In Washington State a State Senator recently bemoaned the ongoing nature of the special emergency powers ceded by the Legislature to Governor Inslee. This is a very important, very timely issue. It appears that on both the Federal and the State level, Chief Executives have gotten way too comfortable with a unilateral decision making ability. It is time we restored the democratic republic to the form it was intended to be. Would we be experiencing, suffering from, the ongoing oppressive mandates, nominally justified by the, again, nominal Covid pandemic, if the experiences and the wisdom of the people were indeed being followed by a representative government? I don’t think so. The fact is a relative few people have experienced the kind of devastating illness potentially resulting from Covid that the media persists in broadcasting as if it were the reality in every house next door.
This is not to trivialize the suffering of those who have been the hardest hit by the virus, but that being said, we cannot continue to react to the experiences of an extreme minority as if that is the reality for all. While giving such minority experiences the time and attention they deserve, it is not wise governance to base the parameters of the functioning of the entire society upon the abilities or vulnerabilities of the most vulnerable among us.
If the vast majority of Americans took inventory of their own first-hand reality and urged our State and Federal legislators to either enforce, or lift, the harsh mandates based on that inventory, mandates which have led to many citizens losing their jobs, incomes, mental health, physical health or even their lives, we would have seen the mandates lifted months ago, for good. If we would have ever seen them imposed in the first place. I tend to think we may have opted for the initial “flattening the curve” 2-3 weeks, but not the ongoing, oppressive marathon we have experienced.
But that is not the reality we are facing. When it comes to the Covid mandates, we are not being governed by a representative body. We are being dictated to by an authoritarian few, often in an arbitrary manner with only the sketchiest, if any, actual evidence to support their dictates.
It is past time for us to insist upon the reassertion of a genuinely representative government.
We are hearing and reading a lot about “the science” these days. When it comes to the Covid-19 phenomenon, we are constantly being urged to trust the science. There seem to be many who believe that trusting the science is a knee-jerk type of thing. If it’s science, trust it, enough said. Without belaboring the point, that same unquestioning trust used to be expected by religion. Those who refused to offer up a show of obedience (trust) frequently found themselves facing harsh consequences, possibly death. But we’ve outgrown that type of thinking, right? Have we?
There seems to be a mind-set in the world the carriers of which truly want (need?) there to be an ultimate authority. A worldly parent (god?) figure, or institution, which can answer all the most difficult questions and protect us from that which we don’t understand. This mind-set is to be found within people of all ages, races, genders, ethnic groups and political persuasions. If you spend much time among people who want to dig for their own answers, those of this aforementioned mind-set are frequently called by derogatory names: sheep, cattle, or other such terms. I think using such terms just serves to muddy the water between us as human beings. Beyond a shadow of a doubt there are people scattered around the world who are more developed, in various areas of knowledge, than others. I tend to think we humans are spiritual beings, in search of a harmonious physical existence, and some of us have been around longer than others of us. We all most likely fit somewhere in the middle of an infinite spectrum of knowledge and development. So let’s be a little kinder with each other, okay?
Getting back to the original topic, in order to “believe in the science”, don’t we first have to know what science is? If you’re expecting a long, technical, complex explanation, don’t, it doesn’t take all that to define “science”. Science is just a methodical, systemized way of looking at things, or working with things. Good scientific methods can give us answers to our questions about the world which can be relied upon to be provable and consistent. And when they do that, it’s great. They don’t always do that however, sometimes the answers we find mostly give us more questions. But that’s okay too, because it means we’re in the process of understanding whatever it is we’re studying. When we’re using scientific methods in our efforts to produce a thing, those methods help us track and understand our efforts, and insure that if we are successful once, we can, most likely repeat the process and be successful again.
One of the great things about science, is that when we’re using it to understand things, or to create things, it almost always is an evolving process. Just think about all the things we humans were sure we knew at some point in our history, only to learn we missed something. Then, after a sometimes long and violent process of change, we again became sure we knew it for sure. Only to again find we needed to refine our thinking. I think it’s a safe generalization that the more complex the question being studied is, or the thing we’re attempting to produce is, the more likely it is that we are going to find ourselves facing many revisions over time. And that’s okay, because, again, science is a process and being involved with it is better than not.
It’s when we start thinking we have the ultimate answer, that we know it all, that we setting ourselves up for a fall. And that is a big problem when we have concurrently developed a culture that expects perfection. As with religion in medieval times, today people expect “science” to be infallible. It isn’t, and it never has been. It is a dangerous proposition to pressure scientists to be infallible. What that is likely to mean in a significant number of cases is that there will be a lot of effort put into defending the indefensible.
Which isn’t to say that scientists don’t ever get it right. The point is, it is often (always?) in our best interests to be circumspect when it comes to the “facts” and products brought to us by those professing to be utilizing science in their methods. The ethical position of “first do no harm” (meaning “…your actions should not cause injury or injustice to people“) is a position we should expect, if not require, from those developing new ideas and new products.
