Friday 4 March 2022

Beware the Backlash: The State Will Not Be Surprised A Second Time.

Right Back At Ya: In the minds of more and more New Zealanders it is now the defence of society itself that must take precedence over free speech. Increasingly, the defenders of free speech will come to be seen as the defenders of those who not only use their freedom of expression to cry “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, but then do all they can to persuade the audience to burn the theatre down.

THE FAR RIGHT ORGANISERS of the now suppressed occupation of Parliament Grounds will in no way consider themselves defeated. On the contrary, they will be celebrating their spectacular migration from the unnoticed ideological fringes to the glare of prime-time politics. In exactly the same way that a largely unknown provincial agitator was catapulted into the national German spotlight by his failed “Beer Hall Putsch” of 1923, the rioters of 2/3/22 have succeeded in seizing Middle New Zealand by the ear.

The Daily Blog’s editor, Martyn Bradbury, estimates that the dramatic events of 2/3/22 have recruited 100,000 followers for the Far-Right string-pullers behind the occupation and its cataclysmic finale. If he’s correct, then that is roughly enough voting power to crest the 5 percent MMP threshold and secure 6 seats in the House of Representatives – assuming, of course, that the Far-Right can arrive at an ideological consensus strong enough to permit the creation of a coherent political party.

There is, however, no evidence to suggest that such a coming together of the volatile elements on display in Parliament Grounds is imminent. Paradoxically, the same social media that brought the doings of the “Freedom Village” to around 30,000 people per day during the occupation all-too-easily emboldens those on the losing side of major debates to strike out on their own. Not only that, but it provides a public stage where the personal animosities of the major players can be played out for the edification of friends and foes alike.

In the absence of an Adolf Hitler-type figure with the requisite intellectual, ideological, rhetorical and political skills to transform the brawling and fissiparous Far-Right into an effective electoral force, the conclusions of the SIS’s Combined Threat Assessment Group (CTAG) are almost certainly correct. The locus for effective action on the Far-Right will shrink down to the level of the “Lone Wolf”. Those dangerously alienated individuals who see themselves as either the “saviours” of their race, or the “avengers” of those whose rights and freedoms have been stripped away by tyrannical blood-drinking paedophiles.

Under discussion here is terrorism – pure and simple. Across the national security community there will be many who, even as they witnessed the fire and smoke of the twenty-third day, were thinking of what a more organised and tactically aggressive leadership might have achieved on the first or second day of the protest, when the defences and defenders of Parliament were at their weakest.

Had 500 or 1,000 brawlers of the sort who hurled paving stones at the Police on 2/3/22 rushed up the steps of Parliament Buildings on 9/2/22 and forced their way through the doors – who could have stopped them? Would New Zealanders, like Americans, have been presented with live images of a crazed anti-vaxxer seated in the Speaker’s Chair? Would a noose-swinging lynch mob have made their way up the Beehive stairwells crying “Ja-cin-daaa!” And, having seen a dozen of their comrades shot down by the Prime Minister’s bodyguards, would they have set fire, not to pup-tents, but the Beehive itself?

There are senior “public servants” across Wellington brooding worriedly today upon what could so easily have happened because, exactly as the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch Mosque Shootings warned, far too little attention has been paid, by those whose duty it is to protect the national security of New Zealand to, the Far-Right and its kindred subversives and terrorists.

Not the least worried of these public servants will be Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. He will be asking all manner of questions about why his own intelligence division failed to anticipate the scale of the crisis the foreign-inspired Far-Right promoters of Convoy 2022 were determined to provoke on the grounds of Parliament. One can only imagine the cold fury with which the Prime Minister directed the same questions at New Zealand’s chief law-enforcement officer.

With the events of 15 March 2019 – and now 2 March 2022 – etched upon her mind, Jacinda Ardern will be more determined than ever to curb the expression of hate speech. On her side of the House (and among a fair proportion of those seated on the opposite side) there will now be even less patience for those who attempt to keep the banner of free speech flying.

Among the public there will likely be a surge of support for the Government’s stance. In the minds of more and more New Zealanders it is now the defence of society itself that must take precedence. Increasingly, the defenders of free speech will come to be seen as the defenders of those who not only use their freedom of expression to cry “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, but then do all they can to persuade the audience to burn the theatre down.

