No Practical Purpose

In a strange twist, I now often find myself defending the COVID vaccine from the vaccinated.

“You are vaccinated! You are protected!” I respond gently to wails of “I don’t want to die” and “what we need is to lock everything down immediately.”

They do believe in the vaccine but more as a spiritual matter. It has no practical purpose for them but a deep emotional meaning.

18 thoughts on “No Practical Purpose

  1. My crude understanding of Calvinist theology is that you can’t actually save your soul through good works, but you can engage in good works to mark yourself as the type who is saved. Given the Puritan roots of the American center-left professional classes that neurotics disproportionately hail from, I think we’re looking at a Calvinism of the body instead of the soul.

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  2. I’ve been surprised how many people are shocked when I say that I travelled to my parents place for Christmas (cross country flight) even after I point out that I was vaxxed 8 months ago and boosted 3 weeks ago. “But it’s too dangerous to travel!”

    Honestly, the whole point was to get on with normal life. It’s not like I enjoy getting poked with needles for fun. I wouldn’t have gotten the shots if I didn’t think they made any difference.

    The whiplash switching from “The vaccines are safe and effective! You’re a horrible monster if you don’t get vaccinated!” to “The vaccines won’t protect you! You must lock down again!” has been crazy. Even people who were fairly uncritical consumers of official/mainstream media announcements on the pandemic six months ago are starting to get cynical.

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    1. Whiplash? Some of them have been saying “Vaccines won’t protect you!” since at least March 2021. The day I got my second shot I said “OK, pretty soon I’ll be out partying, attending Roman orgies, living it up!” (It was a joke. I’m in no way a party animal.) Scolds showed up on Facebook to remind me that breakthrough infections are possible, we don’t know about variants, and I’ll probably need a booster. In March 2021. They were ready for this.

      My take is as follows:

      Breakthroughs: Yeah, they happen, but they’re almost always mild. That’s the point of vaccines.

      Variants: People have been using various types of immunization for centuries. (Smallpox inoculation probably started in China a thousand years ago.) Overall, vaccines have held their ground against viral evolution way better than antibiotics have held their ground against bacterial evolution. If I have to gamble, I’ll gamble that vaccines will be pretty good against variants. Because history shows that. And, lo and behold, even the dreaded Omicron is only producing mild infections in the vaccinated.

      Boosters: The problem was always the 4 week schedule. Look at the CDC’s recommended schedule of childhood vaccines, and you’ll see that most of them have the doses spaced apart by a few months or more, and often have 3 doses instead of 2. If COVID vaccines need more than just the 2 doses over 4 weeks, that isn’t an unusually weak vaccine, that’s a completely normal vaccine.

      My approach here is ultimately a conservative one: Look at what’s worked well in the past, and assume that this vaccine if this vaccine works it will probably work in more or less the same way as the others. And so far that rule of thumb is holding up. The vaccines are providing good (not perfect) protection against variants, and the boosted are doing particularly well because we got a more normal vaccine schedule, rather than the super-fast 4 week schedule they initially tried.

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      1. “My take is… ultimately a conservative one.”

        Your “take” reflects some of my own thinking.

        Clarissa wrote yesterday “I’m very pro-vaccine for people over 70 and with underlying conditions.”
        Given what we know to date about the incidence of serious illness with COVID, this seems absolutely correct.

        I might extend her recommended age down to 50 because we know that that many in the 50-70 group are physically unfit and have underlying medical issues that have not yet manifested themselves. The “underlying conditions” is key here for the remaining adults under 50s: I would define this broadly to include anyone over 18 who is not in good health, including the seriously overweight. Children as a rule don’t need to be vaccinated and shouldn’t be unless, again, they have the misfortune to be among the relatively small number of those with compromised health.

        “Boosters…” I think that serious issues were created in understanding these vaccines at the beginning because of the ‘COVID zero’ approach propagandized by “public health” (sic) in the west and their stubborn unwillingness to do everything they could to promote and encourage natural immunity in the population as a whole.

        “Boosters” – For people exposed to some serious diseases like cholera and typhoid, six month re-vaccination or boosters have been the norm rather than the exception. But for most people, COVID is not a serious disease so continuing to booster forever is a pathology encouraged by the ‘COVID zero’ fantasy. I find it incomprehensible that Israel, full of really smart, well educated people who live in a functioning liberal democracy, could be willingly lining up for a fourth round of shots already because – surprise, no surprise – the shots don’t eliminate breakthrough COVID virus infections. As you say, “they happen, but they’re almost always mild. That’s the point of vaccines.”

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        1. Yesterday it was reported that the majority of the small number of teenagers who died of COVID we’re severely obese. Severely! Aside from COVID, severe obesity in teenagers is a health catastrophe. We need to be looking at why it’s happening and what can be done about it. Even now when we have an illness where obesity is a major risk factor, nobody wants to talk about it. It’s all about a magic pill or magic shot. It’s ridiculous.

