Paul Kingsnorth: why I changed sides in the vaccine wars

Listen to the podcast version:

Freddie Sayers speaks to Paul Kingsnorth.

Paul Kingsnorth sees the vaccine wars as symptomatic of a bigger division between two fundamentally different world views: he calls them “thesis” and “antithesis.” When it comes to Covid, “thesis” is the establishment viewpoint: that lockdowns are needed to contain the virus, masks work, vaccines are safe, and people who question them are wrongheaded or worse. When Covid-19 first struck, Kingsnorth took the “thesis” viewpoint.

But over the last few months, his perspective changed. As he writes in today’s UnHerd, the crystallising moment arrived when he woke up to the news that the Austrian government had ‘interned an entire third of the population’. This move, he writes, sent a ‘chill down my spine’.

The “antithesis” view can be summed up as: lockdowns are not needed, masks do not work, the safety and efficacy of the vaccines are being oversold, vaccine passports will not only fail but further segregate society, and in the near future we can expect Giradian scapegoating of the unvaccinated. In other words, we are positioned on the precipice of a slippery slope that leads towards increasingly draconian biopolitical control measures, the grip of which is unlikely to release even once the pandemic is over.

In a conversation with Freddie Sayers on this week’s UnHerdTV, he explains this division and the bigger epistemological divides it reveals. “People are arguing about vaccines,” he says, “but they’re really under the surface arguing about what kind of person you are if you have taken these things, whether you’re a good or a bad person, or clean or unclean one”.

In Kingsnorth’s view, each of us has a line that cannot be crossed. And his has now been reached.

// Timecodes //

00:00 – 01:30 – Introduction
01:30 – 05:33 – Paul Kingsnorth explains the vaccine wars and their meaning
05:33 – 08:35 – The thesis and antithesis positions of the COVID debate
08:35 – 13:45 – Is the COVID debate a threat to the elite, like Brexit and Trump?
13:45 – 15:32 – Fear as a controlling device
18:51 – 20:23 – Where are we headed?
20:23 – 22:26 – Kingsnorth on what he’s learned in the last two years
22:26 – 25:05 – Where about ‘liberal democracy’?
25:05 – 30:45 – Are the antithesis group yearning for religious meaning?
30:45 – 34:09 – What are the values we should be talking about?
34:09 – 34:37 – Concluding thoughts

#Covid19 #VaccinePassports #Austria

Written by UnHerd


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  1. That sound you can occasionally hear during the video is a rooster, Paul lives on a smallholding in Ireland!

    If you found this video interesting, please do suggest other topics we should investigate in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe, like and share this video – it helps other people find it!

  2. At 25:05, Freddie Sayers asks whether people on the antithesis side, the side against the vaccines, are rejecting the "rational only" view of the world and are yearning for a religious meaning, looking for things other than science. WTH? Noo! It is true science that led us to be against the vaccines. We are rejecting the "science" put forth by the elites.

  3. …social responsibility… and what if, from the beginning, it had just been said that those fearing the virus for good reasons (or even not) could stay home, and those feeling confident could continue their lives, and we would try to help each other as much as possible…wouldn't it have been a responsible attitude allowing to prevent an economic pandemic and to heal those in need? In a past not that distant (just a few centuries ago) people would risk their lives for taking care of others during "pandemics" and they didn't need the Authorities to give them orders, they would act following their conscience… now we have replaced religion with the State, and we are called heretics whenever we don't agree with the State's decisions, being banned from society…yet a vast majority agrees! Nobody wants to be ill (just common sense) but for a majority this virus won't be deadly, so common sense would advise us to remain calm, those more susceptible to catch it should take the measures they find adequate, the others just live their lives and hope they don't catch it, as well as they hope they won't have cancer, or a heart attack, or a car crash (which by the way kills so many people all year round and yet we're still "allowed" to drive)… more broadly, I think that "modern" society, too intelligent to believe in God, no longer thinks of death as a normal issue of life, but as a fatality, and in its crazy attempt to eradicate the very thought of it from day-to-day life, is treating the outburst of this virus as something much more threatening than it is…I wonder why on earth the same measures aren't taken for HIV, which by the way is much more dangerous, and we don't see the "cases"on television, with mandatory tattoos on the body so that they can be recognised by others and prevent the transmission of the illness???

