From the Brownstone Institute
In the course of an otherwise unmeaningful monologue on Saturday Night Live, Woody Harrelson let go with a remarkable theory of the Covid era. It was supposed to be hilarious but why should it be? In a world in which people were long over this, all the investigations have been done and the condemnations issued, and masses of people are fully cognizant of the underlying reality and all its horrors, his flippant remarks would have been funny.
Instead, the audience sat there in stunned silence. Are they even allowed to laugh? Woody Harrelson, with the intuition of a great comic, quickly moved to the next point and then closed out the opening.
In other words, it’s too soon, as they say. Too soon for laughter. But it’s not too soon for truth.
His words were pretty simple. He tells a fictional story of finding a movie script. In the plot, “the biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media and all the politicians and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes, and people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drugs and keep taking them over and over.” He finishes by saying that such a movie could not be made because it is too implausible.
What’s strange about his observation is just how close to reality we are discovering that this story truly is. Initially, I was pretty sure that the lockdowns extended from a primitive intellectual error, the belief that respiratory pathogens like cooties could be made non-vexing by simply eliminating human contact. It’s a preposterous supposition and one deeply dangerous to the whole idea of human freedom.
When the masks came along, it struck me as tremendously obvious that their only purpose was to give people a means to believe that they were doing something, plus they provide an effective symbol of a panicked epoch that many people wanted to last as long as possible.
Even in April 2020, when the former head of virology for the Gates Foundation called me and told me very clearly that the whole idea of lockdowns was to wait for the vaccine, I could not process the information. This is because I knew based on my reading that there would be no sterilizing vaccine for a coronavirus. A new technology claiming to stop infection and spread would require many years of testing, maybe ten. We cannot stay locked down that long. Society would be in ruins.
The caller assured me that it was coming much sooner. I found that to be ridiculous, even dangerous. But I still had not made the connection: the purpose of the lockdown was to buy time for the production and distribution of a vaccine. An even darker interpretation of lockdowns would be that influential people need to preserve population-wide immunological naivete in order to demonstrate the value of vaccine technology.
As for media and politicians, the idea that they are bought off by Big Pharma is no longer in dispute. We’ve seen too many running reels of “brought to you by Pfizer” on every form of entertainment, and we’ve seen the receipts.
So Harrelson’s story is not entirely wrong. Indeed, in the guise of comedy, he has come closer to truth than any mainstream venue of entertainment has yet to reveal. And, as it turns out, his views are rather well developed, as we can tell from another interview.
There has been a conspiracy of silence and still is. The trauma was so deep and the politicization of the episode so intense that major voices are still silent about it.
Harrelson’s comment likely will not change that. The usual people will emerge to condemn him as a conspiracy theorist and probably claim that he has been listening too much to QAnon, whatever that is, or that he has been hypnotized by some re-pilled influencer. He has certainly made himself a target.
It is much safer never to speak out, never to point out the elephant in the room, never to disturb people’s illusions or upset powerful industrial interests. But he did it anyway. And yes, of course, there is so much more to say about the role of government and the military-style footing on which the whole of society in most parts of the world landed. And the carnage goes far beyond an annoying year or so or staying home. Education, culture, religion, and civil society itself was smashed.
As a Brownstone reader, you are likely ready to embrace the truth whatever it is. But for most of the rest of society in most countries, we still live in the land of taboo. And it is an intense one. The veil of myth that surrounds the great trauma of our lives needs rending at some point. Perhaps it starts just this way: with truth-telling fables in the guise of comedy that fall flat on shocked audiences who prefer to keep up the illusion that all of this happened in the name of public health.
The Covid Narrative Flunked the Critical Thinking Test
From the Brownstone Institute
At the height of the Covid hysteria, several times I encountered variations of the meme “It’s not a pandemic; it’s an IQ test.” Probably the memesters were poking fun at those duped by the mainstream Covid messaging.
In any case, that meme really misses the point. The essential problem has never been about one’s IQ. Many highly intelligent people (in an academic sense) swallowed a very dubious narrative, while others less academically gifted did not. The real divider was the ability and inclination to think critically about it.
In a previous article I explained the basic concept of critical thinking, which can be defined as rational judgment about appeals to belief. Here I will lay out my own classroom approach to it in relation to the Covid messaging and policies.
