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Why the “smartest people failed so miserably”

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Why the “smartest people” in the world “failed so miserably” during the pandemic

What people were able to resist pandemic propaganda?

In April 2023, an Australian researcher focusing on corruption in the pharmaceutical industry reviewed pandemic propaganda and posed the following intriguing question:

“How did the world’s smartest people fail so miserably? () Suddenly, in 2020, some of the smartest people in the world — such as (list of some smart people) and so many more that you can name — stopped being smart. This happened all across the ideological spectrum. () They all failed completely and catastrophically. It’s even worse than that actually — not only did they fail to use any of the skills that they developed over a lifetime, but they collapsed into fascism.”

The Australian academic didn’t answer his question – perhaps because parts of the answer might in fact question some of his assumptions. But his question is an important one and very much deserves an answer: why did so many of “the world’s smartest people” succumb to pandemic propaganda, and what people were able to resist this propaganda?

A few factors come to mind.

First, fear – both rational and irrational fear. It is one thing to calmly discuss a war that happened 50 years ago and 5,000 miles away, but another thing to discuss a virus that might infect and kill your own parents or even yourself. Chomsky for instance (“starve the unvaccinated”) was already 91 years old at the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Second, many of the “world’s smartest people” mentioned by the Australian academic appear to be progressives or even socialists. Many progressives and socialists are very good at questioning and countering “imperialist” war propaganda (or at least they were in the past), but they had a much harder time resisting pandemic propaganda. This is likely because pandemic propaganda leveraged notions such as solidarity, “protecting the weak and old”, collective action and state intervention, and even anti-racism (concerning the Chinese).

A major exception to this rule was the left-wing Sandinista government of Nicaragua, which early on realized the true impact of lockdowns on developing countries and the poor.

Third, pandemic propaganda heavily relied on science and technology, and most of the “world’s smartest people” absolutely love science and technology. This also explains why many (but not all) “tech bros” succumbed to pandemic propaganda and advocated all kinds of restrictions and interventions. The problem here was twofold: much of the supposed “science” was politicized, and much of the technology was nowhere near being able to suppress a flu-like pandemic. Combined, this led to a widespread and devastating illusion of control.

Fourth, pandemic propaganda was more intense, more comprehensive, and more urgent than typical war propaganda and, thus, could overwhelm even some seasoned skeptics.

Fifth, some of the “world’s smartest people” simply weren’t in a good position to dissect and reject pandemic propaganda, or they may just not be as smart as the Australian academic assumed. Taleb for instance has a strong focus on doomsday scenarios, panicked already during the mysterious 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, and teamed up with a leading US zero-covid activist. Chomsky’s famous propaganda model relies on passive “filters” and largely disregards the very active role played by intelligence services and PR experts.

Taken together, these factors may help explain why many of the world’s supposedly smartest people “failed completely and catastrophically” during the covid pandemic.

What people were able to resist and reject pandemic propaganda, though? Several groups of people have excelled in this regard.

First, some old-school public health officials were able to resist pandemic propaganda. The best-known example no doubt was Swedish state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell. However, most old-school public health officials and medical professionals, even if skeptical, were overwhelmed by pandemic propaganda, chose to remain silent, or were in fact silenced.

Second, people who were already skeptical of Big Pharma or even of modern medicine as a whole largely rejected pandemic propaganda. This group encompassed both scientific people – such as authors questioning the long-standing but dubious cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease – and some non-scientific or even irrational people.

Third, many free speech activists and civil liberties advocates rejected and fought pandemic propaganda, mass censorship, and irrational coercive measures. In contrast to previous decades, this group today encompasses many conservatives and libertarians, who overall were in a better position to reject pandemic propaganda than many progressives and socialists.

Fourth, seasoned propaganda investigators, often with years or even decades of experience in dissecting war propaganda and psychological operations, mostly recognized and rejected pandemic propaganda. In fact, some background knowledge of war propaganda was probably required to fully grasp what was really going on during the covid pandemic.

Fifth, many independent media outlets and people skeptical of establishment media questioned and rejected pandemic propaganda. But there was a twist: governments initially downplayed the virus outbreak, which led some independent journalists, conversely, to sound the alarm (“Chinese bioweapon”). Similarly, governments initially favored a natural origin, which led some independent journalists to prematurely accuse Chinese virologists.

Indeed, simply rejecting pandemic propaganda did not yet ensure understanding what was actually going on or necessarily drawing the right conclusions, as was previously discussed by SPR. Some of the obstacles faced by skeptical enquirers included:

  • Lack of expertise: a viral pandemic is an abstract and complex issue; a lack of scientific expertise can lead to incorrect or even irrational assumptions and conclusions.
  • Activism and counter-activism: while crucial to effect political and social change, activism may come at the expense of understanding, accuracy, or even truthfulness.
  • Financial incentives: while important to sustain operations and independence, financial incentives may lead to one-sided, exaggerated, or even untruthful reporting.
  • “Conspiracism”: while a central concept in propaganda analysis, both “conspiracy denial” (out of naïveté or fear) and irrational or even psychotic “conspiracism” can distort analysis.
  • “Gatekeeping”: some seemingly independent authors and outlets may in fact not be so independent and may follow an agenda by injecting misleading information.

