin your Thanksgiving."
I hate to say it so bluntly, but the pattern of COVID has been that infections spike after Thanksgiving in the US and again following the Christmas period internationally.
For this reason, death rates due to COVID were actually higher in 2021 than 2020, following gatherings during the holiday period.
Theoretically, death rates need not spike next year, as we have vaccines that are proven to reduce hospitalization and death.
Despite ample scientific evidence supporting the protective benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations there are still widespread concerns that they cannot be trusted, and doubtless, this will be a topic of dinner tale conversation over the holidays.
If you're pro-vaccines like me, discussing your position can be a tough conversation because it's not always clear on what basis other people object.
In my opinion, a lot of people claim to object on the basis of science, but under scrutiny, most objections are rooted in philosophical differences.
It's not your job to persuade anyone to get vaccinated and, to some degree, we are ethically obliged to accept the decisions of others, so this article isn't necessarily about changing minds.
It's more about restoring balance and vindicating intuitions, because when faith and philosophy become the last refuge for obstinacy rather than debate, it can be so frustrating to oppose them that one loses a sense of perspective and proportion - and it becomes easy to make others wrong.
I wrote this article over the summer of 2021 and never published it because I knew it would be contentious.
But I wrote it for others whom, like me, had spent the previous 18 months debating the merits of COVID vaccinations with their closest family and friends - and even their friends of friends.
I wasn’t always for mRNA vaccinations and did initially distrust them like many others did too.
I was locked in a relentless debate over their merit until I felt like I had grappled with every anti-vaxxer argument there was with my friends and family members.
Now, my opinion is that there is no philosophical or ethical basis to reject the vaccine, except that if you simply do not want it and do not trust it and cannot explain to others exactly why they feel that way.
That is a belief others are welcome to hold, as is one's right, but my position is: "let's not pretend it's a belief based in science, ethics or philosophy."
I’m sympathetic and compassionate towards anyone who fears the unknown, which I feel is the fundamentally human character that the anti-vaxxer philosophical position is rooted in.
However, I do object to COVID-truthers on social media frequently resorting to “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” as the missourian Mark Twain famously said.
People have been dying because of misinformation and, to me, those deaths seem preventable. Providing others with potentially better ways of thinking is the only weapon a writer has, so I am called to fight.
In this article, I’m going to attempt to explain why the anti-vaxxer arguments seem more persuasive on face value, but also why these arguments against vaccination ultimately crumble under scrutiny.
We’ll get into the problematic cause of death by any disease, why it matters, and what other myths and mistaken beliefs have taken root in the public health debate around the coronavirus pandemic.
I do care whether you get the vaccine as I think it increases your chances of surviving serious illness and death. That said, you are allowed to believe what you want and think what you think, just as I am. That’s your right, just as it is mine. Go us!
Now... let's get started!
From Pfizer and Moderna to Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, contrary to popular belief “The Science” does actually vindicate the positive impact of all COVID-19 vaccines on reducing hospital admissions and death (N.B. those developed in G7 countries; SinoVac and Sputnik V not included).
But, when you dig into the data you’ll find so many “exceptions to the rule” and “rights reserved” to withdraw certain conclusions, that many of the research papers and news reports start to read like legal documents. I’ll admit, I’m sympathetic to anyone who distrusts complicated answers, but it’s lazy thinking to get stuck at complexity.
When one detects such extraordinary efforts to maintain the precision of the document —essentially by restricting and curtailing the speech within it— the whole affair seems deeply suspicious. As a layman untrained in interpreting scientific data, one gets a sixth sense from the complexity: “What are they hiding?”
Well, the truth is, that intuition isn’t totally off base, because scientists offer all of their latest findings very tentatively and already deeply recognize they might be wrong.
As Mark Twain said, all numbers (statistics), words (propositions) and stories (narratives) hide something while purporting to reveal something else. Okay, he explained it more succinctly than me, saying, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics,” but conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers are hiding much more dubious philosophies and ethics.
