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The cost of freedom

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I have tried to keep up to date with the discourse around covid vaccines, mandates and vaccine passports, both in NZ and abroad.

I have had 3 jabs willingly and I am deemed an essential worker. I have also felt the sadness of losing a close friend to Covid.

The Cost of Freedom news

There are two things that concern me, firstly, the increasing state intervention in people’s lives currently taking the form of vaccine mandates and vaccination passports. Secondly, the growing distrust and contempt that seems to be mutually felt between the mainstream media and a growing section of the population. There is hostility coming from both sides and with that hostility, quality dialog and debate are casualties.

I do not think it is in any way acceptable for journalists to be abused, threatened or intimidated by protesters. Nor do I think it is acceptable for the media to deliberately misrepresent the protest movement. I think both sides need to pause and take a breath. To a large degree the protest movement has been written off as a very small fringe group of extreme troublemakers who have been fueled by misinformation and right wing conspiracy theories. But this is not the full story.

The Nuffield Institute on Bioethics is against mandatory vaccinations for health workers. This is not some fringe group; they are funded by the British Medical Research Council. These are highly qualified people at the top of the establishment. They have looked deeply into the pros and cons of the issue and decided on balance vaccine mandates are counterproductive. They are also against vaccination passports. The British Medical Research Council and the Royal College of Nurses, while promoting the use of vaccines against Covid, also oppose vaccine mandates.

My sense is that many New Zealanders are, at the least, uneasy with vaccine mandates and passports. The government /media message that is consistently delivered, is that this protest movement is only representative of the tiniest slither of the population and is an extremist fringe.

And yet in the New Zealand Herald’s poll (Monday 14 February) 31% supported the protest (when I last checked). That’s a big slither and quite remarkable when you consider the incessant bad publicity that has be heaped on the movement for more than a week now. Every political party has distanced themselves from them, countless politicians and commentators have thrown insults at them. TV1, Newshub, RNZ, Stuff, Prime and Newstalk ZB (with some exceptions, eg. Barry Soper and Grant Duncan) have kept up a steady campaign to discredit the protest. None of that excuses the appalling behaviour of some individuals toward journalists.

Though I do think journalism has been letting us down and is in need of self-reflection. Every journalist has the right to their opinion and the right to share it. But they must also consider the massive power imbalance they have. When that power joins with the power of the state, liberal democracy is undermined and we are moving in the direction of totalitarianism, where all dissenting opinions are either actively suppressed, ignored or misinterpreted.

Of course all dissenting opinions are not equal, but by picking up only the opinions that are easy to strawman, means important issues are obscured. It now seems current affairs is so heavily laden with commentator opinion that no one is listening with the intention of understanding. The voice of the down-trodden, is a mere whisper if heard at all. The saddest thing is seeing journalists determine the motivation of others actions and then knocking them down. Without any attempt to understand what is going on. One thing that is making life difficult for the media is the unusual alliances happening right now, making it difficult to pigeonhole the movement. Left and right, alt-left and alt-right are all obsolete terms on the grounds outside parliament. People have come from a wide spectrum of places ideologically and have met in the same space. This is all about timing. The mandatory imposition of social isolation on one group of people, a.k.a. the vaccine passport system, has brought these people together temporarily. The anti-vax, vax-hesitant, vaxed and even some pro-vax (which I belong to) have found common ground in the rejection of the passport system and mandatory vaccination.

For a variety of reasons, a small number of people chose not to have a new drug put in their body. For that they have paid a heavy price, which includes joblessness (equals extreme poverty), restrictions on movement, restrictions on access to public and private facilities (including libraries, sports, funerals etc.), family rejection, social isolation, exclusions of every sort and a steady stream of insults and condemnation. On top of all that many still share the same fears around Covid. Can we truly say they had their voices heard? And what did the mainstream media do? Mostly put the boot in. What happened to ‘comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’?

The media seems reluctant to give voice to this group for fear it might undermine the vaccine role out, but with vaccination rates passing 95% that fear is misplaced.

There are many protesters who are well informed and feel deeply that something just isn’t right with mandates and passports. Yes, there is misinformation around, but that accusation can be thrown around too easily against anyone who holds a differing opinion. Is it not reasonable to have some suspicion of big pharma? They hardly have the cleanest track record. Put simplistically, profit is their main priority not the well-being of humanity. Not conspiracy theory, just how it is. The media have failed to really dig into this and either put to rest those suspicions or discover there are legitimate concerns.

Even with the most credible information we can find, in the end we also need to listen to our gut, our instinct, our intuition, and then decide where we draw the line. And of course, people will draw the line at different points, and it is important to determine what is at stake with these decisions.

I think it is time to move this debate out of the gutter and end the mudslinging, and in doing so help to heal some the divisions that are emerging. It needs the light of reason, discernment, and a little bit of open heartedness from all sides, media included.

