Saturday, January 22, 2022
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How to create a Pariah

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‘LIFE won’t be easy for the unvaccinated’, stated Swiss President Guy Parmelin. ‘We don’t want compulsory vaccination in Switzerland, but it must also be clear to the unvaccinated that it’s actually an act of solidarity now, and if they still don’t want to get vaccinated, they have to accept that certain activities may not be possible temporarily.

That’s politico-speak for ‘We now intend to coerce the unvaccinated by making their lives uncomfortably difficult.’ 

It’s so obviously based on spurious grounds. ‘Just because many people still aren’t immunised, we can’t deprive of freedoms those who have been vaccinated. With their vaccination and a booster they have done everything to protect themselves and others and to slow down the pandemic.’ 

Or have they been gulled? Even Britain’s bloated PM is truthful about the vaccine stopping neither transmission or infection. ‘It doesn’t protect you against catching the disease and it doesn’t protect you against passing it on,’ he said quite correctly, for once. 

There have been demands to speed up the Swiss response, for example by introducing the 2G model adopted in neighbouring countries. Parmelin admits that would be very drastic and ‘we still know very little about Omicron’. Yet he still goes on to say that ‘We have to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and boost as quickly as possible. Those who simply don’t want to get vaccinated will get infected.’  (And die, you understand, while killing the rest of us also.) This rationale is based on shaky logic, but he still feels justified in threatening a sizeable, and determined, section of the population with social ostracism. The Unvaccinated as Pariahs. 

It’s a warning already echoing across Europe – in Austria and Italy, in Greece and Germany, where the unvaxxed already face criminal penalties. It’s the attempted policy across the Atlantic where, in his Fourth of July speech, President Biden called getting the shot the ‘most patriotic thing’ that Americans could do. ’Please, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do it. Do it now. For yourself, for your loved ones, for your community and for your country’. Thankfully, unlawful executive mandates have now been blocked in more than two dozen states. 

The coercive drive that is impelling so many Western political leaders is all part of that basic (or basest) human instinct to shove the blame for any dissatisfaction or problem you have not dealt with on to someone else, and I can see evidence of it in my own life. 

As a child in the West of Scotland after the war, my parents made me aware that whatever I was, I was not a Roman Catholic. I was never allowed to play with children who were, even though they lived round the corner. We went to different schools and different churches. Interfaith relationships, never mind marriages, were taboo. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ were alive and well in Ayrshire! It was only when I went up to university that I met the other third of my town’s population and beyond, and found that I rather liked them. 

My parents were good, decent and hard-working Scots, Protestant people, who wanted the best for their children. But they were also prisoners of their own narrow upbringing and prejudice and it was only through education, widening my experience and travelling beyond my small-town existence that I was able to rise above this bigotry.  

Now, unbelievably, in our dystopian post-Covid society, I find myself for the first time in my life on the ‘wrong side’. All those years of developing a sincerely inclusive and tolerant mind-set have benefited me nothing, as I realise it’s now my turn to be ‘the Pariah’. Living abroad, I need to be able to fly to visit friends and family at home. So, among the host of activities now denied me is my annual reunion with school friends in Scotland. I was even baptised alongside one of them, on VE Sunday in 1945, when the whole of Europe joyfully celebrated the return of peace. 

It doesn’t take long. Who could have imagined that in that space of time, those with the closest ties of family and friendship would find themselves on opposite sides of a politically engineered divide which could lead to societal collapse?

In the December 8 edition of the Rubin Report, Dave Rubin introduces a recording of Jordan Peterson describing how totalitarianism can slowly but determinedly take hold.

Rubin discusses how the creeping nature of authoritarianism happens incrementally, without ordinary people even being aware of it. He shows how ‘otherness’ can so easily take over. How could something as totally evil as Nazism take over a purportedly civilised country like Germany? Until recently, people could only intellectualise about it, about how people could possibly get from trivial details to shooting your own neighbour? But suddenly, we’re here and we can see it before us. 

Peterson’s analysis of this most horrifying aspect of human behaviour gets right to the point. The clip was recorded four years ago, well before Covid, but he was already on to things which are now urgently relevant. 

How does it work? Peterson explains (around 3 minutes in): ‘If I encroach on you, and I’m sophisticated about it, I’m going to encroach two millimetres, right to the point where you start to protest, and I’m going to stop. Then I’m going to wait. Then you’re going to calm down. And I’m going to encroach again, right to the point where you protest, and I’m going to stop. And I’m going to wait . . . And I’m just going to do that for ever and before you know it, you’re going to be back three miles from where you started . . . And you’re going to ask: How did I get here?’

And then the crucial explanation. ‘And the answer will be: Well, I pushed you further than you should have gone, and you agreed.’

You agreed. 

This time round, the process has made me the Pariah. Who knows where it will end? In his commentary for the 1973 ITV series The World at War, Laurence Olivier’s magnificent voice intones like a prophet: ‘Remember!’ 

If only everyone would. But on Tuesday in Westminster, a mere hundred and twenty-six of Britain’s ‘leaders’ seemed to be even the slightest bit aware.      

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Janice Davis
Janice Davis is a grandmother and former girls’ grammar school teacher

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