Despite ample scientific evidence supporting the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccinations there are still deep concerns that mRNA vaccines cannot be trusted and that the entire pandemic is a socially engineered crisis.
To use a local example of how politicized the pandemic became, in Missouri (from where EQ is published), the depths of distrust were made stark by a coroner who revealed that he had removed COVID-19 from the death certificate at the request of surviving family members. To me, such an action indicated philosophical differences were really at the heart of this debate rather than science or ethics.
Here’s every anti-vaxxer argument I have grappled with prior to getting the vaccine and my rationale for defeating them. I’m going to attempt to explain why the anti-vaxxer arguments seem more persuasive on face value, but also why these arguments against vaccination ultimately crumble under scrutiny.
1. “COVID Vaccines Don’t Work”
Research from the CDC, published in Spring 2021, found that vaccinated people are 25X less likely to face hospitalization or death. But, vaccines are less effective in stopping people from getting COVID, as vaccinated people are only 8X less likely to get infected.
If you’re in doubt, the bottom line is vaccines do work because you’re less likely to die from COVID if you’re vaccinated, which is the most important measure of their effectiveness. That’s worth repeating: if you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to die from getting infected by one of the most infectious diseases in world history.
The formal, precise and legalistic language of “X Less Likely” seems like an attempt to downplay the vaccine’s weaker impact on infection rates and exaggerate the importance of preventing severe illness and death. But, to be fair, even kids say “it was 10 times better than” and they all intuitively understand what an order of magnitude difference in ability means in terms of performance, so you should be able to get it too.
What the “Vaccines Don’t Work” Narrative Conceals
Nonetheless, if you are automatically inclined to distrust vaccines, the COVID mRNA vaccines apparently fail at their primary historical purpose, which is to stop the spread of infection. Vaccines have never traditionally relied on mRNA before, so why should I be a guinea pig for a new approach?
What the COVID Vaccines Don’t Work “narrative” hides is the fact that the classical approach to vaccine development, which uses “deactivated viruses” has already been tried and tested by China and Russia. They were somewhat effective, yet from the outset, the international science community unanimously predicted they would be the wrong solution to the problem.
And they were right! Scientists predicted that western democratic societies would reject government intervention and that the COVID virus would mutate into new variants quicker than they could vaccinate people en masse.
Which is exactly what happened. There are good scientific reasons for why the deactivated method was always going to be too slow, which you can dig into below, or skip to the next section.
Aside: WTF is a deactivated virus
Both China (Sinovac) and Russia (Sputnik) released vaccines within months of the first outbreak. Sinovac and Sputnik, respectively, were both essentially “deactivated virus” vaccines, meaning they were composed of water-boiled shells of the COVID virus.
This is the same approach as classical vaccines against Tuberculosis or Hepatitis. They inject a small non-lethal amount of the virus into you, in order to train your immune system to immediately recognize the disease and fight it off.
Regarding side effects, the Sinovac and Sputnik vaccines are actually safer and much much cheaper to produce than all of the others. However, they’re not as effective and the complication with this approach is that vaccine development cannot keep up with the rate of mutation of the COVID virus.
For this approach to be as effective as possible, more government intervention would be required as a continual vaccination program against every variant of the virus would need to be developed. Only countries with very strong central governments could achieve this.
If western democracies had adopted this approach, to be fully vaccinated, you would have already gotten four to eight vaccine shots by now —against Alpha, Beta, Delta— and, today, you’d be considering making an appointment for the Gamma vax.
The vaccination program would almost always be playing catch up.
2. “COVID Isn’t Deadly”
A common refrain among anti-vaxxers is that COVID isn’t deadly. This claim is made despite the hundreds of thousands who have died all over the world during the pandemic.
The claim is also made with the same confidence with which all great lies are told. Namely, because there is a morsel of truth in the deception.
What the “COVID Isn’t Deadly” Narrative Conceals
They’re technically correct, it’s not actually the COVID virus which kills you per se. It’s actually your own body fighting the virus off that ultimately kills you, whether that be through respiratory failure, bloody clotting or a deadly immune-system response called a cytokine storm that can cause multiple organ failure.