The approach was derived from Browne and Keeley’s once popular critical thinking textbook, Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. Simplified for Japanese university students unfamiliar with the concept of critical thinking, this approach consists of six questions, all very applicable to the official narrative about Covid. For any Japanese speakers who may be reading this, here is a video link of me explaining my approach.
Number one: What are the issues and the conclusion? The purpose of this question is to spur awareness that very often there is an assertion being made in the context of a debated issue. Many of my students have been completely unaware that a debate exists about many matters they hear about in school or from the media, such as climate change/global warming.
When people insist that no real debate exists in regard to an issue about which reasonable people differ, they have already failed the critical thinking test. That stance certainly has been the substance of much Covid messaging.
Number two: How good are the reasons? Many of my students can brainstorm on their own the characteristics of good reasons: clear, true, logical, objective, and important. In the Covid context, untrue reasons include arguing on the basis that novel, experimental injections are certainly (100 percent or 95 percent) “safe and effective.” Moreover, the demand by pharmaceutical companies to receive complete legal protection from any liability belied this claim of safety.
Along with that, it was not logical to endanger people with potentially serious health harms from experimental injections or to withhold from them medical care in the name of protecting them, as happened during the lockdowns.
Number three: How good is the evidence? For the purpose of learning critical thinking about statistics, a number of books explain common forms of statistical deception and error. The classic book How to Lie With Statistics, along with the more recent book by Joel Best Damned Lies and Statistics, show how such dubious statistical data is often created or else badly interpreted.
In a Japanese book, Shakai Chosa no Uso (The Lies of Social Research), Professor Ichiro Tanioka reveals that government statistics also are often deceptive and simply serve the interests of bureaucrats and politicians, either by magnifying a problem to justify government policies and funding or by making a government program appear to be successful. Since many people are easily impressed by number data, he comments that more than half of all social science research is garbage, a problem compounded when the data is then referenced by the mass media, activists, and others.
Since the earliest days of the Covid panic, statistical chicanery has been conspicuous, including Neil Ferguson’s now-infamous predictions of millions of deaths without lockdowns. Norman Fenton exposed a number of statistical confusions in the UK’s national statistics in regard to Covid. As another example, Pfizer’s claim of 95 percent Covid vaccine efficacy was based on its own shoddy research using the PCR tests. However, few in the Covid-messaging mainstream bothered to look into the statistically shaky basis for this claim. They simply parroted the “95 percent.”
Number four: Are any words unclear or used strangely? A number of words took on unclear, strange, or inconsistent meanings during the Covid panic. One notable example was the word safe. In the case of the experimental Covid injections, the term evidently could accommodate a wide variety of serious side effects and a considerable number of deaths.
However, in other contexts, an extreme, all-or-nothing concept of safety came into play, as in the slogan “No one is safe until everyone is safe.” This slogan makes as much sense as shouting, during the sinking of a passenger ship, “If everyone is not in the lifeboats, then no one is in the lifeboats.” Nevertheless, this nonsensical mantra was on the lips of many in the corporate media, in order to insist on policies like universal Covid vaccination.
Interestingly, this absurd concept of safety is actually one of the items in The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test, which I made use of in my teaching and research (The test and manual can be downloaded for free). The test focuses on a fictional letter to a newspaper editor arguing for a total ban on overnight street parking in a certain city. The test-taker’s job is to evaluate the various arguments in the letter, one of which asserts that “conditions are not safe if there’s even the slightest possible chance for an accident.”
Of course, such a view of safety could lead to the ban of almost anything with the slightest element of risk. To illustrate this, I pretended to trip on a student desk in class. Then I would insist that the accident showed that “teaching is too dangerous” and leave the classroom briefly. There is very little in life that is really “100 percent safe.”
Another conspicuous misuse of terminology has been referring to the Covid injections as “vaccines,” since the novel mRNA technology does not fit within the traditional definition of a vaccine. A more accurate designation would be “gene therapy,” since the injections influence the expression of the body’s genes, as Sonia Elijah and others have pointed out.
In order to allay public anxieties and avoid the necessity of testing their injections for possible toxic gene-related side effects like cancer, the familiar, user-friendly term vaccine was chosen. Then when the “vaccines” were obviously failing to prevent Covid infection, as vaccines are normally expected to do, the public was suddenly offered a new definition of a vaccine –something that does not prevent infection at all but simply ameliorates the symptoms of disease.
