I begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right.
–Frederick the Great
On the first day of Black History Month, organizations across America and around the world loudly proclaim their lifelong love of black peoples and cultures, naturally omitting the ways they’ve treated them for generations, and the ways they continue to treat them on an ongoing basis. Like mayflies, lifelong love doesn’t count for much – then it’s right back to the status quo. Fortunately, February is now far enough in the rearview mirror, which means that we can dispense with the pleasantries and start talking about real shit.
1. No Escape
Colonization and slavery were foremost in the European mind from the moment they encountered non-white peoples. As regards the New World, in his earliest letters of 1492 and 1493 to the Spanish court, Christopher Columbus wrote “When I arrived in the Indies, at the first island I found I took some of them by force so that they could learn and give me information about what there was in those parts.” Some of these slaves were forcibly relocated to Spain, supposedly for their own growth and development, but in reality as a triumph: “those seven which I cause to be taken and carried to Spain in order to learn our language, and return, unless your Highnesses should order them all to be brought to Castile, or to be kept as captives on the same island. I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased.” And conquer and govern they did.
Since America’s founding in 1776, chattel slavery was a dominant legal institution, primarily of black people by the numbers, though Indigenous and other non-white people were systematically enslaved as well in many states. Many slaves died during or shortly after their escape attempts, or were killed by those who located them at a later time. In order to legally deter fugitive slaves, many states implemented slave patrols and bounty hunters to recapture slaves, as well as draconian punishments for those slaves, including public whipping, branding on the face, the amputation of ears, tendons, or limbs, castration, and death – though the latter punishment was rare, so as not to commit economic harm against the slave owner. In some states, it was elevated to a civic duty for “‘every [free] person in this province to take, apprehend and secure any runaway or fugitive slave,’ and to deliver said slave to his or her owner.”
Given these facts, anyone who tried to escape captivity would have to be crazy! This is not rhetorical. This is what white people in power actually believed, with its attendant codification in the medical science and practice of the period. In his dissertation “‘Drapetomania’: Rebellion, Defiance And Free Black Insanity In The Antebellum United States,” Bob Eberly Myers II investigates the course of the development and spread of Samuel Cartwright’s scientific ideas. Cartwright was an American doctor who described a novel mental illness called drapetomania, which was the propensity of black slaves to attempt to escape to freedom – though from his analysis of the symptoms, it appeared that it also “prevail[ed] among free negroes, nearly all of whom are more or less afflicted with it, that have not got some white person to direct and to take care of them.” He sought to “offer a rational response to the heated sectional debate over runaway slaves,” leveraging his claimed “scientific authority to make such moral and biomedical judgments.” As Myers writes, “Cartwright chose to use his skill as a physician to re-frame knowledge about Blacks in order to educate the North to what he argued was the mutual benevolence of plantation slavery.” Curiously, the recommended preventative measures to this illness included regular beatings, “whipping the devil out of them,” and amputating their toes, which were practices that slave owners were already performing in earnest. It is always convenient for those who “begin by taking” when the science aligns itself perfectly with their interests.
Let us turn to the judges and see what they have to say. Court opinions are generally written as follows (see for instance): first the court outlines the facts of the case and its legal path to date, followed by the court’s decision, including an explanation that articulates the legal rationale used to reach the decision. This explanation generally consists of examining present laws and regulations, as well as citing legal precedents from previously-decided cases. What is notable in the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision of the United States Supreme Court is that a great portion of the text of the majority opinion of the Court is devoted to developing a demarcation between the races, based not on a legal rationale, but rather starting from a sociological basis giving rise to the laws being analyzed. Some excerpts:
They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit.
. . .
[I]t would not in any part of the civilized world, be supposed to embrace the negro race, which, by common consent [sic], had been excluded from civilized Governments and the family of nations, and doomed to slavery.
. . .
The legislation of the States therefore shows, in a manner not to be mistaken, the inferior and subject condition of that race . . . and it is hardly consistent with the respect due to these States, to suppose that they regarded at that time, as fellow-citizens and members of the sovereignty, a class of beings whom they had thus stigmatized; whom, as we are bound, out of respect to the State sovereignties, to assume they had deemed it just and necessary thus to stigmatize, and upon whom they had impressed such deep and enduring marks of inferiority and degradation . . . For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety.
This analysis of the social science and public perceptions of the time empowered the Court to decide that slavery was not only constitutional but necessary, and that as Scott was therefore not a citizen, he could not sue in court for his freedom. Of course, no charitable white individual (say, an abolitionist) could sue on Scott’s behalf either, as they would not have had standing to do so. The Court concludes that the slavery laws are not merely empty words, and must be enforced to the full: “the Government in express terms is pledged to protect [the right of property in a slave] in all future time, if the slave escapes from his owner.”
In order for the Supreme Court to decide for slavery, it was necessary for them to first determine a rational basis for racial hierarchy, that a “perpetual and impassable barrier was intended to be erected between the white race and the one which they had reduced to slavery.” Only then could laws enter the picture to codify these distinctions. For if black Americans were thought of as equal to white Americans in any respect, let alone all of them, it would become rather difficult to justify differences enshrined in law. It is necessary to create the other in order to hate them.
C.S. Lewis famously wrote that
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
We have already seen Cartwright’s rationale of the “mutual benevolence of plantation slavery,” and the Supreme Court’s understanding that enslaved black people were ruled by laws and regulations “necessary for their own safety.” Throughout this essay, pay close attention to the consistent invocation by systems of oppression of policies being implemented “for our own good,” as well as for the common good. Tyranny is clever and subtle enough to mask its true intentions with kindness, and employs the process of medicalization to justify its impositions.
As Myers recounts, Martin Luther King Jr., speaking of the practice of scientific and medical justifications for the status quo, and “challeng[ing] the technical nomenclature of psychology and its growing tendency to medicalize allegedly truant behavior,” said that “Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is the word ‘maladjusted.’ . . . But I must honestly say to you tonight my friends that there are some things in our world, there are some things in our nation to which I’m proud to be maladjusted, to which I call upon all men of Good Will to be maladjusted until the Good Society is realized.” (emphasis in original)
While slavery in the United States came to a legal end in 1865, the systems of white supremacy are unwilling to give up their power so easily. These systems are mean. They are obstinate. They endure. Of course, few today are so uncouth as to discriminate as openly as in the past – think of that infamous Lee Atwater quote. So the systems and power structures devise ways to abstract, to rationalize, to justify disparities in treatment and impact, employing the process of scientific medicalization and the attendant logic of othering, of dehumanization, of stigmatization. From drapetomania to sluggish schizophrenia to eugenics, and on, and on, and on: the systems and institutions of medicine in the Western world have always been used to justify dehumanization and oppression.
The word ‘colony’ comes to English from the Latin word colonia, meaning a settled land or farm, and further back in its etymology to the root colere: to cultivate and till, to inhabit, to tend and to guard. Note what is implicit in the definition: to guard against whom? Its prior inhabitants or owners, certainly, but also against potential future colonizers, against others who would do unto them as they have done unto others.
Crucially, colonization is an extractive process: whether the zero-sum expansion of one nation’s territory at the expense of another – the conceptualization of terra nullius developed precisely to avoid the appearance of zero-sum, of theft under the colonizers’ law – of natural or cultivated resources offered (willingly or unwillingly) as tribute, of people’s rights and freedoms. Or indeed, of people themselves as subjects: biopolitics, taking historical forms such as slavery and indentured servitude, or the more genteel modern forms of pandemic policies, of previously-held rights transformed into privileges at the government’s whim – and if more genteel today, not due to the magnanimity of those who declare themselves rulers, but rather potentially to “the fact that we already are docile, obedient biopolitical subjects” (emphasis in original).
The processes of medicalization and colonization are often intertwined: it is easier to justify one’s taking if the other can be perceived as inferior or deficient in some way, meaning that their prior dominion was unearned. In Australia, the government worked with major corporations (as in this case, a mining company) to legally deem Australia’s prior Aboriginal inhabitants as being “uncivilized inhabitants in a primitive state of society,” thereby not having any title, let alone sovereignty, over their ancestral territories.
In Canada, the government imposed many treaties by force on First Nations peoples, including in support of the interests of major corporations (as in the case of the Hudson’s Bay Company), and would then go on to repeatedly break them too. After all, it is not as though First Nations could hold the government accountable for its “tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims”: “The Indian Act viewed Indians as wards of the state, incapable of managing their own affairs, and the appropriate subjects of paternalistic measures designed to serve their own best interests, even if Indians themselves contested that such measures genuinely were in their own best interests. The point is that during this period, Indians were judged as unworthy and not deserving of the right to vote.” Colonization can thus best be understood as the concept of “taking” elevated to the level of a system.
Racialized groups have good reason to be skeptical of government power, considering both historical and ongoing inequities in health care and a legacy of medical colonization. You may already be aware of some of these facts, but they bear repeating and remembering, as the smallest part of a monument to a history of structural violence that continues to cast its shadow today.
“Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.” It’s not only maternal mortality; their children die young too: the infant mortality rate for black babies is over twice as high as that of white babies.
J. Marion Sims, the “father of modern gynecology,” conducted experimental surgical techniques on enslaved black women without anesthesia. Like many white medical experts at the time, he believed that black and other non-white people could not feel pain. He also experimented on enslaved black children, “operat[ing] on African American children using a shoemaker’s tool to pry their bones apart and loosen their skulls,” ostensibly to treat tetanus. As you may imagine, these efforts were unsuccessful.
The infamous concept of ‘smallpox blankets’ are not simply a historical urban legend. White governments committed proactive biological warfare against Indigenous people, and refused medical treatment to free black people during smallpox epidemics whose increased spread were often intentional: “The outbreak reinforced theories that newly freed black people were on the verge of extinction, which provided little incentive for federal agents to try to stop its spread.”
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a government-funded medical experiment in which 600 black men were promised free treatment for syphilis, treatment which was widely available to white people at the time. Instead, they were lied to “and provided disguised placebos, ineffective methods, and diagnostic procedures as treatment for ‘bad blood’. The men were initially told that the experiment was only going to last six months, but it was extended to 40 years,” only ending after a whistleblower revealed internal documentation to the press. For being one of the sole ethical individuals involved, this whistleblower, Peter Buxtun, was de facto forced out of the health field altogether, ending his working life as a lawyer. Once penicillin was discovered and had become the standard (and very effective) treatment, these men were not provided penicillin, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “reaffirmed the need to continue the study until completion; i.e. until all subjects had died and been autopsied.” “By , 28 patients had died directly from syphilis, 100 died from complications related to syphilis, 40 of the patients’ wives were infected with syphilis, and 19 children were born with congenital syphilis.”
Even death was no escape for mutilation and desecration of the body. American medical schools hired professionals known as “resurrectionists” – a euphemism for their work of grave-robbing – to exhume recently deceased bodies, mostly of black people, to be used for dissection, anatomical studies, and medical experiments.
Chinese immigrants, who “were viewed as ‘a social, moral and political curse to the community,’” were used by public health officials as medical scapegoats. They were blamed for epidemic outbreaks and the failures of government health policies, and for those who got ill with diseases such as the bubonic plague, “only a token number were admitted into the health facilities operated by the city and county.” (One may note that the fact that Chinese immigrants were not permitted medical treatment to nearly the same level as white people may be a significant contributing factor to their increased proportion of illness.) To the health experts of the day, San Francisco’s Chinatown was “‘a laboratory of infection,’ peopled by ‘lying and treacherous’ aliens who had minimal regard for the health of the American people.”
Mexican immigrants were described by public health officials as “[t]he type of people who are bringing typhus and other diseases into California from Mexico.” That typhus is spread in conditions of overcrowding and poor sanitation, precisely the substandard living conditions of Mexican laborers in work camps managed by their railroad employers, was omitted from health officials’ efforts. “This preference for making race the organizing principle for understanding typhus also transformed Mexicans from unfortunate victims of a serious disease into active transmitters of deadly germs, thus adding a medicalized dimension to existing nativism. Armored by their presumed scientific objectivity, health officials gave wide circulation to constructed categories of Mexicans as unclean, ignorant of basic hygiene practices, and unwitting hosts for communicable diseases.”