What the COVID Isn’t Deadly “narrative” hides is the fact that’s how all diseases kill you. No disease is deadly or treatable by that logic.
The mystery for doctors and scientists is not how COVID kills you, but why the descent into severe illness and death is sudden and undetectable. The only common factor found so far is pre-existing conditions, which is a concept that is also being abused by conspiracy theorists to distort reality.
Aside: WTF is a cytokine storm
You’re probably already familiar with the idea that your allergies are triggered by exposure to external factors, but it’s your body’s immune response that causes you to suffer. Taking antihistamines to relieve your allergies works because they depress your body’s tendency to produce histamines, which causes you to feel better.
You’re no less allergic to whatever it was, you’re just less sensitive to fighting it off. You’ve gained a thicker skin.
Where histamines act like “club bouncers”, essentially working to eject allergens from your body, Cytokines function like “traffic cops” that tag and flag incoming diseases pointing out the location of diseases for the other functions in your immune system, like White Blood Cells, to apprehend.
However, in a cytokine storm, the tagging and flagging system goes into overdrive, alerting the immune system that the entire body is under attack. Whether it’s a false alarm or not, your body sends every type of metaphorical security force it has, which causes all out war within your body.
Where the analogy to allergies and histamines ends though, is that your white blood cells actively destroy other cells tagged by cytokines and get programmed to attack all cells of that type. Ultimately, every organ is marked as the enemy and that’s what causes the body’s own immune response to slay the host.
3. “COVID Doesn’t Kill Healthy People”
A shorthand phrase implying “higher risk of death” due to COVID is the finding that people with “comorbidities” or “pre-existing conditions” are more susceptible to hospitalization and death. Filtered through alt-right conspiracy theory bubbles, this notion has stagnated into limp conclusions like “healthy people don’t die of COVID” or “COVID only kills unhealthy people.”
The position is taken as a means to rail against wearing masks or vaccinations and used as proof of government conspiracy. Such “mandates” against “healthy people” are evidence of systematic oppression (not systemic —that’s something different— get it right!) at the hands of a global banking elite led by Bill Gates.
Again, the lie is true in the sense that the risk of severe illness and death is significantly higher in populations with chronic comorbidities, like the older generation for example. However, it’s categorically anti-science to presume cause from the effect (i.e. people don’t die from covid because they are healthy) and scientists go to great lengths to explain that just because you aren’t aware of any pre-existing conditions doesn’t mean you don’t have them.
In that sense, the official advice for taking the vaccine is clear: you’ll never know if you’re susceptible to severe illness and death, so better to be safe than sorry.
What the “COVID Doesn’t Kill Healthy People” Narrative Conceals
Ironically, however, it is the fear of a vaccine triggering latent comorbidities and unknown pre-existing conditions that has become the de facto reason not to take it. It’s fear of discovering comorbities that is the foundation of the “Healthy People” defense.
Whilst I really really want to dunk on the senselessness of believing the vaccine is potentially more deadly than the virus, I can’t because it’s a rational empirical belief. Namely, absent any other information, it’s a sensible position based on the “evidence of your senses”, which is a foundational concept of science.
However, your senses are extremely limited in providing much evidence for anything at all if you limit all reliable experiences to your own. You can’t sense whether you infect another person with a virus and, unless you’re a dolphin, you can’t sense that they may have a pre-existing condition that could prove deadly to them either.
So, if you follow the entire argument through, to reject the vaccine on the basis that healthy people won’t die of COVID is, in effect, to also conclude that the people who died from COVID were already doomed. That’s not only a fatalistic belief that fundamentally denies free will, but in rejecting preventable medicine it condemns others to death.
Such a belief undermines notions of action, agency, autonomy, cause, effect and impact, which are related to interesting philosophical problems of death.