          I’d suggest a major rehaul of the primary and secondary education away from sitting and towards outdoor physical activity. We’ve had two years to do something, and instead we got more sitting and stupid staring at screens.

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          1. “It’s all about a magic pill or magic shot. It’s ridiculous.”

            It’s what you get when you put “public health” (sic) civil servants who specialize in mandating sparkling clean restaurant kitchen floors and counters in charge of the world.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Obesity is such a major risk factor that they closed the gyms and often sent cops to beaches, parks, and even hiking trails. And instead told everyone to stay home. And the managerial classes talked about how wonderful it is that we have Netflix and food delivery apps to get us through this.

            That sort of stupidity should be a capital offense.

            Liked by 2 people

      2. @ Alex the Physicist: “My approach here is ultimately a conservative one: Look at what’s worked well in the past, and assume that this vaccine if this vaccine works it will probably work in more or less the same way as the others.”

        Respectfully and everything that doesn’t make sense, because this so-called vaccine was approved for use without being appropriately tested, despite not only being a brand new therapeutic product in its own right, but also while the whole platform of therapeutic mRNA delivery was also brand new.

        The physics equivalent would be something like NASA pausing a manned space mission to swap out a rocket booster for a whole new kind of rocket booster that had never been tested and assuring the astronauts that it was a perfectly good booster that was totally safe, plus should the space shuttle blow up, no one can be sued for 75 years.

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    2. “The situation is worse than at thos time last year” we were told today. But how is this possible?? We are 85% vaccinated. How can it be worse than when 0% were vaccinated? Are the vaccines making it worse? I’m tired of asking this question. How are people explaining this to themselves?

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      1. “How are people explaining this to themselves?”

        Unlike you, I had the privilege to be forced to take “Americanism vs Communism” in high school. One film (made in the late 1950s IIRC) explained that communist countries routinely explained their failures (when they couldn’t be ignored) was on non-communist countries. So that if 90% of the world became communist then all the problems there would be blamed on the 10%.
        Even if country except some small island nation were to go communist then the inevitable failures of every other country would be blamed on that small country.

        Most of the course was nonsense (and the teacher I had spent a very large percentage of time trying to convert students to his particular form of evangelical Christianity) but that part did seem valuable as a perceptual guideline….

        And of course that’s what’s happening now with more and more governmental leaders using ever more dehumanizing language toward unvaccinated. Never mind the fact that vaccinations have not helped a single place in the world get past restrictions (even Gibraltar with something like 279 shots per 300 residents) it’s the fault of the unvaccinated.

        A few years ago I would have scoffed at the idea that governments are revving up the population to commit mass murder…. now I’m not so sure…..

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        1. @ cliff arroyo: “And of course that’s what’s happening now with more and more governmental leaders using ever more dehumanizing language toward unvaccinated.”

          Yep. It is a kind of malignant, reductive othering, where a group of people is separated from the main as being the “other”, followed by reducing the complexity or size of the society by eliminating them, casting them out, or exploiting them, then moving on to the next group like a malignant cancer.

          One could argue that the US Government has been doing something similar for years by splitting the world into dependent vassals and allies against selected “enemy” nations, but the character of that is different imo.

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          1. Absolutely. And it’s not just government leaders. There is an online community that I’ve participated in for years that I disengaged from last year because the sheer hatefulness was too much. I was tempted to observe, on my way out the door, that people who are not sociopaths don’t spend this much time and mental energy gloating over the idea of complete strangers getting sick and dying. But in the end I figured it would be a waste of time.

            And these used to be decent, interesting people! The extreme change was a very depressing thing to see.

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            1. “And these used to be decent, interesting people! The extreme change was a very depressing thing to see.”

              Many years ago I found a blog written by a man who survived the Balkan war of the 90s while trapped in a Bosnia for a year without running water or electricity. He later became prominent in the English speaking survivalist/prepper community before there even was one.

              Somewhere in that blog he mentioned that the people who became criminals or gang leaders during the war were normal during normal times, who acted out their evil when there were no rules stopping them from doing so.

              For years I thought of that blog post or article (whatever it was) any time a person that I thought was normal or nice did something vicious or terrible when they were intoxicated or stressed.

              Anyway, in looking for the post to link, I stumbled on a PDF copy of his book that you and others might like.

              Since English isn’t his first language, he isn’t a very good writer or speaker, which he makes up for by being fascinating. Some of his material is impactful if not jarring, so please be mindful of that.

              The exact article and story that went with it isn’t in the book but he does make very brief mention on page 100 of 149.

              Click to access The%20SHTF%20Anthology%20-%20Selco.pdf

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              1. Having had time to begin reading I think that everyone should probably go to page 10 of 149 and read for a few pages.

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