Despite these obstacles and pitfalls, numerous independent and courageous authors and investigators all over the world have greatly contributed to a rational analysis of the pandemic and the pandemic response – much more so, in fact, than many of “the world’s smartest people”.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Went to Dunedin yesterday to take a friend for a small medical procedure and not allowed to drive for a couple of hours afterwards. My wife was growled at and questioned why she didn’t have a mask on and she said how everybody appeared to have one on. We were in Timaru Hospital on Monday and there were quite a few exceptions to mask wearing, especially us.
    I noticed there were a number of mask wearers around Dunedin City in the mall etc which surprised me but then again have not been anywhere for a number of months. Thought it was all over, apparently not.

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    • I went to a funeral on Thursday afternoon and lots were wearing masks there, they were all old as the person who died was in their nineties, guess they are all frightened (of what I do not know but dying it seems) feels a bit pathetic at their old age you would think they would be happy to go.

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    • ding dong. the witch is not yet dead.
      Dunners, the source of all the evil propaganda by a certain scrawny Professor that constantly berated everyone who watched the TV news.

      Dunner’s people are imbued with the Scottish dourness.
      Why we have a med school there is beyond comprehension.

      When they decided to adopt the covid propaganda they drove buses up to the students hall and told them all to get on they were going to be vaxed. Many wouldn’t and they got suspended for the next year.

      There is evil in the castle and the castle needs demolishing.

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    • I’ve finally made an appointment at the local optometrist three years since they sent a reminder. Hubby went in the midst of the insanity and the receptionist yelled at him even though he had an exemption so he told her where to stick her mask and left. I have an exemption but am also prepared to walk if her insanity is still as rabid. How many others have put off more serious health checks due to nazi mandates? Well done Labour – adding to the huge health crisis.

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      • These nazis love the power that have been —legitimately – –delegated to them by goo-mint.
        Most will exercise that power to maximum impact, yet play victim when ignored,

        …and in October …VOTE for more of this delegated tyranny
        You betcha.

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  2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who was incarcerated during WWII due to his opposition to the Nazi regime. He spent his time in prison trying to understand why so many of the wonderful German people that he had known supported the Nazi regime. A regime which he saw as evil. In simple terms he concluded that these people were stupid and easily influenced by fear and other tactics. However, this stupidity was in no way related to intelligence but rather it was related to the values of the individual. If somebody had good, well-balanced values then the fear tactics did not work on them, and they could not be swayed by the Nazi propaganda. The Nazi regime was only possible because there had been an erosion of values in the German community leading up to the rise of Hitler.

    We have witnessed a similar process evolve in NZ as values have eroded. Many among us accepted and supported (they used vaccine passports) the removal of an individual’s rights and freedoms as well as accepting medical apartheid as the new norm. Why do people who no doubt consider themselves to be honourable behave this way. As Dietrich observed the answer comes down to values and fear.

    Jonathan Heidt is an author, a university professor, and a moral psychology researcher. In his book “The Righteous Mind” Heidt postulates that across cultures and throughout time human values have been built upon six value foundations.

    Translated into Kiwi he classes the value foundations as:
    Care – the instinct to protect your children and those you love and respect.
    Fairness – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Karma)
    Freedom – the challenge of avoiding domination either as a victim or perpetrator.
    Loyalty – being able to trust those around you (team players) and identify traitors.
    Authority – respecting hierarchical relationships and the responsibility of one’s position.
    Conservation – understanding how to combine the old and new choosing the best.

    Heidt considers that good values in all six value foundations are essential for a meaningful life and a functioning society. However, in his experimentation he discovered that many people in today’s societies have not developed values when it comes to Loyalty, Authority and Conservation. They have instead placed an excess importance on the Care foundation, and they have failed to build balanced values around Fairness and Freedom. Expressions such as “Be Kind” demonstrate the individuals excess consideration of the Care foundation.

    Coming back to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s conclusions, what we saw happening in NZ over the last few years is typical of a society that does not have good balanced values based on all these foundations.

    Sadly many people were consumed by the fear tactics and propaganda of the politicians and the media. They failed to realise that what has occurred over the last few years was never about a virus. It was always about control and compliance. The vaccine is a very sophisticated bioweapon.

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    • Very true Kea, I was shocked that those I thought were intelligent people and also family members who have masters degrees were so easily swayed by the evil intent by the government. And it proves that they were they were so nasty to those who did not go with what the government said. I always wondered if I would be brave enough to buck the trend and would have been in the resistance etc and now I know that I would have been brave enough to fight the good fight.

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      • Lizz those with degrees and professions are very image conscious and are desperate to fit in. They don’t care what’s right – they simply want social validation and approval from their peers. They are fiercely tribal snobs.

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    • Interesting. Enjoy reading this stuff. Reading a book at the moment about a child growing up in the German mine fields (Coal that is) before and during the rise of the Nazi’s.

      Here is an article from the epic times just today which shows how they make this model work. Its of course a political operation that infitrates the mind of those that are afraid or to lazy to question what they are told. To lazy to engage their time for the sake of their health or whatever the subject is so the can make wise and informed decisions.

      No wonder I never fit the mould.

      Now this is about a Democrat judge being elected but read on. Theres a classic example of how this is all operated.

      https://www.theepochtimes.com/one-of-the-biggest-organizations-helping-democrats-win-elections_5410259.html?ea_med=desktop_news_bottom&tmp=1&ea_src=ai_recommender

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