The Corona Diaries – Day 294

Day 294 and I still haven’t had the virus. I’m still isolating and waiting for the vaccine. I went for my walk today in the dank cold of winter, slight specks of rain and a strong north westerly wind. It was very blustery. I’m not enjoying this anywhere near as much as I was in summer. I don’t like being all wrapped up. I prefer slopping about in T-shirt, shorts and sandals.

Back home I settled myself down and played Stormcock by Roy Harper. What a fabulous album. It never ceases to lift me.

Out in Coronaland they are preparing to impeach Trump. This time I hope it sticks. It was insane that they elected him in the first place. He is not only incompetent but a fascist to boot. It reflects on the whole of America that he was put into office. It’s going to take decades to put right the damage he’s caused.

What has gone wrong with America? Has it always been nutty? What has sparked the rise of this extreme right-wing philosophy? I used to think it was just an extremely unpleasant racist fringe but it is looking nearer to 42% of the population.

This obsession with individual freedom is what leads to fascism. We are all part of a society and that requires some compromise. I’m happy if I’ve retained my freedoms – to say what I like, go where I like, believe what I like. I don’t need some John Wayne mentality.

The States still has another 208,338 new cases yesterday and close on 2000 more deaths. If you stop and think about that for a second it is very scary. It has been sidelined because of Trump’s treasonous insurrection. I agree that an attempted coup is worth discussion but so are two thousand deaths a day.

In the UK things are dire. We had another 54,940 new cases yesterday and 563 deaths. We are continuing to be among the worst in the world!!

Would you put a clown like Johnson in charge of a football match?? I certainly wouldn’t. Yet we put him in charge of the country and he’s completely messed things up.

New Zealand and Vietnam had four new cases beteween them yesterday and no deaths. It’s been months since they had a death. Why? Because they dealt with it properly.

We finally shut our borders yesterday! They shut their borders at the beginning of last year! They kept the virus out. They put anyone coming in through isolation and testing. That tracked all contacts.

What did we do? We still had our borders open until yesterday. Our testing is a joke. Our tracking in a joke. We let the virus in and allowed it to go on a rampage.

Johnson’s incompetence has killed 80,000 people! All that was in their heads was Brexit. They sacrificed 80,000 people to get it done.

Right now I have a lot of questions about the vaccine.

The vaccines have been tested in a specific way but we’re not planning to implement the vaccination in the manner required.

The first jab sets up an immune response. That response takes two weeks to build up. It then starts to subside.

The second jab causes a further immune response. The immunity level rises much higher and is retained much longer.

Following the first jab, and its two week period, you do have some immunity but you may well become ill though probably not severely. You need the second dose in order to give complete immunity.

The recommendation is to have the second jab is a three week gap. The government is proposing a twelve week gap.

That leaves me with a lot of questions:

What level of immunity would there be following the 1st jab?

How quickly does that immunity fade?

Would a second jab twelve weeks later cause as big a rise in immunity as it would have done after three weeks?

Would a second jab twelve weeks later cause as long a period of immunity as it would have done after three weeks?

How long does immunity last?

We have been told that it is effective against the new strains. What happens if a new strain emerges that it doesn’t work against?

Can we still transmit the virus after we’ve been vaccinated – even if we can’t get ill ourselves?

I’m sure they’ll sort out the answers.

So, as the red tape piles up all around us due to Brexit and the virus, as our freedoms are compromised, as the jobs disappear, the prices go up and the shelves empty – stay safe!

Nigh is coming soon!

14 thoughts on “The Corona Diaries – Day 294

  1. Some good questions about the vaccine, Opher. I very much doubt we’ll ever be given truthful answers. I can see a fiasco coming, like the 1976 swine flu vaccination program in the USA.

    But I can’t let you get away with two things you said earlier on. One: “This obsession with individual freedom is what leads to fascism.” Fascism is the complete opposite of individual freedom, Opher; it’s as bad as communism. Fascists, like all totalitarians, have an obsession with killing off other people’s freedoms (not to mention killing the people off, too). I really don’t know why you think that people who want individual freedom are in any way fascists.