  4. All of this needs to happen for the prophecies in Revelation to come to pass. It’s amazing to see how it unfolds bit by bit. Next is a one world government, monetary system and religion.

  5. I think most people think their gov't is there to protect democracy and the rule of law. While this may be true in some instances I think most historians will say instead that all governments lie regularly to protect their own authority and legitimacy in order to govern. Hence, the very notion of democracy and individual freedom is antithetical for any gov't.

  6. Real question "should the state be allowed force citizens be injected with pharmaceuticals?" limited question that gets more yeses to this "should the state be able to mandate covid vaccines?"

    this sets precedents… with ID cards they are brought in under a specific user. but are actually much broader in scope … then a social scoring system can be brought is… this will be done by a question asking should people have benefits or social access cut instead of going to jail. On the outset it could in fact look like a more humane option, crimes listed for this will be ones people find aggravating. Once done this sets the precedent and then all that is left is that to be expanded.

    combined with the mass conformity we have fallen into, the intolerance that insists everyone must do and think the same… outside ideas labeled as "dangerous" which of course then justifies aggression and open intolerance towards people with those different thoughts… this all blends together with the mass of our communications being through social media to create a net, which just needs to be closed… then and only then will we see it.

    The discussion itself , the overton window shifting is not a good broadening of the accepted discussion and accepted options into absolutely totalitarian , be state medicated for "rights" is the foreshadow of where we are going… in fact, where we are.

    When we hear people saying "we are not planning on forcing unvaccinated being sent to forced quarantine "… with "as out levels of vaccination are so high"… that sneaks the option in as an acceptable one.

    A huge issue here, to me, is the ease and lack of concern so many seem to be seeing quite an extreme thing.

    Also, the idea that mistrust, is some sort of issue with those who have mistrust… like some sort of hang up or disorder. Then on the other "side", who trust authority, who believe based on faith in authority , being dressed up as "science" . Believing something based of faith in a person or body, is not a scientific way to form beliefs.

    On the practicalities of mass vaccination. This would only be a good idea if the virus was far worse than it and the vaccine was very effective at stopping spread, fully tested. The preventing serious illness aspect of the vaccine makes it positive for people t risk, but it does not promote it being mass used. In fact used on people who have no real risk, like the young, this is a unethical area where young are put at risk for no real potential benefit to them .

    Some may take the limited view and say this is all just specific to covid and saying anything else is a "thin end of the wedge" argument, mistake the wedge, for what is actually precedent. Even on the slippery slope, there is argument, the idea of vaccine discrimination was outright reject by the council of Europe , yet here we are. … this has been the trajectory from the start.

    To see actions in only the context of Covid is a huge mistake… this limited perspective , short-term actions being focused on , is clearly not what matches with what we have seen in this context and the broader historical context.

    The line is a great point against the absolute "we we did this then under this case" … as if there are only binary option, totally agree or disagree with all and any actions. Which of course is getting put out as reasonable… hasn't Fauci said to do  "anything and everything" to fight Covid? … is that really a good approach to one issue in the world?

    The tribe point is a good one, especially when you feel isolated and alone …. it's very hard to know what people think, separate, then the subject often avoided among friends.

    Something huge is happening here, whatever one's view is. This needs to be examined and very seriously discussed, not just hand waved through with side row of dogmatic views bashing together.

    When views are formed on emotion, identity, and people rant and argue themselves into a corner… facts don't count. The media approach has been highly emotion based, here in Ireland the nightly "number" out of any context to understand, are a prime example.,

  7. I posted this excellent video to my facebook timeline last night, and it was gone this morning with no warnings. I didn't even think it was that controversial – it is what the likes of the BBC should be doing but are failing to do so. Can anybody else confirm successfully posting it to facebook and it remaining there?

  8. The lockdowns have proved to be pointless in regards to slowing the spread. They don’t work. Aside from the ultra elite getting even richer and more powerful. For them, the lockdowns work very well.

  9. Those who agree to lockdowns have enough to live comfortably, posing for selfies holding a glass of wine…there are so many countries where people love on a daily basis, having to go out to sell some products to earn some money, and for them staying home just means no more income! We just assume that the whole world lives like is, but that's not the case, so global lockdowns are a very nasty solution!