That so many members of the Free Speech movement genuflect to the Right, rather than the Left, will only harden the resolve of those determined to silence the pedlars of arson and murder who – to borrow the Prime Minister’s expression – “desecrated” the holy precincts of New Zealand’s democracy.

Coming down hard on hate speech will only be the beginning. It is highly likely that the Law Commission will be tasked with reviewing the effectiveness of the legal weaponry currently available to a Government under siege. Geoffrey Palmer’s giddy 1980s bonfire of the repressive instruments of state power has taken on a less admirable lustre. Bonfires are no longer in vogue.

Finally, there is the formidable apparatus of New Zealand’s national security community, most particularly of the SIS and the GCSB. It should be presumed from here on out that those who blithely spout prejudice and hatred online will be simultaneously announcing themselves as “persons of interest” to all those who wield the swords of state protection.

To the stone-throwers and tent-burners out there, girding their loins for another crack at the lizard people and their lackeys, the most useful advice is simple and direct:

From now on, assume that you are not alone.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday 4 March 2022.


CXH said...

"emboldens those on the losing side of major debates to strike out on their own"

There is the problem. These were not the losing side of a major debate, there was no debate to lose. It was a group of 'ferals', a group shut out of any debate and left to wither in the background. We have created a section that feels abandoned and I don't blame them.

As for your claim that many of those wanting freedom of speech, could that be because many on the left find conformity more import that freedom?

Trev1 said...

‘The fallacy is to believe that under a dictatorial government you can be free inside.’- George Orwell. Free speech is not a Left or Right thing, it's an essential part of being human and the foundation of democracy.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

If I was a conspiracy theorist I'd say that this is all part of a Russian plan to destabilise the West – but TBH it's just as likely to be bored teenagers. Still, Putin's Russia would be negligent if they didn't do something like that – so I'm guessing that there is some truth in it. :)

Unknown said...

On Chris trotter's analysis, the government's refusal to engage was exactly the right solution to clamp down on free speech and dissent against its policies. It was the fascist revolutionares what did it. I like Bomber and he was one of the few people on the Left who did not think the protesters should be sent to hell. His vision of 100,000 right adherents is fanciful. imo. As with most discussions in mainstream media - only one explanation is offered Apart from the final day riot, the occupation was largely a group of hapless dissidents for most of the the three weeks. ostensibly over mandates. The Curia poll suggests there was quite a lot of sympathy in. the wider population . It is Just a poll,, but I would argue more relevant than journalists hyperventilating. . Some will argue this is why the Occupation ( even pre riot ) was a worrying sign of impending Right wing actions. The government seems unlikely to consider the possibility that there is groping concern about lack of consultation alongside a radical shift from a Majority government/ So far media have not been interested in looking a whether dissatisfaction with with government initiatives is a factor in the dissent, rather than fascists in our midst..

Phil said...

I will be surprised if any political blogs that don't align with the Government will survive the coming purge on disinformation.

Malcolm McQueen said...

We must crush decent!
The finale of this episode was set in place by the politicians refusal to talk with the demonstrators.
As for the complaint of the demonstrators, tell me, do you believe in the necessity of informed consent?
So you think the whole thing was orchestrated by right wing extremists.
Sounds uncommonly like a conspiracy theory.

Malcolm McQueen

AB said...

"assuming, of course, that the Far-Right can arrive at an ideological consensus strong enough to permit the creation of a coherent political party."

They already have one - ACT. ACT is ideologically incoherent but that doesn't really get exposed to public view by a useless, trivia-obsessed media. Its external messaging was coherent enough to get it into the mid teens in recent polls.

theotherneil said...

ACT ideologically incoherent as Labour and National, not to forget the Greens who can’t work out if they are green or far left.

The Veteran said...

Chris ... far too easy (and a tad intellectually dishonest) to label this a creature of the far right. Certainly there were elements of the far right present along with their sisters from the far left plus a fair dosage of Maori nationalists with a whole lot of generally well meaning but naive New Zealanders, fed up with the Government, in the middle.

But fast forward ro the next election and I suspect the battleground will be the economy and the canard of co-governance

greywarbler said...

