The vaccination issue is no longer a scientific one, it is like climate denial now, it’s a culture war where reason and logic has gone to die.
The science is very, very, very clear on vaccinations, if you don’t take it, COVID can make you very sick and kill you.
I feel that the vaccination debate would be a lot less feral if AntiVaxxers weren’t so fucking stupid!
Sure big pharma are making cash, sure you can’t mandatory force vaccinations, sure there is a tiny percentage of people who will have adverse reactions to the vaccine – but all that said, you are far safer from being vaccinated than not being vaccinated.
Into this chasm of fear is a working class electorate who are barely scientifically literate being manipulated by far right white supremacy neoNazis…
Scenes of protesters clad in hi-vis jackets and shouting anti-vaccination slogans have dominated the news this week. As the ABC reported: “Some of those gathered held a banner reading ‘freedom’, while others sang the national anthem and chanted ‘f*** the jab’.”
Some attacked union offices, drawing criticism from officials such as ACTU chief Sally McManus, who described the protests as being orchestrated “by violent right-wing extremists and anti-vaccination activists.”
These images may shock some but for researchers like me — who research far-right nationalist and conspiracy movements, and explore the online spaces where these people organise — these scenes came as no real surprise.
Far right nationalists, anti-vaxxers, libertarians and conspiracy theorists have come together over COVID, and capitalised on the anger and uncertainty simmering in some sections of the community.
They appear to have found fertile ground particularly among men who feel alienated, fearful about their employment and who spend a lot of time at home scrolling social media and encrypted messaging apps.
…George Monbiot goes further…
It’s an uncomfortable thing to admit, but in the countercultural movements where my sympathies lie, people are dropping like flies. Every few days I hear of another acquaintance who has become seriously ill with Covid, after proudly proclaiming the benefits of “natural immunity”, denouncing vaccines and refusing to take the precautions that apply to lesser mortals. Some have been hospitalised. Within these circles, which have for so long sought to cultivate a good society, there are people actively threatening the lives of others.
It’s not just anti-vax beliefs that have been spreading through these movements. On an almost daily basis I see conspiracy theories travelling smoothly from right to left. I hear right-on people mouthing the claims of white supremacists, apparently in total ignorance of their origins. I encounter hippies who once sought to build communities sharing the memes of extreme individualism. Something has gone badly wrong in parts of the alternative scene.
There has long been an overlap between certain new age and far-right ideas. The Nazis embraced astrology, pagan festivals, organic farming, forest conservation, ecological education and nature worship. They promoted homeopathy and “natural healing”, and tended to resist vaccination. We should be aware of this history, but without indulging what Simon Schama calls the “obscene syllogism”: the idea that because the Nazis promoted new age beliefs, alternative medicine and ecological protection, anyone who does so is a Nazi.
In the 1960s and 70s, European fascists sought to reinvent themselves, using themes developed by revolutionary anarchists. They found fertile ground in parts of the anarcho-primitivist and deep ecology movements, which they tried to steer towards notions of “ethnic separatism” and “indigenous” autonomy.
But much of what we are seeing at the moment is new. A few years ago, dreadlocked hippies spreading QAnon lies and muttering about a conspiracy against Donald Trump would have seemed unthinkable. Today, the old boundaries have broken down, and the most unlikely people have become susceptible to rightwing extremism.
The anti-vaccine movement is a highly effective channel for the penetration of far-right ideas into leftwing countercultures. For several years, anti-vax has straddled the green left and the far right. Trump flirted with it, at one point inviting the anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jr to chair a “commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity”.
Anti-vax beliefs overlap strongly with a susceptibility to conspiracy theories. This tendency has been reinforced by Facebook algorithms directing vaccine-hesitant people towards far-right conspiracy groups. Ancient links between “wellness” movements and antisemitic paranoia have in some cases been re-established. The notion of the “sovereign body”, untainted by chemical contamination, has begun to fuse with the fear that a shadowy cabal is trying to deprive us of autonomy.
…the manner in which the Right have manipulated this fear and anger runs deep, but the way neoliberalism has used the white working class as economic collateral damage has built that resentment alongside woke cancel culture.
Why did Trump after 4 terrible years manage to gain votes? Because middle class identity politics cancel culture drove the rejected into the arms of Trump!
As economic anxiety builds for the working classes in NZ, look at the NZ political left’s response.
- Gerrymandering the Sexual assault laws so that any man accused of rape is convicted.
- Climate change emergency declaration that doesn’t do anything.
- Strangling off free speech with a blasphemy law and criminalizing the misuse of pronouns.
- Ending Gay Conversion therapy that proponents can’t quantify.
- Critical Racism theory in 0ranga Tamariki.
For the 190000 children in poverty, 24000 on emergency housing wait lists and generations locked out of home ownership, the NZ Left’s response is woke wankery.
Rather than focus on jobs, houses and poverty (because they are hard) we get middle class virtue signals.
Let’s remind you of the holy trinity of woke identity politics dogma.
In the name of the non-binary mother, non-binary daughter and the monthly ghost: All white people are irredeemable racists, all men are rapists and anyone defending free speech is a uniform wearing Nazi.
The Right look for recruits, the Left look for traitors and right now, the dangerous far right are winning.
Thanks to middle class identity politics, the Left have spent more energy since 2016 on fighting heteronormative white cis male patriarchy than capitalism and the most dangerous thing about identity politics is when white males see themselves as victims.
To paraphrase the Joker, “What do you get when you cross alienated white males with a society that abandons them and treats them like trash?
You get what you fucking deserve.
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