Audio version of this piece.
I’m just going to launch right in here.
The last two years make a great case for “tradition”, broadly defined, as the accumulated wisdom received from hundreds or thousands of years of human experience. No one is capable of consciously keeping in mind or comprehending all of that wisdom as a piece because it is too extensive. “Tradition” serves as sort of the collective brain for things your brain cannot keep track of. “Chesterton’s fence” is part of this - don’t go tear down that “thou shalt not” rule unless you first understand why it was created. We might also say, don’t stop engaging in traditional activities of human culture (and in COVID-times, we might well include such things as “gathering together with friends” in that list), or forbid other people from engaging in them, unless you first understand why we started doing those things.
What we’ve seen lately is people who think they are both capable to, and should, change everything, reason totally afresh and remake the world completely because they are very smart and know what is best… and that ends disastrously. It ends disastrously in part because “human life and social relations” is just about the most complex system imaginable, and we never understand complex systems as well as we think we do, and trying to change everything at once is going to have huge consequences you did not foresee. Because we cannot actually understand everything saved in tradition.
On a related note:the amount of time between "x is impossible and you're crazy for even bringing it up" to "x is not a big deal and you're crazy for even thinking of opposing it" has gotten pretty short, huh
Sure, this is because the foundations had already rotted away, many people do not understand why we ever did or did not do that thing anyway or care to find out, so why shouldn’t everything be different? Why shouldn’t it be? Right now?
But, although I don’t know how to solve this problem, I do think that constant, rapid change of everything is itself debilitating to human life. No one can keep up. You are made to feel out of control. So much so that you wonder if “speed” is itself a tactic of evil. If you’re a good person trying to formulate a good argument against the latest bad idea, it’s just a fact that it takes time for our brains, and our brains interacting with other brains, to produce that argument. The arguments being made against mandatory masking right now are much better than the arguments made last summer, for example. (Last summer many people, self included, had a good intuitive sense of where this would lead, but we couldn’t tell it to you in words very well.) But our world is now four steps further down the line by the time you’re really ready to answer to the first step.
Although I tend to be more of a “let’s talk about the structure and systems and figure out exactly why this happened” guy, the actual people in power in the United States right now are terrible leaders. I was listening to an interview with Gerald Celente actually and he talks about the twilight years of empires being “the weak leading the weak”, and then he sort of says, and look at who we got right now. I was struck by this yesterday from the new governor of New York:NOW - New York to deploy National Guard to fill expected staff shortages as unvaccinated nurses and hospital workers will be fired effective tonight.
You can watch the video if you’d like, but this is literally "my bad decisions have created a new emergency and now I need to sign an executive order giving myself emergency powers so I can deploy the military to mitigate the emergency I created." This is not a problem COVID made, this is 100% a problem she made. In the same press conference she said there were no valid religious exemptions to her vaccine mandate because “the leaders of all the organized religions have said” so, which is wrong for a half-dozen different reasons at least. She has tremendous power, her orders are having a direct negative effect on the lives of thousands of people at least, and she has no idea what she is doing or what she is talking about.
4. One of the reasons people don’t trust the “experts” is because they’re either lying or mistaken about basic facts all the time. I would commend this interview between Alison Morrow and Aaron Kheriaty with you, which starts off talking about vaccine mandates and natural immunity but also launches into discussions about how legacy media thinks, and the problem of groupthink, and it’s a good interview. At one point, Alison talks about chatting with a friend in traditional media about people who don’t trust the news, and her friend sort of says “well it’s because people just don’t know”, and Alison says no, they do know, and that’s why they don’t trust traditional news now.
This is a very minor illustration of this point, but a few days ago Michigan Capitol Confidential had an article about a Berrien County Health Department official commenting to MLive that “our younger adults, teens and below who have not been vaccinated” is now where we’re seeing hospitalizations occur. But, MichCapCon pointed out, per state data at the time of his comments there was exactly one pediatric COVID hospitalization in the entire nine-county region that includes Berrien County, and in the previous month ages 0-19 had made up just 2% of the hospitalizations in the region. So what is he talking about? That’s just one illustration of, no the problem is not that people don’t know, the problem is that people do know what’s going on and for some reason it’s a very different thing from what you’re saying.
5. But I don’t want to end on a depressing note so let me also say… this is true.I no longer think a free and open Marketplace of Ideas has ever existed, but it's beginning to. This is the most fundamental change happening now, and it threatens a lot of corrupt power that's fighting to clamp things down ASAP. Genie is out of the bottle, though.
I don’t know if technological solutions are what Lindsay has in mind, but that is at least part of it. I am writing this on Substack. The audio for this piece is shared on Odysee. The interview with Gerald Celente linked above and the interview with Aaron Kheriaty are both on Odysee - in fact the Kheriaty interview was removed from YouTube due to “medical misinformation”, but it got plenty of exposure on Rofkin and Odysee and a medley of other sites anyway. You can’t actually stop that signal anymore.