The study of information has been remarkably clarified by information theory. This is the scientific study of the quantification, storage, and communication of digital information. The field is at the intersection of probability theory, statistics, computer science, statistical mechanics, information engineering, and electrical engineering.
Information theory has found applications in other areas, including statistical inference, cryptography, neurobiology,perception, linguistics, the evolution and function of molecular codes (bioinformatics), thermal physics, molecular dynamics, quantum computing, black holes, information retrieval, intelligence gathering, plagiarism detection, pattern recognition, anomaly detection and even art creation.
The world has recently been witness to much emphasis on misinformation in relation to the pandemic. The United Nations and its Specialized Agencies have been very explicit regarding the challenge of misinformation:
- Dispelling misinformation, countering vaccine hesitancy vital to beat COVID-19, countries affirm (UN News, 7 April 2021)
- 5 ways the UN is fighting ‘infodemic’ of misinformation (United Nations Department of Global Communications, 30 April 2020)
- UN tackles ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 crisis (United Nations Department of Global Communications, 31 March 2020)
- Battling COVID-19 misinformation hands-on (United Nations Department of Global Communications, 17 June 2020)
- UN chief: world faces misinformation epidemic about virus (Associated Press, 16 April 2020)
- United Nations Launches Global Initiative to Combat Misinformation (UN Ethiopia, 21 May 2020)
- Immunizing the public against misinformation (World Health Organization, 25 August 2020)
- A Global Study Shows the Link Between Misinformation on Social Media and Vaccine Hesitancy (UN Dispatch, 9 December 2020)
- Misinformation and growing distrust on vaccines, ‘dangerous as a disease’ says UNICEF chief (UN News, 28 June 2019)
- WHO — Vaccine Hesitancy Top Health Threat (Science-Based Medicine, 23 January 2019)
- United Nations: there needs to be “no place for misinformation on social media platforms” (Reclaim the Net, 6 July 2020)
Misinformation is understood to be false, inaccurate, or misleading information that is communicated regardless of an intention to deceive. Disinformation is a subset of misinformation that is deliberately deceptive. The principal effect of misinformation is to elicit fear and suspicion among a population. News parody or satire can become misinformation if it is believed to be credible and communicated as if it were true. The terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” have often been associated with the concept of “fake news” (Varieties of Fake News and Misrepresentation: when are deception, pretence and cover-up acceptable? 2019).
Initiatives are underway to detect misinformation and fake news in digital media using the resources of artificial intelligence — most notably by social media platforms as a consequence of criticism of their irresponsibility in purveying biased content. As might be expected, these include approaches which benefit explicitly from information theory (Victoria Patricia Aires, et al, An Information Theory Approach to Detect Media Bias in News Websites, WISDOM, 24 August 2020; Carlo Kopp, et al, Information-theoretic Models of Deception: modelling cooperation and diffusion in populations exposed to “fake news”, PLOS One, 28 November 2018).
Less evident is how to distinguish what is speculative misinformation, by which collective understanding is confused, from disinformation about the nature of the crisis, How to distinguish deliberate lies in support of particular agendas?
A valuable article, relative to the quantity of confusing and misleading information otherwise available, is the study by Adam M. Enders, et al, (The Different Forms of COVID-19 Misinformation and their Consequences, Misinformation Review, 16 November 2020). Appropriately this argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, an understanding of the structure and organization of beliefs in pandemic conspiracy theories and misinformation becomes increasingly critical for addressing the threat posed by these dubious ideas. As stated, this preoccupation is itself problematic in that it appears to frame and conflate in a rather particular manner what is “misinformation”, “dubious”, and the focus of “conspiracy theories” — potentially excluding what some would argue (with evidence) as being of legitimate and strategic scientific concern.
Reference to “misinformation”, as being a major problem of the “infodemic”, can be recognized as exploiting this confusion. There is great advantage to vested interests in disguising deliberate lies within a context of speculative claims which can be readily dismissed — and claimed to be harmful. This has resulted in major initiatives by social media platforms and search engines to eliminate anything that can be readily labelled as “misinformation”. Sophisticated use is being made of artificial intelligence to that end.
Which truths upheld by one party however, would not now be dismissed as misinformation — if not a lie — by another? Opposing factions, whether in politics, science, religion or business typically accuse each other of misrepresenting the truth — if not “lying”, possibly even with “evil” intent. Does disagreement automatically imply misinformation in that one party is held by the other to be misrepresenting the truth — lying — to the other?
It is unfortunate that efforts to apply information theory, together with insights into the nature of bias, seemingly take little account of the extent to which such efforts may themselves be each embedded in a particular pattern of bias associated with a preferred discipline, model or an institutional funding context — as would be argued by critics. There is also the confusion between bias and belief, raising issues as to how are fundamental beliefs to be recognized, or not, as misinformation (Reframing Fundamental Belief as Disinformation? Pandemic challenge to advertising, ideology, religion and science, 2020; Comparability of “Vaxxing Saves” with “Jesus Saves” as Misinformation? Problematic challenge of global discernment, 2021).
Far more challenging is the criteria by which the institutional promotion of any “Big Lie” would be detectable with the tools of information theory (Existential Challenge of Detecting Today’s Big Lie, 2016). The difficulty more generally is that increasingly any claim regarding such a “lie” is itself readily dismissed by authorities as “misinformation” meriting suppression — dismissing those claiming an unquestionably truthful alternative perspective. This pattern is most dramatically evident in political leaders accused of corruption — who deem their indictment as “political”.
Framed as a “war” by many leaders — thereby justifying a deceptive propaganda modality — is it then totally naive to assume that the official narrative regarding the pandemic is not based in some measure on misinformation, disinformation, deception, or deliberate lying? From a military perspective, this would be fully justified, given the highly valued role of deception in warfare.
With respect to the large scale production and dissemination of misinformation in the pandemic context, one study investigates those who believe it (Seoyong Kim and Sunhee Kim, The Crisis of Public Health and Infodemic: Analyzing Belief Structure of Fake News about COVID-19 Pandemic, Sustainability 12, 2020, 9904). This would however appear to avoid the issue of how to establish whether any information is true or false, given that critical counter-claims are necessarily dismissed or framed as false.
Are “fact-checking” initiatives to be upheld as totally free of bias — and unquestionably so, as some would claim them to be (Samikshya Siwakoti, et al., How COVID drove the evolution of fact-checking, Misinformation Review, 6 May 2021). Or does fact-checking depend on selectively framing particular information as false, according to the constraints of unquestionable criteria, governed by prescription of an often undeclared agenda (Sungkyu Park, et al, The presence of unexpected biases in online fact-checking, Misinformation Review, 27 January 2021).
Little is said in the current context, for example, about widespread tolerance of the misleading information presented to an i=ever increasing degree in advertising (Victor Pickard, Unseeing Propaganda: how communication scholars learned to love commercial media, Misinformation Review, 22 April 2021). In the detection of misinformation, are claims to scientific objectivity then themselves questionable — if they fail to address their own degree of complicity in framing the process (Cui bono?, Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?)
How durable are “facts”, given the “half life of knowledge“, as queried by Samuel Arbesman (The Half-life of Facts: why everything we know has an expiration date, 2012)? Expressed otherwise by the Marcia Angell:
It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in that conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine. (Drug Companies and Doctors: a story of corruption, The New York Review of Books, 15 January 2009).
The problematic nature of the distinction between true and false is highlighted in a different context by the highly controversial discussion of critical race theory, especially in the USA — where it is proving to be an existential challenge to academia. As argued by Kerry Cosby, this raises the more general issue that the problems of today call for less binary and more systems thinking (Is Critical Race Theory Too Complex for U.S. Politics? The Globalist, 20 July 2021). It notes the relevance of the question to the pandemic, climate change, and other issues. Does politics have the ability to confront issues for which academia has (in some cases) begun using more complex methods to examine? Cosby argues:
Today, the U.S. political system largely relies upon establishing a binary choice for voters. Meanwhile, for many of today’s problems, researchers use models that consider multiple causes, feedback loops and systemic structural influences.
The argument can be evoked with respect to the manner in which “information” and “misinformation” are distinguished — given the limitations of the binary mindset focusing primarily (if not solely) on “truth” verse “falsehood”. Is information really either true or false — or possibly both, or even neither? This complexification has been explored by Kinhide Mushakoji (Global Issues and Interparadigmatic Dialogue, 1988). The non-binary insights of quantum computing, and their social implications, suggest that other perspectives may be pertinent (Alexander Wendt, Quantum Mind and Social Science: unifying physical and social ontology, 2015).
The title of this document is itself necessarily ambiguous — a “science of misinformation and deception” — given that considerable science has been acknowledged to have been applied in the course of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal. As a marketing initiative to manipulate the opinion of voters, it frames the question as to whether advertising and puffery merit exploration as exercises in misinformation — in the guise of information (Rebecca A. Clay, Advertising as Science, American Psychological Association, 33, 2002, 9; Livia Gershon, Can Advertising Be a Science? JStor Daily, 4 December 2016; Adi Ignatius, Advertising Is an Art — and a Science, Harvard Business Review, March 2013).
Does the framing of the pandemic as a “war” preclude any assumption that authorities are complicit in processes of deception — as would be a natural option in the implication of the need for a “military” response?
Media bias: Noting that media may be biased regarding political and ideological leaning/orientation especially, the awareness of such bias is a key factor for readers in deciding how much content/opinion they accept or reject from a given source, as argued by Victoria Patricia Aires, et al (An Information Theory Approach to Detect Media Bias in News Websites, WISDOM, 24 August 2020). The authors that:
Over the years, especially nowadays, biased information has been used as a tool to control and manipulate public opinion, ultimately leading to the proliferation of fake news. Consequently, it is important to develop methods to automatically identify and inform the reader about the eventual political and ideological bias of the sources. The majority of current research focuses on polarity detection or a bi-class problem, such as left vs. right-wing leaning or Democratic vs. Republican. In addition, most of them are based on a large number of features (lexical or bag-of-words), resulting in computationally intensive methods. In this work, we introduce Poll (POLitical Leaning detector), a strategy based on Information Theory concepts to detect media bias in news websites/portals considering bi-class and multi-class problems. Our strategy reduces the feature space to as little as the number of classes being considered, significantly reducing the overall computational cost.
Deception: Although necessarily recognized, the role of deception has not been extensively integrated into information theory, as noted with respect to misinformation by Carlo Kopp, et al (Information-theoretic Models of Deception: modelling cooperation and diffusion in populations exposed to “fake news”, PLOS One, 28 November 2018):
The modelling of deceptions in game theory and decision theory has not been well studied, despite the increasing importance of this problem in social media, public discourse, and organisational management. This paper presents an improved formulation of the extant information-theoretic models of deceptions, a framework for incorporating these models of deception into game and decision theoretic models of deception, and applies these models and this framework in an agent based evolutionary simulation that models two very common deception types employed in “fake news” attacks. The simulation results for both deception types modelled show, as observed empirically in many social systems subjected to “fake news” attacks, that even a very small population of deceivers that transiently invades a much larger population of non-deceiving agents can strongly alter the equilibrium behaviour of the population in favour of agents playing an always defect strategy. The results also show that the ability of a population of deceivers to establish itself or remain present in a population is highly sensitive to the cost of the deception, as this cost reduces the fitness of deceiving agents when competing against non-deceiving agents. Diffusion behaviours observed for agents exploiting the deception producing false beliefs are very close to empirically observed behaviours in social media, when fitted to epidemiological models. We thus demonstrate, using the improved formulation of the information-theoretic models of deception, that agent based evolutionary simulations employing the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma can accurately capture the behaviours of a population subject to deception attacks introducing uncertainty and false perceptions, and show that information-theoretic models of deception have practical applications beyond trivial taxonomical analysis.
Misinformation: A research program of the School of Physics of the University of Sydney frames the challenge in terms of Fighting the spread of misinformation.
Why aren’t scientific results having more impact on public opinion, policy and political will? The use of misinformation by vested interests has a long history, however the advent of social media, and the fracturing of the media landscape, has vastly increased the power wielded by those bent on introducing confusion into debate. The sophistication of the deception, coupled with the severity of the consequences, has prompted a large amount of recent research into the nature of misinformation…, and how best to combat it…. High impact research has recently been published on the spread of `fake news’…, and the need to combat scientific misinformation…] however there has been no attempt to quantify the spread and impact of scientific information on public opinion and policy development.
Understood as a means of tackling the fundamental barriers to the use of science in society, the project envisages the use the tools of network analysis to quantify the nature of information flow within, and between, the networks of scientists, the general public, and key influencers (such as politicians and media organisations). This would then give a measure of the extent to which influencers are relying on misinformation versus science in the development of policy. The project would also identify the characteristics of “super-spreaders” in the network, and seek to determine how these characteristics may be harnessed for a “public inoculation strategy”.
Given the fundamental role of entropy in information theory, the understanding of entropy is of relevance in relation to misinformation, as argued by Chao Wang, et al (A rumor spreading model based on information entropy, Scientific Reports, 7, 2017, 9615):
Rumor spreading can have a significant impact on people’s lives, distorting scientific facts and influencing political opinions. With technologies that have democratized the production and reproduction of information, the rate at which misinformation can spread has increased significantly, leading many to describe contemporary times as a ‘post-truth era’. Research into rumor spreading has primarily been based on either model of social and biological contagion, or upon models of opinion dynamics. Here we present a comprehensive model that is based on information entropy, which allows for the incorporation of considerations like the role of memory, conformity effects, differences in the subjective propensity to produce distortions, and variations in the degree of trust that people place in each other.
The relevance of information theory to misinformation does however require particular clarification, as argued by Uyiosa Omoregie (A Wittgensteinian Approach to Online Content Misinformation Analysis, SocArXiv, 25 Jan 2021)
How can misinformation online (World Wide Web) be effectively analysed? Online platforms initially left content consumers to discern for themselves whether information online was true or false. Outright censoring of content followed and then fact-checking. We propose in this paper that misinformation analysis should aim to make clear what is stated by clarifying the propositions and claims in such content. The early philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) is relevant for such analysis. Presented here is an online content information quality check model for written (non-graphical) misinformation analysis and prevention. This model is inspired by Wittgenstein’s book Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Applied to Web browsers and online social media platforms, the rating and labelling of content with this model can help users discern content qualitatively, avoid being misinformed, and engage more analytically with other users. This Wittgensteinian model can also be viewed as a theory of information quality.
Renaissance of science? So called “Science 2.0” is a suggested new approach to science that uses information-sharing and collaboration made possible by network technologies. Understood as similar to the open research and open science movements, it is inspired by what are termed Web 2.0 technologies. Science 2.0 therefore stresses the benefits of increased collaboration between scientists using collaborative tools like wikis, blogs and video journals to share findings, raw data and “nascent theories” online.
A journal promoting this alternative has noted with respect to misinformation that:
Online misinformation works, or so it would seem. One of the more interesting statistics from the 2019 UK general election was that 88% of advertisements posted on social media by the Conservative Party pushed figures that had already been deemed misleading by the UK’s leading fact-checking organization, Full Fact. And, of course, the Conservatives won the election by a comfortable margin. (Darren Lilleker, Spurious Thinking: Why You’re More Susceptible To Misinformation Than You Think Science 2.0, 11 January 2020)
However it is unclear whether Science 2.0 will simply become a new vehicle for scientism in failing to give full consideration to the inadequacies of “Science 1.0”, as discussed separately (Challenges of Science Upheld as an Exclusive Mode of Inquiry: pseudorelevance of science to global crises? 2021). The nature of misinformation may then pose a particular challenge (W. Glen Pyle, Vaccination Opponents Drive An Epidemic of COVID-19 Misinformation, Science 2.0, 23 November 2020).
Credulity? Valuable clarification of the historical process by which the birth and expansion of information systems transformed the relationship between “faith” and “fact” is offered by Carolyn N. Biltoft (The Anatomy of Ccredulity and Incredulity: a hermeneutics of misinformation, Misinformation Review, 30 April 2020):
The existence of recurring forms of credulity and conversely denial — from holocaust denial to climate change denial — suggests that patterns of belief and disbelief will not be easily resolved either with fact-checking or with the regulation of the press. While such approaches see the problem of misinformation in terms of a contest between truth and falsehood, history suggests that people believe falsehoods, because they need to for a variety of psychological or socio-cultural reasons. While understanding what “needs” falsehoods meet may not provide an immediate solution to the problem of misinformation, it does open a different perspective on the question. In the end, the essay suggests that the current trend towards STEM education, to the growing exclusion of the humanities, may be slowly undermining the very analytical skills the public needs to be able to counter the tides of misinformation.
Tragically, and ironically, science could be said to betray Galileo, whilst upholding him as an exemplar of science. This is evident in the systematic promotion of reference to “sunrise” and “sunset” by meteorology and astronomy — a reversion to the geocentric perspective which Galileo heroically endeavoured to correct. No appropriate expressions have been offered to reinforce a heliocentric perspective in the face of a flat Earth and flatland mentality. This pattern can be understood as equivalent to the logocentric and egocentric perspectives reinforced by many religions — in contrast with the radical cognitive insights to which mystics endeavour to point.
Misperception in games: With applications to the social sciences, game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction among rational decision-makers. With the pandemic frequently framed in terms of warfare, as such it is more usefully recognized in terms of cyberwarfare or memetic warfare (Conceptual defence systems and memetic warfare, 2001). Information theory could then be applied to the dynamics between those variously opposed in the pandemic and misinformed of each others intentions and motivations. Clarifications include:
- Carlo Kopp, Shannon, hypergames and information warfare (Proceedings of the 3rd Australian Information Warfare and Security Conference, 2002
- Carlo Kopp, et al: Information-theoretic models of deception: modelling cooperation and diffusion in populations exposed to “fake news” (Plos One, 28 November 2018)
- K. W. Hipel and A. Dagnino, A hypergame algorithm for modeling misperceptions in bargaining (Journal of Environmental Management, 27, 1988).
- T. E. Carroll and D. Grosu: A game theoretic investigation of deception in network security (Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks, 2009)
- J. Zhuang, et al: Modeling secrecy and deception in a multiple-period attacker-defender signaling game (European Journal of Operational Research, 203, 2010, 2)
- J. P. Hespanha, et al.: Deception in non-cooperative games with partial information (Proceedings of the 2nd DARPA-JFACC Symposium on Advances in Enterprise Control, July 2000).
- Richards J. Heuer, Jr.: Strategic Deception and Counterdeception: q cognitive process approach (International Studies Quarterly, 25, 1981, 2)
- Lening Li, et al: Dynamic Hypergames for Synthesis of Deceptive Strategies with Temporal Logic Objectives (arxiv.org, 30 July 2020)
- M. Bennett, et al: Using hypergames for deception planning and counter deception analysis (Defense Intelligence Journal, 15, 2006).
For Nicholas S. Kovach et al: Hypergame Theory: a model for conflict, misperception, and deception(Game Theory, 2015, 570639):
When dealing with conflicts, game theory and decision theory can be used to model the interactions of the decision-makers. To date, game theory and decision theory have received considerable modeling focus, while hypergame theory has not. A metagame, known as a hypergame, occurs when one player does not know or fully understand all the strategies of a game. Hypergame theory extends the advantages of game theory by allowing a player to outmaneuver an opponent and obtaining a more preferred outcome with a higher utility. The ability to outmaneuver an opponent occurs in the hypergame because the different views (perception or deception) of opponents are captured in the model, through the incorporation of information unknown to other players (misperception or intentional deception).
Mapping game roles? As offered by game theory, missing in efforts to understand the dynamics between the variously opposing parties in the pandemic is any approach to mapping out their respective positions:
- Mark E. Mateski, et al: The Hypergame Perception Model: a diagrammatic approach to modeling perception, misperception, and deception (Military Operations Research, 15, 2010, 2)
- J. W. Bryant: Hypermaps: a representation of perceptions in conflicts (Omega, 11, 1983, 6)
- Jim Bryant Modelling Alternative Realities in Conflict and Negotiation (Journal of the Operational Research Society, 35, 1984, 11)
- M. Wang, et al: Modeling misperceptions in games (Behavioral Science, 33, 1988, no. 3)
Games aging institutions play in anticipation of collapse? Of potential relevance is the recognition of how individuals cultivate forms of deception in their personal interactions understood as games (Eric Berne, Games People Play: the psychology of human relations, 1964). This understanding has been extended to organizations (James R. Rogers, et al, Institutional Games and the U.S. Supreme Court, 2007). In the case of individuals, the role of deception is especially evident in how people choose to “disguise” and “camouflage” themselves through choice of dress and cosmetics — at all ages, but especially when they would otherwise appear less youthful. Arguably the process is evident in the use of public relations by organizations to enhance their strategic relevance. This is clearly recognized in deceptive marketing reference to “greenwashing” and “bluewashing” — as an extension of “whitewashing“.
Framed in this way it could then be asked what games civilizations play as they recognize their mortality and possibility of collapse. How do they pretend otherwise, if only to themselves and their populations? This suggests a different consideration of the much-cited study by Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, 2005). With respect to the pandemic, the institutional dynamics could then be explored as a form of game through which the collapse of civilization — as variously predicted — is disguised. The worldwide enthusiasm for massively multiplayer online games, and for massively multiplayer online role-playing games, is then perhaps more than a coincidence.
Seen in this light, the current focus on masking and social distancing could be understood as an institutionalization of deceptive disguise, inhibiting the former degree of transparency in social relations — otherwise upheld as a human right. Little is said of the manner in which masking undermines those dependent on facial cues in negotiation — most notably in the case of lip reading by the deaf. It remains to be determined how the future will interpret the deception associated with worldwide inoculation.
In this context it is then relevant to ask where truth can be sought with confidence. The challenge is as great for any individual as it is for leaders, especially of nations and international institutions. An obvious difficulty is that many potential sources claim to offer unquestionable truth — in contrast to the falsehoods offered by their effective competitors and opponents.
Engaging with sources of truth: Engaging with each such source it quickly becomes evident that the source would consider highly offensive any implication that the truth it offers is anyway questionable. Those claiming greatest authority also tend to claim never to be wrong — and do so with a degree of arrogance. They tend to have sophisticated procedures to demonstrate the contrary, if challenged with evidence of particular instances of their falsehood. In some cases any critics are simply referred to the “small print” covering cases whereby truth was not in effect claimed. This may may in itself be difficult in that it is typical for insurance contracts to indicate what is covered, but not to clarify what is not.
The attitude is well exemplified by the TINA declaration of Margaret Thatcher: There Is No Alternative, or that of the President of the USA (Bush: ‘You Are Either With Us, Or With the Terrorists’, Voice of America, 21 September 2011). Unfortunately there is no evidence whatsoever that “being right” offers a viable remedy to the challenges of global governance. Are those who disagree with the dominant narrative simply to be framed as “wrong”, possibly with implications fatal for their livelihood and even for their existence. Should injunctions against the critics of vaccination be recognized as following the pattern of fatwas of the Islamic faith, as with that condemning Salman Rushdie to death for his novel The Satanic Verses (1988)? Does this pattern constitute a reversion to the treatment of heretics by the Catholic Church?
It could be considered naive to assume that those perceiving advantage in their claims to truth would not seek to exploit that advantage and to reinforce it. The processes whereby they do so in order to position themselves to greater advantage may be questionable in the eyes of others. They may well detract from the credibility of the source, however much that is denied or considered irrelevant to the truths presented.
The influential framing offered by Leo Strauss and cultivated by his followers tends to be readily ignored. Strauss believed that essential truth about human society and history should be held by an elite and withheld from others who lack the fortitude to deal with truth. In their view it has been necessary to tell lies to people about the nature of political reality…The elite keeps the truth to itself… This gives it insight and …power that others do not possess (William Pfaff, The Long Reach of Leo Strauss, International Herald Tribune, 15 May 2003).
As noted by Jim Lobe (Leo Strauss’ Philosophy of Deception, 19 May 2003), deception is considered to be the norm in political life. The political order can only be stable, according to that argument, if it is united by an external threat. Following Machiavelli, Strauss maintained that if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured. In his view you have to fight all the time (Thoughts on Machiavelli, 1958). Has the pandemic been framed as just such an external threat?
An associated major difficulty is increasing recognition that in many contexts it may simply be a matter of the cost payable to an authority for switching to an alternative interpretation of the truth. This may simply take the form of making vital funding dependent on a switch in emphasis. More blatantly, this is exemplified in the case of corruption of legal proceedings and evidence tampering. Any truth can then be understood to have a price — whether or not it is expressed in monetary terms. Less obvious tactics may simply be to reduce the competence of those in any investigating body, or to change its mandate, such that problematic issues are overlooked or avoided. This is a questionable individualisation of “oversight”, with all that the ambiguity implies.
Sources of truth? Particular instances of relevance include:
- Science: It is natural to expect that science, in the form of scientific institutions or their representatives, would be a primary source of truth. The difficulty is that the guarantees of science in that respect are variously constrained. A particular piece of research may present a clear conclusion — readily claimed as a truth. However other research, or a related discipline, may challenge that interpretation and offer another. Over time there may be a convergence of views — again offering a firmer conclusion — but with the potential of being challenged by new research at a later date from another perspective. It is not to be forgotten that scientists achieve a reputation by proving earlier research to be wrong — whatever the implications for the truths derived from it
Such difficulties are especially evident in the health sciences on which so much reliance is placed under pandemic conditions. It is especially significant to note the extent to which health professionals take particular care in offering “opinions” rather than truths in complex matters on which their advice is sought. Any such professional will happily suggest that a “second opinion” could well be sought from another professional — leaving it to the person in quest of truth to draw a conclusion.
