Wednesday August 12, 2020
“You’re a grandma killer.” “You’re not a scientist.” “You’d kill people to revive the economy.” “You should trust the experts.” “I knew you’d resort to conspiracy theories.” These phrases all have one purpose: silencing you, to control the competing narrative. The fact that they want to shame and intimidate you into compliance is evidence that your thoughts are dangerous — all the more reason to shout them from the rooftops. It is highly desirable and crucial to question motives, critique experts, and think for yourself. When that doesn’t happen, the force of the crowd prevails, and disaster occurs.
How many of us questioned the veracity of this image? We all saw them on social media, bombarding us with an astroturf campaign designed to convince us that support for lockdown was universal. After all, who wouldn’t be willing to simply remove himself from the “chain” of infection, thereby “saving lives?” Most people accepted the story. They put the “stay home, save lives” sticker on their social media profiles. They joined the team, collecting money for “frontline heroes,” and summarily ostracized outsiders. None of this is surprising: we have access to neverending media, but very few of us have pandemic management knowledge. This is a combustible combination.