4. The Medical Philosophy Problem Regarding Cause of Death
The specious debate regarding whether it’s COVID or pre-existing conditions that kill people didn’t come out of nowhere. Instead it has roots in geo-politics.
Attacking the Global Standard of Death Certificates
Remember when President Trump claimed that China was undercounting its COVID casualties? The standard for determining cause of death is governed by the International Classification of Disease agreed by the World Health Organization and death certificates report both the immediate cause of death and the underlying cause of death.
Trump was attacking an international standard that is ambiguous and changeable in order to make his own performance look better. But he wasn’t alone, as anti-vaxxers and covid-deniers the world over, were up in arms claiming that death rates attributed to COVID was fake news.
Does the First Thing Kill You or the Last Thing?
Both Trump and the UK conspiracy theorists claimed the same thing: that the death rate is artificially inflated in regards to COVID. The argument they make is that none of these people were really dying of COVID; they were just dying of the disease they already had: their underlying condition.
The illusion of credibility of their claims comes from the fact that this is a genuinely interesting philosophical issue to mull over. It makes you feel more intelligent just asking the question: do people die from the first thing or the last thing that kills them?
A Question of Sudden Death
But like all conspiracy theories, they raise “big questions” in order to sidestep the much more pressing issue which is: Why are the total number of deaths skyrocketing worldwide now?
It’s the increase in sudden death that is the problem. Debating the cause of death is a strawman because we’re not only interested in why people are dying; we’re actually interested in why more people are dying now.
Furthermore, if you were to accept the COVID-truther position that “people are really just dying from conditions they already had”, rather than a new deadly virus, then you would also have to conclude that all diseases spontaneously became more deadly.
What if God Made Diseases More Deadly?
It still begs the question, “but WHY NOW?”, and the only answer that is consistent with keeping pre-existing conditions as the ultimate cause is divine intervention.
For example, imagine that everyone who was previously hospitalized from any type of cancer just suddenly and simultaneously died? You would not accept it as the simple course of the disease; you would be enraged and blame the hospitals for killing patients, which is exactly what is happening today.
Which brings us back to the problem of empirical evidence. With no life experience working in hospitals or nursing homes, then the only evidence of your senses you can rely on is intuition or other people’s social media feeds.
The Concept of Excess Death
However, if you don’t trust social media or mainstream media and all the “healthy people” around you are still alive (on account of being healthy because they’re not dead), your intuition is likely to say “this is fine.”
Everyone else might make the same mistake, because it’s only through the concept of “excess death” that we know we have a major global problem, which is also exactly what sounded the alarm in the first place.
5. “COVID Vaccines are not Needed”
Data collection is, by nature, both inconclusive and always intended to be challenged. Before the pattern of “excess death” was discovered in the data, all the data would have shown is the number of deaths by whatever killed them.
Poor media literacy teaches us to use data as a means of persuasion, but real science papers are only concerned with measuring correctly, or correctly drawing conclusions from the measurements available.
You’re misunderstanding the information if you’re only finding data to support your conclusions… instead use data to eliminate conclusions.
False Claim: “HCQ and Z-PAK Cures COVID”
Before any vaccines had been developed and in search of good news, President Trump fell into this trap when he tweeted that HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) and Z-PAK (Zithromax) were potential cures for COVID. The paper he cited claimed that common antimalarial drugs could slow the progress of COVID, yet failed to mention that the data clearly showed only 50% of patients had survived the study!
The scientists behind that paper had removed the dead patient data from the study and drawn conclusions on what remained.
To include the dead patient data though, would have utterly undermined their conclusions from the outset. Rather than the combination of Z-PAK and HCQ being a promising unproven treatment, it was actually more deadly.
As a result of such bad advice, there was a flurry of people buying Z-PAK and HCQ that led to a shortage within hours of the tweets. 300 people subsequently died from taking HCQ.
False Claim: “Vitamin D Cures COVID”
Similar stories about how COVID Vaccines are not Needed come from studies that claim Vitamin D is an effective treatment against COVID. These claims are spread as a means of giving people hope amidst great fear and uncertainty, because both products are plentiful and cheap to produce.