Any truth apparently offered by research is naturally questionable given the insidious role of institutional funding, especially in academia. Funding may well be made available on condition that it is framed in a certain manner with a view to achieving certain results and justifying desired conclusions. It is difficult for disciplines and scientists to disassociate themselves from such institutional pressures and to reflect this in research results — despite efforts at indicating “conflicts of interest”.
A further difficulty in seeking truth from science derives from the many disciplines into which science is fragmented. Many of these have limited appreciation for each other, given the methodological constraints under which each is held to operate. The truth which might potentially emanate from a unified science or a Theory of Everything, remains hypothetical and elusive. Science devotes little resources to the possibilities of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in this respect. Truths are therefore relatively constrained by discipline.
The difficulty is all the greater when a discipline, claiming itself to be a science, is condemned as a pseudoscience by other disciplines — namely a source of forms of truth which are automatically deprecated by them
- Religion: For adherents of any religion, it is natural to seek recourse to an appropriate religious institution as a source of truth. Religions and their representatives make very strong claims in that regard — mandated as they often are by sacred scriptures and divine revelation.
The importance of religion in this respect is evident when evidence is presented as truthful under oath — with specific reference to deity (“so help me God”). Reliance on spiritual guidance is remarkably evident in the practice under some American presidents of daily prayer meetings in the White House. As a source of truth, it remains unclear how this provides guidance for military campaigns in which thousands are killed — or in the presidential authorization of capital punishment.
An obvious difficulty is the nature of the truth offered, irrespective of that sought. Religious discourse typically reframes a request for truth in a larger framework which is of seemingly little relevance to requirements for a simple answer. Dominant religious may not be embarrassed by the perspectives of alternative religions and the truth they may offer. This is less evident in societies claiming to be secular where religious bias may itself be criticized as a form of untruth. Like science, religions have been relatively unsuccessful in efforts at inter-faith initiatives, as is evident with regard to the uptake of the Global Ethic (1993)
A further difficulty for religions over millennia is the extent to which they would claim never to have been wrong — despite embarrassing evidence to the contrary. For the Catholic Church, for example, its questionable assertion during the Galileo Affair of a geocentric perspective (despite evidence of the validity of a heliocentric perspective) is indicative of a form of fallibility. This denied institutionally by belief in the Infallibility of the Church, namely that the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian Church from errors that would contradict its essential doctrines. Associated truths are currently called into question with regard to the status of women, divorce, abortion, and same-sex marriage. With respect to truth, the challenge extends to Biblical infallibility and Biblical inerrancy.
As a source of truth, especially problematic is evidence of institutional denial of error having taken the form of systematic cover-up, as most recently indicated by the incidence of sexual above by the Catholic clergy. This is consistent with cover-up of the tragic fate of children and their mothers in Catholic institutions. Those issues help to make the point that misinformation may take the form of omission rather than lying.
- Government: Given the tradition of sovereign authority, and notions of “divine right”, there is a natural tendency to associate truth with sovereign power — more commonly now invested in secular governments elected by the people. Unfortunately as a consequence of well-documented instances, trust in government as a source of truth is now remarkably low. This in no way prevents governments from authoritatively presenting information as being factually truthful — assuming that it will be deemed credible — despite evidence of the extent to which such data can be massaged in support of a particular agenda.
Most obvious is the extent to which the results of democratic elections are contested as having been manipulated in some manner. The assiduous efforts to recount the Arizona results in the last US presidential election are a clear example. Although discounted by many voters, considerable attention has been given to documenting the credibility of Donald Trump (Trump’s false or misleading claims total 30,573 over 4 years, The Washington Post, 24 January 2021)
The question is increasingly to what lengths government institutions will go to manipulate data in support of particular agendas. A prime example is offered by the questionable evidence for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as presented by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to the UN Security Council in justification for the subsequent military intervention. Of similar relevance is the incidence of false flag covert operations — and the manner in which they are justified in defence of national security.
More intriguing is the systematic presentation of misleading information by government agencies, or its omission, as revealed by the publication of secret US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks. The reaction by authorities to these revelations in turn evokes confirmation of their untrustworthiness.
- Private business corporations: Governments have increasingly turned to private enterprises in the expectation of reliable, if not truthful, responses to their needs — rather than depend upon government agencies as was a previous tendency. Perhaps most surprising is the use of private contractors for security purposes, even in foreign campaigns. It has become evident the extent to which corporations seek immunity from prosecution when engaging in such contracts — as evident in the use of injunctions and superinjunctions.
There is however extensive documentation on the lack of transparency of corporations, most notably with respect to environmental issues — accompanied by patterns of increasingly dubious denial. Given the focus on profit-making, it is understandable that when requested for truth corporations would frame their response such as to serve that purpose. It is increasingly naive to expect otherwise.
- Think tanks: Whether as an extension of academia or of private enterprise, think tanks would necessarily claim to be a source of truth through the studies they produce. Such claims are suspect to the extent that the reports typically reflect particular ideological agendas — and attract their funding for that reason. There are think tanks of every persuasion offering perspectives contradicting one another (Tank Warfare Challenges for Global Governance: extending the “think tank” metaphor to include other cognitive modalities, 2019)
- Intelligence agencies: These are a natural source of truth for government. The difficulty is that they are necessarily preoccupied with security issues and frame all questions from that perspective. Additionally they are necessarily secretive and therefore constrained in their ability to present information in a truthful manner.
As recently documented, notably in relation to justification for intervention in Iraq, the dynamics of the relation with government render problematic the quality of information they provide — despite the immense resources devoted to its collection.
- Military services: As with the intelligence agencies, the military are necessarily preoccupied with security issues and frame any quest for truth in that light. Additionally it is the military which is most dependent on strategies of deception in engaging effectively with any potential threat — including any threat to their own funding. Where truth increases the risk of empowering an enemy, it is clear that the military would have little compunction in quashing its expression.
- Intergovernmental groups: Understood as transcending the constraints on the truth-telling capacity of national governments, truth of a higher order may potentially be (vainly) sought from groups such as the Group of Seven or the Group of Twenty (Group of 7 Dwarfs: Future-blind and Warning-deaf — self-righteous immoral imperative enabling future human sacrifice, 2018).
As a source of truth, such groupings are an extension of the pattern of consultation with allies with a shared agenda, exemplified by bodies such as NATO and the OECD. Secretive variants include the so-called Five Eyes intelligence sharing group.
Of potential relevance as a source of truth are the public reports engendered by such bodies as helpfully summarized by Michael Marien (Report on Global Reports, 2020-2021: the Whale and the Minnows, Cadmus, 25 June 2021).
- Media: As the means whereby public attention is drawn to the expression of truth, it is clearly esteemed as a valuable source. The role of journalism has been held in high regard for that reason.
It has however become evident the degree to which vested interests may be threatened by the transparency offered by the media. As a consequence efforts are made to control the content of communications to ensure its support of particular agendas. This is most obvious where much of the media is recognized to be influenced or controlled by government and is not free to express truths which contradict a narrative favoured by government. As a matter of convenience, specific measures may be enacted to prevent coverage of issues too readily framed as a threat to national security
Although not directly controlled by government, media controlled by corporations ares necessarily respectful of the government narrative for the advantages this offers. An additional constraint for media dependent on advertising revenue is the need to avoid expression of truths which may cause cancellation of advertising contracts — potentially including those associated with political parties.
- Nongovernmental nonprofit organizations (NGOs): Such bodies are typically created to articulate truths with regard to human rights, environmental degradation, corruption, and other issues — and are esteemed for that reason. With the development of the internet, many have acquired an electronic presence, or have been replaced by social media fora and websites.
Whether purely virtual or not, as a source of truth NGOs face a problem similar to think tanks in that they are embedded in an ecosystem of sources of mutually contradictory information. They may well be created by vested interests as a front whereby particular truths may be promoted and others discredited.
- Secret(ive) societies: Much-cited examples as a potential source of truth include the Rosicrucians and Freemasonry. The latter is notable for being a focus of conspiracy theories associated with the so-called Illuminati.
- Gatherings of the eminent: Given the problematic quest for truth from those identified above, recourse may be had to individuals or groups recognized as having a higher degree of credibility for some reason. This may take the form of consulting those esteemed for their “wisdom”, as a source of insight on an issue of concern — or enabling a “council of the wise” . Some “NGOs” may frame their role in this way — possibly as a vehicle for the insights of a charismatic individual (or those awarded as icons of human insight) — whilst seeking to distinguish themselves from the label “NGO”. Obvious international examples include the following, possibly reflecting equivalents at the national level:
- Club of Rome
- World Economic Forum
- Trilateral Commission
- Lindau Nobel Laureates Meetings. Four of these committees (for prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature) a
- The Elders: an international organization of public figures noted as senior statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates
- Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award: upheld as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, although specifically distinguished from it
Any such listing raises the somewhat ironic question as to whether sources of truth-telling could be rated with a star system, as are restaurants and hotels. Clearly academia makes various efforts to rank universities, think tanks and journals as a means of prejudging the quality of their research. To what extent such rankings are unquestionably indicative of truth is another matter. In other domains, a form of ranking is achieved through reputation and word-of-mouth, as with speaker rankings and individuals as sources of wisdom.
The point to be emphasized is that, as a guide to truth-telling, all such rankings are suspect — with those so ranked characteristically critical of others and of any implied order of precedence or “pecking order”. Is any one source of truth necessarily suspect due to its own tendency to ensure future dependency on it?
As noted above, a relevant study is that of Adam M. Enders, et al, (The Different Forms of COVID-19 Misinformation and their Consequences, Misinformation Review, 16 November 2020). However, as noted, the argument there appears to conflate in a rather particular manner what is “misinformation”, “dubious”, and the focus of “conspiracy theories” — potentially excluding what some would argue (with evidence) as being of legitimate scientific concern. The study could be seen as avoiding reference to the misuse of information by government and vested interests — appropriately understood as “misinformation (as noted below) — with an implication that it is the “anti-vaxxers” and the like who are the primary source of such misinformation.
The Enders study cites another valuable source, namely that of J. S. Brennen, et al. (Types, Sources, and Claims of COVID-19 Misinformation, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2020). As with the Enders study, the implication there is that fact-checking bodies are themselves free from bias (although constrained by extreme shortage of resources). It concludes with the recommendation that misinformation about COVID-19 comes in many different forms, from many different sources, and makes many different claims. Such misinformation frequently reconfigures existing or true content rather than fabricating it wholesale, and where it is manipulated, is edited with simple tools (rather than the use of AI).
The study does however conclude that much misinformation directly or indirectly questions the actions, competence, or legitimacy of public authorities (including governments, health authorities, and international organisations), noting (only in a footnote) that: Beyond the issues discussed here it is worth recognising that some governments globally are arguably withholding public interest information about the pandemic and in some cases actively misinforming the public about the health situation and the actions taken to address it.
No reference is made in the study to the extent to which such misuse might be evident in scientific institutions, health authorities or the pharmaceutical industry. Although it is noted that: COVID-19 appears to be supplying the opportunity for very different actors with a range of different motivations and goals to produce a variety of types of misinformation about many different topics. In this sense, misinformation about COVID-19 is as diverse as information about it.
The study does however conclude that it will be difficult for public authorities to address or correct such claims directly without running into multiple problems: How many people will accept as credible a government trying to debunk or refute misinformation that casts that very same government in a negative light?
A final conclusion of the Brennen study notes:
The risk in not recognising the diversity in the landscape of coronavirus misinformation is assuming there could be a single solution to this set of problems. Instead, our findings suggest there will be no silver bullet or inoculation – no ‘cure’ for misinformation about the new coronavirus.
In determining what exactly is misinformation, there is however a fundamental difficulty highlighted by the very title of a seemingly relevant study (John E. Newhagen and Erik P. Bucyxx, Overcoming Resistance to COVID-19 Vaccine Adoption: How affective dispositions shape views of science and medicine, Misinformation Review, 29 October 2020). One form of misinformation is evident in the assumption that the health experts are necessarily and unquestionably right (and without bias), and that anti-vaccine protestors of whatever shade of opinion are unquestionably wrong — and that their mistaken attitudes must be rectified. The assumption is only too evident in the abstract of that article:
Health experts worry that a COVID-19 vaccine boycott could inhibit reaching “herd immunity,” and their concerns have only grown as the pandemic has spread. Concern has largely focused on anti-vaccine protestors… But anti-vax extremists make up only about a third of respondents in surveys who said they would not vaccinate. Health officials must also take into account a swelling group who may understand the importance of a vaccine but are hesitant and confused because they feel the vaccine’s development is being rushed and may not be safe or effective. The challenge for the public health community is complex; it has to fashion messages to a set of disparate groups, each employing a unique set of biases when processing information about the efficacy of getting a vaccination.
As indicated above, there would seem to be a form of “cognitive gerrymandering” in avoiding any consideration of the possibility that many aspects of marketing merit consideration as misinformation — and therefore calling for their exclusion from social media platforms. Such consideration would necessarily include dubious claims made in the promotion of ideological positions by vested political interests as well as those made with respect to religious beliefs, as argued separately (Comparability of “Vaxxing Saves” with “Jesus Saves” as Misinformation? Problematic challenge of global discernment, 2021).
Whilst journal editors may encourage authors to indicate any conflict of interest, whether such declarations are the focus of appropriate fact-checking is an appropriate question.
“Authoritative” assertions: There is seemingly considerable confusion regarding questions surrounding the misuse of information by public authorities. As public authorities, there is an unquestioned assumption by many that their use of the information at their disposal is necessarily “authoritative” (implying correct) — and therefore beyond question in their mandatory role in acting in the best interests of the electorate. Such an assumption invites challenge in the light of the recognized use of propaganda and the documented tendency to withhold information.
A striking example is the manner in which UK authorities “egged-up” the case for “humanitarian intervention” in Iraq, as subsequently reviewed in the 12-volume report of the Chilcot Inquiry (2016). As noted above, an influential case for withholding information to the extent possible has been made by Leo Strauss.
As is especially evident in critical analysis of dictatorships by outsiders, the misuse of information by the state is however deprecated. Within such societies any such criticism is severely penalized. Curiously the tendency of governments to massage data critical of their performance — to present a positive impression — is tolerated to a degree, without being labelled misinformation. It does however raise issues when government spokesperson make authoritative assertions on any issue citing data which has been manipulated in this way. The question framed is the nature of the quantitative evidence in support of any such declaration.
“Demonisation” of critics: These issues are evident with respect to the pandemic. Critics of authoritative quantitative declarations, notably with regard to vaccination, are readily dismissed as “anti-vaxxers” and “conspiracy theorists” — corresponding to the treatment of critics under dictatorships. The criticism — not what is criticized — is then framed as “misinformation”. Those responsible are a focus of demonisation to varying degrees (Phillip Cole, The Myth of Evil: Demonizing the Enemy, 2006; Jakob Schwöre et al, Demonisation of political discourses? West European Politics, 2020; Arnold Kling, Political Demonization in the Time of Coronavirus, Discourse, 22 April 2020)
This playbook is employed to an extreme degree in framing the leadership of countries and groups held to be a threat to security. Portraying opponents as corrupt, sexually depraved, with cannibalistic tendencies, associated with torture, and the like, are all standard practice (if the “dirt” can be usefully made to stick). Historical examples include the framings of the “Yellow Peril“, the “Black Peril“, the “Red Peril“, or of the Communist “fellow travellers” identified in the USA by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee during the McArthy era.
It is in this light that it is appropriate to look at criticism of the misuse of information in relation to the pandemic by authorities — whether government, health, scientific, corporate, or possibly religious. Such criticisms may indeed feature in social media fora framed as “anti-vaxxer”. There is considerably naivety in such condemnation, given the extent of negative advertising in modern electoral campaigns.
Focus of criticism of authorities: Most evident is criticism of data manipulation, otherwise known by such terms as “data massaging”, otherwise termed “data cleansing” with use of “data wrangling tools“. This is the process of detecting and “correcting” (or removing) records held to be corrupt or inaccurate from a record set, table, or database. It refers to identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate or irrelevant parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting the “dirty” or coarse data. Reference to “massaging” implies adjusting the data according to a strategic requirement:
- Data Massaging: the benefits of a good massage, Ipsos-MORI, 16 January 2018;
- Data Massaging in Scientific Research: when does it go too far? Enago Academy, 21 May 2018
- Stephen Buranyi and Hannah Devlin: Dozens of recent clinical trials may contain wrong or falsified data, claims study (The Guardian, 6 June 2017)
- Peter Saunders: Another official Australian report has been doctored to gloss over rising inequality, The Conversation, 11 September 2019
- Michael Settle: UK Govt accused of “massaging the metrics” as it meets and exceeds 100,000 a day virus tests, The Herald, 2 May 2020)
- Joseph Mercola: CDC Caught Cooking the Books on COVID Vaccines (Organic Consumers Association, 11 June 2021)
Information manipulation: Modes of information manipulation practiced by authorities — or for which they are criticized — could be clustered as follows:
- Data manipulation:
- Data on COVID-19 deaths and cases goes underreported in many countries
- covering up data
- for the countries that are publishing statistics, many of these have been massaged to reveal a rosier version of reality.
- Data manipulation is a key marker of COVID-19 corruption
- COVID-19 infections had been grossly underestimated and could be up to 95 times higher than the official numbers.
- data on COVID-19 cases and deaths has been manipulated and underreported.
- Fallacies in data interpretation (Sanne Blauw, These are the three most important fallacies in the coronavirus debate, The Correspondent, 6 April 2020)
- Gagging orders and threats:
- scientists and journalists have been threatened for investigating the pandemic or publishing work that diverged from state narratives.
- Authorities have used the pandemic as an opportunity to gut public bodies dedicated to openness
- Those who refuse to toe government lines have faced repercussions, from losing their jobs to legal intimidation and verbal attacks.
- government passed a regulation prohibiting reporting on COVID-19: Under the online content regulation, publishing “public information that may cause public havoc and disorder” is banned
- Expert dissenting opinions are what the public needs to hear,
- Systematic prohibition and censorship of dissenting opinions, however scientifically authoritative
- Malpractice and lack of transparency:
- Clandestine contracts for medical goods and services
- bypassing public procurement rules,
- Malpractice in procurement of vaccines, protective equipment is widespread
- Corruption and secrecy is putting lives at risk, experts warn
- lack of transparency — the utilisation of direct procurement legislation because of the emergency needs at the time,
- COVID-19 vaccine producers have required governments around the world to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep the price per dose a secret.
- all levels of government — not only federal — are abusing the emergency decree to continue with direct awards without any restrictions,”
- Undermining trust in health and other authorities
- undermining trust in health systems,
- complicity of scientific authorities
- Cultivation of fear and paranoia:
- ill-informed paranoia leads to lockdowns of millions of people on the back of a case or two,
- political and media posturing has convinced us that the threat is at least 38 times worse than reality.
Influence of vested interests: A preoccupation which tends to be avoided is the degree to which those benefitting financially to an unusual degree from the pandemic have a major interest in biasing any discussion of the issues it has raised, as discussed with respect to previous issues (Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, 2010).
It would be naive to argue that manufacturers of vaccines, masks (and other protective gear), and sanitising fluids do not have a major interest in lobbying for policies which increase demand for them — with the support of commissioned research. The absence of transparency on such matters can only exacerbate suspicions, as suggested by the manner in which contracts are awarded under emergency legislation.
Especially valuable to reasoned argument is the pre-pandemic context provided with regard to undone science in distinguishing a default vaccination policy from the introduction of new vaccines in response to new diseases (A critical analysis of the Australian government’s rationale for its vaccination policy, University of Wollongong, 2015). The high degree of controversy evoked by that thesis by Judy Wilyman, widely disputed by parties representing those complicit in the system criticized, exemplifies the challenge with respect to balanced discussion of COVID vaccine resistance (Brian Martin, Judy Wilyman, PhD: how to understand attacks on a research student, University of Wollongong, 11 January 2016; also publications on scientific and technological controversies).
A critique of Australia’s vaccination policies is necessary because the government has adopted vaccination as the default position for certain groups in Australian society, even whilst claiming vaccination in Australia is not compulsory. Pressure is being placed on individuals to use multiple vaccines by linking financial incentives in the form of welfare benefits, childcare places and employment to the use of an expanding number of vaccines…. (p. 23)
Undone science also includes science that is founded on assumptions and extrapolations as opposed to direct empirical observations. An example of this type of undone science is the development of safety standards for the use of chemicals in humans and the environment. The majority of data that is used to establish safety standards for toxic chemicals is collected from observations in animal studies or naturally occurring accidents rather than controlled clinical trials on humans…. Extrapolation produces uncertainty from both ‘known’ and ‘unknown knowledge’… Unknown processes can influence the results in these cases. In some cases this uncertainty arises because the sponsor has chosen to ignore researching this area for political reasons…. (p. 222)
Whilst some scientists have attempted to enforce the precautionary principle in a form that states ‘The absence of certainty is not an excuse to do nothing’ the industry representatives are reversing this principle to state ‘there is no evidence of harm’ therefore no action is required… (p. 225)
Policy-makers, scientists and the public are increasingly acknowledging that harmful consequences of new procedures and technologies cannot be reliably determined through the usual risk assessment framework. This is because the areas of ignorance that result from undone science are increasing (p. 225)
The original thesis has subsequently been published in book form: Judy Wilyman, Vaccination — Australia’s Loss of Health Freedom: a critical analysis of the Australian Government’s rationale for its vaccination policy (Vaccination Decisions, 2020). With respect to COVID-19, the author has articulated a critique of the current application of the Precautionary Principle (Misapplication of the Precautionary Principle has Misplaced the Burden of Proof of Vaccine Safety Science, Public Health Policy, and The Law, 2, 2020) and has been interviewed by the Health Australia Party (COVID-19: Restrictions, Flawed Testing and Conflicts of Interest in Govt, 17 September 2020).
Modelling implications: The concerns can be highlighted otherwise through the contrast between the highly influential early modelling of the pandemic by Neil Ferguson in leading the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team and the case more recently made by another Imperial College team (Institute of Global Health Innovation) with regard to the value of opening a dialogue with those holding critical perspectives. Although the latter can be seen as token acknowledgement of the concerns of critics, the tone is condescending and paternalistic — with no recognition of the misinformation in which scientific health authorities and government have become recognizably complicit.
The highly misleading influence of the first report is discussed by F. William Engdahl (The Dubious COVID models, the tests, and now the consequences, The Irish Sentinel, 30 April 2020), although subsequently reframed in an undated public relations exercise for that team by Andrew Czyzewski (Modelling an Unprecedented Pandemic: the vital role of team-based, collaborative epidemiology and disease modelling in managing pandemics, Imperial College). The tardy recognition of the need for dialogue in the second report is described by David Robson (Why some people don’t want a Covid-19 vaccine, BBC Future, 23 July 2021) and by Justine Alford (Global report tracks changing health behaviours and attitudes over the past year, Imperial College, 14 May 2021).
The switch in attitude towards critics could be seen as a late response to the unresolved challenge of vaccine hesitancy — increasingly seen as highly problematic in quest of herd immunity. The difficulty for those with the power and motivation to deceive is the virtual impossibility of proving that they are not doing so — however vigorously this is claimed to be the case and that unquestioning trust is justified. The difficulty is exacerbated to a high degree by the failure to debate openly with critics and to rely solely on dismissal and suppression of their arguments as dangerous myths. Such a tendency would be vigorously challenged by politicians in a democratic society.
In summarizing the second report, there is a degree of irony to the fact that David Robson is author of The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes (2020) — offering an implication of relevance to the Imperial College initiatives, rather than to those critical of them. As indicated by the unusual title of a team in another London college — the Centre for Countering Digital Hate — expression of vaccine concern is only too readily and uncritically conflated with misinformation and even “digital hate” (Daniel Allington and Nayana Dhavan, The relationship between conspiracy beliefs and compliance with public health guidance with regard to COVID-19, Centre for Countering Digital Hate, 2020). In actively seeking to suppress all such precautionary voices, there is little academic concern with authoritative framing of it in terms of “hate” (The online anti-vaccine movement in the age of COVID-19, The Lancet, 2, 2020, 10).
For Ed Yong (America Is Getting Unvaccinated People All Wrong: they’re not all anti-vaxxers, and treating them as such is making things worse. The Atlantic, 22 July 2021):
There’s a tendency to assume that all vaccinated people are pro-vaccine and all unvaccinated people are anti-vaccine. But your experience suggests that there’s also vaccine hesitancy among vaccinated people…. A lot of vaccine information isn’t common knowledge. Not everyone has access to Google. This illustrates preexisting fault lines in our health-care system, where resources—including credible information—don’t get to everyone. The information gap is driving the vaccination gap. And language that blames “the unvaccinated” misses that critical point…. The language we use around unvaccinated people comes with a judgment—a condescension that “you’re unvaccinated and it’s your choice at this point.” That attitude is papering Twitter. It’s repeated by our top public-health officials. They’re railing on the unvaccinated as if they’re holding the rest of us back from normalcy. But unvaccinated people aren’t a random group of defectors who are trying to be deviant. They’re not all anti-vaxxers.
Much has however been made of the 12 people held by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate to be primarily responsible for misinformation on social media with respect to vaccination. Curiously dismissed is the argument of some “conspiracy theorists” that only a small number of people are responsible for framing the mainstream pandemic narrative and universal vaccination as a strategic response.