  10. I find it curious that the social media and the traditional media endlessly shames people that don’t want to get vaccinated or wear a mask. I live in Oregon where we have mostly let people get away with not wearing masks in many stores. There is no point in fighting them I guess. I got vaccinated and I wear a mask, I don’t feel that anti maskers and anti vaxxers are even a threat to me. I don’t see them as the “others”. They are just people I have to live with in this world and im ok with that. I haven’t had COVID at all. As of now, I’m not getting a booster shot because, with this new omicron variant, no one knows what’s going on. Pundits are talking about the situation like they know what the heck they are talking about, when it’s clear as daylight that they a panicked themselves because they have lost control over the situation and have no idea what is going on. People demanding agency over their own lives is not a crime, the crime is that the rich countries in the west and the pharmaceutical companies have ignored getting vaccines to poor countries. The “variants of concern” come into being where there is very low vaccination, like 4%. Forcing half of the world to get vaccinated on regular basis with an iron fist, while ignoring the other half like they don’t exist, is honestly just pure stupidity. I see no reason to get another jab until every country gets equal vaccination opportunity. It’s roughly 60% of the world or in any given country that will do that. I think it could work if it was equally distributed around the globe.

  11. As soon as governments employ the idea that you're protecting others by getting a medical procedure you're on very dangerous territory. Because it legitimizes scapegoating. It's an old dynamic that doesn't end well. You can't argue that frightening the life out of people is an acceptable position. The alphabet of 'variants' is there to ratchet up the dose of fear when people are too comfortable. What variant of flu are we on?

  12. You can also justify the criminal authoritarian Opt out model of organ donation without any debate as it is already happening in many countries. Modern cannibalism …. is not the what but the how. Shame on shame on. No respect for personal rights.

  13. No problem… why do people who refuse health authority on questions of public health expect public to give up public heath expertise and give it to people who’s biggest reason to disobey a health directive is because they will have no ability to resist a complete authoritarian takeover…! What a load of rubbish. If you don’t want to be in a society protected by health professionals and have free medication to resist disease why don’t you feel free to go to a country where you don’t have to take vaccine because they don’t have any.
    It is absolutely astonishing at how much insanity exists when society is lightly scratched…. Good God! Think before you speak.

  14. My question is this:- If the vaccine is so safe, why would people like Robert Malone, Mike Yeadon and Geert Van Bossche advise against them? These men are experts in there field, why would they risk their reputations and their careers? They have nothing to gain and everything to lose. And why can't we have an open and honest debate?

  15. Not impressed.
    Notice how they frame the debate – thesis & antithesis.
    Guess who they put in ‘antis’ camp?
    Too much fence sitting from Kingsnorth. Reminds me of an Anglican vicar.

  16. It's not black and white, that's the 'truth'. Another truth is no amount of lockdowns is going to change things, clearly, as they are still doing it with a majority of people vaccinated. Covid is here to stay – bizzarely the one solution NO ONE is talking about is greater investment in health to treat Covid victims so life can return to normal. They did it for banks, why not health?!

  17. Great discussion but I absolutely disagree that the people who are pushing the mandates and lockdowns in name of “science” are very scientific at all. There are many dissenting scientists on lockdown (great barrington declaration). There is no correlation between lockdown and death rates, we have seen cases where it helped where it made no difference. Targeted protection was the right policy all along as Sweden, Florida, Texas and many other republican states have demonstrated. People under age of 60 have a 99.7%+ survival rate , to push a rushed vaccine to take it to 99.9% while ignoring side effects both short and long term (which are unknown), makes no scientific sense. More so when there is practically no difference in transmission (in fact latest Uk public health data shows double the infection rate among 40-69 as against unvaccinated). All the countries had pandemic preparation plans drawn up for years before this thing hit and it was abandoned in panic like headless chicken. And now it’s doubling down. Fear mongering media and ass covering politicians. And it’s all about control now

  18. Your analogy of 'symbolic meaning' was a bit simplified. I'd say nationalism emerged in the 19th and early 20th century, sure it generally embraced the Christendom of the past, but the nation became more important. Science came post WW1 and the trust in it has broken down until today in which, at least from the mainstream point of view, the symbolic meaning is some mixed form of globalism and tolerance without any boundaries. Due to its obvious problems it's breaking down very quickly, and perhaps and hopefully will never get off the ground.

