Single truth permitted

It is a mark of a totalitarian state that only one truth is permitted. Dissenting opinions and honest argument is not permitted. It is also of course a sign of a weak mind that you cannot accept other people have honestly held opinions which differ from your own. The liberal-progressives who only allow a single-truth on a range of topics of the day (usually connected with sex and gender) are not yet the sole party of government. Though in the US at least it is clear that the Democrats will stop at absolutely nothing to ensure that they are the only party of government. For example; their attempts to remove Trump by legal mechanisms, prosecutorial methods, paying ex British spies for dirt to be dug-up and published in a ‘dossier’ (or made up: much of it was by the admission of the author), fixing elections (postal voting), accusations of “Red under the Beds” and all the rest of it.

This post will contain examples from the media of single-truth thinking. Mostly these will be from the US pages of the Guardian where such thinking abounds. If this kind of thinking becomes embedded as the official policy of the state we should be worried. That would herald a totalitarian state.

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Lab leak theory – resistance continues

The push-back against the lab leak theory continues even as the theory “gains traction” (in the amusing words of AP/Guardian). This piece by AP in the Guardian reports on the extraordinary statement by WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that “I was a lab technician myself, I’m an immunologist, and I have worked in the lab, and lab accidents happen. It’s common.” He would not be saying this if he was not seriously considering the lab leak theory.

But even as they (have to) report the changing discourse on the lab leak theory the liberal press continues to resist it tooth and claw. In this AP/Guardian piece readers are told: “It typically takes decades to narrow down the natural source of an animal virus like Ebola or Sars”. The point of this piece of misinformation is to deal with the awkward fact, for the zoonotic theory, that nearly two years after the first signs of Sars-Cov-2 in Wuhan (ok 19 months if we go by the official Chinese version) the supposed intermediary animal has not been found. In fact the intermediary animal for Sars-Cov-1 was found within a few months. [1] Not decades. The WHO says it took “more than a year” to find the source for MERS-Cov. [2] Again; not decades. And there is an extensive search going on for the necessary intermediary animal for the zoonotic theory. [2] They may yet find it. But the longer the search goes on and this species is not found the less likely the zoonotic theory will look. (It is also interesting to note how enthusiastically the theory that pangolins were the intermediary animal was promoted early on in the pandemic based at least in part on studies from China [3] – though it now seem that the pangolin is not a candidate).

We can expect more of this. Even as the media report (they have to) on developments which at least make it clear that the lab leak theory is a credible theory they will insert caveats and indeed misinformation to try to disarm it. The liberal establishment is dead set on the lab leak theory never being established. I think there are several reasons for this. The economic consequences are too dreadful. (A punitive sanctions war with China would plunge the world into a massive economic depression). But another factor is cultural; Chinese scientists are well embedded in academia in the West; in part the push-back is a case of protecting their Chinese colleagues. And, not to be underestimated perhaps, is a cultural affinity between the totalitarian-liberal trends in the West with the one-party totalitarianism in China. A love of social order and prescribed behaviours over free intellectual life is something which both modern liberals and the Chinese State have in common.

Notes

  1. Wade gives 4 months. But the source may be contested. Let’s take a more conservative estimate: WHO was reporting the link to civets in January 2004. And Sars-Cov-1 started in February 2003 – so on this timeline about 11 months. So far for Sars-Cov-2 at least 15 months and no animal source identified.
  2. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/how-who-is-working-to-track-down-the-animal-reservoir-of-the-sars-cov-2-virus
  3. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdfExtended/S0960-9822%2820%2930360-2

Guardian agitprop about the “war on independent journalism” in Russia

Unfortunately very short of time but this really is a big lie even by the usual standards of the Guardian on Russia. The piece starts with an absurd and over-dramatic line: “The Kremlin’s war on independent journalism in Russia has escalated after the Proekt investigative media outlet was outlawed in an act of revenge for a series of deeply embarrassing revelations about Vladimir Putin and top Kremlin officials

The article states: “The rare decision to ban a critical media outlet by fiat…” and “State media on Thursday announced that Russia’s justice ministry had added Proekt to a list of “undesirable organisations”. (Incidentally it is the list – not “a”. The journalist uses “a” to add to the impression that something rather arbitrary has happened).