“Lies” as perceived by critics: It is especially difficult to determine with clarity what exactly are the preoccupations framed (as “lies” by authorities) by those who perceive them, in contrast to what they are reframed to be by authorities (naming them as “myths”). The difficulty is compounded by any recognition that, framed as a war, one side or both will engage to some degree in propaganda and deception. As propaganda, it is predictable that each side would endeavour to frame and position the other as negatively as possible. For those claiming lies by authorities, conspiracies will necessarily be exaggerated — with implications of evil intent. For authorities whose mainstream narrative is challenged, critics need to be portrayed in as negative and ridiculous manner as possible. Such playbooks are normal in warfare and would be expected to be further developed in memetic warfare.
It is unfortunate that those claiming “lies” on the part of the authorities tend to make use of social media websites which package the claims in a somewhat exaggerated marketing context — “sign up to our blog”. In any presentation by authorities of “myths” , it is unfortunate to note the probable inclusion of some preoccupations which are sufficiently extreme to discredit those more seriously presented with evidence. Critics must necessarily be presented as negatively as possible. The pattern is evident in electoral advertising in democratic societies.
“Myths” as defensively articulated by authorities: That said, the presentation of “myths” tends to be more informative, but without any means of determining the bias by which they are presented. More obvious is the manner in which the presentation of such myths tends to exclude preoccupations of more fundamental concern — readily understood as having been a victim of data massaging. However declarations by authorities are especially noteworthy for presenting data in a highly selective manner to avoid offering any legitimacy to the arguments of critics. Most noteworthy is limited mention of vaccine injuries and, more significantly, the burgeoning death rate amongst those already fully vaccinated. It is unclear to what extent data is manipulated to disguise vaccine failure.
It would seem that authorities have abandoned hope of satisfactorily countering the arguments of critics presented on social media and are actively switching to efforts to ban completely their capacity to do so, as noted in the case of Joseph Mercola (President Biden Demands Mercola Be Banned From Social Media, 26 July 2021). There is a sense in which authorities have now become terrified of their critics and respond to them as a major threat — a pattern evident in the response to any opposition in undemocratic societies.
As a dangerously unexplored bias of science, the clear preference for framing the views of critics as “myths” merits very careful reflection in the light of the powerful role of myths in society (Joseph Cambell, The Power of Myth, 1988; Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth, 2005).
The point can be usefully framed by the continuing debate among psychologists as to whether the Father Christmas myth is ultimately harmful to children — as a lie cultivated by their parents and thereby eroding trust in authority (Christopher Boyle, et al, A Wonderful Lie, The Lancet Psychiatry, 3, 2016, 12; Anna Almendrala, Psychologists Think Your Lies About Santa Will Damage Your Kids, HuffPost, 1 December 2016). However with respect to the pandemic, the author of the associated survey framed the concern otherwise (The distress caused by the Coronavirus pandemic means parents should maintain the “vital tonic” of the Father Christmas myth for children this year, psychologist urges, University of Exeter, 1 December 2020). Given the damage it allegedly causes, should any urgent action by authorities against myths — empowered by science — endeavour to eliminate the Santa myth?
Science itself can however be understood as entangled in myth (Paul Feyerabend, ‘Science’: the myth and its role in society, Inquiry, 18, 1975; W. Bruce Masse, et al, Exploring the nature of myth and its role in science, Geological Society, 273, 2007; Ethan Siegel, Scientific Proof Is A Myth, Forbes, 22 November 2017). A valuable t clarification of relevance is offered by Fabíola Ortiz dos Santos (Myths and Misconceptions on Covid-19, Frontiers in Communication, 31 March 2021).
It is noteworthy that some of the more reputable “myth-busting” documents are undated, and are consequently faced with the challenge of becoming outdated as suspicions are confirmed. There is relatively little consistency between the listings of myths, raising questions as to why some are highlighted and others not. In their simplistic application of true-or-false measures to what are cited as myths, little consideration is given to the possibility that some suspicions may be valid under some circumstances, or may become so following further research.
- Tim Newman Coronavirus myths explored. Medical News Today, 19 January 2021)
- John Gregory The Top COVID-19 Vaccine Myths Spreading Online, Britannica, 1 February 2021
- Tanya Lewis: Nine COVID-19 Myths That Just Won’t Go Away (Scientific American, 18 August 2020)
- WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Mythbusters, WHO, 5 May 2021; 12 Myths about COVID, WHO
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: Coronavirus Disease 2019: Myth vs. Fact
- Mayo Clinic: Debunking COVID-19 (coronavirus) myths
- Australian Government: COVID-19 Mythbusting; COVID-19 vaccines – Is it true?
- WebMD: COVID-19 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe
- CDC: Myths and Facts (7 July 2021); Bust Common Myths and Learn the Facts (2019)
- Health Care: The COVID-19 Vaccine: Myths vs. Facts
- UNICEF: The 12 Common Myths and Misconceptions About COVID-19 Vaccination (19 May 2021)
- PAHO: Myths and Truths about COVID-19 vaccines – Social media collection (8 July 2021)
- NIB: The 7 biggest COVID-19 vaccine myths (1 March 2021)
The CDC offers a means of learning more about finding credible vaccine information, without addressing the issue of the shifts in the recommendations it continues to make.
Complementary concerns articulated by health care professionals: As one method of collecting preoccupations, the above approach is extremely unsatisfactory in many respects — and essentially “messy” — especially since they tend to be defensively dismissed as of little significance because of the questionable qualifications of those who articulate them. Another source of potential interest is therefore the various declarations of groups of health care professionals possibly in support of legal action, although these too tend to be ignored in media coverage of the pandemic or questionably dismissed in a mud-slinging mode characteristic of political campaigns (Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’, The Guardian, 10 October 2020). Noteworthy is the fact that care is apparently taken to exclude those articulating them from any publicized debates on the issue. Also noteworthy is that those dismissing myths, make no mention of evidence regarding the questionable value of lockdown policies of authorities that are a focus of many protests). Examples include:
- Great Barrington Declaration (850,000 signatures): Elaborated by infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists who have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach called Focused Protection.
- FLCCC Alliance Statement on the Ivermectin Disinformation Campaign (Principia Scientifica, 27 May 2021). (Joyce Kamen, The BIGGE$T Lie (Perhaps Ever), FLCCC Alliance Community, 26 July 2021). This argues against the lie that there is no medicine that can prevent and treat every phase of COVID-19 disease — from pre-exposure to the critical stage of illness.
- Stanford doctors protest, voice concerns about their place in receiving COVID-19 vaccine (ABC7 News, 19 December 2020)
- Over 1,000 health professionals sign a letter saying, Don’t shut down protests using coronavirus concerns as an excuse (CNN, 5 June 2020)
The major commitment to repression of dissenting voices and debate necessarily also ignores any discussion of how this may well be characteristic of a hoax or scam beyond the capacity of any institution to debate. The argument is presented on a website already censored by search engines and preditctably scheduled for “deplatforming”:
- Paul Craig Roberts: How the COVID Scam Is Perpetrated (Global Research, 26 July 2021)
- Ron Paul: The Coronavirus Hoax: “Governments Love Crises” (Global Research, 17 March 2020)
- United Health Professionals: The Covid Outbreak: “Biggest Health Scam of the 21st Century” (Global Research, 23 July 2021)
- Association of American Physicians and Surgeons: Majority of US Physicians Decline COVID Shots, According to Survey (Global Research, 16 Junee 2021)
- Gérard Delépine: Covid-19 Vaccines Lead to New Infections and Mortality: the evidence is overwhelming country case studies — mortality and morbidity (Global Research, 28 July 2021)
- Brian Shilhavy: 18,928 Dead, 1.8 Million Injured (50% serious) Reported in European Union’s Database of Adverse Drug Reactions for COVID-19 Shots (Global Research, 21 July 2021)
- Michel Chossudovsky: The WHO Confirms that the Covid-19 PCR Test is Flawed: Estimates of “Positive Cases” are Meaningless. The Lockdown Has No Scientific Basis (Global Research, 23 July 2021)
The following list is necessarily tentative and provisional. It is subject to the reservations and criticisms noted above, especially with regard to its “messiness”. It includes some “myths” seemingly selected by authorities in order to render ridiculous other criticisms which may be made.
- Vulnerability, severity and protection:
- COVID-19 is no worse than the flu.
- Only older adults and people with preexisting conditions are at risk of infections and complications
- Children cannot get COVID-19
- Everyone with COVID-19 dies
- Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, makes people more vulnerable to other illnesses.
- COVID-19 vaccines can increase vulnerability to COVID-19
- Vaccination ensures inability to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others
- Mask wearing is unnecessary
- Face masks always protect against the coronavirus
- Microwaves sanitise masks
- Mask-wearing exemptions are available in exceptional cases.
- Those diagnosed with COVID-19, don’t need to receive the vaccine.
- The CDC is now recommending fully vaccinated Americans return to wearing masks in indoor spaces in communities where coronavirus transmission is substantial or high (Joseph Mercola, More Bad News for Masks , 16 July 2021)
- Transmission / Vectors:
- Goods, products and facilities
- Covid-19 can be transmitted through goods produced in countries where there is ongoing transmission
- Clothes can enable the spread of Covid-19 2019
- Urine and feces spread the infection
- Ordering or buying products shipped from overseas (China) can spread the virus
- Eating Chinese food can result in infection
- The outbreak began because people ate bat soup
- Coronavirus can be contracted in swimming pools
- Mosquitoes spread coronavirus
- Cats and dogs spread the coronavirus
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be caught from pets
- Hot temperatures kill the virus: Covid-19 is transmitted in cold climate to a greater degree than in hot and humid climate
- Low temperatures kill the COVID-19 virus.
- Vaccines and the vaccinated
- Vaccines are increasing the number of new variants of the COVID-19 virus
- Vaccination makes individuals more likely to infect others with new super-strains.
- People vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines can shed disease-causing particles to others.
- Authorized vaccines shed or release some of their components
- It is necessary to be with someone for 10 minutes to catch the virus
- Herd immunity will slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Herd immunity can be achieved by letting the virus spread through the population
- Small gatherings don’t spread COVID-19.
- Public protests lead to increased transmission.
- :COVID-19 is a disease of affluence.
- 5G mobile networks help the spread of SARS-CoV-2
- Goods, products and facilities
- Vaccines are available to prevent COVID-19 infection
- There are drugs that can prevent and treat Covid-19
- Flu and pneumonia vaccines offer protection against COVID-19
- Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment
- Antibiotics kill the coronavirus
- Ibuprofen exacerbates coronavirus
- Conventional remedies and disinfectants
- Drinking alcohol can help prevent Covid-19
- Injecting, swallowing, bathing in or rubbing on disinfectants or alcohols offers protection against COVID-19
- Injecting, consuming or gargling bleach offers protection
- Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection lamps kill the virus
- Vitamin C is an effective treatment
- MMS (miracle mineral supplement) is an effective treatment
- BioCharger NG can help treat coronavirus
- Eating garlic/immune boosters prevents infection
- Gargling salt water will prevent coronavirus
- Breathing techniques can cure the virus
- Rinsing the nose regularly with saline solution (saline nasal wash) prevents Covid-19
- Hand dryers kill the coronavirus
- Home remedies can cure and protect against COVID-19
- Drinking water prevents infection
- Taking a hot bath can stop COVID-19.
- Those not dependent on regular flu shots do not need COVID-19 vaccination
- Those with strong immunity can handle the illness without a problem
- Fit and healthy people should not need to be vaccinated
- Having been diagnosed with COVID-19, there is no need to be vaccinated.
- Those not at risk of severe complications of COVID-19 do not need to be vaccinated.
- Certain blood types have less severe COVID-19 infections, making vaccination unnecessary.
- Vaccine testing, safety and long-term effects
- Hasty inadequate testing:
- COVID-19 vaccines are potentially unsafe because drug companies did not follow normal test protocols
- Biased or constrained testing
- COVID-19 vaccines are not being tested against a placebo in clinical trials.
- Trials for COVID-19 vaccines were not designed to show the vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing severe cases of the disease.
- Natural immunity (immunity after natural infection) is better than vaccine immunity
- Any vaccine will be unsafe and a bigger risk than getting COVID-19.
- A negative COVID-19 test means a person is not infected.
- The mRNA vaccines being developed for COVID-19 will alter human DNA.
- Vaccines contain toxic ingredients that can harm
- COVID-19 vaccines will cause “pathogenic priming” or “disease enhancement,” meaning that vaccinated individuals will be more likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19 if they are infected with the COVID-19 virus.
- mRNA inactivates tumor-suppressing proteins, meaning that mRNA vaccines used to protect against COVID-19 can cause cancer.
- Vaccines wipe out the body’s natural antibodies (rendering the blood unsafe for donation).
- Statistically problematic testing
- Spikes in cases are a result of increased testing
- Long-term health effects
- Joseph Mercola (Might COVID Injections Reduce Lifespan? 18 July 2021)
- Hasty inadequate testing:
- Vaccination evaluation, failure, adverse effects, injuries and safety:
- Joseph Mercola: Signs of COVID Injection Failure Mount (27 July 2021)
- COVID Surges in Countries with Highest Injection Rates
- Case Counts Lowest in Low-‘Vaxxed’ Nations
- CDC Doesn’t Track All Breakthrough Cases
- Even Complete ‘Vaccine’ Coverage Won’t Stop Infections
- Israeli Data Indicate Pfizer ‘Vaccine’ Failure
- CDC Tries to Hide COVID Jab Death Toll
- Side effects
- COVID-19 vaccines have common serious and dangerous side effects
- COVID-19 vaccine has severe side effects such as allergic reactions.
- Specific concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccines:
- infertility or sterilisation in recipients (preventing pregnancy)
- miscarriages and menstrual cycle changes.
- contain a protein called syncytin-1 that will result in female sterilisation
- cause people to develop COVID-19.
- mRNA vaccines can cause an increase in rare neurodegenerative disorders called prion diseases.
- blood clotting
- heart inflammation
- are unsafe for kids
- Joseph Mercola: Signs of COVID Injection Failure Mount (27 July 2021)
- Testing for COVID-19 and diagnosis:
- Misrepresentation for the media
- Absence of hard evidence that celebrities being vaccinated for public relations purposes are actually receiving genuine vaccines
- COVID-19 vaccine injections, as delivered to health care workers, are fabricated, using syringes with “disappearing needles”
- COVID-19 vaccine causes people to test positive for COVID-19
- Thermal scanners and digital thermometers are effective in detecting those infected
- Ability to breathe for 10 seconds (without coughing) is an indication of non-infection
- PCR tests: There is extensive commentary on the questionable value of these tests, notably with respect to false positives:
- False-postive tests: Without the following two policies, there would never have been an appreciable pandemic at all
- Mike Adams: CDC withdraws fraudulent PCR testing protocol that was used to falsify covid “positives” to push the plandemic (Natural News, 25 July 2021)
- The unreliable PCR test can be manipulated into reporting a high number of false-positives by altering the cycle threshold (CT value)
- The incredibly broad definition of “Covid case”, used all over the world, lists anyone who receives a positive test as a “Covid-19 case”, even if they never experienced any symptoms.
- Questionable changes to CDC case counting policy:
- This notably means that in future unvaccinated people will find it much easier to be diagnosed with Covid19 than the vaccinated people. The CDC is understood to have put new policies in place which effectively create a tiered system of diagnosis. To boost the appearance of vaccine efficacy even further, the CDC also will no longer record mild or asymptomatic infections in vaccinated individuals as “COVID cases”. The only cases that now count as COVID cases — if the patient has been vaccinated against COVID-19, that is — are those that result in hospitalization or death. (Joseph Mercola, CDC Caught Cooking the Books on COVID Vaccines, Truth News Hub, 19 June 2021).
- New policies artificially deflate “breakthrough infections” in the vaccinated, while the old rules continue to inflate case numbers in the unvaccinated. CDC is altering its practices of data logging and testing in order to make it seem the experimental gene-therapy ‘vaccines’ are effective at preventing the alleged disease. (Kit Knightly, How the CDC is manipulating data to prop-up “vaccine effectiveness”, Off-Guardian, 18 May 2021)
- False-postive tests: Without the following two policies, there would never have been an appreciable pandemic at all
- Misrepresentation for the media
- Efficacy of vaccines
- Short-term inefficacy:
- COVID-19 vaccines are not effective
- COVID-19 vaccine do not always work so being vaccinated is not necessary
- COVID-19 vaccines do not work on new strains of the virus; since viruses mutate, the vaccines not necessarily be effective against new variants .
- After vaccination, it is no longer necessary to take precautions and life can go back to normal
- Long-term dependency
- vaccination requirement even after recovery from COVID-19 (because length of natural immunity is not known)
- multiple vaccinations and booster shots are becoming the norm (Clinical trials show that these offer the best protection)
- Short-term inefficacy:
- Incidence, reporting and misrepresentation
- Inflation of death rates:
- Joseph Mercola (Inflated Reporting of COVID Deaths Is a Real Conspiracy, 20 July 2021)
- Inflation of case rates
- Under-reporting of vaccine injuries
- Under-reporting of post-vaccination cases and death rates
- mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 do not fit the CDC and FDA’s definitions of a vaccine, which state that vaccines have to both stimulate immunity and disrupt transmission of a virus.
- Life insurance companies won’t pay out benefits to anyone who dies after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine because the vaccines are considered experimental.
- SARS-CoV-2 is just a mutated form of the common cold virus
- COVID-19 is just like the flu
- The coronavirus is the deadliest virus known to humans
- Hospitals are giving out secret prevention tips
- Inflation of death rates:
- Origin of COVID virus
- Coronavirus was engineered in a lab in China
- Coronavirus was deliberately created or released by people.
- Manufactured origin of COVID-19 (Joseph Mercola, Patents Prove SARS-CoV-2 Is a Manufactured Virus, 24 July 2021)
- Hundreds of patents show SARS-CoV-2 is a manmade virus that has been tinkered with for decades. Much of the research was funded by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) under the direction of Dr. Anthony Fauci, and may have been an outgrowth of attempts to develop an HIV vaccine
- CDC holds patents to a SARS coronavirus that is 89% to 99% identical to the sequence identified as SARS-CoV-2, as well as the PCR test to diagnose it
- Exploitation and financial implications
- Wealthy elites intentionally spread the virus to win power and profit
- Vaccinations and testing are not necessarily free and may be beyond the means of many
- Legality and imposition (whether mandatory or by coercion)
- Government food stamps will be denied to those who refuse COVID-19 vaccines.
- COVID-19 vaccines violate the Nuremberg Code, which bans medical experiments from being performed on humans without their consent.
- Although not necessarily mandatory, people can be penalized for failure to be vaccinated
- Hidden agendas and undeclared content:
- The COVID-19 vaccine will use microchip surveillance technology created by Bill Gates-funded research.
- COVID-19 vaccine includes a tracking device.
- PCR tests used to detect the virus that causes COVID-19 can also be used to secretly deliver the COVID-19 vaccine
- Vaccines contain ingredients which are potentially harmful
- Hydrogels in some vaccines are also used to stimulate stem cells and may enable electronic implants
- COVID-19 vaccines alter a person’s DNA
- Vaccination programs are a cover for collection of DNA
However they may have been expressed, or not, it is useful for authorities to recognize the possibility of concerns to which some may be sensitive in the light of the historical parallels. These could include:
- Lack of transparency with regard to the identity of health experts and their conflicts of interest — and their capacity to consider alternative possibilities
- Avoidance of open debate with inclusion of those with dissenting perspectives
- In many cases the evidence presented in support of suspicions (however unfounded) tends to be more credible than the “facts” selectively presented in dismissing them as myths
- The extent to which the “wartime” strategies deployed constitute a form of triage (without naming it so), without openly considering the option of triage and its relative costs — despite the unprecedented effects on the economy
- The historically unprecedented transfer of financial resources from countries to pharmaceutical corporations, as required by the confident contracts for access to an adequate supply of vaccines
Of potential relevance in the light of its status as a myth, is the treatment of the unresearched question of the possibility of HIV infection via mosquitoes — given the widespread preoccupation with “dirty needles”. Similarly it might be asked whether COVID-19 infection is possible via the eyes given its airborne nature (Koji Kitazawa, et al., The Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Infection on the Ocular Surface and Prevention Strategies, Cells, March 2021). Clearly this unresearched possibility is considered a myth, although without any explanation as to why front-line health workers use face shields in addition to masks. As “facial contraceptives”, do masks constitute adequate protection? Is it irresponsible not to recommend that people wear goggles, as separately argued (COVID-19 Infection via the Eyes and Mask Protection Misinformation, 2021)?
In the scientific study of any phenomenon, there is a strong case for recording data prior to determining what is irrelevant to further study. In the case of (mis)information, a major difficulty is that decisions on what is valid information, in contrast with invalid misinformation, are made in advance of due consideration of any kernel of truth which may be associated with what is too readily determined to be misinformation. This prejudgment is self-serving, and prejudices appreciation of the scientific discipline in question.
It is unfortunate that so many authorities choose to distinguish as “myths” the sets of pandemic concerns which they seek to dismiss as irrelevant. It is especially ironic in that authorities are faced with other arenas in which there are constituencies that find it convenient to frame matters of concern as myths. For example, there is no lack of references to the “unemployment myth”, the “inequality myth”, the “poverty myth”, the “climate change myth” or the “myth of overpopulation” — now seemingly with the implication that these should also be removed from web media (Prohibition of Reference to Overpopulation of the Planet: draft Proposal for an International Convention, 2018). It could be asked which political issues of concern to one party are not typically framed as a myth by an opposing party.
Embracing error? The business world in quest of innovation tends to pride itself on learning from failure and mistakes (Robert I. Sutton, Learning from Success and Failure, Harvard Business Review, 4 June 2007; Amy C. Edmondson, Strategies for Learning from Failure, Harvard Business Review, April 2011).
As discussed separately (Embracing error and the netherworld, 2014), the argument has been powerfully framed in terms of the learning process by Donald N. Michael as: On the requirement for embracing error:
Changing towards long-range social planning requires that, instead of avoiding, exposure to and acknowledgement of error, it is necessary to expect it, to seek out its manifestation, and to use information derived from the failure as the basis for learning through future societal experiment. More bluntly, future-responsibility societal learning makes it necessary for individuals and organization to embrace error. It is the only way to ensure a shared self-consciousness about limited theory as to the nature of social dynamics, about limited data for testing theory, and hence about our limited ability to control our situation well enough to expect to be successful more often than not. (On Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn. 1973, p. 131
In a global society which has been slow to acknowledge that there is a powerful “underworld”, and that corruption is rife at all levels of society — however much it is denied — the nature of this “unconsciousness” merits recognition, as variously argued (John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization, 1995; Vasily Nalimov, Realms of the Unconscious: the enchanted frontier, 1982). Are there more creative ways of “embracing” the unconscious?
More challenging is the degree to which the universal inoculation agenda is an unconscious surrogate for the religions and groups whose aspirations to ensure that the whole world subscribes to their particular belief. It is in this sense that it can be recognized as an insidious form of indoctrination — which those with that aspiration would vigorously deny.
With comparisons now made between the potential collapse of the current global civilization and that of Imperial Rome, there is then a case for learning from the imaginative ways in which that culture endeavoured to engage with the netherworld (Designing Global Self-governance for the Future: patterns of dynamic integration of the netherworld, 2010; Engaging with the Future with Insights of the Past: consulting the dead, sacrifice, bone-cracking and divination, 2010).
Science in particular may be too readily disposed to condemn the errors of others, whilst lacking sensitivity to those it may itself be making out of ignorance — a case of people in glass houses… In that it follows the tragic historical pattern of religions with seemingly no capacity to apply its own skills to that trap.
Recognition of falsehoods and ignorance: Given the challenges implied by the above, how then to identify what are to be appropriately recognized as lies in articles such as the following:
- Syriacus Buguzi, et al: COVID-19, lies and statistics: corruption and the pandemic (SciDevNet, 6 April 2021
- Matt Morgan: The two pandemics — covid and lies (British Medical Journal, 2020; 371)
- Chris Kenny: Coronavirus: We’re being held hostage by fear and lies (The Australian, 22 July 2021)
- Russell Brand: Covid: Leaks, Lies and Incompetence (YouTube, 28 May 2021)
- David Robson: Why Smart People Believe Coronavirus Myths (BBC Future, 7 April 2020)
- Ryan Basen: World Leaders Fostered COVID Lies (MedPageToday, 17 February 2021)
- Geoff Brumfiel: The Life Cycle of a COVID-19 Vaccine Lie (NPR, 20 July 2021)
- Maria Gargiulo, et al: Lies, Damned Lies, and “Official” Statistics (HHR, 24 June 2021)
- Shannon Bond: Just 12 People Are Behind Most Vaccine Hoaxes On Social Media, Research Shows (NPR, 14 May 2021)
- George Monbiot: Covid lies cost lives – we have a duty to clamp down on them (The Guardian, 27 January 2021)
- Jackson Ryan: How COVID-19 infected the world with lies (CNET, 21 October 2020)
Remedial processes? The seeming inadequacies of the checklist above (as credible sources of truth) highlight the dramatic role of whistleblowers, and the controversies surrounding suppression of that function. Arguably recourse to legal proceedings with respect to controversies regarding truth and truth-telling can be seen as a means of eliciting truth. Examples have ranged from the International War Crimes Tribunal (“Russell Tribunals”), to the role of the International Court of Justice, and to “truth commissions” (“truth and reconciliation” commissions). The constraints on the efficacy of their operation can however be considered a constraint on eliciting truth — potentially in contrast to any subjective sense of poetic justice or its desirability.
