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Brownstone Institute

Who Ultimately Wins in a Society of Flash Mob Moralists?

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From  the Brownstone Institute

BY Thomas HarringtonTHOMAS HARRINGTON

A big story in the hockey world in recent days centers on the Boston Bruins’ decision to offer, and then rescind, a contract to promising 20-year-old defenseman Matthew Miller.

Miller was drafted in the 4th round of the 2020 NHL draft by the Arizona Coyotes, who subsequently renounced their rights to the player when two journalists from the Arizona Republic reported the player had been convicted at age 14 in an Ohio juvenile court of serially abusing a developmentally disabled fellow student of color.

As a result of the same stories, apparently spurred by testimony given by the victim and his family, Miller was stripped of his hockey scholarship at the University of North Dakota.

Two years later, after talking with Miller and his agent the Bruins management decided that Miller was worthy of a second chance.

However, after a fierce media/social media storm ensued—in the midst of which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that he would have the last word on deciding who would be eligible to play in the NHL—the Bruins rescinded the recently signed contract, saying they had discovered unspecified “new information” about Miller in recent days.

And thus ended yet another of our era’s online morality plays, dramas wherein the social capital of personal aggrievement, magnified by the vicarious expressions of outrage emanating from largely anonymous online mobs, invariably rules the day.

I’ve got nothing against morally-infused personal outrage. Indeed, I’ve got plenty of it. Moreover, I am well aware of the role it has played in regulating behavior in social collectives throughout history.

But I also know that one of the things that made the emergence of modern democracies possible was the subordination of mob-style moral outrage, and its twin brother personal vengeance, to the rule of law.

Is the application of the law often imperfect? Absolutely. Does the restitution it offers, when it indeed does offer restitution at all, almost always fall well short of what the victims of the injustice believe is owed to them? No doubt.

The founders of our institutions were not unaware of these limitations. But they believed that flawed justice such as this was infinitely superior to the alternative, which they correctly understood to be a society “regulated” by some mixture or another of personal vendettas and mob rule.

I have read the news reports about what Matthew Miller did to Isaiah Meyer-Crothers during the course of what is said to be several years of bullying, allegedly starting when both were 7 years old. The incident most commonly adduced by the press to exemplify this sad period of harassment—Miller’s getting Meyer-Crothers to lick a push-pop that had been dipped in urine—is repellent beyond belief. And I know that if I were Isaiah and/or his family I’d have a very hard time ever forgiving him for these aggressions and for the way it no doubt damaged the disabled youngster’s psychological well-being.

But does it mean that Miller, himself a probable victim of some sort of abuse or neglect to engage in such sadism at such a young age, has to be a social pariah for life, unable to exercise his skills in the workplace? This, when a veritable host of professional athletes who have done far worse things as adults (e.g. Ray Lewis, Craig MacTavish) have been breezily pardoned and welcomed back into the playing and/or management ranks. Apparently it’s much easier to go after a 20-year-old kid than an established star whose jersey you bought for yourself or your kids.

To pose the above question is not, as so many eager and zealous moralists in the comments section of the oh-so-liberal Boston Globe sports section and other places would have us believe, the same as “excusing what Miller did” or being in any way heedless of the serious damage that his childhood/adolescent actions had on Meyer-Crothers. Nor does it imply that Matthew Miller’s transgressions were just a case of “boys being boys” or that you believe he has been reborn as a moral angel.

As is usually the case, things are far more complex than that.

It is my understanding that Matthew Miller was remitted to the existing system of juvenile justice, did whatever putatively proportional penance was levied on him by the system, discharged, and allowed to get on with his life.

And in keeping with the fundamental precepts of juvenile justice, rooted in the belief that no one should be condemned in perpetuity for acts committed before the onset of full adult moral reasoning, the records were sealed. And as far as I’ve been able to tell, he has not been remitted to the justice system since that time.

When he was drafted in 2020, someone, however, violated the spirit of this principle and brought up Miller’s juvenile transgressions and contacted the victim who expressed his dismay at the possibility that Miller might be afforded the possibility of going on to a life of wealth and fame. “Everyone thinks he’s so cool that he gets to go to the NHL, but I don’t see how anyone can be cool when you pick on someone and bully someone your entire life.”

