This post is not political. I mean, it’s not about supporting one political party or another.
The pledge of allegiance is recited by every child in the United States of America, every day at school. Each morning over the school’s public address system, a student leads the day’s pledge of allegiance:
I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic,
for which it stands,
As mentioned, recited every day, in every classroom, in every school, by each student:
“…standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance
“Under God” was inserted in 1954, into the version adopted as standard in 1942. There is some controversy about a religious insertion into the pledge, but that’s not the point of this post. Other than the line “under God”, the pledge, of allegiance is not controversial in the United States. It’s opposed by almost no one. Politically, among voters for Democrats and voters for Republicans the pledge is made without objection, or let us say, without “hesitancy”. There is no correlation between political party affiliation and pledge hesitancy (or objection).
Of course, having just written that, it’s clear that what was true in my experience as a kid in the 70s and 80s, may be in fact less true now. Dis-unity is ever more present now. Interest in and acceptance of the other declines, and in increasingly extreme form: tolerance of the existence of the other seems to approach a lower limit (zero).
Perhaps this is a function of mass media, or the changes in it over time. It no longer resembles what I read, and watched, in former decades. The entire operational model of mass media today, is predicated on disunity. The entire framework of journalism
-- or, of "journalisming", as coined (apparently) by Matt Taibbi on June 3, 2021, here: https://taibbi.substack.com/p/congratulations-elitists-liberals --
is predicated (yes) only on political team affiliation.
Politics today is not, …it has nothing to do with principles, ideas, structures, nor argument between competing ideas and structures, in a mutual search either for compromise, or better, for synthesis and transformation of ideas. Synthesis comes from shared and challenged arguments, and from reflection that follows that generates improved ideas and structure.
This is possible where competitors share an interest either in what’s true, or in better representations (true is not enough; things need to be both true, and well representative of reality). Something like that. It’s what we sort of grew up believing in.
It’s hard to recognize anything like that today. Instead we’re served something that looks a lot more like fandom:
I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan. So any time the New York Giants move the football, that's bad for me. There is no value (for me) in anything the New York Giants do. And vice versa for Giants fans: everything good for the Cowboys is bad for the Giants.
That’s the logic of sport. And of “journalisming” (the link is to the same Matt Taibbi article).
Politics? Not so much.
C o v i d
I’m from the US and lived there 50 years. I live in Sweden now. Not for “political” reasons. People I know in Sweden are taking Covid injections. Increasingly, more and more. No doubt, they all have good intentions. They believe they’re doing it to protect their own health and the health of others.
Let me get straight to the point: I have a doubt about the facts. Not about closely held beliefs and individual good intentions. I have a doubt about the facts.
Personally I’ve been interested since about 1980 in the use of language in media, the rhetoric — “the messaging”, as Bill Gates refers to it often, throughout 2020/2021 — of Covid. I’ve watched media performances most of my life by habit, a habit I formed early, of reading every word on every page of the daily newspaper and the national news magazines (as a kid we had subscriptions to 4 of them always), and watching countless hours of tv news commentary, together with continuous doses of public radio, in the US.
The message is:
they really want you to get these injections
S W E D E N
Covid restrictions have been mild compared to much of the rest of the world. There has been no mask mandate the entire time. Only starting in December 2020 masks were “suggested”, only on trains, and only during morning and evening busy hours (commute times). Schools never closed. Shops and restaurants have been open the whole time. Some tables are taped over to reduce seating. For the most part, if you don’t watch Swedish TV, or listen to people who do, you can imagine that nothing is happening. Almost.
What about the data?
Just facts. Data from official source (scb), Table by Tommy Lennhamn:
Sweden, ranking deadliest years since 2002, mortality in 10 year age bins:
1 is deadliest. 19 is least deadly
2020 seems not the right year for raising alarm. It’s at or near least deadliest year in 7 out of 10 age bins, and on the sunny side of the half way point in 2 out of 10 age bins. It’s deadly in only one bin (age 90+).
While some say,
OK, but we should do everything we can.
So you’re saying you want the elderly to die?!
Well, um, no. But I am saying:
I don’t believe there is, or ever will be, a vaccine that makes the elderly immortal.
I’m also saying that I have a question:
if we should all be “locked down”, masked, and injected with pharmaceutical products because of extraordinary respiratory disease in 2020, then in which years, past and future, should we notbe “locked down”, masked, and injected with pharmaceutical products?
Another way of looking at this question for Sweden is a look at mortality rate for Sweden, each year since 1900:
I drew a red line across the graph at the level of 2020’s mortality rate. As you can see, 114 of the previous 120 years are above the red line (deadlier). 2020 was the 7th least deadly year in the last 120 years.
That being the case:
should we have been locked down and vaccinated for respiratory illness in 114 of the last 120 years?
What will the next 120 years look like? If everyone gets vaccinated for respiratory illness in 2021, will mortality drop below the 2020 rate?
There is something else. Look at 2019.
2019 was the least deadly year in Sweden since 1900, and likely the least deadly in the entire history of Sweden. Combine that fact with the deadliness yearly rankings in the first table above. Here I excerpt 2019 and 2020:
19 = least deadly. Unusually few people died in 2019, in 9 out of 10 10-year-age-bins. Only the 90+ age bin is noteworthy in 2020, with a “2” (second deadliest year since 2002. 2002 was worse, so rank 1)
One may reasonably infer that among the oldest Swedes, those who in more normal years (see the tables above) would have died in 2019, instead had their lives extended into 2020, and then died there. The logic involves the obvious fact that humans are not immortal. And that people already older than average life expectancy are more likely to die the older they get, as is the case following a year (2019) in which elderly mortality in Sweden was very low.
Lennhamn analyzes this and other factors in his post.
You say: “eliminate COVID anyway”
Sounds like a nice idea. But is it? Let’s ask first,
“Eliminate Covid” may not mean what you think it means.
…considering that influenza-like illnesses have https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9466772/ always https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11705487/ had https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15728170/ myriad <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15227858/ causes http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.286.20.2537-JWR1128-2-1—rhinoviruses, influenza viruses, other coronaviruses, adenoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.—https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/01/04/peter-doshi-pfizer-and-modernas-95-effective-vaccines-we-need-more-details-and-the-raw-data/
Then, will elimination of any single cause (Sars Cov2):
- eliminate respiratory illness? (no),
- extend the lives of very elderly people near end of life? (no)
- reduce the mortality rate in the population? (no)
“Eliminate Covid” may mean something else
The global plan announced by Bill Gates:
1. testing 20% of the world population every week continuously.
2. Detecting outbreaks early
3. Response via “pandemic fire squads”
4. Very rapid (2 days?) development of new vaccine in response to (2), made possible by mRNA technology
5. Global roll out of new vaccine, before the outbreak becomes pandemic
The whole world will be tested every 5 weeks. So:
- new outbreak detected,
- pandemic fire squad dispatched, numerous times every year,
- rapid Vx developed and
- injected into everyone multiple times a year, BEFORE detected outbreaks (2) become pandemic, and
- this is a strategy that conforms with “the best science”.
Note of course that nearly 100% of these “future pandemics prevented by new Vx” are completely imaginary.