We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

”The only ways to control an epidemic effectively are by a vaccine or by a change in behaviour. Time and again, the scientists and health professionals have failed the government by ignoring the crucial role of incentives in changing behaviour. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and the only tool they have had is lockdown.”

Paul Omerod, writing about the UK government’s approach to taking advice during the plague.

26 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Central fact about this epidemic is that for great majority of people, catching COVID-19 is little more than an inconvenience, which means we are NOT “all in this together” because we are not all equally at risk of serious harm. The ONLY people who should be isolating are the vulnerable or those unable to avoid mixing with the isolated vulnerable, the rest should be getting on with their lives. This one-size-fits-all shut down of civil society is utter madness.

  • Ed Turnbull

    I had quite a black pill moment yesterday and, consequently, I’m feeling rather depressed this morning. I was delivering a Xmas card and gift to friends (inveterate normies by the way) and, almost inevitably, the topic of the lockdown / tier 4 arose. (Some background: said friends are in their early 60s – so only slightly older than me, and at no greater risk of dying from the kung flu than I am – but one of them has parents in their mid-80s. Also I’m in central Scotland and I haven’t a clue what ‘tier’ we’re in, but I just ignore such nonsense where I can).

    They were bemoaning the fact that they wouldn’t be able to see their elderly parents on Xmas day, so I asked, not unreasonably I thought, “what’s stopping you”? Just do what you want to do, after all it’s not as if you’re going to be carted off to the camps for breaking ‘the rules’. At least not yet. At this point the male half of this couple became quite irate and started yammering on about “people acting irresponsibly” and “we all have a responsibility to protect those at risk” (I hadn’t been aware that this man was such a collectivist), and other such rubbish that indicated they’d drunk the Kool-Aid and found it quite palatable. It took considerable effort for me to not simply drop the gift they’d just given me and turn on my heels with a parting “Done with you. Have a nice life. Goodbye”. But, for my wife’s sake, I held my tongue.

    Nonetheless, I’m thinking that perhaps it’s time this pair of ‘friends’ joined my growing pile of ex-friends. You cannot reason with people who are clearly not sapient; people who just unquestioningly accept what they get from the glass teat and the newsprint toilet paper. As I mentioned above: something of a black pill moment, and Heaven knows I’ve taken more than a healthy dose of that dark medicine this year. It’s depressing to realise that those of us who do think, who do question, who do reason are in a small minority. I hope we prevail, but I find my hope shrinking daily.

    Anyway, to end on a lighter note: I wish all of this parish the very best for the festive season. Enjoy yourselves in whatever ways seem most fit to you. Chin chin.

  • Roué le Jour

    “We have become weak and idolatrous and angered the gods! We must destroy all our wealth to appease them!”

    So much for two thousand years of civilization.

  • Tom Carver

    Ed, I don’t think that you should be in a hurry to reject your friends; instead, make your opinion on the lockdown perfectly clear, and see if they reject you.
    There is a definite left / right aspect in people’s response to the virus; In my experience, it’s mostly those on the bien pensant ‘left’ who can’t accept anyone with different ideas or opinions, whereas the ‘right’ are far more tolerant of other points of view.

  • Paul Marks

    The first moral duty in relation to those who are ill is to to treat them – to try and cure their illness.

    Medications, long established medications, exist which can generally, if treatment is EARLY, cure Covid 19 (Sars Covid 2), but people are in the United Kingdom, and many other nations, NOT being treated with these medications.

    Think about that. This is NOT March – there is no doubt now that proper Early Treatment can reduce hospitalisations by at least 80%, but people are NOT being treated in many Western nations.

    This illness, as far as the “advanced West” is concerned, is at least partly a self-inflicted-wound.

    Vast bureaucracies, private as well as government bureaucracies, have taken over medical care – and the basic relationship between patient and doctor (historically the former directly paid the latter to cure their illness – no third party was involved) has broken down. Modern journals such as the “New England Journal of Medicine” are more interested in preaching far left politics than they are in curing individual patients of their diseases.

