Joakim Book bemoans the deep and unhinged hostility of so many people to those of us who question Covid-19 lockdowns and the mainstream narrative that supports them. Toby Young makes the case against vaccine passports. A slice: The strongest objection to making access to any service or activity contingent on producing evidence that you don’t have an infectious disease is that it’s an inversion of the Common Law principle that everything should be permitted unless the law specifically prohibits it. It’s more in keeping with the Napoleonic Code, i.e., you are only free to do that which the law explicitly permits. As a freeborn Englishman, I prefer the Common Law tradition to the Continental one and that was one of the reasons I supported Brexit. Incidentally, I think the Common Law
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The strongest objection to making access to any service or activity contingent on producing evidence that you don’t have an infectious disease is that it’s an inversion of the Common Law principle that everything should be permitted unless the law specifically prohibits it. It’s more in keeping with the Napoleonic Code, i.e., you are only free to do that which the law explicitly permits. As a freeborn Englishman, I prefer the Common Law tradition to the Continental one and that was one of the reasons I supported Brexit.
Incidentally, I think the Common Law principle is consistent with allowing sporting clubs/businesses to decide for themselves what hoops to make customers jump through and if the Government’s position is to leave the matter to them to decide I’ll have no objection. Provided, that is, they don’t penalise them for rejecting a certification scheme.
What is this dystopian monstrosity? This is a call for a biosecurity state, in which not just the Government, but private businesses large and small take a detailed interest in our personal health choices. It is a grotesque invasion on our personal liberty, after a year in which we have all sacrificed our most basic freedoms to protect others.
It is also demonstrably unnecessary, now that the vulnerable have been almost universally vaccinated. One has to wonder as to the aim of this policy. It surely can’t be to protect the vulnerable, who have nearly all been vaccinated. For those in the vulnerable categories who have refused the vaccine, they have made a deliberate choice to take that risk.
If the aim is to reduce cases, then this is a largely pointless objective now that cases and hospitalisations/deaths have been decoupled. If the aim is to increase state control over the individual, then this is a sign of creeping state control over the individual, which must be opposed by all freedom-loving people.
The British government is allowing pubs to reopen, with one catch. Drinkers will have to present their phones to pub staff to show they have registered on the National Health Services COVID-19 test-and-trace app. The app alerts people if they have been close to someone who tested positive for the disease. Pubs that don’t comply with the requirement may be fined up to £1,000 ($1,370 U.S.).
Before the pandemic, psychoanalyst Josh Cohen’s patients might come into his consulting room, lie down on the couch and talk about the traffic or the weather, or the rude person on the tube. Now they appear on his computer screen and tell him about brain fog. They talk with urgency of feeling unable to concentrate in meetings, to read, to follow intricately plotted television programmes. “There’s this sense of debilitation, of losing ordinary facility with everyday life; a forgetfulness and a kind of deskilling,” says Cohen, author of the self-help book How to Live. What to Do. Although restrictions are now easing across the UK, with greater freedom to circulate and socialise, he says lockdown for many of us has been “a contraction of life, and an almost parallel contraction of mental capacity”.
This dulled, useless state of mind – epitomised by the act of going into a room and then forgetting why we are there – is so boring, so lifeless. But researchers believe it is far more interesting than it feels: even that this common experience can be explained by cutting-edge neuroscience theories, and that studying it could further scientific understanding of the brain and how it changes. I ask Jon Simons, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, could it really be something “sciencey”? “Yes, it’s definitely something sciencey – and it’s helpful to understand that this feeling isn’t unusual or weird,” he says. “There isn’t something wrong with us. It’s a completely normal reaction to this quite traumatic experience we’ve collectively had over the last 12 months or so.”
Omar S. Khan reviews 2020’s and early 2021’s freight of fallacies. Two slices (with link added):
Lockdown was a tardy Chinese panic spasm to contain, we take it, the Wuhan outbreak. It is only mildly sane as a short, sharp intervention. It is a penal concept unprecedented in public health prescriptions essentially from the Middle Ages until last year. It suffers from only a “few” quintessential issues.
The relevant measure of lethality is the ‘Infection Fatality Rate’ or IFR. When seroprevalence studies worldwide demonstrated that many more people had been infected than we realized, based on the presence of antibodies and other indicators, then we knew IFR was somewhere between 0.3% to 0.12% (much more likely in the neighborhood of the latter). Possibly even less because we are unsure of how long this has been circulating and how far and wide it has rampaged because most people don’t even know they have been infected (global recovery rate ranges from 99% below 70 years of age, 95% above 70 with preexisting conditions) and the symptoms are, anyway, indistinguishable from other respiratory illnesses.
Sweden, of course, was the only major Western country that didn’t lock down in 2020. And the argument for lockdowns made a clear prediction concerning what would happen there: since the country hadn’ttaken drastic measures, it would see substantially more deaths (relative to its population) than the countries that had locked down. Using a model “based on work by” Neil Ferguson’s team at Imperial College, researchers at Uppsala University predicted there would be 96,000 deaths by July 1st.
Fortunately, that isn’t what happened. The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by July 1st was only 5,370. And up to week 51, the country saw age-adjusted excess mortality of just 1.7% – below the UK and below the European average.
Now of course, Sweden isn’t identical to the UK. It’s more trusting, less densely populated, and has fewer multi-generational households. However, it isn’t dramatically different from the UK in these respects. So even if one might have expected fewer deaths in Sweden than in the UK, given the same policies, the fact that Sweden didn’t lock down should have massively increased its death toll. But it didn’t.
One reply to the argument I’ve just made is that Sweden did much worse than its neighbours. This reply has been extensively addressed by other commentators, and in any case the point remains that Sweden did not do catastrophically. Both its first and second epidemics retreated long before the herd immunity threshold was reached, and far less than 1% of the population has died.