This is a perfectly understandable sentiment, one that is expressed a lot more tamely than what I might have said were I in his same position.

However, the bigger question is if, in a supposed society of laws, these more than legitimate feelings about seeing your one-time tormentor experience recognition and the possibility for success can and should be used as a means of imposing—through media-social media-business collusion—a de facto form of double jeopardy on someone who has theoretically paid his debt to society?

Do we really want to live in a society where, if you can recruit a posse of infuriated and media-savvy moralists you can supersede not only the intended effects of the law, but perhaps more importantly in the long run, the possibilities of healing in both the aggressor and his victim? Do we really want to effectively lock two young people into the tormentor-victim dynamic for the rest of their lives?

According to this logic, prison education programs like the one I taught in for many years, and where I experienced the most vibrant and meaningful classroom interactions of my teaching career, should not exist.

Rather as someone conscious of some of the heinous things that my would-be students had done, I should, according to the logic at play in the Miller case, have haughtily rebuffed my colleagues when they asked me to join the effort, telling them in no uncertain terms that “I don’t in any way wish to support or dignify ‘animals’ such as these.”

I would then proudly tell everyone that would listen about how I had strongly enunciated and defended my clear and unbending moral principles in the face of requests to glorify criminals and their crimes.

Again, is this really a model of moral comportment that we want to advance and normalize?

Sadly, the answer of many—apparently secure in the belief that  their immaculate children could never, ever be agents of evil—to this question appears to be “yes.”

Indeed, wasn’t it a simple variation of this dynamic of stigmatize, dehumanize and shun—rooted in the idea that evil is always pure and located elsewhere—that psychologically underwrote the worst repressions of the High Covid era?

As bad as this practice of eschewing the prospect of healing in favor of preening self-regard and continued aggrieved tension is, it may not even be the worst part of the new trend toward widespread armchair moralizing.

Arguably more troubling is the damage such practices do to what might be called our society’s “economy of concern.” Like most everything about us, our ability to pay attention to the world outside our heads is limited. The kingpins of the new cyber economy know this, and are laser-focused on getting us to give as much of this scarce and extremely valuable resource to them during the course of our days.

They do so most obviously to sell us things we often don’t need or intrinsically want. But they also do so to keep us from thinking about how the social structures they have a huge say in shaping do or do not serve our long-term interests.

How?

By encouraging us to spend cognitive, emotional and moral energies on people and things that ultimately lie well beyond our own radius of personal control.

Like, for example, on young hockey players who made ugly mistakes as a child and early adolescent or, conversely, on the truly heart-wrenching stories of his victim.

Will fulminating online about the young hockey player’s past really solve any of our real problems?

Obviously not.

But it will take energy away from addressing big and structurally-imposed violations of basic rights happening today.

Every minute spent talking today about a single child-on-child abuse case legally resolved, however imperfectly, 6 years ago is a minute not spent addressing the cruelties and injustices of government-on-child abuse taking place today, much of it on the name of “fighting Covid.” outrages eloquently and passionately denounced here by Laura Rosen Cohen .

In effect, when we allow ourselves to be swept up into object-free campaigns of moral virtue-signaling about past personal cases, we are giving those in big entrenched centers of power much more space to enact and consolidate enveloping systems of citizen abuse and social control. And if you think these entrenched centers of power are beyond thinking of how to stimulate diversionary campaigns of small-bore outrage, then it’s time you wake up to the new realities of our world.

A half-century ago, certain activists declared that now “The personal is the political.” It was an alluring soundbite and like so many alluring soundbites overly simplistic. Should we strive to always inject the personal concerns of the citizenry into policy-making discussions? Of course.

That said, there is, and must always be, as Hannah Arendt reminded us, a barrier between our private and public selves as well as an acceptance, as excruciatingly difficult as it might be to do, of the unfortunate role of unrequited tragedy in the lives of us all.

Do I wish that the pain of Meyer-Crothers could have been eliminated by Ohio’s system of juvenile justice? I obviously do. But sadly, that’s not how it works. A public justice system is not designed to eliminate pain, but rather attenuate its onward march, and in this way, provide a possible opening for healing.