    As for the lockdowns and other restrictions – if these government measures truly had prevented mass death in the United Kingdom one could have made an argument for them.

    For example Taiwan, a nation of over 20 million people, closed its borders (an unlibertarian action) – but it has kept its Covid 19 death toll down to 7 people (seven).

    But the United Kingdom has not kept its death toll down to seven (7) people – closer to 70 THOUSAND people have died here.

    So claims that we have smashed the economy (smashed society) in order to prevent mass death, break upon the rock that we have had mass death anyway – indeed one of the worst death rates, even in relation to the size of our population, in the entire world.

    No honest person can seriously defend the policies that have been followed (only despicable people such as “Nullius” would try and defend them) – policies supported by ALL the political parties in Parliament. This is not the failure of this or that political party – the SYSTEM has failed.

    I fear that 2021 (when the bills for all this hit us) will prove to be a truly terrible year – and the start of a truly terrible age for the whole Western World, perhaps indeed the END of the West.

  • Jim

    “Nonetheless, I’m thinking that perhaps it’s time this pair of ‘friends’ joined my growing pile of ex-friends. You cannot reason with people who are clearly not sapient; people who just unquestioningly accept what they get from the glass teat and the newsprint toilet paper.”

    My feeling is that the divide on covid between the questioners and the accepters can be divided into those who have considered their own mortality, and maybe come to terms with it, and those who have not. We live in an age when a person need not consider their own approaching death until considerably later than used to be the case. Indeed less than 100 years ago death was all around us, a simple infection could spell death for anyone regardless of age or overall health. Now most people under the age of 60 would consider they should live well into their 80s, unless they have some already extant health issue. Covid has forced such people to consider death arriving tomorrow, and for many it has proved to be a great shock. It is those I suspect who have become the born again collectivists and control freaks. They are frightened to their very marrow and are attempting to control this fear by imposing constraints on society to minimise the risk to themselves.

    I would be interested to see research done on attitudes to covid compared to people’s existing acceptance of known personal risks – for example are smokers more or less likely to demand covid restrictions on others?

  • Paul Marks

    As for what Paul Omerod says in the quote – it is very odd.

    What previous epidemic has been ended by a vaccine or by a “change in behaviour”?

    Previous epidemics (including those of the late 1960s and the late 1950s) have burned themselves out without either a vaccine or some massive “change in behaviour”.

    What the man is saying (his starting premise) is just WRONG.

    Even the “Spanish Flu” at the end of the First World War, which really did kill millions of people, was not ended by a vaccine or by some great “change in behaviour”.

    What is Mr Omerod basing his statement, his starting assumption, on?

    He does not appear to be basing it on anything.

    Once a virus is in a country it SPREADS – no amount of ritual dancing will stop that. One treats the sick (if one can) and carries on WORKING.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Paul, smallpox – a major killer – was ended by vaccination. Other killers were changed and curbed by hygiene measures (cholera), or development of antibiotics (TB, etc, etc)

    Viruses are, as you say, traditionally tougher foes to beat; they can be contained to a certain extent, in a sort of Cold War “arms race” of vaccinations and counter-measures, which is why I had a flu shot this year, as did my wife, father and others I know.

    Immunology is a field that is spreading, well, like a virus.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Paul, I should add – and being a fan of history you would be aware – that threats such as sexually transmitted diseases were to some extent controlled by changes in behaviour. That is one reason why Victorians were famously prudish, not because they did not want to get some action but because of the dangers of sleeping around unprotected. Remember all the advice around the time of the AIDS outbreak, etc?

  • John B

    Vaccines can only control epidemics before they start by not letting the virus become epidemic, once it has run its course and is endemic vaccine is redundant because you will be vaccinating mostly already immune people to no good effect. Those not immune are unlikely to be in contact with anyone who isn’t or who is infectious.

