Today we publish the epic conclusion to Rusere Shoniwa’s three-part open letter to those not yet opposed to vaccine passports, in which he draws on Zimbardo, Benjamin Franklin and the UK government itself, to appeal to you to oppose the final dehumanisation of the body.
As discussed in Part II, there has been a mass detachment from reality, and our failure to recognise this is not going to prevent it from catching up with us. It is now apparent that these delusions are serving as psychological enablers of a moral degeneracy that tends to accompany a mass psychosis – primarily the degeneracy of scapegoating.
Having constructed the Enemy Without (the Virus), the totalitarian animus is being turned on the Enemy Within – the dissenters, the ‘refuseniks’, the ‘deniers’, those who basically won’t shut up and take their medicine. If this group grows in strength and size, the Enemy Without shrinks and the totalitarian edifice crumbles.
The public cries of anguish directed at the Unvaccinated by the likes of the left libertarian icon Chomsky, Stephen Nolan at the BBC, Nick Cohen at the Guardian and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, are blood curdling to someone who refuses to shut up and take their medicine. The calls to action against the Unvaccinated are only getting more vociferous if this more recent spittle-flecked, unhinged diatribe published in The Mirror, is anything to go by. Its view is that people expressing their reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated are baby killers more dangerous to society than the Taliban, ISIS and al-Qaeda. Ironically, this level of hatred directed at what The Mirror calls ‘anti-vaxxers’ puts this tabloid into the same camp as the Taliban, ISIS and al-Qaeda – the extremists it is trying to equate with ‘anti-vaxxers’. Blinded by irrational hatred, they just can’t see it.
It’s doubly ironic that, at the start of this episode in global insanity back in March 2020, the liberal lockdown left objected to the use of the scientifically accepted term ‘herd immunity’. Why? Because the use of this term by a Tory government opened it up to the accusation that it was about to treat the populace like animals…by refusing to lock them up like animals. Now the same liberal left is content to force inject the populace, giving us as much choice in the matter as…a herd of domesticated livestock being rounded up for periodic vaccinations. If this doesn’t capture the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the liberal left, both before and after lockdown, then what does?
The stance adopted by the liberal left pre-lockdown was mindless political gesturing and the current pushing of forced vaccination is degenerate hypocrisy. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Chomsky and the Guardian now look like proud fascists baying for the blood of people asking for nothing more than medical choice, something made sacrosanct to check fascism.
There is no question in my mind that, had we as a nation kept our heads back in March 2020 when all about us were losing theirs, the sentiments now expressed by these mob ringleaders would have been roundly condemned for what they are – depraved hate speech.
Which is not to suggest that Covid provides a moral get-out clause for them because rights and values cannot be abrogated to suit changing circumstances. They are non-negotiable and only work if we are fully prepared to afford them even to those we may claim to hate the most. That’s what guarantees their reciprocation when the tables are turned. Rights are not bargaining chips and, when honoured unequivocally and in all weather, they are the only things standing between us and savagery.
It’s almost impossible to be disappointed by the likes of Gove and Johnson because I expect nothing from these wooden-eyed, spiritless, and spineless hollow men who now represent the character of the entire political leadership of the country on both sides of the aisle. But seeing Chomsky, a man who has spent the best part of three quarters of a century preaching from the human rights pulpit, reduced to a decrepit, cruel prison guard calling for the segregation and isolation of the unvaccinated, was a stark reminder of just how thin the veneer of civilisation is.
Societal scapegoating could get very ugly and to those who care but say it couldn’t happen now or couldn’t happen here, think again. The human psyche does not appear to have evolved one iota since the unfolding of the horrors of WWII. The famous Milgram study (1961-63) powerfully demonstrated the overpowering effect of obedience to authority in the face of moral imperatives against hurting others. The key determinant for study participants in their decision to inflict harm on others was not a moral imperative but a simple assessment of whether they would be held personally accountable for the cruelty inflicted on strangers. Sadly, these studies demonstrated dramatically that if accountability for actions can be transferred to another person or institution with authority, individuals will readily commit harmful acts.
