The Politicisation Of A Pathogen

death_of_discworld_by_silverene
Death (mounted on his horse Binky) stalks the altered reality of the new normal
Picture: Death (from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (source: Silverene, WordPress )

A question being asked frequently in articles and comment threads on COVID 19 responses  at mainstream media website in UK, USA Canada and Australia  is: “Why will conservatives not wear masks to stop the spread of COVID – 19 coronavirus?

This usually triggers a storm of accusations from ‘the left’ suggesting that conservatives are too selfish to care about the wellbeing of fellow citizens.
Has the Covid-19 crisis blown apart the psychological theory that pathogen avoidance conservatism is an evolutionary response and conservatives are more likely to be concerned with  individual freedom while ‘progressives’ think in terms of group survival?It’s bollocks of course, but there is some truth in the suggestion that people on the Left tend to be more in favour of lockdowns, social distancing and mask-wearing, while those on the Right are more likely to think that shutting down the economy will do more harm – and perhaps even cost more lives in the longer term.

This would seem to contradict the theory that behavioural tendencies associated with the Right evolved as a response to the threats. On the assumption that strangers, as well as arriving in wooden horses and armed to the teeth, are more likely to carry pathogens for which tribe members have no immunity, the idea is that xenophobia (literally, “fear of the foreign”) developed as an avoidance mechanism.

But maybe there is another factor that should be considered. Conservatives and libertarians (while being sure the pandemic is a hoax I object to being described as a conservative,) are generally more independent minded and thereforer more likely to have questioned the official narrative and found that for every piece of scaremongering pseudo science trumpeted by mainstream media, there is another, properly conducted and fully documented research project that has produced a contradictory result.

And because of our sceptical, questioning nature we are more likely to have learned that the risk to life from this relatively mild virus is negligible: statistically under 70s have more chance of perishing from a road accident. Therefore suppression is likely to be counterproductive exerting positive selection pressure to enable the spread of more deadly strains: if everyone else is confined the only places where the virus can spread are the hospitals/care homes where people are dying.

This has been argued by any number of professionals – they’re just ignored by media, eg Dr Knut Wittkowski. As Dr Wolfgang Wodarg put it: ‘The emperor has no clothes’, i.e. CV-19 is just another ‘corona’ shaped respiratory virus but with global PR.

Seasonal death rates have been higher in recent years, the 2014 / 15 flu season being an example, yet there was no lockdown, no mandatory mask wearing or trashing of economies,  and nobody panicked. There was no reason in principle why such “deaths” weren’t just as unacceptable as deaths from COVID 19, five years later ‘ or why we shouldn’t have ‘cared’ or worn masks in those years. Even more surprising, why are we not being retrospectively castigated for not ‘saving lives’ by putting entire populations under house arrest in the way we are being castigated now for the historical atrocity that was the slave trade.

We’ve always taken it for granted that some old or otherwise infirm people will perish in flu season while the majority who are infected will merely be out of action for a few days however unpleasant that might be.  I’m old myself but would sooner be free to roam than be guaranteed life in confinement even if it’s ‘only a mask’.

If a virus isn’t deadly surely it’s better to be infected and thereby gain immunity, although for balance I have to mention that some research has shown antibody immunity lasstsonly a few weeks in the case of this virus – which would make the current efforts to rush through the development of a vaccine useless.

We know that respiratory viruses evolve else we couldn’t get cold/flu more than once. We used to have German Measles (Rubella) parties when I was a child for that reason, because the same virus is harmless in children but dangerous later in life – were we ‘left wing’?.

The logic of letting the disease run its course is identical. It’s hard to fathom how otherwise intelligent people can’t comprehend that. On the other hand professional journalists/’scientists’ in our world are de facto propagandists and bound to calibrate their opinions according to the wishes of whoever is paying them.

In fact the published opinions of some scientists contradict their own published work. But the virus has become a political rather than a health issdue: viz the way using HCQ (quinine) in conjunction with zinc and vitamin D supplements has been demonized as quackery in the USA since President Trump spoke in favour of it, while in many nations where Trump is not president it has proved a very effective treatment in relieving symptoms, though it is not a cure. Like ‘carbon’ or Diversity, around which identical ‘globalist’ interests have coalesced, COVID – 19 is now part of the right / left dichotomy and therefore the debate is no longer grounded in reality.

What should dismay us  is they way so many people have so readily surrendered their  their capacity for independent and critical thinking when it comes to this. there is the group trying to control everyone and their enablers, useful idiots, and the rest.

What is becoming obvious to me at least is that while COVID – 19 is now a political rather than a health issue, the terms left and right have become more meaningless than ever. This is now the issue that is dividing us into the fearful who, terrified by an invented risk, are willing to trade independence for the illusion of security provided by an authoritarian state and those who prefer to think for themselves, act on their conclusions and take personal responsibility for their decisions.

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