Arguably, without qualifying its content as “truthful”, the difficulties associated with controversial distinctions between truth and falsehood can be circumvented to some degree through the methodology of encyclopedic initiatives, such as the following:
- Wikipedia: This is renowned for opening its 495 million pages of content to modification by volunteers, this enables the presentation of controversial issues with specific provision for criticism from other perspectives. The dynamics between editors contributing and modifying texts in this way has resulted in widely documented “edit wars” and growing criticism of the accumulation of biases within it. The critics have little to offer as alternative models — other than those supportive of their own biases.
- Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential: This relatively little known initiative profiles some 56,000 problems articulated by international constituencies (such as those profiled in the associated Yearbook of International Organizations) together with some 32,000 strategies advocated for their alleviation. It complements the profiles by drawing automatically on corresponding Wikipedia entries where these exist. In contrast with Wikipedia, the content is not directly open to external modification but assiduously draws upon articulations in external sources, most notably with respect to the manner in which the problem or strategy may impact on others, or be impacted in turn by others. It is more deliberate in incorporating claims and counter-claims regarding the content of any profile. Thus with respect to the “lies” framed as misinformation in the case of the pandemic, the articulation by those presenting them as “truths” would be matched by counter-claims from those indeed claiming them to constitute “misinformation”.
The latter initiative includes profiles on zombies, haunted houses, evil eye, and Flat Earth promotion. All of these are of particular concern to certain constituencies, however misguided they may be held to be. There are numerous web references to eradicating zombies, for example.
The question posed by strategic responses to the current pandemic is whether references to all seemingly eccentric concerns should be eradicated from web platforms. Given the highly questionable existence of “evil” from a scientific perspective, should these also be eliminated even though some religions are especially preoccupied with exorcism?
How best to document vigorously held claims to truth before passing judgement on their veracity from other perspectives? Perceptions of truth merit consideration as data before being dismissed through any data massaging exercise to privilege a particular conclusion. Such perceptions, and those people associated with them — however misguided — are a feature of global psychosocial dynamics, as might be said of the dubious beliefs.of any culture or cult, from some other perspective.
It is curious to note that references to the “science” substantiating strategies with respect to the pandemic (social distancing, masking, sanitising, lockdowns, and vaccination) cannot be readily identified and publicly consulted — especially in the light of the evolving conclusions by scientists in that regard. Authorities should be ensuring its availability in many languages rather than promoting the requirement for unquestioning belief in its existence and coherence. That is the role of an encyclopedic compilation of the kinds noted above.
Science, especially fundamental physics, indulges with pride in the unthinkable — but dismisses the right of others to do so. The credibility of “dark matter” for which there is no evidence, should caution science on the credibility of beliefs for which there is no evidence admissible by science. Ignorance may be more pervasive and influential than science is yet capable of recognizing (Nicholas Rescher, Ignorance: on the wider implications of deficient knowledge, 2009). Is there a case for honouring the arguments of those held to be ignorant and enabling both their more fruitful articulation and their right to defend their perception. The science of today may need to defend its ignorance in the eyes of the future.
As argued above, there is a dangerous, “knee-jerk” naivety to the binary distinction between truth and falsehood. Curiously science indulges in the contradiction between such a binary distinction and its considerable sophistication in allocating a probability of truth in research results. Much is made of “statistical significant” higher probability and an associated “confidence level“. No such methodological approaches are applied by science to the perceptions of those critical of vaccination and condemned as “conspiracy theorists”. An exception to this conclusion would appear to be the methodology applied by Enders, et al to a selection of forms of misinformation, as mentioned above (The Different Forms of COVID-19 Misinformation and their Consequences, Misinformation Review, 16 November 2020).
The irony is evident in the contrast between simplistic statements by authorities that vaccines are “safe” and “effective”, and the “small print” of research papers indicating the results of relevant research in probabilist terms. Given the experimental nature of the vaccines, even the confidence levels for short-term efficacy and safety may be called into question over a longer period.
Probability theory of truth: The Russian statistician, Vasily Nalimov (Realms of the Unconscious: the enchanted frontier, 1982) provides a remarkable synthesis, drawing on the entire range of knowledge (including elements of semantics, natural and social sciences, mysticism, and the arts) in an effort to understand how the human mind perceives the world. The methodology is borrowed largely from physics (as capable of tolerating paradoxes within its own theories), with considerable attention to the role of metaphor and the function of human imagination in capturing manifestations of consciousness and unconsciousness.
That approach is discussed separately (Complementary Patterns of Meaningful Truth and the Interface between Alternative Variants, 2003) under the following headings.
Nalimov’s primary ontological position is that the world is an open one, the outcome of processes that are probabilistic in nature and constantly the domain of novelties and uncertainties. The language in which one captures aspects of reality is itself polymorphic, metaphorical, and constrained by Godelian principles of undecidability.
Axes of bias: The argument above notes the challenge of cognitive bias, whether on the part of authoritative scientists and politicians framing the pandemic narrative or those critical of it. Little effort is made to explore such biases in scientific terms — rather than unconsciously indulging in them and the fallacies to which they give rise. It is therefore of value to note the approach to the matter by the author of a History of Western Philosophy dismayed at the unfruitful discourse between academics with regard to the “romantic period”. In his study generalizing from that example, W. T. Jones identifies a set of axes of bias which essentially determine the intractable positions taken in any controversy (The Romantic Syndrome; toward a new methodology in cultural anthropology and the history of ideas, 1961).
In an effort to transcend the binary mindset, there is a case for using such a framework of contrasts to clarify the positions in any discourse relating to pandemic (mis)information. The axes identified are summarized separately in terms of the following preferences (Axes of Bias in Inter-Cultural Dialogue, 1993):
|Order versus Disorder|
Static versus Dynamic
Discrete versus Continuous
|External versus Identification|
Sharply versus Implicitly defined
Comprehensible versus Incomprehensible
|Due versus Spontaneous process|
Curiously it could be argued that such a framework could clarify a degree of complicity between those holding the most radically opposed views in pandemic discourse. Seemingly both extremes have a preference for a mode of discourse which renders it very difficult to identity the instances of misinformation. At one extreme, any disagreement with the mainstream narrative of authorities is framed and condemned as “misinformation” — with little articulation or consideration of the arguments of nebulous and nefarious conspiracy theorists. At the other extreme the extensive articulations are primarily embedded, somewhat inextricably, in video presentations with little transcription into text — readily understood as justifying suspicion regarding nebulous and nefarious authority.
Curiously those at both extremes indulge in a form of blackmail. For the scientist it is: read my (lengthy) book, and it is not my fault if you cannot understand it or afford it. For the social media critic it is: view my (lengthy) video, irrespective of whether you have time for that mode of presentation or appreciate it.
Truth-tables, post-truth tables, and comprehension tables: As discussed separately, to the extent that the conventional relevance of truth has now been called into question in the political arena at least, and the advertising process more generally, there is a case for considering the nature of a “post-truth table” in the light of the apparent limitations of the truth table (Towards articulation of a “post-truth table”? 2016).
As understood in mathematics, a truth table sets out the functional values of logical expressions on each of their functional arguments. In particular, truth tables can be used to show whether a propositional expression is true for all legitimate input values, that is, logically valid. Further clarification regarding the origins of “post-truth” is provided by Andrew Calcutt (The Surprising Origins of ‘Post-truth’ — and how it was spawned by the liberal left, The Conversation, 18 November 2016).
What now appears to be required is an extension of the truth-table to encompass the emerging reality that “THEM” are understood (by “US”) to be misrepresenting the truth (if not lying), especially about “US” — whether deliberately or inadvertently. This is complemented by the understanding by “THEM” that “US” is misrepresenting the truth (if not lying), especially about “THEM” — again, whether deliberately or inadvertently. The situation is rendered more complex to the extent that if either US or THEM has the power to misrepresent (or lie), it becomes impossible for either to prove incontrovertibly that they are not. This is especially problematic for any authority, whether a government, a corporation, a religion, or any institutionalised belief system. Authoritative declarations of truth can then only be understood as assertions of “fiat realities”, analogous to the creation of fiat money.
Curiously missing from any discussion of the subtle intricacies of “truth tables”, is the challenge they may imply to comprehension, as discussed separately (Memorability: “comprehension tables” as complement to “truth tables”, 2019). It is as though the simple presentation of such patterns is naively assumed to trigger comprehension of the knowledge implied — as with declarations regarding the threat of global warming and other crises. Whereas the focus of truth tables is on the “shades of grey” in the relation between “true” and “false”, their presentation is seemingly to be recognized as constituting a simple binary distinction between “knowledge” and “ignorance”. The reality that any “eightfold way” (as potentially encoded by such tables) may be meaningless (or incomprehensible) is not a consideration.
Many unresolved strategic challenges then lend themselves to exploration as being variously conflated in the associated discourse:
Whether understood as “conflation” or “confusion”, the implication merits consideration in terms of the cognitive process associated with “con” (Prefix :Re-cognition” as Prelude to Fixing Sustainability — “Pro” vs “Con” ? Speculative review of missing emphases potentially vital for psychosocial balance, 2017).
Arrogance versus Humility: Just as the comprehension dimension is missing from consideration of truth tables, fundamental to the complexity of dynamics between strategies and their advocates is the dramatic consequence of any association of arrogance with possession of truth. Such possession is subtly related to the widespread preoccupation with acquisition of intellectual property — potentially to the point of holding to ransom a society in crisis (Future Coping Strategies: beyond the constraints of proprietary metaphors, 1992). How does exclusive possession of truth — in the form of secrecy — condemn others to a condition of falsehood?
Whilst truth is a focus of considerable attention, the arrogance potentially associated with any assumption of its exclusive possession is a remarkably neglected focus of study — despite widespread acknowledgement of its effects in practice. The arrogant scientist is as recognizable as the arrogant politician, ideologue or entrepreneur. How is the assertion of truth to be distinguished from the perception of arrogance? As yet to be clarified with respect to any compactification of dimensions are the dynamics framed by the following table, indicative of the self-reflexivity associated with higher orders of cybernetics.
|value-polarities||false (ignorance)||true (knowledge)|
|humility||recognizing lack of knowledge||recognizing the relativity of knowing|
|arrogance||ignorant assertion of knowledge||denying relevance of other ways of knowing|
Metaphorically framed, there is a curious sense in which arrogance can be compared to gravity, especially when truth is asserted with gravitas (Arrogance as an analogue to gravity — equally fundamental and mysterious, 2015; Exertion of “gravitational” effects by a big lie? 2016),
Although tending to favour the experts (seen as so unfortunately ignored), whilst deprecating their the critics, arrogance features implicitly in the argument of Luke Zaphir (How not to fall for coronavirus BS: avoid the 7 deadly sins of thought. The Conversation, 1 April 2020). Cited are: gullibility, cynicism, pride, closed-mindedness, prejudice, negligence, and wishful thinking. These are cited as instances of what is otherwise studied as vice epistemology (Quassim Cassam, Vice Epistemology, The Monist, 99, 2016, 2; Charlie Crerar, Motivational Approaches to Intellectual Vice, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 96, 2018, 4). These are fallacies of argumentation which are no credit to science and further undermine its credibility and relevance.
The knee-jerk condemnation of vaccine hesitants as “stupid” and “selfish” may say far more about the authorities favouring such language than about those they hope to isolate and eradicate in some manner. Ironically, to the extent that vaccination may indeed enhance infertility (as the future may render only too evident), it is the refuseniks that may be the only source of viable genetic material (Controls and Guinea Pigs in the Pandemic Experiment: honouring the sacrifice of vaccine refuseniks for the wider community, 2021).
Oppositional logic: Another approach meriting consideration, especially given the degree of confrontation between opposing perspectives, is to apply the methods elaborated with respect to oppositional logic and the many efforts towards the visualization of its geometry, originating with the square of opposition. (Oppositional Logic as Comprehensible Key to Sustainable Democracy: configuring patterns of anti-otherness, 2018).
Potentially especially relevant is the work of Fabien Schang (Two Visual Logics: Diagrams vs Graphs).
Need for enemies: The case has long been made that nations tend to need enemies as a means of distinguishing and affirming their own identity — even through triumphing over those framed as a threat (Dominic Tierney, Does America Need and Enemy, Foreign Policy Research Institute, 20 October 2016; Shoon Kathleen Murray, et al, Do People Need Foreign Enemies? The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 43, 1999, 5).
Arguably there is not only a need for enemies but there is an unconscious need to frame them carefully in order to maximize the learning to be derived from them. In that light it might be asked what the West so desperately endeavours to learn from its successive invasions of the “Graveyard of Empires” — Afghanistan (Akhilesh Pillalamarri, Why Is Afghanistan the ‘Graveyard of Empires’? The Diplomat, 30 June 2017).
It has long been suggested that the only means of reducing conflict, and achieving coherent governance on the planet, would be an invasion by extraterrestrials — a common enemy. The argument gave rise to The War of the Worlds (1897) by H. G. Wells, and to its many subsequent adaptations. With the call of authoritarian science to repress all arguments which contradict its own in mainstream discourse, there is a delightful irony to the degree to which it is coming to resemble the early ETs — the Daleks — appearing in the UK TV science fiction series Dr Who from 1963 Their simplistic response to opponents — Exterminate — entered popular culture over subsequent decades.
Viral form of ETs? With the pandemic widely framed as a war, there is a case for recognizing the coronavirus as appropriately filling the role of extraterrestrials — and clearly constituting an unprecedented evocation of global unity, however contrived. The drama is somewhat complicated by the authoritative declaration that the anti-vaxxers have also taken pandemic form (C.D.C. Director Warns of a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’, The New York Times, 16 July 2021). Are they to be perceived as inhabiting another world — even another reality — also to be held to be engaging in conflict with the mainstream consensus?
The drama of the pandemic clearly plays out to a significant degree in the imagination — as has been the case with adaptations of War of the Worlds. As a war of the imagination, the widely depicted form of the spiked COVID-19 virus suggests that extraterrestrials might indeed take such an unusual form. This perception could be reinforced by the final authoritative publication of the secret ely collated data on UFOs (2021) — especially the questionable conclusion that no extraterrestrial implications could be inferred from the conventional methodology employed in the analysis..
Rather than taking any vaguely humanoid form, as had long been imagined, humanity is seemingly now confronted with an enemy which is invisible to the naked eye and acts swiftly and unexpectedly — far beyond the capacity of any guerilla force — a major challenge from a military perspective, having committed so heavily to a vast array of missiles. There is of course a degree of irony in having to recognize that the missiles were of the wrong scale and needles were closer to the mark (Missiles, Needles, Missions, Rifles, Projects, Bullets, 2020).
Martial arts of ETs in memetic warfare? More intriguing is to explore the invasion from the perspective of the skills and organization of the coronavirus. Engaging in a conventional military invasion, as has been so widely imagined by Western science fiction, could be seen as amateurish by an advanced civilization of extraterrestrials skilled in biochemistry, psychology and martial arts (of an Eastern style, for example). In unconsciously anticipating such a necessary threat to its unsustainable assumptions, the West may have effectively positioned itself like the North American Indians, who traded Manhattan for a few beads — or like the Central American Indians in their reception of Cortez. Poetic justice?
Such extraterrestrials have no need to engage in the conventional military invasion in which human investment has been so heavily made. The “war of the worlds” is reframed by them in terms of the strategic requirements of memetic warfare (Missiles, Missives, Missions and Memetic Warfare, 2001). Rather than in biochemical warfare terms, the challenge might be usefully explored as one of inducing a memetic disease — a “War of the Words” (COVID-19 as a Memetic Disease — an epidemic of panic: learning from terrorism, communism. fascism, and evil, as pandemics of the past, 2020).
As in the Eastern philosophy of martial arts, the key to ET success is to get humanity to “shoot itself in the foot” by eliciting a widespread behavioral pattern of effectively “scoring-own-goals”. The global consensus on a universal vaccination program, masking, and lockdowns are instances of the pattern so successfully elicited. The “martial art” would be to ensure that humanity effectively “inoculates itself” with nonsense, as is already only too evident in the elective dumbimg down of the mass media and the accumulation of a factoid analogue to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, The ET art is evident in ensuring that humanity’s leaders define their peoples as too dumb to discern misinformation and disinformation — whilst submerging them in advertising to an ever higher degree. Rising “sea levels”?
Mutating viral form as a mirror for humanity? It could be inferred that the skill of ETs in memetic warfare would be far more subtle however, partially modelled by the psycho-behavioral operation of mirror neurons. In this light the manner in which the COVID-19 has been so imaginatively portrayed worldwide — as a spike-endowed ball — suggests that clues to the strategic challenge are to be found by using that same form in a quest for “strategic conformality”. In the quest for global civilization, it is possible that the imagined form of the virus then mirrors the dysfunctional nature of that civilization, as currently conceived (Spike-endowed Global Civilization as COVID-19: humanity “bristles” as the world “burns”, 2020; Reimagining Coronavirus in 3D as a Metaphor of Global Society in Distress, 2020).
Inspired by the previous exercises, in the following images a set of 60 COVID-19 concerns (selected from the list above) are positioned experimentally on the vertexes of a truncated polyhedron. The animations are understood as an imaginative exercise in configuring perceptions to elicit a degree of coherence from the fears they may individually engender. In popular imagination, they correspond to the familiar Death Star of the Star Wars movie (1977).
Visual techniques can then be used to explore their interrelationship — as in any conventional mind map or concept map in 2D. The possibility of morphing the configuration to another polyhedron then opens a way to simplifying the set or considering the pattern with other suggestive variants (Identifying Polyhedra Enabling Memorable Strategic Mapping, 2020)..
The problem with reference to myths at this time is remarkably illustrated by a confusion between two well-known tales, that of the Boy Who Cried Wolf and the Emperor’s New Clothes (Entangled Tales of Memetic Disaster: mutual implication of the Emperor and the Little Boy, 2009; “Big Brother” Crying “Wolf”? But them “wolves” are a-changin’ — them’s becomin’ “werewolves”! 2013).
Given the ease with which preoccupations of vaccine hesitants are dismissed as “myths”, there is a case for configuring in a similar manner a selection of other “myths” with which authorities are confronted — and which have proven to be much more difficult to dismiss. Although arbitrarily distributed, the great circle colouring is suggestive of possibilities of gaining more coherent insights into an active “mythogy” — as with the animations above.
Myth of climate change
Myth of poverty
Myth of unemployment
Myth of biodiversity loss
Myth of overpopulation
Myth of inequality
Myth of sexual harassmentt
Myth of modern-day slavery
Myth of progress
Myth of pollution
Myth of peace
Myth of civilization
Myth of control by the 1%
Myth of resource scarcity
Myth of Earth overshoot
Myth of human supremacy
Myth of elite conspiracy
Myth of techno-optimist capacity
Myth of exceptionalism
Myth of sustainability
Myth of economic recovery
Myth of “being great again”
Myth of consensus
Myth of digital democracy
Myth of capitalism
Myth of a food crisis
Myth of cultural homogeneity
Myth of the liberal order
Myth of the skills gap
Myth of an insect apocalypse
As stressed in the earlier paper, of particular interest is how the “spikes” may be usefully recognized in relation to the challenges of governance. Thus they may be understood as the individual elements of a global strategy, as a configuration of global problems addressed by a global strategy. They might also be understood as the set of principles or values on which any such strategy was based — by which it was informed. Similarly it might be understood as the set of values rendering any set of problems recognizable — since in the absence of a value a problem is invisible and effectively non-existent.
Displacements of the past? If human civilization is indeed in desperate need of an intractable enemy to engender a sense of coherence, possibilities other than ETs merit exploration. As a substitute for the viral pandemic, however engendered, “evil” has proved inadequate — as the fragmented engagement of religiously inspired strategies has demonstrated over centuries. As “organized crime”, no imaginative global response can be said to have been successfully evoked — especially given an evident degree of complicity at the highest levels of authority. How indeed to learn from “pandemics” of the past, as separately queries (COVID-19 as a Memetic Disease — an epidemic of panic: learning from terrorism, communism. fascism, and evil, as pandemics of the past, 2020).
A case can be made for “terror”, given the focus on a Global War on Terrorism since 2001 — launched as the Operation Enduring Freedom. Another can be made for “climate change”. Both have been effectively displaced by the pandemic although recognized as possibly only temporarily, especially in the latter case. The problematic response to both may offer insights of relevance to the pandemic. This is especially true now that the Resolute Support Mission (successor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force) has withdrawn its forces from Afghanistan after two unsuccessful decades — leaving the Taliban free to act once again.
To the extent that a case can be made that humanity is effectively engaged in a systemic process of “harassment of the environment”, it is appropriate to consider an adaptation to climate change of a map that was skillfully articulated to encompass the challenges of terrorist insurgency in Afghanistan. The adaptation was originally introduced under the heading Climate change used as a fig leaf — to conceal a more challenging issue? (2009) in reviewing the issues of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (Insights for the Future from the Change of Climate in Copenhagen, 2009). This too avoided any systematic articulation of the issue.
It was therefore interesting to contrast this aversion to the analytical overview with that of the initiative of Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US of the counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan, as articulated by the PA Consulting Group. This took the form of a map, notably publicized on behalf of McClatchy Newspapers by Dion Nissenbaum (The great Afghan spaghetti monster, Checkpoint Kabul, 20 December 2009; Graphic Shows Complexity of US Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, The Huffington Post, 22 December 2009). Coincidentally this map was publicized over the web at the end of the Copenhagen event. The subsequent analysis of that event gave rise to no map of equivalent systemic detail.
Vaccine hesitancy? In the absence of any such map for Copenhagen, as an experimental exercise it was therefore instructive at that time to adapt the rich analytical framework of the Afghanistan counter-insurgency analysis to climate change. It is similarly instructive to adapt it to the current “counter-insurgency” requirement in dealing with the threats of vaccine hesitancy and criticism of authorities.
Variously conflated, “vaccine hesitants” and “anti-vaxxers” are in process of being compared to “domestic terrorists” (Politicians and MSM Compare Those Who Question Vaccine Safety to “Domestic Terrorists”, Massive News, 13 March 2021). Through this process they are becoming conflated with the viral pandemic itself (C.D.C. Director Warns of a ‘Pandemic of the Unvaccinated’, The New York Times, 16 July 2021; WHO Says Anti-Vaxxers Are Global Health Threat, WebMD, 17 January 2019).
Understood as a threat to the national security of the USA and its peoples, the vaccine hesitants are readily defined as “terrorists” (Brian Michael Jenkins, Five Reasons to Be Wary of a New Domestic Terrorism Law, RAND, 24 February 2021; Read the full Biden administration plan to fight domestic terrorism, PBS, 15 June 2021). Having abandoned Afghanistan, arguably the USA now has its own “Taliban” — the vaccine refuseniks.
The legitimacy of any adaptation of the original counterinsurgency map derives from the viability of such strategic initiatives dependent in cybernetic systems terms on a set of interacting functions. From the perspective of general systems theory, it is to be expected that there is a degree of isomorphism between a systems analysis of the global initiative in Afghanistan and that with respect to climate change or “vaccine insurgency”. It is in this sense that the strategic narrative of any one of them might be applied to the other (Application of Universal Vaccination Narrative to Climate Change, 2021).
Whatever the inadequacies of such an exercise, it may at least serve to highlight the knowledge tools used to focus initiatives on which unprecedented global resources are being expended. This is especially the case given the shameful paucity of resources devoted to representing the challenges of climate change in the light of the conflicting relations between those party to that process.
Dynamics of the “holier than thou” narrative in practice
There is a strange sense in which the narrative in response to the pandemic is drawing upon and conflating memes, both from the past and an active feature of problematic religious and racial discourse. In the latter cases there are traces of the historical reaction to the “unclean” and to “evil”. Commentary on the narrative therefore benefits from exploring it in terms of the dimensions of a hypergame (as argued above) — as an engagement with hyperreality rather than in an overly simplistic conventional mode, The global challenge of the pandemic is sufficiently surreal to warrant that (Surreal nature of current global governance as experienced, 2016).
In being too readily reminiscent of myths of “evil spirits”, as imagined, there is a case for framing the challenge as a “war in the heavens” between the demonic and the angelic (Engaging with Hyperreality through Demonique and Angelique? 2016; Recognizing the demons of modern civilization, 2016). Exploiting the language of the Club of Rome with respect to the global “problematique”, is there then advantage in recognizing a mnemonic aid to comprehension of potential system failure (as a “Demonique”), and an evangelisation of the resolutique in the light of angelology (as an “Angelique”)?
Memes characteristic of the pandemic narrative: In guarding against a viral evil, the following phrases are now evident in media reports, readily understood as framed in the light of public health propaganda:
- protecting others: the emphasis being on loved ones and on one’s immediate community. No mention is made of distant others, most notably those in developing countries with extremely limited access to vaccines
- not being selfish: the emphasis being that getting vaccinated is essentially unselfish, irrespective of whether others have access to that possibility — and whether one is depriving them of that resource. A striking example has been offered by the refusal of the other individual states of Australia to share their vaccine resources with New South Wales, when the latter faced a crisis
- obeying the law: the implication being that authorities have a clear understanding of what is appropriate, irrespective of information to the contrary — to be deemed misinformation. Especially problematic is the ambiguity of such obedience in the light of the Nuremberg Code with regard to experimentation on humans.
- getting back to normal: the emphasis being that compliance with the recommendations of authorities is necessarily the most rapid means of returning to normality, irrespective of any contradictions in that normality, and in business-as-usual
- doing the right thing: used to frame all of the above, with the implication that authorities are unquestionably right. Whether this constitutes complicity in a process of human experimentation is a matter carefully avoided.