What the “Vitamin D Cures COVID” Narrative Conceals
However, most of us are not aware that citing “scientifically proven” health benefits of supplements is actually banned in the USA (but not other countries like the UK). The ban has had a twofold impact:
Firstly, it was perceived as an aggressive move by “Big Pharma” to shut down the alternative medicine community, which caused a lot of resentment. And, secondly, it forced supplement producers to sell products via pyramid schemes and go “underground” and use “guerilla marketing” tactics to engage communities on private social media groups.
U.S. Ban on Supplements Health Claim
Furthermore, the US ban on supplements made all the scientific papers coming out of Europe even more exotic and enticing. Suddenly, “the truth” was coming out of secret pockets around the globe.
You could get up to speed through 60 minute explanation videos on YouTube “that probably won’t be up for long” due to “censorship.” But ultimately, all of these stories are trying to incite panic buying of Vitamin D, just as what happened with HCQ… it really is as simple as that.
6. Lies, Lies and Damned Statistics
To give you a flavor of some of the tricks used to “blind you with science”, I’ll cherry pick this particular video that contains a laundry list of false premises and conclusions.
The “probability of error” is denoted as the “P-value”, and the maximum admissible number is 0.05 for any scientific paper to be considered adequate for peer-reviewed publishing. It indicates that the results were correct 95% of the time.
However, the P-value needs to be less than 0.01, to even be considered accurate. Namely, most scientists demand that data is proven to be correct 99% of the time.
What the “P-Value” Narrative Conceals
In fact, a 5% margin of error is considered to be so wide, that the concept of “P-value spam” has taken hold in scientific and statistician circles. Gaming the P-value to get it under 5% is seen as a way to dress up bad research to get new funding.
In this video, the P-value is 0.05. Even if you accepted that 5 times out of 100 experiments, this data would be totally wrong, then at least cross reference the R-value to get a sense of whether the data is reliable.
In a scatter plot above, the R-value tells you how closely the data aligns with the trend line through the graph. The closer the number is to 1, the more perfect the alignment is.
The purpose of the R-number is similar to the P-number. The P-number predicts the chances of successfully recreating the experiment, while the R-number predicts where a future number might land according to the data.
In our example, what’s weird about the scatter plot is that the line drawn through the graph doesn’t intersect any data points at all. Notice how all the dots are literally either side of the line?
In this case, the R-value is not only less than 1, it’s much less, standing at less than half at -0.43. This basically means that the actual data falls on either side of the line, exactly as the graph shows…
What the “R-Value” Narrative Conceals
Sadly, what this means is that if you were to recreate the test, the results would basically be a coin flip —heads or tails— as to what the future number might be. Put another way, if it’s more than a 50% chance that it’s heads or tails, then you may as well conclude that all future results will be random.
Obviously, that’s difficult to visualize and probably sounds too hypothetical… so look at the graph again and pretend the game is to flip a coin hundreds of times and get them to land exactly on that line. Does what you imagine look like the current scatter plot?
If yes (hopefully it is yes), that tells you how much you can trust the results of this experiment into Vitamin D preventing COVID. It’s almost not even worth drawing the line in that graph because it is so arbitrary… a total invention that could represent anything.
Aside: Occam’s Razor
In traditional Western Philosophy, there’s the concept of “Occam’s Razor”, which basically says that among competing explanations for all phenomena, the simplest explanation wins. In that sense an over-long explanation should raise a red-flag.
Applying Occam’s Razor now, you could fairly dismiss the entire video based on these P-Values and R-Values. But you could also use a gut check and ask yourself if the video really needed to be an hour long, or could the whole thing have been explained in a shorter amount of time?
If you watch it, you’ll actually find that very little time is spent talking about the specific relationship between Vitamin D and COVID. It’s mainly a video about inconclusive Vitamin D experiments.
Conspiracy theories and alternative fact videos get your attention by raising more questions than answers. They don’t need to persuade you they are right, they just need to persuade you that everything anyone else is saying is inconclusive.
