This is an interesting use of logic in our national media. A radio show sometimes – often even if you prefer to call it that – has Holocaust deniers as guests. Therefore, so the logic is going here, herd immunity is not a thing we should be striving for because Auschwitz.
Yes, me too, it’s difficult to see the connection there but this is what we are expected to take from this:
One of the three co-authors of a letter that calls for lockdowns to be abandoned in favour of herd immunity has appeared on a radio broadcast that previously featured multiple Holocaust deniers and antisemites.
Dr Martin Kulldorff of Harvard medical school appeared on the Richie Allen Show on 6 October to discuss the letter, described as the Great Barrington declaration, after the Massachusetts town where it was drawn up.
Kulldorff said he agreed to go on the programme because it was important to reach all segments of the population with public health messages. The show was described as an “online platform for antisemitic conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers” by Hope not Hate, an organisation that monitors extremist groups.
The rightness – perhaps not le mot juste – of the pursuit of herd immunity is something to be derived from the logic and evidence of the pursuit for herd immunity as against other proposals to deal with the same problem. Who makes the argument, where they make it, has no relevance to that logic or evidence. Or, rather, shouldn’t.
Hitler was, apparently, nice to dogs. Being nice to dogs or not is something to be considered independent of whether Hitler did it or not. Independent of his attitudes to the Holocaust as well. Elderly Jews with tattoo’d numbers on their inner arm do not faint in grief or anger when you pat Fluffy.
A radio show that has had pinheads on it does not mean that all who appear on it are pinheads – this is something to be determined by examination of them and their views on an individual basis.
Or to connect this with something more recent, David Starkey and the “So damn many of them.” His point, inelegantly put, was that the physical circumstances – no, not the moral, nor civil liberty, but the purely physical like diet and shelter and clothing etc – of slavery in the United States must have been reasonably decent because there are so many descendants of those slaves who had to suffer that state.
This is a long standing, long running, defence of slavery as it was in the United States. Jefferson Davis uses it in his memoirs. How can American slavery have been so terrible if there’s so damn many of them? It’s often known as the “Great Natural Increase” idea.
That it was used by that disgusting apologist for slavery, Jefferson Davis, doesn’t change the validity or not of the argument. Nor, clearly, that it was used by Starkey.
And there is some validity to the argument. American slavery, based as it almost exclusively was upon cotton – sugar was confined to small areas of Louisiana I think – was different from that in the Caribbean. The sugar plantations were voracious consumers of lives. So much so that plantation owners estimated a 7 year working life for a man. They didn’t import many women but rather more men to fill the gaps of the fallen. Cotton worked differently, relationships, marriages, children, happened. That there are many, many, more descendants of American slaves today than there are of Caribbean slaves tells us that the physical – again, only the physical, this does not touch upon the civil liberty points – circumstances were different. Especially when we add in that the areas that is now the United States imported fewer than those sugar islands did in the first place.
For example, there was, just a couple of months back, a study looking at the different marriage patterns of modern Black Americans dependent upon whether their forbears had been enslaved on sugar – those few – plantations or cotton. By now the difference has disappeared but it was evidence half a century back, or so I recall the paper saying, of the significantly different make female ratios leading to behaviour change in later generations. The truth of this or not is not affected nor impacted by whatever some b’stard like Jefferson Davis had to say on the subject. Nor Starkey, obviously.
An argument depends upon the logic and facts about that argument. Not who uses it nor where they do.
The other thing to wonder about is why the righteous and woken are so against this very idea of pursuing herd immunity. I take it to be something to be judged on those facts and logics but half the world seems to insist that it’s about mood affiliation. Why?