    There are numerous ‘flu strains endemic, we do not every year vaccinate the population against all of them. ‘Flu vaccines are for new strains that have been identified and assumed to be most likely to enter the population that year.

    The epidemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 started in February, peaked in early/mid March and was mostly over by end of April. That’s what the data shows us. The ‘second wave’ started in September, peaked in mid-October and was over towards end of November.

    Now we are vaccinating computer projections and trying to limit their spread.

  • Stonyground

    Interesting thought from Jim on people’s approach to mortality. I’m certainly fully aware that I’m not going to live for ever. Early sixties and T2 diabetic, so I’m on the at risk list. Just before I retired last March, someone at work made a joke about me just having got my retirement sorted and then getting zapped by a fatal flu bug. Some of the others thought that this was a terrible thing to say, but I just laughed and said that the very same thought had already occurred to me.

  • John B

    Johnathan Pearce (London)
    December 22, 2020 at 2:36 pm
    Paul, smallpox – a major killer – was ended by vaccination.

    Yes the virus was, but no epidemic was. Small Pox was endemic, not epidemic when it was eliminated by vaccination. It is the only one that has been. And Small Pox has no reservoir in the animal kingdom outside Humans so eliminate it in Humans and it is done. Other virus, like coronavirus, are everywhere among animals, so vaccination will not eliminate them from Humans as new strains can just be transferred from animals to Humans.

  • lucklucky

    ”The only ways to control an epidemic effectively are by a vaccine or by a change in behaviour”

    Where is the evidence that changing behavior can control this epidemic (excluding total isolation)

  • Rich

    The only tool they want to use is lockdown.

    Stop assuming your enemies are acting in good faith.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    ‘Flu vaccines are for new strains that have been identified and assumed to be most likely to enter the population that year.

    Indeed. Which is why I said vaccination against viruses is a bit like an arms race.

  • APL

    ”The only ways to control an epidemic effectively are by a vaccine or by a change in behaviour. …”

    Ah! The Vaccine. CDC reports that of 112,807 doses administered, 3,150 experienced a “Health Impact Event”, described by the CDC as “unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, required care from doctor or health care professional”.

    A little short of 3%, which scaled up to the population wide vaccination program implies 700,000 people in the UK will require medical attention directly as a result of the vaccine.

    In other news Tiffany Dover is very much alive.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Central fact about this epidemic is that for great majority of people, catching COVID-19 is little more than an inconvenience, which means we are NOT “all in this together” because we are not all equally at risk of serious harm. The ONLY people who should be isolating are the vulnerable or those unable to avoid mixing with the isolated vulnerable, the rest should be getting on with their lives. This one-size-fits-all shut down of civil society is utter madness.

    This is 100% accurate and really goes to the heart of the matter. 100 years from now the historians will look back and ask “why did Americans give up their civil rights and liberty in 2020? because they were going from ~2.9 million deaths in 2019 to ~3.1 million deaths in 2020. Even as the vaccines were rolling out the lockdowns continued and became even more severe in many places”

    It’s just surreal. To say this situation is sad is a terrible understatement.

    There was a time in this country that people including our political leaders believed “it’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years” but that time has passed. Teddy Roosevelt would be ashamed of the pussification of America.

  • John Lewis

    So much of our problem in the Uk arose initially from the policy of “protecting” the bloody nhs. Second time round and our rulers have learned nothing from their mistake.

  • Sam Duncan

    Also I’m in central Scotland and I haven’t a clue what ‘tier’ we’re in, but I just ignore such nonsense where I can

    Oh, we have “levels”, not tiers, because SCOATLAAAAND!

    Me too, though. I didn’t even know about tier 4 until Sunday afternoon. I knew something had changed because everyone was talking about cancelled plans on Sunday morning, but I’d no idea what they were on about. They, of course, assumed I had all the details, because isn’t everyone hanging on The Authorities’ every word?

    I thought, “what’s stopping you”? Just do what you want to do, after all it’s not as if you’re going to be carted off to the camps for breaking ‘the rules’.