Number 5: Are there any other possible causes? People often arbitrarily attribute phenomena to causes that they wish to implicate. However, multiple causes may be to blame, or the real cause may actually be something entirely different. For example, many have been blaming human-generated CO2 for the high temperatures this summer, but other possible causes have been identified, such as an increase in atmospheric water vapor from underwater volcanic eruptions.
In regard to Covid causation, John Beaudoin discovered evidence of widespread fraud on death certificates in Massachusetts, in response to pressure from public health officials wanting to inflate Covid death figures. Hundreds of accidental deaths and even Covid vaccine deaths were counted as resulting from Covid.
Looking at the UK’s national Covid death statistics, Norman Fenton discovered a similar problem. Only around 6,000 people actually died from Covid alone, a mere four and a half percent of the total number of supposed “Covid deaths.” The rest had other serious medical conditions as possible causes of death. If a person tested positive on a PCR test after hospital admission, even someone fatally injured in a traffic accident could be counted as a Covid death.
In another example of wrong-headed thinking about causation, elements of the mainstream news media and certain “experts” credited the initial relatively low numbers of Covid hospitalizations and deaths in Japan to the practice of universal masking here. Unfortunately for that theory, soon afterwards Covid cases and hospitalizations shot up dramatically in Japan, making the “saved-by-masks” explanation difficult to maintain. Nevertheless, many officials and media outlets had decided early on that they believed in masks, regardless of what the evidence and common sense had to say.
Number six: What are the basic assumptions and are they acceptable? An assumption is an underlying, unstated belief that often goes without challenge and discussion. Recently I encountered a false assumption when I decided to stop wearing a face mask in class at my university. This met with the displeasure of one of the higher-ups, who called me in for a chat. He insisted that my unmasked face was making my students uncomfortable in class. He was assuming that they felt this way about it, so I decided to do an anonymous survey to find out their real feelings. To my surprise, only one student in all of my classes objected to my going maskless. The rest preferred that I teach without a mask or else expressed indifference.
Adherents of the mainstream Covid narrative accepted as axioms dubious ideas such as these:
- Viral epidemics can and should be halted by extreme measures bringing great suffering on large numbers of people.
- The threat of Covid infection supersedes human rights such as the rights to work, to commune with other human beings, to express opinions freely, etc.
- Facial masks prevent Covid transmission.
- Facial masks do no significant harm.
These assumptions have been ably debunked by many articles at Brownstone Institute and elsewhere.
Thus from the beginning the mainstream Covid narrative has failed to give persuasive responses to any of these questions. In light of that, it is remarkable that there are still many people who endorse the original Covid measures and messaging. Especially in times like these, more people need to employ critical thinking to become less gullible and more skeptical of widespread ideas and influential entities, including those usually branded as reliable. They neglect to do so at their own peril.
Yes, You Are Being Manipulated
From the Brownstone Institute
Pubmed is a government aggregator site for peer-reviewed research.
Recently, a search on Pubmed using the search terms “COVID-19 vaccines” revealed a shocking trend. So, what did I find?
There are literally thousands of peer-reviewed studies on vaccine hesitancy and how the government can overcome it. In sum, there are over 6,000 such studies on Pubmed. A more narrowly focused search on endnote pulled up about 1,250 studies. These studies have a wide range of topics, but most focus on which groups of people are vaccine-hesitant, statistics on these populations, as well as how to overcome vaccine hesitancy through propaganda, censorship, the law, and behavioral control.
The fact is that our government, governments from around the world, the WHO and UNICEF have spent billions of dollars in a misguided attempt to try to figure out how to make people take (coerce, compel, and entice) these experimental medical products (COVID-19 vaccines). This was clearly a coordinated effort.
This monumental worldwide effort to manipulate beliefs has eliminated informed consent. Informed consent is the idea that a person must be given sufficient information before making decisions about their medical care. Pertinent information includes risks and benefits of treatments, the patient’s role in treatment, alternative treatments, and the person’s right to refuse treatment. When people cannot get reliable safety information on whether to take an experimental product or any medical product, when they are being coerced and are not informed of important safety considerations, informed consent is gone.
Of particular concern is the vaccine hesitancy clinical trials that are specifically designed to see what types of propaganda, nudging, computational propaganda, and behavioral modifications work best to elicit compliance from entire populations. In funding such studies, the government and worldwide leadership have endeavored to eliminate informed consent.
