There are going to be whole university departments set up, all around the world, dedicated to unpacking insights from this, the world’s greatest sociological experiment: Covid 19
It’s a bit like trying to summarise the dimensions of the universe. It’s all overwhelmingly big. Too much to wrap the mind around.
As with any great world altering phenomena, like the world wars, climate change, or how Donald Trump happened, you need a comprehensible theme through which to enter the story. Examples are:
- the politics of Covid
- Covid epidemiology
- The cost of containing Covid
- the vaccine story
- the anti-vax response
- Covid modelling
- The source of the Covid outbreak
and so on; not to mention all the sub-groups that one could insert under each of these and every other example Covid theme.
For two years now, newspapers and TV news reporting have virtually fixated on every conceivable dimension of the Covid story. This has been saturation media coverage not seen since the world wars. Or even then.
My particular fascination has been around how the story has entered public policy and politics. Or specifically, how governments around the world have attempted to manage the pandemic towards control and ‘resolution’.
Or even more specifically, I am utterly fascinated by how the dimension of science has fed into Covid management policy development and then into ensuing regulation and control.
Or, even more specifically than that, my major fascination has centred around the abject failure of the ‘science dimension’ to communicate directly with community. Or putting it another way, just how badly have politicians and the massive engine of supporting bureaucracy failed to interface between ‘science’ and the community.
While there can be no doubt that ‘science’ has utterly failed to present a coherently persuasive set of messages about the technicalities of the disease and its control, there also can be no doubt that much of the world’s response to that diffuse, confused, contradictory and basically un-comprehensible science messaging has been astoundingly effective in terms of vaccine take up.
How could so much of the world’s population have been persuaded to inject themselves with substances that, in ordinary circumstances any rational person would avoid along the same lines as, say, voluntarily infecting themselves with leprosy.
Has this been the world’s greatest exercise in bumbling mind control through unprecedented bureaucratic authoritarianism or have humans all of a sudden taken up the cause of ‘the common good’ to a degree not seen before in human history.
Let’s not forget that, while Covid 19 is, apparently, a nasty disease, it’s not ebola. Or HIV Aids. Or cancer. Or the annual trauma of car drivers killing each other and cyclists every year.
How on earth did the world’s governments pull this one off? How could any government, anywhere, manage a take-up response where something like 80 to 90 percent of a country’s population essentially volunteered to become vaccinated? Particularly considering the extraordinary controversies surrounding those vaccines and their promulgation via the most massive exercise in pharmaceutical industry profiteering ever seen. Countries around the world have bankrupted themselves to secure these outcomes in response to, again, a disease that is, frankly, pretty inane in terms of lethal outcome.
By way of contrast, how come we are still countenancing the search for agreements over the control of anthropogenic climate change? And have been doing so for decades. Climate change is an existential threat to all life on this planet. Covid 19 is not. So why are the world’s governments still arguing about frankly inanely feeble responses to the greatest real threat to the planet?
From my point of view as an academic, inculcated into the discipline of carefully articulated and ruthlessly referenced/verifiable propositions in relation to environmental policy making, which includes due deference to the thoroughly articulated ‘scientific method’ of purposeful experimentation, testing, validation and the contexted promulgation of policy advice, I simply cannot fathom the sheer and overwhelming barrage of bogus opinion mongering that has characterised the Covid policy making story to date.
I do not take health advice from bureaucrats or politicians. I would never take advice on something so important (to me) without access to the sources those bureaucrats and politicians are, apparently representing via their advice and directions.
None of us can pretend that we don’t know that the vaccines we are expected to take are attached to some very interesting ‘side effects’ (like death). We all know that these vaccines are all under offer via various ‘emergency use’ authorisations rather than having been endorsed as ‘safe’ via due regulatory process. But then again, I do remember Thalidomide… So I’d probably remain sceptical about any potion promulgated via Big Pharma. Just how many billions of dollars have Phizer and Moderna made out of this racket thus far? Is it a Thought Crime to even ask?
To my mind, I have yet to consider that I have been presented with a comprehensibe and verifiable argument as to why I should ever consider getting vaccinated, with any of the Covid vaccines on offer. As I said, I don’t consider politicians and their bureaucrat minions as any kind of authority on the science of health matters. I want to speak directly with the scientists and not their bumbling intermediaries. But where are the contact points into the arcane and reclusive science domain through which to inform my decision making? Is there a coherent and concerted majority scientific response to consult? As it happens. There is not. The scientific literature around the control of Covid is an interesting barrage of divergent view points (as is healthy for most scientific consensus making). Certainly, the advice on offer via the interface of bureaucratic pontification on the subject has been characterised by utter confusion. Just consider how divergent has been the advice, for example, over face mask wearing. And I am still waiting for a simple answer to the ultimately sensible question: what, exactly, have the vaccinated got to fear from the un-vaccinated if the vaccines in question are in any way effective. If the vaccinated have something to fear from the un-vaccinated, then, by definition, something is inherently wrong with the vaccines in question.
Anyway, I posed a simple proposition at the head of this diatribe. I am waiting for someone, somewhere, to say something compellingly intelligent about the Covid control story. I think I have found it.
The story (posted in full below) appeared on Page 7 of the Weekend Australian, October 16-17, 2021. The reporter was Indigenous Affairs Reporter Paige Taylor. The background is an evidently low take-up of vaccination by the indigenous community of Pandanus Park, 56km south of the Western Australian port town of Derby. Nyikina Mangala leader Pat Riley suggested that this community is inherently suspicious of government advice in relation to matters such as health. She noted that the most concerted government scheme in relation to vaccine take-up was for the local shire council to bus as many people from the community as possible to a nearby vaccination centre, incentivised by a barbecue and a live band. Only three people out of a community of 100 took up the offer.
Ms Riley’s interpretation of this exercise and its poor response is priceless:
…’our people are not educated. They don’t know what’s in the vaccine. I am not against the vaccine but I haven’t had it because I want it explained by a scientist or a doctor not by a shire worker or someone from a job agency that doesn’t even find our people jobs. We have so many problems here the government has not fixed and they are now telling us to get vaccinated so people can fly around, go overseas. Well, we don’t go anywhere anyway, we stay same place’.
Exactly. A perfect response. Well said. And, for someone who claims to be ‘uneducated’, this is the most intelligent response to the Covid control project I have heard in nearly two years.