In Canada during the Sixties Scoop, government authorities forcibly removed large numbers of Indigenous children from their families and placed them in residential schools in order to assimilate them into Anglo- or Franco-Canadian cultural and linguistic norms and thereby eradicate the continuity of their cultural heritage. “The Sixties Scoop was further precipitated by the introduction of child welfare services on reserves where social workers argued that Indigenous children were not offered equal services on reserves as non-Indigenous children through provincial social services.” The amount of funding for health and social services programs, whether on- or off-reserve, is of course solely determined by the government. First the government creates the problem, then uses the existence of the problem as a justification for the colonization and oppression of non-white people. And this underfunding of services for Indigenous children did not end there: in a court case in 2016, “[t]he [internal] Health Canada documents reveal the department knew it faced serious shortfalls in the level of health services provided to First Nations children and was unprepared to implement changes prescribed by the human rights ruling.”
The eugenics movement was widespread at the turn of the 20th century, with governments, corporations, and large organizations all supporting eugenic initiatives. Many famous scientists and health experts were leaders in this movement, relying on their expertise to propose “solutions to the problem of the ‘unfit.’ Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.” Government health leaders were intrinsically involved with the development of these ideas and their implementation as public policies: “The Public Health Service (PHS), whose duties included performing medical inspections of disembarking passengers at Ellis Island, also adopted eugenic arguments to help stem the flood of ‘inferior stock’ represented by the new immigrants. Beginning in 1914, the Surgeon General and a number of senior officers in the PHS became publicly aligned with the eugenics movement.”
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was one of the foremost feminist eugenicists, and in her 1932 article “A Plan for Peace” wrote of the need for government policies for the purposes, among other things, “to keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race,” “to apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring,” and “to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization.”
Compulsory sterilization was one practical implementation of eugenics policies, wherein “Black women were sterilized at more than three times the rate of white women and more than 12 times the rate of white men.” In the case of Buck v. Bell, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a Virginia law authorizing compulsory sterilization “for the protection and health of the state” was constitutional on the grounds that the “welfare of society may be promoted”: “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. . . . The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes.” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is to be genuinely commended for his intellectual consistency in this case – many judges would be dishonest enough to try carving out an unprincipled exception – though this essay will consider his logic from the opposite perspective: given that biology and bodily integrity are being subordinated to state power for the claimed common good without people’s consent and against their will, whether in the case of compulsory vaccination or compulsory sterilization, the only consistently ethical standpoint is to oppose “the principle that sustains” both of these forms (and all analogous forms) of biopolitical control.
Some historians have argued that the history of America’s compulsory sterilization and eugenics policies is “ultimately rooted in economic arguments and further as a central element of Progressivism alongside wage controls, restricted immigration, and the introduction of pension programs.” (It may admittedly be difficult for some people to imagine a country having both pension programs but not a ‘need’ to forcibly sterilize non-white people.) These policies were held in such international esteem that Nazi Germany would go on to model their own compulsory sterilization law after Virginia’s.
Cancer cells were biopsied from Henrietta Lacks, then without her knowledge or consent were cultured, mass replicated, and used for medical research and scientific experiments around the world, as well as for commercial purposes, serving as “the foundation of a multibillion-dollar industry” with “more than 17,000 patents involving HeLa cells.” Lacks, of course, did not see a dime from these efforts that would not been even remotely feasible without her biological contribution, and was buried in an unmarked grave. (As an aside, Lacks’s upbringing serves as a microcosm of the de facto racial segregation in generational economic mobility: she grew up and lived the majority of her life in the very same “log cabin that was once the slave quarters on the plantation” where her ancestors were kept as slaves over 100 years earlier.)
Speaking of Lacks’s nonconsensually replicated cells, physicians injected more than 200 prison inmates with HeLa cancer cells as a research experiment, without their knowledge or consent. But we can be confident in the medical institutions and authorities, who surely penalized these doctors thoroughly and proportionately to the magnitude of their recklessness and iniquity: “In the late 1960s, Southam, then based in New York, was one of two physicians placed on a year’s probation by the New York State Board of Regents for injecting cancer cells into non-cancer patients without informing them.” (A whole year!)
Let’s end this short list with some gallows humor. In addition to the drapetomania we have previously discussed, Cartwright also developed the theory of dysaesthesia aethiopica, a mental illness afflicting black slaves which was characterized by laziness, skin insensitivity, and lesions on the body. Naturally, this disease could only be treated by “stimulat[ing] the skin.” As Vanessa Jackson writes, “Dysethesia Aethiopica differed from other species of mental disease since physical signs and lesions accompanied it. The ever-resourceful Dr. Cartwright determined that whipping could also cure this disorder. Of course, one wonders if the whipping were not the cause of the ‘lesions’ that confirmed the diagnosis.”
It’s all too easy for the eyes to glaze over when presented with the stark reality about systems and structures of oppression, and the carnage they create. Did you read the first couple of bullet points, then skim or skip right past the rest of the list? No judgment either way, but recognize that this is merely the tip of the iceberg: how many crimes have gone unchronicled in the historical records? Ask yourself, too: who wrote that history, and what were their incentives?
Roberto Bolaño’s final, epic novel, 2666, is fragmentary and comprised of five sections (though interestingly an unfinished sixth section was discovered in the author’s papers, post-mortem). The fourth and central section, titled “The Part about the Crimes” and covering close to 280 pages, is a literary mausoleum, a chronology of the lives, suffering, and deaths of over 100 women in a fictional Mexican border town analogous to the real-world Ciudad Juárez.
Maybe for the sake of convenience, maybe because she was the first to be killed in 1993, she heads the list. Although surely there were other girls and women who died in 1992. Other girls and women who didn’t make it onto the list or were never found, who were buried in unmarked graves in the desert or whose ashes were scattered in the middle of the night, when not even the person scattering them knew where he was, what place he had come to.
Many readers of this novel encountered great difficulties, whether with their eyes or with their stomachs, in reading the entirety of this section. As one reviewer writes: “when I first read 2666 I was unsatisfied, and I thought that was the book’s fault. Part 4 had a lot (not all) to do with that. Here we get one death after another. Some are certainly unrelated to any of the other murders. But other suggest – and only suggest – some connection, some pattern, which in turn suggests a solution. But there is no solution.” Yet it is into this heart of darkness that we must venture if we hope to gain even a piecemeal understanding of the underlying situation.
In her essay “Biopolitics in Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, ‘The Part About the Crimes,’” Camelia Raghinaru analyzes the normalization of the suffering and oppression of non-white people as a crucial aspect of a “juridical and economic order that revolves on exploitation as central to the working of transnational capitalism”: “[T]he murders point to an empty specter of evil in the way they become part of the casuistic register of the ‘normal,’ catalogues of the banal, part of the everyday life in Santa Teresa.” The creation of the other, as with the female maquiladora workers of 2666, is a necessary precondition “used to justify the enactment of emergency measures that strengthen the rule of the law of exclusion.” We will later explore parallels of the impacts of malevolent pandemic policies on the lives and bodies of non-white people today.
Two years before his death, Malcolm X gave a speech demonstrating his deep understanding, gained through hard-won experience, of America’s so-called race problem:
In this deceitful American game of power politics, the Negroes (i.e., the race problem, the integration and civil rights issues) are nothing but tools, used by one group of whites called Liberals against another group of whites called Conservatives, either to get into power or to remain in power. Among whites here in America, the political teams are no longer divided into Democrats and Republicans. The whites who are now struggling for control of the American political throne are divided into “liberal” and “conservative” camps. The white liberals from both parties cross party lines to work together toward the same goal, and white conservatives from both parties do likewise.
The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way: the liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro's friend and benefactor; and by winning the friendship, allegiance, and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political “football game” that is constantly raging between the white liberals and white conservatives.
Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball through tricks of tokenism: false promises of integration and civil rights. In this profitable game of deceiving and exploiting the political politician of the American Negro, those white liberals have the willing cooperation of the Negro civil rights leaders. These “leaders” sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains. These “leaders” are satisfied with token victories and token progress because they themselves are nothing but token leaders.
If white supremacy writ large is the chain and the whip and the racial slurs shouted in the face, white liberal supremacy is the smile in the face and the dagger in the back. It is subtler and thereby more insidious – which is, of course, its true intent. The barely concealed contempt, the co-option of “token leaders,” the inculcation of weakness and limitations to human potential, the politesse dripping with condescension: due to its all-encompassing societal dominance, white liberal supremacy represents today the preeminent threat to non-white people in Western nations.
COVID-19 pandemic policies epitomize the modern systems of white liberal supremacy, and in particular, their grounding in the paradigm of medicalization. It is well known that white liberalism as a political structure is largely motivated by the medicalized concept of intellectual deficiency and its avoidance: “The trouble is that stupid hicks don't know what's good for them. . . . They don't know any better. That's why they're voting against their own self-interest.” (emphasis in original)
While this fetishization of intellectual signifiers – sending their children to ‘good schools’ (a well-known euphemism), craven credentialism as a substitute for discernment, “their legitimizing myth . . . that their education makes them more qualified and humane than the rest of us” – explains their disdain towards working class white people reaching almost to the level of that towards non-white people, it would be difficult for white liberals to rationalize their abandonment of the disproportionately non-white working class according to their claimed principles. Therefore, the process of medicalization comes into play as a ‘scientific’ justification of their systems of dehumanization and oppression.
There are three primary theories of pandemic policies in current popular discourse. The first theory is that mainstream narratives are entirely true and correct, that governments and corporations have been “following the science” and employing evidence-based decision making over the course of the pandemic, and that continual shifts in both the narratives and the science ostensibly underlying them simply represent the evolution of scientific knowledge gained over time. Indeed, scientists with their experiments and development of vaccines, are the (white) saviors of the people, and are beyond criticism. There is no ideological agenda involved, and the pandemic policies implemented by governments and corporations are apolitical and entirely neutral in both intent and outcome.
The second theory is related to the first, and essentially serves as a cover-up for any observably growing cracks in mainstream narratives. This theory suggests that any shifts over the course of the pandemic are due to policymakers working with incomplete or inaccurate information, that scientists were and are doing their very best to help the people, being motivated only by the truth and not by any worldly concerns such as the share prices of pharmaceutical companies, that governments’ and media companies’ continual shifting of definitions and metrics such as vaccine efficacy, herd immunity thresholds, or the death toll attributable to COVID represent, as with the first theory, the evolution of scientific knowledge gained over time. To sum up: any mistakes are due to incompetence, not malice.
With regards to these two theories, much of this essay will explore a variety of evidence observed from a wide range of domains, to demonstrate that both of these theories are inadequate. Pandemic policies are neither correct, scientifically accurate, nor neutral, nor were there mistakes being made by leaders along the way. Rather, both the design and impacts of these pandemic policies were intentional and well-planned since the very beginning.
The third primary theory differs considerably from the first two, and can accurately be described as the ‘conspiracy theory’ rendition of the pandemic – not the misleading common appellation wherein any belief contrary to the mainstream narratives is deemed a conspiracy theory, but rather a for-real, tinfoil hat, conspiracy theory. This includes radiation from 5G cellphone towers as a virus trigger, the implantation of computer microchips as a hidden vaccine ingredient, and a general “depopulation agenda,” this latter being the oddest point: if the elites wished to exterminate the vast majority of the human race with vaccines serving as “poison-death shots,” why would they kill off those segments of the population who are most compliant to their whims? If you were a genocidal elite – and to be sure, many elites may well be genocidal, but would employ different methods, as this proposed mechanism of action simply doesn’t hold water – wouldn’t you want to kill off those who resist you, that way those who remain would be utterly obedient?
