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if we can't scare them into doing what they are told let's hold their freedom hostage instead
a lesson in losing the public trust by failing to trust the public.
this is simply grotesque.
there is really no other word for it.
this is a former US surgeon general essentially lamenting that:
“because fear and shame provide insufficient motivation for young people to do as they are told and take an experimental vaccine whose harms may well outweigh its benefits for them (and which has a worryingly short safety track record to boot) we should hold their lives and livelihoods hostage instead.”
it’s dressed up in some elliptical moralizing, but that’s 100% what he is saying and the presumption and ill conceived entitlement behind it represents the embodiment of everything that is currently wrong with public health policy all over the world.
it’s always important to engage with the arguments of others on their own terms so that we may avoid straw men and accusations that we have misrepresented their claims and salients. honesty requires it.
so let’s have a look at the text and explore the underpinnings of jerome’s words, straight from the horse’s mouth.
first off, he identifies the strategies of fear and shame and finds them ill suited to the task of convincing the young to take an experimental vaccine because they see no benefit. note what is and is not said here:
this strategy is ineffective
we should pivot to a new one
but this is solely because “it’s not a great motivator” not because, say, it’s grossly immoral or dishonest
there is no case for education made, simply manipulation
there is no attempt to “open a dialogue” or “build trust and mutual understanding”
there is not even a passing reference to cost/benefit or tailoring choice to individual circumstance
and the new motivator is, quite literally, extortion.
such musings and policy are not the actions or the thought patterns of a trusted health advisor.
they are the behavior of a beer company with an army that can take your freedom until you buy the new “surgeon general ultra.”
they seek to make “getting your life back” into the aspirational aspect of a marketing plan to coerce you through deprival then partial return of your own liberties.
“do what i say and you can have back what i took.”
this is not public health, it’s hostage taking.
look at the “benefits” of this product jerome is selling:
“Greater freedom to visit other people and places, less need to mask or get tested or quarantine (even w/ variants), greater (+ faster) sense of “normal.””
note what it utterly absent: ideas of cost benefit, notions of personal choice, and notions that one size may not fit all in terms of solutions.
nothing here even speaks of medicine or health or well being. can mr adams even grasp how badly this plays?
physician, hear thyself!
he literally, in his own words, wants to make bud light commercials for vaccines where instead of hanging out with beautiful people on boats and ballgames, you get some part of your own life back.
consider what this actually implies about his view of you, your rationality, your rights to live your life, his rights to take and return your liberties, and the value of dialogue and an honest accounting of the facts rather than overt, heavy handed manipulation and extortion.
this philosophy is so entitled and interwoven with a presumed right to rule and manipulate the benighted masses for their own good as to beggar belief.
what within this panoply of amoral marketing and literal tyranny provides any basis for trust?
this was once the “nation’s doctor.”
but who would go to a doctor that refused to give you the facts and engage with you to make informed decisions but rather sought to manipulate you and trick you into doing things using glitzy beer commercial images?
more flashy campaigns rooted in holding freedom prisoner until the damn proles stop asking questions and do what they are told just drives the wedge deeper.
public health runs on trust yet public health officials have lied and lied and lied about lying all year. now they lament that no one will listen to them anymore, but this is a bed of their own making. this man is outright discussing manipulating people and denying them access to their lives in a public forum.
and we’re supposed to trust him?
stop jerome. just stop. you’ve been a disaster since the beginning on this and pushed false narrative after false narrative from “swiss cheese” to “your mask protects me.”
you never trusted the people. you made public health into a joke and now you want to make it into a bud light ad.
when we do the post mortem on this whole sordid covid debacle and the unprecedented forays into pseudoscientific NPI fetishization and societal harm it will be folks like you that will stand in the dock for pushing it and for destroying the reputation of public health for a generation.
“the people” did not fail. you did.
when the next pandemic arises and no one trusts officials anymore because of how badly they lied and manipulated last time, the blame will lie on you and others like you.
you had a chance to inform and to educate. instead you chose to frighten and inflame and when that failed, to hoodwink and extort.
you could have been a doctor but instead you chose to be a used-car salesman.
faith in public health broke because you broke faith with the public.
so spare us your “coors light, now with 100% more mRNA” hucksterism rooted in your entitlement to deny we the people our liberty or our choices because you lack the ability to make a case for your proposed course in honest terms and genuine assessment of risk and reward. these are the precincts in which the practice of medicine lies. you chose the path of propaganda.
spare us your tawdry machinations to hustle humanity into acquiescence like some third rate advertising intern.
you are not helping.
you are the problem and just listening to you is making people more, not less vax hesitant. you’re flat out working in opposition to your stated goals.
the reason so many reasonable people are vax hesitant for covid is because of people like you and the reason that people who could benefit from vaccines are not taking them is because you tried to push them on those who likely would not benefit and now no one trusts you.
these are not, by and large, “anti-vaxxers” they are “pro-cost benefiters” and when they see you mislead about risks and fail to discuss tailoring treatment to their individual circumstances or engaging in frank discussion of salients, they do not see you as a doctor. they see you as a salesman looking to misrepresent his product.
and this makes them wonder what issues you seek to hide behind your prevarications.
you were stupid to think them stupid and patronizing to exclude them from discussing the merits and prices of mitigation strategies.
ever more beguiling manipulation will not restore the public confidence that you have squandered.
“a product so good we won’t even tell you about the health benefits or the price, we’ll just extort you into taking it!” is not much of trust builder, but coming out publicly in favor of such manipulation is just plowing salt into the fields.