Image credit: Peter Mattiassi

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Anecdotally it’s hard to find people from all walks of life who are pro-mandate. They are mostly pro-vax in my experience so “othering” a significant number of people as “anti-vax” is disingenuous at best and downright evil at worst. The government and MSM have deliberately propagandised people into fear so they comply. But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time and slowly people are waking up from the mass formation they’ve been part of for 2 years. Looking for justice is necessary, but the immediate need is to regain freedom and reduce the impacts across all forms of health, economy and social structures. The second most important thing is to put legislation into place that protects freedom of choice and expression in the long term. Then can we get onto holding those who have frightened the public into believing everyone is a threat and everyone is at risk. Ardern, Hopkins, Robertson, Bloomfield, Baker, Wiles and Hendy are at the top of the list for me but there’ll be others I’m sure. Perhaps they can wear masks for the rest of their lives to remind them to keep their totalitarian views to themselves.

    • You make really good points. I think the ‘waking up from the mass formation’ is the key. It starts with the one person, then their friends, then their community and so on. If I don’t break it down into small incremental steps, it’s just too big. Right now we must promote the message that Govt over-reach in the from of vaccination mandates is ethically and morally wrong; build a wider and stronger base, then political clout would follow.

  2. I saw an interview with a senior executive of the FDA who confirmed the following:
    Big Pharma pours billions of dollars into FDA to short circuit the testing types and periods of testing (bribes??)
    FDA wants US Govt to mandate annual booster for ever
    FDA wants US Govt to mandate vaccines for 6 month olds and above
    I also think our PM has lost the plot and will crack soon
    https://youtu.be/xhPcBOo2eAg

  3. Very good article and supportive comments- well done.

    What we are really struggling to preserve by our protest actions is our nations Democracy. Democracy should be our unifying cry!!!

    Now we are getting a taste of what totalitarian way of living. I for one do not like it one little bit.
    Unforunately this government is hugely over reaching its granted powers and we are all suffering because, of it and is likely to get much worse unless they come to their senses and start listening to the good folk of NZ.
    Part of the blame for this predicament lies with the oppositon who seem to be spineless and do not seem to have a .clue about what is really happening.
    The only one with some courage of his beliefs Matt King is now an ex party member. Democracy needs different view points. Steve Hansen of the All Blacks looked for selectors with a different opinions to make a stronger panel. His job after encouraging robust debate was to make a unified policy.

    Added to this was the breakdown of the mmp system where the govt had a free reign and without Winston the intended modifying influences of mmp have been lost.
    National badly needs some strong leadership which obviously will not come from a president well past used by date when he turns away Matt King.
    Another danger is our PM who has come through the same young leaders training courses as Trudeau and Macron. Democracy severely broken in their countries too. Into France come the armoured military vehicles. Hide away Trudeau’s use of force against his own citizens is a sure sign of failure which will not be rectified by more threats and harsh penalties.
    Our main news media by acceptin

    As in NZ these leaders must come to the people discuss problems with them to unify their countries and return us to the ways of life we all enjoy. To continue to rule by coersion, bribery, threats and fear are not acceptable to Kiwis – we want back to Democracy,

    from mandated

    • Opposition! What opposition? That’s where we got screwed. Parliament as a whole let us down, big time. The MSM let us down. Perhaps it’s just a broken system. And we need to rebuild from the ground up. Russel Brand speaks really well on this. I think the dark cloud of fear also affected many world leaders, they constantly felt this need to show they were doing something, and this ‘doing something’ meant ever more restrictive directives. Perhaps this protest is just the start of something bigger. However this protest ends I really hope that desire for a better way of life that you put forward continues to grow.

  4. In case you haven’t noticed yet, the covid-19 pandemic is a ruse, the vehicle that is being used to facilitate the Great Reset. It’s a global ‘criminal conspiracy’ in which the NZ government is participating, to establish a planetary dictatorship. The NZ Government is an existential threat to all New Zealanders. Our politicians are either extremely ignorant people who doesn’t grasp what’s taking place, or are guilty of democide and treason against the people of New Zealand.

  5. Spot on Eric.
    I have been saying the same thing for a while. Our criminal governments have deliberately created the hoax and firstly got their populations scared shitless about Covid 19 which has a recovery of over 99% for people without severe underlying causes. Then they started the sermons that the experimental drug (vaccine) will be the only way out of this. Given the actual harmless nature of the virus, they quickly attributed the lack of hospitalisations and death to this experimental drug and the masses were instantly fooled.

    Only a few days ago, most of my colleagues at work were still rushing to get the booster and still convinced that only way for them to escape the ‘dreaded’ omicron was to get boosted. When you tell them the booster is totally useless as it was made for the original variant, they simply refuse not to deviate from the government line. You just have to wonder if these people were only going to school to have their lunch!! Basic biology escapes them and yet these people hold senior positions at their work places. No wonder so many sectors that are not mandated have mandated (against the constitution) their own workplaces to have a discriminatory passes, resulting in job losses, IP walking out the door, families destroyed, to name a few.

    The experimental drugs didn’t create or contribute to any positive outcomes, our natural immune systems did. On the contrary the jab continues to injure and kill people.