Science, scientific methodology, has no inherent ethic or morality. The positive motives and practices within scientific endeavors are there because the people involved brought them. There is nothing in our natural world, nothing in the human mind, that prevents those who may wish to do so from using scientific methodology (science) to produce things, even products which they may market as medicines, which are harmful to us. Some of the malignant things brought into the world by intelligent, highly trained, scientists include: DDT, water fluoridation, Zyklon B, the atomic bomb, microwave weapons, and many other devious means of incapacitating, enslaving, and killing our fellow human beings. Science is a method, not a product. The quality of the products produced by scientists is dependent upon the goals, the ethics, those scientists bring with them. Science is a tool, that is all. As with other tools, it’s utility is only as benevolent as the methods and goals of those applying it.
One of the biggest threats to human well-being in the United States, and the world, today is the number of individuals who occupy offices entrusted with overseeing critical aspects of our culture, but who have a vested financial interest in whether our perceptions and actions follow one path as opposed to another. Further, the path which may offer them the most financial gain is often (always?) one at odds with the well-being of the general population. “Conflict of interest” is the often heard description applied when such a situation exists. But something has happened within the consciousness of the American public. Possibly the consciousness of people around the world. We have stopped taking such a situation as seriously as the possible negative consequences warrant. As a matter of fact, conflicts of interest on the part of those occupying elected office and those working within governmental agencies, even agencies mandated to oversee public safety in some critical areas, have become so commonplace they seem to be accepted as business as usual.
How pervasive is the reality of public office holders with conflicts of interest? We frequently hear or read about the “revolving door” between governmental office holders and private industry. We increasingly see persons with a history within an industry which comes under Federal regulations show up working within the regulatory agency overseeing that industry. Possibly even directing it. And then there is the reality of elected officials, and others employed within governmental agencies, who are invested, via stocks or other investment, in private industry and so have a vested interest in seeing that industry being profitable. Thirdly there is “Citizens United” which has, in effect, turned elections into dueling bank accounts. For a candidate to have a chance at being elected all seems to commonly require their becoming beholden to private interests.
People with “a foot in both worlds” would have us believe they can simultaneously maintain objectivity about the good of the public and the profits of an industry they have a vested interest in. You know what? Bullshit. What we are seeing in practice is that far too often the special interests of private industry, and the correlated personal financial benefit of the individual, will take precedence over the good of the general public. We, the people of the United States, and of the world, need to be taking such conflicts of interest way more seriously than we have been.
It is not enough that an individual who aspires to public office, or who holds public office, fills in some sort of paperwork declaring their conflicts of interest, or (supposedly) turns their private interests over to someone else to manage for them while they hold public office. In order to preserve the intent and the integrity of functioning of our public offices, of those who are entrusted with the governance of our nation, of our lives, we need to disallow any person from holding elected office, or to hold a position within a regulatory agency, who has even the shadow of conflict of interest about them.
Right now, with the information and mandates being handed down around Covid-19, here in the United States and in many other countries, we are extremely vulnerable. We are led to believe that the people handing down the mandates, making the decisions, are doing so in order to protect the health of the people. People, in general, want to trust those holding positions of authority within our government. We want to believe that individuals who represent regulatory agencies, or agencies mandated to look out for our health and well-being, are performing that task in good faith.
Yet what we currently have are individuals with a foot in both worlds making decisions which, depending upon the direction they choose, potentially stand to personally profit greatly. And in reality, we are seeing some private enterprises reaping windfall profits during this time, with promises of more to come. The pharmaceutical industry for one. Then there are the large corporate retail concerns which are taking in record profits during the same time in which millions of small businesses, individuals and families are experiencing devastating financial losses.
What is going on right now; the policies and mandates taking place around Covid-19. cry out for independent investigation. There is too much conflicting information being put forward by medical and scientific sources. There is too much glaring illogic and inconsistency in the specifics of the mandates coming from both State and Federal governments. It is all but impossible for a person thinking critically and examining the opposing points of view, to simply accept the mainstream narrative on Covid. It is equally, if not more, difficult to see the mainstream narrative as having anything to do with the well-being of the public.
Yet who would conduct such an independent investigation? The fact is, we have allowed so many persons with conflicts of interest to occupy the halls of power in our land, there seems to be no one. At least no one is yet stepping forward from within the halls of power. We must look out for ourselves, as those wielding power at this time are looking out for themselves. The demands, the pervasive intrusions into and upon our lives, our bodies, being inflicted upon us behoove us to busy ourselves searching for all the information we can access regarding what is going on. We cannot trust those in the governmental or industrial positions of authority to be completely honest with us. If an individual who represents themself as a medical or scientific authority, such as Bill Gates or Anthony Fauci, has a vested financial interest in how things play out, and they do, we must consider that heavily when we are deciding what medical and scientific authorities we are going to place our trust in. As mentioned before, there is a lot of information which contradicts the mainstream narrative coming forward from reputable professionals in the field of medicine and related sciences from around the world.
If the magnitude of the events taking place lead us, as a nation, to engage in an overdue and serious examination of the criteria we use to scrutinize those to whom we entrust our public offices. If such scrutiny leads us to demand a much greater singularity of purpose on their part, that will be some good to come out of these times.