- not being stupid: the emphasis being that acting otherwise in the light of any other preoccupations — accepting risk, however courageously — is simply silly and unwarranted
- roll up your arms: used as a form of punch line, echoing participation in collective effort, or possibly evoking the suggestion of arming oneself
Practical measures: There are insights potentially to be gained by exploring the practical responses to the pandemic in terms of symbolic implications:
- social distancing: ensuring that people maintain a measurable distance from each other is unfortunately reminiscent of practices in relation to the “unclean” (lepers), to the “impure” (as in caste systems), or to those of different ethnicity (as in systems of apartheid).
- sanitising: clearly reminiscent of the ritual washing required on entry to places of religious worship, and the symbolism of holy water
- lockdown: reminiscent of the requirements for curfew under wartime conditions, with the problematic implications of “cowering” when those with “stupid” courage act otherwise in taking risks
- testing: reminiscent of trials in traditional rights of passage, with the associated religious requirement for confirmation of indoctrination
- vaccination: with such inoculation recognizable as a surrogate for the indoctrination through which a degree of inner purity or cleanliness is achieved or guaranteed
Measures to ensure compliance: The narrative framing means of ensuring compliance includes:
- achieving herd immunity, despite the absence of hard evidence that this will indeed constitute a guarantee of a return to normality
- emphasizing informed consent, despite the difficulty for many to be informed when contrary opinions are simply prohibited, and with the reservation that lack of consent can be overridden
- mandatory vaccination, framed as necessary — at least for those in front-line occupations, deemed essential or critical
- use of COVID marshals to ensure compliance in public spaces — effectively health commissars — despite the problematic role of political commissars in dictatorships of the past
- contact tracing, despite the degree to which it constitutes invasive surveillance and despite the lack of solid guarantees on how that information may be otherwise used; variants envisaged include software indication of proximity to a person of a lower standard of cleanliness.
- health passports: deemed essential to enable future travel and entry into public spaces, despite the extent to which this will create a two-class society.
- compliance hotline: envisaged as a means to enable neighbours to report on compliance failure to ensure intervention of health security services
- door-to-door solicitation: envisaged as following the proselytising practices of certain religions, and associated peer-group pressure
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The US ‘Intel” has decided that the unleashing of the CoVid ‘Virus’ was not biological warfare and did not involve an altered virus, instead it was simply a bad bat. 660 more wordsBiological Weapon or Bat: The CoVid Legacy — Helena
By Stephen Lendman
Indisputable evidence shows that a pandemic of the jabbed exists, not among refuseniks as falsely reported.
Shunning Pharma toxins helps protect and preserve health. The other way around weakens and destroys what’s too precious to lose.
Jabbed individuals comprise a significant majority of flu/covid outbreaks.
In increasing numbers of countries and local communities, the jabbed comprise up to 80% or more of the total.
Since mass-jabbing began last December, they caused a 1,000% increase in adverse events — including deaths — compared to pre-2020 data, noted scientist Jessica Rose explained.
Jabs generate what’s called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE).
It enables a virus to enter bodily organs and cells that causes health-destroying diseases.
Instead of protecting against pathogens, antibodies instead let foreign particles enter the body and weaken immunity.
According to an unreported Pfizer document hidden from public view — ignored by MSM — jabbed individuals “shed…spike…
View original post 410 more words
#HEALTH #VIRUS #VACCINE
When the Covid pandemic first emerged in the winter of 2020, I was shocked by the level of scepticism and outright denial on my social media feeds. 16 more wordsPublic Health’s Dangerous White Lies — Areo
Source: Philosophical Salon
Sheep spend their entire lives being afraid of the wolf, but end up eaten by the shepherd. (Popular proverb)
By now it should be clear that COVID-19 is, essentially, a symptom of financial capital running amok. More broadly, it is a symptom of a world that is no longer able to reproduce itself by profiting from human labour, thus relying on a compensatory logic of perpetual monetary doping. While the structural shrinking of the work-based economy inflates the financial sector, the latter’s volatility can only be contained through global emergencies, mass propaganda, and tyranny by biosecurity. How can we break out of this vicious cycle?
Since the third industrial revolution (microelectronics in the 1980s), automated capitalism has been engaged in abolishing wage labour as its own substance. We have now passed the point of no return. Due to escalating technological advance, capital is increasingly impotent vis-a-vis its mission of squeezing surplus-value out of labour-power. With the unleashing of artificial intelligence this truly becomes mission impossible – game over.
This means that the foundations of our world no longer reside in the socially necessary labour contained in commodities such as cars, telephones, or toothpaste. Rather, they reside in highly flammable debt-leveraged speculations on financial assets like stocks, bonds, futures, and especially derivatives, whose value is securitised indefinitely. Only the religious belief that the mass of these assets produces value prevents us from seeing the yawning abyss beneath our feet. And when our faith dwindles, divine providence intervenes by sending us into collective hypnosis through apocalyptic tales of contagion and attendant narratives of salvation.
Yet, reality is stubborn, and keeps knocking on our door. As the financial tumour spreads through the social body, capital opts to unleash its Leviathanic doppelganger, a vampire that feeds on global emergencies and business models anchored in digital technology with the potential to securitize the entirety of life on earth. The writing is on the wall, a ‘soft dictatorship’ is already staring at us. Today, resisting the tide means defending the inviolable dimension of human dignity, a non-negotiable starting point for the construction of an alternative social project. There is still time, but we need critical awareness, courage, and collective awakening.
Pandexit in the land of unicorns
How close are we to Pandexit? The following excerpt from a recent Bloomberg piece has the most likely answer: “For anyone hoping to see light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel over the next three to six months, scientists have some bad news: brace for more of what we’ve already been through.” To unpack this statement, let us surmise that our future is characterised by the following events: 1. Central banks will continue to create inordinate amounts of money, mostly destined to inflate financial markets; 2. The contagion narrative (or similar) will continue to hypnotise entire populations, at least until Digital Health Passports are fully rolled out; 3. Liberal democracies will be dismantled, and eventually replaced by regimes based on a digitised panopticon, a Metaverse of control technologies legitimised by deafening emergency noise.
Too dark? Not if we consider how the health crisis rollercoaster (lockdowns followed by partial openings alternating with new closures caused by mini-waves) looks increasingly like a global role-play, where actors pass the buck to make sure the emergency ghost continues to circulate, albeit in a weakened capacity. The reason for this depressive scenario is simple: without Virus justifying monetary stimulus, the debt-leveraged financial sector would collapse overnight. At the same time, however, rising inflation coupled with supply-chain bottlenecks (especially microchips) threatens a devastating recession.
This catch-22 appears impossible to overcome, which is why the elites cannot let go of the emergency narrative. From their perspective, the only way out would seem to imply the controlled demolition of the real economy and its liberal infrastructure, while financial assets continue to be artificially inflated. The latter comprises cynical tricks of financial greenwashing such as investment in ESG securities, an environmentally disguised loophole to legitimise further debt expansion. With all due respect to the Greta Thunbergs in our midst, this has nothing to do with saving the planet.
Rather, we are witnessing the accelerating dissolution of liberal capitalism, which is now obsolete. The outlook is objectively depressing. Global financial and geopolitical interests will be secured by mass data harvesting, blockchain ledgers, and slavery by digital app peddled as empowering innovation. At the heart of our predicament lies the ruthless evolutionary logic of a socioeconomic system that, to survive, is ready to sacrifice its democratic framework and embrace a monetary regime supported by corporate-owned science & technology, media propaganda, and disaster narratives accompanied by nauseating pseudo-humanitarian philanthro-capitalism.
By appealing to our personal sense of guilt for ‘destroying the planet’, the coming climate lockdowns are the ideal continuation of Covid restrictions. If Virus was the scary appetiser, a generous portion of carbon-footprint-mixed-with-energy-scarcity ideology is already being served as main meal. One by one we are being persuaded that our negative impact on the planet deserves to be punished. First terrified and regimented by Virus and now shamed for harming Mother Earth, we have already internalised the environmental command: our natural right to live must be earned through compliance with ecological diktats imposed by the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, and ratified by technocratic governments with their police. This is capitalist realism at its most cynical.
The introduction of Digital Health Passports (only a year ago ridiculed as conspiracy theory!) represents a critical juncture. The tagging of the masses is crucial if the elites are to gain our trust in an increasingly centralised power structure sold as an opportunity for emancipation. After crossing the digital-ID Rubicon, the crackdown is likely to continue smoothly and gradually, as in Noam Chomsky’s famous anecdote: if we throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately come out with a prodigious leap; if, on the other hand, we immerse it in lukewarm water and slowly raise the temperature, the frog will not notice anything, even enjoying it; until, weakened and unable to react, it will end up boiled to death.
The above prediction, however, needs to be contextualised within a conflictual and deeply uncertain scenario. Firstly, there is now evidence (however heavily censored) of genuine popular resistance to the pandemic psy-op and the Great Reset more widely. Secondly, the elites appear deadlocked and therefore confused as to how to proceed, as demonstrated by several countries opting to de-escalate the health emergency. It is worth reiterating that the conundrum is, fundamentally, of economic nature: how to manage extreme financial volatility while holding on to capitals and privileges. The global financial system is a huge Ponzi scheme. If those who run it were to lose control of liquidity creation, the ensuing explosion would nuke the entire socio-economic fabric below. Simultaneously, a recession would deprive politicians of any credibility. This is why the elites’ only viable plan would seem to lie in synchronizing the controlled demolition of the economy (collapse of global supply-chain resulting in an ‘everything shortage’), with the rolling out of a global digital infrastructure for technocratic takeover. Timing is of the essence.
With regard to a potential recession, financial analyst Mauro Bottarelli summarised the communicating-vessels logic of the pand-economy as follows: “a state of semi-permanent health emergency is preferable to a vertical market crash that would turn the memory of 2008 into a walk in the park.” As I tried to reconstruct in a recent article, the ‘pandemic’ was a lifeboat launched to a drowning economy. Strictly speaking, it is a monetary event aimed at prolonging the lifespan of our finance-driven and terminally ill mode of production. With the help of Virus, capitalism attempts to reproduce itself by simulating conditions that are no longer available.
Here is a summary of Covid’s economic rationale. The September 2019 bailout of the financial sector – which, after eleven blissful years of Quantitative Easing, was again on the verge of a nervous breakdown – involved an unprecedented expansion of monetary stimulus: the creation of trillions of dollars with the magic wand of the Federal Reserve. The injection of this inordinate amount of money into Wall Street was only possible by turning the engine of Main Street off. From the point of view of the short-sighted capitalist mole, there was no alternative. Computer money created as digital bytes cannot be allowed to cascade onto economic cycles on the ground, as this would cause an inflationary tsunami à la Weimar 1920s (which ushered in the Third Reich), only much more catastrophic for a stagnant and globally interconnected economy.
Inevitably, the (cautious) reopening of credit-based transactions in the real economy has caused inflation to rise, hence further impoverishment on the ground. The purchasing power of salaries has been dented, along with revenues and savings. It is worth recalling that commercial banks are positioned at the interface between the magical world of Central Banks digital money, and the emergency-swept wasteland inhabited by most mortals. Thus, any wild expansion of Central Bank reserves (money created out of thin air) triggers price inflation as soon as commercial banks leak cash (i.e. debt) into society.
The purpose of the ‘pandemic’ was to accelerate the pre-existing macrotrend of monetary expansion, while postponing inflationary damage. Following the Federal Reserve, the world’s central bankers have created oceans of liquidity, thus devaluing their currencies to the detriment of populations. While this continues, the transnational turbo-capital of the elites keeps expanding in the financial orbit, absorbing those small and medium size businesses it has depressed and destroyed. In other words, there is no such thing as a free lunch (for us). The Central Bank’s money-printer works only for the 0.0001% – with the help of Virus, or a global threat of equal traction.
At present, it looks as if central bankers are indulging in the noble art of procrastination. The Fed’s board will convene again in early November 2021, with taper (reduction of monetary stimulus) announced to start in December. However, with the Covid bubble deflating, how will the elites deal with zero interest rates and direct deficit financing? In more explicit terms: what new ‘contingent event’ or ‘divine intervention’ will get them out of trouble? Will it be aliens? A cyber-terrorist attack on the banking system? A tsunami in the Atlantic? War games in Southeast Asia? A new War on Terror? The shopping list is long.
In the meantime, ordinary people are caught in a suffocating double bind. If credit needs to be made available to businesses, Central Banks must keep a lid on inflation, which they can do only… by draining credit! Runaway inflation can be avoided only by containing the disruptive effects of excessive money creation; that is, by bringing work-based societies to their knees. Most of us end up squashed between price inflation of essential goods, and deflationary liquidity drainage via loss of income and erosion of savings. And in a stagnant economy with inflation off the chart, each suppressed business transaction is channeled into financial assets.
A tool preventing liquidity from reaching the real economy is the Federal Reserve’s Overnight Reverse Repo facility (RRP). While continuing to flood financial markets with freshly printed money, thanks to reverse repos the Fed mops up any excess of that very cash it pumps into Wall Street. Effectively, a zero-sum game of give and take: at night, financial operators deposit their excess liquidity with the Federal Reserve, which delivers as collateral the same Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities it drains from the market during the day as part of its QE purchases. In August 2021, the Fed’s usage of RRP topped $1 trillion, which led the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to double the RRP limit to $160 billion, starting from 23 September 2021.
Here, then, is the elephant in the room: how will the Fed’s taper square with reverse repos of this astronomical magnitude? Is the much-anticipated reduction of monetary stimulus even possible with a global financial bubble fuelled by zero-interest-rate leveraging and structural borrowing? But, at the same time, how can central bankers continue to expand their balance sheet, when the double whammy of stagnation and rising inflation (stagflation) is just around the corner?
The logic of this monetary mechanism is perverse. The solipsistic ‘mad dance’ of financial capital has spun out of control well beyond its customary madness, and the day of reckoning is fast approaching. Can a devastating recession be avoided? Today’s political answer would seem to mobilise the ancient wisdom that ‘extreme times call for extreme measures’, which translates as: no crime against humanity can be ruled out when systemic implosion is so stubbornly denied. Is this not what history has always taught us?
The crisis we are experiencing is not epidemiological. In the first instance, it is meant to take care of the potentially cataclysmic financial exposure to toxic risk and the associated management of inflation. Suffice it to note that central bankers do not succeed in increasing interest rates to 2%, when in the 1970s they were brought up to 20% to combat inflation. However, as Covid reminds us, financial acrobatics of the current magnitude only work under emergency cover: blockades, lockdowns, restrictions, etc. The purpose of the cover-up is twofold: 1. To conceal the sinking of the Titanic (finance-driven ‘work society’); 2. To coordinate the implementation of a colossal monetary reset based on economic depression and centralised control of people’s lives.
The consequences of emergency capitalism are emphatically biopolitical. They concern the administration of a human surplus that is growing superfluous for a largely automated, highly financialised, and implosive reproductive model. This is why Virus, Vaccine and Covid Pass are the Holy Trinity of social engineering. ‘Virus passports’ are meant to train the multitudes in the use of electronic wallets controlling access to public services and personal livelihood. The dispossessed and redundant masses, together with the non-compliant, are the first in line to be disciplined by digitalised poverty management systems directly overseen by monopoly capital. The plan is to tokenise human behaviour and place it on blockchain ledgers run by algorithms. And the spreading of global fear is the perfect ideological stick to herd us toward this outcome.
As public debates are silenced by censorship and intimidation, we are being escorted to a bio-techno-capitalist dystopia whose hellish character is likely to manifest itself fully with the next global crisis. This would justify the rolling out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), which, in the words of Agustin Carstens (general manager of the Bank for International Settlements), will grant “absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that Central Bank liability [i.e., money], and we will have the technology to enforce that.” Digital cash linked to digital identity is shorthand for hi-tech monetary serfdom, which will be extended to the unemployed first (e.g., UBI recipients), and potentially to most of us. When Larry Fink (BlackRock CEO) says that “markets prefer totalitarian governments to democracies,” we should better believe him.
Separating the population on the basis of vaccination status is an epoch-making achievement typical of totalitarian regimes. If resistance is quashed, a compulsory digital ID will be introduced to record the ‘virtuousness’ of our behaviour and regulate our access to society. Covid was the ideal Trojan horse for this breakthrough. A global system of digital identification based on blockchain technology has long been planned by the ID2020 Alliance, backed by such giants as Accenture, Microsoft, the Rockefeller Foundation, MasterCard, IBM, Facebook, and Bill Gates’ ubiquitous GAVI. From here, the transition to monetary control is likely to be relatively smooth. CBDCs would allow central bankers not only to track every transaction, but especially to turn off access to liquidity for any reason deemed legitimate. The ‘digitisation of life’ project also includes an ‘Internet passport’ which, subject to periodic review, would exclude from the web anyone considered undeserving. Should the social credit score fall below a certain level, finding a job, traveling, or obtaining loans would depend on willing subjection to ‘rehabilitation programmes’. Presumably, there will be a black market for the outcasts.
A cornerstone of historical fascism was industry controlled by government while remaining privately owned. It is quite astonishing that, despite the overwhelming evidence of systematic revolving doors between public and private sector, most public intellectuals have not yet realized that this is where we are heading. Italian writer Ennio Flaiano once said that the fascist movement is made of two groups: the fascists, and the anti-fascists. Today, when most self-proclaimed anti-fascists are quietly or enthusiastically supporting the medically driven authoritarian turn, this paradox is more relevant than ever.
From conspiracy theory to successful paranoia
The epistemology of conspiracy theory drives much of today’s propaganda as a rhetoric of exclusion. The a priori rejection of ‘paranoid thinking’ leaves the official narrative as the sole bearer of truth, irrespective of empirical verification. Therefore, as argued by Ole Bjerg, “the real pathology emerges on the side of the mainstream reactions to so-called conspiracy theorists […] in the form of an epistemic state of exception, which threatens to undermine the functioning of public debate and intellectual critique.”[i] In other words, paranoia qualifies the position of those modern-day Torquemadas whose inquisition tribunals silence any ‘heretical’ thinking that dares to depart from the dogmas of emergency capitalism. The blanket accusation levelled at ‘paranoid Covid-deniers’ and ‘anti-vaxxers’ is symptomatic not only of the dissolution of the democratic bond, but especially of a top-down contagion of ideological sickness never experienced before on such a global scale.
As Jacques Lacan argued in the 1960s, capitalist power works by vanishing, by making itself secret and invisible, thereby dissimulating not only its authority but also its impotence. Everything seems to function spontaneously in capitalism, as if no-one was giving or obeying orders, but just following their spontaneous desires: “What is striking, and what no one seems to see, is that by virtue of the fact that the clouds of impotence have been aired, the master signifier only appears even more unassailable […] Where is it? How can it be named? How can it be located—other than through its murderous effects, of course.”[ii] Should this prompt us to enlist Lacan in the army of wacky conspiracy theorists? While the traditional master relies on symbolic authority, the capitalist master delegates authority to the intangible objectivity of its modus operandi. As made abundantly clear by neoliberalism, mastery is officially relinquished but simultaneously reasserted in its relinquished form, for example as ‘leadership’. And Lacan’s point is that this stratagem opens the space for deeper, more insidious forms of manipulation.
Just like corporate-owned mainstream media, today many Lacanians love to ridicule ‘conspiracy theorists’. Typically, they do so by citing Lacan’s motto that “there is no such thing as a big Other” – so, ultimately, no-one can possibly be plotting behind the curtains. Or, to quote from a recent piece by Slavoj Žižek, “there is no need to invent pandemics and weather catastrophes, since the system produces them by itself.” But these arguments miss the target, for they overlook how power functions precisely by occupying the ontological inconsistency of the big Other, manipulating it in its favour. Differently stated: if there is an unconscious, conspiracy and manipulation are inevitable. The success of any power-structure depends on its ability to weaponise the self-contradictory status of its universe of sense against the neurotic masses.
For all his Hegelianism, here Žižek misses the speculative character of (capitalist) power: systemic contradictions are the very foundation and lifeblood of any power edifice. The elementary speculative ruse of power is that it turns ontological inconsistency into condition of possibility. This is clearly visible in the ‘authoritarian turn’ of contemporary capitalism as predicated upon the ideological use of emergencies. Ultimately, these emergencies are real only insofar as they are capitalist emergencies, deployed at the right time to further the interests of capital. The assumption that they will escape or subvert the existing power structure ignores the extent to which they already function for capitalist power. My reading of Covid as a product of financial volatility is consistent with this speculative stance: pandemic contingency is capitalist necessity, and as such it was supported from the start by a formidable ideological apparatus.
The rhetoric of exclusion that animates the public discourse on Covid can be described through what Lacan, borrowing from Freud, named “successful paranoia”, which “might just as well seem to constitute the closure of science.”[iii] Essentially, “closure” refers to the positivistic belief in scientific objectivity, which is built on the rejection (foreclosure) of the ‘subject of the unconscious’ as source of questioning, doubt, and error. In the context of Lacan’s discourse theory, successful paranoia aligns with a hyper-efficient belief-system secured by the “curious copulation between capitalism and science”.[iv] The power of what today is unilaterally promoted as ‘real science’ (so real that it bans doubt, prohibits debate, and promotes censorship) is akin to the power of a new religion, as Lacan cautioned in 1974: “Science is in the process of substituting itself for religion, and it is even more despotic, obtuse and obscurantist”.[v] And capitalism banks on science & technology just as it capitalizes on health, one of the most profitable businesses in the world.
The ‘science’ we are ordered to follow is hijacked by the financial elites and their political cronies, thus working as a barrier against the awareness that ‘our world’ is crumbling. Real science, which continues to operate behind the thick curtain of censorship, would never impose dictatorial mandates like those still in place in democratic countries around the world. Blind faith in ‘Covid science’, then, betrays a desperate desire to hang on to capitalist power, inclusive of its authoritarian mutation. Yet the history of scientific progress shows that science is, fundamentally, a discourse emphatically centred on what it lacks. All major scientific advances are based on a principle of insufficiency: the awareness that truth as cause of knowledge is ontologically lacking. Or, to quote Lacan: “Il n’y a de cause que de ce qui cloche” (“There is cause only in what doesn’t work”).[vi] This is the science worth fighting for.
While the system’s driving presuppositions (the value-creating relation between capital and labour) have stopped working, the Covid decoy allows capitalism, once again, to suspend any serious enquiry into its structural sickness and ongoing transformation. The clinic of neurosis shows us the extent to which the average neurotic wants a master, whose role is to reassure them that their world lies on solid foundations. Neurotics are often so desperately attached to their power-structure that they turn into perverts to secure its functioning – like a masochist eagerly handing the whip to his dominatrix. Perversion works as a command to enjoy the power relation, and contemporary subjects often readily submit to power in a desperate bid to consolidate it. Unfortunately, the conservative structures of neurosis and perversion are often shared by ‘progressive minds’ (including liberal and radical leftists) whose commitment stops at virtue-signaling or participation in conspiracy theory shame games.
And yet, not all is lost. Despite the unstoppable convergence of science and capitalism in establishing a watertight belief-system that excludes dissent, our successfully paranoid universe will fail to totalise its structure. Paradoxically, the current crackdown on humanity may be the best chance yet for radical opposition to the coming regime of capitalist accumulation and its relentless emergency blackmail.
[i] Ole Bjerg, “Conspiracy Theory: Truth Claim or Language Game?”, Theory, Culture & Society, 2016, pp. 1-23 (6).
[ii] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, book 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, trans. Russell Grigg (New York: Norton, 2007), pp. 177-78.
[iii] Jacques Lacan, Écrits. The First Complete English Edition, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), p. 742.
[iv] Lacan, 2007, p. 110.
[v] Jacques Lacan, Freud Forever: An Interview with Panorama, trans. Philip Dravers, Hurly Burly 12, 2015, pp. 13-21 (18).
[vi] Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book 11, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998), p. 22.
By: Fabio Vighi
Source: Original Article
A year and a half after the arrival of Virus, some may have started wondering why the usually unscrupulous ruling elites decided to freeze the global profit-making machine in the face of a pathogen that targets almost exclusively the unproductive (over 80s). Why all the humanitarian zeal? Cui bono? Only those who are unfamiliar with the wondrous adventures of GloboCap can delude themselves into thinking that the system chose to shut down out of compassion. Let us be clear from the start: the big predators of oil, arms, and vaccines could not care less about humanity.
Follow the money
In pre-Covid times, the world economy was on the verge of another colossal meltdown. Here is a brief chronicle of how the pressure was building up:
June 2019: In its Annual Economic Report, the Swiss-based Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the ‘Central Bank of all central banks’, sets the international alarm bells ringing. The document highlights “overheating […] in the leveraged loan market”, where “credit standards have been deteriorating” and “collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) have surged – reminiscent of the steep rise in collateralized debt obligations [CDOs] that amplified the subprime crisis [in 2008].” Simply stated, the belly of the financial industry is once again full of junk.
9 August 2019: The BIS issues a working paper calling for “unconventional monetary policy measures” to “insulate the real economy from further deterioration in financial conditions”. The paper indicates that, by offering “direct credit to the economy” during a crisis, central bank lending “can replace commercial banks in providing loans to firms.”
15 August 2019: Blackrock Inc., the world’s most powerful investment fund (managing around $7 trillion in stock and bond funds), issues a white paper titled Dealing with the next downturn. Essentially, the paper instructs the US Federal Reserve to inject liquidity directly into the financial system to prevent “a dramatic downturn.” Again, the message is unequivocal: “An unprecedented response is needed when monetary policy is exhausted and fiscal policy alone is not enough. That response will likely involve ‘going direct’”: “finding ways to get central bank money directly in the hands of public and private sector spenders” while avoiding “hyperinflation. Examples include the Weimar Republic in the 1920s as well as Argentina and Zimbabwe more recently.”