    The whole scam was well devised. Most western countries followed the playbook. Organisations were either bought and people, like some doctors, nurses etc who spoke, found themselves quickly loosing their practice license. MSM (that deplorable lot who have sold their souls for a few pieces of silver), the judiciary (which was our last hope) pass their judgements as if they are Pfizer’s salespeople.

    Our authorities are criminal and like any criminal will get violent and will do everything to suppress anyone that is prepared to challenge their narrative. I hope for the sake of our beautiful country this doesn’t escalate to violence but unfortunately I can’t see this whole charade ending peacefully. As you said Eric, ‘our’ government is not working for us but is an existential threat to all NZers-vaxxed or not.

    BTW: the Covid 19 virus was never isolated. Our MEDSAFE cannot provide you any information on this. Basically they are just going by CDC and FDA approvals- two of the most corrupt organisations.

  6. The problem when you try to make both partys at fault (protesters and media), is that it is the media who attacked and continue to attack protesters. Not only this but they do this by abusing their trusted position in a democracy. They are actively funded by the govt and have become nothing more than govt propaganda arm….this is the real problem, this is not a problem of 2 equal partys in conflict…..

    If I read any news article from, TVNZ, RNZ, Stuff, NZ Herald, NewsHub their is a common theme – belittling, dismissal, I am holier than thou and dehumanization. All these “news” outlets continually bang on about disruption to Wellingtonians but never once have they looked in any detail on the effects of the last 2 yrs on broad swathes of NZ….

    This is not lost on the average NZ’er and that is why they have lost any respectability….and quickly becoming a clear and identifiable enemy…..

    I now only read these sites to see what my enemy is thinking……not for any actual factual information or reporting…..

    • If this is a depopulation agenda, won’t the unvaxed be eliminated as well? Leaders aren’t going to stay around waiting to be held accountable! What’s their plan, escape to where? Does “The Great Reset” mean they meet up in Antartica and nuke the northern hemisphere? That would eliminate very much everyone. Then they start a new world after the dust has settled? Is that “The Great Reset?” (Asking for a friend).

    • I think a lot of these trouble makers and random people the media speak for a half minute, usually with loaded questions are paid actors. They never try and meet and speak to any of the media liaison people in the Freedom Group. Deliberately avoiding them to push the government narrative.

      The media constantly bemoans about disruption to business, (yet the other owner/manager from Backbencher recently said something completely different) and nari a peep about the great injustices the government has inflicted on ordinary every day kiwis- whose only crime was using their intellect to reject a vile syrup entering their bodies! Isn’t there any decent MSM reporter out there, have the balls to break rank and be on the side of the truth for a change. New Zealanders are waiting.

    • I agree the protesters have taken a lot of shit from the media. The media have misrepresented the movement, used isolated incidences to discredit the protesters and presented a biased and one-sided picture. I could go on , but the question is what to do about it? Displays of hostility or intimidation toward journalists, only provide them with more material for their bs stories. And they love that stuff.;” a protester told me to f’ off, obviously the movement is just a bunch of angry abusive people”. Hey, I get where the anger comes from, I feel it too. But we have to find peaceful ways to get the message out. It’s a fine balance. If we let our anger dominant we will fail for sure. And will never gain the wider support needed to create real change. We want freedom, yes? Then despite the power imbalance and the biases we must grant them the freedom to write their distorted stories. We must challenge their narrative and show them they got it wrong. Not with with abuse but with reason. Checkout Russell Brand, he is awesome.

    • Mate, get yourself down there. There are some incoherent aggressive numpties rambling on about FREEDUMB.
      If anything the media has portrayed them quite kindly.

  7. I now only read the N(A)Z(I) Herald and Stuff to check if there’s been an earthquake during the night. And I never watch NZ tv news anymore.

    When I saw the first footage of workers in PPE whites in Wuhan then the Chinese govt, whom I’ve never trysted, blaming pangolins and the local wet market, (a place of hideous cruelty to live animals and creatures), I felt something deeply suspicious afoot. I began doing my homework, which soon did not involve the Nazi Herald or Stuffed or the Slave Labour Party of NZ. I did not know then how much these media shills were being paid by Adern.

    When Adern then declared herself, abetted by Stuffed, to be the only or single source of truth my radar of suspicion went wild. My prior loyalty, of two decades, to that party ended then. As what I was discovering by ‘following credible science’ was most certainly not what Adern was insisting upon.

    I was either a slave to her grossly misinforming propaganda, the WEF/Gates of Hell et al, by taking a highly suspect Pfizer injection dressed up to be a vaccine, or I was not. I chose the latter, freedom – which can come at a cost.

    The one and only good outcome of this pandemic, if there is one, is that, mandates aside, we now know who will easily swallow the Kool aid and who will administer it, and who will courageously not take it, and who will regret taking it. And this has been the biggest, most painful, shocking and also welcome eye opener of all for me.

  8. How are you ever going to get objective journalism when the companies who employ the journalists accept bribes such the $55 million from the governments Public Interest Journalism Fund?

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