A representative example of the third theory comes from The Exposé, who wrote in February 2022: “We predict 62.3 million excess cardiovascular deaths in 2022 due to the vaccines” and “We can now predict from these figures, that if you continue to be regularly boosted with the present vaccine your life expectancy is no more than 3 years. . . . If you stop at 2 jabs, you may perhaps recover before your 3 years runs out depending upon which cells got hit with the vaccine.” Unfortunately for this theory, a succession of prior exaggerations (often by multiple orders of magnitude) makes its future predictions doubtful in degree, even if they contain a kernel of truth at the base level – in this case, that vaccine side effects are significantly greater than what is commonly reported.
Crying wolf is not beneficial to theoretical development. In the process of analyzing the evidence, thinkers should make every reasonable effort to avoid sensationalism and stick to the observable facts. We should note here that gross exaggerations were and are common with the first two theories as well, and that those exaggerations were far more widely spread due to the reach of mainstream narratives, in efforts to manufacture general fear and thereby consent for oppressive pandemic policies. For instance, at the very beginning of the pandemic, Neil Ferguson and the epidemiology modeling team at Imperial College London developed forecasting models that predicted an order-of-magnitude more deaths than occurred. Ferguson’s model was by far the worst-performing of the early forecasting models, and the reason it was spread so widely was due to its alarmist fearmongering being used as a justification for the accumulation of power.
To be clear, this essay’s disagreement with this third theory stems not from aesthetics, but from a lack of high-quality observable evidence, combined with its consistent alarmism – not regarding advancements where alarmism is very much warranted, such as mass surveillance programs or systematic educational failures, many of which we will explore in this essay – but for instance, of wild predictions of mass deaths coming any day now. If the observable evidence changes significantly in the future in favor of this third theory, we will, as honest thinkers, re-examine this assessment at that point.
This essay does not seek to besmirch any of these theories per se, nor their adherents. Each of these theories does have some merits, and does explain some subset of the observable evidence – in fact, it is precisely because each theory explains a portion of the evidence that they have gained such traction in the public consciousness. However, each of these theories fails to explain not only specific anomalous points, but entire domains of evidence. When theories fail in this manner, there is a moment of crisis in science and theory; think, for instance, of the ultraviolet catastrophe at the start of the 20th century. When the skies turn red and the universe itself is screaming as all of reality is threatened, you know that bad things are going down – and “nothing will ever be the same.”
Yet moments of crisis provide the opportunity, and the need, for independent thinking to enter the fray. To be intellectually honest, let alone intellectually exploratory, we must confront the fact of theoretical failure head-on. This is not a time of normal science, and attempting to dismiss contrary evidence as mere outliers, or to devise ever-more-complex epicycles to “save the phenomena” simply prolongs this ongoing period of failure. The only way out is through.
This essay, then, will explore a new theory of pandemic policies: that these policies are a concretization of the process of medicalization intended to be targeted primarily against and cause disparate harm to non-white people, and that they were knowingly and purposefully designed from day one to further entrench the systems of white liberal supremacy. In our present exploration, we will focus on policymaking and its interactions with these systems, as well as the justificatory and exculpatory mechanisms employed by pandemic policies, their designers, their enforcers, and their adherents. A future essay will explore the biology, epidemiology, public health, and other scientific aspects of the disease, the masks, the vaccines, etc., in more depth.
In our intellectual explorations, we will make use of logical and scientific reasoning. Not the modern reasoning modes of that credentialist clerisy of technocratic elitists who call themselves ‘scientists,’ or even ‘the science,’ who think that dressing up in lab coats or fancy suits, possessing degrees and insisting on letters after their names, and holding well-paid sinecures somehow equates to real expertise, who get everything wrong every damn time – but who are certainly experts at flattery, at providing a veil of illusory objectivity over their paymasters’ whims, at “demonstrat[ing] [their] perfect right.”
Rather, we can trace the footsteps of scientific reasoning to the Enlightenment and Darwin, to Newton and da Vinci, to Aristotle and Imhotep, to the beginnings of human civilization and the science they developed since the first man figured out how to create and control fire. While we present up-front in this essay the conclusions of these explorations so as to provide proper context to the reader, note carefully as you read through how all the pieces of information, gathered from many disparate domains of evidence, fit together into a bigger picture and serve to verify this theory. Indeed, initial drafts of this essay had section titles akin to those of 2666 – “The Part about the Police,” “The Part about Education,” and so on – reflecting its exploratory nature of investigation, an interlocking composite where individual and elusive facets can only be brought together by the rational force of experience. “There is something secret, horrible, and cosmic afoot . . . We can at most glimpse it, in those uncanny moments when the world seems wrong.”
Over the past two years and counting, most people have been fed a steady diet of lies and (let’s use the experts’ favorite word) ‘misinformation’ from a wide variety of sources about the pandemic, and about the pandemic policies that governments and corporations developed ostensibly as a response. This essay will intellectually explore the full range of accumulated knowledge and evidence in order to determine the most probable and provable truth. Here’s the real story of COVID-19.
2. Hostile Architecture for a Hostile Nation
In April 2018, two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, entered a Starbucks store in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. They sat quietly at a table for about 15 minutes, talking between themselves and waiting for the arrival of a third man, a white local businessman, to discuss a potential business opportunity. Some other customers in the store at the time would later confirm that these men were not causing trouble in any way: they weren’t bothering other customers, they weren’t shouting loudly, they weren’t blocking foot traffic or causing any disruption. All they were doing was sitting down in a Starbucks for a short time in alignment with the company’s “third place” concept and mindset, “a warm and welcoming place, outside of our homes and our workspaces, where we connect and build community.” The community Starbucks sought to build in Rittenhouse Square “is 80 percent white and 66 percent college educated, in a city that’s 41 percent white and 26 percent college educated. It is in the city’s 8th Ward, which went 84 percent for Hillary Clinton in 2016.” Starbucks, well-known as a company whose culture, political donations, and customer base are highly disproportionately white liberal, and in Rittenhouse Square even more so, would then call the police to arrest these men.
They were handcuffed in full view of Starbucks’ customers – and note that the video in the linked article shows they remained calm, even in the face of this discrimination, and did not resist arrest in any way, common excuses some will bring up to justify police’s oppressive behavior ex post facto – and taken to jail, where after many hours in a jail cell they would later be released without any charges. As one of the men said after his ordeal, “‘When you know that you did nothing wrong, how do you really react to it?’ Nelson said. ‘You can either be ignorant or you can show some type of sophistication and act like you have class. That was the choice we had.’” Of course even this choice was a constrained one, as they fully recognized that attempting to assert their rights may have caused the police to further harm them: “Robinson said he thought about his loved ones and how the afternoon had taken such a turn as he was taken to jail. Nelson wondered if he would make it home alive. ‘Anytime I’m encountered by cops, I can honestly say it’s a thought that runs through my mind,’ Nelson said. ‘You never know what’s going to happen.’”
These men committed no offense, committed no crime, committed no sin – save perhaps the sin of existence while non-white. And that? That is offense enough, crime enough, sin enough for the systems of white liberal supremacy.
Starbucks apologized for their staff’s actions, though even in their apology they attempt to cover up the true intent of their actions: “Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome—the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong. Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.” This quote may strike you as somewhat odd, as generally, one does not call the police at their emergency number (implied by the speed of the police’s response) unless one believes someone else is doing something illegal and needs to be arrested for that reason. After all, that is precisely the police department’s job, as helpfully explained by the Philadelphia Police Department itself here: “[the Police Commissioner is] committed to three primary goals: (1) crime prevention and reduction; (2) community engagement and inclusion; and (3) organizational excellence.” As the police involvement in Starbucks that day did not fall under the second or third goals, it must logically fall under the first goal of “crime prevention and reduction,” and so despite Starbucks’ assurances that the “store manager never intended for these men to be arrested,” the evidence indicates otherwise.
While Starbucks and the city of Philadelphia may consider this incident as water under the bridge, the affluent white liberals disproportionately comprising Starbucks’ customer base felt somewhat differently, and not in the black men’s favor. Despite their virtue signaling in forms such as hashtags and photos and Black Lives Matter laptop stickers, customers’ monthly visits to Starbucks dropped by about 7% in the following months. A study showed that “Customer traffic wasn’t the only thing that was hurt. The average income of Starbucks’ customers has dropped compared with the average income of other nearby coffee shops, thanks to fewer visits from ‘its wealthier clientele.’” Actions speak louder than words, and with their actions white liberals demonstrate their true natures: for fear of encountering savage and brutish black and other non-white people (note: these people may not be as savage or brutish as advertised) whose presence transform Starbucks into no longer representing “a warm and welcoming place” in their minds, they eagerly patronize other neighboring coffee shops instead, establishments whose racial gatekeeping is more discreet and more effective.
Starbucks is the same company that previously led a marketing campaign with the stated goal of increasing racial awareness, a campaign which failed at its stated goal, but was certainly very successful at its unstated goal of increasing Starbucks’ sales. On that occasion, David Olive asked the pertinent question: was it “a cynical stunt – a bid to ‘purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap,’ as Barack Obama once described white liberalism when it is mere gesture politics?” The city of Philadelphia and their police department would similarly seek to “purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap,” settling with the two men for nominal amounts. It is to their credit than Nelson and Robinson maintained cool and clear heads throughout their ordeal, and worked to effectuate change in whatever way they could in the course of their settlements. But it should not be the victims’ responsibility to be the only mature adults in the room when faced with oppressive corporations and police forces, with fellow customers who can barely conceal their unfounded racial fears, with “gesture politics” at the expense of any real change.
If you live in or have ever visited a large city in the Western world, you will be familiar with hostile architecture, the urban design, environmental, and architectural strategy aimed at controlling and surveilling the public space, and restricting the behaviors and even the mere presence of undesirable populations. It is also known as exclusionary or defensive design – and of course we must ask here, ‘exclusionary’ and ‘defensive’ against whom? The gentrification of cities and spaces, of the public square, of history and culture: this process is an intentional one.
In her article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment,” Sarah Schindler examines the legal context of hostile architecture, and in particular how government and corporate policies are designed for legal facial neutrality while ensuring disparate and adverse impacts on non-white populations. Some examples from America’s history:
Robert Moses was known as the “Master Builder” of New York. During the time that he was appointed to a number of important state and local offices, he shaped much of New York’s infrastructure, including a number of “low-hanging overpasses” on the Long Island parkways that led to Jones Beach. According to his biographer, Moses directed that these overpasses be built intentionally low so that buses could not pass under them. This design decision meant that many people of color and poor people, who most often relied on public transportation, lacked access to the lauded public park at Jones Beach.
. . .
At the request of white residents, in 1974 the city of Memphis closed off a street that connected an all-white neighborhood to a primarily black one. Supporters of this measure argued that it would ostensibly reduce traffic and noise, in addition to promoting safety. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to this action, stating that the road closure was just a “routine burden of citizenship” and a “slight inconvenience.”
Moses and his staff, being city-wide architectural experts and regulators, were certainly not unaware of New York’s demographics, nor of the maps of its public transit lines. Indeed, hostile architecture is a concretized form (forgive the pun) of the policies of white liberal supremacy. It is therefore unsurprising that large cities, whose leadership is and has consistently been highly disproportionately white liberal, should embody the pinnacle of discriminatory policies and outcomes under the guise of virtue:
Democrats have largely led big and midsize cities for much of the past half-century. Yet the gaps in socioeconomic outcomes between white people and people of color are by several measures at their worst in the richest, bluest cities of the United States.
. . .
White liberals, despite believing we are saying and doing the right things, have resisted the systemic changes our cities have needed for decades. We have mostly settled for illusions of change, like testing pilot programs and funding volunteer opportunities.
These efforts make us feel better about racism, but fundamentally change little for the communities of color whose disadvantages often come from the hoarding of advantage by mostly white neighborhoods.
. . .
Police officers understand the dynamic well. We give them lethal tools and a lot of leeway to keep our parts of town safe (a mandate implicitly understood to be “safe from people of color.”)
Corporations like Starbucks, working in conjunction with government power, including the police force, operate to keep undesirable – that is, disproportionately non-white – populations away from the good white liberals and their neighborhoods, whereupon any potential underlying causes for “the gaps in socioeconomic outcomes” can be conveniently ignored. Out of sight, out of mind. And should any of these non-white people ever get ‘uppity’ and dare to equally occupy the gentrified public square as is their legal right – well, there are ways for white liberal supremacy to deal with that kind of behavior.
