It’s said that when a big ship goes down it pulls everything down with it, sucked into a vortex. Looks to me a good metaphor for what seems to be happening as civilization begins to go down. Maybe nothing much escapes its pull; most things are at least altered or a bit deformed.
Civilization is near-total these days; its force field is far from inconsiderable. Thinking itself is affected, and I don’t imagine that my thought is an exception. In the context of the pandemic, especially, the effects are plain to see.
Millions deny the reality of Trump’s electoral defeat. Then there’s the wacko fringe of that fringe, QAnon, with its mad, science-fictionesque, anti-Semitic claims and predictions that never come to pass. (The New York Times, Dec. 21, reports that QAnon is growing stronger.)
Much, if not most, of the anti-vaxx contingent also fills the conspiracy theory bill. Many of these folks see the new mRNA vaccines in a very sinister light. For them, the shots constitute something qualitatively new, their components secret, protected by Big Pharma patents. And the motivation of the new vaccines, they say, is control, new levels of surveillance and restrictions.
I wonder how many anti-vaxxers reject email, social media, smartphones, the metaverse? What “liberty” have we not already lost, held hostage as we are by ever-morphing levels of technological “advance”?
When confronted with millions of confirmed COVID deaths worldwide, anti-vaxxers either ignore or downplay the facts. The figures are inflated, they say; only old people die. What thousands of health care folks around the world continue to report is nothing but lies, they claim.
One of the most head-scratching aspects of this phenomenon to me has been the hate mail I’ve received for not being anti-vaxx. These screeds have come from individuals whose work on the critique of society, on the crisis and what drives it, I’ve much valued! Some in this camp, of all people, have attacked me as a fake anti-authoritarian for not drinking their conspiracy-theory Kool-Aid.
This is how far critical thinking has declined in some quarters. Frankly, my dear, I’d prefer to live to fight another day.
Zerzan is a local anarchist writer, whose books include Elements of Refusal and Future Primitive. You can listen live to his “AnarchyRadio,” at 7 pm Tuesdays on KWVA 88.1 FM or via audio streaming.