Thursday, July 20, 2023

"Covid's Origins and the Death of Trust"

 From Matt Taibbi's Racket News, July 20:

....If you read the documents up at Public like a novel, and follow the chorus-like Slack exchanges between the four key scientists as a drama with a beginning, middle, and end, it’s hard to miss the brutal lesson. Four people whose job was to divine truth through scientific analysis were waylaid by social and political considerations that you can see attacking each of the characters with ferocity, even in their little digital haven of a private chat. With everything on the line, and millions of lives at stake, they were not only unable in the end to say what they really thought, but as my partner Walter Kirn points out, they joined up with a mechanism that worked to suppress and stamp out the very thoughts they themselves first had.

The problem that’s been threatening Western democracies for years, and which is captured in books like Martin Gurri’s The Revolt of the Public, is the widespread loss of faith in institutional authority. At first this was a technical problem, caused by a monstrous new surfeit of information on the Internet, allowing the public for the first time to see warts that were always there. What’s happening now is different. Even those of us who never trusted leaders before at least trusted such people to act in their self-interest. We thought that in emergencies, even the worst officials would suspend their stealing and conniving long enough to do the bare minimum.

As these documents show, however, we can’t even have that expectation. Once people see an institutional malfunction on this scale, it’s like walking in on a cheating spouse, they can’t unsee it. That’s what these scientists were risking when they played around with a lie this big: everything.....

Here's the whole thing: "Covid's Origins and the Death of Trust"

The 221 comments seem rather milquetoast. But then, any reaction sort of white-hot rage seems rather milquetoast.