How COVID got anti-vaxxers to promote deadly variants

Since time out of mind human beings and microorganisms have been engaged in an accelerating arms race. Diseases have found novel ways to infect us and we have found novel ways to fight back. First we evolved genes that help us resist disease; much later we learned to use natural antibiotics produced by other living things and then to synthesize entirely new ones; ultimately we engineered vaccines to prevent diseases before they even happened.

Microorganisms have fought back. They evolved antibiotic resistance and they evolved to pass the genes that confer antibiotic resistance among themselves so they don’t have to wait for evolution to protect them. They could — over time — evolve to evade vaccination and in the case of COVID-19 they’ve tricked some people into helping them evolve into deadly variants.

What has COVID offered anti-vaxxers? The opportunity to feel smarter than average while still being more ignorant than average.

There’s a name for those who advance the interests of viruses like COVID over the interests of human beings; we call them anti-vaxxers.

What has COVID offered anti-vaxxers? The opportunity to feel smarter than average while still being more ignorant than average. Anti-vaxxers preen that they clever enough to see the truth that others miss, cynical enough to recognize the corporate self-dealing that others ignore, and powerful enough to control their health in the face of government efforts to harm them. In truth they are merely shockingly ignorant of immunology AND astoundingly gullible.

What has the coronavirus gotten in return? It has escaped the eradication that COVID vaccines could provide and — in a bonus that was long predicted by scientists — it has empowered coronavirus to evolve into more deadly variants like the delta variant.

Don’t think people can be used to advance the interests of microorganisms? Consider yeast. In exchange for the intoxication and leavening properties it offers, we propagate yeast in industrial quantities.

According to Michael Pollan writing in ‘The Botany of Desire’ yeast have “convinced” us to commercially produce three million tons of baker’s yeast alone each year. That’s a pretty big accomplishment for a pretty small organism.

At no point is there intentionality on the part of the yeast. But by offering something some people want, these yeast have convinced us to do their bidding.

At no point is there intentionality on the part of coronavirus. But by offering anti-vaxxers something they want — an unearned and unmerited sense of superiority — coronavirus has convinced anti-vaxxers to do their bidding.

Unlike yeast, though, coronavirus was helped immeasurably by immoral politicians who don’t care about killing their own followers. Coronavirus on its own could never have convinced people it wasn’t deadly — after all hundreds of thousands of Americans were dying. It took the assistance of politicians who claim COVID is a hoax or isn’t deadly or that the vaccine is harmful.

Curiously the same people who pride themselves on cynically viewing government as willing to harm them to advance their own interests are astoundingly trusting of politicians who are willing to harm them to advance their own interests and — not incidentally — the interests of coronavirus.

Tags:

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.