This comment was made by a reader, below a recent post on my blogsite.
There’s just as much fear porn bandied about in regard to narratives pushing terms and concepts such as Police State, fascist takeover etc as there is about Covid-19. And it is just as legitimate to express scepticism towards those narratives as any others.
I’m one of your many fans. I support you by recommendation to friends and readers, links to your articles and a monthly s/o. Granted, that last is for a piddling amount but I am an OAP, and like to think every little helps.
I also write posts that give you good quality content, me a wider audience. This necessitates correspondence with the editors, in the course of which I’ve come to regard you all, though we haven’t met, as friends. Unusually intelligent ones at that.
Then along came Covid-19. On which you’ve posted good stuff, referenced in my own posts on the subject. It has, however, focused exclusively on one aspect of the pandemic: the real concern that our rulers are using it to remove hard won liberties. That’s an important aspect and, through articles questioning CV-19’s actual as opposed to claimed severity, I’ve learned much from the opinions of scientists like Bhakdi, Wittkowski and many other questioners of the mainstream narrative featured on Off-Guardian.
I do, however, give equal weight to a Left voice ignored by Off-Guardian. Whether or not the pandemic is overstated – and my view is it’s too early to call either way – it shines a torch as never before in my lifetime on the rottenness of capitalism, with its systemic inability to put people before profits.
It’s true this same Left has done the mirror opposite. Its focus on capitalism’s failures does not in logic require that it play up the severity of Covid-19, just as your libertarian instincts do not in logic require you to play down the same. Yet in practice – since we are as much psychological as logical animals – things don’t work that way. We decide what’s important and what’ s true – in that order – then go hunting for evidence to prove We are right; They are wrong.
As Dr John Lee said in a recent Spectator piece:
A theory from a group of scientists is just that: a theory. Believing the opinion of that group without critical verification is just that: belief.
As it happens the thrust of Dr Lee’s piece favours those who question CV-19’s severity, as well as social distancing and the science informing it. But it flags up a truth no camp – lockdowners, herd immunitists, ‘no-worse-than-flu’ pundits – may claim as their property. In reality scientific opinion, like the imperfect and highly confusing data from across the globe – here accused of overcounting CV-19 deaths, there of the precise opposite, is sharply divided, while tales from the frontline are worryingly rare and, again, give a mixed picture even within the UK.
A Barcelona friend whose thirty something daughter is a frontline carer at the city’s biggest hospital tells me no one there has experienced anything like the pressure all are under. There is of course a nationalist dimension since Madrid is widely believed to have diverted resource – for instance PPE donated by China, a long term friend of Catalunya – away from the city.
Such sharp divisions of relevant expert opinion, statistical data and the experiences of nurses, doctors and other frontline health carers raises epistemological questions but my concerns go beyond epistemology. History may show (or not) who is right and who wrong on the question of Covid-19’s severity, and on whether steps taken in the name of seeing it off will outlive the pandemic to hammer further nails in the coffin of liberty.
On such matters we may pick the wrong side. Which side that is we can’t yet know, however much we make assertions to the contrary.
Meanwhile, let’s none of us lose sight of the fact that those with whom we disagree may be wrong, but wrong in all good faith. Nor of the truth I flagged early on.
Whether or not the pandemic is overstated it shines a torch as never before on the rottenness of capitalism, with its systemic inability to put people before profits