JACINDA ARDERN has clearly decided to do all she can to persuade New Zealanders to get vaccinated. Her Government is going to extraordinary lengths to reach out to the “vaccine hesitant”; to engage with them in positive conversations about the benefits of getting the jab.
Celebrities and sports heroes are being asked to provide “social proof” of the vaccine’s efficacy. Trusted figures like church pastors and community organisers are reassuring doubters that vaccination against Covid-19 will not only protect them, but also their friends and whanau. The Prime Minister, herself, is constantly reiterating the message that the fastest route to freedom is through New Zealanders’ upper arms.
No one can accuse the state of not walking its talk. Testers and vaccinators are going door-to-door in some suburbs. Special busses are cruising the streets. Taxi cabs are being paid by the tax-payer to take carless families to the vaccination centres. That the New Zealand state is pulling out all the stops in the persuasion department is incontrovertible.
For the overwhelming majority of Kiwis this massive effort simply isn’t necessary. Most of them trust their government to do everything within its power to keep them safe. That it may not do these things particularly well on occasion is irksome and frustrating, but it is not proof of official mendacity – let alone of a diabolical conspiracy. They are also pre-disposed to accept the advice of scientific experts, and reassured to learn that their political leaders are doing the same. They follow the rules of lockdown and are moved by the feelings of solidarity which their own – and their fellow citizens’ – compliance evokes.
These are the people who have lifted New Zealand’s vaccination rate effortlessly towards the 70 percent mark. Well-educated, well-housed, well-remunerated – they are not the problem. The “problem” – if that is the right word – lies with those who are poorly educated, poorly-housed, and/or just plain poor. The very people for whom all these over-and-above efforts are being made, and among whom they are proving to be highly successful.
Pasifika communities are leading the way in this respect. Vaccine hesitant, and plagued by all kinds of misinformation and conspiracy theories, these Covid-struck communities swiftly mobilised their considerable social and religious resources, driving up the vaccination rates of Pasifika people to the point where, in some parts of the country they are now well ahead of Māori and Pakeha alike.
The Pasifika example has no doubt reassured Jacinda and her government that they are on the right track. Clearly, they are doing all they can to replicate their success in Māori communities. There is no reason to suppose that the state’s outreach strategies here will not prove equally successful. When they are, the national vaccination rate will be nudging 85 percent.
Which leaves only the diehard anti-vaxxers, and those The Daily Blog Editor Martyn Bradbury colourfully calls “Death-Cult Capitalists”.
It is by no means certain that any kind of “outreach” will prove effective against those who, for whatever reason, have convinced themselves that the Covid-19 vaccines are part of a vast global conspiracy to enslave what remains of the world’s free-thinking and freedom-loving people. Against such individuals the techniques of persuasion have proved to be depressingly ineffective. The more sophisticated and evidence-based the arguments in favour of vaccination, the more the anti-vaxxers are convinced that they are dealing with forces of the most diabolical cunning. Attempts to use friends and family members to expose the delusional nature of their thinking have proved equally unsuccessful. Though deeply upset, they are not convinced. Discovering that their loved ones have succumbed to the mind-control of the global puppet-masters, only makes them more determined to hold out and fight on.
Against these folk the only reasonable means of defence is the Vaccination Passport. Denied access to all the usual locations of friendly and productive human interaction may not convince the anti-vaxxers that they are wrong about the vaccine, but, over time, it just might wear them down. There is very little in this world that is harder for human-beings to bear than being shunned by society and excluded from its benefits. What’s more, at no more than 5 percent of the population, their recalcitrance may very soon cease to be a problem. In saving themselves, the “pro-social” may end up saving the “anti-social” as well.
When it comes to the Death-Cult Capitalists, however, New Zealand faces a much more serious threat.
This vicious minority of the population isn’t against vaccination, it’s against the whole idea of society in general, and the state in particular, going to such lengths to protect the weak and the vulnerable. They regard the very idea of locking down a whole country, or even an entire city, as abhorrent.