The internet has, for better or worse, created new forms of social organization and political mobilization. As we have seen in the Miller case, the Meyer-Crothers family, backed by journalists and online activists, has sought, in effect, to gain a measure of the moral payback the justice system was unable to provide them.

Is it understandable? Yes. Is it their right? Certainly.

Is using these new methods of mobilization to effectively override the legal system and create what are effectively vigilante forms of retribution good for the future of our society and culture?

Probably not.

While it may make a lot of people feel good about themselves at the moment, it will only further corrode trust in the rule of law— a shift that always favors the powerful—and take valuable energy away from the urgent task of fighting massive and systematic government and corporate assaults on our dignity and freedom.

Author

  • Thomas Harrington

    Thomas Harrington, Senior Brownstone Scholar and 2023 Brownstone Fellow, is Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where he taught for 24 years. His research is on Iberian movements of national identity and contemporary Catalan culture. His essays are published at Words in The Pursuit of Light.

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Brownstone Institute

How the “Unvaccinated” Got It Right

Published on

BY Robin KoernerROBIN KOERNER

Scott Adams is the creator of the famous cartoon strip, Dilbert. It is a strip whose brilliance derives from close observation and understanding of human behavior. Some time ago, Scott turned those skills to commenting insightfully and with notable intellectual humility on the politics and culture of our country.

Like many other commentators, and based on his own analysis of evidence available to him, he opted to take the Covid “vaccine.”

Recently, however, he posted a video on the topic that has been circulating on social media. It was a mea culpa in which he declared, “The unvaccinated were the winners,” and, to his great credit, “I want to find out how so many of [my viewers] got the right answer about the “vaccine” and I didn’t.”

“Winners” was perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek: he seemingly means that the “unvaccinated” do not have to worry about the long-term consequences of having the “vaccine” in their bodies since enough data concerning the lack of safety of the “vaccines” have now appeared to demonstrate that, on the balance of risks, the choice not to be “vaccinated” has been vindicated for individuals without comorbidities.

What follows is a personal response to Scott, which explains how consideration of the information that was available at the time led one person – me – to decline the “vaccine.” It is not meant to imply that all who accepted the “vaccine” made the wrong decision or, indeed, that everyone who declined it did so for good reasons.


  1. Some people have said that the “vaccine” was created in a hurry. That may or may not be true. Much of the research for mRNA “vaccines” had already been done over many years, and corona-viruses as a class are well understood so it was at least feasible that only a small fraction of the “vaccine” development had been hurried.The much more important point was that the “vaccine” was rolled out without long-term testing. Therefore one of two conditions applied. Either no claim could be made with confidence about the long-term safety of the “vaccine” or there was some amazing scientific argument for a once-in-a-lifetime theoretical certainty concerning the long-term safety of this “vaccine.” The latter would be so extraordinary that it might (for all I know) even be a first in the history of medicine. If that were the case, it would have been all that was being talked about by the scientists; it was not. Therefore, the more obvious, first state of affairs, obtained: nothing could be claimed with confidence about the long-term safety of the “vaccine.”Given, then, that the long-term safety of the “vaccine” was a theoretical crapshoot, the unquantifiable long-term risk of taking it could only be justified by an extremely high certain risk of not taking it. Accordingly, a moral and scientific argument could only be made for its use by those at high risk of severe illness if exposed to COVID. Even the very earliest data immediately showed that I (and the overwhelming majority of the population) was not in the group.

    The continued insistence on rolling out the “vaccine” to the entire population when the data revealed that those with no comorbidities were at low risk of severe illness or death from COVID was therefore immoral and ascientific on its face. The argument that reduced transmission from the non-vulnerable to the vulnerable as a result of mass “vaccination” could only stand if the long-term safety of the “vaccine” had been established, which it had not. Given the lack of proof of long-term safety, the mass-“vaccination” policy was clearly putting at risk young or healthy lives to save old and unhealthy ones. The policy makers did not even acknowledge this, express any concern about the grave responsibility they were taking on for knowingly putting people at risk, or indicate how they had weighed the risks before reaching their policy positions. Altogether, this was a very strong reason not to trust the policy or the people setting it.

