Mask and vaxx mandates.
Opening a can of worms here. To be clear, I am vaccinated and respect the French law, which is quite restrictive, in respect of mask mandates. However, I have no lesson to give. I am in in no way Messianic and I think everybody is, in a certain way, right. In fact, if you think that you know the answers to the question raised by Covid, it means that you probably haven't really understood the questions.
There is a question about individual vs collective interests. Yes, the famous Tragedy of the Commons which defines more and more acutely our civilization. As an example, for teenage boys the Anglo-Saxon vaccines pose more risk than Covid itself, yet they are the main spreaders so the society would benefit from their vaccination.
There is a question about freedom vs security. How much freedom are we ready to abandon for the benefit of some extra security before we lose them both? Having modestly studied a bit the history of the 20th century in Europe (and I have a piece of paper to prove it), this seems to be a slippery slope.
Part of this is of course the question of the freedom of speech. Are we allowed to say things which shock or disturb? (hint: according the European Court of Human Rights, yes, according to today's media and political narrative, no). Absurd things, such as that the world is flat? Things that may prove to be hurtful, such as that the vaxx will transform us into zombies? And can we trust Facebook, whose ultimate goal is to make Zuckerberg richer, with the role of Master Censor? Does anyone remember having voted for Mike?
There is a question of persuasion vs obligation. How about offering incentives, such as a salary raise for those who get vaxxed instead of firing those who don't? In France, all those who work with the public need to be vaxxed or lose their jobs. Conversely, how about putting in prison those who refuse the vaxx, as Duterte threatened to do? What to choose, where to draw the line?
There is a question about literacy in statistics. We are notoriously bad at calculating risks and probabilities and react emotionally when asked to do so. Kahnemann got a well-deserved Nobel for economy for this (and he is not an economist and knows nothing about economy). I was a bit afraid for D to take the vaxx, but then we calculated that his risk of being killed by it was equal to the risk of driving 800 miles or so. That was when we were planning for our holidays, where we drove for about 6000 miles.
There is the question concerning the right of the government to lie "for a good cause". Remember Fauci saying that wearing masks was counter-productive when masks were scarce and medical workers needed them most? Can our governments lie to us for our own good? How much, how far, how often?
There is a question of the right to weaponize Covid and the vaxx for geopolitical purposes. Maybe the short term interest is to eliminate the virus, but the foreign policy establishment always has a long-term interest and can't allow a good crisis to go to waste. Two examples here. One, contrary to what you will see on MSNBC or Fox, the Chinese government was the fastest in the history of pandemics to identify the virus and share all info with the world. But it's China, you see, so it needs to be bashed, even if this will prevent further cooperation to erradicate the virus. Two, from what we know after hundreds of millions have been vaxxed, by any possible metric the best vaccine seems to be Russian Sputnik. Yet we don't have access to it, which may be fine, the difference in quality is not paramount. But the US Govt is hard at work to convince satellite third-world countries to not import it either even though they don't offer them with Anglo-Saxon ones to cpensate. This will not only kill many thousands, but will also create reservoirs where the virus can thrive and mutate. Is it worth it in long-term during the current hybrid Cold War?
There is a question about the interest of the world population to get rid of the virus vs the interest of Big Pharma to transform the virus into Big Cash via the sacred property rights.
There is the play between different interests of different stakeholders. Youngsters want to have fun and take advantage of the low risk the virus presents to them. Vulnerable people on the contrary, that the virus be stifled by all means necessary. Companies hope that business continues and the cash keeps coming in. Big Pharma wants to get advantage of the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity the virus presents. Medical professionals to not be overworked. Hospitals, to not be brought into a situation where they have to refuse patients. The media, to maximise profits while maintaining good relations with their cash cow, the source of most of their scoops, the security complex. Politicians, to be reelected, which means they align their objectives mostly with business and hospital interests.
And in all this mess so many think that the answer to all questions is a resounding yes or no.
As for me, I am just a silly blonde who has only stupid questions and no answers. But at least I am not a blond Karen.
There's so much to unpack in there and it's skirting the T&Cs of the site. As a Melbournian, it's a small consolation that the weather is not quite warm enough yet to tempt me to head to the beach, when my preferred destination is beyond the current government-imposed travel limit. Like you I've considered getting the jab but, for now have decided the equation of risk versus reward means I'd rather not take it. That is starting to conflict with government mandates regarding work, leisure activities, etc., but I don't like blackmail, particularly when it's imposed by government. The fact that's is accompanied by measures to prevent peaceful protest and the police unveiling armoury and tactics at a level we've never seen before here makes it worse. Fractures are appearing in society and it's getting hard to believe it's not deliberate on the part of our leaders.
