The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Live Not by Lies

"Live not by lies."  Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1974

In a fascinating and undoubtedly controversial post, blogger "el gato malo" dissects the panicked (and often near-insane) reaction that dictated government public health policy over the past three years.  el gata malo argues that the many lies* that addressed Covid-19's "spread, risk, [and] mitigation ... have historical precedent and that the 'excess deaths' associated with the virus were as much due to a broad range of iatrogenic causes, not the virus itself." el gato malo writes (he/she doesn't use caps):

these were all lies told by people who either knew better or should have known better. every actual expert was sidelined and the social contagion of panic took center stage as the drama kids playing at being the science kids took the world on the greatest pseudoscientific joyride in human history. “story” overtook “science” and “epigram” shouted down “epidemiology.” 100 years of evidence based pandemic response programs were defenestrated and replaced with superstition driven diktat that “looked like doing something.”

and it has, predictably, fallen apart and is coming to be seen as the failure of nerve, failure of science, and failure of the asch conformity test that it was.

but that does not mean that it’s over.

For the past three years, millions of us have argued that fear of COVID was grossly overblown, that the reaction to it was a case of the story overtaking the science, and that "100 years of evidence-based pandemic response programs were defenestrated and replaced with superstition driven diktat" that did far more harm than good. 

In 2020, one political party allowed their hatred of a sitting president to drive them to applaud authoritarian mandates that were not only ineffective, but also sowed panic and profound societal/economic damage. Their policies hurt the poor, crippled children's ability to go to school and learn, and decimated many small businesses. That same party demonized those who asked questions about the authoritarian approach, attacked others who suggested alternatives, and in the end, presided over population that did absolutely no better that those that did not adopt fear-based policies.

In a truly fascinating discussion of the response to the 1918 Spanish Flu, el gato malo writes:

one of the enduring causes of fear during the 1918 flu was the way that it seemed to be killing otherwise young and healthy people (especially soldiers) in a matter of days. they would be a bit sick then suddenly die of massive organ failure and “wet hemorrhagic lungs.” the progression was incredibly fast, seemingly irreversible, and was stacking people who really ought to have been low risk in mortuaries like cordwood. this made risk, CFR, and IFR look horrifying and fear near universal.

if it could do this to a solider in his prime in a matter of days, every last one of us should be terrified.

He then goes on to suggest that many of these deaths were iatrogenic by discussing a new 'wonder drug' that was introduced in 1918:

aspirin had just come into widespread availability in 1918 (and bayer was rushing it to market for the pandemic). it was the new wowie-zowie drug and doctors (and especially militaries) all over the world fell in love with it. they prescribed it widely to those with spanish flu. in doses ranging from 8 to 31 grams per day. oopsie.

a typical aspirin today is 325mg and max dosing per day is ~4 grams.

a toxic dose is 200-300mg/kg of weight. that’s about 20g for a 180 pound person.

31g is “you’re going to die really, really fast and there is not a damn thing anyone can do to stop it once you take that dose.”

this is why incredible caution should be exercised around large departures from tested and true medical practice and new pharma modalities and products.

stop me if any of this starts to sound familiar. 
Indeed it does, unless you're too blinded by a combination of ideology, fear and lack of perspective to recognize it. Maybe history doesn't repeat, but it sure does rhyme. Think: ventilators, early in 2020 or later, mRNA vaccines with efficacy that was grossly oversold and side effects that were largely unreported or de-emphasized.

Now, the same party that applauded ineffective and damaging government policy and mandates expresses little interest in anything Covid. Understandably, they want to "move on." The origin of Covid—no interest. The troubling side effects of the mRNA vaccines—nothing to see there. A review of the actual deaths due to Covid vs. iatrogenic or natural deaths of people with Covid—incurious. The lies and the government's attempt to censor renowned experts and journalists who disagreed with the party's hero, Anthony Fauci, MD—unconcerned.

With the help of their trained hamsters in the propaganda media, they now try to tell us that they weren't really authoritarian when they invoked "emergency powers" that are still in existence in some locales; that they didn't really demonize those who refused to mask or get vaccinated; that they had the public's best interests at heart; that didn't really lie about the danger or the statistics and never, ever avoided providing context that would have mitigated fear and panic.

But here's the problem. They're doubling down on the lies, failing to admit that serious mistakes were made. And that means that they'll try to do it again when the next pandemic comes around. We can't let them.


*  In case you don't link to Dr. Scott Atlas' article, here's a list of the lies that were widely disseminated during the early days of the virus (circa 2020 to 2021). They led to widespread panic, bad policy, unimaginable damage to lives and livelihoods, and, unfortunately, many unnecessary deaths. Over the past three years, I've discussed each of these in many of my posts, but a final summary is worthwhile. The lies:

1. SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the flu by several orders of magnitude.
2. Everyone is at significant risk to die from this virus.
3. No one has any immunological protection, because this virus is completely new.
4. Asymptomatic people are major drivers of the spread.
5. Locking down—closing schools and businesses, confining people to their homes, stopping non-COVID medical care, and eliminating travel—will stop or eliminate the virus.
6. Masks will protect everyone and stop the spread.
7. The virus is known to be naturally occurring, and claiming it originated in a lab is a conspiracy theory.
8. Teachers are at especially high risk.
9. COVID vaccines stop the spread of the infection.
10. Immune protection only comes from a vaccine.

The worst part of all of this is that these lies were often knowingly made. Even worse, the people who promulgated the lies will not apologize. They were driven by hubris and a political agenda. The people who embraced and believed these lies now seem incapable of admitting that they just aren't true.  To quote el gato malo: "Nothing is obvious to scared people."