Imposing costs upon businesses, and constraining free-market forces, is seen as far more damaging in the longer-term than losing a few hundred, or even a few thousand, of society’s weakest links. They chafe at the restrictions imposed upon them – especially those impeding their freedom of movement. That mere politicians are daring to tell them what they can do, and where they can go, is experienced by these people as the worst kind of tyranny – the “North Korean option”.
Rather than celebrate their government, and their fellow citizens, engaging in the practical application of social solidarity, kindness and love; they look at their country and see only a “smug hermit kingdom”.
Such people are a far cry from the hesitant, the misinformed, and the anti-vaxxers. The worst you can say of these folk is that they are either frightened, deluded or wrong – sometimes all three at once. But for those who see human existence as a pitiless struggle to determine the survival of the fittest; for those who see human-beings as means to an end, never as ends in themselves; for those who would let thousands die rather than see the strong restrained in any way; for these people there is only one word: Evil.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 1 October 2021.
I have no idea why people don't get vaxed, but with regard to Pacific islanders, is it possibly they know themselves better than the leftists who drool over them? I.e the pawns in identity politics, while they may make use of useful fools they don't trust them or their world view?
Before people make a decision where ambiguity is involved people may look at who is saying it?
It's just a hypothesis.
On the other hand don't they love Jacinda?
It is a well documented story of enterprise capitalism. Two Maori brothers sell the Harley Davidsons and set up a tourist village so those seeking an authentic Maori experience can be spiritually closer to the indigenous. The authenticity can never be. Whero at night, gas cooked hangi, the lack of the elderly, the young or the unwell. Maoritanga without whanaungatanga leaves the tourist with a spiritual plastic tiki.
Another brother studies this, people pay for a spiritual experience, why not do it direct? Didn't the apostle Paul have a revelation where Jesus told him congregations they must pay the preacher? Didn't medieval churches have tithing? Perhaps a Pauline medieval moral theology can deliver the theological dollar? Sure could.
To study Tamaki I have always thought you need to look at the church as a business model. It is for that reason that I think his current anti-vax / anti-lockdown foolishness seems to deviate from that plan. Sure it gives an attention addict more media profile, and gives some sense of vengeance against a government that denied him charter schools and rehab funding, but those can only have currency while the same government controls the virus.
Republicans in the States have suddenly woken to the fact that their voting base are those who are dying. Alabama has a demographic fall. A business model based on tithing has an obvious fault if a pandemic takes casualties. The Bishop will need a greater uptake in adherents that the death rate.
C.S. Lewis analyzed the Devine as a liar, a lunatic or Lord. While many have thought the second option, and his followers the third, I have always thought Tamaki a theological capitalist personifying the first. I have never before thought he has lost track of his business model. It may hold until the virus is endemic but (unless his followers tithe their wills) he looses money when his congregation falls.
He can only move diagonally, it may be steeply down the board.
But the so-called "death-cult" capitalists" are not refusing vaccination, and is it not almost certain, that there are more anti-capitalists than well-off capitalists among the anti-vax demonstrators ?
Furthermore - economically - how could all the mass vaccinations be possible without application and cooperation between state and private capitalism, and will we not need a substantial capitalistic effort to recover from, or keep up - with the cost of delta virus more democratically than it might be done in a "hermit kingdom" under state monopoly capitalism ?
Years ago I told an anti-government right-wing nut 'If you don't like the government "stealing" your money then perhaps you should move to Somalia. No pesky government to "steal" your money in Somalia, but you might want to keep your eyes peeled for warlords, bandits, slavers, and pirates'.
Went on to tell him to stop driving on the road, using electricity, natural gas, airports. You get the picture.
The truth is developed nations are developed because strong states spent trillions over decades to create the infrastructure and governance that we take for granted.
The diehard anti-government fruitcakes should move to the Third World and experience first hand the wonders of living without government oppression.
Unfortunately Chris its not the effort being made [now] by the Govt to get people vaccinated that is turning people against the Govt.
It is the appalling incompetence that led us to being 146th in the world for vaccination numbers, the unbelievable reluctance to introduce saliva testing when the rest of the world had embraced it [have you had a nasal test I have 4 times and it is really invasive] the refusal to test people coming into the country before they leave which now it is admitted it is a positive idea, and numerous other examples of incompetence and sheer ignorance.