The journalist is trying to give the impression a) that the Project media organisation was banned by an arbitrary order of the “government” and b) that this was because it has been deemed “undesirable”. And that all this is part of a war on “independent journalism”.

Firstly – the law under which this organisation has been banned is a Russian law passed by Parliament. This law gives statutory power to the General Prosecutor of Russia to determine which organisations should be added to the list. This is not as the journalist tells his readers a “fiat” of the “government”. On the contrary it is a process carried out by judicial authorities on the basis of a law passed by parliament. (The UK too often passes laws which can lead to subsequent statutory legislation being added or which enable various bodies to act with the power of law without further recourse to Parliament).

Secondly – the specific law in question relates to undesirable foreign organisations. The journalist omits this detail. But it is rather important. At issue is that in Russia (based on the law) prosecutorial authorities can ban foreign organisations which they believe are prejudicial to constitutional order, security and the defence interests of the state. The Guardian chooses not to report it but it seems that ‘Project’ is in fact a foreign media organisation or has significant foreign links. The liberal opposition outlet (itself in fact designated a foreign agent due to its being supported from abroad) Medusa reports that what the Guardian calls an “independent” media outlet – i.e. the closed “Project” website, is in fact owned by a US publishing company “Project Media, Inc”. [1]

(RT – that is Russian state media – has done some background research. The leader of the closed “independent” media outlet spent time in the US and they report that he has links including funding links abroad. [2])

Far from this being a “war on independent journalism” what is happening is that following some stories about a government Minister this web site has attracted the attention of the Justice Department. They have noted that it falls under the scope of foreign media organisations which are undermining the constitutional order and have banned it, following a legal process approved by an elected Parliament. (Of course one can argue as some more serious critics do that there is a danger of this law being over-applied; are they protecting constitutional order or the current government and where is the line? But we are nowhere near this serious discussion in the Guardian’s piece. And, at any event, it is a discussion for the Russians to have not Western would-be mentors).

It is certainly true that this is a more robust media regime than exists in say the UK. On the other hand there are plenty of recent examples of prosecutions of bloggers in the UK for political dissidence, for example Craig Murray for his exposé of the fit-up of Alex Salmond and Mark Hirst who had previously worked for Russian outlet Sputnik, and there is extensive policing of social media (not just for racism but for more general thought crimes). Let’s grant though that Russia may well be more ‘authoritarian’ in some respects than the UK. But why should it not be? The democrats betray their imperialism when they demand that everyone else should adopt their exact standards.

Finally – a lot of the “independent journalism” which Roth extols are in fact simply muck-raking web sites.

At any event this Guardian article is entirely misleading. It should be understood in the context of the ongoing and persistent Western regime change operation to spread “liberal” values in Russia and trigger a change of government (by any means) and a change in the direction of the country. This is why, incidentally, that the Russians have to be so alert to the activities of foreign backed media organisations.

Notes

  1. https://meduza.io/news/2021/07/15/genprokuratura-priznala-izdanie-proekt-nezhelatelnoy-organizatsiey-ego-zhurnalistov-vklyuchili-v-reestr-inostrannyh-agentov
  2. https://russian.rt.com/world/article/593261-hodorkovskii-tsar-rassledovanie

The backlash against ‘Freedom day’ – how valid is it?

Only Boris Johnson could come up with a cheap slogan like “Freedom Day” in the middle of a deadly pandemic. (This is reminiscent of his joke in the early stages of the pandemic about “operation last gasp”).

Idiotic remarks aside is it indeed crazy and irresponsible to remove all remaining Covid restrictions (laws and that ambiguous middle-ground of “government guidance”) now as this widely backed letter in the Lancet argues?

The authors of this letter – who could be said to be from the pro-lockdown side of academia – make 5 arguments. Let’s consider them. Before we do that let’s just remind ourselves of the context. Currently 50% of the UK population has been offered both doses of a vaccine (spaced apart by more than the manufacturer’s recommendations in the case of Pfizer of course). This includes all the especially vulnerable groups. By some point in September all over 18 year olds will have been offered 2 doses. Vaccinations in children has not yet been decided. Lifting all restrictions now will lead to more infections than if they were maintained until, say, September when all adults will have been offered a vaccination. This delay is what the authors of this letter in the Lancet want.

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