In her article “Germs and Jim Crow: The Impact of Microbiology on Public Health Policies in Progressive Era American South,” Andrea Patterson examines the history of public health policies in previous pandemics. Some apposite quotes she uncovers from the publications of the time demonstrate the long legacy of medical and scientific justifications for racism, and for coerced and enforced medical treatment done to the bodies of non-white people, and not for their benefit as some policymakers may claim, but rather for the benefit of white people.
Disease and alleged ignorance among blacks were “liabilities and dangers” to all . . .
Atlanta’s Constitution claimed that “the careless or ignorant Negro ... is likely to nullify the scrupulous sanitary safeguards with which the white man surrounds his home and his business establishment” until there is one, strictly enforced, sanitary law for “high and humble, Peachtree and Peters Street.”
. . .
Incidents like these emphasized the importance of a black facility for contagious diseases, because “as we owe the Negro himself something in the way of protecting him from his ignorance, we owe a graver duty to the white population.”
. . .
“The Negro cannot be interested in, nor can they readily understand the situation. They cannot be reached through regular channels, yet unless they are reached, treated and cured, they will continue to infect the soil and perpetuate the disease among the whites.”
. . .
“To purge the Negro of disease, is not so much a kindness to the Negro himself as it is a matter of sheer self-preservation to the white man, Philanthropy doesn't enter into this battle of life and death; grim, primitive self-interest, the conservation of the health of the white race is the controlling factor.”
Later in this essay, we will examine the age variation in COVID mortality rates, and as “[p]hilanthropy doesn’t enter” the equation, we will explore the questions of just who benefits from and who pays the cost for these ostensibly neutral public health policies. These black and other non-white people, who cannot “readily understand the situation,” who are “to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals,” therefore cannot be allowed to do their own research, to examine or share independent reporting and perspectives, or to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives. Any non-white person who might dare to think for themselves could be compromising the “graver duty to the white population,” and the systems of white liberal supremacy will kindly step in and volunteer their (mandatory) services for the goal of “protecting him from his ignorance.”
Let’s now turn our attention to a recent situation similar to the one at Starbucks earlier in this essay. In September 2021, three black women sought to be customers of Carmine’s, a restaurant in Manhattan, New York. An altercation began between the women and an unidentified hostess after the latter’s request for examining vaccine passports. The police were called to the scene, and despite physical actions from both parties – “Footage from outside the restaurant shows the hostess coming out. Seconds later, one of the patrons, who is wearing glasses, goes up to her from behind, speaks into her ear before shoving her and pulling at her collar. The hostess pushes back and claws back while others try to break them apart.” – only the three black women were arrested. These black women, being deemed by many as “stupid, ignorant, rabble-rousers, troublemakers,” must pay the price of daring to resist the cleverly-designed de facto racial segregation policy of vaccine passports.
This case is still ongoing, and so we cannot yet consider its outcomes. But we can consider the precedents that are being set in this and similar situations. Some perceptive individuals recognized the true nature of these pandemic policies as applied here. Kimberly Bernard, a co-founder of the Black Women’s March, said regarding this situation: “We are serving notice on the mayor, on the governor, on the restaurant industry that we will not allow for you to use this pandemic, vaccination cards, and masks as another reason to be racist, to put us in prison. Because there’s enough of us in there.” And as Hank Newsom, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter in New York, stated, “Restaurants are using vaccine mandates to enforce their racist beliefs and excluding [sic] Black patrons.”
It is useful to examine the defensive legal architecture developed here to justify the restaurant’s actions, these “emergency measures that strengthen the rule of the law of exclusion.” A lawyer for the restaurant wrote, “The pandemic has added a key responsibility to the host position — insuring the safety and health of all employees and guests by checking for proof of vaccination in compliance with New York City law.” We can clearly observe here the process of medicalization at work: first government creates a policy to disparately and adversely impact non-white people – and knowingly so, given among other things their administrative records related to the demographics of vaccinated people – under the guise of apolitical public health, then corporations act as ostensibly neutral enforcers of the law to ensure “the safety and health of all employees and guests.” It is not a coincidence that this new “key responsibility” happens to segregate these establishments in a highly disproportionate manner by race and by class; it is part of their plan.
Fewer non-white people are vaccinated than white people, and this difference is significantly greater among young urban populations. It is instructive to examine some of these individuals’ reasons for not getting vaccinated, and if so, doing so only under financial coercion:
But ultimately, many also said they would get vaccinated if forced to do so.
“If it’s going to be mandatory to work, I’ll have no choice,” said Kaleshia Sostre, a 27-year-old from Red Hook, Brooklyn, who teaches parenting classes to young mothers.
. . .
He said he would rather put his trust in masks and hand sanitizer — which he credits with keeping him healthy as he worked at construction sites throughout the pandemic — than a new vaccine that the government is pushing people to take. “They came out with one so fast for Covid, and now they want to pay you to take it,” he said. “It seems fishy.”
. . .
“There’s a lot of homework you have to do, because your doctors may not truly listen to you, to your full complaint, before they’ve already diagnosed you.” . . . “I have done heaps of research looking for things that would make me confident and comfortable getting the vaccine, but honestly I haven’t.”
And their thoroughly researched concerns may well have been prescient:
One of the three vaccines — the single-shot Johnson & Johnson — had been directed to Black and Latino communities, among other places. It required only one shot — not two like the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines — and had less onerous refrigeration requirements. It struck many government officials as the obvious choice for the pop-up vaccine clinics at public housing projects and churches that were central to the government’s plan for vaccinating minority neighborhoods.
As some of you might have guessed by now, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is of course considerably less effective and results in greater side effects than other vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna. What a strange quirk, that “following the science” resulted in government policies that directed the safer and more effective vaccines to white-majority communities!
“It reaffirmed my hesitance, it reaffirmed everything,” Ms. Shavuo-Goodwin, the graduate student and clinic manager, said. “It just shows Black lives don’t matter. You can test that on us just like you tested syphilis on us.”
This fear was echoed in interview after interview, from the Bronx to South Brooklyn, as many Black New Yorkers said the Johnson & Johnson suspension left them more anxious that the vaccines were unsafe, insufficiently tested and steered to Black neighborhoods.
The public health policies implemented over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic were designed from the very beginning to advance the interests of white liberal supremacy. “[C]entral to the government’s plan” is enforcing so-called sanitary policies by medicalizing the existence of non-white people in order to ensure that they do not “continue to infect the soil and perpetuate the disease among the whites.”
Another well-known form of racial control in the urban domain is redlining, “a discriminatory practice in which services (financial and otherwise) are withheld from potential customers who reside in neighborhoods classified as ‘hazardous’ to investment; these neighborhoods have significant numbers of racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income residents. While the most well-known examples involve denial of credit and insurance, denial of healthcare and the development of food deserts in minority neighborhoods have also been attributed to redlining in many instances.”
Here, too, are the historical footprints of white liberal supremacy visible. President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal housing programs were explicitly designed to segregate major cities’ neighborhoods, both for existing and newly built housing stock. Only white people were allowed to purchase and rent homes in newly constructed and expanding suburbs, and were preferentially provided lower interest rate mortgage loans. Black and other non-white people were forced into crowded urban projects with fewer nearby amenities, and forced to pay significantly higher interest rates. (Anyone who is paying a mortgage, or even used a mortgage estimation calculator, knows firsthand that even a minor difference in the interest rate balloons to a massive difference in the total amount that must be repaid over the lifetime of the loan, as interest compounds geometrically.) By employing metrics such as credit scores and criminal histories, which are facially neutral and consistently result in disparate and adverse impacts against non-white people, governments and corporations can align their efforts towards de facto housing segregation.
This practice continues to occur throughout the pandemic, with the constant justification of medicalization. Today, buying a home may de facto include a vaccine mandate by intermediary of employers’ policies, themselves operating in conjunction with government policies:
But the buyer’s loan fell through at the last minute.
“Her (the buyer’s) employer would not issue her written verification of employment, which for the type of loan that she's using is a mandatory requirement, because she had not produced to her employer that she had successfully received both of her COVID vaccines, and that had become a condition of her employment.”
. . .
“So, this person (the buyer) had already sold her home and was moving in on Monday and is now living in an extended stay hotel until they figure this situation out as a single mom with two young children, which is really awful.”
In many places, renting an apartment is not an alternative either: “In addition to requiring proof of vaccination from anyone touring a suite or moving into a building, the company will also require existing tenants to be fully vaccinated to access common areas like fitness facilities and party rooms.” Of course, this is claimed as defensible based on the facially neutral, apolitical claim of health and safety: “‘As a company, we want to do the right thing’ says Strategic Group chief operating officer Tracey Steman. ‘We want to ensure that our employees and our tenants are safe.’”
We can observe this logic of ‘health-washing’ as a recurrent narrative of white liberal supremacy throughout the COVID pandemic. These mortgage brokers simply wish to verify borrowers’ employment; gosh, it’s just plain unfortunate that non-white people will have to be rendered unable to buy homes to a highly disproportionate degree. These rental operators simply wish to “ensure that [their] employees and [their] tenants are safe”; gosh, it’s just plain unfortunate that non-white people will have to be kept out of their apartment buildings, so as not to “nullify the scrupulous sanitary safeguards with which the white man surrounds his home.”
Here we can examine a health-related analogy to this situation, akin to one previously considered by Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court. A mortgage borrower that “do[es] not eat a balanced diet” has a significantly increased chance of dying early and thereby being unable to pay off their mortgage in full, which makes them a riskier investment for the bank. One may even take this logic further: a borrower who rationally predicts that they will die early – say, whether due to an unhealthy lifestyle, or an underlying genetic or medical condition – but wishes to live their last years in the lap of luxury directly creates a situation of moral hazard. Their taking out a large mortgage followed by stuffing themselves with a kingdom’s worth of Burger King, washing it down with some Big Gulps, with a giant barrel sponge-sized serving of sponge cake for dessert, is to their advantage and the lender’s detriment. Shall the government then, in designing lending regulations, or the banks and mortgage brokers, in administering them, compel people “to buy vegetables” (and presumably eat them, too) as a mandatory requirement of loan approval?
Nor is this analogy merely a theoretical abstraction. As the Big Gulp link above demonstrates as a microcosm, biological oversight and control, particularly of non-white populations, has long been a goal of white liberal supremacy. In the pursuit of this goal, governments have consistently worked hand-in-hand with major corporations to privilege them in innumerable ways, including regulatory matters, conveniently at the expense of smaller businesses which are more likely to be owned and operated by non-white people. The Big Gulp case serves as example:
The brief [from the New York chapter of the NAACP] argues that the planned ban would hurt minority-owned small businesses and reduce “freedom of choice in low-income communities,” report the New York Times, the Associated Press and CNN.
The small businesses wouldn’t be able to compete with supermarkets and convenience stores such as 7-11 that are exempt from the ban, the brief argues. Those larger stores aren’t subject to the city health board regulations banning the large drink sales because they are regulated by the state.
The logic of medicalization is naturally analogous for employment scenarios. As many employers pay for a significant portion of their employees’ health insurance coverage, could these employers not therefore start controlling their employees’ diets and fitness regimes as a condition of employment, or require the disclosure of private medical and other personal information, or compel them into enforced political activities (this one has already begun, with our old friend Starbucks appearing on the list) in favor of political parties that would fund healthcare increasingly at taxpayer expense thereby reducing employers’ fiscal burden, or enforce genetic testing of their employees to ensure they employ only the ‘fittest genetic stock,’ all under the guise of the common good? And if someone is fired or suspended without pay for refusing to comply with this creeping biological tyranny, rest assured that white liberal supremacy has a forthright answer: the government will simply deem these people ineligible to receive unemployment benefits – notably, benefit programs that these people paid into while working – by fiat, all the better to convince them to bend the knee through financial coercion.