22-24 August 2019: G7 central bankers meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to discuss BlackRock’s paper along with urgent measures to prevent the looming meltdown. In the prescient words of James Bullard, President of the St Louis Federal Reserve: “We just have to stop thinking that next year things are going to be normal.”
15-16 September 2019: The downturn is officially inaugurated by a sudden spike in the repo rates (from 2% to 10.5%). ‘Repo’ is shorthand for ‘repurchase agreement’, a contract where investment funds lend money against collateral assets (normally Treasury securities). At the time of the exchange, financial operators (banks) undertake to buy back the assets at a higher price, typically overnight. In brief, repos are short-term collateralized loans. They are the main source of funding for traders in most markets, especially the derivatives galaxy. A lack of liquidity in the repo market can have a devastating domino effect on all major financial sectors.
17 September 2019: The Fed begins the emergency monetary programme, pumping hundreds of billions of dollars per week into Wall Street, effectively executing BlackRock’s “going direct” plan. (Unsurprisingly, in March 2020 the Fed will hire BlackRock to manage the bailout package in response to the ‘COVID-19 crisis’).
19 September 2019: Donald Trump signs Executive Order 13887, establishing a National Influenza Vaccine Task Force whose aim is to develop a “5-year national plan (Plan) to promote the use of more agile and scalable vaccine manufacturing technologies and to accelerate development of vaccines that protect against many or all influenza viruses.” This is to counteract “an influenza pandemic”, which, “unlike seasonal influenza […] has the potential to spread rapidly around the globe, infect higher numbers of people, and cause high rates of illness and death in populations that lack prior immunity”. As someone guessed, the pandemic was imminent, while in Europe too preparations were underway (see here and here).
18 October 2019: In New York, a global zoonotic pandemic is simulated during Event 201, a strategic exercise coordinated by the Johns Hopkins Biosecurity Center and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
21-24 January 2020: The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting takes place in Davos, Switzerland, where both the economy and vaccinations are discussed.
23 January 2020: China puts Wuhan and other cities of the Hubei province in lockdown.
11 March 2020: The WHO’s director general calls Covid-19 a pandemic. The rest is history.
Joining the dots is a simple enough exercise. If we do so, we might see a well-defined narrative outline emerge, whose succinct summary reads as follows: lockdowns and the global suspension of economic transactions were intended to 1) Allow the Fed to flood the ailing financial markets with freshly printed money while deferring hyperinflation; and 2) Introduce mass vaccination programmes and health passports as pillars of a neo-feudal regime of capitalist accumulation. As we shall see, the two aims merge into one.
In 2019, world economy was plagued by the same sickness that had caused the 2008 credit crunch. It was suffocating under an unsustainable mountain of debt. Many public companies could not generate enough profit to cover interest payments on their own debts and were staying afloat only by taking on new loans. ‘Zombie companies’ (with year-on-year low profitability, falling turnover, squeezed margins, limited cashflow, and highly leveraged balance sheet) were rising everywhere. The repo market meltdown of September 2019 must be placed within this fragile economic context.
When the air is saturated with flammable materials, any spark can cause the explosion. And in the magical world of finance, tout se tient: one flap of a butterfly’s wings in a certain sector can send the whole house of cards tumbling down. In financial markets powered by cheap loans, any increase in interest rates is potentially cataclysmic for banks, hedge funds, pension funds and the entire government bond market, because the cost of borrowing increases and liquidity dries up. This is what happened with the ‘repocalypse’ of September 2019: interest rates spiked to 10.5% in a matter of hours, panic broke out affecting futures, options, currencies, and other markets where traders bet by borrowing from repos. The only way to defuse the contagion was by throwing as much liquidity as necessary into the system – like helicopters dropping thousands of gallons of water on a wildfire. Between September 2019 and March 2020, the Fed injected more than $9 trillion into the banking system, equivalent to more than 40% of US GDP.
The mainstream narrative should therefore be reversed: the stock market did not collapse (in March 2020) because lockdowns had to be imposed; rather, lockdowns had to be imposed because financial markets were collapsing. With lockdowns came the suspension of business transactions, which drained the demand for credit and stopped the contagion. In other words, restructuring the financial architecture through extraordinary monetary policy was contingent on the economy’s engine being turned off. Had the enormous mass of liquidity pumped into the financial sector reached transactions on the ground, a monetary tsunami with catastrophic consequences would have been unleashed.
As claimed by economist Ellen Brown, it was “another bailout”, but this time “under cover of a virus.” Similarly, John Titus and Catherine Austin Fitts noted that the Covid-19 “magic wand” allowed the Fed to execute BlackRock’s “going direct” plan, literally: it carried out an unprecedented purchase of government bonds, while, on an infinitesimally smaller scale, also issuing government backed ‘COVID loans’ to businesses. In brief, only an induced economic coma would provide the Fed with the room to defuse the time-bomb ticking away in the financial sector. Screened by mass-hysteria, the US central bank plugged the holes in the interbank lending market, dodging hyperinflation as well as the ‘Financial Stability Oversight Council’ (the federal agency for monitoring financial risk created after the 2008 collapse), as discussed here. However, the “going direct” blueprint should also be framed as a desperate measure, for it can only prolong the agony of a global economy increasingly hostage to money printing and the artificial inflation of financial assets.
At the heart of our predicament lies an insurmountable structural impasse. Debt-leveraged financialization is contemporary capitalism’s only line of flight, the inevitable forward-escape route for a reproductive model that has reached its historical limit. Capitals head for financial markets because the labour-based economy is increasingly unprofitable. How did we get to this?
The answer can be summarised as follows: 1. The economy’s mission to generate surplus-value is both the drive to exploit the workforce and to expel it from production. This is what Marx called capitalism’s “moving contradiction”. While it constitutes the essence of our mode of production, this contradiction today backfires, turning political economy into a mode of permanent devastation. 2. The reason for this change of fortune is the objective failure of the labour-capital dialectic: the unprecedented acceleration in technological automation since the 1980s causes more labour-power to be ejected from production than (re)absorbed. The contraction of the volume of wages means that the purchasing power of a growing part of the world population is falling, with debt and immiseration as inevitable consequences. 3. As less surplus-value is produced, capital seeks immediate returns in the debt-leveraged financial sector rather than in the real economy or by investing in socially constructive sectors like education, research, and public services.
The bottom line is that the paradigm shift underway is the necessary condition for the (dystopian) survival of capitalism, which is no longer able to reproduce itself through mass wage-labour and the attendant consumerist utopia. The pandemic agenda was dictated, ultimately, by systemic implosion: the profitability downturn of a mode of production which rampant automation is making obsolete. For this immanent reason, capitalism is increasingly dependent on public debt, low wages, centralisation of wealth and power, a permanent state of emergency, and financial acrobatics.
If we ‘follow the money’, we will see that the economic blockade deviously attributed to Virus has achieved far from negligible results, not only in terms of social engineering, but also of financial predation. I will quickly highlight four of them.
1) As anticipated, it has allowed the Fed to reorganise the financial sector by printing a continuous stream of billions of dollars out of thin air; 2) It has accelerated the extinction of small and medium-sized companies, allowing major groups to monopolise trade flows; 3) It has further depressed labour wages and facilitated significant capital savings through ‘smart working’ (which is particularly smart for those who implement it); 4) It has enabled the growth of e-commerce, the explosion of Big Tech, and the proliferation of the pharma-dollar – which also includes the much disparaged plastic industry, now producing millions of new facemasks and gloves every week, many of which end up in the oceans (to the delight of the ‘green new dealers’). In 2020 alone, the wealth of the planet’s 2,200 or so billionaires grew by $1.9 trillion, an increase without historical precedent. All this thanks to a pathogen so lethal that, according to official data, only 99.8% of the infected survive (see here and here), most of them without experiencing any symptoms.
Doing capitalism differently
The economic motif of the Covid whodunit must be placed within a broader context of social transformation. If we scratch the surface of the official narrative, a neo-feudal scenario begins to take form. Masses of increasingly unproductive consumers are being regimented and cast aside, simply because Mr Global no longer knows what to do with them. Together with the underemployed and the excluded, the impoverished middle-classes are now a problem to be handled with the stick of lockdowns, curfews, mass vaccination, propaganda, and the militarisation of society, rather than with the carrot of work, consumption, participatory democracy, social rights (replaced in collective imagination by the civil rights of minorities), and ‘well-earned holidays.’
It is therefore delusional to believe that the purpose of lockdowns is therapeutic and humanitarian. When has capital ever cared for the people? Indifference and misanthropy are the typical traits of capitalism, whose only real passion is profit, and the power that comes with it. Today, capitalist power can be summed up with the names of the three biggest investment funds in the world: BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street Global Advisor. These giants, sitting at the centre of a huge galaxy of financial entities, manage a mass of value close to half the global GDP, and are major shareholders in around 90% of listed companies. Around them gravitate transnational institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bank for International Settlements, whose function is to coordinate consensus within the financial constellation. We can safely assume that all key strategic decisions – economic, political and military – are at least heavily influenced by these elites. Or do we want to believe that Virus has taken them by surprise? Rather, SARS-CoV-2 – which, by admission of the CDC and the European Commission has never been isolated nor purified – is the name of a special weapon of psychological warfare that was deployed in the moment of greatest need.
Why should we trust a mega pharmaceutical cartel (the WHO) that is not in charge of ‘public health’, but rather of marketing private products worldwide at the most profitable rates possible? Public health problems stem from abysmal working conditions, poor nutrition, air, water, and food pollution, and above all from rampant poverty; yet none of these ‘pathogens’ are on the WHO’s list of humanitarian concerns. The immense conflicts of interest between the predators of the pharmaceutical industry, national and supranational medical agencies, and the cynical political enforcers, is now an open secret. No wonder that on the day COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic, the WEF, together with the WHO, launched the Covid Action Platform, a “protection of life” coalition run by over 1,000 of the world’s most powerful private companies.
The only thing that matters for the clique directing the health emergency orchestra is to feed the profit-making machine, and every move is planned to this end, with the support of a political and media front motivated by opportunism. If the military industry needs wars, the pharmaceutical industry needs diseases. It is no coincidence that ‘public health’ is by far the most profitable sector of the world economy, to the extent that Big Pharma spends about three times as much as Big Oil and twice as much as Big Tech on lobbying. The potentially endless demand for vaccines and experimental gene concoctions offers pharmaceutical cartels the prospect of almost unlimited profit streams, especially when guaranteed by mass vaccination programmes subsidised by public money (i.e., by more debt that will fall on our heads).
Why have all Covid treatments been criminally banned or sabotaged? As the FDA candidly admits, the use of emergency vaccines is only possible if “there are no suitable, approved and available alternatives”. A case of truth hidden in plain sight. Moreover, the current vaccine religion is closely linked to the rise of the pharma-dollar, which, by feeding on pandemics, is set to emulate the glories of the ‘petro-dollar’, allowing the United States to continue to exercise global monetary supremacy. Why should the whole of humanity (including children!) inject experimental ‘vaccines’ with increasingly worrying yet systematically downplayed adverse effects, when more than 99% of those infected, the vast majority asymptomatic, recover? The answer is obvious: because vaccines are the golden calf of the third millennium, while humanity is ‘last generation’ exploitation material in guinea pig modality.
Given this context, the staging of the emergency pantomime succeeds through an unheard-of manipulation of public opinion. Every ‘public debate’ on the pandemic is shamelessly privatised, or rather monopolised by the religious belief in technical-scientific committees bankrolled by the financial elites. Every ‘free discussion’ is legitimised by adherence to pseudo-scientific protocols carefully purged from the socio-economic context: one ‘follows the science’ while pretending not to know that ‘science follows the money’. Karl Popper’s famous statement that “real science” is only possible under the aegis of liberal capitalism in what he called “the open society”, is now coming true in the globalist ideology that animates, among others, George Soros’s Open Society Foundation. The combination of “real science” and “open and inclusive society” makes the Covid doctrine almost impossible to challenge.
For COVID-19, then, we could imagine the following agenda. A fictitious narrative is prepared based on an epidemic risk presented in such a way as to promote fear and submissive behaviour. Most likely a case of diagnostic reclassification. All that is needed is an epidemiologically ambiguous influenza virus, on which to build an aggressive tale of contagion relatable to geographical areas where the impact of respiratory or vascular diseases in the elderly and immunocompromised population is high – perhaps with the aggravating factor of heavy pollution. There is no need to make much up, given that intensive care units in ‘advanced’ countries had already collapsed in the years preceding the arrival of Covid, with mortality peaks for which no one had dreamed of exhuming quarantine. In other words, public health systems had already been demolished, and thus prepared for the pandemic scenario.
But this time there is method in madness: a state of emergency is declared, which triggers panic, in turn causing the clogging up of hospitals and care homes (at high risk of sepsis), the application of nefarious protocols, and the suspension of medical care. Et voilà, the killer Virus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! The propaganda raging across the main centres of financial power (especially North America and Europe) is essential to maintaining the ‘state of exception’ (Carl Schmitt), which is immediately accepted as the only possible form of political and existential rationality. Entire populations exposed to heavy media bombardment surrender through self-discipline, adhering with grotesque enthusiasm to forms of ‘civic responsibility’ in which coercion morphs into altruism.
The whole pandemic script – from the ‘contagion curve’ to the ‘Covid deaths’ – rests on the PCR test, which was authorised for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 by a study produced in record time on commission from the WHO. As many will know by now, the diagnostic unreliability of the PCR test was denounced by its inventor himself, Nobel laureate Kary Mullis (unfortunately passed away on 7 August 2019), and recently reiterated by, among others, 22 internationally renowned experts who demanded its removal for clear scientific flaws. Obviously, the request fell on deaf ears.
The PCR test is the driving force behind the pandemic. It works through the infamous ‘cycle thresholds’: the more cycles you make, the more false positives (infections, Covid-deaths) you produce, as even guru Anthony Fauci recklessly admitted when he stated that swabs are worthless above 35 cycles. Now, why is it that during the pandemic, amplifications of 35 cycles or more were routinely carried out in laboratories all over the world? Even the New York Times – certainly not a den of dangerous Covid-deniers – raised this key question last summer. Thanks to the sensitivity of the swab, the pandemic can be turned on and off like a tap, allowing the health regime to exert full control over the ‘numerological monster’ of Covid cases and deaths – the key instruments of everyday terror.
All this fearmongering continues today, despite the easing of some measures. To understand why, we should return to the economic motif. As noted, several trillions of newly printed cash have been created with a few clicks of a mouse by central banks and injected into financial systems, where they have in great part remained. The aim of the printing-spree was to plug calamitous liquidity gaps. Most of this ‘magic-tree money’ is still frozen inside the shadow banking system, the stock exchanges, and various virtual currency schemes that are not meant to be used for spending and investment. Their function is solely to provide cheap loans for financial speculation. This is what Marx called ‘fictitious capital’, which continues to expand in an orbital loop that is now completely independent of economic cycles on the ground.
The bottom line is that all this cash cannot be allowed to flood the real economy, for the latter would overheat and trigger hyperinflation. And this is where Virus continues to come in handy. If it initially served to “insulate the real economy” (to quote again from the BIS paper), it now oversees its tentative reopening, characterized by submission to the vaccination dogma and chromatic methods of mass regimentation, which may soon include climate lockdowns. Remember how we were told that only vaccines would give us back our ‘freedom’? All too predictably, we now discover that the road to freedom is littered with ‘variants’, that is to say, iterations of Virus. Their purpose is to increase the ‘case count’ and therefore prolong those states of emergency that justify central banks’ production of virtual money aimed at monetizing debt and financing deficits. Rather than returning to normal interest rates, the elites opt to normalize the health emergency by feeding the contagion ghost. The much-publicised ‘tapering’ (reduction of monetary stimulus) can therefore wait – just like Pandexit.
In the EU, for instance, the European Central Bank’s €1.85 trillion ‘pandemic emergency purchase program’, known as PEPP, is currently set to continue until March 2022. However, it has been intimated it might need to be extended beyond that date. In the meantime, the Delta variant is wreaking havoc on the travel and tourism industry, with new restrictions (including quarantine) disrupting the summer season. Again, we seem to be caught within a self-fulfilling prophecy (especially if, as Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier and many others have intimated, variants, however mild, are the consequence of aggressive mass vaccination campaigns). Whatever the case, the fundamental point is that Virus is still needed by senile capitalism, whose only chance of survival depends on generating a paradigm shift from liberalism to oligarchic authoritarianism.
While their crime is far from perfect, the orchestrators of this global coup must nevertheless be credited with a certain sadistic brilliance. Their sleight of hand succeeded, perhaps even beyond expectations. However, any power aiming at totalisation is destined to fail, and this applies also to the high priests of the Covid religion and the institutional puppets they have mobilised to roll out the health emergency psyop. After all, power tends to delude itself about its omnipotence. Those sitting in the control room fail to realise the extent to which their dominance is uncertain. What they do not see is that their authority depends on a ‘higher mission’, to which they remain partly blind, namely the anonymous self-reproduction of the capitalist matrix. Today’s power lies with the profit-making machine whose only purpose is to continue its reckless journey, potentially leading to the premature extinction of Homo sapiens. The elites who have conned the world into Covid-obedience are the anthropomorphic manifestation of the capitalist automaton, whose invisibility is as cunning as that of Virus itself. And the novelty of our era is that the ‘locked-down society’ is the model that best guarantees the reproducibility of the capitalist machine, irrespective of its dystopian destination.
 Karl Marx, Grundrisse (London: Penguin, 1993), 706.
 Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies, 2 volumes (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2013).
Filmed in 2018, he is discussing the mobility of an endemic. He seems to know exactly would cause this excess death of 10 MILLION people per year. This guy built computers right? Suddenly he is the authority on bioweapons, terrorists, potential pandemic response, supply chains, the role of the government. He knows his stuff…
Here is Bill Gates discussing how a vastly accelerated growth in population, concurrent with improvements in modern medicine, are causing “me and Melinda” great concerns about the allocation of resources by the year 2100 amongst a swelling overpopulation? Who knows if an asteroid hits earth tomorrow? He probably programmed the asteroid.
By John Tierney
Throughout the pandemic, American political and public-health leaders have been following Rahm Emanuel’s classic dictum for power-seeking officials: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Now they’ve adopted a corollary: you never want a crisis to end.
So they are prolonging the national misery instead of easing it, which could be done with a few simple strategies. Explain to the public that the virus will never disappear but is no longer a mortal threat to the vast majority of Americans. Encourage the minority still at risk to get vaccinated by honestly discussing who is in jeopardy and what scientists have learned about infections. Promote treatments proven to prevent infection and speed recovery while avoiding unproven treatments and mandates that cause collateral damage and generate mistrust. Above all, make it clear to Americans that we finally have reason to celebrate: what once seemed an unprecedented danger is now just one of many pathogens that we know how to live with.
But the nation’s crisismongers aren’t about to relinquish their hold over the public, so they’ve set new goals that are as unachievable as they are unnecessary and harmful. Making vaccines available to every American adult is no longer sufficient; now the crisis cannot end until the entire population has been vaccinated. Instead of focusing efforts on vaccinating the vulnerable, officials obsess on compelling universal obedience, even if that means squandering vaccines on people who already have acquired natural immunity or are at minimal risk of serious illness.
The same progressives who regularly denounce “systemic racism” and “Western imperialism” are now enforcing policies that disproportionately punish minorities and the poor, both in the United States (the majority of black teenagers and young adults in New York have been banished from much of public life by the city’s new vaccine-passport policy) and in the rest of the world. The hypocrisy was deftly captured in a tweet by Martin Kulldorff, the Harvard epidemiologist: “If you favor university vaccine mandates for low-risk American and European students, when there is not enough vaccine for older high-risk people in Asia, Africa and Latin America, please remove your #BLM tags from your Twitter/Facebook profiles.”
Children are being sentenced to another round of unnecessary mask mandates and probably more school closures based on evidence-free warnings from Anthony Fauci and others that the Delta variant will be more deadly to them than the original virus. While the variant is more infectious, the evidence does not show it to be any more lethal. In fact, the current mortality rate among American children with Covid is lower than it was last year—and last year many more children died of the flu than of Covid. One of the most thorough studies, in England, shows that the survival rate for those under 18 with Covid is 99.995 percent. But instead of emphasizing these reassuring statistics, public-health officials like Jerome Adams, the former surgeon general, keep looking for new ways to scare parents and children.
“I’m an anesthesiologist,” he tweeted last weekend. “And a dad. And I can assure you in both capacities that your child will be far more comfortable if they’re in a face mask, than on a ventilator. If you’re making a choice on behalf of a child, please choose based on their comfort, vs yours.” He offered no new evidence that children are at heightened risk from the virus, much less any evidence that a mask would make any difference, but he did make sure to include a gruesome photograph of a child on a ventilator.
It was a new low in public-health demagoguery, but unfortunately not so different from the fearmongering of other officials, the press, and social-media platforms. They lament that a minority of the public remains reluctant to get vaccinated without recognizing that their own tactics are likely a chief cause of this reluctance. They have been misleading people for so long—and censoring challenges to their misinformation—that it’s no wonder polls show that an overwhelming majority of unvaccinated Americans say they don’t trust Fauci or the CDC.
Many of these unvaccinated people have mistaken ideas about vaccine side effects, but they’re not wrong when they tell pollsters that the dangers of the virus have been exaggerated and exploited for political purposes. The White House and its Democratic allies in the press have seized on the seasonal surge in the Sun Belt to attack Republicans for not mandating masks—while largely ignoring surges in Democratic strongholds with mask mandates and other restrictions, like Hawaii, Oregon, and San Francisco.
This political cherry-picking of data has been the norm during the pandemic. During surges last year, Florida and Sweden’s failure to lock down and mandate masks was blamed for the outbreaks—never mind that both places did better than average in limiting mortality over the course of the year. In Sweden, which kept its schools open without masks or social distancing during the spread of the Delta variant this year, the overall mortality rate this year has actually been lower than normal.
The CDC continues to undermine its credibility by claiming strong evidence for the efficacy of lockdowns and mask mandates. Dozens of studies have found that lockdowns are ineffective, and one recent analysis of trends in the United States and other countries found that lockdown policies are associated with an increase in excess deaths. The evidence offered by the CDC for mask mandates is weak, as Jeffrey H. Anderson has documented, and the most rigorous research—from more than a dozen randomized clinical trials—suggests that masks are ineffective (and possibly counterproductive) at stopping viral spread. One recent study, which tracked Covid case growth across the United States, concluded that “mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level Covid-19 spread during Covid-19 growth surges.”
Even Robert Redfield, who made unsubstantiated claims for mask efficacy last year while he was directing the CDC, now concedes that there is a “paucity of data” to support mask mandates. When asked if the CDC is wrong to be recommending masks for schoolchildren, he replied, “I’m saying that I haven’t been able to review data that supports that recommendation.”
His successors at the agency, unfortunately, seem less interested in reviewing data than in hiding it. As David Zweig reported in New York, when researchers from the CDC compared Covid-mitigation techniques at 169 elementary schools in Georgia, they found no statistically significant reduction of infections in schools that required masks for students, enforced social distancing, or installed barriers between desks. Those were important findings because it was the first such large study, but the CDC did not even mention them in the summary of research that it published. Instead, the agency went on recommending masks for all students.
The European Union’s equivalent of the CDC, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, has sensibly recommended against masking students under age 12 because of the physical, psychological, and social harms to children, but American officials have made no effort to weigh the costs and benefits. The National Institutes of Health hasn’t even bothered to study the negative impacts of its mask policies on children. Dozens of other researchers, though, have demonstrated an array of problems called “Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome.” The problems include decrease in blood oxygen saturation; increase in blood carbon dioxide; increase in heart and respiratory rates; difficulty breathing; dizziness; headache; drowsiness; and decreased ability to concentrate and think.
Masking children at minimal risk from the virus was justified last year on the grounds that it might prevent infections of vulnerable adults who had no defense against the virus. But now that vaccines are readily available, why harm children for the sake of adults who have deliberately chosen not to protect themselves? Since when do children bear responsibility for adults’ decisions?
The mask mandates for children can’t be justified on ethical or scientific grounds, but they persist because they serve the interests of a certain class of adults. The purpose of this hygiene theater was described with blunt accuracy by Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and one of the few politicians who has actually been following the science during the pandemic. “Politicians,” he explained, “want to force you to cover your face as a way for them to cover their own asses.”
Not long ago in late April of this year, the newly-minted Comforter-in-Chief, President Joe Biden proudly elevated the stakes in the race to get most of the country fully vaccinated, just in time for the highly-anticipated July 4th celebrations to joyfully welcome the post-COVID era.
I’ve been trying to write this for a week or so, but every time I start, new things happen. The virus landscape has changed enormously, which we of course don’t see reflected in the media. They report only on increases in infections and panicking politicians. Which can all be nicely packed together in “the Delta variant”.
But there should be much more attention -and questions- with regards to those rising numbers, more often than not occurring in highly vaccinated countries, UK, Israel etc. We might learn a thing or two if we don’t look at this through the same glasses we’ve used for a year and a half now. They grossly distorted our view. Here goes:
What do the substances sold to us as “vaccines” -even if they’re not in the general sense of the word-, actually do? They don’t limit the risk of infection, we know that now, but we could have known it already, the producers told us. Of course the politicians and their experts said otherwise for as long as they could, but with recent rapidly rising infection rates among the fully vaccinated, we’ll hear much less of that. That story died.
