I wanted to tie together a theme that started earlier in the week by using a brilliant article by Thomas Harrington that appeared yesterday at brownstone.org. in conjunction with an article that I wrote about the propagandized censorship of public policy during the pandemic and the coordinated attempt by those in the authority to suppress debate on alternative strategies.
In light of the NYT’s piece on February 20 about CDC withholding data related to COVID hospitalizations and infections in vaccinated individuals, this seems like a good way to wrap up the week.
Here are some highlights of Herrington’s article.
The creation and maintenance of the censorious Index ( Index Librorum Prohibitorum) was animated by what philosophers call a priori thinking; that is, a process of intellectual inquiry characterized by reasoning absent evidence from first principles…Applied to natural sciences, humanities, anthropology, politics, and history, it speaks to a desperate desire to justify the status of previously determined “truths” that fortify a particular and often highly self-interested view of reality.
For nearly a thousand years prior to the inception of the Index, the lettered functionaries of the papacy had exercised a near total monopoly over how its vast and largely illiterate flock could interpret and visualize the designs of the Almighty.
It was in the midst of this new “do-it-yourself” intellectual ferment that Martin Luther generated his Ninety-five Theses,” which would forever change the relationship between the commoner and state power in Western Europe.
Aware that the uncontrolled spread of Luther’s critique would seriously damage the cohesion of this enormous bundle of interests, the Church, working hand-in-glove with its Spanish Habsburg patrons, inaugurated the Council of Trent in 1545.
For the last seven decades the US, like the Habsburg Spain of the early 16th century, has lived a rather charmed existence, rooted in the fact that they were the only allied power to escape the ravages of war on their own soil.
Indeed, during the first four decades after WWII, it was easy for those living with the US cultural system to believe that this was, in fact, the case. In many ways, and I say this as someone who came of age in that sweet spot between the end of Vietnam and the inception of financialized capitalism, we truly were perhaps more free than any group of young people in the history of the world.
But what we saw as our right in perpetuity, the country’s economic and social elites saw as a gift, one that could only be extended to us as long as their “right” to constantly increase their wealth and power remained undiminished.
Faced with the growing disenchantment of its citizens, the government and its allies in Big Finance began setting up the machinery they believed they would need to quell the inevitable rise of popular dissent down the road.
That so many people, especially on the left where the rhetoric of bodily sovereignty has long been used to defend a woman’s right to an abortion, cannot see the fundamental nature of the struggle we are in is nothing short of astonishing… and is, sad, to say, a tribute to the extremely well-executed nature of their propaganda drive to banalize and relativize the essential nature of the freedoms we once enjoyed.
But there is hope. And it comes from observing the incredible intellectual poverty of those now running the culture-planning machine at the highest levels of government and business, from seeing how reflexively they now recur to a priori reasoning when attempting to convince us to follow their lead.
The examples before us are far too many to count. This week, for example, we found out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been hiding information about vaccine efficiency and safety out of a fear, according to that organization’s spokesperson, that releasing it might allow some in the general public to misinterpret it as demonstrating that the vaccines—which by any standard clinical metric for such things are highly ineffective—are, you guessed it, highly ineffective.
There you have it in a nutshell.
Just like the Catholic hierarchy of the 16th century which decided that truth and salvation could only be achieved through the intercession of the Church of Rome, and that therefore all intellectual activity must affirm this premise, the great mass of our politicians and public health authorities long ago decided that the only goal currently worth achieving is insuring the subjugation of as many bodies as possible to their dictates, and that all discussion around public health should thus militate toward that end.
This approach is, of course, massively dishonest and arrogant.
But most of all, it’s pitiful, for it speaks to a leadership cadre that no longer believes in anything, that is, except a desperate desire to hold on to power.