Societies have done nothing to mitigate against this sad reality. If anything, the rise of technocratic bureaucracy, stateism and national and supranational ‘just authorities’ have eroded personal accountability in decision making and fostered greater obedience to rules. Unthinking obedience and safetyism are now, more than ever, psychological allies of a voluntary submission to tyranny. The mass psychological conditions for totalitarianism have, in some ways, never been riper. Germany, of all places, is now home to graffiti that reads: ‘Gas the unvaccinated’. So, there are no grounds for complacency.
Zimbardo’s prison guard experiment dramatically demonstrated how conformity to social roles trumps reliance on the individual’s moral code when making decisions. Deindividuation is the term for how the demands of a situation can erode individual identity when making choices about doing the right thing. It results in a reduced capacity to inject our humanity into a specific situation or our jobs generally. Put another way, the decisions being made that may enslave us are being made by doctors, law enforcement officers and civil servants and not family, friends and lovers. Having lost the skill of being able to wear two hats in a situation that demands that human sensitivity should prevail, we are now, more than ever before, a nation of jobsworths. It is no coincidence that the loss of our personal human sensitivity is running parallel with the loss of our freedom.
In 2004, Zimbardo went on to study how situations can foster mass acts of depravity in his role as an expert witness for several of the U.S. soldiers who went on trial for abuses committed at the infamous Abu Ghraib detention centre in Iraq. Credit to Dr Tim Jennings for raising my awareness of the parallels between the process outlined by Zimbardo and what is unfolding now. Jennings is a US board-certified psychiatrist and MD and, as the president of Come and Reason Ministries, he also represents a convergence of science and spirituality.
Zimbardo concluded that:
“The line between good and evil is permeable. Any of us can move across it…I argue that we all have the capacity for love and evil – to be Mother Theresa, to be Hitler or Saddam Hussein. It’s the situation that brings that out.” [bold emphasis added.]
How does a majority come to regard a minority of their fellow citizens as less than human? The short answer is through the removal empathy. By slapping a label on the targeted group, it is transitioned from fellow humans to a collective entity that must be dealt with, a problem to be solved. Once downgraded to the status of a problem – the Unvaccinated – it’s a small step to cast the problem as a threat to the whole of society. The removal of the problem can now be cast as an act of compassion towards those who are not part of ‘the problem’– a bowing to the ‘greater good’. This is the twisted logic by which harming, even killing members of a group, can be perversely labelled as saving lives. This is the process of turning sound minds into sick minds.
No two situations are exactly the same but the parallels between the process observed by Zimbardo and what has been unfolding over the last 18 months are frightening:
- Providing the ideology to justify beliefs for actions
Served up with spadefuls of raw fear, the ideology is simple and powerful: we will die if we don’t take this action; the only way to stay safe is to do this; we must do this to save lives. Thus, the false apocalypse of Covid was always destined to be averted by an equally false miracle – the vaccine.
- Small steps – make people take a small first step toward a harmful act with minor, trivial actions which increase in severity
We will socially distance. We will limit family visits. We will wear masks. We will stop going to church. We will close small businesses. We will get an experimental injection. We will punish people who don’t get experimental injections.
- Make those in charge seem like a “just authority.”
The government understands only too well that its authority would have collapsed in a matter of weeks had senior ministers in cabinet not been fronted by the men in white coats, the ‘Scientists’, the ‘public health experts’. Ironic that this cabal went from being totally fed up of experts in 2016 to being totally reliant on them in 2020. Political expediency seamlessly turns yesterday’s enemy into today’s ally. Although not a single pillar of the public health response is underpinned by valid science – lockdowns, masks, the denial of herd immunity as the primary way in which all respiratory epidemics have ended, mass vaccination targeting groups at low risk of disease, the suppression of proven early treatments – the medical sorcery masquerading as science has the imprimatur of the highest medical authorities and this has largely blinded the public to the bankruptcy of the entire response.