    The other is the next sentence: “We are all part of a society and that requires some compromise.” You miss the really important bit, that all such compromise must be two-way. For people to be able to live together in a community (not a society, but that’s rather an esoteric point that needs many words to explain), it is necessary that each individual must be prepared to live and let live. You must let others live their way (politics, religion, habits etc.) in exchange for them letting you live your way.

    The problem comes when some seek to take power over others, and to force people to act in ways that go against their desires and their needs. To try to impose any political ideology or agenda on people – fascism, communism, environmentalism, religious orthodoxy, or any other – goes against the whole purpose of living in a community, and will eventually result in, at the very least, a split. That’s exactly what’s happening in the USA right now. And in the end, it may result in far worse. I can see secessions of Republican states coming in the next few years, or maybe even a civil war.

    1. If they were completely honest and visible they’d get much more respect.
      This American idea of freedom creates selfishness and abuse. It is fascism. It produces the anarchy of the bikers – Hell’s Angels. Sounds good but in practice turns into tyranny and robs other people of their freedom. We see this with the Trumpists. Their obsession with personal freedom has turned them into a bunch of fascists.
      I partly agree with you about society. There has to be a balance that allows sufficient personal freedom while catering to the needs of the society and environment. Individuals within that society have to live by the rules or else it doesn’t work. The art is to have rules that do not infringe personal liberty.

      1. Opher, it isn’t the idea of freedom that causes selfishness and abuse. It’s a political system that allows the powerful to order others to do what they want, and to evade responsibility for the effects, that does those things. The philosophy of individual freedom – in the USA, here and everywhere else – is totally opposed to that top-down kind of politics. But it must, of course, be individual freedom for all. And each individual must earn that freedom, by measuring up to basic human standards of behaviour. Like peacefulness, truthfulness, honesty, respect for the rights of those who respect others’ equal rights, and acceptance of responsibility for the effects on others of their voluntary actions. If those, or something very like them, are “the rules,” then people can live together in harmony, without violating each other’s freedom. But if “the rules” are merely whims of the class in political power for the time being – as is the case today, even in “democracies” – then the community will become a tyranny.

        The need in a community to balance one individual’s freedom against another’s can be easily satisfied; each individual should simply be treated, as far as practicable, as he or she treats others. That’s what I call justice.

        But you seem to think that causes, which you call “the society” and “environment,” trump (no pun intended) individual freedom. I don’t agree. What you mean by “environment” and what I mean by it are quite different – you seem to want a static world, in which everything (global temperature, species etc.) is frozen in time, and humans have essentially no place. Whereas I want an environment of freedom, progress and justice, which is fit for human beings.

        As to “the society,” more than 200 years ago Jean-Jacques Rousseau made a very bad error, in postulating that the people in a particular area have a “general will.” So, he thought, they all want the same things, and can therefore all form a political unity. That isn’t true, as is shown by current and recent events. Is the “general will” of Americans for Trump or not Trump? Or how about the UK “general will,” Brexit or not Brexit? This “general will” simply doesn’t exist; and that’s why the people in a geographical area form merely a community, not a society. Because there is no “general will,” the idea that anyone should have a right to impose any political agenda on members of that community is wrong.

      2. The idea of total freedom is fascism. It’s nothing to do with politics in the large arena. It is anarchy. Individuals are free to do what they want – result – anarchy, no law and order, the strongest bully and gain control, the majority are cowed, abused and violently controlled. We’ve seen it time and time again. We see it played out in Westerns, mafia flicks, maverick cops and motorbike gangs.
        Politicians are elected by us to represent us. Democracy works by electing them out of office if they don’t do what we want. It’s up to us to elect more sane ones – not do away with politicians.
        Of course the greater needs of a society or the environment trump personal freedom. Left to their own people just drop litter and industry pollutes. A society needs cohesion or it breaks down into anarchy and violence.
        It is about getting the balance right.
        As long as I have the freedom to say what I like (with limitations of racism or inciting violence), believe what I like, go where I like and do what I like I am happy. It has to be a balance between caring for the environment, respecting neighbours, being safe and having freedom to live how you like.
        Britain has the balance about right.