    At the very least, if the gamble with people’s health and lives represented by the coercive “vaccination” policy had been taken following an adequate cost-benefit benefit, that decision would have been a tough judgment call. Any honest presentation of it would have involved the equivocal language of risk-balancing and the public availability of information about how the risks were weighed and the decision was made. In fact, the language of policy-makers was dishonestly unequivocal and the advice they offered suggested no risk whatsoever of taking the “vaccine.” This advice was simply false (or if you prefer, misleading,) on the evidence of the time inasmuch as it was unqualified.

  1. Data that did not support COVID policies were actively and massively suppressed. This raised the bar of sufficient evidence for certainty that the “vaccine” was safe and efficacious. Per the foregoing, the bar was not met.
  1. Simple analyses of even the early available data showed that the establishment was prepared to do much more harm in terms of human rights and spending public resources to prevent a COVID death than any other kind of death. Why this disproportionality? An explanation of this overreaction was required. The kindest guess as to what was driving it was “good-old, honest panic.” But if a policy is being driven by panic, then the bar for going along with it moves up even higher. A less kind guess is that there were undeclared reasons for the policy, in which case, obviously, the “vaccine” could not be trusted.
  1. Fear had clearly generated a health panic and a moral panic, or mass formation psychosis. That brought into play many very strong cognitive biases and natural human tendencies against rationality and proportionality. Evidence of those biases was everywhere; it included the severing of close kin and kith relationships, the ill-treatment of people by others who used to be perfectly decent, the willingness of parents to cause developmental harm to their children, calls for large-scale rights violations that were made by large numbers of citizens of previously free countries without any apparent concern for the horrific implications of those calls, and the straight-faced, even anxious, compliance with policies that should have warranted responses of laughter from psychologically healthy individuals (even if they had been necessary or just helpful). In the grip of such panic or mass formation psychosis the evidential bar for extreme claims (such as the safety and moral necessity of injecting oneself with a form of gene therapy that has not undergone long-term testing) rises yet further.
  1. The companies responsible for manufacturing and ultimately profiting from the “vaccination” were given legal immunity. Why would a government do that if it really believed that the “vaccine” was safe and wanted to instill confidence in it? And why would I put something in my body that the government has decided can harm me without my having any legal redress?
  1. If the “vaccine”-sceptical were wrong, there would still have been two good reasons not to suppress their data or views. First, we are a liberal democracy that values free speech as a fundamental right and second, their data and arguments could be shown to be fallacious. The fact that the powers-that-be decided to violate our fundamental values and suppress discussion invites the question of “Why?” That was not satisfactorily answered beyond, “It’s easier for them to impose their mandates in a world where people do not dissent:” but that is an argument against compliance, rather than for it. Suppressing information a priori suggests that the information has persuasive force. I distrust anyone who distrusts me to determine which information and arguments are good and which are bad when it is my health that is at stake – especially when the people who are promoting censorship are hypocritically acting against their declared beliefs in informed consent and bodily autonomy.
  1. The PCR test was held up as the “gold standard” diagnostic test for COVID. A moment’s reading about how the PCR test works indicates that it is no such thing. Its use for diagnostic purposes is more of an art than a science, to put it kindly. Kary Mullis, who in 1993 won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for inventing the PCR technique risked his career to say as much when people tried to use it as a diagnostic test for HIV to justify a mass program of pushing experimental anti-retroviral drugs on early AIDS patients, which ultimately killed tens of thousands of people. This raises the question, “How do the people who are generating the data that we saw on the news every night and were being used to justify the mass “vaccination” policy handle the uncertainty around PCR-based diagnoses?” If you don’t have a satisfactory answer to this question, your bar for taking the risk of “vaccination” should once again go up. (On a personal note, to get the answer before making my decision about whether to undergo “vaccination,” I sent exactly this question, via a friend, to an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins. That epidemiologist, who was personally involved in generating the up-to-date data on the spread of pandemic globally, replied merely that s/he works with the data s/he’s given and does not question its accuracy or means of generation. In other words, the pandemic response was largely based on data generated by processes that were not understood or even questioned by the generators of that data.)
  1. To generalize the last point, a supposedly conclusive claim by someone who demonstrably cannot justify their claim should be discounted. In the case of the COVID pandemic, almost all people who acted as if the “vaccine” was safe and effective had no physical or informational evidence for the claims of safety and efficacy beyond the supposed authority of other people who made them. This includes many medical professionals – a problem that was being raised by some of their number (who, in many cases, were censored on social media and even lost their jobs or licenses). Anyone could read the CDC infographics on mRNA “vaccines” and, without being a scientist, generate obvious “But what if..?” questions that could be asked of experts to check for themselves whether the pushers of the “vaccines” would personally vouch for their safety. For example, the CDC put out an infographic that stated the following.“How does the vaccine work?The mRNA in the vaccine teaches your cells how to make copies of the spike protein. If you are exposed to the real virus later, your body will recognize it and know how to fight it off. After the mRNA delivers the instructions, your cells break it down and get rid of it.”