- Transform once compassionate figures or leaders into dictatorial figures
Compassionate doctors who voice valid concerns about the potential dangers of an experimental vaccine are now accused of wanting to kill people. This extreme inversion of turning a trusted figure into a criminal is important because trusted figures have the authority to turn back the tide of insanity, but not if you can make them appear to be the opposite of their ‘former’ selves, aberrations of the ‘real’ doctors in the majority. Accompanying this demonisation of compassionate doctors is the censorship of their opinions and the ruining of their careers through professional debarment for the act of expressing a medical view contrary to the official line. Demonising and silencing trusted and compassionate voices is a bright red flag pointing to the bankruptcy of the official narrative and is essential to maintaining the momentum of the bankrupt narrative.
- Provide people with vague and ever-changing rules
Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. Fully vaccinated don’t need a mask. Fully vaccinated need a mask. Vaccination protects you from re-infection. Vaccination doesn’t protect you from re-infection. Vaccine passports are out. Vaccine passports are in. It’s messy and confusing, and that’s the whole point – to get you to stop caring about the truth and thinking critically. A population reduced to being a pile of discombobulated mush is ready to accept whatever decree comes next, including decrees that dehumanise, abuse and harm a labelled group – ‘the Unvaccinated’.
Many will say that the confusing rule changes and u-turns that have been a hallmark of this fiasco were not designed to get people to accept harm towards unvaccinated people. Rather, the flip-flops were the result of a failure to implement sound evidence-based policies. That may be true, but the effect is the same. Confusion and the scaling back of critical thinking are always part of a perfect storm of situational factors that accompany harmful scapegoating.
- Relabel the situations’ actors and their actions to legitimise their ideology
Much said already. Overturning well established medical knowledge about infection and transmission of respiratory illnesses, the vast majority of the people being asymptomatic (a.k.a. ‘healthy’) – ‘cases’– are now a threat. Now we have a divisive relabelling of society splitting us into the vaccinated and the unvaccinated – the ‘good’ people and the ‘bad’ people. The vaccinated claim that they are the ones who love life and want to protect life. They are being strongly ‘nudged’ into believing and claiming that the unvaccinated are selfish and want to kill people.
- Provide people with social models of compliance
If you get the shot, you can travel. You can go to work. You can socialise with your friends. You won’t need a mask everywhere. You can go out to eat. Compliance makes life easier. You can keep others safe. You can be a good and righteous citizen. The psychological effect of a social model of compliance is to instil the citizen with the glow of goodness. Compliance becomes a virtue, non-compliance a sin. Compliance has its rewards and sins must be punished.
In an economy in which most of us spend our working day either complying with rules, creating new rules, checking that others are complying with rules or assessing the risks of non-compliance with rules, it has never been easier for a government to achieve such a high level of compliance with rules-based insanity. It’s a depressing fact of modern life that, for most, a satisfying day’s work entails successful compliance with rules rather than creative production. With technology adding ease of compliance to the desire for compliance, people have been conditioned to comply with bogus health messaging couched in the language of civic duty as opposed to its proper framing as a private medical choice.
It goes some way to explaining how an educated medical doctor can boast about complying with a policy that is a nail in the coffin of voluntary informed consent, the very thing a medical professional should be fighting tooth and nail to uphold. It should come as no surprise that mind-numbing and soul-destroying technocratic bureaucracy is now an agent of mass human enslavement, making even doctors forget what their duty is.
- Make exiting the situation very difficult.
Providing a model of social compliance is the carrot part of the approach. The stick? If you don’t get your shot, opportunities for social interaction are severely curtailed. You can’t go to university. You lose your job and your livelihood.
There is a perfect storm brewing. Jennings can see it, viewing events through the lens of the Zimbardo checklist for situational carnage. The Unvaccinated sure as hell can see it. We are hurtling down a road to hell and it’s signposted ‘Vaccine Passports’.
Dismantling the case for vaccine passports
To avoid the toxic division of society into the clean and unclean we must resist vaccine passports. They do not serve any public health goals. Like all other pharmaceutical interventions, you take a vaccine to protect yourself, not others. If it works, it protects you. If it doesn’t work, forcing others to take it only multiplies the number of people for whom the vaccine will not work. Let me be blunt – it just isn’t rational to blame the ineffectiveness of a vaccine on those who haven’t taken it.