  2. Opher, I obviously didn’t get my point over to you strongly enough. I said “…each individual must earn that freedom, by measuring up to basic human standards of behaviour.” I didn’t say there should be no rules. I said that the rules should be things like “peacefulness, truthfulness, honesty, respect for the rights of those who respect others’ equal rights, and acceptance of responsibility for the effects on others of their voluntary actions.” They would certainly forbid incitement to violence. That isn’t anarchy. Quite the opposite, in fact. What I didn’t say, and maybe should have, is that the rules must not be partisan. They must not favour one type or group of people over another; and that applies to racial groups, too. But all politics today favours some over others. Labour favour trade unionists, for example. The Tories favour bankers and big businessmen. All the parties favour the establishment against anyone who is outside it. And most of all, they all favour themselves and their cronies.

    You say: “Politicians are elected by us to represent us.” I say, that’s the theory, but it doesn’t work. Politicians are a bunch of dishonest scum. Many people, however, are naturally honest. They generally don’t lie or mislead unless there is a good reason why they absolutely have to. How, then, can a dishonest politician “represent” an honest human being? Answer: it can’t. That is, ultimately, why I haven’t voted for any politician since 1987.

    And when you say, “the greater needs of a society or the environment trump personal freedom,” you are wrong. There is no “society” whose “greater needs” trump anything. There is only a community, who are drawn together merely by the happenstance of living in a particular geographical area. The only possible “greater need” of such a community is for its own survival and prosperity. And absent violent invasion from outside, a community of people, all of whom keep to the kind of rules I mentioned, would prosper; because it would allow maximum freedom to everyone, consistent with living in a civilized community.

    Nor can something you call “the environment” give government any license to destroy or limit personal freedoms. You seem to forget that governments are formed among human beings: “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as Abraham Lincoln said. And their purpose is, as John Locke put it: “The end of government is the good of mankind.” You are simply setting up your “environment” as if it was a god. You are seeking to force on to others your particular religion, Gaianity or whatever else you want to call it. I call foul on that.

    1. Neil – it is nice to have ideals but what you propose is unworkable and would result in anarchy. How would people ‘earn’ this freedom? Saying “peacefulness, truthfulness, honesty, respect for the rights of those who respect others’ equal rights, and acceptance of responsibility for the effects on others of their voluntary actions,’ – all very worthy attributes that I would agree with – plus I’d add empathy, compassion and responsibility. But saying these things does not create them. Many many people are lazy, inconsiderate, violent, stupid, cruel, selfish and greedy. What would you do about all those people?
      Many communes have been set up with high ideals and fallen apart because of jealousy, greed and inequality.
      As I keep saying – you cannot make a system like that work. We have to get society to evolve into a better version. Government – a benign government is essential. Many things need to occur on an international global basis and many things can be best dealt with centrally – transport, power, education, defence, policing etc.
      Left to their own devices people trash things. We no longer live in little communities. we live in big urban conurbations.
      I do not hold with your view that all politicians are greedy and self-serving. Many are but a number are not. We have to elect the right ones.

      1. Opher, when I said people would “earn” rights and freedoms, I meant that they would earn them by respecting the equal rights and freedoms of others. As to how far my ideas will work in practice, that’s an unknown at present, because they haven’t yet had a proper trial. But the current system certainly isn’t working, so I see no downside to giving new ideas a go.

        You say that many people are “lazy, inconsiderate, violent, stupid, cruel, selfish and greedy.” And that “left to their own devices, people trash things.” Some of these things (violence, cruelty, destructiveness, some types of selfishness – such as theft or fraud) are real crimes, and would be dealt with just as in any criminal justice system worth the name. The others are things we all do occasionally; but only a small minority do them persistently, or in large matters. What we need is a system that, as far as possible, provides incentives for better behaviours rather than worse. For example, encouraging people to become entrepreneurial, and making sure they reap the rewards when they succeed, could help to cure laziness.

