Neil is a libertarian. I greatly value my liberty too. There is a big debate on how much the state should interfere with our freedoms. What constitutes reasonable responses to serious threats such as Covid and Global Warming?
Here is what Neil said. I agree with some and greatly disagree with other bits.
Well Neil – I think you were spot on in your assessment of my response to your rant.
Yes I do think that this bunch of Tory monsters are veering towards fascism and are taking steps to tightly control the media and suppress all opposition.
Their bills to take away rights to protest, their loading of the BBC boards, control of newspapers, taking over of Channel 4 and now looking to control what is put on line, is all very worrying. It is a move towards a fascist totalitarian state and it needs strongly opposing.
I am all for Freedom of Speech and the bright light of scrutiny. We need scrutiny and accountability and they have been totally lacking from this government. They have gone out of their way to cover up, lie, deceive and hide away from scrutiny and accountability. Nobody takes responsibility – least of all Johnson!
However, I put riders on this freedom of speech. I don’t think people should have the right to spread racism or hate or incite violence.
I do think that the internet needs monitoring to remove terrorism, criminality, racism, hate and incitement to violence. I do think that anything is up for discussion and should be open. I do not think that the government has a right to suppress criticism of themselves or valid discussion about any subject. I do find it very worrying what the government is looking to do and their intent. I believe they are looking to control us and feed us propaganda. They are trying to suppress all opposition in a similar way to Putin.
However, I do not go into the camp of ridiculing scientists and experts. That is what fools do. That is what populists like Trump and Johnson try to do. I want experts and scientists. I do not want political opportunists using the internet to spread misinformation, fake news, conspiracy theories, propaganda and plain lies. That is what we are being fed through the internet and much of the media.
When it comes to understanding what is happening we need informed decisions based on facts. Science is about facts. Trump and populists are about spreading misinformation and lies for their own benefit. I’ll go with science and experts any day rather than conspiracy, superstition and vested interest spread by cynical internet fools.
Covid and Global Warming fall into that category.
Covis is real. The initial pandemic was severe enough to warrant the world-wide stringent responses. We needed to shut down. We needed to take measures to reduce the spread. We needed masks, distancing and shutting down of indoor public spaces. The vaccines were necessary and have altered the scene. Vaccination did stop the progress of the disease and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The NHS could easily have been completely swamped.
Unfortunately it is apparent that these vaccinations do not induce long-lasting immune responses. The immune response diminishes quite rapidly – only lasting for around 3 months. That means we require regular boosters for vulnerable people.
Fortunately the virus has not proved as serious as at first thought. The fatality rate is not as high as it initially appeared and the variants, while being more infective, are even less serious. But is is still too bad to be left without response and there are millions of vulnerable people who are at risk of death or serious long-lasting or life-long illness. My friend Jack is testimony to that. He now has lungs so damaged by covid that he is facing imminent death unless he gets a lung transplant.
A government has responsibility to all its citizens and I fully support state actions to control a pandemic. As a biologist I know this makes sense and I know we will inevitably have a pandemic with a much higher level of fatality.
I think that this government handled the pandemic abyssmally and were bailed out by the drug companies coming up with the vaccines. Without that we would really be in the shit.
Trump was a complete criminal fool. By making the Covid issue political he undermined science and vaccination and was responsible for tens of thousands needless deaths.
My belief is that the Covid conspiracy theorists are all ignorant fools.
This is a good example of how misinformation, conspiracy and fake news was deployed by politicians to bolster their own position.
Likewise Global Warming. We are presently suffering a terrible environmental catastrophe created by human actions. Biodiversity and animal populations are being devastated. Global warming is real and is presently creating massive problems on a global scale. Floods, bush fires, droughts, storms and extreme weather are starting to happen regularly to bigger and bigger levels. Glacier melt and sea level rises are happening faster as the temperature rises. Unlike in prehistoric times this will prove catastrophic as agriculture and cities are affected.
Once again this has become politicised with people being feed false information from politicians and the fossil fuel industry for their own benefit.
We need a global response to conserve life on this planet and prevent big business from plundering the environment.
Once again conspiracy, fake news and lies have informed too many people who would rather believe internet conspiracists rather than experts and scientists.
I sometimes think we should shut the whole internet down – it is fuelling this climate of misinformation. It is all lies.
So Neil – I agree with you that there is a big issue in preventing political control of our media to suppress us but when it comes to experts and scientists and the way they are completely undermined by conspiracists I’m on the side of facts not fiction.