    Indeed. Nothing about this winds me up more than people saying, “We can’t…”. We can; you choose not to. You may have good reason (I don’t object to sensible precautions, up to a point; of course you should wash your hands thoroughly – did people really have to be told that? – and, when you have the sniffles, avoid vulnerable people), but don’t use the language of physical impossibility for abiding by man-made rules.

  • Exasperated

    FWIW: I posted the following on several websites in July, including this one, I thought. Slovakia followed this protocol with considerable success.
    On Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 6:57 AM Exasperated wrote:
    Dr Sheult (Medcram channel on YouTube) has an update exploring the idea put forth by a Dr. Mina of Harvard. As you know, effective testing has been an obstacle in establishing protocols for public safety. The CDC is hung up on having a 99.999% accurate test.
    What Dr Mina has proposed is using the less sensitive, but extremely cheap, self administered antigen test, based on a drop of saliva wiped across a small square of test paper. This test measures for general infectivity over a certain threshold. If the test is positive the student or worker, and their family members can just stay home. Even if it is missed the first day, so what, it can be picked up a day or two later, the point is you have many potential carriers self isolating greatly reducing the public viral load and exposure. Again the point is, don’t let the perfect by the enemy of the good or the good enough. These test are already available.
    You wouldn’t even have to take it day in and day out for weeks and months at a time, just when the level of active cases is accelerating in your local area. Maybe the city or the school district could track local infectious activity and be the communication hub like they are for storms or when school is cancelled.

    At the time my sister, from Illinois, replied:
    It eliminates test reading companies like the Pritzker crowd are invested in – what a surprise the readings are so high in false positives. It would have to offer some form of graft or it won’t be used around here.

  • I wonder how they feel this morning now the Sainted Sturgeon has been revealed as yet another CovidHypocrite…?

  • Lloyd Martin Hendaye

    “Control” of 2020’s Wuhan Flu is a delusion: Given degrees of herd immunity (cf: Sweden and Taiwan), this episodic virus will simply run its course.

    All that hidden-agenda officialdom in (say) California and the U.K. accomplishes with lockdowns, stupid masks, maleficent quarantines, is exaggeration and prolongation of fear-mongering despotism designed explicitly to foster dependency syndromes branding “social credit” violators Enemies of the State.

    For the record, he U.S. population’s accurately tallied Crude Death Rate –deaths from all causes, incl. accidents, disease, old age– remains about 2-million to 327-million, 0.612%.
    Adding some 200 K Covid-19 casualties should drive this CDR to 2.2 : 327 = .673%… but no. Upon examination, actuaries find the U.S. CDR has fallen to 1.8 million, meaning that Covid deaths in normal-course have been intentionally misrepresented.

    Like AGW catastrophism and anti-GM/ZPG Malthusian demagoguery, this Wuhan Flu is an excuse for crony-kleptarchs’ New World Order/ “Great Reset”. Facing a transformative AI Singularity c. AD 2030, plus a looming 90-year Super-Grand Solar Minimum through c. 2110, Luciferian elites’ prognoses face radical comeuppance comparable to Martin Luther’s Reformation beginning 1517.

  • Snorri Godhi

    ‘Omerod’ should be ‘Ormerod’.

  • APL

    Oh boy! I want a double dose of that!

    Just as when the authorities wanted to increase the fear and panic, every death was conscripted into the COVID-19 mortality toll.

    Oddly, dying two hours after being vaccinated with one of the anti COVID-19 vaccines, is unrelated to the dose.

    Presumably, it was just a health impact event.

  • APL

    BBC up to it’s propagandist lies as normal.

    But NHS staff that have actually caused the untimely death or injury of patients don’t have blood on their hands.

    £4.3bn, that’s a tidy sum.

  • APL

    Well if true, this is pretty despicable.

    people with breathing problems due to anxiety are registered as Covid-19 patients.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>