Some readers may believe (or hope) that judicial review represents a way out of the Kafkaesque systems of oppression exemplified by pandemic policies. They will point to courtroom victories such as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling blocking the enforcement of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate on private companies. In their optimism, they ignore that Biden’s vaccine mandate on government-funded healthcare facilities was approved at the same time, thereby logically implying that any future case in which government funded an activity, even in the smallest part, would result in the same latter ruling. De jure judicial review ignores, too, the government’s de facto collaboration with corporations to implement the aims of white liberal supremacy, whether through popular appeal or implicit quid pro quos such as future government contracting and procurement: “[Biden] said the Supreme Court ruling ‘does not stop me from using my voice as President to advocate for employers to do the right thing to protect Americans’ health and economy.’ ‘I call on business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped up – including one third of Fortune 100 companies – and institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers, and communities.’” Biden’s words did not result in merely rhetorical outcomes: “Less than a week after the Supreme Court decision, research and consulting firm Gartner polled 389 company leaders and found that 47 percent already implemented, or are planning to implement, their own vaccine requirements.”
Laws, their enforcement, and their review cannot provide an escape inasmuch as laws and policies serve as frameworks of biopolitical oppression. As Raghinaru writes, “The novel  deals with the issue of Law under neoliberal capitalism, where the Law itself becomes the means of expropriation and violence. Violence is an instrument of containment against surplus humanity.” Much as with governments acting in concert with Big Tech corporations to censor dissent in an end-run around First Amendment speech protections, governments and corporations work in league to concretize white liberal supremacy. And all of this occurred in the United States, a nation with a relatively strong legacy of judicial independence and curtailing of government overreach. Readers from the U.S., from many European countries, and from other countries around the world with similarly strong judicial legacies should take note of Canada’s weakness in this regard – for the trajectory of this progressive degeneration of even cursory checks and balances may soon find its way to your shores as well.
We can readily observe in Canada the intrusion of government policies in the workplace, and the complicity of the judicial system in upholding the systems of white liberal supremacy: “the Federal Court [of Canada] stated that the Vaccination Policy did not force the Applicants to get vaccinated. Rather, the policy forced the Applicants to make a choice between receiving the vaccine and continuing to have an income, or refusing to be vaccinated and losing that source of income.” One can imagine a grotesque analogy: ‘[Harvey Weinstein] did not force the [actresses] to [sleep with him]. Rather, [he] forced the [actresses] to make a choice between receiving the [film role] and continuing to have an income, or refusing to [sleep with him] and losing that source of income.’
For all the cosseted white liberals who can rely on their parents’ money as a fallback plan (or for some, their primary life plan): this may be a surprise, but regular people actually have to work for a living, to pay the rent, to keep the lights on, to put food on the table for ourselves and our families. These restrictions on the ability to work therefore represent not only financial coercion, but additionally class warfare – these policies negatively impact workers who need a regular paycheck, while leaving the idle rich alone.
This is precisely why we rightly despise the casting couch: most people, save perhaps Harvey Weinstein and the Federal Court of Canada, will not argue that ‘the actress wasn’t being exploited, she wasn’t compelled to have sex for the role, she could have gone back to waiting tables or being homeless! (or, given the rise in housing costs in Los Angeles, perhaps both simultaneously)’ Most people recognize that one’s bodily integrity should not be sacrificed through any form of coercion – and this is even truer when the essential benefits arising from this coercion accrue to others, not even to the coerced themselves, as with the age disparities in COVID mortality rates and the attendant racial costs and benefits.
Canada is almost unique among nations for its judiciary’s historical deference to not only parliamentary power – this being, currently, a Parliament elected with under a third of the nationwide popular vote, and only the second-highest number of popular votes for a party in that election – but to the unelected, ever-growing technocratic administrative state and its provisioning of a patina of cherrypicked “social science evidence” as justification for its policy impositions, with a servile judiciary eager to “cit[e] social science sources as a form of post hoc rationalization.” Recall Frederick the Great’s quote: there will never be a shortage of scholars on hand “to demonstrate [their] perfect right.”
If members of the Canada’s judiciary should ever deign to read this essay and become offended at its unfortunately accurate description of their capacities, they are certainly welcome to prove it wrong in future cases related to these pandemic policies, notwithstanding of course their taste for boot leather verging on such an extreme that it would not be out of character for them to one day compel all Canadians to buy boots (and presumably lick them, too).
In some cases, governments and associated organizations inadvertently let the mask slip. We will examine two representative examples.
In Canada, the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association, a non-profit organization closely aligned with the provincial government of British Columbia, stated upon the implementation of the provincial vaccine passport system that “the purpose of the PoV [Proof of Vaccination] card is to incentivize residents to be vaccinated, not to control the spread of the virus. Virus spread is controlled through vaccination, physical distancing, masking, hand hygiene. By temporarily limiting a variety of discretionary activities to those who are vaccinated, the Province of British Columbia expects to increase the inoculation coverage to a safe range for resuming full societal activities. This is an important shift to keep aware of for your decision-making; the province has shifted from actions that provide a COVID-safe environment to actions that provide discretionary services to the vaccinated.” (emphasis in original) Note that if you examine their current page’s update for October 1, 2021, the text above has been memory holed without any indication of the editing, hence the archive link. (Why they chose to remove those explicit statements in such a surreptitious manner is left as a question for the reader.)
In Chicago, Illinois, mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote upon her imposition of a city-wide vaccine passport: “To put it simply, if you have been living vaccine-free, your time is up. If you wish to live life as w/the ease to do the things you love, you must be vax'd. This health order may pose an inconvenience to the unvaccinated, and in fact it is inconvenient by design.” Indeed, the design and purpose of a vaccine passport system is precisely to create inconveniences for unvaccinated people, to stigmatize and vilify these people which are highly disproportionally non-white. It is precisely to create environments where businesses and organizations can legally justify “provid[ing] discretionary services [only] to the vaccinated” who represent the ‘proper,’ i.e. primarily white liberal, kind of people. All other kinds of people will longer be able to “live life” and “do the things [they] love.” Certainly Starbucks and Carmine’s welcomed this system wholeheartedly, and they represent only the tip of the iceberg of white liberal-owned businesses who were chomping at the bit to find any legal justification to keep the undesirables out. It is not, and never has been, the true purpose of vaccine passports to genuinely protect people’s health in any way.
While some who support vaccine passports and vaccine mandates suggest that vaccination minimizes transmission rates and thereby attempt to justify them on the grounds of this form of medicalization, that is actually misinformation. We will explore the science of COVID and vaccines in more depth in a future essay, but one key point for now: it has been scientifically known at least as far back as September 2021 – that is, prior to the establishment of the policies discussed above – that vaccines do not reduce transmission rates (for instance, see here and here). When additionally considering behavioral differences, including the instilling of a false sense of security and the vaccine passports themselves only permitting vaccinated people to enter crowded areas, vaccinated populations actually increase transmission within communities.
Moreover, early indications from countries like Israel, which were ahead of the curve in their vaccination campaigns, demonstrated at least as far back as July 2021 that vaccine efficacy waned significantly within four to six months, perhaps the first vaccines in history that appear to require an endless series of additional doses, multiple times a year. It’s a good thing that the CDC and the academics managing dictionary definitions were able to reassure people that this is how vaccines are really meant to work; otherwise people might have got the wrong idea, both from every previous vaccine they had in their lives, as well as from the experts’ and government leaders’ repeated assurances that vaccinated people “become a dead end to the virus,” “preventing the spread of the virus throughout the community.” “How about you make sure you’re vaccinated, so you do not spread the disease to anyone else” – this latter on December 14, 2021 (!). But then, this was never about “the science”; that was merely a fig leaf over their true intentions. This was never a coincidence; it was always part of their plan.
Governments and corporations, seeking biological oversight and control over their employees’ bodies and lives, have implemented a variety of vaccine mandates, which can essentially be summed up as “no jab, no job.” These organizations advertise their progressive cultural views at every opportunity, they showcase smiling non-white people front and center on their hiring websites (though not in their executive suites), they mouth the words “diversity, equity, and inclusion” like a catechism – but actions speak louder than words. And it is their actions that reveal their true intentions.
Many of these vaccine mandates, whether government- or corporate-imposed, provided the deceptive lure of religious exemptions, in perfect alignment with the growth of surveillance capitalism. At least 19 federal agencies in the United States are developing new database systems in order to store and track a wide range of personal information about employees requesting a religious exemption. For those who were born yesterday and credulously believe that these databases are being developed, at great government expense, simply for the claimed purpose of record-keeping without the intent of future negative actions against the people whose data is present within them, a useful case to examine is that of conscientious objectors, people whose religious beliefs prevent them from engaging in military combat. Conscientious objectors were “sent to work camps, separated from [their] families, struggled to find work after [the] war.” “Some we know were sentenced to death, thousands imprisoned and many continued to be excluded by society and blacklisted from work after the war ended.” The government does not spend extensive amounts of time and money compiling lists and databases of those it deems “troublemakers” for no good reason.
The history of religious exemptions in America is an instructive one: they were initially crafted in law when white people formed the most highly religious group, and during the initial period of desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education, were employed for the purposes of racial discrimination and segregation (one example). However, this period of time coincided with a rise in non-white religiosity and a decline in white religiosity, particularly among white liberals, and so it should be unsurprising that religious exemptions, as with religious freedoms more generally, began to be curtailed. In his book The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X, Karl Evanzz writes of Malcolm X’s time as an inmate at the Norfolk Prison Colony in 1950:
He and his fellow Muslims also refused to be injected with the typhoid inoculation on the grounds that it violated the tenets of their religion. Their refusal was construed as a violation of the prison regulations, so on March 23, the four were sent back to the state prison in Charlestown for insubordination.
. . .
When prison officials dismissed their requests, Malcolm X wrote letters to the local media in which he charged Charlestown Prison officials with violating the religious freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
. . .
The [media] story reported that the four men, the “first Islam adherents” at the prison, were causing problems by demanding that prison officials accommodate their religious needs as it did those of Christian prisoners.
One may note the natural parallels to modern pandemic policies, including the involvement of the carceral state. The unsympathetic media reporting (“causing problems”) serves as a demonstration of the underlying beliefs of white liberal supremacy, that religious exemptions and the Bill of Rights were never intended to apply to black and other non-white people. Unlike the situation in 1950, today it is non-white Americans, and particularly black and Hispanic people, who are more likely to hold religious beliefs, and therefore justification needed to be found on the part of white liberal supremacy in order to suppress the possibility of non-white people resisting the systems of oppression.
Enter the process of medicalization. Under the guise of science and public health, many jurisdictions, and particularly those led by white liberals, changed their laws so as to remove religious exemptions to the law, especially as concerned medical procedures such as vaccination, all supposedly for the common good. As one example, California’s Senate Bill 277 “removed personal belief as a reason for an exemption from the vaccination requirements for entry to private or public elementary or secondary schools in California, as well as day care centers,” naturally passing muster despite the opposition of many black leaders in the state.
While the proponents of the measure cited the rationale of public health, a review of the science indicates that the truth of this situation is somewhat different, and rather involves the process of medicalization being applied in order to control and oppress disproportionately non-white people. A comparison analysis of the policy’s impacts found that “[t]he average prepolicy MMR [measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccination coverage at the state level in the 2015 school year was . . . 94.5% in California.” Based on the well-known and historically measured basic reproduction numbers for these three diseases, the herd immunity thresholds are estimated at 92-94% for measles, 90-92% for mumps, and 83-86% for rubella, which you may note are all lower than California’s vaccination coverage prior to the passage of Senate Bill 277. The claimed justifications of science, of medicine, of public health, of the claimed common good of herd immunity: these were all lies from the very beginning. It is not a coincidence that despite their claims of simply “following the science,” the lawmakers had different intents in mind in designing these policies of control and oppression; it is part of their plan.
With modern pandemic policies, religious exemptions to vaccine mandates are generally designed just for show, to claim de jure compliance with the Bill of Rights and other laws, while de facto treating the disproportionately non-white people requesting religious exemptions in roughly the same way they did Malcolm X. Indeed, religious exemptions are almost always denied, and as we will see, this is not due to a lack of sincere religious belief preventing vaccination on the part of those requesting exemptions. It is instead due to an anti-religious animus on the part of white liberal supremacy; the leaders who design these policies, and the enforcers who carry them out, are very well aware that it is today non-white people who are significantly more likely to be religious than white liberals.