For some industries, such as health, the government response to people resigning or going on leave as we enter a mandate of "No Jab, No On-Site Work" is to float the idea of importing foreign workers to make up the shortfall. The lead item on the radio news as I drove into work (possibly for the last time) was how a mother of a baby in ICU visiting her baby brought in Covid and infected two babies in the ward. A concern, perhaps, but indicative of the reporting we are getting, possibly coming from a government press release. No news, for example of, the effects of people who may have missed a checkup due to the restrictions and therefore missed an opportunity to detect a cancer at an early stage.
Final point. I've no fear of the virus and would be happy to be exposed to it for the sake of natural immunity. My bigger fear would be the wider impacts if, for example, my employer's manufacturing area had to be locked down for a period as a result. It happened at a relative's workplace with a shutdown of a few days for one suspected case (a close contact of a worker had a positive test) resulting in lost production running into what I believe is a six-figure sum.
Sounds like a prison there! We in the US are seeing the government mandates creep up every week. We underwent a massive stay at home order in the early days that lasted for six months. We are now back to mask mandates in federal and state owned properties only. I myself have been vaccinated and also have had the virus two times since then (mild flu like symptoms) probably caught from people who have not taken the vaxx. There are no travel restrictions here, good thing because it would likely cause a civil uprising! Being married to a life long retired nurse, I have a good understanding about viral strains and how they work. This will be with us for a while. Masks can work if you are distanced from a carrier, unfortunately there are a tremendous amount of people here who either don't understand or care. One wonders if the person or persons who started this "over there" wondered how successful it would turn out!
One wonders if the person or persons who started this "over there" wondered how successful it would turn out!
'Turn out' in terms of its efficacy of the response to it? It has been different, for sure. My feeling is the development was deliberate while the release was accidental, but once released the CCP did not want to suffer without taking the rest of the world along for the ride. In that they have probably been successful beyond their dreams. Combined with geopolitical movements I suspect this shall demarcate eras unlike what we have seen since the end of WWII.
I believe the overall gist of your post to be spot-on and one of your most pertinent to today*s events. There will be, of course, slight variations due to regional & country specific views but I agree with your assessment. And, the potential for multiple plots and sub-plots within the political agenda raises some very scary future scenarios. In the US, Brandon (I only wish it was tongue-in-cheek) is working for our IRS to be able to view all banking actions above a $600 threshold so the idea of a vaccine check is small potatoes. The overall point here (as much as practical) is we should not trust our government or most any government to do anything other than try to maintain power. Those folks like their big offices, the fleet of fancy planes, armies of staff and legions of supporters / fans. Shucks...it's enough to make any super rock group jealous. Our basic freedoms are being threatened...I hope we win the day.
You can't win this one. Every new crisis will be used to take away some more liberties in a hatchet mechanism. It will be the terrorists, the Russians, the Chinese... Whatever. The media, fully penetrated by the security complex will tell you it's them and everything is fine. Soon, there will be no more cash and the Government will follow your every expenditure, your move through cameras, every Internet page you consult through the integration with Google data, and will be able to give you the info you need to have to vote them back in power and believe this world is imperfect because of Putin. Police and the army will be privatised more and more and the perpetual war will be the new normal. Dog-like flying-walking drones will supervise you everywhere.
But hey. Let's look at the bright side. We'll be safe. Except when a government created new killer virus (US govt alone is conducting "gain of function" experiments on viruses in 200 labs abroad; for the other government's, we don't even have an idea, we know they do it but not how much...) will escape to do its stuff. And of course, except when the first nuke will fly, almost by accident. But by that time, we will need to pay for the air we consume. I'm glad I have no kids.
One of the problems I think we now have in Australia is that too much of the advertising revenue comes from government and commercial media don't want to risk that tap being turned off. 'Keeping you safe', 'Follow the guidelines', 'Feeling unwell? Get tested.', 'Get the jab.' The Victorian state government even created it's own traffic information reporting service, replacing the ones the radio and television networks created or used. Now every traffic report on the radio is accompanied by an exhortation to only be out for permitted reasons, essential travel, etc. Big government is not yet big enough!