Sympathy & Critique in the Coronacrisis

Wherever “flat-Earth” funding is coming from, it’s extremely effective in stifling critique of any established and popularised paradigm because anyone questioning an authoritarian view (presented as only as authoritative) can be dismissed as a denialist and flat-Earther. The slur of being an “anti-vaxxer” is less effective because the idea that large pharmaceutical companies may not actually operate out of love of humanity but of the bottom line – and that this may cause them to market pills and other products that are known to be useless or toxic – does not seem utterly outrageous.

(Personally, I feel it’s quite possible to simultaneously believe that Edward Jenner did do humanity a favour but that, from time to time, human greed for wealth and power overcomes caution – and lives are lost as a result.)

While there are all the usual dingbats, some with more clearly articulated ideologies than others, claiming extra-ordinary (or extra-terrestrial) causes and motivations for the viral panic or ‘the’ virus itself, there are also some experts in epidemiology, in politics and in medicine, who are clear-eyed and clearly not rabidly right or leftwing.

But rational discourse has been out of fashion for years. No-one is interested in what you think. What they’re looking for, especially on social media, is that you’re wearing the correct badge of identity – and that means feelings.

Here’s how you get points for that:

  • Championing the cause of the vulnerable (especially just online)
  • Being vulnerable (ditto)
  • Both

Here’s how you don’t get points:

  • Trying to change the mental paradigm that is making people vulnerable.

Dom Hélder Câmara, RC Archbishop in NE Brazil and thorn in the flesh of the regional government and large landowners, famously said:

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

So here’s the point.

If people are talking about demographics in the analysis of mortality data in the present viral panic, they’re not going to get any sympathy online. Because someone in tears over their own or someone else’s suffering (physical or mental) is going to trump them every time.

Stop and think.

Critical thinking is valuable. Without it we are simply docile and naïve consumers of infotainment and propaganda.

If people are questioning cause and effect, it just might be that they’re doing it to try to stop avoidable suffering and death.

We all suffer. We all die. Frightened, deprived of our civil liberties, under constant surveillance, isolated, inhaling toxic air and subject to inappropriate and aggressive medications (on our own advice or that of others) and unnecessary invasive medical intervention, we stand a good chance of doing both.

If you can’t think critically, try to distinguish between those who do. At least ask yourself who benefits from the paradigm in question:

  • Is it the Government?
  • Big Pharma?
  • Or you?


Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his photo, “Red Kitten and Watering Can”, into the Public Domain.


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