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Apparently, We’re the Bad Guys
-or- Don't Ask Permission to Speak
Were you silent on the question of viral origins before Jon Stewart and the United States Department of Energy told you that you were allowed to think certain thoughts? Those thoughts were dubbed conspiratorial and dangerous and uncareful, until they weren’t.
Oh, maybe it did come from a lab after all.
Did it take Woody Harrelson on Saturday Night Live to point out to you that pharmaceutical companies are acting as drug cartels, and that the media is in their sway? Financial incentives drive success in business, and Pfizer is nothing if not successful these days.
Hunh, maybe Pfizer wasn’t the white knight we were told it was.
These last three years, too many of us have let social coercion and fear drive what we say out loud, and even what we think. We have outsourced our thinking to self-described experts—credentialed, well-dressed, well-spoken experts—who have been wrong, disastrously so, over and over and over again.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, four times, fifty times, a hundred—what the hell. Shame on all of us who continue to fall for these games.
We need to be suspect of any conclusion that arrives fully formed, especially if no questions are allowed. In response to pronouncements from the government and health agencies, get in the habit of saying I’m not sure about that. It can open your mind. And once your mind is open, all manner of wonderful things can happen.
It may not keep you in good stead with your social group, though.
My husband, Bret Weinstein, and I have said a lot of things these last three years that have angered people. Before Jon Stewart or the Department of Energy or Woody Harrelson had said anything publicly, we were publicly discussing—using the scientific tools at our disposal—the very real possibilities that:
SARS-CoV2 was the product of gain-of-function research, and while its foundations were borrowed from a bat, the final product came from a lab.
The vaccines that were developed at record speed, and presented as the one and only solution to the problem of the pandemic—specifically the mRNA products—are neither safe nor effective.
Many alternative treatments for Covid exist, including but not limited to repurposed drugs with extensive safety records that are long out of patent, such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
For this, we have been vilified.
There are the public actions against us—the demonetization by YouTube, the subscribers being unsubscribed from our channels by various tech giants, the anti-scientific authoritarians living in the bodies of those who previously made a career of apparently careful and nuanced thinking.
But there are whisper campaigns as well.
“I see that you liked a post by Heather,” one friend reported that a friend of hers said. “You need to be careful. You work with non-profits. If they see that you associate with that kind of person, they’ll drop you.”
“Why are you retweeting something from DarkHorse?” another friend was asked by a colleague. “It’s not safe for you to do so. You should distance yourself.”
Be careful. Stay safe. Those are dangerous people saying dangerous things, and we don’t want to see you hurt. We can’t keep you safe if you hang out with them. Who knows what could happen.
Here are a few of the other things that Bret and I have given voice to these last three years, conclusions that we came to through observation, checking of our assumptions, analysis, and reanalysis. Be careful, though. Consider these ideas, and who knows what could happen.
Early in the pandemic we thought that masks were broadly effective. We were wrong. First, we spoke about the importance of masks, and as new evidence came in, our position changed. We spoke about that, too.
We also thought that short, early, and strong lockdowns had a chance of stopping the spread of SARS-CoV2. We were wrong about that. I don’t think lockdowns could have worked, in part because I don’t think sufficient worldwide compliance was possible to stop the spread. And as much as I am disappointed to have landed here: I no longer trust my government to borrow any of my freedoms.
Even when physical distancing made sense to slow the spread of disease, social distancing never did. Social distancing tore families apart. People died alone. Children and teenagers lost their way; some of them lost their lives. We became inhumane to one another.
Wearing masks outside was never a good idea (we understood this even when we still thought that being masked indoors in public spaces was protective).
Keeping people inside was a huge error. Closing parks and beaches, forests and playgrounds, was a mistake. Everyone should have been getting outside as much as possible, moving their bodies with enthusiasm and abandon, breathing in the air, letting the sun shine down upon their bare skin.
Vitamin D deficiency was a risk factor for Covid, and getting your D—best if you can do so by letting the sun be on your skin, so that you can make it yourself, but acceptable to get it through supplements—was a very good prophylactic measure, not just against Covid, but against other common illnesses, too.
Having dark skin is a risk factor for Covid, because dark-skinned people are not as efficient at making vitamin D as are light-skinned people. We were of the opinion that talking about this was the opposite of racist.
Speaking of not racist: We also thought that talking about the likely lab origins of SARS-CoV2 was the opposite of racist, as the alternative was blaming the weird habits of exotic Chinese people who buy food at—gasp—outdoor markets. Perhaps my favorite moment in this nuttiness was when Peter Daszak, President of the ironically-named EcoHealth Alliance, blamed the pandemic on the supposed predilection of Chinese people for frozen ferret badger steaks (covered in DarkHorse livestream #67).
Obesity is a comorbidity for Covid, a fact that an intact public health system would have publicized. Instead, the press claimed that mentioning this fact was “fat-shaming,” and mostly succeeded in shutting down the discussion.
There was a lot that you could do to keep yourself healthy as this novel coronavirus scoured the Earth. Eat high quality fat and protein. Restrict your consumption of sugar. Drink the nectar of the gods (honey stirred into hot water, before adding the freshly squeezed juice of a lemon). Enjoy onions in abundance. Use a neti pot for nasal irrigation. Supplement with D and C and Zinc and Magnesium if your levels are low, especially during the Winter.
Understanding the origin of SARS-CoV2 is important. This is partly because if it did emerge from gain-of-function research in a lab, we need to have a conversation about why that research continues. But it is also important because the artificial selection that the virus would have gone through in the lab could be used to understand how it would behave in the wild. Many argued that where the virus came from was unimportant, but that argument demonstrates a failure to understand evolution. That’s okay. Most people don’t understand evolution. But the people who don’t understand evolution should not be shutting down the voices of people who do, especially when a quickly evolving pathogen is destroying lives and societies.