    All right. Here are some obvious questions to ask, then. “What happens if the instructions delivered to cells to generate the spike protein are not eliminated from the body as intended? How can we be sure that such a situation will never arise?” If someone cannot answer those questions, and he is in a position of political or medical authority, then he shows himself to be willing to push potentially harmful policies without considering the risks involved.

  2. Given all of the above, a serious person at least had to keep an eye out for published safety and efficacy data as the pandemic proceeded. Pfizer’s Six-month Safety and Efficacy Study was notable. The very large number of its authors was remarkable and their summary claim was that the tested vaccine was effective and safe. The data in the paper showed more deaths per head in the “vaccinated” group than “unvaccinated” group.

While this difference does not statistically establish that the shot is dangerous or ineffective, the generated data were clearly compatible with (let us put it kindly) the incomplete safety of the “vaccine” – at odds with the front-page summary. (It’s almost as if even professional scientists and clinicians exhibit bias and motivated reasoning when their work becomes politicized.) At the very least, a lay reader could see that the “summary findings” stretched, or at least showed a remarkable lack of curiosity about, the data – especially given what was at stake and the awesome responsibility of getting someone to put something untested inside their body.

  1. As time went on, it became very clear that some of the informational claims that had been made to convince people to get “vaccinated,” especially by politicians and media commentators, were false. If those policies had been genuinely justified by the previously claimed “facts,” then determination of the falsity of those “facts” should have resulted in a change in policy or, at the very least, expressions of clarification and regret by people who had previously made those incorrect but pivotal claims. Basic moral and scientific standards demand that individuals put clearly on the record the requisite corrections and retractions of statements that might influence decisions that affect health. If they don’t, they should not be trusted – especially given the huge potential consequences of their informational errors for an increasingly “vaccinated” population. That, however, never happened. If the “vaccine”-pushers had acted in good faith, then in the wake of the publication of new data throughout the pandemic, we would have been hearing (and perhaps even accepting) multiple mea culpas. We heard no such thing from political officials, revealing an almost across-the-board lack of integrity, moral seriousness, or concern with accuracy. The consequently necessary discounting of the claims previously made by officials left no trustworthy case on the pro-lockdown, pro-“vaccine” side at all.To offer some examples of statements that were proven false by data but not explicitly walked back:“You’re not going to get COVID if you get these vaccinations… We are in a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” – Joe Biden;

    “The vaccines are safe. I promise you…” – Joe Biden;

    “The vaccines are safe and effective.” – Anthony Fauci.

    “Our data from the CDC suggest that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, do not get sick – and it’s not just in the clinical trials but it’s also in real world data.” – Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

    “We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in… in serious condition and many on ventilators.” – Justice Sotomayer (during a case to determine legality of Federal “vaccine” mandates)…

    … and so on and so on.

    The last one is particularly interesting because it was made by a judge in a Supreme Court case to determine the legality of the federal mandates. Subsequently, the aforementioned Dr. Walensky, head of the CDC, who had previously made a false statement about the efficacy of the “vaccine,” confirmed under questioning that the number of children in hospital was only 3,500 – not 100,000.