So what do they do? The one thing left, and which the producers DO claim, is they make (Covid-related) illness less severe. But has anyone seen any irrefutable proof of that? If so, please send it. Not some hint at proof, nothing halfway, we’re not interested in that, but absolute and irrefutable. Like Godot.
Something we do know the vaccines do, the mRNA ones but also AZ and J&J, is they induce your cells to produce spike proteins. And it’s those spike proteins that PCR tests recognize, leading to “positive” test results, also with people who’ve never been infected by the virus.
Which makes me wonder how many people in the wave of the new “infections” test positive because they’ve been injected, not because they’ve been infected. Though the difference may not be easy to detect, other than the first group never getting sick, but then again, 80% of people have natural immunity against Covid to begin with, says Nature Magazine.
So all your victims come from 20% of the population. If you go through the sites that count “cases”, like Worldometer, you can see that there is no country (that I could find) which has seen more than 10% of people test positive. And after 18 months, chances are that percentages won’t rise much, let alone above 20%. In India, 67% of people have antibodies, it was announced today. Those people need no vaccines, their immunity is stronger than a vaccine can offer.
Now, how do you tell those groups apart, the 80% vs 20%? It’s hard enough to begin with but once you inject healthy people with a substance that causes the human body to make (cyto-) toxic spike proteins, telling one from the other may become impossible (cytotoxic means it kills cells).
In short, after some 7 months of the vaccines being used, we know they are useless for preventing infection, even if loud voices keep insisting the world will come to an end if not everyone gets vaccinated. They may lead to a huge number of false positives though, meaning that once your cells start producing spike proteins, you may well get sick anyway. Sort of like a self-fulfilling prescription. Solution from industry and experts: boosters, induce cells to produce more toxic proteins. Hmmm.
I’m not sure you would call the ensuing disease Covid-19, even if it has the same spike proteins, but it will have many of the same symptoms: pulmonary issues, myocarditis, other heart problems, blindness etc.
And death. By now you must have seen some numbers, even if the media and politics keep them from you. The latest count in the US is about 11,000 deaths from the vaccines, and there is a court case being filed that claims the real count is 45,000. It could well be much more, but it’s hard to prove. All we need to know really is that in the past, 25-50 deaths was all it took to shelve a vaccine.
Adverse reactions other than death are if possible even harder to get a grip on. The VAERS system says there are presently some 450,000 reported, but the UK’s MHRA yellow Card system was already well above 1,000,000 there two weeks ago, so you can pick any number you like. These systems typically register between 1-10% of events.
Question is, do you want to pick that number AFTER getting jabbed? I’ve said before, you must count on your immune system being strong enough to fight the vaccine, not just the virus. 80% of people have an immune system that can do that. The 20% who don’t are mostly old, obese or suffering from another disease.
That the 80% is nevertheless also targeted by vaccine salesmen including politicians is pretty strange, even if we’ve come to see it as normal. But that it can actually worsen the health prospects of those involved is another story altogether. We will have to find out from the large numbers of “fully vaccinated” who are now testing positive, but who may simply have started producing spike proteins without getting infected. It will be very difficult to tell the difference, but we should no longer accept anything less.
Not after accepting the failed policies of lockdowns and mask wearing and vaccines. How do we know they failed? Look at the numbers in mid summer! And compare them to last summer. Delta, yeah, yeah, I know, but how deadly is Delta? And how much have the vaccines contributed to the appearance of Delta?
It’s very popular these days to talk about the Pandemic of the Unvaccinated, but what if what we’re really looking at is a Pandemic of the Vaccinated? When the breeding ground for a virus doesn ‘t change much, there is not much reason for it to mutate. That reason comes for instance in the form of a vaccine, especially one that is non-sterilizing (doesn’t prevent further infection) and is used on an enormous scale.
Instead, they’ll have you believe the opposite: that the unvaccinated (80% of whom are safe to begin with) cause a virus to mutate, and the vaccinated stop that mutating, even if they continue to infect people around them. There is no logic in that.
And there’s that question again: what DO the vaccines do? What do they do that is beneficial to us, and which vitamin D and any of an assortment of fully harmless repurposed drugs, research into which was suspended or banned to make the vaccine EUA’s possible, could not have done, and possibly better? For one thing, the vaccines don’t grant you immunity. None. If that’s not enough yet, let’s at least start there.
In the face of a global pandemic, an un-elected body of global bureaucrats based in Davos, Switzerland has asked the world to trust its vision of a technocratic “great reset,” knowing full well the public would never go for such a request had it not been for the golden opportunity they’d all been waiting for.
The following document was issued by the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2020:
The CFR is the upper echelon of the globalist organizations (as you will see members of the CFR are on the Board of Directors of the World Economic Forum, Morgan Stanley, the CIA, America University, the Carlyle Group, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Kissinger Associates, Inc., BlackRock, Warburg Pincus, National Academy of Medicine, McKinsey Global Institute, Alphabet, Princeton University and CNN amongst others. The organization was established in 1921.
The self-ascribed purpose of the CFR is as follows:
“The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.
Founded in 1921, CFR carries out its mission by maintaining a diverse membership, with special programs to promote interest and develop expertise in the next generation of foreign policy leaders; convening meetings at its headquarters in New York and in Washington, DC, and other cities where senior government officials, members of Congress, global leaders, and prominent thinkers come together with Council members to discuss and debate major international issues; supporting a Studies Program that fosters independent research, enabling CFR scholars to produce articles, reports, and books and hold roundtables that analyze foreign policy issues and make concrete policy recommendations; publishing Foreign Affairs, the preeminent journal on international affairs and U.S. foreign policy; sponsoring Independent Task Forces that produce reports with both findings and policy prescriptions on the most important foreign policy topics; and providing up-to-date information and analysis about world events and American foreign policy on its website, CFR.org.”Source: https://www.cfr.org/about
Their self-ascribed claim of being “independent” and being “non-partisan are complete bullshit. Have a look at this diagram which shows the depth of the penetration of reach of this organization:
Notes from the Essay:
The authors of the paper state “that along with U.S.-Soviet competition and the Cold War, the COVID-19 pandemic represents the most serious challenge to the U.S.-led international order. They call this “a moment of radical international uncertainty” that “occurs at a troubling time geopolitically, including the withdrawal of the United States from global leadership.”
In other words, they are in lockstep with the language of the Great Reset – just like everyone else.
It is especially noted that Kissinger’s motivation in geopolitical struggles often included the benefit of a future relationship with China:
“During his years in once, Kissinger above all else sought to apply his concept and objectives of world order to the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union and to prepare for the emergence of China as an eventual world power.”The End of World Order and American Foreign Policy – Page 6
The two primary authors of the article give an assessment of geopolitical state of affairs since the pandemic began to emanate worldwide:
“the pandemic has undermined order by straining governments, dividing societies, exacerbating societal inequalities, heightening tensions between the United States and China, and demonstrating the vast gap between global problems and the world’s ability to address them through existing international institutions.“The End of World Order and American Foreign Policy – Forward V
This is also a regurgitation of the language coming out of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset, as the entire core of the Great Reset is to repurpose geopolitical politics, rework international institutions and – also – in line with the Kalergi Plan – establish a one world culture where the Americans, Soviets (former nations of the USSR) and the Chinese work towards miscegenation and race mixing to lose their own borders, language, cultures, heritage – abandon any/all in-group preferences – to evolve into the “One World Culture” called for by the Rothschild consortium created, Bolshevik inspired, Zionist run United Nations.
The following are some of my favorite fear porn quotes from the release – which basically they are laying the framework for an endemic to run concurrent with the forever wars in Syria, Afganistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere:
“This is a moment of radical international uncertainty. Despite many commentaries to the contrary, it is difficult to predict what the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis will be on the quest for world order” – which is basically saying “this fucking thing sucks for you but it gives us work to do”
“By contrast, although this crisis occurs at a troubling time geopolitically, including the withdrawal of the United States from global leadership, until the pandemic it was a period of interdependence and prosperity for many countries.”
– this is a reassurance that the last bastion of freedom – the Constitutional rights afforded to Americans will perish as a result of the fall of American global hegemony. Freedom of expression, association, speech and assembly, the right to bear arms in the advent of a tyrannical government, private property ownership, the right to a fair trial, certain educational, religious, medicinal and cultural freedoms – KISSINGER IT ALL GOODBYE ONCE THE LAUNCH OF THE DIGITAL ID IN TANDEM WITH THE DIGITAL CURRENCY ISSUED FROM THE BANK OF INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS COMES INTO PLAY.
These following questions are wonderful:
“Will medical shortcomings trigger mass migration?”
...there used to a time when the UN allowed asylum for refugees. Refugees are people that are in mortal danger if they return to their war-torn homelands. However, over the course of the past decade, the United Nations has done a brilliant job of meme’ing a refugee and an economic migrant into the same thing. This statement basically says that “western nations have the moral imperative to take “migrants” from all over the entire planet AND AND it will be their duty to provide proper medical treatment….and it must be free of cost to the migrants or else it is a RASICM (per the ADL).
Will mass digital surveillance become more attractive
if it offers an alternative to economic shutdown?
….seriously they write like this? Of course it becomes more attractive to the ones gathering intelligence by mass surveillance. This is just a foreshadowing of the coming Communitarianism.
You know I wanted to do this deep analysis of this CFR bulletin because it was interesting at first but the entire thing is just loud cheer FOR GLOBOHOMO. NEO-LIBERAL, DEBT-LADEN, RACELESS, BORDERLESS, GENDERLESS, CHILDLESS, GODLESS, UBI-FUNDED CONSUMERIST CAPITAL WHERE EVERYTHING IS MEANT TO EXPLODE.
THE CFR IS THE ENEMY, I HAVE FOLLOWED THEM FOR TWENTY YEARS. THEY ARE ZIONIST MOUTHPIECES. THEY ARE ONES THAT SEND OUT THE MEMOS. THE MEMOS OF THE GLOBOHOMOGAYPLEX.
We are living in what seem to me to be terribly fraught times, times that are even more worrisome than those at the height of Cold War tensions, when we schoolchildren were drilled on what to do in case of a nuclear attack–an attack that was in fact…
Source: Our Dire Future Under Biden
So far, wars have served as an occasion for massive capital destruction — apparently Corona is now fulfilling the same purpose in a less violent way.
THE WAR SUBSTITUTE
“Capitalism carries war like a cloud the rain,” said the French social revolutionary Jean Jaurès. In busy times when many people already have almost everything they need, the market will eventually be saturated. Bad for the targeted growth rates of capital. In war, on the other hand, traders earn twice: first from destruction, then from rebuilding. Destroying capital to the extent desired would only bring about a really big war. But the atomic armament with the danger of the total extinction of mankind stands in the way. What to do? Corona could represent the desired solution for the capital faction: the greatest possible economic devastation, but a more manageable destruction of human life. Perhaps — one could conclude — we would have been spared Corona had there been no atomic bomb. Without the spread of nuclear weapons, the current corona campaign would have been neither possible nor necessary. That it is taking place is a civilizational advance. Sounds a little crazy? May be. But if you want to understand the world in crazy times, you should also examine trains of thought that may initially seem crazy. It may turn out that things can ultimately be explained with a solid old vulgar Marxist worldview. Capitalism cannot be had without war We live in a time in which the principle of capitalism rules the world almost down to the last corner, and down to the most private and intimate emotions of the people. I take this as a given and forego evidence — whoever does not share this premise will not enjoy the following either. The principle of capitalism is profit making. In other words: capital, in the form of money and possessions with a monetary value, must continuously be utilized in a way that leads to the increase of this very capital. That is the principle to which everything has to be subordinated, no matter what the cost, including the lives of millions of people. Their misery and death are not meant badly on the part of capital, but simply necessary for the realization of capital, or just collateral damage that is not so important. The valorisation of capital takes place in the organized production of goods and services that are not produced for their utility but for their profitability; for this purpose capital buys labor. Profit, as we have learned from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is based on the fact that labor, like all goods, is paid on average at its production price — that is, according to the amount of labor that is required to produce and produce it entertain — but in turn creates value that is greater. Capital appropriates this difference, the “surplus value”, quite legally: This is the profit of which, to their great regret, the individual capitals have to give up parts to the state, to lenders and so on. Today the situation has changed from the time of Marx and Engels; the increase of money or capital through purely fictitious money and speculative transactions — which already existed before capitalism — plays a considerably greater role today in relation to the “real” production of goods and services. The capital must be utilized and multiply in the process — if nothing is produced over long distances in this process, that obviously does not matter. Now, as we have known since Marx and Engels, capitalism is not conceivable without recurring crises. The production of goods and services — and even more so the fictitious economy of the capital and money markets — are not controlled on the basis of the probable needs of the people, but expanded until it is no longer possible. This situation occurs regularly when the produced goods and services are largely no longer for sale due to a lack of (purchasing power) demand (overproduction crisis) or when capital has increased so much that there are simply no more profitable investment opportunities (overaccumulation crisis). Capital that can no longer be used profitably — that is the GAU, the greatest accident that can be assumed for capitalism. These crises can only be overcome if capital is destroyed on a large scale.
The audience doesn’t usually notice that. On the surface, it is only about conquering foreign territories, raw materials and markets or making them dependent on one’s own capitalist nation. All of these war aims exist — and if successful they would supply the domestic capital of the warring nation with new profitable investment opportunities. But war is always infinitely expensive and it is the opposite of productivity; it destroys capital in large quantities in all participating countries. The belligerent state — the state with Marx understood as the executive committee of national capital — must of course be concerned with burdening the losses and the destruction of capital as much as possible on “the other”, that is to say on the war opponents, including the so-called common people in their own country. But parts of the local capital can (and should) perish in the war. There remain bankruptcies, ruins, land, production facilities, know-how that can be taken over cheaply by the victorious capital factions, at home and abroad. Then there is again room to roll up your sleeves and earn money on “reconstruction” — the surviving capital can multiply again unchecked, until the next bang. With the widespread use of nuclear weapons after the Second World War, the realization that wars can only be fought to a very limited extent has evidently gained acceptance. You can still raid countries on the periphery. A war against a nuclear-armed state would most likely lead to the fact that not all nuclear weapons of the enemy can be switched off even with the most superior weapon technology — and if only two or three bombs of the enemy are used, the “costs” of the war are also simply too high for the attacker. Whoever shoots first, dies second, is the logic of war in the age of nuclear weapons. Apart from that, after a “victorious” nuclear war one can hardly profitably acquire the rubble of capital and the markets of the defeated state: there is no profit to be made with an uninhabitable desert. What to do — without nuclear war? The recurring over-accumulation crises remain, but war as a solution to capital destruction is largely canceled. As I said, peripheral states such as Iraq or Libya or Grenada can still be invaded, but even that is of little use: the destruction of the economies of such countries hardly leaves any gaps in the world market that “Western” capital could profitably fill and the defeated states become failed states in which one does not want to invest capital. What is left there? Capitalism, punished for its downfall, is forced to find ways to destroy capital on a large scale without waging a major war. Sometimes, in dire straits, rescue approaches from unexpected directions, such as the implosion of socialism, which really no longer exists around 1989. There could be no end of loot without a “hot” war, and lots of new profitable investment opportunities opened up. It is bitter that, contrary to the divine order, parts of the booty did not go to “Western” capital, but to Russian oligarchs who now have their own capitalist nation-state with Vladimir Putin’s state apparatus; but at least. Only, that was 30 years ago and the effect has fizzled out. The over-accumulation crisis strikes again relentlessly. When it came to light in 2008 as the “financial crisis”, the states could still half-fill it with tons of invented money; As everyone knew, the crash was successfully delayed, but made worse for the future: the vast amounts of money that naturally ended up in large capital have inflated it even further — and there are no investment opportunities for all this capital. One expression of this is the fact that practically no interest has been paid on money since then; no individual capital would like to expand through borrowed money, because there are no longer any profitable investment opportunities, apart from pure speculation with real largely worthless securities. There must urgently be opportunities to destroy capital on a large scale, otherwise the world will end, because, from the perspective of capitalism and its prophets, the collapse of the capitalist system is of course identical with the end of the world. Little things, like the sudden deflagration of the DAX group Wirecard, destroy at most a few dozen billion euros or dollars — these are peanuts, that is not a solution.
THE CORONAVIRUS AS A SOLUTION
Whenever you think it doesn’t work anymore, a little light comes from somewhere, my grandmother’s tear-off calendar already knew — and was therefore more correct than Marx and Engels, who could not have dreamed that crisis capitalism would still exist 150 years later , and apparently more unchallenged than ever. And really, the little light brought enlightenment, appropriately at Christmas time, in Wuhan in China, although they don’t care about Christmas there. It was christened SARS-CoV-2. This new or at least hitherto unknown virus and the disease it caused in a relatively small proportion of infected people called Covid-19, which can be fatal for a few per thousand of infected people (similar to influenza), was not an invention and was not planned. In any case, assumptions about this do not seem convincing to me. But “Corona” was an unexpected opportunity, and after a certain period of hesitation and uncertainty, capitalism grabbed it by the head. In business as in politics, real success is always based on the fact that the actors do not simply work through their plans as precisely as possible — as business administration propagates — but that they can take on unexpected opportunities at any time. Which of course becomes easier if the opportunity could not be foreseen at the specific point in time, but one had already dealt with possible opportunities of this kind. If the opportunity really does come, it is not easily overlooked, and options for action that have already been considered or even practiced are available. There have been many scenarios, pandemic plans, and staff exercises at national and international level in recent years. The preferred story was essentially always the same: a new virus, preferably from China, mutated or jumped from wildlife to humans, is spreading rapidly around the world, causing severe and potentially fatal respiratory diseases. The story was obvious insofar as there have been influenza epidemics for more than a hundred years that follow this pattern. To be sure, mankind has got used to it; I didn’t even notice at the time that we in Germany had the most violent flu epidemic in a long time with — according to calculations by the Robert Koch Institute — around 25,100 deaths. But these epidemics have existed and will continue to exist in the future, and it makes sense to prepare for them. Totalitarian high-performance medicine In capitalism, however, the preparation for epidemics takes place according to capitalist rules. One of these is totalitarian high-performance medicine that does not deal with people or with health and the possibilities of their (re) production, but, increasingly specialized, with isolated disease units and their treatment and prevention using highly profitable products from the pharmaceutical and device industries in the context of profit-oriented hospital factories. Health policy, from the local hospital to the World Health Organization (WHO), is controlled by capitalist owners, “sponsors” or other influencers; As is well known, after the US exit, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is often associated with the vaccine industry, is now the largest financier of the WHO and thus only the most striking evidence of the multiple interests of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries and those associated with them Medical researchers with the actions of the — formerly quite honorable — WHO. By the term “totalitarian” I mean the peculiarity that, unlike other capital groups, the medical-industrial complex does not have to limit itself to “offering” its goods and services to the public — and using all sorts of tricks to entice the public into “ voluntarily ”to buy). Instead, this medicine has saved the special authority and position of the medicine man from pre-capitalist times, who proclaims absolute truths and gives instructions to be followed.
Sometimes we are also tempted to consume medical services, such as consuming a new car or a new fitted kitchen; In contrast to car or kitchen appliance manufacturers, top medicine has the option, if necessary, of simply telling us what we — in the sense of the respective medical specialty and its prophets — now have to do and have ourselves done. And if any Pope happens to be the right figure in any of the numerous special disciplines of high-performance medicine for social and state processes taking place for completely different reasons, then Saint Christian Drosten believes that he can control the state and its apparatus regulated in the Infection Protection Act like the Holy Inquisition at the time the “secular arm” who did the dirty work of the executions. “Totalitarian” is the basic attitude of this ruthless special medicine, which considers itself justified to regulate everyone and everything in the possession of the highest truth. Whether the Drostens wield real power or are just the propaganda bastards in a play that is directed elsewhere is not yet said. For the representatives of top totalitarian medicine, a real, threatening, conceivable epidemic means fame and honor, research funding and industrial contracts and at least a feeling of considerable power and importance. It is understandable that some “leading virologists” tend to exaggerate in principle. SARS, MERS, EHEC, swine flu — the widespread extermination of mankind by nasty viruses is promised to us every few years, the audience almost began to get bored with the umpteenth remake of the same horror film. For a change, there was also BSE, it’s not always just the virologists who should get something from the matter. Behind the hubris of the virologists is the very factual business interests of the pharmaceutical industry, especially the vaccine manufacturers, who earn their money by scare-mongering stupidly and already know how to keep their panic professors happy. This time everything is different Despite the profitable tendency to exaggerate, previous “pandemics” have been limited. People were scared a lot, a lot of money was made with drugs and vaccines, but that’s it after a few weeks. Whether the drugs and vaccine doses that we all paid dearly were actually used or had to be destroyed is not so important either — the money had been collected, capital had increased, now life can go on, capitalism does not exist after all only from the pharmaceutical industry. And the scenarios, pandemic plans and exercises were not meant so seriously that one would have drawn serious consequences from them. A small district administrator from the Schleswig-Holstein province, whose heart belongs to disaster control, was “a bit shocked” because: “At a higher level, there was a transnational disaster control exercise in 2007, where the pandemic scenario was practically played out. It was about an influenza virus, but the analysis could have looked up many of the problems from the spring, for example with protective clothing for medical staff. I got the impression that these work results have fizzled out ineffectively ”(1).
The evaluation of the above mentioned exercise LUEKEX 2007 also showed that there is a lack of reliable knowledge as to whether and to what extent face masks effectively reduce the risk of infection in everyday situations. Corresponding research was urgently requested (2), but of course did not take place. They had more important things to do than research into preventive health protection in the terrible pandemics that were certainly threatening at any time. In 2020 everything was different. Once again one of the usual pandemics was found, the WHO could have caused some excitement, governments could have stored vast amounts of overpriced useless — and potentially even harmful — vaccination doses, the disease would have been around 8th place on the hit list of causes of death for a few weeks could climb, the audience would have passed the time with the new edition of the horror film — and after six months many would not have known what exactly this disease had been called in the spring or so. The world would have straightened out again until the next “pandemic”, which, given the current workings of the WHO, is guaranteed to be declared in five years at the latest. But this time, wherever, the insight emerged that a pandemic — a terrible disease threatening the whole world — could be a good substitute for the Third World War, which was no longer militarily feasible. “Insight” is perhaps an exaggeration; someone does not necessarily have to have rationally and consciously decided that now should be war. Social, i.e. historical and political-economic laws prevail in capitalism — just as in previous social formations — as a rule behind the backs of those involved. These must necessarily obey the laws, if punished for their downfall, but they do not have to know or understand them. It is enough for them to feel what needs to be done now. And that was felt: Big money had long been waiting for the next bang, which everyone knew (and not only felt) that it was inevitable. The tension grew. The disaster warning from the industry-controlled virology popes and the WHO fell on more fertile ground than usual: the expected disaster had finally arrived. There is something relieving and activating about this: a catastrophe that actually takes place opens up possibilities for action, one no longer has to stare like the rabbit at the snake that is expected at any time. In such a situation, one does not check whether the disaster warning appears to be correct, and a comparison with past, severely exaggerated reports of this kind does not come to mind: We trembled long before the expected bang, now it is finally here and we can do something. The thought that it might just be a fake bang or that only the Drostens of this world could have a bang would only bother us now.
LEARNING FROM CHINA
The fact that the alleged horror came from China was compounded. Western capital and its mass media have long been obsessed with the love-hate relationship with China: China is an up-and-coming competitor that is certainly trusted to overtake the “most powerful industrial nations” of the West; China is realizing a capitalism that seems to be far more successful than the “Western” variety, and at the same time makes it clear that it will not be subordinate to any Western domination; Irritatingly, China makes it clear that the bourgeois-democratic facade is not necessary for the successful development of a capitalist nation; So China would be the perfect mortal enemy — but at the same time China is an indispensable trade and economic partner of the most powerful western industrial capitals, which would hardly survive without the “China business”, whether they are called Apple or Volkswagen. China is our future. China is exciting. This China now considers a virus to be new and dangerous — and initially deals with it very calmly. Criminal carelessness, “our” mass media have to crow, millions will die because China ignores the virus and suppresses the warner. Then, no one knows why, China turned around and imposed drastic restrictions and bans. Criminal human rights violations, “our” mass media have to crow, something so terrible is fortunately completely unthinkable in western democracies. After that, China announced that the problem was as good as resolved, with the exception of some infections from foreign travelers. Then the thought arose: What the Chinese can do, we should be able to do as well. Now we should really hit it, it even seems to have helped. And all the cumbersome and expensive frippery with democracy and human rights actually disturbs business here rather than being useful to us. So, let’s get into battle: learning from China means learning to win. — If SARS-CoV-2 had not appeared in China, but in Argentina or Kenya, for example, then the “Western world” would have been interested in about as much as Ebola or less, since it is also considerably less dangerous than Ebola Pathogen. One can now speculate about whether someone “directed” and whether there are identifiable persons and (of course secret) committees who at a certain point in time decided to repurpose “Corona” for a major war. That doesn’t seem really important to me. It is certainly of historical interest to examine the people involved and concrete decision-making structures. But sometimes you get to so-called conspiracy theories too quickly. As screeching as the corona warriors and their mass media denounce every critic as “conspiracy theorists”, conspiracy theories sometimes seem almost sympathetic. But they have the problem that they personalize social or political-economic processes. They create the illusion: If this and that bad person had not pulled on this and that strings, we would have been spared all the misery. But it wouldn’t be. The constraints of the capitalist economy prevail largely independently of individual actors who can be identified by name. If they hadn’t acted, then others would have done it, a little earlier or a little later, in the same or a similar way. Petty-bourgeois intellectuals — like the author of these lines — tend to overestimate the power of individual heads — preferably their own. The fact that the actors are only responsible as character masks for the implementation of the silent compulsion of the circumstances and are largely interchangeable, of course, also offends one’s own conviction of one’s own uniqueness.