The authoritarian argument for vaccine passports as a justified coercive measure on the grounds that the vaccine is effective but there is insufficient take-up, falls flat on its face on basic science alone. That’s because an illness from which 99.85% recover fully and whose risk profile is heavily age dependent demands a vaccination campaign targeted at the most vulnerable groups comprising the frail elderly and those with comorbidities. Also factor in that the virus has had nearly 2 years (it was here at least three months before lockdown) to do its worst, so herd immunity from a combination of exposure and prior immunity has obviated the need for mass vaccination.
All of this is based on a hypothetical and unproven assumption that we have a vaccine that actually does what a vaccine is supposed to do. In reality, we don’t – see vaccine delusion, Part II. I am not alone in thinking that vaccine passports are unnecessary and that there is no justification for them in the science and certainly none in logic because a UK parliamentary committee concluded that vaccine passports are “unnecessary and there is no justification for them in the science and none in logic.”
If there is no logical and scientific basis for vaccine passports, public health needs would best be served by sticking with well-established and sensible principles such as quarantining the sick, not the healthy, and, if you really believe you have a vaccine that works, targeting vaccination at the most vulnerable based on voluntary informed consent.
That said, I am adamant that science should not be the final arbiter of whether we adopt vaccine passports. After all, science was used to make eugenics acceptable, indeed respectable, at the turn of the 20th century. Bogus race science drove the Nazi narrative that led to the horrific crimes against humanity committed during WWII. Scientists made the nuclear weapons that were dropped needlessly at the end of WWII on Japanese civilian populations. Black men suffering from syphilis were abused in the name of science in the infamous “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” between 1932 and 1972.
My point is that the scientific hall of shame is vast and, as far back as 2005, the evidence for a crisis in science was apparent to scientists with integrity who made the stunning claim that most published research findings are wrong. Think about that for a second. Science is the new religion and most of its output is garbage.
Stating these facts is not an anti-science stance. It’s simply a recognition that how science is used is the primary determinant of whether it works for or against humanity. Science untamed by morals, ethics or values has morphed into Frankenstein’s monster. And yet science as religion is now replacing human spirituality. Rather than blindly following the science we need to embrace a new paradigm – if there is no moral basis for doing something, the science is irrelevant.
Vaccine passports should cause moral revulsion because they enable the demonisation of the unvaccinated and the entrenchment of medical apartheid. The whole discussion about the dangers of scapegoating – Milgram, Zimbardo, vaccinated zombies attacking us in the streets with pitchforks and machetes, the unvaccinated slowly starving to death for lack of food and jobs, government internment camps and so forth – it all falls away when we take vaccine passports off the table because vaccine passports are the passive form of the yellow badges that were used in 1930s Germany. Instead of marking the demonised, you mark the privileged with an access pass, leaving those without the pass to rot. Slightly more devious but achieves the same end.
But if, like Chomsky, Nolan at the BBC, The Guardian columnist Cohen, Gove and The Mirror, you’re comfortable with all that then this really has all been a waste of time and I’ll just start applying for asylum in Florida, Denmark or Texas, where the pass system of discrimination is not used and where that old fashioned notion of freedom is, for now, still valued.
If, however, you’re not comfortable with all that, then let’s move to a discussion of five possible reasons you’re being seduced by vaccine passports:
- For whatever reason, you have not acknowledged the true nature of the scheme.
- A blithe acceptance of coerced vaccination based on blind faith in vaccine safety.
- Failure to appreciate the immediate and future implications for loss of bodily autonomy.
- Sacrificing individual liberty for the ‘greater good’.
- You’ve allowed the authoritarian in all of us to get the better of you.
The true nature of the scheme
Let’s be honest – making basic access to society conditional upon acceptance of a vaccine is forced vaccination by other means. If that is abhorrent to you, then my work is done. Let’s tell the government to bin their passports and/or just not comply. There may, however, be other factors making it seem reasonable even if the coercion doesn’t sit right with you.
Blind faith in vaccine safety
It’s possible that many people are blithely accepting coerced vaccination because a blind faith in vaccines prevents them from viewing it as a medical treatment that comes with risk. Coerced vaccination leveraged by vaccine passports is founded on the combination of a medical and moral delusion that vaccines are safe for everyone (medical delusion) and that they should be a medical treatment exempt from choice (moral delusion).