Malcolm McQ Talking wouldn't be to the fore - the protesters form a group called The Diatribe. If they haven't already adopted that name, it's out there waiting for them with its tongue hanging out, probably pierced and tattooed as well. And do these people wanting to discuss with the government, know of which or what they speak? They profess to speak for themselves and others but WH Auden expresses mu doubts about their professed understandings.
...From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
"I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,"
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the deaf,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Greetings to all sending out your ironic points of light. They will have to do, working their spark of goodwill and cohesion for the moment.

The Barron said...

Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose
Kris Kristofferson

The Barron said...

Freedom never stay long
Freedom moving along

sumsuch said...

The flood of misinformation to those who don't know their arse from their elbow ideas-wise MUST be addressed. It militarises every dissatisfaction no matter validity. Guess for who? I would say it killed American democracy but their rulers' neglect of the people did that. Unlike here -- we fucked over the people to a lesser degree.

My four sibs have no legitimate reason to think their dissatisfaction has anything to do with others, but they 'blame' others. It's a psychological tick with us humans.

To escape it you need to have suffered greatly or have an interest in ideas. Very few folk in my experience.

The Barron said...

Providence brought the religious dissenters from England to a land they claimed as 'New England', religious freedom sought in the new land. Those that were already there did not warrant freedom, Wrong colour, wrong Gods, wrong cultivation. Freedom and dispossession could be complimentary. To the south, indentured English and Irish labourers earned their freedom and welcomed the enslavement of Africans as an acceptable cost to their own emancipation. When the American Revolution gained freedom, although 20% of the North American population was enslaved.

I am not sure where the concept of the right to teach at a state school, or the right to be a care or health worker, these have always had restrictions of character and convictions. The sectors were well consulted, and the Unions looked to health and safety in the workplace to protect the workforce. The freedom to undertake your work safely is a basic freedom for workers. The undoubted increase of exposure to a deadly virus of the unvaccinated has been rightly checked. Those children in schools, elderly in aged homes, sick and infirmed in hospitals, have the freedom not to have undue risk. These are sectors that do not have a collective voice, other than that of the government responsible for them. No one has the freedom to impose themselves over the needs of those the state has a duty of care over.

When it comes to public space - cafes, libraries etc it should not be seen as competing rights. There are those that are following the advice to protect them and others. These include the elderly and the disabled. The freedom to accessing services safely belongs with them. The state has responsibility to remove potential hazards that have a disproportional risk to the well-being of the people.

Those claiming freedom should not enslave others.

sumsuch said...

Provide for the people and do something about the flooding trash on the internet. Both are important but I think the latter is more at this moment.

I can't find leadership in the talkers for social democracy. I suppose I'm no longer a child. But leadership is how the Movement wins power.

May I suggest non-facts and shouting fire in a theatre can be underlined in the inter-media in a comprehensive manner.

The Barron said...

I have rethought the visit by Winston Peters to the Parliament lawn. I had suggested it was his David Lloyd George at the Berghof moment, Aging politician seeking relevance. But the more I thought about Peters shaking hands and smiling the admiration, the more uncomfortable my analysis. He had first been amonst the folks in front of the parliament in 1978. Now, the crowd was there again. A crowd that must be there for him to perform. Yes, he was Baby Jane dancing on the beach. Peters had joined the psycho-biddy subgenre.

David George said...

There are some serious dangers for sure, but I would question your assumptions Chris.
We have, or are supposed to be having, a national debate on the proposed institutionalisation of ethnicity as a political category. It's easy to see that opposition to such a radical departure from democracy can, and is, being cast as beyond the pale, the rantings of extremists that need to be shut down, demonised, purged and persecuted. The chances of genuine debate and, therefore, the chances of a good, long term outcome reduced to zero.

It's no wonder folk are increasingly distrustful of the MSM narrative and searching for alternatives. Our media appear to have nailed their colours to the mast already, witness the Herald running for a week an essay by Willie Jackson (of all people) attempting to convince us that "co governance" is a great idea and "nothing to fear". Well he would say that wouldn't he, but where was the intelligent and informed counter from someone like Elizabeth Rata. There's two sides to every story, when only one side is presented we know there's something not right, and we would almost always be correct in that assumption.

What justification is there for the claim that the anti-mandate movement, and subsequent protest was somehow engineered by "Alt Right" extremists? Sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory itself. We are influenced of course but there's plenty of left and centrist liberals appalled by the civil liberties aspect of the vaccine mandates. Many of these influencers are very popular among Kiwis - Russell Brand for example.