    To make more strongly the point about prior claims and policies’ being contradicted by subsequent findings but not, as a result, being reversed, the same Dr. Walensky, head of the CDC, said, “the overwhelming number of deaths – over 75% – occurred in people that had at least four comorbidities. So really these were people who were unwell to begin with.” That statement so completely undermined the entire justification for the policies of mass-“vaccination” and lockdowns that any intellectually honest person who supported them would at that point have to reassess their position. Whereas the average Joe might well have missed that piece of information from the CDC, it was the government’s own information so the presidential Joe (and his agents) certainly could not have missed it. Where was the sea change in policy to match the sea change in our understanding of the risks associated with COVID, and therefore the cost-benefit balance of the untested (long-term) “vaccine” vs. the risk associated with being infected with COVID? It never came. Clearly, neither the policy positions nor their supposed factual basis could be trusted.

  1. What was the new science that explained why, for the first time in history, a “vaccine” would be more effective than natural exposure and consequent immunity? Why the urgency to get a person who has had COVID and now has some immunity to get “vaccinated” after the fact?
  1. The overall political and cultural context in which the entire discourse on “vaccination” was being conducted was such that the evidential bar for the safety and efficacy of the “vaccine” was raised yet further while our ability to determine whether that bar had been met was reduced. Any conversation with an “unvaccinated” person (and as an educator and teacher, I was involved in very many), always involved the “unvaccinated” person being put into a defensive posture of having to justify himself to the “vaccine”-supporter as if his position was de facto more harmful than the contrary one. In such a context, accurate determination of facts is almost impossible: moral judgment always inhibits objective empirical analysis. When dispassionate discussion of an issue is impossible because judgment has saturated discourse, drawing conclusions of sufficient accuracy and with sufficient certainty to promote rights violations and the coercion of medical treatment, is next to impossible.
  1. Regarding analytics (and Scott’s point about “our” heuristics beating “their” analytics), precision is not accuracy. Indeed, in contexts of great uncertainty and complexity, precision is negatively correlated with accuracy. (A more precise claim is less likely to be correct.) Much of the COVID panic began with modeling. Modeling is dangerous inasmuch as it puts numbers on things; numbers are precise; and precision gives an illusion of accuracy – but under great uncertainty and complexity, model outputs are dominated by the uncertainties on the input variables that have very wide (and unknown) ranges and the multiple assumptions that themselves warrant only low confidence. Therefore, any claimed precision of a model’s output is bogus and the apparent accuracy is only and entirely that – apparent.

We saw the same thing with HIV in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Models at that time determined that up to one-third of the heterosexual population could contract HIV. Oprah Winfrey offered that statistic on one of her shows, alarming a nation. The first industry to know that this was absurdly wide of the mark was the insurance industry when all of the bankruptcies that they were expecting on account of payouts on life insurance policies did not happen. When the reality did not match the outputs of their models, they knew that the assumptions on which those models were based were false – and that the pattern of the disease was very different from what had been declared.

For reasons beyond the scope of this article, the falseness of those assumptions could have been determined at the time. Of relevance to us today, however, is the fact that those models helped to create an entire AIDS industry, which pushed experimental antiretroviral drugs on people with HIV no doubt in the sincere belief that the drugs might help them. Those drugs killed hundreds of thousands of people.

(By the way, the man who announced the “discovery” of HIV from the White House – not in a peer-reviewed journal – and then pioneered the huge and deadly reaction to it was the very same Anthony Fauci who has been gracing our television screens over the last few years.)

  1. An honest approach to data on COVID and policy development would have driven the urgent development of a system to collect accurate data on COVID infections and the outcomes of COVID patients. Instead, the powers that be did the very opposite, making policy decisions that knowingly reduced the accuracy of collected data in a way that would serve their political purposes. Specifically, they 1) stopped distinguishing between dying of COVID and dying with COVID and 2) incentivized medical institutions to identify deaths as caused by COVID when there was no clinical data to support that conclusion. (This also happened during the aforementioned HIV panic three decades ago.)
  1. The dishonesty of the pro-“vaccine” side was revealed by the repeated changes of official definitions of clinical terms like “vaccine” whose (scientific) definitions have been fixed for generations (as they must be if science is to do its work accurately: definitions of scientific terms can change, but only when our understanding of their referents changes). Why was the government changing the meanings of words rather than simply telling the truth using the same words they had been using from the beginning? Their actions in this regard were entirely disingenuous and anti-science. The evidential bar moves up again and our ability to trust the evidence slides down.