Add it all up and the effrontery of telling us that its only true if you hear it from the "pulpit of truth" and its no wonder that so many of the "team of five million" are now rebelling.
The one incontrovertible fact is that if we had been first in the world for vaccinations [as Hipkins promised a year ago] there would be no need for these current lockdowns.
And if you are a South Islander [I am not] I can understand their frustrations at being in lockdowns when there have been no cases there for a year.
Suppositions better left unsaid John Hurley. 'The leftists... drool over them...' Negative spittle from you. not drool. Just keep schtum and breathe through your nose I think.
Just a comment on the religion of get a VAX so we can get out of this.
Ireland was commented on TV1 last week.
Plug in to your calculatior.(ourworldindata.org)
Ireland and Singapore (highly vaccinated countries) 90% ish
Sweden middle of the road 65% ish
Taiwan low vax rate 14% ish
Who has growing death rates over the last 4? weeks
Who has the lowest death rate over the same timeframe
Hint: %vax doesnt match death rates.
So why does this administration rant on about 90% vax rate before the heavy foot on restrictions and lockdowns is lifted.
Chris...my question for you is...if you have had the vaccine why are you so afraid of and angry at the unvaccinated.....I thought being vaccinated gave you protection.....so what is your problem?
The evil are in charge in America.
It's so brilliantly clear to us who understand context. These fucken footnoters/letter-writers who harass you.
It's over, bar our shouting, by which I mean yours.
But it's over. Comfort before a cliff is a death-knell for a species.
Many of the people spreading antivax lies – which I might say Chris you said you would censor here (Although to be fair, as usual it's difficult to figure out what "one bloke" is going on about. I will say this though, Taiwan's death rate from Covid is much higher than the world average.)– are themselves vaccinated. Particularly those that work for Fox News, because although they are coy about it I'm pretty sure that Fox insists on their employees being vaccinated.
And funnily enough, vaccine mandates – supported by many businesses – are causing numerous people to change their minds, because they don't want to lose their jobs. And as 90% of American jobs are at will employment, voted for by many of those who don't like vaccinations, my schadenfreude is working overtime.
One sensible thing which I think John Key actually said was that we should pay people to be vaccinated, particularly young people. We should also require vaccinations before you can turn up at a workplace, or a public school. We should probably also sling "Bishop" Tamaki in jail for a while – I'd suggest fining him but he is already taking money from those who can't afford it to fund his lavish lifestyle, I'd hate to give him an excuse to demand more.
Coerce, bribe, force to change mind, no vax no job, imprison, fine. Wow GS, unfortunately you are aligned with the zeitgeist.
Well Nick, society has a right and an obligation to protect its weaker members from eejits. Unfortunately you value so-called "freedom" over society. It's no worse than getting a driver's license – without which you can't get many jobs. I mean why not just let anyone drive a car, drunk or not, what could possibly go wrong?
Imprison Tamaki? I guess I'm not alone in that, but I'd put him in jail for fraud, given that he takes money from the poor, lies to them, and uses it to fund what can only be described as an extravagant lifestyle, although he hasn't got a private jet yet like his American counterparts. Lacks ambition perhaps? Don't tell me – you don't really care about the people he extracts the money from, because they're mostly poor and brown? Unfortunately Nick, you are aligned with the zeitgeist.
Coerce, bribe, force to change mind, no vax no job, imprison, fine. Yep. Invective to. Persuasion, nope.
Shane McDowall says "The truth is developed nations are developed because strong states spent trillions over decades to create the infrastructure and governance that we take for granted."
The truth is that states didn't have any funds other than from taxation. It was the conducive economic environment which enabled the marked increase in wealth in contrast to countries with coercive business-punitive policies. The infrastructure came from business productivity, the same productivity which causes envy to those in the peanut gallery.
"It was the conducive economic environment which enabled the marked increase in wealth in contrast to countries with coercive business-punitive policies. The infrastructure came from business productivity, the same productivity which causes envy to those in the peanut gallery."
It was the plundering of the rest of the world that allowed the West to develop the sort of capitalism we have today. At least from the 18th century onwards.
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