If the government, this one or future ones, "The State", have the idea that they can engineer our future by the use of state force, vilification, intimidation and the suppression of speech to the extent you suggest, they're in for a very rude awakening.
We all are.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

It's interesting that conservative comments here seem to centre on the idea that freedom is/should be/has been unconditional. That's the impression I get anyway. Which is simply not true. Freedom is always restricted, for the good of the wider society. Your right to throw a punch for instance, stops at the end of my nose. And vaccines have always been mandated in certain circumstances. George Washington mandated smallpox vaccines for his troops. I've still got a smallpox scar on my left arm because it was mandated before I could travel to certain places. Armies usually give multiple vaccines when you join up. Vaccines are also mandated in various countries I'm not sure about NZ before you can attend public schools. And to be honest, as someone with a wife who has a heart condition that could apparently be badly exacerbated by catching Covid 19, I have little sympathy with antivaxers.
But suddenly, mandating vaccines is terrible? Mind you it's not as if anyone is tying people to a chair and pumping them full of chemicals. There are just consequences for refusing to get vaccinated.
And I don't know if these same people are against private companies being able to mandate vaccines or masks or whatever, because they are usually pretty incoherent and vague in their complaints. But if they are I find it ironic and somewhat hypocritical, that people that have been – since Roger Douglas – calling for fewer and fewer regulations on private companies now seem to want to regulate what they can do with regard to vaccines. Fascinating, but not necessarily unexpected, because I suspect what happened was that when the initial protesters turned up, who mostly seem to be lower middle-class small business owners, retired semiprofessionals, and alternative lifestyle hippies, conservatives all of a sudden discovered a stick to beat the government with, particularly as the complainants were largely their own people. David George said rather melodramatically "I stand with them." Well actually he didn't, all he did was presumably comment here and maybe write the odd stiff note to the newspapers – but I doubt somehow if he was on the front lines throwing bricks at police.
He and others ignored the violence and aggression of which my son was a victim, of course because it didn't fit their narrative. But of course, apparently that was Antifa or BLM - please excuse me taking a short break here as I can't say that with a straight face.
(Oh God I just discovered he mentioned Russell Brand. Sorry – the man is an eejit, and a typical example of who exactly shouldn't be influencing people but who manages to because he's a celebrity. The man knows even less than Jordan Peterson.)
Lastly, if speech is being suppressed, how come we can't seem to get away from these clowns and their opinions? While I wouldn't necessarily like speech to be suppressed it might be a bit of a relief not to have to listen to nongs like Brand. But if their story didn't get out, (which it did ad nauseam) perhaps they should maybe think about not threatening journalists with violence?

David George said...

Here are a few comments I agree with, part of an essay on liberalism and what threatens it - and us:

"The current anti-liberal elites (and by “elites” I mean those who fancy themselves opinion-makers, such as politicians, celebrities, and intelligentsia regardless of political affiliation) see these items as, at best, temporary setbacks; they are the death throes of an obsolete ideology and nothing more.

The anti-liberal elites believe they have all the power. History and Science are on their side. They and they alone are the arbiters of Right and Wrong. Their positions as politicians, professors, priests, and performers grant them the insight needed to direct society. Liberalism was all well and good in the 18th and 19th centuries. Still, Science has advanced to such a level that liberalism is no longer needed. Liberalism will soon be ground beneath the wheel of time. It is destiny, after all.

The idea of destiny helps people believe there is an order to life. And there is order. But it is not the directed order of a cabal of Big Thinkers nor the machinations of supernatural beings. Instead, it is the emergent order of billions and billions of people. People working together. People responding to challenges. People acting on values and virtues. This emergent order often differs from the elites’ plans, requiring them to rely more and more on punishment to get their way. "

Doug Longmire said...

Interesting that you did not publish my comment from yesterday, in which I criticized current government policy in moderate terms.
Thanks for your free speech vote Chris. Keep close to your Pravda leanings - all people who disagree with you are, by definition, Extreme Right.

Trev1 said...

David George: absolutely. Very well put. You reap what you sow.

David George said...