        And I don’t agree that “many things can be best dealt with centrally.” Certainly not transport, education or policing. Policing is local by its very nature. Transport and education are best dealt with by allowing people to offer as many options as possible. Power is best done in a networked way. Defence is maybe the one exception, because in the event of an attack, someone will have to lead the response. But that should become less important once we get rid of the current, out-of-date political system, and the corruption, injustice and war that are built into it.

        To make government better, there will need to be considerable changes to the way it “works” today. You can’t elect the “right” politicians if there are no candidates worth electing! We need to find ways to get good, truthful, honest people into positions of power, not the dishonest liars we suffer under today. But there will still need to be checks and balances. There ought to be, at least, a strong and impartial quality control function, to stop politicians doing unjust, dishonest, destructive or unreasonable things to any of the people they are supposed to be serving. And psychological testing of anyone seeking a position of power, to keep out psychopaths; the greater the power, the higher the bar to be cleared.

      2. And what about all the ones wgho don’t respect other peoples’ rights? We’re seeing that with the crackpot Tea Party and MAGA Trumpists. It doesn’t even work on small scales let alone globally.
        I’m all for encouraging people to become more civilised. I think we’ve come a long way. Good education does that. But it takes time to evolve and needs proper funding and support.
        You cannot deal with county lines, mafia, corporate crime, terrorism or organised crime locally. A transport system has to operate nationally. We see all the stupidity of chopping the railways up into franchises. Same with energy. They always try to hook you into paying more for their shareholders.
        We need a system of proportional representation so that every vote counts and the smaller parties get represented better and the big parties less. At present we have a two horse race and nobody else counts. Good coalitions with compromise and negotiation. Then get big business and big money out of the equation. Perhaps then we would see a better level of candidates.

  3. Yes, people should become more civilized – we can agree on that. But the most important thing about being civilized is that you must understand and accept that other people are different from you, and want different things. This means that you must not try to force your ideology – be it political, religious or environmental – on to others. It means live and let live, as long as they aren’t doing or planning to do harm to you or anyone else.

    I think you are muddling how systems like transport and energy ought to operate with the chaos caused by the Tories’ botched “privatizations,” particularly in the 1990s. The railways were certainly not originally planned and built by a central “authority!” There does need to be a degree of co-ordination on building new infrastructure, to avoid new roads or railways failing to “meet in the middle.” But that doesn’t need any centralized control over the system as a whole.

    PR is an interesting idea, but it has its own problems, like major parties encouraging “strategic” voting to let in minor party candidates likely to support them. And it isn’t going to happen in the UK without major change. As one academic put it: ““Those that have the will don’t have the way, and those that have the way don’t have the will.”

    1. Education is the key to civilisation Neil. Good education opens up a world of wonder and teaches people to think and question. Tory education feeds in ‘facts’ and gets them to recite those ‘facts’ in exams.
      Tolerance is extremely important. I agree Neil. But we should not tolerate violence, extremism, environmental damage or abuse.
      I think we have clearly seen how the private sector works. It hikes up prices to make more profit and is uncoordinated.
      As our political system is not functioning well I think the pressure is building to create something better. PR would be a big step forward. I don’t think I’ve ever had a vote that’s counted. It discourages democratic participation.

      1. Yet again, I partly agree and partly disagree. It was indeed a Tory, Margaret Thatcher, that spawned the “national curriculum” and closed off all more creative options. And I too have never had a vote that counted, except perhaps being the “01” at the end of the 2016 Leave voter count in my borough.

        But what do you mean by “extremism” or “environmental damage or abuse?” For me, Extinction Rebellion are extremists. And “environmental damage” means damage to the environment natural to human beings – the free market, free trade and property rights. I think you and I can have a good discussion about these issues. But not on this thread; I have things to do tomorrow!

      2. Neil – we are part of a huge interconnected web of biogy. Nothing more. We are not more important that any other part. It is a web that has taken millions of years to evolve into a stability of interconnected parts. It is a web that we are disrupting badly. That web is responsible for the whole climate of this planet. We are disturbing it. That is the environment. If we break that web we will pay with our lives.

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