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Guy P. D. Armstrong
Guy P. D. Armstrong
Guy Armstrong is a New Zealander, and author of 'How Essential is Flouride?: What do the Experts Say?' (2020), available on Amazon.com.

Lack of Public Debate Between Medical Professionals about New Zealand’s Pandemic Response has Helped Fuel Anger and Lack of Trust

If even our intellectuals can’t have public debate about public policy, what’s left but protest?

Most of us noticed. A few months back, discussion about our pandemic response – masks, lockdowns, media, vaccination and mandates, became a little sour, culminating in the protest on the 16th of December.

COVID public debate news

I believe that Intellectuals and academics who have refused to engage in public, professional debate, have contributed to a worsening of discourse, and helped to foment frustration.

Protesters should indeed accept responsibility for their protests. But intellectuals and academics who’ve refused to debate their professional medical critics should accept some responsibility for these protests as well.

If argument can’t be treated respectfully, what’s left but protest?

The vaccination mandate stands in stark contrast to the first point on the government’s Covid-19 advice page on “How to talk to your friends and whānau about the COVID-19 vaccine” which reminds us to: “Acknowledge that vaccination is a personal choice”.

It’s difficult to accept that in New Zealand we’ve not had a single public debate among academics and intellectuals about lockdowns, covid, jabs, or mandates. NOT ONE. It seems very different to the New Zealand I grew up with in the 1980s, with that old TV show “Fair Go”.

We learn from debates. In Oxford, a long time ago, Darwin’s ideas on evolution were famously debated. It’s part of the reason we know so much about it – debating it made us more receptive to it and showed us the strengths and weaknesses in some of his thoughts (and yes it wasn’t only Darwin who deserves the street cred).

If the pope came to NZ and said “I, THE POPE, DON’T BELIEVE IN DARWINIAN EVOLUTION, WILL A PROFESSOR OF EVOLUTION DEBATE ME ABOUT IT?” – I bet someone from academia would debate him. When Professor Richard Dawkins wrote The God Delusion there were a lot of debates with the Professor’s work being challenged by many people and he stood up and took it like an adult and had civil, polite, respectful, and often very public and televised debate. Sure, sometimes it got feisty. But nobody pulled a gun on anyone. Nobody got beaten up about it, and it’s preferable to angry protest… right?

Everyone involved had the opportunity to ask uncomfortable questions, receive uncomfortable answers, and take a few steps outside their comfort zone, and learn to intellectually empathize with others’ points of view. Everyone had to take a step or two beyond their echo chamber. Given the amount of bad-mouthing experts have made towards echo chambers and social media misinformation, one would think they would relish a debate or two, especially about such intense times.

It’s easy for experts and the media to answer their own questions or address the wackiest conspiracy theorists from the far reaches of the internet. That’s the easy road. It’s like how politicians write “patsy questions” for each other. It’s an echo chamber of its own. It creates an amount of argument that ignores sensible, scientific criticisms, and promotes the suggestion that scientific criticisms are irrelevant, not worth bothering with or addressing. It thus becomes a strawman argument. It is also a very self-serving view – if anyone critical can be dismissed as insane or inept or simply misguided.

I think if the experts were to debate their professional medical critics in public, that would be difficult, but also more virtuous, and a path that would lead to more harmony, understanding and compassion in the end.

Jesse Mulligan wrote about the anti-vaxxers in his DMs as if they were the only ones interested in talking.

I like Jesse Mulligan a lot, but I don’t understand why he doesn’t simply invite the professional medical critics of the pandemic response onto his news show and have a good old debate!

Jesse suggests to us that he’s willing to step up and discuss and debate, so why didn’t he (or any of the other hundreds of journalists in this country) try organizing a debate with some of NZDSOS?

The advocates of the mandates and the gesundheitspass – sorry ‘vaccine pass’ outnumber those who don’t want these things by quite a few.

The advocates have, or have access to:

(a)More money, in the form of corporate and government funding;’

(b) More power, in the form of media, popularity;

(c) More accuracy (at least according to themselves) in their scientific claims;

… yet they refuse to debate… surely they’d win, though, wouldn’t they? I mean, if they’ve got better science and all that, why would they not debate when they know they’d win?
Surely a debate would have been a better way to get us all vaccinated than coercion and mandates?

There is a statue of Mahatma Ghandi outside Wellington’s railway station. He wrote in ‘Ethical Religion’ that:

“Any action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral.”

Perhaps the Ardern government and many of the medical experts should take that statue down, if they don’t like the things this man stood for.

Do the experts think the NZ public are too stupid, and wouldn’t be able to make sense of an argument? Or just worried we’d not obey the authorities? If the politicians think we’re too stupid to think for ourselves, they should just go burn down all the libraries, because there’s no point in the existence of libraries or historical archives, if a single source of truth knows what the right thoughts are, and all we need to do is listen to the daily briefings.

I don’t think debate or the desire for it has to be taken personally. I think ideally debate should be more focused on how well ideas stand up against other ideas.

I think there are a few questions that are very important, and I wish they’d been asked a year or so back, in a very public setting. And I wish some of the leaders at Stuff.co.nz would have been there:

Why does the vaccination status matter more than the disease status? Can a vaccine-free individual spread the disease without having the disease? This may sound like a stupid question, but I get the impression this is what we’re supposed to believe.

Why so little discussion on early treatment?

If our taxes paid for the vaccines, how are they “Free”?

If there is such a thing as natural immunity to Covid-19, can a person spread the disease once they’ve recovered? Do they still need to wear a mask everywhere? Do they need to get vaccinated? If they can’t spread it, why should they bother with vaccines and masking?

