There is a lot to say about the times we are in. They are challenging. They demand of us our best. These times ask all of us to rise above out biases, our pettiness, our fears, and our tendency to pick sides and hide in our corner.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus, aka Covid-19, aka Sars-CoV-2, has not brought out the best in us. To the contrary, it has brought out the worst in us. It has thrown the curtains wide open to reveal a human population so scientifically ignorant, many seem to be regressing back to a time of human sacrifice.
The coronavirus has flung the door open to expose our stupidity, selfishness, xenophobia, lack of compassion, empathy, and cognitive thinking skills. Examples of this are as numerous as sea slugs on the Pacific Ocean floor.
Paranoid conspiracy theorists
Take the far-right... please! A hoax, they cry. A plandemic, a scamdemic, a fakedemic, and my personal favourite, Conjob-19. Conspiracy theories abound.
The anti-mask wearing weirdos are everywhere. It seems they have teamed up with the anti-vaxxers in a coalition of the weird, paranoid, ignorant, and scientifically retarded. Masks are unhealthy, says the 260 pound man eating a Big Mac and fries. They are muzzles to silence us. I will not be silenced by our government, they cry. We breathe in our own carbon dioxide, they say. That will kill us faster than the virus. That superstition and backwards thinking is right up there with 'if you play with yourself, you'll go blind.' Masks get dirty, they shout. So does our underwear, but rational thinking people wash them.
A problem with these uneducated, uncouth, and unethical westerners is their lack of world experience. Preferring the comfort of their own homes, they have hardly an inkling of how surgical masks have been used in the far east to prevent serious illnesses through the spreading of germs. Unlike the English teachers and expats in Asia, the only experience these far-right stay-at-homers have with the far east is their Friday night dinners at the Ho Lee Chow Buffet.
These people say that you can't wear a mask based on "what if's" or "what can happen." We live by "what if's" every day. We have to or else we increase exponentially the probability of our own demise. We wear a seat belt in case we get into a car accident. We take vitamins to stay healthy and prevent becoming ill. In northern climates we put on extra layers of clothing to ward off frost bite. In tropical climates we wear a hat or cap to prevent heat stroke. We look both ways before crossing the street so that we don't get hit by a car. These are called precautions. We take countless precautions every day without even noticing, and we don't curse the government over it. This is called being responsible and mature. It is also common sense.
The science behind wearing masks is simple to understand. Surgical masks lower the inoculum load infecting a person's body through their mouth and nose. The lower the inoculum, (viral shedding from others), the fewer pathogens from others will invade a person's cells. This gives the immune system a fighting chance and less likelihood that the virus will cause serious or long-term damage. Stick to science and there should be no problems. Building the terrain certainly helps by taking Vitamin's C, D, and zinc.
I saw a really enjoyable vlog recently by a far-right Canadian. What made it enjoyable was the fact that he kept buffering; the sound was 'tinny' in his words, and few people could understand what he was saying. Never mind that he was sitting in a car in the middle of a parking lot. He kept blaming the 'powers that be': the Liberal government, the Prime Minister, YouTube; everyone but himself and his cheap equipment. Even some of his followers commented that they are being 'monitored.' I had to leave a comment.
"My God, you and your followers really are stupid. You complain that the government wants to control everything you do. You spend hours a day on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and 10 other search engines and websites that know more about you than your mother. These platforms know what brand of toilet paper you use and how often you pick your nose, and you worry about a little girly boy who wears funny socks on the world stage. He's the monster and grand controller?
Do you honestly think that the government was messing with your audio? Are people out to get you? Is E.T. following you? There is medication for that, you know. It is not the coronavirus or masks that scare me. What concerns me here are the psychiatric issues of those on the far-right. Do get help for your demons you think are lurking about."
There are those who say, 'there is no virus' and quote from the Book of Proverbs. You know what else thinks there is no virus? Monkeys. Apes. Bonobos. Gorillas. Orangutans. Lobsters. Squid. Shrimp. And people with an IQ of under 60.
THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT! (Or wrote it.) What do these people do when their child gets sick, drink goat's blood, bang drums, and summon the tree spirits? Call for an exorcist, maybe?