Well here's an essay for you all:

Some might say the foreign policy hawks have not learned from their catastrophic regime-change wars in the Middle East. But they have. They learned the importance of narrative control and information warfare targeting domestic audiences: consolidating the media, tightening their hold on information, marginalising the few investigative journalists that remain, and nullifying scepticism as examples of appeasement or Putinism. Undoubtedly, the situation seriously endangers civil liberties and freedom of thought in the Anglosphere, undermining the very foundation of Western democracy.

But wedded to a disturbing, yet ascendant, neo-McCarthyism, the homogenisation of the Western media environment could ultimately prove more ominous than simple government censorship à la North Korea or Iran. At its core, the phenomenon aims to condition public opinion into “correct” acceptable speech patterns in the service of the “noble lie” — using the good heart of most ordinary citizens and their repulsion at human suffering as bait.

This noxious development, unless fully defanged and neutralised, could yet tear the very fabric of Western society, unleashing the dystopia of internalised totalitarianism, wherein the public-private boundaries disappear and citizens — even informed ones — can hardly distinguish between planted or socially-reinforced information and their own views. In such a world, the only choice is to virtue signal and self-censor.

Gone unchecked, it could amount to mass indoctrination around key national security questions and spell the end of democracy — in spirit if not procedurally. This is the ultimate fog of war.

greywarbler said...

Willie Jackson is all right in an easy-peasy pro-Maori way. But he will never live down that front-bum remark made either by him or John Tamihere. I don't believe in taking oneself too seriously but women being mocked like that over the air for being alive doesn't come from a level of balanced comment and humour. And unbalanced people in political spaces is something to ensure we give a miss in favour of a better class of hobo of whatever colour or race.

And David George your para below cuts itself off at the knee and not because of tall poppies either:
What justification is there for the claim that the anti-mandate movement, and subsequent protest was somehow engineered by "Alt Right" extremists? Sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory itself. We are influenced of course but there's plenty of left and centrist liberals appalled by the civil liberties aspect of the vaccine mandates. Many of these influencers are very popular among Kiwis - Russell Brand for example.

First you dismiss stirring by the Alt-Right which tends to start in the USA and then you mention Russell Brand warmly; he is from UK, best mates with the States. You seem to be at cross purposes with yourself. I am 'appalled' by your argument which tends to deny what is apparent here. We can't afford to go asleep at the wheel and let the wind-up Midas figures drive our country for long, telling US what to do.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Doug Longmire

From memory, Doug, I disallowed your comment because it contained disinformation and/or ad hominem abuse. Neither of which are permitted on Bowalley Road.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"But wedded to a disturbing, yet ascendant, neo-McCarthyism, the homogenisation of the Western media environment could ultimately prove more ominous than simple government censorship à la North Korea or Iran"

You realise that much of this homogenisation is in the hands of the extreme right Murdoch press right? So long as you do, I can agree somewhat.

" “noble lie” — using the good heart of most ordinary citizens and their repulsion at human suffering as bait."

You mean the noble lie that Trump won the election? As long as you do we can agree -somewhat.

"Gone unchecked, it could amount to mass indoctrination around key national security questions and spell the end of democracy — in spirit if not procedurally. This is the ultimate fog of war."

If you mean like the right-wing restrictions on free speech and voting rights in the US – then yes we can agree somewhat.

David George said...

Here's a possible scenario.
The vaccine mandates issue will fade away, not least because they are due to be removed anyway and our supply chains are failing due to high numbers holed up at home. It's all hands to the wheel time. Expect, at least, an announcement to that effect this coming week. The primary motivation for the protests will be negated, as it should have been from the get-go.

What can we expect over the coming year and towards the general election. The National party have been at pains to not be seen as siding with the protests despite the attractions of some obviously easy hits on the government. They are determined, on this issue at least, to ride the centre line, but what of their potential partners?

I believe the Labour Greens will loose the election thanks to their abysmal performance across a range of important issues. A recent Curia poll showed 72% believe the country more divided than a year ago with the "don't knows" and "less divided" sharing the balance. They are us? We've got housing far worse, no improvement in living standards for the poor and middle and some very serious, looming and unaddressed structural economic issues. More importantly their wholesale embrace of the ethno-state insanity will be a certain vote winner for NZF and ACT on the right.

