State of the Nation Pt II

Let’s keep it civil…

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Still a bit of a state… so keep questioning everything. But let’s keep it civil!

HART’s ‘State of the Nation’ article, published 18 January 2024, was appreciated by some (“Excellent article from the HART team” said a reasonably well-known MP), but copped a bit of flak elsewhere.  Language matters, and we should perhaps hold up our collective hands regarding a couple of sections that contained woolly language not picked up during proof-reading… HART is an amateur organisation staffed by busy professionals, but that is no excuse, and we are not afraid of saying sorry.

Sorry therefore for any typos or grammatical errors that may have slipped through HART’s proof-reading net.

Let’s be specific.  Two of the article’s bullet points went as follows, also referencing two key HART articles from our now manifold back-catalogue:

  • We have explained why we use the virus model, but we reject the notion that a catastrophic ‘point release’ of a devastating ‘novel virus’” was directly responsible for a global deadly pandemic…
  •   …while accepting that modern life (and its hazards) may lead to continuously changing and developing (i.e. novel, as in some parts are new!) manifestations of human ill health and that what happened in early 2020 (prior to any exacerbating interventions) was at worst a seasonal mortality trend as might be experienced once every 20 years or so. There was therefore absolutely zero justification for declaring a state of emergency and enacting devastating interventions ‘from the hip’.

Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful.  No, we are not genius scribblers and therefore couldn’t summarise it more succinctly. And before you, dear reader, cast a stone also, consider what ‘novel’ actually means in a terrain (hypothetical or not) that sees ‘new’ variants being branded on a regular basis. That is to say, can ‘novelty’ potentially be ‘not novel’?

Putting that philosophical aside aside (sic), are the original wordy bullet points controversial? We say not.

However, they were not good enough for some. Some say we are virus deniers, others that we are novel virus deniers. Of course, this is on top of us being covid deniers, and of courseno virus’ deniers. Do keep up. Abandon hope all ye who enter into this level of simplified and simplistic discourse, which brings to mind Jeremy Clarkson’s joke oratorical introductions to The Stig (“some say…”).  As farcical as such nit-pickery may be, it does not exactly help bring to book the architects of the coronapanic debacle. Sometimes it is tempting to give up and spend our spare time watching archive Top Gear footage from a different – perhaps more innocent – age.  Literal car crash TV rather than metaphorical societal train wreck.

A particularly dispiriting development has been an increased level of (at times foul-mouthed) blue-on-blue snark developing between members of the loose association of organisations and larger-than-life individuals that make up the Rebel Alliance, no doubt stirred up by agents of the Galactic Empire (i.e. the establishment and pharmaceutical-medical industrial complex).  Why can’t we all just get along and plough our various furrows? Surely the strength (albeit also a weakness) of the Rebel Alliance is its bottom-up & decentralised approach, with different groups taking different tacks?

Clearly, there is no point in just being nice for the sake of it… while we tend not to go down otherwise unbelievable rabbit holes, the truth of the matter is that ‘mistakes were made’ does not explain what happened in 2020 and beyond.  If there are, in fact, dark overlords plotting to enact the advice of the now defunct Georgia Guidestones, then making sure we do not inflict ‘hurt feelz’ is not going to secure our children’s future.  Just in case there are nefariously corrupted people or organisations involved in despicable crimes and in unethically pushing society towards darkness, there is a good case for following the old apothegm that those who want peace should prepare for war.  Covering our eyes, sticking fingers in ears and singing a merry tune is not going to cut it. Everyone has a responsibility to ask challenging questions and follow the evidential trail to any conclusions that can be deduced.  Every hypothesis is valid until falsified.

But good discourse relies on accuracy. For example, using the word pandemic as an adjective is very different from using it as a noun (noting, of course, how the meaning of the noun has been modified of late).  Our null hypothesis article quotes a piece from the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases as follows that uses the adjective:

“In conclusion, a novel unknown respiratory virus that is responsible for severe pneumonia, like SARS-CoV-2, could circulate undetected for months or years, be responsible for many deaths, and even become pandemic, until peculiar characteristics of the disease are noticed that allow its identification”.

We are not splitting hairs, but the lack (in this case) of a single indefinite article (one of the shortest words in the English language: “a”) means the sentence has not fallen foul of the purist ‘no pandemic’ tendency amongst the Rebel Alliance. When such misunderstandings conflagrate in short-form cage fights on the platform formerly known as Twitter, much blood, sweat and toil gets wasted, entirely pointlessly. Yet as two sides (one might be tempted to go for a simple binary – but how many shades of disagreement are there?) of that particular spat emphasise, these minor disagreements are just distractions.  They do not matter in the grand scheme of things.

So what to do? How do we avoid falling foul of the machinations of the chaos agents (and any behind-the-scenes blackmailers) while at the same time ensuring that bad ideas get suitably short shrift and reprehensible characters get their comeuppance?  

By their fruit you shall recognise them… eventually.  Truth stands up to interrogation – lies do not.  Time will therefore tell, so long as we keep hammering away – that way we can find out what is built on sand and what is built on rock. 

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that a robust – even if chaotic – bottom-up decentralised peer review process is a prerequisite for the Rebel Alliance, if only as an insurance policy to ensure we do not just end up recreating a simulacrum of the current (Galactic Empire’s) official peer-review process, flawed and yoked to a broad-spectrum censorship complex as it is. 

This piece is already overweight in metaphors, but here is a final one: ancient scripture refers to a “refiner’s fire” – a real-life blast furnace, that is – not a refiner’s wet blanket. 

So – no easy answers.  Our conclusion is itself a dichotomy: Trust, Then Verify; yet also: Trust No-one. Those are in fact the foundations of all science. But let us all try and keep it civil, folks, or too many people will get disillusioned and give up: try to find common ground where and when you can.

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