In his video (which I mentioned at the top of this article), Scott Adams asked, “How could I have determined that the data that [“vaccine”-sceptics] sent me was the good data?” He did not have to. Those of us who got it right or “won” (to use his word) needed only to accept the data of those who were pushing the “vaccination” mandates. Since they had the greatest interest in the data pointing their way, we could put an upper bound of confidence in their claims by testing those claims against their own data. For someone without comorbidities, that upper bound was still too low to take the risk of “vaccination” given the very low risk of severe harm from contracting COVID-19.

In this relation, it is also worth mentioning that under the right contextual conditions, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Those conditions definitely applied in the pandemic: there was a massive incentive for all of the outlets who were pushing the “vaccine” to provide sufficient evidence to support their unequivocal claims for the vaccine and lockdown policies and to denigrate, as they did, those who disagreed. They simply did not provide that evidence, obviously because it did not exist. Given that they would have provided it if it had existed, the lack of evidence presented was evidence of its absence.

For all of the above reasons, I moved from initially considering enrolling in a vaccine trial to doing some open-minded due diligence to becoming COVID-“vaccine”-sceptical. I generally believe in never saying “never” so I was waiting until such time as the questions and issues raised above were answered and resolved. Then, I would be potentially willing to get “vaccinated,” at least in principle. Fortunately, not subjecting oneself to a treatment leaves one with the option to do so in the future. (Since the reverse is not the case, by the way, the option value of “not acting yet” weighs somewhat in favor of the cautious approach.)

However, I remember the day when my decision not to take the “vaccine” became a firm one. A conclusive point brought me to deciding that I would not be taking the “vaccine” under prevailing conditions. A few days later, I told my mother on a phone call, “They will have to strap me to a table.”

  1. Whatever the risks associated with a COVID infection on the one hand, and the “vaccine” on the other, the “vaccination” policy enabled massive human rights violations. Those who were “vaccinated” were happy to see the “unvaccinated” have basic freedoms removed (the freedom to speak freely, work, travel, be with loved ones at important moments such as births, deaths, funerals etc.) because their status as “vaccinated” allowed them to accept back as privileges-for-the-“vaccinated” the rights that had been removed from everyone else. Indeed, many people grudgingly admitted that they got “vaccinated” for that very reason, e.g. to keep their job or go out with their friends. For me, that would have been to be complicit in the destruction, by precedent and participation, of the most basic rights on which our peaceful society depends.People have died to secure those rights for me and my compatriots. As a teenager, my Austrian grandfather fled to England from Vienna and promptly joined Churchill’s army to defeat Hitler. Hitler was the man who murdered his father, my great-grandfather, in Dachau for being a Jew. The camps began as a way to quarantine the Jews who were regarded as vectors of disease that had to have their rights removed for the protection of the wider population. In 2020, all I had to do in defense of such rights was to put up with limited travel and being barred from my favorite restaurants, etc., for a few months.

Even if I were some weird statistical outlier such that COVID might hospitalize me despite my age and good health, then so be it: if it were going to take me, I would not let it take my principles and rights in the meanwhile.

And what if I were wrong? What if the massive abrogation of rights that was the response of governments around the world to a pandemic with a tiny fatality rate among those who were not “unwell to begin with” (to use the expression of the Director of the CDC) was not going to end in a few months?

What if it were going to go on forever? In that case, the risk to my life from COVID would be nothing next to the risk to all of our lives as we take to the streets in the last, desperate hope of wresting back the most basic freedoms of all from a State that has long forgotten that it legitimately exists only to protect them and, instead, sees them now as inconvenient obstacles to be worked around or even destroyed.