The process of medicalization is employed as a justification of the growth of this anti-religious animus, in alignment with the expansion of government and corporate power over the course of the pandemic. This animus was of course deliberately cultivated – a quote often attributed to G.K. Chesterton goes “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.” – and many now believe only in the systems of white liberal supremacy. As an editorial opposing religious exemptions to vaccine mandates advocates,
The revivalism of the 19th century often inspired anti-slavery activism. In non-pandemic times, a healthy skepticism of expertise has made the U.S. a nation of free-thinkers and rule-breakers.
On that note, public health officials should more directly address faith communities, making clear that each church has a right to worship God according to its traditions and to question science when people’s lives are not in immediate danger. (emphasis in original)
We can observe the process of medicalization doing yeoman’s work here: “a healthy skepticism of expertise” is a good thing only “in non-pandemic times,” and people can exercise their religious rights only “when people’s lives are not in immediate danger” – a scope which is intentionally ill-defined, such that it can be exploited by shifting narratives. If the life of even a single person, anywhere in the world, is in immediate danger, are all religious rights suspended? For instance, should the religious rights of Muslim Americans have been suspended after 9/11, and if so, for how long a time?
The expansion of the systems of white liberal supremacy is the true purpose of this anti-religious animus: the government officials with the power to declare when a time is or is not a pandemic, and the scientists with the authority to decide when people’s lives are or are not in immediate danger, are precisely the same institutions who are incentivized to declare states of emergency, and to extend their duration, potentially indefinitely, so as to continue their “taking” of people’s rights. (Recall our discussion of moral hazard earlier in this essay.) Indeed, daring to “question science,” which as per the article people only have the right to do in times that are determined by scientists themselves, is considered as heretical today as questioning God was in the times of the Inquisition, with similar punishments for apostasy.
In the United States, “The US military has approved religious exemptions to its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for 15 service members out of approximately 16,000 requests,” a 99.9% denial rate, with some branches of the military even more successful at imposing their will: “The Navy has received 3,369 religious exemption requests, but none have been approved,” while “The Army has received 3,088 religious exemptions [sic] requests and granted zero of them.”
Other professions and employers are no less discriminatory. In Madison, Wisconsin, one the most white liberal cities in America, the Madison Metropolitan School District implemented a staff vaccine mandate, with predictable outcomes. As one teacher found when requesting a religious exemption, the enforcers of this pandemic policy claimed the power to not only judge his religious beliefs, but to find them wanting:
Citing his Christian faith and pointing to two portions of the Bible, Hataj said he did not want to leave his job, but he would not betray his religious beliefs that include “my body is not my own, it is the temple of God.” The denial he received, he said, indicated, “The notes state that your documentation did not clearly establish a sincerely held, individualized religious belief.”
As we will see shortly, this is of course a lie. The anti-religious animus of white liberal supremacy, as applied to these vaccine mandates, has as a true goal the firing of disproportionately non-white employees so as to achieve a whiter and less diverse future workforce. The deceptive lure of religious exemptions can be observed in another teacher’s story, a teacher who recognized partway through the process that she was being treated as a rube, but without other options due to financial coercion, had no choice but to play along:
She called her initial application “pretty straightforward and simple,” submitting the forms the district required, which did not include a personal essay of any sort. After her initial denial, however, she submitted “a more lengthy request,” which she said was difficult to write.
“My faith is sincere and very dear to me and I do not generally put it out like that to be judged, especially by people I do not know, that are not close to me, and aren’t sincerely interested in what I hold in my heart,” she wrote. “I knew that they had approved other requests, and was still semi-confident that mine would also be approved.”
Naturally, her exemption was denied as well, as were the great majority: “80 staff members had applied for a religious exemption to the mandate, and 57 of them were denied. Of those 57, eight got their vaccine while the other 49 ‘resigned, retired or were terminated.’” While the enforcers of this policy claimed that the teachers whose exemptions were denied did not hold “a sincerely held, individualized religious belief” preventing vaccination, the fact that 86% of these teachers were willing to face being fired rather than betray their principles serves as evidence that they did in fact hold their stated religious beliefs. (And note that the other 14% were not necessarily all bad-faith actors; some may have felt financially coerced into compliance.)
After all, many people who were on the fence about getting vaccinated happily did so when offered even small incentives such as $100 gift cards, a free donut or two, or most amusingly, a free 30-minute session with a sex worker, though it is unclear if this latter offer was valid only for male patrons. Would teachers and other school district staff, whose average annual salary is $62,000, be willing to face the loss of their jobs – jobs that they educated and trained themselves for many years to get; one cannot simply knock on the school’s door and get a teaching job – including their salaries, their benefits, their pensions, simply because they are afraid of needles? Would anyone? The consistency of their principles, as demonstrated by the congruity between their words and actions, and the material reality of their situation and of their sacrifice – as the first fired teacher above stated, “‘My faith is the most important thing in my life,’ he said Friday. ‘So to put me in a position where I have to choose between my faith and my job, it’s heartbreaking because I love my students, but I’m going to choose my faith.’” – prove that these teachers’ religious beliefs are sincere, just as sincere as white liberal supremacy’s hatred against the religious beliefs that disproportionately non-white people hold today.
As should be evident by this point, vaccine mandates, as with all the other pandemic policies discussed in this essay, have stated goals of public health and rationales of science and medicine, but their true intentions are very different. Even a cursory examination of their claimed scientific rationales proves this incongruity.
For example, the government of Canada implemented a vaccine mandate for all federal public servants in October 2021, with unvaccinated employees being suspended without pay for up to one year, and fired thereafter. Despite its ostensible workplace health and safety goal of reducing transmission among employees, “[t]his requirement applies whether [employees] are teleworking, working remotely or working on-site.” With approximately 70% to 75% of public servants working remotely full-time, it is perplexing how this mandate can claim to “follow the science” of virus transmission between employees; possibly some variants of COVID are like computer viruses, and can transmit themselves through Zoom meetings? Computer anti-virus programs are considerably more effective than COVID vaccines, however – perhaps pharmaceutical companies, already having learned from technology companies the financial value of perpetual subscription services, have something else to learn from them as well.
Nor are unvaccinated public servants allowed to simply continue working remotely, as most had already been doing since March 2020, as a reasonable accommodation measure: apparently, the continuance of a preexisting, long-term, remote working policy suddenly represents a spontaneously emergent “undue hardship” on the government, empowering it to bypass human rights legislation altogether – but only when unvaccinated employees request such an accommodation. Evidently, the same policy does not represent an undue hardship in the case of vaccinated employees, as the great majority of public servants are still working from home to the time of this writing.
Exploring further in our pursuit of the science, the policy defines (in Appendix A) employees as being “fully vaccinated” if they have received two doses of an approved vaccine. No doubt this assuages its proponents as ensuring that public servants “follow the science” of COVID vaccination, as defined by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, an advisory body reporting directly to the federal government, the same government which imposed this mandate. (No conflict of interest here!) Yet as we have seen previously, it has been scientifically known at least as far back as September 2021 – that is, prior to the establishment of the government’s mandate – that two doses of vaccines do not reduce transmission rates. Indeed, as some scientists – whose goal is to push for third, and fourth, and Nth doses – have stated, “two-dose mandates are no longer sufficient.” “If we were to keep the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ as having had two doses, vaccine mandates will accomplish ‘very little,’” thus requiring “a three-dose vaccine series to be considered fully vaccinated.” Fully vaccinated, for now.
Health – and, due to the process of medicalization, continued employment and participation in society – thus becomes a subscription service for life, ensuring massive and perpetual profits for pharmaceutical and associated corporations, as well as their bought-and-paid-for government officials, captured regulators, and complicit scientists.
Even the government of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, would go on to admit: “Tam said it’s now clear that the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine — the first two shots of an mRNA vaccine or a viral vector product like the AstraZeneca vaccine — do not protect against an Omicron infection.” We should note here that two doses of vaccines did not protect against previous variants as of September 2021, either, even prior to the emergence and spread of Omicron. This definition remains at two doses to the time of this writing, as the science of public health in Canada seemingly operates based on popularity contests rather than any genuine scientific evidence: as Tam said in January 2022, “‘Now is not the right time’ to change [the definition of fully vaccinated], she said, ‘because not everybody has had the chance to get that additional dose or getting up to date, not in Canada and certainly not globally.’” (emphasis added)
As the evidence shows, this vaccine mandate, as with all other pandemic policies, was not designed, implemented, and enforced for its claimed objective of “the protection of the health and safety of employees,” or “to protect broader public health in the face of COVID-19, and to prevent future outbreaks”; that was merely a fig leaf over their true intents. So what were their true intents? You can probably guess by now, but we must be fastidious in our intellectual examinations, so we will not make assumptions without evidence. Therefore, to determine their underlying motives, let us examine the evidence of salient population statistics, statistics that were in fact compiled by the government of Canada itself prior to the establishment of its vaccine mandate – thus they could not claim to be unaware of these facts.
It is well-known that vaccine uptake rates are lower among many non-white population groups in every country in the white-majority Western world. For Canada in particular, the government department Statistics Canada has collected population statistics on vaccine willingness and hesitancy. While 78% of white Canadians are “[v]ery or somewhat willing to receive the COVID-19 [v]accine,” this figure is 72% for Indigenous Canadians, 68% for Arab Canadians, 66% for Hispanic Canadians, and only 56% for black Canadians. Nor is this merely a stated preference on the part of these people: Statistics Canada also collected statistics on vaccination coverage, finding that “One-third of adults belonging to groups designated as visible minorities (33.6%) were vaccinated compared with almost half of the non-visible minority adult population (49.5%).” As different demographic groups have different levels of vaccine willingness and coverage, in some cases significant differences, this vaccine mandate, as well as other pandemic policies based on vaccination status, has had and will continue to have a significant disproportionate and adverse impact on non-white people.
We have already shown that this vaccine mandate was not designed for its stated purpose of public health, nor was it based on scientific evidence. To be clear, it is the position of this essay that even if “the science” were fully in favor of the government’s claims, such a vaccine mandate would still constitute an infringement on the rights of all people, and in particular, proactive discrimination against non-white people due to its already-known disparate impacts. However, in this case, as with other pandemic policies we have discussed in this essay, the lower threshold of scientific viability is not even reached, which calls into question the entire edifice of modern scientific institutions and their complicity as a system of white liberal supremacy. The threshold for ethical conduct is a higher one – as we know from Jurassic Park, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
When combining the population statistics above with the previous patterns of behavior of other pandemic policies and policymakers, both in Canada and around the world, logic points us towards only one possible conclusion. The government’s true intent with this vaccine mandate was to do an end-run around their vaunted “diversity, equity, and inclusion” policies – policies they put in place only in order to pull the wool over non-white people’s eyes – and to ensure a future workforce that is whiter and less racially diverse: de facto racism under the guise of de jure equality and benevolence. If the government of Canada believes that a rational application of logic could possibly point us towards a different conclusion, one that still covers the entirety of the evidence examined throughout this essay, it is more than welcome to (attempt to) rebut the perspective of this essay and provide an alternative one – though it is unlikely that it will take us up on this offer, when imposition and force will serve instead.
Further, this future workforce will be comprised of two segments of people: one of true believers and adherents to white liberal supremacy, primarily white liberals themselves, and a second of those who were financially coerced into compliance. These two segments combined comprise over 98% of the current public service workforce. Once any potential resistors to these oppressive policies are fired after one year’s time, the public service of Canada will be entirely composed of “Good Germans” who, whether they bent the knee through coercion or are eagerly complicit in white liberal supremacy, will evidently have no issue with the design, implementation, and enforcement of any future policies intended to harm non-white people, whether directly de jure or de facto through highly disparate impacts. In fact, many of them will do so gleefully, knowing that their continued service to the government renders them “better than the best colored man.”