  19. I think that what you, Westerners, are missing is that in order to "un-HERD" oneself one actually needs to start using their own brain without continuously engaging in the "debate" from a poor victim stance. This channel is as much victim-minded as is the other side of the spectrum. Whatever you engage in, you are. You make it valid. Whenever I hear this same old: I will not be told what to do/think/be bla bla bla.. WELL DON'T. Stop looking for approval. It's like those people who march and "fight for peace" and "empowerment" without realising they are begging for charity. Or women who demand respect from their partners without respecting self. This channel is simply the other side of "woke" – providing a perfect counterpoint, thus sustaining the very thing they disagree with. All true adults know that in order to make something go away, you make it irrelevant. Focus on the end goal you want instead of validating the very reality you dislike. When you resist, you make it real. Just don't take the freaking vaccine, period. Stand in your integrity without whining like a giant baby. Stop crying over facebook and invent new ways of communicating. What people lack these days is courage to just be, without demanding approval and validation left right and center. They whine about "how everything's changed" etc – for the love of god – adapt, be ingenious, but stop whining like a Hollywood celeb who feels disempowered as a woman. Westerners should spend a month in gulag or sth. You guys are so accustomed to comfort that the natural human survival mechanism simply does not kick in. You just moan and talk and talk and talk and talk and it's all oh-so-very-grim and serious. Personally, I chose not to take the vaccine and that's it. No one can force me and that's the end of the story. I can arrange my life accordingly without needing to engage with the herd of retards just as I wouldn't engage in a conversation with a mob or an abusive partner. It's that simple. There are many people who chose not to take the vaccine and got rich during the whole covid-period, by simply diverting their energies to personal businesses, creative work etc. It's the codependent herd that can't live without "the system" that seems to be so crushed by the 'tyranny of the left'. You don't need to participate, but you DO need to use your brain to be financially/emotionally /physically independent in life – this is true with or without Covid.

  20. I’m sad that I can only give Paul Kingsnorth a single thumbs up for his wise words. If I could, I would give him a thousand more. I especially liked his comments on the loss of a true spiritual element to our lives. That is perhaps our biggest loss of all.

  21. Something to ponder… who in the world would have the highest degree of competency on something?

    One who studies that thing more than anyone else. Those scholars who seek out and analyze the most data, in an unbiased pursuit of comprehension, become the most competent and become the greatest threat to corrupt people in power who seek to control information to their advantage, using their media to discredit these scholars as mere “conspiracy theorists”.

  22. Everything you talk about is part of the natural progression toward totalitarianism. It has happened over and over throughout history and all we need do is study that history. It is the PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS that are in it for the power and prestige and money. and they are proving that in the way they have handled the covid epidemic, at least that brought the corruption to our attention in a way that could not be ignored any longer. The connections between the drug companies and the government, the gross amounts of money being made, the lack of approval for treatments that have so far proven to be more effective and safer (Ivermectin for one) but the rapid approval for a vaccine that has not been tested and has had far more dangerous side effects as time goes on but are still willing to force it on the public, a genetically altering vaccine that they are even willing to force upon children. As is in the fascist playbook "never let a good crisis go to waste". Now, because the vaccine loses its effectiveness, Fauci wants to change the definition of vaccine to include ongoing booster shots. That is not tested and could be found, over time to be deadly. Changing definitions to follow his agenda is becoming a habit with him, his new way of covering his lies. Anyone would be a fool to believe any of them, the WHO, CDC, NIH, etc. More info is coming out daily proving all of these things. We have not paid attention (none of us in any western country) for so long it may be too late but for our health and our freedom we must try. Thanks for the video

  23. One important element the vaccine will within its own make up… Contain the answers to for or against, and the only perquisite… is time* It clear the freedom of exchange of medical information is and has been politically… Biased. Marking the moment the whole sorry saga. Left the realm of true reason and was seized upon by dictatorial politicians and now over financed pharmaceutical commercial companies…. To obtain a need for ongoing medical imput and digized identity of each private individual world citizen and in this instance… Fear being the main and very blunt instrument used to push this sinister agenda.

  24. Completely agree with the need for a cultural language to talk about the tyrannical aspects of the control system, but as intelligent beings, we are also able to consider and look into some of the evidence for efficacy and harm of vaccines. We can and should do both, both rational and cultural.

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