What happens when Naional/ACT/NZF put the He Puapua in the bin?
Will the Maori extremist ethno nationalists go quietly into the good night or engage in the very thing Chris is (unreasonably IMHO) worried about from the disaffected anti-mandate faction and their elusive handlers.

Ardern and co have set a dangerous precedent with their handling of the protest: don't engage, bait them with insults then forcefully throw them out. Let's see how that turns out when the ethno nationalists delusions are shattered.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Anyone who thinks the MSM is ignoring the "misguided" people in the demonstrations should listen to this morning's media watch. On the contrary, some parts of the MSM seem to have forgotten about things like fact checkers. Antivax propaganda in all its glory.

Doug Longmire said...

There seems to be a misunderstanding here Chris,
I never abuse anybody on social media, and I do not post "disinformation" or untruths.
The point I was making was that your article basically portrayed the protestors as a "Far Right" crowd of violent extremists.
Several journalists including Barry Soper visited the protest and mingled with the people there. Their comments were that the bulk of protestors/occupiers were non-violent middle of the road type Kiwis. I have personally met several protestors, on their way to Wgtn, and they were ordinary decent people who are just fed up with the current government's racist, divisive policies.
Sure - there were a small number of idiots/extremists, but they were a minority.
I also commented on the tendency to label anyone who disapproves of the current government as a "Far Right extremist".
For the record - I do not support the protestor's illegal occupation.

David George said...

Thanks Grey, I only mentioned Russell Brand because he is popular here and from the Left. Naomi Wolf is another that comes to mind. The point being that we get a range of influences, I don't think this fixation that it's all down tp some sort of far right manipulation is credible.
Brand's an interesting character and is willing to engage with a wide range of guests and give an ear to those he doesn't necessarily agree with, a chance to air their views. A bit like Joe Rogan in that respect - who was a Bernie Sanders supporter BTW.

This whole business of attacking diversity of opinion as "disinformation" or the gratuitous insults directed at people we don't agree with is disgusting and dangerous. Don't you think!

Kat said...

Everyone can relax, everything thing is gonna be kapai when Mr Luxon becomes prime minister after the elections next year. From his state of the nation speech this morning Mr Luxon promised that all the taxes that Labour has increased will be reversed.

Isn't it going to be wonderful to have a govt that has such a fresh and exciting 'tax cuts' plan. My neighbour waiting for a new hip thinks a few more years waiting will all be worth it, she just can't wait for the second coming and that promise of a brighter future.

greywarbler said...

Doug at 18.06 It does appear that differing opinions are extremely interesting here even if not right - that is the best you can get. People who will let you chew your cud in their presence, and opt in that the green gooey mess may turn out to be productive and useful. So don't turn thumbs down. It may lead to your ideas getting more fleshed out and better.

greywarbler said...

David George
The problem with listening to lots of views is where to stop and make your stand. Going to a few reliable, deeply informed ones are what I try for, and one of them is to come here. There are so many things happening that thinking out a reasoned way of coping with them is essential so as not to lose perspective. But then each day the new news has to be absorbed and added in and something may need changing. I think we should try for a conclusion of one's own and I worry about picking up a file-to-go full of the opinions of professional talkers and opinion makers. That's my uneasiness about peopl like Russell Brand.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well said grey – there are views and views.
There is:
"They work in a virology department at a major research university, they have a PhD in virology, and have at least 10 years post doc research, and about 100 published papers. Presented at at least 6 international symposia and are on the peer list of referees for most of the major publications in the field." Type of view.

And there is the:
"I read a post on facebook from stayathomemom89."

And I suspect David's are closer to the latter. Well – I say suspect out of a certain politeness.

Tom Hunter said...

Experts and group thinking, or Lockdowns: a nightmare of imagination

Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins with 350 publications to his name, submitted a critique of lockdowns to more than ten journals and finally gave up—“the first time in my career that I could not get a piece placed anywhere,”

Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist at Harvard, had a similar experience with his article, early in the pandemic, arguing that resources should be focused on protecting the elderly…. It was a tragically accurate prophecy from one of the leading experts on infectious disease, but Kulldorff couldn’t find a scientific journal or media outlet to accept the article, so he ended up posting it on his own LinkedIn page.

