One of the things that I’ve decided to push back against, hard, during this pandemic has been child masking. It’s obviously, fundamentally abusive, there’s extremely poor scientific/evidentiary reason for any of it, and the arguments surrounding that evidence are so solipsistic and one-sided, the mind reels. And the long-term consequences, especially for kids under the age of 10, are developmentally terrifying. The only criterion for whether we should mask children, or so we’re told, is if it stops COVID spread. If it does, no matter how weak the evidence, we should do it.
The reality is that even if that was an acceptable goal, the evidence is against it. If you need to dig into that, this paper by Steve Templeton, should convince you otherwise. Steve has done a tremendous public service through his careful sifting of the scholarly evidence on the actual case for various NPIs, and Ian at his Substack blog, has shown that these interventions don’t work at all on the population level. Both have been invaluable in gathering the formal case for what I had already observed a year ago regarding the various NPIs — they don’t really work, even in the lab, and they certainly don’t dent the real numbers.
But that’s not the real case I want to talk about today. What I do want to discuss (and just so you know, there’s a longer piece in my head on what I call ‘societal attractors’) is why the attack architects of the other side are so emergently dedicated to trumpeting failed interventions. I don’t think anyone should give the vast majority any credit for thinking through any of their positions, other than acting out of confirmation bias of their own collapsed egocentric fears. But that drives emergent behavior that creates a societal attractor defined by the level of connection required for that same collapsed egocentricism.
Short form of THAT social network — eh, not much. And certainly not one that nourishes the spirit. As I’ve said before, the most strident of the “NPIs work!” bunch are really just broadcasting their belief in the relational dynamic that no one should possess independent agency themselves, and we all live to be defined by those others around us, but mostly by our ‘betters’. Never a mention of any ability for personal definition or corporal integrity. This bunch never talks about boosting your own immune response that doesn’t involve injection. But I digress.
One thing that I’ve found in life, and especially during this pandemic, is that the dynamics of abusive relationships are extremely poorly understood. When one sees a woman, or man in a battering relationship, the immediate societal reaction is “how can she/he stay?” in such a relationship. But that leaves the core dynamic un-deciphered. The correct question is actually “how can he/she leave?” Abusers set up powerful dynamics, often enforced by societies, that keep people in such relationships. People intrinsically know, on a Survival v-Meme level, that being isolated is the key to death. It’s the lone individual that the lions kill.
Another analogy I like to use to describe abusive relationships is our relationship to water. If we are traveling in a healthy group, others in that group supply our water, and we supply water to them. If that group is relatively supportive, then the water supplied is clean, and pure, and allows us all the appropriate conditions we need to live. No human can live without water for long, and if you’re in a desert, you really need it. Big time. Inside your head, you know if you have no water, you will die.
Abusive relationships leverage this dynamic. But instead of healthy pure water supplied by your traveling companion, if they are abusive, it’s dirty water. Or toxic water. Or drugged water. You would like to leave, and at some level, you know you’re going to have to sooner or later. But the option of setting out cross the desert without any water? Daunting. And almost certain death, lions notwithstanding.
And so you travel with your abuser, getting sicker, and sicker all the time. Or perhaps, more drugged, lost in a haze of believing that you’ll not make it, and the person doling out the abuse is somehow your personal savior. Some people stay in abusive relationships their whole life, even though it’s obvious they’re under some kind of spell. There’s so many fairy tales about this kind of thing (think Sleeping Beauty, or Snow White, for example) — folks have known about this since forever.
It’s not the sum total reason that everyone supports the various NPIs in general, but in particular, wearing masks. I know lots of people embedded in that social circle that might have been receptive to hearing different evidence. But the reality is now that the psychopaths have grabbed the ground wires of those communities, and it will be difficult, if not impossible to reach them. In my case, I’ve pretty much stopped on any personal level, and will only fight publicly, for kids, on this issue.