But deaths from Covid-19 are exaggerated, the far right claims. It may be the opposite judging by reports on mainstream news websites. According to these reports, many countries are hiding or covering up Covid death numbers. Anyone want to guess what what real fatality rate is for China, Iran, or 50 other countries that have stopped counting months ago? As far as Iran is concerned, you're in luck. An August 3rd report on the BBC website quotes a document from the government's own records which show "almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry." The number of infected is almost double what they claim.
But more children die choking on chocolate chip cookies, they say. You die of cancer and the doctor marks you down as a Covid death. Heart attack? Covid. Motorbike accident? Covid. Right! Grandpa cruising down Route 66 on his Harley, crashes and dies. On his death certificate where it says 'other', Dr. Frankenstein writes, 'death by Covid-19.'
You have to be a world class moron to think that those who die in motorbike accidents are counted as covid deaths. A belief like that puts you in the same loonie bin as those who believe that Elvis is still alive, or 9/11 was an inside job, or Obama was born in Kenya, or there was never any moon landing, or that Bill Gates wants to jab all of us with his vaccine so he could control the world, or that the UN wants to implant us with microchips so that we can't reproduce, or the globalists want to implement a communist world government, or... pick your dumb conspiracy theory.
Personal sacrifice and selfishness
All people are being asked to do now is wear a mask in public and keep your distance. They behave as if they are being told to go to war. In the early 1940's the greatest generation was asked to storm the beaches of Normandy to fight the Nazis. The did with honor and bravery. These 18, 19, and 20 year olds were up to the challenge. They made the sacrifice. What are 20 and 25 year olds doing now in North America? They are are war. Except the enemy is within. For the last couple of months they have been burning down stores, tearing down historical statues, looting, and yelling "ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS!" They shout at law enforcement, "I DON'T SEE NO RIOT HERE, TAKE OFF YOUR RIOT GEAR!" How cute. Besides a total breakdown of law and order, we now bear witness to where people's loyalties truly lie. Soon I expect the anarchists and the anti-mask right wingers to shout, "COVID-19 WE DON'T CARE, WE JUST WANT CHEAP UNDERWEAR!"
Canadians were being paid $2,000.00 a month to stay home and weather the coronavirus storm, but hundreds of yahoos had to march in various cities. We just want to get back to work, they shouted. Get back to work? My butt cheeks! They were bored sitting at home watching Judge Judy and stuffing their face with doughnuts. They wanted to go to the gym, to the mall, to meet their friend Tiffany at Starbucks. And mommy misses her early afternoon trysts with Jorge the pool boy.
THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT! (Or wrote it.) First world people and their first world problems. These people live in a world of, to use a term coined by German psychologist Roy Baumeister, "chronically favourable circumstances" where just about everything has been handed to them. They have never really suffered, never known genuine tragedy or sacrifice through cataclysmic social or political events. Unless, of course, you consider the time when their neighbourhood grocery store ran out of coco puffs or strawberry glazed pop-tarts. Then they go ballistic by taking to Facebook and Twitter.
My favourite exchange, (actually, it was a horrific exchange), comes from a far-right news website in Canada. On the face mask issue, (why is it even an issue?), a poster asked, "What happened to the left's abortionists narrative of a person's right to choose?"
To which I responded, "What happened to your right-wing narrative of pro-life? I guess your right to not wear a mask trumps the right of grandma and grandpa to stay alive."
Oh, you would think I pulled out a gun and started shooting. In a way I guess I did. Several others responded along the lines of "grandma and grandpa shouldn't be out and about if they are so fearful."
"Grandma and grandpa are not the ones out and about", I responded. "Many are isolated in nursing homes dying alone. The ones out and about are the idiots protesting without masks. Then they visit grandma and grandpa during this pandemic. Grandma and grandpa are vulnerable to ignorant protesters bringing the disease with them. Considerate, pro-life people? I think not."
"Grandma and Grandpa can stay home if they are afraid", wrote another. "I've gotten shop keepers to back off claiming medical exemption." This Canadian right-wing news website claims they can get medical exemptions for people who don't want to wear face masks.
I respond: "The ancient Hebrews used to sacrifice their first born to the pre-Abrahamic Gods Baal and Moloch. It would seem that the coronavirus has turned the far right into the ancient Hebrews, who are now willing to sacrifice the elderly at the alter of selfishness."
