I’d like to ask, since you do discuss it (a rare quality), do you think it is a valid assertion, to say that:
… back to my question,
Are you yourself promoting an increase in Sweden from 5 vaccines to 54 or 78? If not, would it be fair for me to ask you if you are an “anti-vaxxer”?
Are you an “anti-vaxxer”?
Sweden has had a 5 vaccine standard for, I don’t know, 40 or 50 years? I’d intuit that the number of Swedes opposing this can be counted on 1 hand. There is no “anti-vaxxer“ community in Sweden.
But nevertheless the modern Swede adopts this rhetoric, the accusatory “Are you an anti-vaxxer?”, in a decontextualized way in which it is meaningless: it applies to nothing that exists organically in Sweden, an effect (anti) for which there is no cause (54 to 78 vaccines by age 18).
Yet it is wielded today by Swedes who have no idea what they are talking about.
We can demonstrate.
To any Swede:
Wow. 5 vaccines.
James Spione writes:
It is an old truism that Americans take their freedom for granted. Little did I expect, however, how readily so many of us would willingly surrender our autonomy, given the right set of circumstances. As it turns out, in 2020/21 a global pandemic provided just the right conditions for the implementation of an extraordinarily comprehensive system of social control. As you read this, the way our society works is being radically altered at every level and yet most are pretending it isn’t happening.
But this is real. Whether the coronavirus has personally touched you and your loved ones, or not. Whether you “believe in science,” or you are skeptical and cautious of government mandates, or think this is all a big plot. It really doesn’t matter. The following processes are unfolding right now—and in their totality they represent a radical shift in the way our society functions…
1. Autocratic governance – For well over a year, we have witnessed the normalization of governance through executive order, the mandates of individual leaders which supersede existing laws and circumvent normal democratic processes. Autocratic rule has by and large been accepted by the public. Nearly all personal behavior and interaction, including travel, work, recreation and education, is affected and in some sense controlled by these superseding orders. The acceptance of this radical change has been enabled by a classic
2. Campaign of fear – Authoritarian societies must always have a powerful, scary, threatening existential enemy to whip the population into a terror and make them receptive to radical social and political changes. A constantly changing, always present, potentially fatal virus, covered 24/7 by mass media and relayed into the social media echo chamber, reaching all citizens on multiple delivery devices, fulfills this role with unprecedented 21st-century efficiency. This has created an unending
3. State of emergency – “Two weeks to flatten the curve” has gradually morphed into a lasting behavioral management structure, with no stated end point. Even when the pandemic seasonally wanes as it is now in the US, many of these policies are staying in place, such as widespread routine testing, health checks and surveys, isolation and quarantine based on positive tests instead of actual illness, etc. More worrisome are plans to codify what should be temporary measures into permanent structures. The most concerning of these is
4. Official identification papers – The need for state identification to perform ordinary daily tasks is perhaps the defining hallmark of an authoritarian system. Commonly known as “vaccine passports,” this is an enormously consequential shift to make basic civil rights—travel, work, education, access to food, supplies and necessities—conditional upon behavioral compliance. Once an infrastructure like this is in place, the conditions required for continued access to these rights can easily (i.e. will) be changed by authorities. It is hard to overstate how dangerous this is: it represents a profound departure from hundreds of years of Western democracy. If widespread implementation of this idea is successful, it has the potential to hand near total control of all social and economic interaction to a handful of state leaders.
5. Implementation of medical apartheid – In tandem with vaccine passports, the long-discredited idea of “separate but equal” is now returning with a vengeance. Those who are not vaccinated are already in some places (such as stadiums in New York) being physically herded into separate areas, with plans for further restricting access to certain stores, businesses, events and entertainment. No one seems to be able to explain the grouping together of unvaccinated people—presumably more vulnerable to disease?—as a public health measure. The whole idea of herd immunity is to have those with immunity mingling throughout the entire herd, thereby mitigating viral spread. It should be obvious that this policy of separation is not based on the greater good, but rather is motivated by political expedience and is direct punishment for disobedience to central authority. The goal is to create further pressure for compliance.
6. Destruction of healthy social supports – Every facet of how people interact is being subsumed by this new structural order. Assembly and face-to-face interaction of any kind has been discouraged or outright banned, depending on where you live. In-person interaction is now assumed to be potentially toxic and harmful. Even widespread vaccination has not altered this change in the social landscape, as authorities have stressed that the shots neither confer immunity nor keep the virus from spreading. This has been devastating to the psychology and spirit of the populace. People now pin their hopes on autocrats to allow them access to normal, healthy interaction.