Mass vaccinating a population during a pandemic was likely to drive the evolution of new variants, as Geert Vanden Bossche repeatedly and urgently argued.
Organizations including but not limited to the Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) were doing honest medicine, honorable medicine, and a public service. We watched as they were repeatedly slandered and slammed.
Covid is an unusual and nasty disease, and not to be taken lightly. We wondered whether those who had facilitated its creation and unleashed it on the world would ever be held to account.
Immunity acquired from having had the disease is at least as good as the immunity acquired from getting a vaccine. We found it suspect that the idea of “natural immunity”—which, after all, our immune systems have been working on for hundreds of millions of years—was now considered a conspiracy theory. Where’s the conspiracy—between B cells and T cells? Or was the problem that we were talking about any way forward that didn’t include pharma’s solution?
“These newly developed vaccines are safe” was a tell. There was no way for anyone to know that they were safe—not enough time had passed to know. Even if they had turned out to be safe—and we all wish that they had—nobody could possibly have known that less than a year after they were developed. We thought that being blatantly lied to by public health authorities was sufficient reason to even more carefully consider all of their pronouncements going forward.
When it still seemed that the vaccines might turn out to be safe and effective for a lot of people, we nevertheless understood it to be a bad idea to give them to children, or to pregnant or breast-feeding women. Children are at the lowest risk from Covid, and at the highest risk from the vaccines. Functioning societies do not put children at risk to protect the old.
Vaccine mandates were a very bad idea. People being fired or kept out of school for not accepting an experimental treatment was anti-democratic. We applauded the courage of the Canadians who stood up to tyranny and said no, including the truckers who early in the pandemic had been celebrated as heroes but were now being called every epithet under the sun. The truckers’ convoy was a joyous coming together, and we wished that we could have been there. We could not, as we were not vaccinated, and crossing the border between the United States and Canada was not allowed if you were dirty and unvaccinated. Similarly terrible policies persist to this day.
The governments of many Western countries, including especially the mostly English speaking worlds of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, instituted policies that were damnably anti-democratic, anti-scientific, and authoritarian. We thought with some grim satisfaction: now we know. Now we know what they are willing to do.
Universities and Hollywood became some of the most eager institutions to enforce vaccine mandates, thus revealing how very anti-intellectual and conformist they have become. Where we should expect creativity, analysis, and a diversity of opinions, instead we have lockstep. It is ironic that these are the very domains that triumphantly embrace pseudo-diversity, in the form of Diversity Equity and Inclusion offices and officers. People are waving metaphorical flags that literally mean the opposite of what they stand for.
Shutting down schools was bad for children, and for society. After the initial confusion in the Spring of 2020, there was no excuse. Putting masks on children was diabolical. Masking children would impair their language and their social development, and make them fearful, just like their parents.
People were manipulated with fear, and then promised relief from their fear if only they would comply. Many complied. But the virus did not go away. People got sick anyway. Their compliance did not achieve the goal they were told it would achieve. Many got injured from the treatment. Many others did not, but quietly decided, nevertheless, not to get any more of the miracle treatment.
We thought that the people who changed their minds should say so publicly. We still do.
In A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century, which was published in September 2021 but fully drafted before the pandemic, we wrote the following:
Combine a tendency to engage only proximate questions, with a bias toward reductionism, and you end up with medicine that has blinders on. The view is narrow. Even the great victories of Western medicine—surgery, antibiotics, and vaccines— have been over-extrapolated, applied in many cases where they shouldn’t be. When all you have is a knife, a pill, and a shot, the whole world looks as though it would benefit from being cut and medicated.
But apparently, we’re the bad guys. Bret Weinstein and I are the bad guys for daring to work through the evidence scientifically, consider possibilities that we were told were off-limits, and speak about it in public. This will sound like hyperbole to some, but our crime was independence of thought.
We have been assured by a few people that we are the ones who are killing people. Us. Not the CDC and the WHO and the FDA. Not the policies emerging from choice administrators at the NIH and the viruses emerging from research funded therein. Not the drugs produced by Pfizer and Moderna and all the rest.
The public health organizations got everything wrong, but we’re the bad guys.
When did the world stop doing science? The “scientific world” instead engages in reductionist “Research & Development” which seeks to fix a single problem while ignoring all the others. It has no understanding of evolution. It pretends that trade-offs don’t exist. It monkeys with the baseline. It embraces Goliath and silences David. And it lets financial incentives drive what questions are asked, and which answers are acceptable. That’s not science.
But if it comes at you wearing a lab coat and wielding a credential, and especially if it disdains the same people you disdain, and most especially if it literally claims to be science—who’s to say?
All people should have within themselves the capacity and courage to say:
Me. I’m the one to say. That’s not science. He is not the embodiment of science. They are making nonsense pronouncements. And I am done. I am not buying any more of this garbage.
Your health is your own, and so is your voice. You don’t need to ask permission to be healthy, nor do you need to ask permission to speak. Whisper campaigns be damned. Speak up. Share what you know. Share what you believe. Talk about why you think what you do. Be willing to be wrong. When you discover that you have been wrong, be sure to make that clear, too.
At some point during the pandemic, I began signing off DarkHorse in a particular way, and while it’s not a complete set of instructions, it’s a good start:
Be good to the ones you love. Eat good food. And get outside.
Coming soon to Natural Selections: Non-binary gender identities, and the sleep of seals. Sign up now! I thank you.