The challenge we face in this fight, though, is realizing the thing that the abusers will not give in on, because it is the memetic drug in the water that allows continual degradation of the collective conscience. In our current circumstance, what’s digging the kimchee hole deeper is threefold — first is social isolation, second are masks, and lastly, is our dietary imbalance (primarily sugar) that we simply cannot come to terms with, even though we are surrounded by the dis-health of our fellow community members on a daily basis. All these warp the collective consciousness through an intrinsic interaction with our stress hormone, cortisol, that further impairs our ability to consciously think, and move out of fright, to some transcendental realization of what’s actually killing us.
It’s not hard to characterize the abuse relationship if we breathe deeply. If, for example, we don’t comply with a various host of measures, some more reasonable than others, not only will we lose our jobs, but we will be cast out into the wilderness with no water. And it’s not solely a matter of personal character. Even people whom I’ve formerly admired for principled stands, like George Takei, have been subsumed into this vortex. It is absolutely within the abuse dynamic to threaten, or take away someone’s livelihood, if they disagree with you. Somehow we’ve lost this perspective (I thought it really got rolling during the Trump years, especially on the Left) but we’ll never regain a civil society without recognizing it for what it is.
And worse, the mind-boggling thing about the current interventions, is it is making us more stupid in real-time. Less people available to connect and share information makes us all weaker, more vulnerable to manipulation, and more susceptible to what I’ve called validity ungrounding. We lose the ability to understand, let alone create knowledge structures with greater complexity. We fall into the dichotomous thinking vortex. And that just gets us further down the kimchee hole, until we get to the point we can’t even realize that the kimchee hole is where we’re at. I’ve written about this as well — you basically create a system with a floating ground. And that means kissing anything close to objective reality bye-bye.
No one in the current pandemic characterizes the abuser’s dynamic more than NIAID Director, Tony Fauci. It’s exhausting to go back through all his mispronouncements, but the latest that just happened yesterday, was him telling, even with all the various vaccinations, and NPIs, that people should not count on seeing their families for Christmas. Anyone working with abuse victims knows that one of the primary things abusers do is separate people from potential support networks, and sending everyone to the large-scale Zoom call in the name of saving their lives is just about as abusive as you can get.
Fortunately, lots of people will ignore this kind of nonsense. The ones with the healthiest families, who haven’t bought into the abuse bullshit, are far more likely to just ignore it. That doesn’t mean, perhaps, that such healthy families won’t find ways to protect fragile elders. Of course they will. But overall, they won’t fall for the relational fragmentation that our National Evil Elf is promoting.
The problem is that some will. And so, as a result of traveling with either him, or folks who listen to him, they will get weaker. Through a lack of connection, they will become more stressed. Their own personal, sustaining relationships will become more fragile. They will become more inured to evidence that they are in an abusive relationship, in this case, with a member of a distant government that cares not a bit about their long-term well-being. And true to most abusive relationships, the people involved will argue for the abuse. That’s the scary thing.
To get out of the kimchee hole, we have to start realizing the dynamics that got us there in the first place. We have to rediscover social connection, and give a huge red flag to those that want us to eliminate true human relations, which involve faces, hugs and smiles. It’s one thing to give these things up for two weeks, or a month. But we’ve been in this thing now going on two years. We have to realize we’re being abused, and first recover out wits enough to think out meaningful strategies that will lead us out of the wilderness.
The stakes have never been higher. The companion piece I’m writing in my head (give me a couple more bike rides to get it all down, folks) is that sadly, there is a social structure that is stable and resistant to promoting human happiness that can await us. We need look only to a long view of Chinese history for how this can happen. China stayed trapped in an increasingly complicated, dynastic pattern for close to 2000 years. That social structure, that relied solely on external relational definition, mired China in stasis for innovation and advancement of human rights for literally a hundred generations. Needham’s Dilemma, that poses this question, only scratches the surface.
And we are here, at the cusp of this. The first step forward out of any abusive relationship is to realize that you’re in one. It’s not “how can you stay?” It’s “I’m going to find a way to leave.” If you don’t believe you are, here’s hoping that this piece is a small beam of light into the path forward.