"Why do you worry about the elderly when they have one foot in the grave?" asked another.
"A very insensitive comment in regards to the elderly", I reply. "Also lacking in compassion and empathy for human life; much like those on the extreme left who lack compassion and empathy for human life by advocating late term abortions. Thanks to our lack of understanding and curiosity of basic science and how this virus spreads, we have entered a very dark place and have chosen to seek false comfort there. Much like the cave allegory in Plato's Republic, we prefer to remain in the dark ignorance of our beliefs rather than emerge into the light. We are now regressing. We humans aren't as smart as we like to think."
"Grandpa can stay home if he's afraid. Nobody is gonna come for him", chimed the same woman who seems not to care for the elderly.
"In other words," I say, "no one is going to comfort him in his fear, in his hour of need. He will die alone while grandchildren like you go to the mall without a mask, spread your germs, stare at the Gucci handbags, and sip your latte without a care in the world. Thank you for proving my point."
And on and on it went. This insensitivity and cruelty towards the elderly plays right into the hands of those in Asia who believe that we put our parents in an old age home and forget about them. It has become worse than that. I have never been this embarrassed to be Canadian. We used to be a compassionate and intelligent people, but no longer.
Genuine altruism and sacrifice from another world
I came across a passage from a book I read recently about how bumblebees react when they become infected by a "nasty little parasite called a conopid fly, which inserts larvae into the unwitting bumblebee's abdomen." This kills the bee within twelve days, but the larvae sits in the bee's abdomen until they hatch. When the bumblebee gets infected, it does something incredible: "It abandons the colony and flies off to a faraway flower meadow to die completely alone. Why? Because in doing so, the invidious larvae are also led away from the infected bumblebee's non-parasitized kin, and the colony is saved from an infestation when the conopid flies hatch." (A Very Human Ending: how suicide haunts our species, by Jesse Bering. Penguin Random House UK, 2018. p. 70.)
It would seem that we humans have a lot to learn from the humble bumbles.
Statistically and scientifically illiterate
The death rate is the same as the seasonal flu, they say. My God, the stupidity doesn't end! They pull numbers out of their backside, or copy and paste from Wikipedia.
"Scientifically and statistically speaking," I comment, "there is no death rate since case rates and fatality rates are constantly changing. However, there is a case fatality rate (CFR) where you divide those who have died into the total cases and take the percentage, and the infection fatality rate (IFR) where you divide those who have died into those who have recovered and take the percentage. You will get two different figures. This is how statistical data is collected and analyzed."
The problem people have when simply copying and pasting numbers to make a point is that these numbers are predictions based on statistical inference. They are future models and are almost always wrong. The old bat who took the Wikipedia numbers as gospel had no idea that these numbers were included and footnoted in a scientific paper she had not read. I read it. It was very complicated, way above me, but I did my best to make sense of it. The paper used the Bayesian method of statistical inference in an attempt to predict where the coronavirus may be heading. While this method has its fans, it lacks accuracy and scientific rigor.
Hypothosis, probable inference… in other words, they are guessing. An educated guess, but a guess nonetheless. I pointed this out to her. No response.
Another problem people have is their mistaken and seemingly unshakable belief in human exceptionalism. We are smarter than all other species. Oh really? I defer here to Orgel's Second Rule: "Evolution is cleverer than you are." Not in the sense of consciousness. Those who claim that evolution can't do this, or is incapable of that, lack imagination. The same can be said with the coronavirus. It has mutated thousands of times, creating more severe and less deadly strains as it rolls along. We don't know where it will go next. Those who claim they do are ignorant at best; dangerous charlatans at worst. This virus is cleverer than you are.
Then there are the Covid parties attended by both the right and the left. Drinking from the same spiked punch bowl, they dare others to take the coronavirus challenge by licking toilet seats and going to supermarkets to sneeze on the lettuce, cough on the tomatoes, and, if no one's watching, urinate on the apples. "COVID-19 WE DON'T CARE, WE JUST WANT CHEAP UNDERWEAR!"
What those on the fringe right and the fringe left are displaying here is their inability to engage in appropriate social discourse with those who hold different views and opinions than they do. They also exhibit an abhorrent lack of respect for authority, law and order, and following social norms that would keep others safe. This is evidence of the utter failure of the education system and the collapse of proper parenting skills.