Which brings us back to the coin toss: every experiment could be said to “merit more research” if all the results are random. Ain’t nobody got time for that! At some point, it’s up to you to call bullshit.
7. COVID Vaccines Causes Infertility in Women
Calling bullshit is a matter of judgement. Try it on this claim made in a petition: mRNA vaccines might cause the immune system to also attack the placenta in pregnant women.
The concern was that the vaccine targets a specific “spike protein” in COVID, which they claimed also happened to be very similar in composition to the human placenta. The letter which accompanied the petition said there were “four out of five” matching amino acids between the spike protein and the placenta.
Essentially the fear was that the immune system would not be able to distinguish between the spike protein and placenta, and therefore attack all of it.
What the “Matching Amino Acids” Narrative Conceals
On face value, all of this sounds like a very valid concern.
However, when you consider that there are only 20 amino acids in the human body that are combined to make up an estimated 80,000 to 400,000 proteins, the chances of a “four out of five” match starts to sound fairly common.
In fact, rival scientists objecting to the petition pointed out that there would need to be a minimum of 8 matching amino acids to risk a cross-reaction and showed that a database search of the human genome did not even generate a sequential match.
They went further to demonstrate how even the more complicated sequential matches aren’t rare, by comparing the spike protein in COVID to another “4 out of 5” matching sequence with another human protein called actin; a “4 out of 6” matching sequence with human collagen; and a “5 out of 6” matching sequence with human hemoglobin.
Again, what the COVID Vaccines Causes Infertility in Women narrative proves is that conspiracy theories don’t have to convince you they are right, as John Oliver said, they just have to convince you there’s more to the story.
And the problem is, there is always more to the story and it takes a lot of work to unravel and unpack false claims and explain them to the layman: it’s a lot of scientific theory that only people whose jobs depends on knowing this stuff, really care about.
8. DNR Order is State Sanctioned Murder
To COVID-Truthers, the unfolding pandemic is a “nothing burger” of fake news, where nothing is really happening and the entire pandemic is actually an engineered crisis. The whole thing is a conspiracy to separate everyone from their family members and kill off people in old folks’ homes.
A frequent claim made by conspiracy theorists is that “blanket” DNR (do not resuscitate) orders have been issued by doctors for people in care homes is a power move by the government to allow doctors to lawfully kill its own citizens.
Terrifying, right? All because doctors don’t want to give the “kiss of life” to a person carrying an infectious disease!
But talk to a doctor and you discover that resuscitation is 1% the “kiss of life” and 99% pressing down very hard on the sternum of the rib cage. This always carries the risk of breaking the patient’s ribs, in all patients, but is an extremely high risk of breaking brittle and fragile chest bones when resuscitating the elderly.
So arguably a DNR after a respiratory illness like COVID could be considered more humane as their quality of life will no doubt worsen.
9. COVID Vaccines Inject Nanotechnology
This claim is actually true, but again not in the sense of a tracking device sense which is what everyone really means. The Pfizer vaccine does actually use nanotechnology but it’s super boring.
It’s not a tiny little robot with Dennis Quaid piloting it, like in Innerspace. The Pfizer nanotechnology is basically a tiny fat bubble: a “lipid casing” carrying all the RNA.
The Global Elite Illuminati Lizard People don’t actually need to inject you with nanobots to track you anyway. They can just use your phone as it’s pinging GPS satellites even when it’s off.
10. Vaccines Lead to Autism
People will cite all kinds of possible side effects as a reason to not get vaccinated, but in most cases, the true “Anti-vaxxer” position has nothing to do with the vaccine and everything to do with distrust of the government and not understanding empirical data. One of the most entrenched positions is that vaccines have always been bad because they “cause autism.”
This is the backstop position of the entire debate and the movement was actually started in the UK in response to the MMR vaccine (which America accepted immediately and never had a problem with). I mention that because it shows how the internet and social media creates new global monocultures, where subcultures in other countries find global partners online.
