I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I don’t devote much thought to (what we are supposed to call) COVID-19. My wife and son are younger than I am and they are in good physical shape, so the risk for them is low. I’m morbidly obese, all but sedentary, and I have the eating habits of a raccoon, but I’ve also proved quite impossible to kill, so there you go. I am obsessive about my vitamins, and since Vitamin D levels appear to matter that’s a good thing.
On the other hand, COVID-19 is tremendously interesting to me as a lens through which to observe the modern idiocracy/kleptocracy/kakistocracy formerly known as the United States. The disease is almost meaningless in and of itself; it has increased the annual death rate in the United States by about twelve percent, which is not great but not exactly the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed 300,000 people in just two months across a country with a quarter of today’s population. Rather, it is the reaction to the disease that fascinates. The hypocrisy and naked urge to power given full faith and credit by the media, as discussed at Up In The Valley. The irony of our putative national search for fascists to attack — Punch A Nazi Today, Everyone, And “Nazi” Can Mean Anything You Want It To Mean! — while Amazon and the banks and the government act in literal lockstep, which, for those of you who got your education from a public school, is how fascism actually worked. We are being told that the government can’t make you take the vaccine, but that every corporation in the United States has simultaneously decided you’ll need it in order to do business with them. This is Phase II of Corporations Enforce Unwritten Law On Behalf Of The Government; Phase I was when the corporations decided that “hate speech” was adequate grounds to deny you everything from a bank account to a meal at a restaurant.
Oh yeah, about that vaccine: who gets it first?
It’s not a vaccine, by the way. “Vaccine” refers to a specific methodology in which a weakened or killed form of a Bad Thing is injected into your body. Your immune system then, for lack of a better analogy, practices against the Bad Thing. So when the Bad Thing arrives in full force, you’re ready, like Jennifer Lopez in “Enough”.
The COVID-19 “vaccine” is no such thing. It’s a virus itself, a successful one. It works the same way a virus does, by invading your cells and co-opting their reproduction methods for its own ends. A normal virus would simply cause the cell to work overtime until it burst; the liquefaction of skin and muscle due to Ebola is this on the macro scale. The COVID-19 vaccine-virus, by contrast, temporarily alters the cell production to make some “spike proteins” on its surface. The immune system sees these spike proteins, starts practicing for combat, and when the real-deal COVID-19 shows up, it will be ready. One hopes.
If the injection works as advertised, the effects won’t be very long-lasting; with just some localized cells to train it, the immune system will eventually forget about the whole thing. Thus the oft-discussed need for “boosters” in the future, perhaps a few times a year. What will the boosters contain? Primecitizen, that’s doubleplusungood of you to ask. Can the mRNA affect your DNA, essentially changing who you are and what your children will be? In theory, no; that’s a separate process. In practice, almost 8% of the human genome is supposedly made up of viruses that once infected us but have been rendered inactive. Rather famously, at least among science-y types, the “Arc” gene that allows for long-term memory in mammals operates and propagates in a fashion similar to that employed by HIV.
It seems obvious, therefore, that some large-scale human genetic engineering could be done via the COVID-19 vaccine and its inevitable successors. Said engineering could be entirely accidental; no conspiracy theory is required here. If you’d like further reason to stay awake at night, read this. Turns out that male sperm is chock full of RNA, the purpose of which is not well understood but probably has something to do with the ancient battle between nucleus and mitochondria as described in the Red Queen hypothesis. The fertilized egg would like to remain female if possible, but the well-equipped sperm uses RNA to batter the egg into submission and acceptance of the XY pragma. In a very real sense, you are subjecting your body to a sexual process via the “vaccine”, each and every time it happens.
Maybe this is the “rape culture” about which so much has been written.
Even if there is no dangerous “package” in the early COVID-19 vaccine, the worldwide mechanism for its delivery could be misused at the drop of a hat by bad actors. Imagine telling your great-grandparents that in the future they would all have to receive an injection of genetic material twice a year, the contents of that injection to be determined by close and unsupervised cooperation between government and the pharma industry. They would have more readily believed in faster-than-light spacecraft.
There are, of course, some interesting applications of this besides the usual (and most likely) dystopian stuff. Finally, an injection to make you stronger — not just in the short steroidal term, but permanently. An injection to make you smarter, one to make you faster. Insofar as these injections wouldn’t be cheap, it would return us to the feudal days, where the children of the aristocrats were bigger and smarter by virtue of being better fed. The Arc gene can be transferred via the messenger path. Take a memory vaccine. You will remember more than the competition does.
There will be many a slip between the cup of mRNA injections and the lip of enhanced human potential. Some of those slips will be deadly. Mutation kills a lot more mammals than it improves, dontcha know. Oh well, gotta break some omelets to make those eggs. If we need these kinds of eggs. which in this case we don’t. I profoundly distrust this vaccine and I will not exactly fight my way to the front of the line to get it. At the very least, I’ll want to wait six months before getting mine, because six months should be enough time to see the worst side effects of this RNA injection. The long-term stuff won’t be so readily apparent, but I’m 49, so I won’t be around long enough for all of those potential long-term effects to arrive.