Author

  • Robin Koerner

    Robin Koerner is a British-born citizen of the USA, who currently serves as Academic Dean of the John Locke Institute. He holds graduate degrees in both Physics and the Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge (U.K.).

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Brownstone Institute

The WHO: Our New Overlords

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY John Mac GhlionnJOHN MAC GHLIONN

According to its website, the World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, “works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.” In recent times, however, the organization has become a vehicle for corruptiondeceit, and Chinese propaganda.

The WHO is an incredibly powerful organization with 194 member states. When the WHO speaks, the world listens. When the WHO decides on a plan of action, the world changes.

As the piece demonstrates, the WHO has aspirations of becoming even more powerful than it already is. If successful, the consequences could prove to be severe.

Last year, Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, wrote a stinging piece that took direct aim at the WHO’s “bungled response to the coronavirus.” Miller, like so many others around the world, was particularly disillusioned about the “misplaced trust” placed in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As many readers no doubt recall, the CCP did its very best to conceal the COVID-19 outbreak that originated in Wuhan.

Because of the WHO’s numerous failures, Miller argued persuasively that the United States, whose “funding of UN activities exceeds that of every other country,” should refrain from financing the organization unless an “effective oversight and auditing entity” can be created to oversee operations.

In 2020, shortly after suspending financial support, the Trump administration began initiating a process to withdraw the United States from membership in the WHO. However, upon taking office in January 2021, President Joe Biden quickly reversed that decision and restored funding practices.

A few weeks after Miller’s well-argued piece, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced a bill designed to prevent the WHO from unilaterally imposing public health restrictions on the United States and violating the country’s national sovereignty. The legislation came after the decision-making body of the WHO, the World Health Assembly, met to discuss a “pandemic treaty.” If introduced, such a treaty would give the WHO far greater control over public health decisions in the United States.

Scott said: “The WHO’s radical ‘pandemic treaty’ is a dangerous globalist overreach. The United States of America must never give more power to the WHO.” He added that the bill would “ensure that public health matters in the country remain in the hands of Americans,” and it needed to be passed immediately. It wasn’t. It should have been.

From Jan. 9–13, clandestine meetings took place in Geneva, Switzerland. Those in attendance discussed the possibility of amending the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR). For the uninitiated, the regulations are considered an instrument of international law, a legally binding agreement of basically every country in the world (except Liechtenstein) that calls on members to detect, evaluate, report, and respond to public health emergencies in a coordinated manner.

Michael Nevradakis, a senior reporter for The Defender, warned that if the proposed IHR amendments are made, then WHO members would essentially be stripped of their sovereignty. As Nevradakis previously reported, the IHR framework already allows Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, “to declare a public health emergency in any country, without the consent of that country’s government.” The proposed amendments would give even more power to the director-general.

Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois, told Nevradakis that the proposed changes could violate international law.

Boyle, a legitimate expert who played a pivotal role in drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, believes we are heading toward “a worldwide totalitarian medical and scientific police state,” which the WHO directly controls. That’s because the IHR regulations “are specifically designed to circumvent national, state and local government authorities when it comes to pandemics, the treatment for pandemics and also including in there, vaccines.”

It’s clear to Boyle that the WHO is preparing to adopt the regulations in May of 2023, just a few months from now.

The brilliant researcher James Roguski also shares Boyle’s concerns. He claims that the WHO is attempting a global power grab by morphing from an advisory organization into what can only be described as a global law-enforcement agency. If introduced, the IHR changes, he suggested, “would institute global digital health certificates, dramatically increase the billions of dollars available to the WHO and enable nations to implement the regulations WITHOUT respect for the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of people.”

Although COVID-19 is now a distant memory for many, another pandemic, we’re told, is just around the corner. When it comes, the WHO may very well be in a position to order you, dear reader, to do exactly what it wants, when it wants. If these amendments are made in May, resistance may prove to be utterly futile.

Reposted from Epoch Times

 

Author

  • John Mac Ghlionn

    With a doctorate in psychosocial studies, John Mac Ghlionn works as both a researcher and essayist. His writing has been published by the likes of Newsweek, NY Post, and The American Conservative. He can be found on Twitter: @ghlionn, and on Gettr: @John_Mac_G

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