In Part II of this letter I summarised the Covid vaccine injuries and deaths reported in the government’s Yellow Card Scheme and also highlighted that The MHRA itself estimates that only 10% of serious reactions and 2–4% of all reactions are reported using the Yellow Card Scheme. So it beggars belief that people might still not recognise that vaccination, like any medical treatment, must be assessed by the individual (in partnership with a medical professional if they so choose) to decide whether this particular vaccine is right for that particular individual. We are not professional soldiers being ordered into a combat zone. We are civilians living in an alleged democracy which requires that where there is risk, however small, there must be choice. And yet it is now heresy to state the simple fact that there has never been a one-size-fits-all medical treatment, and that includes vaccines.
Failure to appreciate the immediate and future implications for loss of bodily autonomy
Your body is the greatest instrument you will ever own. Whether it’s sugar water or polyethylene glycol that’s being injected into your body, if you don’t get a free choice in the matter (which means no threat of punishment for declining), then it’s no longer your body. Handing over the keys to your body to Big Pharma and the government just isn’t a great idea on so many levels. And ‘keys’ is an apt analogy in this situation because the new vaccine therapies use gene technology. Your genes are the keys to your individuality, and they are the keys to life. No-one has definitive answers about long-term consequences because there is no long-term data on these products. If you had asked the average scientist or doctor in 2019 whether it was a good idea to enrol all of humanity in a vaccine program using experimental technology with no long-term safety data, they would have called it insane. Human rights lawyers would have agreed. Yet here we are in 2021, flushing caution and rights down the toilet.
Your body is the only thing over which you and you alone have an absolute and inalienable right of sovereignty. It’s why the abolition of slavery, the condition under which human bodies were owned and controlled by other humans, is celebrated as a leap forward in the spiritual enlightenment of humanity.
If, by accepting vaccine passports, you demonstrate indifference about who controls your body, that indifference is an open invitation to the government to expand its biometric digital pass controls to other areas of your life, including financial and social control. But don’t take my word for it. The minister entrusted with reviewing the use of Covid certificates, Michael Gove, is on record saying, ‘Once powers are yielded to the state at moments of crisis or emergency, it’s very rarely the case that the state hands them back.’
Let’s face it, if the government can force you to take a vaccine that you don’t want or need, what can’t they do? If we lose this fight, we have lost the right to say, in a literal sense, “Don’t touch me.” You must draw the line at your own body because there is no further space left to invade. To state the obvious, your brain is inside your body, so control of your body is total control. It feels incredibly odd to have to state something so obvious and yet support or indifference to vaccine coercion clearly requires the statement of a self-evident truth in the hope that the penny will drop.
The delusion of sacrificing individual liberty for the ‘greater good’
Sacrificing individual liberty and autonomy at the altar of the collective greater good is a deluded trade-off because it is only a matter of time before you fall onto the wrong side of the ‘collective good’ ledger. Yes, there is such a thing as ‘society’ but it is the sum of its free individuals and the free citizen is the indivisible unit of society. Break him or her and you create a crack in the whole of society. It’s a fallacy to think you can sacrifice individual liberty at the altar of greater good and still end up with a healthier society. In a stroke of genius Julius Ruechel turns the fallacy on its head to reveal a fundamental truth – individual liberty is the greater good. I want to take it one small but important step further by adding: it is the greatest good. From this all else flows, including community spirit.
Individual liberty and a healthy society is not a binary either /or choice. They are inseparably intertwined and interdependent. Tyranny over some to benefit others is a victory for tyranny. And if the individuals making up the collective are not free to choose their own path, tyranny has poisoned the well. Once tyranny sets in, society and its members cannot claim to be free in any sense of the word because everyone is now looking over their shoulder wondering when they will be next. And the law of nature governing all life on the planet – diversity – guarantees that you will be next. Diversity of values is a constant but the universal value binding us all together is – don’t trample on me. That right, that value, does not preclude societal cohesion. It guarantees it.
