Here’s a startling proposition for the media, politicians and public health bureaucrats: start telling the truth.

Not just bits of the truth, the bits you want us to hear – salted liberally with half-truths and outright lies. Even more importantly, start acting like you really believe it. No sneaking off to the beach or your bit of side-totty during lockdowns, for instance. And if you really believe vaccines are a Covid panacea, stop trying to keep us all locked down now that we have the vaccines.

Because, huff, puff and sneer as the elite will, the fundamental cause of the massive protests in Melbourne (and around Australia and the world) against vaccine mandates is not “science-denying-anti-vaxxers”, but the absolute destruction of public trust in the elite.

Even supposedly sympathetic, even-handed media can’t help themselves and lie. Consider this op-ed from Jennifer Oriel in The Australian.

Much of the mainstream media echoed the Labor line on the marches, namely that democratic protests are undemocratic, workers who revolt against socialist Labor are fascists, health officials are omniscient, state decree is infallible, dissent is ugly, and public debate is a threat to social cohesion rather than the basis of enduring peace.

So far, so good. But then comes the sneering and the bullshit.

There is good reason to defend citizens protesting a state that wants to inject them with a foreign substance against their will and corporations that seek to deny vaccine refuseniks a living wage. And yet, on the balance of research and scientific evidence, the refuseniks are plainly wrong.

There is enough scientific research to answer the question of whether Covid vaccine benefits outweigh risks in the affirmative. Having read through many complaints by people who mistrust the science on Covid vaccines, it is clear the science or research methodology is too complex to allay public fears about the vaccines. I am not convinced people who object to taking the vaccine have understood the research well enough to substantiate their main complaints. In part, the problem lies with limited public access to academic journals and the lack of publicly available disaggregated data on Covid cases.

They just can’t help themselves. The jeering and name-calling (has Oriel stopped for an instant to research the dark history of the term “refusenik”?), the taunting that the plebs are just too stupid to think for themselves or understand science publications. It’s true that reading and analysing scientific papers is a special skill – one that, on the evidence of the deplorable state of so-called “science journalism”, not many journalists possess. I’ve lost count of the times a media article claims “study shows…”, only to read the actual study and discover that it most certainly does not.

As for the “lack of publicly available disaggregated data on Covid cases”, that’s a blatant lie. The data are out there, for anyone who looks: it’s just that almost no journalists bother. They stick with the official narrative of parroting “x cases today” and hyping sensational exceptions.

Even Oriel parrots the narrative of “brimming ICUs”. This is simply a lie, no matter how often it’s repeated. Because, no matter what the hysterical media shriek, when good data are publicly available, the lie is exposed. Data from the US, for example, show that neither hospitals nor ICUs have ever been “overwhelmed” at any time in the pandemic. Similar data are notably harder to find in Australia, but given that Australia’s hospital capacity per citizen exceeds America’s, and given our exceptionally low case numbers, there is every reason to dismiss the media hysteria.

But, in the end, there is no escaping the obvious conclusion that this is just the elite enjoying pushing people around.

However, I do not agree states should be in the business of forcing people to submit to injections they do not want unless there is an immediate threat to life. There are alternatives to such a coercive medical approach that focus on individual choice and personal responsibility for consequences.

The Australian

Oriel claims that people shouldn’t be coerced into getting injections, but then demands coercive measures if they don’t. She tries to sugar-coat her bossy authoritarianism as a “policy of preferential treatment for vaccinated citizens”, but she’s fooling no one.

Does she still wonder why people don’t trust the elites?

As Ann Coulter recently wrote, “our public health experts would really do us a solid if they’d stop lying about there being no side effects”. Of course, there are. There always are: no vaccine is 100% safe. Yet most of us (even people opposing vaccine mandates) weigh the risks and take them. Insisting that covid vaccines alone are absolutely, unquestionably safe – especially when VAERS data are publicly available – only makes people wonder what you’re hiding.

Most importantly, if the vaccines work (as they do, as well as any other seasonal vaccine like the flu vax), then the elite need to act like they believe it. Insisting on continued lockdowns and border closures even though we have a vaccine and most people have already taken it, or soon will, is a red flag for any citizen who rightfully distrusts the media-political elite. To quote Coulter again, “do the vaccines work or don’t they? If they work, we’ll thank you to stop bossing us around now”.

That’s the fundamental issue, here: trust. Big government, big pharma and a bloated, bullying public health bureaucracy have burned public trust on the bonfire of their vanity.

Just tell the truth and set us free.

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Vaccine Protests Are an Issue of Trust

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...