Are we treating this pandemic wrong, or treating the wrong pandemic?

Published August 3, 2021, 12:12 AM

by James Deakin

ONE FOR THE ROAD

James Deakin

Hello inmates! Looks like we are back where it all began – ECQ – otherwise referred to as lockdown season 3, the Delta variant, fortified with face shields and fake news.

This is considered the most dangerous wave, not only because it’s more transmissible, but because unlike the pilot episode back in March of 2020, this time around, many citizens of the world are pushing back against public health policies and refusing to cooperate. And in response, their governments are doubling down – using the the full force of the law, mainstream media, social media, public information offices, the magic money printing machines, as well as technology like GPS trackers to whip the dissenters back into compliance. We’ve seen massive protests break out in Europe, the US, Australia and many other cities across the world. And while those governments may seem to be winning the battle, they’re losing the war. Simply because they are treating the wrong pandemic. Or treating this pandemic wrong.

Now just in case it’s not perfectly clear, I am not downplaying the Delta variant or criticizing any particular country’s public health policy here. This is not about that. What I’m pointing out here is the breakdown of institutional trust, empathy, humanity and tolerance and the urgent need to address and repair that before we can even implement that policy, or any policy for that matter. That is the bigger problem here.

What authorities around the world need to understand is that this is no longer just a health crisis; we’re in a trust crisis. More and more people no longer trust their governments, big pharma, mainstream media, social media, financial institutions, and even the once universally respected organizations like the WHO and the CDC to act in their best interests anymore. We’ve been lied to and betrayed far too many times about far too many things. Even the liberating platforms that once promised to restore that balance of power by democratizing information have not only failed miserably, but worse, they privatized our freedom of speech, then mined us of our humanity so they could tokenize it and sell it to the highest bidder.

If the goal is more compliance and cooperation, governments and institutions need to dial down the arrogance when dictating policy that severely affects the populous and stop acting like they have never been wrong about something before, because they have, and they will continue to be, because they are people too. And people get things wrong all the time. Heck, even something as basic and apolitical as the food pyramid has been radically revised  at least three times in my adult life.

Add to that the breakdown in civil discourse, the rise of political trolls, fake news, and career apologists who keep their emperors verbally clothed at the expense of national intelligence, and you can see how trust, or the lack thereof, is the real global pandemic here. This is not about blame anymore. We are way past that. We all have a role in this. We are now suffering from a disease of abundance. Too much information with too many bad actors. All with hidden agendas. We’re in a global moral recession right now, and we need to get this back under control because what we have hyper inflated here is truth and morality. It simply holds no value anymore for  many people.

And that’s what needs to be fixed before anything else. Because as serious as this new variant is, we can  still create vaccines for it; but how do you restore the value of the printed or spoken word once it hits the exchange rate of the Venezuelan Bolivar.

We need to allow room for people, even smart ones, to be wrong, and untraditional ones, even the ones we don’t agree with or like, to be right. The important thing is to maintain transparency and reasoned dissent. Science only progresses when it proves itself wrong. It never takes itself personally. And we need to learn from that and stop being so damn scared to be wrong or to change our position on something, especially when presented with new information. We need to break the reward loop that social media has created and stop placing more value in “doing things right” over doing the right thing, because it stigmatizes the changing of one’s mind as a sign of weakness.

You would think government would have learned that lesson after declaring a global war on harmless plants, only for them to institutionalize the opioid crisis that has legally claimed the lives of over half a million people in the last 10 years alone. But they haven’t. And now they even seem genuinely offended when some people doubt their motives about the censorship of drugs like, well, you know. I’d say it, but it may lead to a shadowban.

Again, I’m not promoting or dismissing any treatment here. I’m simply pointing out the price of censorship. Authorities and institutions need to stop lying to the public to try to control behavior and instead, spend more time understanding the root cause of that behavior; because whether it’s promoting a vaccine program, or warning about dangerous alternatives, or implementing a social policy of some sort, they will have a much better chance selling the idea to the public, than they will forcing it on them.

Propose it, don’t impose it. Then allow them to disagree without fear of being ostracized.

Stop censoring. Try to win them over with the benefits of your plan and not the requisites of it.

 
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