I understand that hard science, in particular, virology and epidemiology, are difficult, taxing, and time consuming areas of study. Many people were busy under lockdown for three months. With all the cute cat videos and mascara tips on YouTube, who had the time to read science journals? However, there was always time to take a 15 minute quiz to find out what kind of vegetable you are.
It's as if we have abandoned the Darwinist notion of self-preservation in return for the comfort of false gods. I'm not sure how many Americans took Trump's advice and injected/ingested sodium hypochlorite. I cannot be certain how many people in India took their Swami's advice and drank cow urine. It is not just masks that have become politicized, but also medicine. Hydroxychloroquine has been used in Africa and Asia for seven decades to fight malaria and dengue fever with great results. It is now being used to battle Covid-19. Several studies indicate that when administered early, hydroxychloroqine works and cuts the fatality rate significantly. But the far-right anti-mask weirdos are disputing that as well. To think that we are light years away from the darkness of the middle ages is an illusion. I posted this on the far-right Canadian news website for those who think this is nothing but the common cold.
"If you check the gnome sequence of Sars-Cov-2, you will find spiked proteins and amino acids not found in the previous six coronaviruses, namely, the PRRA sequence. These are inserts, not mutations. The site for this insert is called the polybasic furin cleavage site. Sars-Cov-2 is the only coronavirus that has the ability to cleave the T-cells of the immune system. This is what makes it so dangerous and is explained in detail from www.virology.ws
It would be a good idea if you and your not so bright followers properly educate yourselves about this virus before speaking about it. I would laugh at the ignorance of the Canadian people if this ignorance didn't manifest itself in the almost complete inability to evaluate and process risk."
The response? "Polly's cleavage? What about Polly's cleavage?"
It has been well documented that Covid-19 creates the same co-morbidities in many young and middle-aged people that we see in the elderly. Hypertension, long term kidney and lung damage, blood clots, impaired cognition, intense fatigue, and shrunken testes. Dr. Chris Martensen talks about this in his very informative videos on the Peak Prosperity YouTube channel.
It gets personal
Then came a heartbreaking story about a man in Canada who died unnecessarily waiting for a pacemaker. I posted this comment:
"I predicted all this in January. In January/February I was writing family and friends back in Canada warning them that the CCP virus was coming to North America, and was laughed at. I was watching videos of this unfold in China and was told, "oh this is in China." I talked to people in China, doctors/former students. I received horrific information from them. I live in a country that was the first one hit with the CCP virus after China, so I knew what was happening. I told people to prepare for possible food/drug hoardings and shortages. I said people will get sick and die. I was laughed at by family and friends. I said hospital rooms and services would be reserved for COVID-19 patients. This was in January/February. Then it hit Europe. I warned them again. I was laughed at. Then it hit North America. Suddenly most people stopped laughing, except the weirdos on your website.
My father is in a long term care facility in Montreal. I begged them to prepare in January/February. They did nothing... until March... when the CCP virus hit your part of the world. Then he was put in isolation along with the other residents.
The government is partly to blame. They knew what was happening and chose to do nothing. Then they panicked. The media is partly to blame. They knew what was happening and chose to say nothing. They ignored it. The people are mostly to blame. They laughed and did nothing. Now some people are dying unnecessarily. That is your fault. I warned you and you did nothing. You are still ignoring it and denying its existence. You are still panicking."
Thailand has not escaped the insanity of the coronavirus deniers among a significant portion of the expat population. The Thai authorities have done a masterful job of containment since the middle of March. Low cases and fatalities, closing bars, beaches, malls, and the borders to international flights. Keep the borders closed as far as I'm concerned. It's quiet where I am. I sleep well at night.
According to the Global Covid Index Report, published July 29, Thailand scored 82.06 out of 100 putting it number one of 184 countries that have made the most progress in curtailing the spread of the pandemic. This report is used as an example of best anti-virus practices. South Korea came in second, followed by Latvia, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Canada came in ninth. Four of the top five countries are in Asia, a continent where mask wearing is a part of culture.
