What was, what has been, where we are now
The distressed are willing to oppress the un-distressed so that the un-distressed become distressed.
But let me begin, well, at the beginning.
In the days of the old, there was science and she was good. There was a poison and there was a gift of science: an antidote. If people got poisoned, they were given the antidote.
What has been
In the days of the young, there is science and she is very good. There also is a poison, but science has improved the antidote: now there is a “pre-antidote”. People may be given the pre-antidote at the scientifically modelled risk of being poisoned.
Some things had happened. Poison came. Risk modelling wheels were spun. Some people have been pre-antidoted.
Now it may be said that the currently pre-antidoted submitted to their distressed “doctor” (the government1), who himself had been distressed by the scientifically modelled risk, because the pre-antidoted were sufficiently distressed by what their distressed doctor had told them about the dangers of a certain poison. Therefore, I wish to call the pre-antidoted “the distressed”.
Now it may also be said that the currently un-pre-antidoted have not submitted to their distressed doctor, who himself had been distressed by the scientifically modelled risk, because the un-pre-antidoted were not sufficiently distressed by what their distressed doctor told them about the dangers of a certain poison. Therefore, I wish to call the un-pre-antidoted “the un-distressed”.
Where we are now
The distressed are willing to oppress the un-distressed so that the un-distressed become distressed. It must be said that the current oppression of the un-distressed by the distressed is a greater evil than what it is that makes the distressed distressed.
What will be
What will be cannot be said. Or, rather, what will be cannot be said with any certainty. Will the pre-antidoted remain distressed and continue to oppress the un-distressed? Will the un-distressed remain undistressed? Will the very good science persist in the modelling of risk? Will the distressed doctor remain distressed in the grip of the very good science’s modelling? Many other questions are possible.
What may be said when what will be cannot be said
Science, the distressed, and the doctor (again, the government) strive to do great good, but they also augment so much vice and multiply so much suffering that it is open to argument whether they will continue to be or will not continue to be an evil to the world. This is entirely because excellent people fancy, in the current time of the plague, that they can do much by rapid action—that they will most benefit the world when they most relieve their own feelings of distress; that as soon as an evil is seen, ‘some thing’ instantly and efficiently ought to be done to prevent it. One may incline to hope that the balance of good and evil favours benevolence, but its burden of harm might have been spared us if our doctors and our very good science enthusiasts had not succumbed to a passion for instant action—and took the trouble to think.2
For my above “writing gymnastics”, as I call them, I have no excuse other than they oblige the hygienic necessity of airing my grievances. The fulfillment of necessity is my motive and the resulting improvement in hygiene is my reward, wretched man that I am. What it is that I think our doctors and science enthusiasts should be thinking should they take the trouble to think, I will write about another time, having booked a flight ticket to Patagonia, or possibly Alaska, first.
Thanks for reading my stuff. I hope to remain not unvaccinated. I hope to remain un-distressed—I wish you the same.
Kissing you on the mouth,
December 5, AD 2021
I’ve chosen the term “doctor” to mean the government in order to highlight my observation that, at least for the past two years, the government clearly wants to be a doctor, talks like a doctor, and acts like a doctor. It’s been said that “if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck…”.
And another sidenote: One cannot help but notice that the so-called Public Health—an administrative discipline that oftentimes drifts dangerously towards pure mathematical speculation—should not be confused with medical practice: an ethical discipline in the art of alleviating suffering. (To me, it even seems certain that the two are opposed.)
This paragraph contains my paraphrase of a part of the splendid book by Frank Prochaska, (2013), The Memoirs of Walter Bagehot.