7. Powerful moral belief system – You can’t get wide swaths of society to accept, let alone enthusiastically assist in building, a strict authoritarian regime without giving them a powerful sense of purpose and righteousness. Caring, protection, safety, and a sense of group solidarity are powerful motivators. This has been encouraged through
8. Widespread Allegiance Rituals – Wearing a mask, staying home, staying six feet apart, reporting your daily health status to work or school, wearing two masks, etc.—and now being vaccinated—are not just public health measures, but important cultural signifiers of being a good citizen, signaling one’s solidarity with a cause and obedience to important new public safety rules. These have been encouraged through the use of
9. Ubiquitous Slogans and Mottos – Lockstep messaging on billboards, highway signs, in advertising and on mass and social media, short phrases repeated endlessly to frame public thought into simple moral directives.
10. Mass Paranoia – The governing idea that all people are potential threats at all time—“sick until proven healthy”—has now been accepted by a large portion of the populace. Even when the virus seasonally wanes (“cases” down 90% as they are now) this way of thinking has taken deep root, with fear of the unvaccinated now working in tandem with fear of the virus itself, even though covid is showing every sign of becoming an endemic—i.e. normal—part of the public health landscape. This is being expressed through another classic building block of an authoritarian society, the
11. Vilification of the Other – In the past, this group has often been a well-defined ethnic or religious minority, or a minority/dissenting political party or movement. In this modern, technocratic version of fascism, the “other” is a more loosely defined category of “anti-vaxxers,” “denialists,” “conspiracy theorists,” “extremists” and/or “the vaccine hesitant.” The important part here is the dynamic of projecting society’s ills onto a scapegoat group at which to be enraged and disgusted, to be feared and shunned and silenced.
12. Strong Partisan Influence – This movement towards authoritarian control of the population, in the United States at least, is heavily weighted by political affiliation. Four years of media-stoked outrage at Trump, the last of which was marked by extreme frustration at his weak policy on the coronavirus, has segued seamlessly in the minds of many Democrats and liberals into redirected anger at anyone who challenges any pandemic policy whatsoever, no matter how damaging or questionable.
13. Enormous social pressure to conform – From persuasion to bullying to coercion to shunning, there is widespread and increasing pressure on those who remain skeptical of this entire process to fall in line. This is reaching its apex with the vaccination issue, driving a wedge into society that is further undermining normal, healthy social interaction, resulting in dysfunctional workplaces, broken friendships and fractured families.
14. Pervasive Censorship – Not just random opinions on social media, but highly credentialed scientists, epidemiologists, and doctors with decades of medical or pharmaceutical experience who stray from the acceptable scope of opinion have been systematically silenced by enormous tech corporations like YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook. Most concerning is the suppression of information about helpful, even life-saving treatments from well-known drugs with many decades of safety and efficacy data. Even public testimony in front of Congress, a symbolic emblem of a democratically functioning state, has been censored. Cheering on this assault on democratic process, normal medical peer review, rational critique and dissent are the
15. True believers – Whether in the media, on social media, or one’s friends in real life, there are those who have consistently pushed the envelope to ever more extreme reactions and “solutions.” A well-known progressive writer mused online about the need to set up detention camps for those who won’t vaccinate; a NY Times columnist unironically suggested critical thinking about the pandemic is a bad idea, and that the top three searches on Google on any topic are always the most factual; another journalist posited that we need to start shunning the vaccine hesitant. In the social media space, namecalling and accusations of being a “threat to everyone’s health” or “causing harm” are hurled at those that critically examine the official narrative by increasingly angry individuals who see themselves as sane, noble protectors of the public health, a rationalization that justifies every aggressive move they make. Every authoritarian movement has its brownshirts, and this one is no exception.
16. Extraordinary level of denial – Like the Good Germans who had no idea where those trains were going, there is a widespread, bizarre avoidance and ignoring of the development of all of these technological and social structures, which are unfolding rapidly in plain sight.
This is way more than a public health response to a pandemic. I urge everyone to break the cycle of denial and look fearlessly at what is happening. Continued acceptance of this extreme remaking of society will have grave consequences for our and our children’s future.
Look again at what I just wrote, as a simple list. Tell me this is all okay:
1. Autocratic governanceJames Spione
2. Campaign of fear
3. State of emergency
4. Official identification papers
5. Medical apartheid
6. Destruction of healthy social supports
7. Powerful moral belief system
8. Widespread allegiance rituals
9. Ubiquitous slogans and mottos
10. Mass paranoia
11. Vilification of the Other
12. Strong partisan influence
13. Enormous social pressure to conform
14. Pervasive censorship
15. True believers
16. Extraordinary denial