There is only one current national government leader who has worn blackface (and brownface, to boot), and that on multiple occasions, in fact too many for him to even remember. That leader is, of course, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau – the modern white liberal par excellence, and fêted as such by his fellow white liberals around the world. Trudeau and his government would certainly tell you that they care very much and very deeply about social justice, racial justice, equity, diversity, etc., signaling their virtues ad nauseam. Despite his assurances, many readers might by now reasonably suspect that the incongruence of his words and actions suggests that his government did not randomly fall ass-backwards into developing pandemic policies and making decisions that consistently appear facially neutral (for the media-driven optics – always important to consider political optics first and foremost when designing public health guidelines, of course!) yet equally consistently have disparate and adverse impacts on non-white populations. Indeed, one might even suspect that this is not a coincidence, that this is part of their plan.
On the occasion of another contentious situation in 2017, it was none other than Trudeau who said “The measure of a society, a just society, is not whether we stand up for people’s rights when it’s easy or popular to do so, it’s whether we recognize rights when it’s difficult, when it’s unpopular,” demonstrating that politicians could at one point in time at least speak the right words, even if their actions often proved contradictory. A mere few years later, politicians have become so debased that they are unable to even speak to people’s rights. (We will explore the historically recent decline of intellectual foundations and modes of reasoning in a future essay.) From the article: “Trudeau said Canada is a country that stands up for people’s’ [sic] rights and he hopes future governments learn from this experience in the years to come.” Future governments perhaps, though evidently not his own.
With a compliant public service serving as an echo chamber to amplify the interests of white liberal supremacy, with not a single dissenting (or even questioning) voice being allowed to remain employed, with future claimed crises and emergencies – who knows just how far governments will be willing to go with their next step? And then, with their next step after that.
3. Insecure Beneath the Watchful Eyes
By this point, some white liberals reading this essay may be experiencing a spot of bother, a touch of cognitive dissonance. After all, don’t they constantly post and hashtag and upvote just how much they care about non-white people? Of course, they make sure to do so in highly visible and performative ways that elevate their social status and professional standing, and make those posts on corporate-owned and -controlled platforms like Twitter and Instagram, whose major shareholders are almost entirely white. It’s both convenient and useful to ensure that the right people profit! To those folks I say this: this insecurity, these defensive instincts that crop up when confronted with the facts are nothing new under the sun – white fragility is a hell of a drug. Nor will you find undeserved comfort here; as per the beginning of this essay, “we can dispense with the pleasantries and start talking about real shit.”
Here’s an analogy to chew on. You’re walking down the sidewalk in the morning to head to work (offer may not be valid for unvaccinated people). Someone walking the opposite way crosses over a bit to your ‘half’ of the sidewalk, and physically bumps into you in what appears to be a purposeful manner. However, they apologize and you both move on. After all, you need to get to work, and if it’s a one-time thing, there’s no reason to make a big deal out of it. The next morning, the same person bumps into you again. This time they don’t bother apologizing, but you leave it as you have more important things to worry about; after all, you still need to get to work to keep a roof over your head. Some of us would be willing to forgive once, twice, three times – but what if this continued to happen to you over and over again, a hundred days in a row, a thousand, a hundred thousand? Does this sound extreme to you? Does this sound ludicrous? As a matter of fact, not only is this not an exaggeration of scope, it’s actually a significant underestimate: 100,000 days amounts to about 274 years, considerably fewer years ago than the establishment of black slavery in the Americas.
In her book The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein writes about how governments will exploit crises, and in some cases deepen existing crises or even manufacture them outright, in order to implement their preferred policies while people are unable to effectively resist them due to mass psychological shock and the disorientation of informational asymmetry. She summarized this perspective in an interview at the beginning of the pandemic: “The ‘shock doctrine’ is the political strategy of using large-scale crises to push through policies that systematically deepen inequality, enrich elites, and undercut everyone else. In moments of crisis, people tend to focus on the daily emergencies of surviving that crisis, whatever it is, and tend to put too much trust in those in power. We take our eyes off the ball a little bit in moments of crisis.”
It should therefore be unsurprising that governments have exploited the COVID pandemic in order to implement their preferred pandemic policies, employing the processes of medicalization and ‘health-washing,’ as well as collaboration with major corporations, to advance the aims of white liberal supremacy. As Klein said, “They’re not doing this because they think it’s the most effective way to alleviate suffering during a pandemic—they have these ideas lying around that they now see an opportunity to implement.”
Governments famously took advantage of a previous crisis, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to implement surveillance techniques such as warrantless wiretapping and mass telecommunications data collection, in conjunction with major technology corporations. Yet this abrogation of privacy and civil liberties for claimed security has not abated, even after the death of Osama bin Laden and the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. As Friedrich Hayek wrote, “‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded – and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed emergency powers to see to it that the emergency will persist.”
Nor were governments’ assertions of increased security even borne out: the “Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board found that the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ call records had produced ‘little unique value’ and largely duplicated far more targeted techniques.” And even solely considering American lives to the exclusion of people in invaded nations, a far greater number of Americans died in post-9/11 war operations than did in the 9/11 attacks. Evidently, the real goal of those policies was not national security at all. The post-9/11 security policies should serve as an object lesson to anyone who would sacrifice their rights (or those of others) on the altar of expediency: once you start down that road, where does it end? Any future “taking” of rights can be justified so long as they couch it in the appropriate language.
Edward Snowden, the pivotal whistleblower who revealed those surveillance techniques to the public, recognized the analogous situation in an interview at the beginning of the pandemic: “Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what is being built is the architecture of oppression.”
So far in this essay, we have examined many situations where the policies designed by white liberal supremacy were challenged by people asserting their equal rights, both over the course of the pandemic and prior to it. A common thread can be found in these stories, that of the enforcement of rules by the police. Unenforced rules and laws de facto have no effect; it is through the process of enforcement that policies become reified.
We must therefore examine the role that the police, as a subset of the broader law enforcement system and carceral state– which also includes criminal courts, corrections services, border control, security and surveillance services, among others, all of which are involved in the enforcement of the policies of white liberal supremacy – have played historically and presently, and how the process of medicalization is involved to justify their actions, their oppression, their making sure non-white people in particular ‘know their place.’ As one article summarizes, “Infectious disease risk in Black communities has often been used historically as justification for forced home removals, increased surveillance (often accompanied by police violence), and unsolicited medical interventions, as well as calls for racial residential segregation.”
In her book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff expands and transforms the concept of the traditional surveillance state to its present development as an economic system where governments and corporations pool their efforts to collectively gain dominion over people’s lives, bodies, and experiences for the purpose of “hidden commercial practices,” employing methods such as mass surveillance, behavioral modification, and prediction algorithms. She seeks to explore and circumscribe the boundaries of this new economic model, and provides definitions of surveillance capitalism, which include “[a] movement that aims to impose a new collective order based on total certainty” and “[a]n expropriation of critical human rights that is best understood as a coup from above: an overthrow of the people’s sovereignty.”
The enormous racial disparities in policing – including police engagements, traffic stops, use of force and shootings, arrests, and so on – are extremely widely known, and we will not recap them here. We will therefore place our focus on a few salient facts.
The expansion of the modern police is inextricable from its historical roots in slavery. Early police forces in the West served the interests of the governments and corporations of the day, whether large slave traders, such as the dominant East India Company, or small farms and landowners who were slaveholders, including many of America’s Founding Fathers. Nor were slave patrols merely a de facto system of control operating without systemic oversight. As we have seen in the Dred Scott case, the claimed necessity of policing and surveillance was explicitly defined in law: “the Government in express terms is pledged to protect [the right of property in a slave] in all future time, if the slave escapes from his owner.”
In her article “The Invention of the Police,” Jill Lepore summarizes the resultant effects of historical police efforts “in all future time,” to the present day and beyond.
Police patrolled Black neighborhoods and arrested Black people disproportionately; prosecutors indicted Black people disproportionately; juries found Black people guilty disproportionately; judges gave Black people disproportionately long sentences; and, then, after all this, social scientists, observing the number of Black people in jail, decided that, as a matter of biology, Black people were disproportionately inclined to criminality.
She notes as well the processes of medicalization (“a matter of biology”) that scientists developed to justify the systems of white liberal supremacy. However, her statement that the involvement of science as a justification occurred “after all [the disproportionate impacts]” (emphasis added) is erroneous. As we have seen with the sociological basis giving rise to the law in the Dred Scott case, as we have seen from Cartwright’s theory of drapetomania, as we have seen from various cultural efforts – for instance, Rudyard Kipling’s “Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half devil and half child.” – the initial rationales emanating from science and medicine do not serve as retroactive justification, but rather generally occur prior to and contiguously with the development of systems of oppression. As we examined earlier in this essay, it is necessary to create the other in order to hate them.
While the slavery of primarily black people perhaps represents the historical apex of policing as a medicalized system, other non-white groups were also targets of policing efforts on similar grounds, from “The White Man’s Burden” of colonization of the Philippines, to the “Driving Out” of Chinese immigrants, to the evolution of border policing as a “a frontline instrument of race vigilantism,” a necessary development to avoid “the ‘mongrelization’ of the United States,” among only a few examples. The latter was and remains a common perspective, with its historical links to eugenics and the fear of non-white overpopulation and its overwhelming of “the character of the nation.” This avoidance of “mongrelization” has hardly lessened in the present day, as the significant preference for same-race partners in online dating demonstrates. It may amuse you to learn that despite their stated preferences (Figure 2 of the paper), in which white liberals state that they welcome interracial dating considerably more so than white conservatives, their revealed preferences (Figure 4) naturally demonstrate this to be a lie, with “very liberal” white people having a revealed same-race preference equivalent to “conservative” white people. White liberal supremacy’s smile in the face and dagger in the back should be evident by this point.
President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Crime” in 1965, with the development of the Law Enforcement Assistance Act, with which the U.S. federal government could provide assistance to and oversee law enforcement efforts throughout the nation. This assistance took many forms, including direct financial transfers, purchases of military-grade equipment for now-militarized police departments, the development and purchase of advanced surveillance technologies, and the expansion of criminal courts and prisons. This war would not be a blitzkrieg but a war of attrition, one that would expand and empower the carceral state to new heights so as to better enforce government policies against any would-be urban rebels. Indeed, Johnson fully intended that his expansion of policing and the carceral state should last in perpetuity – “The proposals I am making today will not solve the problem of crime in this country. The war on crime will be waged by our children and our children’s children.” – and his successors have not disappointed in this regard.
The process of medicalization played a crucial role as a scientific justification for the policing of urban areas that were densely and disproportionately populated by non-white people. The scientist John B. Calhoun conducted an initial series of experiments on rats between 1958 and 1962, to examine the effects of population density and overpopulation on the rats’ patterns of behavior, and finding the emergent and pathological outcomes of the behavioral sink and eventual societal collapse. The cultural influence of Calhoun’s research cannot be understated, nor was its intended influence accidental. In his seminal 1962 paper “Population Density and Social Pathology,” Calhoun concludes with:
It is obvious that the behavioral repertory with which the Norway rat has emerged from the trials of evolution and domestication must break down under the social pressures generated by population density. In time, refinement of experimental procedures and of the interpretation of these studies may advance our understanding to the point where they may contribute to the making of value judgments about analogous problems confronting the human species.
While Calhoun himself did not view the analogy to human beings in any racial terms – his experimental rat, and later mouse, populations were species-homogenous within each of his “Universes” – the political and cultural leaders of the time readily employed his conceptualization of the behavioral sink “to the making of value judgments” on the claimed biological underpinnings of non-white urban catastrophe. Some historical analyses chronicle the rapid and far-reaching spread of these ideas and their influence: “The warnings inherent in Calhoun’s research fell on fertile ground in the 1960s, with social policy grappling helplessly with the problems of the inner cities: violence, rape, drugs, family breakdown.” “The macabre spectacle of crowded psychopathological rats and the available comparisons with human life in the densely-packed inner cities ensured the experiments were quickly adopted as ‘scientific evidence’ of social decay.” It would take only three years from the publication of Calhoun’s paper for Johnson to launch the opening salvo of America’s War on Crime.