“There’s always a certain amount of herd thinking in science,” Kulldorff says, “but I’ve never seen it reach this level. Most of the epidemiologists and other scientists I’ve spoken to in private are against lockdowns, but they’re afraid to speak up.”

David George said...

Thank you Grey, of course it's difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff as far as information and opinion is concerned and, unfortunately, some people are easily persuaded by what sounds good or by what confirms there existing beliefs. Some people don't even make the effort to be genuinely objective.

Tom Hunter explains one of the problems very well above and on his attached link. When things become heavily invested in, politically, socially and economically they can take on a life of their own, alternative explanations are dismissed, data is manipulated and the search for the truth, truth itself is buried.

We are seeing the same thing with the climate change panic. Of course the precautionary principle ( "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically") should apply but not at the expense of, or in place of, a hard headed search for the truth.

We've seen some extraordinary fear mongering and the call to "follow the science", even when the catastrophic predictions and projections consistently fail to materialise. Bizarrely two of the go to scientific experts (Wiles and Hendy) were leading the cancellation campaign against the scientists that warned against conflating science with folk law. Do they even understand what science is?
Wiles has been recently caught out and exposed for her defamatory lies by the press council but it doesn't seem to have induced any humility or contrition in her or in the misguided faith put in her opinions by the media.

David George said...

Some further thoughts on "The Science"

Apart from the absurdity of the claim, from the government and, increasingly, from or media that they are our "one source of truth" there's a process of undermining the fundamental principles of science itself.

Perhaps, Grey, try and apply some of these principles, from the great Richard Feynman:

The Feynman Principles (shortened list):
- "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool."

- "Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain."

- "Permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure."

- "Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, 'Is it reasonable?'"

- "There is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science (junk science) … It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty."

- "If you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it."

- "Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad — but it does not carry instructions on how to use it."

- "If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming 'This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!' we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination."

- "We make no apologies for making these excursions into other fields, because the separation of fields, as we have emphasised, is merely a human convenience, and an unnatural thing. Nature is not interested in our separations, and many of the interesting phenomena bridge the gaps between fields."

Perhaps a read up on the disastrous consequences of governments believing they are "the one source of truth" and everything else is misinformation.

The Barron said...

Both examples are meaningless unless we know if the articles were peer reviewed before being submitted for journal publication.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Thing is David, Feynman was talking about scientists – not eejits. People who "do their own research." I shudder whenever I hear this. It usually means stay-at-homemom 89 rather than actual science. You people seem to expect science to come up with "the" answer. That's not how it works, it gets as close to the truth as it can and it is always changing – which seems to upset some people. It also funnily enough works by consensus. You people just look for an outlier, and claim that there is a debate – there usually isn't. Just one of the many conservative tricks you use in debate, when you're not really interested in it. I could give you a list of the others but ... maybe tomorrow.

David George said...

Yes GS, that, more or less, is what Feynman was saying, apart from the consensus part which is most decidedly not how science works.

What bothers me is seeing science corrupted by money and politics and ideology and by social agendas. The hysterical reaction to the worthy scientists warning against conflating science and folk law a recent example.

Perhaps the thing to keep in mind is not that science is the only valid explanation for all of reality or for how we should act, but at the same time to guard it's sanctity; in a sense it's separation. I don't think we can rebuff mad ideas, or even have the moral authority to do so once "The Science" is captured and corrupted by ideology. Once competing ideas are supressed and essentially cancelled from the public sphere you won't see people simply fall into line with the orthodoxy, the approved POV; what we will see is the inevitable rise of quite mad ideas.

"In the material realm science reins supreme but, in the realm of values we need to look elsewhere". Jordan Peterson

sumsuch said...

Remember, divide and rule is for the powerful. And they are twits mostly. A strong govt for the people is our only 'salvation'. Though salvation is never the right word. So I prefer rulers who prefer the people first. And that needs persuasion of the utmost sort, which we are not able/willing to do.

Called insane by Lprent I consider that a compliment. I rather like him and he seems to have allowed more left wing talks on his site. He doesn't allow me of course. TDB is going through a phase of 'editing' my comments to oblivion.

What you get when you know 'fight' to your bones but not 'build'. Why my four sibs went over to the wrong side over covid.

I'm heading off to the fool, Lprent.

All the pain, but such fun in this time. Temporary, though it posits our children back into it.