The claim that vaccines cause Autism is relatively simple. The argument is, “just look at how the Autism rates have increased since the MMR vaccine was introduced.
Again, it’s sort of true Autism rates have increased since vaccinations. But the data shows correlation, not causation.
What the “Vaccine Leads to Autism” Narrative Conceals
Before Autism was recognized as a medical diagnosis, a lot of similar behaviors were associated with mental health conditions like schizophrenia. Cultures would hide those people at home and out of the public eye.
As medical science has gotten more sophisticated, Autism is now more readily recognized and diagnosed. Society has gotten better at measuring it and the stigma associated with the disease has gone, so people can talk about it more freely and we’re counting it rather than hiding it.
In the future, you can guarantee a similar argument will be made about sex education. People will claim that sex education and tolerance “turned more people gay” or created more trans people.
But the reality is that these identities have been historically driven underground and thus would have been systemically (not systematically, get it right!) undercounted.
It’s the empirical data that has helped open society up to recognize that a lot of the comforting stories we’ve been telling ourselves about our harmonious societies basically ignore most of the facts (case in point, it’s actually the alarming number of teen suicides that switched people on to recognizing a trans identity).
11. “Public Health Policy is a Government Conspiracy”
The ability for societies to vaccinate any population en masse is a relatively modern invention that was only developed in the last hundred years. Even the concept of “Public Health” is new.
Before that, people literally did shit where they eat. Out of second floor windows onto the streets below and such living conditions caused a horrifying amount of disease.
It wasn’t technology that stopped the spread of disease. Flushable toilets were not invented until the 1850s, which is also around the time that the ladies room was invented, and they were not commonplace in homes until 1920.
Typhoid, cholera, polio and hepatitis are all diseases caused by “fecal-oral transmission” and your survival against all of those diseases is for three stupidly simple reasons:
- Access to clean water (public health policy)
- Everyone washing their hands (preventable medicine)
- Vaccines in case people don’t wash their hands (interventional medicine)
What the “Public Health is a Conspiracy” Narrative Conceals
The fact that you may not even know that your poop and everyone else’s poop is effectively deadly is because of the overwhelming success of public health policy.
The link between gender and public health is no coincidence either. Until this pandemic, the modern concept of public health was generally restricted to the concept of sexual health and concerns for sexually transmitted diseases.
Recognition of sexual identity surged in the 80s, not because society got more enlightened but because of the fear of AIDS. Sexual identity became a way of policing society from a public health standpoint.
The religious fundamentalists who claim that public health is an oppressive government intervention come out in full support when they can vote on curtailing women’s reproductive rights, block trans people from the military or deny service to gay couples. All of that rhetoric effectively follows the parameters of a public health debate that is masquerading as a “question of morality.”
12. “The Plandemic”
One of the most surprising aspects of the entire shambles that has been our contemporary society’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, is how many “dress rehearsals” there have been to a crisis of this nature.
COVID truthers point to the suspicious timing of Event 201 a World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “exercise” which took place in October 2019 (literally weeks before the coronavirus must’ve been discovered in Wuhan) as evidence of a global conspiracy.
I admit it, that looks super sketchy! But what this narrative does not mention is what a few Google searches also reveal in a matter of minutes:
- The UK Government created a 70-page Pandemic Preparedness Strategy in 2011
- President Obama continuously funded pandemic preparedness through his presidency but President Trump immediately cut off funding in 2016 when he took power
- The World Bank issued Pandemic Bonds in 2017
- The World Health Organization ran a pandemic preparedness exercise in 2018
As you can see, a global pandemic has been a major concern for Western societies for more than a decade. Such an obsession makes even more sense when you consider that we’ve watched the Far East and Global South deal with four pandemics in the same period! Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Ebola and Zika!
There is No Denying it… Coincidences ARE SPOOKY
There’s so much more to say about the odd coincidences that all conspiracy theories are able to tease out in a moment of crisis. I literally fall for them every time too.