The trampling of liberty for the sake of some greater good is why Benjamin Franklin got so het up about the false trade-off between liberty and safety. His articulation of that false trade-off is now in danger of being drained of meaning through overuse in the Covid crisis so I got to thinking about how I could reinvigorate it with meaning. And it dawned on me that many people across the country are surrendering control over their bodies in return for what was once their right to enjoy the simple pleasure of attending a football match with their fellow human beings. It’s true that many are doing this in the mistaken belief that they will be safer, but many have simply given in to coercion and bullying.
Either way, rather than being enraged at the government for enforcing this hideous trade-off in the first place, people are queuing outside theatres and smiling as they proudly display their new digital chain of slavery and symbols of societal segregation – the vaccine passport. I now understand, really understand, what Franklin meant when he said that those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
You’ve allowed the authoritarian in all of us to get the better of you
Authoritarianism, like all negative traits, isn’t something exhibited by other bad people. The need to be right and its corollary – the desire to force the other to see the error of their ways – is hardwired in all of us. The failure to manage the second bit of the equation, proving the other wrong, unleashes the authoritarian monster hiding in all of us. Unchecked, it unmoors us from reason, argument and empathy as insult and brute force take over.
The authoritarian argument on vaccines implies that a significantly large proportion of the population is too stupid to be convinced of the efficacy of the vaccine. If you truly believe the only way to get a significant portion of the population to get with the programme is through force, you are allowing yourself to become a throw-back to the early 1800s Victorian era in which a majority were ruled by their ‘betters’ – members of a propertied upper class who held their subjects in contempt.
Such paternalistic atavism was abandoned for good reason. It’s intellectually and morally bankrupt because no section of society is ‘better’ than the rest. We know this to be a self-evident truth. At least that’s the pretence we’ve maintained up until now. We either believe that and put our money where our mouths are, or we revert to feudalism without the doublespeak. Even if a huge number of your fellow citizens are just plain wrong, the problem with coercion is that most of us now express pride in living in a society which places treating people with dignity and compassion at or very near the top of our values system. Coercion isn’t (yet) at the top of the list of acceptable British values because coercion is bullying, which only ever leads to resentment and conflict.
When the authoritarian in you wins, you are no longer pursuing the truth. You are pursuing authority. Obeying the rules becomes far more emotionally rewarding than questioning whether the rules are legitimate. Authority and rule worship are not the values that enlightened societies thrive on. If we’re interested in reclaiming whatever vestiges of civilisation existed before March 2020, then the values that would need to be at the forefront of a policy to get people vaccinated are respect for the dignity and freedom of the individual and rational persuasion, in that order. The first is life enhancing and the second promotes intellectual growth and integrity.
So, you can trample on someone and tell them they’re wrong by punishing them. Or you can respect someone’s right to choose and persuade them with a better argument than theirs. These shouldn’t be difficult choices.
We are sick but it’s not the virus
“The greatest threat to civilisation lies not with the forces of nature nor with any physical disease but with our inability to deal the forces of our own psyche.” – Carl Jung
We now need to acknowledge that the nation is sick, but a virus is not the culprit. We are a nation of workplaces that claim to have a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, but the nation is ordering us to get jabbed or to suffer as outcasts from society, or even worse. A large minority of us, caught dazed in the headlights of this stunning hypocrisy, are in shock while the majority stands by in silence pretending that they don’t understand the ultimatum being delivered or that they can’t hear the incitements to violence blaring from the megaphones of the depraved ringleaders – The Mirror, Chomsky, Nolan, Cohen, Gove of course Johnson, to name a few.
In the arguments over science and data sets, we have lost sight of the fact that the most important decisions regarding the true long-term health of our society have very little to do with science and everything to do with values and basic decency. Science is not a value. It is a method for getting closer to the truth, for staying in touch with reality. It must be subordinated to our values of which we are in dire need of being reminded.
Will we be able to recognise that we are on the brink of the mass psychosis of totalitarianism fuelled by delusions? Will we dehumanise, demonise and scapegoat or will we allow free choice, compassion, unity and individual liberty to prevail? The answers to these questions are in your hands. This is a battle for our freedom – mine and yours. I hope you pick the right side.