Naturally, none of the above paranoid rambling has in any way traipsed flittingly through the smooth brains of the fucking love SCIENCE! crowd, most of whom think ATCG is probably the name of a band, and who therefore have the blindest of possible faith in the ability to the vaccine to immediately protect them from the world’s 17th (or thereabouts) leading cause of death. “IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE SCIENCE IS REAL!” Their idea of science is a statement or product issuing from credentialed people in lab coats, said lab-coat types being preferably not white men. It would greatly surprise them to understand what a contentious and uncertain practice real science can be, but how would they know? They majored in the social sciences.
In other words, they expect the vaccine to do exactly what it says on the label. So they have therefore naturally progressed immediately to the next phase of the Atlas Shrugged As Instruction Manual philosophy, in which they lovingly craft a political philosophy for the dispensing of said life-saving vaccine. The New York Times, as you can see above, is currently obsessing over “Who Should Get The Vaccine First: The Elderly, Or Essential Workers?” The capitalist/American notion of “let’s just get it to everyone ASAP” has not occurred to them; they are proceeding from an essentially Marxist point of view in which scarcity of all goods is assumed, making it necessary to privilege some people at the expense of others.
Any sane human being who can do elementary-school math should see that the elderly are the obvious first recipients of the vaccine. They have the most to gain and the least to lose. COVID-19 fatalities are distributed five to one in favor of people over 65, and eighteen to one in favor of people over 55. If we have something that kills people over 55 18x as often as it kills people under 55, I say we give the vaccine to over-55 people first. Duh.
(The alert reader will notice that I’m performing my own Sandberg Comes Alive calculations of human worth here, making the assumption that eighteen over-55 people, in the aggregate, can contribute more to society than one under-55 person can. This seems like a safe bet to me. If you made the survival rate one-to-one, on the other hand, you’d privilege the young people over the old ones, for the same reason. Where’s the tipping point? For me, somewhere between one and eighteen, obviously. Where is it for you?)
In a functioning American society, this would be obvious. In this society, we have to consider intersectional politics first. Older populations, the Times tells us, are whiter. They don’t need to say “racist/sexist/evil/capitalist”; the educated reader fills those blanks in her head as naturally as breathing, having dutifully read White Fragility and many other state-sponsored tracts on the dangers of whiteness. “Essential workers”, on the other hand, are brown and black, thanks to fifty years of government policies which have specifically worked to ensure that was the case. (We don’t worry about the racism of those policies, because they keep the gated-community toilets clean and the arugula available at Erewhon year-round.)
It’s obvious that “essential workers” should get the vaccine first. Their chances of dying are one-eighteenth that of the old white guy down the street, but they have moral superiority on their side. Except, apparently, for teachers, who according to the article tend to be white. So we’re gonna cut the teachers out of the equation. When you do the logic and math all the way through, it works out something like this:
“We will accept eighteen deaths to preserve one life, as long as the dead people are white and the preserved life is non-white.”
Now, as fate would have it, I know some fairly radical Black folk who think this logic is the Tuskeegee Experiment all over again; The Powers That Be think the vaccine might be deadly in itself so they are gonna test it on brown and black people first, in the name of social justice. Insofar as I’m skeptical about the virus myself, I have no argument to offer in response.
I think the truly American thing to do would be to break the vaccine into ten tranches totaling 350 million or whatever, and distribute it based on the last digit of your Social Security number. This would still punish the elderly, but it would at least be objectively fair on the face of it. The Logan’s Run scenario planned by the CDC, on the other hand, is transparently racist. Either it’s designed to kill white people (if you think the vaccine works) or it’s designed to kill Black people (if you think the vaccine is a hack job), but either way it’s going to do some race-based killing.
The late great Leon Trotsky — my younger readers won’t know him, but if they went to a half-decent school they will have a vague sense of him through his literary existence as “Snowball” the pig in Animal Farm — is reputed to have said that “You may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you.” He’s referring to the Marxist dialectic, and he means that while you might not want to get involved with the social worldview of Communism, it will eventually arrive at your doorstep through force.
In much the same way, your humble author is not much interested in “racism” as it is continually discussed nowadays. I grew up in mixed-race East Coast neighborhoods. I didn’t hear the fabled “n-word” in real life until I was fourteen years old. During my entire adult life I have provided employment and career opportunities to people regardless of race or creed. My W-2 and freelance staff at Hagerty was pretty much all white men when I took the job. It now resembles a Benetton ad to some extent, but that’s not intentional; I just hired the best people I could find to cover each beat. Yes, I certainly lost a few academic and career opportunities because I was a white man, but I probably picked up a few because of it, most notably in the exciting field of construction-site cleanup during my late teens, so maybe it all balanced out, right? Had I gotten my professorship twenty years ago, you and I wouldn’t know each other. I’m not going to complain.
Nevertheless, critical race theory is certainly interested in me, and my family. It’s interested in making sure my son doesn’t have the same educational and career opportunities other kids have. It’s interested in making sure my parents don’t have access to a vaccine that I don’t like but nevertheless is largely considered to be a Good Thing. It is interested in creating a world where, as was the case in 1750, race is once again the most important thing about any of us. It will determine where you live, where you work, where you go to school, and the quality of your medical care. This seems profoundly un-American to me — but my idea of America has an expiration date before that of anything in my pantry. The future is tribal. Just remember: it didn’t have to be this way. Someone wanted it to be like this. If COVID-19 has done nothing else for this country, at least it’s pulled the curtain far enough back for us to realize there really is a Wizard of Oz. Even if we don’t know exactly who it is.