Will a vaccine pass recognize natural immunity? If it’s purpose is to curtail disease spread, will it even recognize infection?

What investigate journalism has been done toward finding any conflicts of interest in New Zealand scientific experts advising the government’s pandemic response?

Which public relations companies are involved in the pandemic response, if any? Can we see those contracts or is that sort of thing not for public eyes?

Is getting vaccinated pushed so hard because Prime Minister Ardern and all the media and fancy experts would be embarrassed by a huge stockpile of leftover vaccines, like what happened in Europe a decade ago?

Why such little discussion in media on the absence of MPs from parliament on the 16th of December, when it was listed on parliament’s sitting calendar?

I didn’t know Rory Nairn at all, but I think he died because experts were obsessed with a 90% vaccination rate, and saying anything in public about risks of heart complications would have lead to more vaccine hesitancy.

Was 1,200 or so serious adverse events on medsafe not indication enough to send this letter out a little earlier?

How tainted is the profession of medicine and medical journals by big business? Is it in the spirit of science to bypass testing prior to use, as suggested by Moderna?

Why no reporting on mainstream media on the World Economic Forum’s simulated pandemics in 2018 and 2019?

And why not simply inject the spike protein itself, if we’re supposed to develop an immunity to it?

And if we care about strengthening the immune response, why no concern about lowering fluoride levels in drinking water considering the possible effects on the thyroid gland?

Do scientists and doctors still have the freedom of speech to question government policy?

This seems relevant when the Covid-19 vaccines don’t seem to be stopping the spread.

Does it not seem a little hypocritical that people who’ve cared little for their health for most of their lives expect masks and vaccines to make up for years of unhealthy living?

Why no publicity on the British Medical Journal recently calling out Mark Zuckerberg’s fact-checkers?

And it would be foolish to not notice the beneficiaries of the pandemic. Atop a mountain of firings and resignations over the mandate, a few experts have probably gained a few things to put on their CVs.

Perhaps there are some good arguments for, and against the official position. The internet sure “revolutionized communication” as was promised, but now we’re free to have whatever echo chamber we want.

Chomsky and Herman pointed out as far back as 1989, that (at least U.S.) media was a huge echo chamber for the powerful, and Jerry Mander’s 1978 book “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” told us that the medium was not reformable – largely because it allows communication to be one-way, from a central and often secretive nexus, to absolutely everyone. TV has been our single source of truth since its invention.

I don’t think we should be surprised that social media leads to echo chambers, after all, much of corporate media has been an echo chamber for a long time.

It seems a bit rich for mainstream journalists to rubbish social media for being an echo chamber, when mainstream journalists hold up experts who refuse to debate their professional medical critics.

I think that much of academia is an echo chamber, and has been for years. The amount of power given to corporations, coupled with globalization, has allowed corporations to influence scientists, and with that, influence what is considered real.

This week in the Otago Daily Times we read about British universities accepting millions from oil companies (on top of the millions Greenpeace publicized six years back).

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2017 that Google had been paying professors in a campaign of academic influence. Money is often given without strings attached, but if it isn’t spent in a way the donor wants, the flow stops.

Much has been said about scientists and money, as well as honesty.

Professor Chomsky has discussed how the education system selects for obedience. So the people who make it to the top, are the ones who are the most obedient. An expectation to respect this sycophantic nature is then projected onto the weary public, many of whom are tired of being constantly herded by self-absorbed technocrats and do-gooders. Sometimes this mental slavery to authority has another name, it goes by “objectivity”.

I believe our future strength, happiness and abundance will lie in becoming more free from the corporate and billionaire dominance over our lives. These institutions don’t play fair, and don’t know how to restrain themselves from encroaching on our privacy, our food, our water, our medicine, our thoughts and opinions. They subtly seduce scientists and leaders with all manner of powers and curiosities.

Guy P. D. Armstrong, BSc.
I am a New Zealand citizen, and author of How Essential is Fluoride? (2020).

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. So refreshing to see good, questioning journalism.

    I wish and pray that more and more people will start to see through the false information and hidden agendas of this global narrative we’re being subjected to.

    Although the longer they go on it becomes more and more obvious something isn’t right. In a conversation with a friend she said everyone will draw the line at some point. She’s starting to come close to that line with the looming booster shots.

  2. Thanks everyone!
    Awesome that the team here at Daily Telegraph is OK to publicize things questioning not only the government, but the scientific narrative.

  3. Yes along with others now like the BFD one can read some intelligent thinking. Anonymous, whether in jest or not, I consider the acknowledgement that we are slaves to the system is an important understanding.
    Seems like we’ve been cast under a spell….

  4. The lack of debate is shocking! Back in the day leaders actually went on tv eg. Paul Holmes show and debated the issues in front of the nation in prime time. Now fake news channels like newshub deliver an hour of dumbed down Kim kardashian stories after 30 minutes of covid fear propaganda

  5. Euthanasia for vaccine injured? “IF it is determined a person will not live beyond 6 months,” doctors are already paid to euthanize. It has been alleged these vaccines suppress the natural immune system, causing many latent diseases to flourish. It has been predicted vaccinated will begin overwhelming hospitals around Christmas 2021 thru March 2022 with ailments unrelated to COVID. If recovery within 6 months is not likely, euthanasia will be widespread.

  6. You mix up good questions with very poor ones. A deliberate tactic perhaps to spread misinformation by packaging it together with sound information? For example, why would you ask whether “the spike protein can’t just be injected into people”. Really? You think that’s how a good vaccine is made?

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