Is Covid-19 a Global Cult?

My first answer is, it is definitely a global narrative.

What is a narrative? It’s a story. It has central themes and is likely to have unstated premises.

What is a narrative’s purpose? That can very, depending on who is telling the narrative, whether they have political or cultural power or are trying to free themselves from political-economic or cultural power.

Truth doesn’t have to play a part in it, although it is good for the interests behind the narrative that those to whom it is addressed believe in it wholeheartedly … possibly to the point of being willing to die for it if asked to do so.

Edward Louis Bernays (from the first page of his slim book Propaganda, written in the early 1920a):

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Thoser who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. We are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

Walter Lippman, in his book Public Opinion (1922):

That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. . . . Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.”

This ought to raise the question: who are the “manufacturers of consent”? Who, which groups, have the money (economic power), influence (especially in corporate media and in academic), and cultural power (in the streets) to “manufacture consent”?

If you’ve no idea whatsoever, I recommend undertaking the job of finding out.

Contrast the spirit of the above quotes with that of science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein:

Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

And this, also from Heinlein:

Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

Kind of makes you think of Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech giants, doesn’t it. Not to mention “cancel culture” and its effort to eradicate every element of history it finds “offensive,” which seems to be most of it.

Only the latter is using force understood as physical coercion or overt intimidation, mostly because the cult of “woke” is, by and large, too stupid to know any better.

Turn to Covid-19. Medical truth or medical narrative? Science or cult (as if, with most science today being bankrolled by corporations or by government, there is a difference here that makes a difference)?

Before deciding, be sure to read this:

https://www.unz.com/chopkins/the-covidian-cult/

The reason for my being in here this morning. Goes without saying, this is a workaround post; it would not exist without Flakebook which blocks posts to Unz Review, and other sorts of censorship. Why the rising tide of censorship, on which I’ve commented before?

We aren’t suppose to ask these kinds of questions. We aren’t supposed to pursue these lines of inquiry, such as whether there is more to this “pandemic” than meets the eye, or, more exactly, is talked to death in the fearmongering mass media.

We are supposed to fall in line before our (moneyed) betters, the owners of our institutions and would be owners of our lives themselves. We are supposed to believe they are there to protect us, to safeguard public health. That the lockdowns / quarantines of healthy people aren’t doing more harm than any virus ever could on its own. (This, from yesterday.)

We are supposed to believe wholeheartedly in their narrative of monopoly over truth (called “expertise”), and eschew what they dismiss as “quackery” (e.g., hydroxychloroquine and zinc as cures for Covid-19), while we wait for their “expertly” produced (and likely to be oh-so-profitable) vaccine. Maybe a series of vaccines. Produced by corporations who have legal immunity from being sued for damages if you are harmed by their products.

Paranoid? Dangerous, even? I am genuinely sorry if you think so. It’s no fun, having awakened to the realization, some time ago, that your civilization is based on encirclements and controls, not freedoms (except to consume): that this is not “capitalism,” it is not “socialism,” nor is it even the “mixed economy.”

It is Third Stage industrial civilization itself, which was growing by leaps and bounds when folks like Bernays and Lippmann were penning their quiet truths, for anyone who cared to read and understand.

They, and their owners, gambled successfully that the Third Stage masses would work and count the days till the weekend when they could drink, party, and fornicate … anything except read and internalize rather densely written books about how industrial civilization really works.

They, and their owners, gambled, that is, that most Americans would inhabit the “real Matrix,” consisting of governmental, corporate, and media-reinforced narratives for their entire lives, and that the handful of us who learned to “unplug” could be dismissed as “conspiracy theorists” (or whatever) and marginalized.

These are all Fourth Stage realizations, that present-day civilization is made almost entirely of narratives, and will remain such unless enough people awaken to do something about it, figuring out what is true and what isn’t, or at least, what is worth believing and what isn’t.

About Steven Yates

I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Georgia and teach Critical Thinking (mostly in English) at Universidad Nacionale Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile. I moved here in 2012 from South Carolina. My most recent book is entitled Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (2011). I am the author of an earlier book, around two dozen articles & reviews, & still more articles on commentary sites on the Web. I live in Santiago with my wife Gisela & two spoiled cats, Bo & Princesa.
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