Three people have sent me links to Paul Kingsnorth‘s recent two-part diatribe opposing vaccines and vaccine mandates. Two of them said they were persuaded by his argument. Here’s what I replied to them:
“The Vaccine Moment” is a warmed-over op-ed, driven by fear, poorly thought out, and pretty much fact-free. You know, like a Thomas Friedman piece.
I respect your opinion, and Paul Kingsnorth’s, though not without great sadness.
My viewpoints and decisions on CoVid-19 are informed by the science, in particular by the work of epidemiologists, a number of whom I worked with for two years with the Ontario Ministry of Health during the aftermath of the SARS pandemic, preparing for the “next” pandemic, which we are now struggling with.
I have no love of government bureaucracies, and even less for “law enforcement” agencies. But I believe absolutely in the wisdom of getting vaccinated, including getting a booster now, not only for my own protection but for the protection of my fellow citizens.
When Paul Kingsnorth says “It is [a] fact that these vaccines, whatever their efficacy in other areas, do not prevent transmission of the virus”, he is simply wrong, and in saying that he is spreading misinformation. The facts are:
- Vaccines drastically reduce the likelihood of being infected, and, even when a vaccinated person is infected, they are dramatically less likely to infect others because their body produces much less of the virus.
- When you are vaccinated, the probability of getting infected (and hence possibly getting chronic Long Covid diseases) is much lower, the probability of being hospitalized even if you do get infected is much lower, and the probability of dying if you are hospitalized is much lower.
On that basis, I have been double vaxxed and boosted, and did so as soon as I was able to and without hesitation or concern. We have a century of experience with vaccines, their development, and their risks. The risk is not zero, but is much lower than the risk of not being vaccinated.
My opinion on that is completely unconnected to my opinions on government oppression, or on what steps should be taken when people refuse to get vaccinated. Those are political issues, and they should not be muddied with the scientific issue of whether vaccination is effective.
I know people of colour, and people who are poor and/or sick, and the way they are treated by government and law enforcement and health agencies is deplorable. They have every justification in distrusting people and systems which have never done a thing for them except to label and harass them. I still encourage them to get vaccinated, because it is the informed and morally appropriate thing to do, not because if they don’t they’re going to end up in some “camp”.
For the same reason, I wear seat belts and I don’t drink and drive, because it is the informed and morally appropriate thing to do, not because I fear being arrested if I fail to comply.
Am I concerned about overreach by the rich and powerful in the exercise of control over citizens? Of course. We have been propagandized and conditioned by the rich and powerful all our lives to act in their interests (go to school, don’t challenge authority, go to work, be a ‘responsible’ adult ie responsible consumer, accept that corporations have the same rights as citizens, pretend you live in an actual democracy, do what you’re told, obey the rules etc). That’s ghastly, and it’s getting worse.
But to conflate this outrageous abuse of power with a belief that vaccines that happen to have been developed and urged by the powerful are evil by association, is just muddle-headed thinking, and it has largely created the horrible mess we’re in right now.
But we believe what we want to believe, and no one can change what we want to believe.
Paul is a brilliant thinker and has done some excellent research and writing on collapse and how we might best prepare for and/or cope with it. But when it comes to epidemiology he knows diddly-squat, and his spreading of misinformation on vaccines is, in a way, an abuse of the power he has acquired by virtue of his recognition as a leading thinker on collapse. He’s not alone — collapsniks from The Automatic Earth to Dmitry Orlov to Charles Eisenstein to Jim Kunstler have gone down the same path, pontificating on epidemiology when they know nothing about it. Doing a little personal research does not make you a credible expert on anything.
That’s my rant. I’m immensely disappointed in Paul’s articles, and in Dmitry’s and Ilargi’s and Charles’ and Jim’s. They are a sign of the madness that accelerating collapse is inflicting on all of us. We are no longer thinking clearly. We have given up on the truth as even something that exists, and are now reacting purely with our emotions, following the same pattern as the Trumpists and the other neo-fascists. It does not bode well for our capacity to deal with the catastrophic crises we are just beginning to witness.
As you probably know, I don’t believe we have free will or control over what we believe or what we do. So while I am disappointed, I am not surprised, and don’t blame anyone for their particular way of acting out their distress over what is happening. We’re all doing our best. What that will lead to, is anyone’s guess.