I remember in 2005 when the London Bombings on 7/7 happened, there was a actually a “disaster response exercise” the same day so that, in fact, the real attack happened during the exercise. As a Londoner, that seemed suspicious, I’m not gonna lie.
In 2001, after 9/11 happened, a dossier was released that said US Intelligence Agencies had been warned of “theatrical style attacks” intended to be broadcast live over global news only months before. And again, when the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka in 2004, I remember reports came out saying that the government had rejected buying a Tsunami early warning system.
The point is you can find these kinds of stories around every single crisis. When you hear all of these stories they’re spooky at the time and they are no less spooky to think about now.
Apparently, we already knew the future and always had the means to protect ourselves from the impending disaster, if only we would have listened. The coincidences leading up to the event are so mind boggling, that I don’t blame you for believing it’s a conspiracy.
What the “Plandemic” Narrative Conceals
But what the grand plan global conspiracy narrative forgets is that we live in a “global capitalist society” and the single moral imperative of this ideology is to manage risk. Don’t confuse capitalism with consumerism because whilst we’re buying things as individuals, at a macro level, the entire purpose of all labor can be boiled down to a risk management strategy.
I’m not saying that to be an apologist for “Global Capitalism” but I am saying that a society which profits from risk taking will naturally become obsessed with risk analysis. Thus the spooky coincidences which emerge around predicted future catastrophes may be a matter of healthy intuitions rather than evil master plans.
The Ultimate Reason to Reject Conspiracy Theories
Every scenario presented is always what I can only characterize as a “diagnosis of the future”. In all of these narratives, the present moment is always cast as a disease wreaking havoc on society, and the body politic is showing all kinds of deadly symptoms, of which the diagnosis — or prognosis— is terminal.
The problem I have with “future by diagnosis” style thinking is that it always denies choice. Whatever narrative trap you fall into, the story inevitably leads you into a mental cul de sac where you’re the victim of a conspiracy and there’s nothing you can do about it. It leads to hopelessness.
Future by diagnosis thinking also has a built in rhetorical device: Received wisdom is that the future is impossible to predict and no one can possibly know what is going on. Which means that anyone who can paint a convincing picture of it and seem to confidently predict it must be saying something very important and the rest of us need to catch up.
What the “Dark Future” Narratives Conceal
The thing is though, that’s a deceptive narrative and a social trick. The future is actually super easy to predict; we’re predicting it literally all the time.
Furthermore, we’re actually really good at predicting the far future. So the “wildest” dreams about the future are often closer to reality than you’d imagine.
Even the near-future is relatively easy to predict. It’s only as the future gets closer to the present that we struggle to predict what will happen next.
It’s only the immediate future that is impossible to predict. If we were to reconstruct that concept and call it the near-present moment though, we wouldn’t even try to predict it as it is pure chance.
So the further out you are willing to predict the more likely you are to be right. Which means that a lot of these theories are just pattern recognition, systems based thinking or a “lens” as critical race/queer/feminist/ theorists and identitarians might say.
Is Anyone Saying Anything New?
When in doubt, the question to consider is not necessarily whether these theorists are saying anything wrong, but to examine whether that are saying anything new? When you dig into the details, you’ll see that the substance of every argument is mostly about establishing the validity of the lens itself as a mental filter —a way of seeing— rather than saying anything particularly original about the reality of the world we live in.
The upshot of these theories almost always conclude the exact same thing. Every conspiracy basically creates new names for the same old bogeymen:
- Our Culture is being eroded (e.g. led by China!)
- Rich People are trying to install an economic system to Oppress Ordinary People (e.g. led by Bill Gates!)
- Money Buys Power and the Government Is Corrupt (e.g. led by lizard people!)
- There’s a Secret Master Race poised to take over the world (e.g. led by tech companies investing in Nazi scientists!)
In the end, if you’re still believing what you always believed… Why do you need a theory to justify it anyway? You don’t.
People only need theories when they’re ready to embrace new ideas. And forge a new way of life.