In an article which can be read online, Willbourn cites the work of respected social psychologist Leon Festinger, who analyzed the behaviour of a 1950s UFO cult the members of which believed that a flying saucer would rescue them from the coming nuclear apocalypse.
However, after the catastrophic earthquakes and floods they expected to hit the United States never arrived and their beliefs were totally disproved, “the cult members would become not less but more convinced of their beliefs.”
Festinger identified five conditions that needed to be met in order for the cult members to become more intense in their beliefs in spite of the cognitive dissonance involved.
1. There must be conviction
2. There must be commitment to this conviction
3. The conviction must be amenable to unequivocal disconfirmation
4. Such unequivocal disconfirmation must occur
5. Social support must be available subsequent to the disconfirmation.
“Festinger’s five conditions and the behaviour of the cult believers correspond closely to the situation with Brexit, Climate Change and Covid-19: a prophecy is made, believers invest themselves, their time, money and prestige in it, the prophecy fails and the believers become more fervent,” writes Willbourn..
We have certainly seen this with Brexit, the UK’s departure from the European Union despite a massive propaganda campaign from those who wished the UK to remain part of the Union and eventually become a financially and politically integrated province of a Federal European Superstate.
After the result of the refrerendum unexpectedly went against them these “Remainers” waged another propaganda campaign, this time aimed at overturning the public vote by spreading fear and panic. They warned us the economy would collapse overnight (in fact it grew slightly faster than the EU economy at a time when the global economy was slowing down. They warned that unemployment would rise to unprecedented levels, in fact it fell. They took the government to court, won some Phyrric victories but could not change the national mood. They tried to tell us Britain, insignificant little Britain, was too small to survive outside the mighty European Union and were laughed at at it was pointed out that the UK has the fifth largest economy on the planet and a poulation of 60+ million. And still, even though we have formally left the EU and are in the process of deciding who gets to keep the pets, they rave about reversing the process.
We have seen it with climate change; we were told snow would be a thing of the past by the turn of the century but in recent years in Europe and North America many places have seen record snowfalls; we were told the polar ice caps would disappear, they’re still there; we were told that low lying nations would become uninhabitable because of rising sea levels – but those nations have experience population growth and no loss of land area. And still the Warmageddonist army tried to turn the volume of their alarmist screeching up even though it is alread on eleven and has been for years.
The doctor notes how terrifying predictions of how many people COVID-19 would kill have fallen massively short and the models that produced these numbers have been thoroughly debunked. Despite warnings that coronavirus would kill 500,000 in the UK alone, the disease has only claimed 318,000 worldwide. And the lockdown fascists try to claim that the UK lockdown succeeded in reducing the number of deaths from 500,000 to 40,000, thus proving only that they are incapable of separating fact from fantasy.
Willbourn then goes on to put the scale of the COVID – 19 threat this figure into perspective by reminding us the number of people who have died of, or with, Covid-19 in about four and half months is the same as the number who die in five days from cardiovascular disease.”
It is also worth remembering that the numbers of “COVID – related deaths” is less than the numbers who have died of tuberculosis ad seasonal ‘flu in the corresponding period.
In spite of all this and the incontrovertible evidence “experts” are still trying to ramp up the fear and panic, warning of mass death if lockdown is lifted too early and a second wave of infections takes place. The discredited Prof. Neil Ferguson, now exposed as a cunt – struck, communist conman whose mathematical model of the virus which led him to predict the fabled 500,000 deaths was discovered to have been full of errors and false assumptions and based on amateurish coding written by people who had never been computing professionals.
In reality, professionally conducted research has suggested the lockdowns had a minimal impact on infection numbers, and Sweden’s per capita death toll is lower than the UK’s and numerous other countries despite the Scandinavian country having imposed no hard lockdown and been widely crticized by fear and panic merchants for having not done so.
“Don’t expect an apology from our Government, or any other Government, any time soon,” Willbourn concluded. “The Festinger effect is far, far more prevalent than a clear-sighted view of reality and the tragedy is all the greater.”
“Is this starting to sound familiar?” asks journalist Toby Young. “As Willbourn points out, the sequence that Festinger wrote about more than 50 years ago is eerily reminiscent of what’s happening today: an apocalyptic prophecy was delivered from on high (“the science”), those who believed it radically altered their behaviour, the prophecy turned out not to be true, but instead of abandoning their doom-mongering the believers have become even more fervent, attacking anyone who points out the gap between fantasy and reality as dangerous heretics (“fake news”, “misinformation”, “conspiracy theories”, etc).”
“The difference, of course, is that Festinger’s UFO cult had a few dozen members, whereas the Covid cult seems to have infected half the world. If Festinger’s right, the bad news is we won’t be able to persuade people to stop social distancing if we prove that the danger posed by COVID-19 has been dramatically overstated. On the contrary, people’s opposition to returning to normal will intensify rather than diminish as the evidence mounts they were wrong.”
I have written many times in the past of the Church Of Scienceology Cult, a far more numerous quasi religion than the followers of L Ron Hubbard but no less loony. It is not yet clear whether the COVID – 19 cult is a breakway movement or a particularly fanatical sub – cult, like the climate change loonies who become more fanatical in their conviction that the world is about to be engulfed by an inferno of burning Carbon Dioxide! Yest for all their zealous devotion to The Science, actual, factual science is not a strength of such people.