cehjohnson

Covid Cynicism

by Sinéad Murphy In his article on January 3rd David McGrogan sought to persuade us lockdown sceptics that a more emotionalised response to the lockdown zealots is likely to produce a better effect than calm and reasonable arguments based on facts. I was struck by David’s piece. I believe he is correct. Both sides of the lockdown debate make appeal to scientific facts and statistical analyses. But those who argue in favour of lockdowns have done so and continue to do so with a righteous energy and moral fervour, which those of us who argue against them have tended to steer clear of, on the assumption that such energy and fervour would weaken our arguments rather than make them stronger. This assumption comes naturally to our Enlightenment habits of thinking and acting, which have been formed on the premise that reason and feeling are separate faculties and hardly compatible. The assumption is false and has disabled our position from the outset. A little while ago, I happened into discussion with a new neighbour, on the matter of Covid and lockdown. When I indicated my support for a Great Barrington-like policy of assistance for the vulnerable who wished to have it, allied with normal life for everyone else, my new neighbour demurred, saying: “That’s very able-ist of you.” Just the kind of...

Protected: Vaccine Shot

Danny Nemu Would you eat chocolate manufactured by a company that keeps getting prosecuted for false labelling? People keep telling me I’m anti-vax, which is strange as I have been diligently avoiding the subject for years in my writings and talks on medical anthropology. If that category is going to stick, however, regardless of what I write or who I cite, then maybe it is time to tackle the subject head-on. I like to know what I’m putting into my body so I tend to read the labels in the supermarket, and often return things to the shelf if they contain ingredients like palm oil, for example. That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-chox. I’m not totally strict about palm oil anyway. I might eat a Malteser if it rolled my way – but I do have some questions I’d like answered before I roll up my sleeve for a dose of AstraZeneca. Vaccines are a hotly contested area, with bad tempers and bad arguments in abundance, so this article will be scrupulously scientific and militantly anti-vex. We will read labels, court transcripts and journals, and you can come to your own conclusions. Some people may be inoculated already, with systems primed to respond quickly and aggressively to a probing question or unfamiliar suggestion; this intervention is contraindicated for them. Other...

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