THE WAR IS PICKING UP SPEED
The governments of the leading western industrial nations did not all go into the corona war at the same time and with the same enthusiasm. Statesmen like Emmanuel Macron spoke of “war” at an early stage, while the administrations led by Boris Johnson and Donald Trump initially did not expect too much of the matter. But once a world war like this takes off, one cannot escape. The countries of the periphery followed anyway, with very few exotic exceptions — whether because of their religious orientation towards the example of the capitalist states of the first guard, or because of the usual discreet influence of Western advisors, investors, the World Bank and the IMF, WHO et cetera, that makes little difference in the result. A great war is never waged for one purpose alone. And the meaning of war in the capitalist economy, the destruction of capital — if possible exclusively at the expense of the “opponents” and one’s own lower classes — is not really suitable as an official war goal that could sweep away the bulk of the population. The population is not the problem, however; the Corona story is completely sufficient to create the necessary war mood, and the propaganda machine knows its craft. The individual warring powers each use the opportunity to advance their interests through the war. After the Trump administration was no longer able to prevent the USA from entering the war, it is now pursuing the goal of damaging China in order to avert the downfall of the USA — de facto, of course, of delaying at best. In the corona war, Germany believes that it is taking important steps towards realizing its geostrategic goals formulated by Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg in the “September program” in 1914: domination of a united Europe as a basis for reaching out to world power. That is why all war damage in one’s own country is poured in with vast amounts of invented money — except of course the damage to those who are not systemically relevant for the functioning of capitalism. According to the calculation, you will get away with it better than France, which after the departure of Great Britain is the only remaining competitor “on an equal footing” for supremacy in the European Union (EU). The other large economies within the EU, Italy and Spain are unlikely to recover after the end of the war and will fall back to the rank of marginalized countries that are dependent on Germany or France — such as Greece or Portugal. To make this process irreversible, it makes sense to extend the war with a “second wave”. The “big leap forward” made possible by the corona war to an economic and social order based entirely on electronic communication, in which every activity for business and the state can be completely saved, monitored, evaluated and blocked at any time, could definitely be expanded further ; who knows when such a good opportunity will come up again. In peacetime, all the political talk about “digitization” unfortunately does not lead to real visible progress.
THE BATTLE OF TWO LINES
On the other hand, there are also intra-capitalist contradictions in one’s own country: the cost of war increases with every week, and the requirement of capital destruction has largely already been fulfilled or, to put it positively: it is now time to distribute the booty and start a new orgy of capital utilization. That is why there are increasing voices that the state should no longer support all corona-damaged companies, but only those that are “viable”, that is, who will probably be among the war profiteers; and the bankruptcy applications suspended by the special corona law should no longer be delayed. The bankruptcy wave is intentional, in capitalist Newspeak it is called “structural adjustment”. And there are increasing voices in the large, system-bearing media that give facts and figures to consider on the subject of “Corona”, which you were not allowed to take note of a few weeks ago if you were not denounced as a Covidiot and right-wing aluminum hat conspiracy theorist wanted to. The situation is contradictory: not only for the domination of Europe and the world, but also for the short-term profit of the pharmaceutical industry, the IT and Internet economy — and, as a side effect, also the bicycle dealers and pizza services — an intensification of the war is desirable during the The auto industry, the petroleum industry and everything related to civil aviation are slowly running out of air. Obviously the decision as to whether and how the war should be continued is still contested (3); this naturally leads to dissonances and contradictions in the mass media, which no longer know exactly in which direction to direct their propaganda cannons. How could they? When in the spring of a few weeks in Germany the corona hysteria became the corona state, the infection protection law was converted into a general emergency law and basic civil rights were sacrificed to the state of emergency to an unbelievable and obviously unfounded extent, one was horrified and incredulous before this development: Why you do that? How can they? What’s next? Some felt reminded of 1933, when the total state was established in no time with the consent of the large majority of the population. It seems to me that the events of 2020 can be compared more with 1914 than suddenly — and in the perception of many contemporaries apparently: now finally — the world war “broke out”, which had been in the air for a long time (4). The interpretation of current events as a new form of (world) war in the atomic age makes a number of developments that initially appear absurd and unexpected become more understandable. “War” is a phenomenon that has been rooted in our culture for thousands of years. The idea of “war” is not only passed on in the social consciousness, but at least as strongly in the collective subconscious. This kind of thing does not go away just because there has not been a war in Germany or on its borders for 75 years — a situation that has been steadfastly worked on since 1990, but that’s another story. “War” means an alternative reality: other laws, social rules and morals apply, the entire system of coordinates into which human activity fits is different in “war”. Self-evident and fundamental rules of social coexistence are no longer in force, “You shouldn’t kill” becomes “Kill!”. This reinterpretation of all moral or ethical ideas is not a problem — everything is different now, it’s war. When the war is over, the rules of civil social coexistence apply again; these are practically not affected at all, but of course they cannot apply during the “war” state of emergency. In a war, all members of the warring nation must stick together, cooperation, submission and willingness to make sacrifices are absolutely necessary — with regard to willingness to make sacrifices, there is of course an exception for members of the respective ruling class who prefer to become war profiteers. Doubts about the war are not allowed, anyone who expresses even the slightest concern is a traitor to the country and should be ostracized. Everything must submit to war. Martial law applies.
THE HOUR OF THE EXECUTIVE
War is the hour of the executive. Parliament has to approve the war and to approve legal and financial conditions, after which it has done its duty and will no longer play a role until the end of the war. With the Infection Protection Act, a suitable enabling law was already in place for the corona war. With the addition of the “epidemic situation of national scope” (5), this was supplemented by the dictatorial powers that appeared to be necessary for the Federal Minister of Health, and supplementary budgets had to be approved. After that, the executive decides alone, from the generals in federal and state governments down to the smallest non-commissioned officer in the village public order office. War is a sublime experience for the military and, in the corona war, for the warring administrations. Anyone who had a time-consuming and stressful job in peacetime, with no room for a significant private life, is constantly watched and fought by the opposition and their own “party friends” who are just waiting for a mistake to bring down members of the government and to conquer their posts, and mostly without any noteworthy effects or successes (there are numerous former ministers at federal and state level who have left virtually no traces after several years in office) — in the (corona) war they suddenly have far-reaching options for action and can unrestrainedly into people’s lives rule into the most intimate details. “Intimate” is to be understood literally here. In Schleswig-Holstein, for example, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health are allowed to stipulate that both partners — more than two are forbidden anyway — must wear a mouth and nose cover during sexual intercourse and leave their address for the health department (6). There are supposed to be people who claim that the enjoyment of orgasm can be increased if it is accompanied by an almost fatal strangulation — whether the gentlemen had this in mind and wanted to encourage the shortness of breath during the sexual act or whether the envy of the health minister played a role, whose companion in life lives in New York and is therefore only allowed to communicate with him via the Internet during the corona war and who now wants to spoil sex for other people due to the lack of his own opportunity is not known. — So far, these rules only apply to paid sexual services; The gentlemen will also notice that the “risk of infection” with every sexual contact with people who do not belong to the same household is just as high as in a brothel. Anyone who can suddenly move so much and exercise so much power over other people’s lives can finally feel themselves and can finally believe that they are important. This intoxicating feeling of power arises not only when every provincial general can enact his own laws in his area of operation, and often quite different from the commander of the neighboring province; You are powerful and also relieved of the responsibility for the consequences of your own actions if you have to implement the surprising instructions of the highest army command unprepared, as the Kiel Prime Minister in the case of the school closings (7). In general, unlimited power is most beautiful when, in the event of going wrong, you can say afterwards that you only had to obey orders and that you are therefore not responsible for anything. The older ones among us remember how annoying the war stories of the old men were in our youth and how euphoric they told of their war time; the war victims, if they had survived, preferred to remain silent. The next generation of young people will learn to hate the transfigured faces with which their grandparents’ generation, today’s decision-makers, will rant about their contribution to saving humanity through the corona war, while the young people will patch up the pieces of the war and the costs over decades has to pay off.
At the beginning of the First World War, there was the famous saying of Kaiser Wilhelm II: “I don’t know any parties anymore, I only know Germans.” Even in the Corona War, there are no more parties. In the provinces it looks like the locally responsible member of the Bundestag of the Greens, together with her colleagues from the CDU and SPD and her colleague from the Left, publishes a press release (8) in which she calls on the population to obey: “We expressly encourage you to find out more about the coronavirus from the Federal Ministry of Health or the Robert Koch Institute. Rumors or information from dubious sources should not be taken into account. “ The analogy to Kaiser Wilhelm’s war also makes it easier to understand a phenomenon that has plunged many people into perplexity and despair: the practically total absence of left opposition to the corona campaign, the complete swinging of left organizations and publications and almost all of the left or left-liberal intelligentsia on the line a war that should obviously have been rejected. In 1914, “the Left” was practically identical to Social Democracy, which for its part was a very large movement that was broad in terms of content and organization. The basic social democratic knowledge of the prewar period included internationalism, anti-militarism and the awareness that the hostile antagonism was between the working class of all countries on the one hand and the various national bourgeoisies on the other, not between the working class of Germany and the working class of France and so on. With the beginning of the war everything was forgotten, Karl Liebknecht was alone in the SPD parliamentary group with his rejection of war credits. The left was, then as now, fixated on the state in its political ideas and demands, and its functionaries secretly or openly strive for little posts in the state apparatus. Socialism, the lofty goal, turned out to be the mere desire for social democracy in the “revolution” of 1918 to replace the monarchist and bourgeois government officials with social democratic comrades without even attempting to make substantial changes in the state and society. The state had shown the left through the socialist laws what it thought of it, but the social democracy steadfastly and increasingly believed in this very state, despite all verbal radical omissions. It is probably the same today: If the state declares a state of war, declaring itself and its people to be in dire need, then this left cannot stand aside, but must put aside all criticism and go to war with them. Criticism of the machinations of the pharmaceutical industry and the medicine that is dependent on it, criticism of the constant restriction of basic democratic rights and the expansion of state surveillance, etc., all of which are basic components of left-wing identity, must be put on hold at the hour of greatest need for the state. And if the state declares the hour of greatest need, then critical questions about the justification of this declaration of war would only be treason. In the corona war, with the complete failure of the left, we are actually only experiencing one phenomenon that we have known for more than 100 years and whose return was to be expected. It would be interesting to investigate (but exceeds my historical knowledge) whether the failure of the left in the war in 1918 and in the following years did not contribute to driving dissatisfied and disoriented sections of the population into the arms of right-wing groups, such as right-wing radicals and fascist groups today try, not without success, to gain ground in the spontaneous opposition to the corona war and to thrust into the vacuum left by the failure of the left. Intellectuals at war The same applies to left-wing liberal intellectuals. Their ancestors, the academic youth of 1914, were mostly not “left”, but had pursued equally enthusiastic and utopian ideas in the youth movement as the students of the 68s and 1970s. In 1914 they were thrilled that there was finally war. In contrast to today, students and high school students, sometimes class by class, volunteered for the front and died quickly as inexperienced soldiers. Today, the left-liberal intelligentsia is less shaped by students in their youthful exuberance, but by established academic middle class. They limit themselves to propaganda and prefer to leave the disadvantages of the war to the lower classes.
The talk about solidarity, reason and humanity, which is allegedly shown by wearing muzzles and complying with the most absurd corona rules, is just as broadcast-conscious and mendacious as the enthusiasm for war in 1914, but homeschooling for the child in their own children’s room with their own computer is quite comfortable, and on weekends you drive to the weekend house in the country, where there are no masks. The sacrifices have to be made by the others who sit unemployed with three children in their small social flat in the skyscraper and are not allowed to send the little ones to kindergarten or even to the playground. While the war volunteers with higher education in 1914 ultimately contributed to plunging their own people into misery and misery, which they supposedly had to protect from the evil enemy, their descendants today support the terror against the ancients, who as victims of the as “Solidarity” declared campaign of the corona warriors in their homes were taken into solitary confinement, without daily structure and without social contacts, without reasonable medical care, without hope and with no prospect of an early end to the oppression, in the case of lack of insight — for example because of dementia — medication sedated or restrained in bed with judicial authorization. The repugnance and mendacity of the talk of “solidarity” and “protection of our elderly” can easily compete with the flagrant prose of the war transfiguration of 1914 and the following years. These left-wing war volunteers also make up the majority of the mainstream public and private media staff. However, a special people gathers here. They became journalists when they were young, out of pursuit of clarification and spreading the truth — an honorable motive. The mute constraint of circumstances has taught them that with these lofty goals you usually get nothing, especially not a full-time, well-paid editor. With criticism and clarification — even in the late-night program or in the feuilleton — you can only get away with it if you were one of the first to have the right nose for the topic “in the air” and is therefore graciously accepted by the editorial board. Most of them have only learned to follow every emerging topic as the second, third, umpteenth infusion; so your journalistic B-goods just barely remain for sale. They can be dispensed with at any time during the next reorganization or publishing merger. This situation cannot really be endured, because these people are usually not stupid enough to simply completely ignore the contradiction between claim and daily reality. Endurance takes strength and alcohol. Since they do not drink lukewarm Doppelkorn but expensive Italian red wine, they do not consider themselves to be alcoholics. If you suddenly turn these people into war correspondents, they blossom. At last they can get involved and do missionary work unchecked, play a leading role in the salvation of humanity or their own people — emerging doubts about the meaningfulness of the military mission would only have a disruptive effect. Under these circumstances, the step from investigative journalism to embedded journalism is only small. The feeling, which can only be suppressed with difficulty, that something is wrong with this war and that one is actually only being abused, turns into an all the more intense hatred of all who dare to contradict or even dare to ask critically. The hateful character assassination of all critics of the corona campaign is psychologically necessary to kill any sense that the critics may be right on one point or another and that you yourself have finally become a traitor to your own ideals. If they didn’t do so much damage, you might feel sorry for the Corona war correspondents. Collateral damage The corona war comes — and this is new — without targeted mass killing. However, as in every great war, there is a huge number of deaths that are recorded as collateral damage. But that is part of the war and is no reason to forego war. Nobody cares that dozens, if not hundreds of millions of people will also starve to death as a result of the corona campaign this year and the next. The fact that hundreds of thousands will die prematurely because of the extensive collapse of medical care in the periphery is of no further interest. The destruction of these human lives is not directly intended — that the corona war was invented to reduce the world’s population, I believe is a rumor.
But it is true: These people are not systemically relevant to capitalism. The preservation of their lives therefore naturally plays no role in a war that is supposed to be waged to save every single old man and woman. The situation is somewhat different with the economic collapse of the countries on the periphery: here, collateral damage observed with a shrug of shoulders is mixed with deliberate calculation. If you have been able to buy mineral resources, land and national companies for the proverbial apple and ’n egg, in the future these countries will be forced to sell themselves for the rotten apple alone and forego the egg. These are positive prospects for capital that could make a prolongation of the war appear useful. How is it all supposed to end? If the interpretation of the “corona measures” developed here as a qualitatively new form of world war without (nuclear) weapons is correct, then certain prognoses should be derived from it. The first question that arises is when the war will finally end. This can take a long time: the cultural pattern of “war” in the western world includes the historical phenomenon of the Thirty Years’ War. The military defense of Western values in the Hindu Kush is also not far removed from this time frame. The German Chancellor, who is known to be more prudent, announced early on that a “new normal” (with a muzzle obligation for everyone — wearing the mask replaces wearing the party badge of the non-partisan war party) is being sought, and it can be assumed that this formulation was not thoughtless. In other words, the German leadership is not interested in a short-term campaign, but — as one of the war aims — in a fundamental social transformation at home as well, and this takes time. It has already been explained above that the foreign war aims also make a longer war appear reasonable. In the first weeks of the corona campaign, with good will, the country’s political leadership could still be convinced that they actually believed in the Drosten pandemic, and the stated goal was to flatten the curve or avoid overloading the health care system. This goal was clearly achieved quickly. The actual war probably only began afterwards, and it is designed for the long term: the pandemic will last until a vaccine is available, it has now been announced, which means that the war is planned to last several years. For propaganda reasons, of course, the availability of a vaccine had to be predicted for the foreseeable near future, here for spring 2021, which would have meant a war that would have lasted one year; more could not be expected of the audience. Of course, everyone knew that developing and approving a reliable vaccine against a novel infection usually takes more than ten years than three years, is extremely difficult for human coronaviruses, and has not been achieved in the case of the HIV virus for 35 years. In other words, if you no longer want to deny the federal government’s sanity at this stage, then there must have been plans to extend the campaign to several years at this point in time. The government will not abandon this perspective of its own accord. Another question is: How can and should this war end? In our imagination, the cultural pattern “war” has three possible outcomes: victory, defeat or armistice. A victory in this war would, according to the inherent logic of the war propaganda of the past few months, mean eradicating the virus. Obviously, this is impossible (9). Viruses of this kind do not disappear — but sometimes become more harmless over time due to various mutations — and the method of war also ensures that it cannot be won: By defining a positive result of a PCR test as “Covid-19 Infection “, years after the death of the last SARS-CoV-2, there would still be” proof “of constant” new infections “. The virus cannot be declared “eradicated”, the war cannot be won. Unfortunately, the virus cannot sign a “ceasefire” in principle, so this variant is also canceled. All that remains is defeat. In the face of inevitable defeat, belligerent parties can be driven to acts of desperation that far surpass the previous course of the war in senselessness and cruelty.
April and May 1945 provided terrifying examples of this. Not a good prospect. Now our consciousness, rooted in a long cultural tradition, knows not only the three possible — or in the case of the Corona war: actually impossible — war outcomes also irregular cases, such as the proverbial “Hornberger Shooting”: at some point the battle no longer takes place, the war creeps without knowing whether someone won and if so, who. This “impossible” outcome of the war is currently becoming apparent, for example, in the Afghanistan war. Would it also be conceivable for the corona war? That would, however, assume that the belligerents would have other things in mind in the course of time and therefore gradually abandon their campaign without being able to determine an exact time when the war ended. The war would have to lose its importance, almost imperceptibly. It can take a long time. Another, and even less pleasant, variant would bring the war to an end when a new, even worse — so this time perhaps: real and not just erupting in the fantasy of the drostens of this world — catastrophe attracts all attention and capacities and the corona war is dwarfed and gradually forgotten by it. Not a nice view either. Finally, in the good old Marxist tradition, a really positive perspective should also be considered: The peoples are fed up with the war and are using powerful mass actions, general strikes and so on to force its end to the bitter resistance of the ruling class, which with the end of the war is swept away by a revolution. It would be nice, but for the prophecy that the corona war could end like this, I am currently lacking historical optimism. It is easier to imagine the end of humanity these days than the end of capitalism. Another question is easier to answer: What should become of the immensely powerful armaments industry and the Bundeswehr if classic, conventional and nuclear armaments prove to be unnecessary in the Corona World War? Well, you don’t have to worry about the men — women are rarely to be found there. On the one hand, it has just been decided that up to 15,000 members of the armed forces will be deployed inside the corona war, making it clear that the new type of warfare also offers prospects for classic military apparatus. The imposition and enforcement of martial law and the use against one’s own population have never been alien to soldierly thinking. On the other hand, the strategists have been talking about cyber war as the future field of warfare for a number of years, and the booming IT industry, already largely militarily shaped in its origins, is happy to expand its existing close cooperation with the arms industry and the military. Military drones, armed or unarmed, are just one particularly striking example of the integration of heavy industry and IT in the arms business. The armaments industry will find ways to earn money from virtual warfare and to develop systems that optimize the instruments of the somewhat provisional corona war for future opportunities. And finally, in the virtual world war according to the corona pattern, the capital that is still tied up in the classic heavy industrial part of the armaments industry is not left in the rain: For regime change in countries on the periphery with insubordinate government, tanks and frigates will still be needed in 20 years.
THE NEXT WAR IS CANCELLED
The answer to the question, should the Corona war be over, when is the next event of this kind to be expected? WHO-style “pandemics” occur on average every three to five years and in all likelihood will continue to do so. The next corona war will be canceled for now. Because a big war with the destruction of relevant parts of capital — preferably abroad — is regularly necessary under capitalism, but the time intervals are considerably greater. In the next “pandemic”, the “reconstruction” so called by the European Union, ie the new phase of capital accumulation and expansion at the expense of the taxes to be paid by working people and falling social benefits, will not be over for a long time. One can therefore assume with a probability bordering on certainty that the Drosten will explain to us at the next pandemic why it is not so dangerous this time and any comparison with Covid-19 is inadmissible, although the next virus may actually cause significantly more people to die is called SARS-CoV-2. As far as the PCR tests are concerned, Drosten will remember what he already knew six years ago: “This method is so sensitive that it can detect a single genetic molecule of this virus. If, for example, such a pathogen scurries over the nasal mucous membrane of a nurse for a day without becoming ill or noticing anything, then it is suddenly a Mers case. Where previously terminally ill were reported, now suddenly mild cases and people who are actually very healthy are included in the reporting statistics ”(10). And where is the progress of civilization now? According to the thesis put forward for discussion here, the corona war is a new form of world war that can fulfill all the functions of a major war that are necessary for capitalism to survive, without using the weapons previously regarded as “military” and without direct (!) Killing to be consciously planned and implemented by people. This new type of warfare converges with the forms of cyber war and “hybrid warfare” that have been discussed and increasingly practiced in the military apparatuses of the leading countries for years, so it is not really new in all aspects. The progress now consists in the fact that, even without the abolition of capitalism — which, thank God, does not seem to be in the queue — it will in any case be possible to avoid the final big bang of the atomic world war. Nuclear war cannot be ruled out, but at least it is no longer inevitable if capitalism is retained. The same applies to the slaughter of millions of people in the metropolises. Conventional wars and the use of weapons of mass destruction have not disappeared from this planet, but will continue to take place in the struggle of the metropolises against the periphery and in the proxy wars between countries on the periphery. As in so many other cases, this civilizational progress is by no means a cause for pure joy. But at least: under the given circumstances it is progress.
(1) Norddeutsche Rundschau, September 29, 2020, page 10. (2) “Already in the preparation for the exercise it became clear that there was a lack of detailed, scientifically sound knowledge regarding the benefit of barrier measures using mouth and nose protection (MNS) or masks for the general population. The implementation of corresponding epidemiological studies is indispensable for the further development of the corresponding recommendations. “, Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, LÜKEX project group: Evaluation report of the third transnational crisis management exercise” LÜKEX 2007 “by the LÜKEX project group, as of April 15, 2008, page 46. (3) Chancellery Minister Helge Braun accordingly expected the meeting of the Chancellor and the Prime Minister — in months for the first time in person and not as a video conference — on October 14, 2020. a “historical debate”, see for example Norddeutsche Rundschau, October 15, 2020, page 15 ; the expected or hoped-for decision in the battle between the two lines did not materialize at this meeting. (4) Friedrich Engels as early as 1887: “Eight to ten million soldiers will strangle each other and eat all of Europe as bare as never before has a swarm of locusts. The ravages of the Thirty Years’ War compressed into three to four years and spread over the whole continent; Famine, epidemics, general wilderness of armies and masses caused by acute distress; hopeless confusion of our artificial machinery in trade, industry and credit, ending in general bankruptcy; The collapse of the old states and their traditional state wisdom, so that all the crowns roll by the dozen over the pavement and nobody can find them who can pick them up … “, Marx / Engels, Werke MEW 21, page 350 following. (5) Law on the prevention and control of infectious diseases in humans (Infection Protection Act — IfSG) Paragraph 5. (6) State ordinance to combat the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Corona Control Ordinance — CoronaBekämpfVO) of October 1, 2020, Section 9 Paragraph 2, Schleswig-Holstein. (7) Interview with Daniel Günther, including Norddeutsche Rundschau, August 28, 2020, page 3: “March 12 was decisive for me when we went to school and daycare during a long-planned meeting between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor — have notified closings. I couldn’t foresee that. But from then on I knew that we were in crisis mode and that governance would be very different from what I had experienced in the two and a half years before. “ (8) Dr. Ingrid Nestle (Greens), Cornelia Möhring (left), Michael von Abercron (CDU) and Ernst Dieter Rossmann (SPD): Joint appeal of the Bundestag members of the Pinneberg district, March 20, 2020, https://www.ingrid-nestle.de/press/joint-appell-der-bundestag-members-des-Kreis-Pinneberg /, last accessed October 25, 2020. (9) Incidentally, the (almost) complete eradication that is in principle possible with some types of viruses is sometimes a Pyrrhic victory — at the end of August 2020 the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) proudly announced the success of the smallpox vaccination campaign, which is now also being used in Africa Poliovirus is eradicated. Only: The successful eradication relates to the “wild” polio — vaccination must continue, because now there is “the persistent threat of polio from the vaccine,” said WHO Director General for the Africa Region, Matshidiso Moeti. Outbreaks of mutated vaccine viruses, the “circulating vaccine derived polio virus (cVDPV)”, are currently occurring in underimmunized communities in sixteen countries, according to: Dr. med. Mabuse №247, September / October 2020, page 8. (10) Kutter, Susanne (Interview): Virologist Drosten in conversation 2014, “The body is constantly attacked by viruses”, Wirtschaftswoche May 16, 2014, (quoted from https://www.wiwo.de/technologie/forschung/virologe-drosten-im-versraech-2014-der-körper-iststaendig-von-viruses-attacked/9903228-all.html, last accessed on October 25, 2020.