Remember, the US only has Emergency Use Authorized COVID vaccines available. These products have not had to go through the rigors of the clinical trial process to receive full licensure. Of course, much of what has been labeled as misinformation over the past three years has been proven to be truth. People were not allowed to know the truth through propaganda, censorship, and coercion.
These studies have been bought and paid for mostly by the US government, UNICEF or NGO/astroturf organizations working on their behalf.
This is basically taxpayer-funded market research to garner compliance for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Marketing research and methods to coerce large populations by the US government for the likes of Pfizer and Moderna.
So, Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Director of the CDC is right. These experimental vaccines have been studied more than any vaccine in history – to ensure 100 percent uptake by the global population.
Below is a recent paper, whose authors work for the Health and Human Services – our government.
From the Abstract:
“the US Department of Health and Human Services launched the We Can Do This public education campaign in April 2021 to increase vaccine confidence.
The campaign uses a mix of digital, television, print, radio, and out-of-home channels to reach target audiences…
The size and length of the Department of Health and Human Services We Can Do This public education campaign make it uniquely situated to examine the impact of a digital campaign on COVID-19 vaccination, which may help inform future vaccine communication efforts and broader public education efforts.
These findings suggest that campaign digital dose is positively associated with COVID-19 vaccination uptake among US adults; future research assessing campaign impact on reduced COVID-19–attributed morbidity and mortality and other benefits is recommended. This study indicates that digital channels have played an important role in the COVID-19 pandemic response.
Digital outreach may be integral in addressing future pandemics and could even play a role in addressing nonpandemic public health crises.”
Re-read that last sentence again. Not only did the US government (HHS) have a huge campaign to program our minds during COVID to increase uptake of the “vaccine;” they are now planning how to use this “Digital outreach” for non-pandemic purposes…
This campaign was bombarded the American people with propaganda, paid for by the US Government. From the article:
The We Can Do This campaign aims to influence COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake through the dissemination of advertisements (eg, 30-second videos and static images with text) that address key attitudinal and behavioral constructs relevant to these outcomes across a mix of traditional and new media channels. These channels include television, radio, and print media; site direct (digital advertising directly purchased on websites), programmatic (digital advertising purchased through automated marketplace platforms to reach audiences across a range of websites, apps, and platforms), and paid social media (advertising bought directly on social media platforms) advertisements; earned media; partnerships; and influencer engagement. To reach diverse audiences, the campaign has engaged simultaneously with the general population and with specific racial and ethnic audiences through tailored communications in more than 14 languages, including English and Spanish.
Between April 5 and September 26, 2021, according to Nielsen Digital and Total Ad Ratings (see Multimedia Appendix 1), the campaign is estimated to have reached more than 90 percent of US adults an average of 20.9 times across measured television and digital channels (Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings, unpublished data, 2021). In addition to the campaign’s national reach, it also delivered extra ads to markets, zip codes, and population segments with higher proportions of vaccine-hesitant adults and higher COVID-19 prevalence. As the vaccination uptake rate varied across designated market areas (DMAs), the campaign also took vaccination rates into account when deciding where to deliver these extra ads to help encourage first-dose vaccination.
This campaign not only utilized propaganda, it is also used known neuro-linguistic programming techniques, such as repetitive messaging.
They then did a large clinical trial to see how these techniques affected people’s decision to get the mRNA “vaccine.” The results showed that this huge propaganda campaign was hugely successful in getting people to take the jab.
The problem with propaganda and censorship is that the use of such by governments and world leaders is that it is a slippery slope.
As documented in the paper above, our government leaders now know that the use of such tools was successful in increasing vaccine uptake. The administrative state is only going to increase their use of such techniques during the next health crisis. Climate change or gun violence seem logical choices for more governmental propaganda and censorship.
Yep – there is good evidence that the government is paying for studies such as these:
Finally, the public is waking up to these tactics. As the experimental vaccines failed, the masks were again documented to not work, the economic impact of the lockdowns was exposed and school age children now show cognitive declines from school closures, much of the public is skeptical and untrusting. This is a good thing. This is progress for the people, for our country.
The administrative state will not give up easily; they are only going to increase their use of these behavioral modification tools, propaganda, and censorship. But next time, they will have a bigger fight on their hands.
Republished from the author’s Substack
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