In a recent CNN International report, Thai epidemiologists and village health volunteers combined their efforts to crush the curve. A dengue fever outbreak last year left Thailand prepared for Covid-19 as one million village health volunteers fanned the country to offer advice and medicine to a cooperative population. It is obvious how this was accomplished. Thais put their country first. When push came to shove, Thais put their selfish desires aside for the sake of a healthy community. The "What I want" attitude became the "What we need to do" objective. In the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and other western countries, people without face masks protest with signs declaring that they would rather die on their feet than live on their knees. I hope these people are wearing comfortable shoes. This is what happens when people are taught that only their lives matter.
A popular British vlogger in Thailand opened two bars last year in Pattaya. Insane, I know. There's an old joke: how do you make a million dollars in Thailand? Start with 10 million. He, and so many others, were going bananas when the bars closed for over three months. It's just the common cold, he said. Where have I heard that before? The bars have re-opened which is quite a relief for the expats. Nothing like a dose of the clap to take your mind off the coronavirus.
My favourite foreign vloggers here are those who cruise down Soi Cowboy in Bangkok and Soi 6 in Pattaya wondering out loud when tourists will be allowed back. They look at the bars that are closed and lament. They look at the bars that have reopened only to see two or three customers sitting alone nursing a beer. Don't worry, they say into their smart phones, it will all get back to normal soon. Then comes that old refrain: "The Thais need us more than we need them!"
What a load of elephant crap! The epitome of narcissism. The height of paternalism. Imperialist to the core. And ignorant beyond belief. The Thai girls from the "entertainment zones" simply returned to the fertile plains of their villages and family farms.
A quick peruse on their social media accounts show a different story from the perverted foreign narrative. These 'poor Thai girls' have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews who fish, plant rice, and raise ducks and chickens. Farmers and fishermen don't starve. On their social media pages, I saw photo after photo of these 'poor Thai girls' surrounded by family members with heaping plates of food. I haven't seen that much food since Marvin Goldstein's Bar Mitzvah! Fish, shrimp, rice, noodles, soup, pork, and chicken with countless bottles of beer and whiskey! The last time I saw a feast like that was at a Polish wedding! (Okay, I got a thousand of 'em.) The Thais are just fine. It was the foreigners who weren't. Stuck in their guesthouse hovels for weeks on end without beer for their Pad Thai takeout.
I don't know what the Thai administration's objective is besides flattening the curve and keeping it flat, which they have done. I see no ulterior motive, but with many foreigners, conspiracy theories abound here too. This includes closing down the notorious nightlife, or at least significantly reducing it, and limiting foreign tourism to families and more financially stable people. Both sound good to me. In fact, if the current administration's objective is to significantly reduce and curtail the naughty nightlife, while retraining those in the "entertainment zones" for more socially acceptable employment, then I will be the first to kiss the Prime Minister's ring. There is a lot of talk about decoupling many of the world's economies from China. A gradual partial decoupling would be great. The Prime Minister can petition many foreign governments to move some of their companies here. A competitive wage would see many of the bars close permanently. Great idea. Glad I thought of it.
The world is a sick place and getting sicker by the day. I walk that back. The world is fine. It's people who suck. During the lockdown I breathed fresh air. From my 31st floor condo balcony I saw distant mountains separating one province from another. On the beach the water cleared and sea turtles slowly emerged to stroll on the clean white sand. Sea creatures tentatively ventured out of their holes while human creatures retreated to theirs. The world began to heal itself while humans marinated in their own pathologies.
We are heading into uncharted waters surrounded by people with no oars to row anyone to safety. Very few people planned for this. Almost no one thought ahead. Between the right and the left, between killing the unborn and allowing the elderly to be culled like livestock, alone in their rooms wondering what happened to higher values like compassion and empathy, we have now reached the point where human life 'ain't worth a bag of beaver crap. We are on our own. Maybe that is a good thing. It just may force some of us, at least, to seek higher ground, far away from the human fray, from the darkness, from the filth that is humanity. Time to plant a garden. Time to do more reading and more thinking. Time to rely on ourselves more. Time to enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, our own company, and a good cup of coffee. Time to reflect on how we got to this horrible place. Time to ponder how this current crop of disrespectful, want for nothing generation of spoiled pampered North Americans have so easily become the NAZIS the greatest generation fought against, and why they seem so comfortable wearing the swastika.