On the fiftieth anniversary of Johnson’s declaration of war, Elizabeth Hinton wrote:
[T]he War on Crime . . . became the foremost policy approach to the social and demographic challenges of the late twentieth century.
Indeed, federal law-enforcement programs have expanded rapidly over the past five decades. Despite the misconception that the Reagan administration spearheaded the rise of urban surveillance and mass incarceration, federal policymakers had already dedicated a total of $7 billion in taxpayer dollars (roughly $20 billion [in 2015 dollars; roughly $24 billion in 2022 dollars]) to crime-control programs before Reagan took office in 1981. The most recent available figures from the Bureau of Justice Assistance indicate that federal officials have sustained these funding commitments, appropriating well over $1 billion annually to law enforcement programs at the state and local level.
In her book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, she adds: “It is one of the essential ironies of American history that this punitive campaign began during an era of liberal reform and at the height of the civil rights revolution, a moment when the nation seemed ready to embrace policies that would fully realize its egalitarian founding values.”
With all due respect to academics like Hinton and their credentialed expertise, let us explore an alternative theory, one which holds considerably greater explanatory power: that it is not an irony, nor is it a coincidence, that an order-of-magnitude expansion of policing power coincided with modern developments and growth in many of the institutions undergirding white liberal supremacy, including academia, mass media, the civil service, finance, the technology sector, and of course, government- and megacorporation-funded science and medicine during this “era of liberal reform.” It is part of their plan. These institutions provide not only the rationales and justifications for the policies of white liberal supremacy, but function as foci of power and influence so as to intellectually infiltrate and absorb the potential of alternative movements into mainstream power structures.
Peter Turchin developed the concept of elite overproduction, “which describes the condition of a society which is producing too many potential elite-members relative to its ability to absorb them into the power structure. This, he hypothesizes, is a cause for social instability, as those left out of power feel aggrieved by their relatively low socioeconomic status.” It is therefore crucial to ensure that the extraneous white liberals “left out of power,” these Starbucks baristas with Master’s degrees, are not aggrieved towards the white liberals holding the reins of power – the academics, the journalists, the bureaucrats and government officials, the bankers and financiers, the Big Tech entrepreneurs and engineers, the scientists and doctors, and so on – and their biological embodiment of white liberal supremacy by redirecting their aggrievement towards a more necessary and less tenable target.
As Johnson said himself, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Thus the need for systems of codified policies and rules to demarcate even the lowest white liberal from all others, thus the need for the medicalized concept of intellectual deficiency and its avoidance (the mentality of ‘if you were smart, you’d have followed the rules, so you deserve whatever punishment you get’ – note the implicit belief that rules are sacrosanct), and thus the need for police enforcement of highly disproportionately non-white populations.
Turning to modern pandemic policies, we have previously examined the police system’s involvement in individual situations such as Carmine’s. We will also consider its involvement at the population level, in situations such as the enforcement of lockdown measures, vaccine passports, and mass surveillance. This increased involvement naturally requires an expanded set of powers, with the pandemic providing ample justification on the grounds of medicalization: “in response to the pandemic, the UK government introduced unprecedented police powers under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations and the Coronavirus Act (2020).” Policies that were previously imagined only in dystopian fiction and dictatorships were rapidly brought to bear in purportedly free nations: “Citing rising COVID-19 case numbers, on Friday the Province of Ontario enacted one of the strictest lockdowns yet seen in the Western world, including empowering police to stop and question any person seen outside their home.” And governments made it very clear that their depriving of our freedoms was necessary for the claimed common good, and that the people, quite frankly, brought it on themselves by not being utterly obedient to the systems of white liberal supremacy: “In March 2020, Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu delivered a chilling warning to Canadians: If we fail to follow public health guidelines that help limit the spread of COVID-19, governments, like Canada’s, will have to limit civil liberties. ‘Governments have to look at more and more stringent measures to actually contain people in their own homes,’ Hajdu said.” The government “will have to” act in that way, it will have no other choice, it will be the people’s fault for forcing their hand – like an abusive relationship, they are hurting us “for our own good.”
New York City’s stop-and-frisk program was ruled to have violated non-white people’s constitutional rights – in its application, though not in principle. The judiciary, after all, is complicit in oppression and the carceral state; but judges, being on average more intelligent than police officers, seek to mask their true intentions by bringing forward legal justifications so that the disparate impacts are not too overt – it wouldn’t do for people to wise up to what’s really happening to them. The systems of white liberal supremacy therefore needed to find another way to develop legal frameworks of hostile architecture, in order to control the population movements of non-white people, to ensure they ‘know their place’ and keep away from the ‘nice parts of town.’ Enter the process of medicalization. It would not take long for the police of New York to begin cracking down on infringements of social distancing policies, with predictable outcomes:
On Thursday night, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office became the first prosecutor in the city to release statistics on social-distancing enforcement. In the borough, the police arrested 40 people for social-distancing violations from March 17 through May 4, the district attorney’s office said.
Of those arrested, 35 people were black, four were Hispanic and one was white.
More than a third of the arrests were made in the predominantly black neighborhood of Brownsville. No arrests were made in the more white Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope.
To be clear, this enormous discrepancy was not due to underlying behavioral differences, to all the inhabitants of Park Slope being perfectly respectful of social distancing: “Park Slopers made 373 complaints about social distancing and 63 over face coverings since a state ‘stay-at-home’ order went into effect, according to 311 data.” Yet not a single arrest. While Mayor Bill de Blasio gave press conferences in which he prevaricated about the supposed differences between stop-and-frisk and the enforcement of his pandemic policies, some were willing to ask some more pointed questions:
But some black elected officials and critics of the Police Department said the recent encounters suggested that social distancing was being used by some officers as a pretext to stop and arrest people in poorer neighborhoods, much like “furtive” movements and the odor of marijuana were once used to justify millions of unwarranted stops.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat whose district is predominantly African-American, expressed concern in an interview about policing tactics that resembled the unfair practices of “stop and frisk.” That, combined with the illness, unemployment and hunger brought on by the pandemic for many residents, would be a “a toxic combination.”
“We can’t unleash a new era of overly aggressive policing of communities of color in the name of social distancing,” Mr. Jeffries said.
These non-white critics, many of whom may have unwillingly engaged with the police in their lives due to their race, recognize very well how medicalization is being used in the enforcement of pandemic policies. Of course, this is by no means localized to New York City; the police systems in other states and countries, while perhaps not as highly militarized as in the U.S., nevertheless act in unison to control and oppress non-white populations. A report from Amnesty International summarizes the situation in many European countries:
Police enforcing COVID-19 lockdowns across Europe have disproportionately targeted ethnic minority and marginalized groups with violence, discriminatory identity checks, forced quarantines and fines.
. . .
Police violence and concerns about institutional racism are not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic and coercive enforcement of the resulting lockdowns have exposed just how prevalent they are. The triple threats of discrimination, unlawful use of force and police impunity must be urgently tackled in Europe.
. . .
In Seine-Saint-Denis, the poorest area of mainland France where the majority of inhabitants are Black or of North African origin, the number of fines for breaching the lockdown was three times higher than in the rest of the country, despite local authorities stating that respect for lockdown measures was similar to other areas. In Nice, nine predominantly working class and minority ethnic neighbourhoods were subjected to longer overnight curfews than the rest of the city.
Unlawful use of force by police often took place in the context of stop and search and identity checks as police enforced lockdown measures.
The process of medicalization operates to justify the actions of the police, the continued expansion of policing power and mass surveillance, and the systems of control over the lives and bodies of non-white people. We mentioned earlier the judiciary’s complicity in the carceral state, in alignment with the police; a brief current example suffices as demonstration. In Canada, the provinces of Alberta and Ontario now only allow vaccinated individuals to serve on juries. Black and other non-white people, who are already disproportionately highly policed and therefore disproportionately likely to appear before juries in criminal trials, will now be facing juries that are disproportionately white. Dare we guess what those trial outcomes will be like?
One of Zuboff’s definitions of surveillance capitalism is “[a] parasitic economic logic in which the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new global architecture of behavioral modification,” which has reached its hitherto culmination with the COVID pandemic. Many governments around the world made use of behavioral science throughout the pandemic in order to psychologically manipulate the public into better complying with pandemic policies. Laura Dodsworth’s book A State of Fear: How the UK government weaponised fear during the Covid-19 pandemic investigates the actions of the behavioral scientists advising the government of the United Kingdom, and how their decision-making involved gaslighting the public about the levels of danger and personal threat. This summary covers the salient points:
Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) expressed regret about the tactics in a new book about the role of psychology in the Government’s Covid-19 response.
SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase “the perceived level of personal threat” from Covid-19 because “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened”.
. . .
One SPI-B scientist told Ms Dodsworth: “In March  the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down. There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear. The way we have used fear is dystopian.
“The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared.”
Another SPI-B member said: “You could call psychology ‘mind control’. That’s what we do… clearly we try and go about it in a positive way, but it has been used nefariously in the past.”
One warned that “people use the pandemic to grab power and drive through things that wouldn’t happen otherwise… We have to be very careful about the authoritarianism that is creeping in”.
Another said: “Without a vaccine, psychology is your main weapon… Psychology has had a really good epidemic, actually.”
As well as overt warnings about the danger of the virus, the Government has been accused of feeding the public a non-stop diet of bad news, such as deaths and hospitalisations, without ever putting the figures in context with news of how many people have recovered, or whether daily death tolls are above or below seasonal averages.
Another member of SPI-B said they were "stunned by the weaponisation of behavioural psychology" during the pandemic, and that “psychologists didn’t seem to notice when it stopped being altruistic and became manipulative. They have too much power and it intoxicates them”.
While some nations, including the U.K., learned from their prior mistakes and ended their oppressive pandemic policies – after much too long a time to be sure, but better late than never – other nations such as Canada are continuing to double down. For instance, in mid-March 2022, the government of Canada hired behavioral science fellows to “apply behavioural science to public policy issues and services in a variety of domains such as health, environment and climate change, economic and social development, transportation, and financial inclusion.” If anyone was curious as to what specific issues these no-doubt equally ethical behavioral scientists will focus on manipulating, the first question on the application form is illustrative: “Imagine a researcher wants to assess whether or not Canadians are more likely to get their flu shot in a very cold winter versus a milder one. To estimate the impact of weather on flu shot rates, the researcher gathers data on flu shot rates as well as average winter temperatures for a random selection of 100 communities across Canada.” Any future government messaging related to the “variety of domains” listed above, among others, can be reasonably assumed to represent psychological manipulation on their part rather than approaching even the semblance of truth.
The more assiduous propaganda organs of white liberal supremacy will constantly move the goalposts and shift between preferred narratives as the magnitude of their previous lies becomes evident to even the least keen of observers. As most of us know from personal experience when dealing with liars, whether for instance emotional betrayals in our personal lives, acquaintances whose tall tales are a little too lofty, or colleagues vastly embellishing their accomplishments in the workplace, “a behavior common to nearly all chronic liars is that they change their stories when caught.”
We have witnessed in real time these shifting narratives, from last year’s hateful and vicious triumphalism of “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and “a winter of severe illness and death”, to the recent questions being raised by mainstream media sources by, of, and for white liberals, the same sources that not three months ago decried and censored those same questions as so-called conspiracy theories – when those questions were being raised by primarily non-white people whose experiences have made them rightly skeptical of placing uncritical faith in the systems of white liberal supremacy.
The moving target of herd immunity thresholds serves as a straightforward example, from estimates of 60% to 70% rising after a few months to 80% to 90%, now even up to 98% or higher of the population needing vaccination to achieve herd immunity. Note that the basic reproduction number for even the most contagious present-day variants of COVID has been measured as approximately 7 (for prior strains, this number is a much lower 2.5), meaning the herd immunity threshold is around 86%, and a great proportion of that 86% will have developed natural immunity after catching COVID. Even the concept of natural immunity itself, well-known for thousands of years of human history prior to March 2020, was deemed by the experts as being “dangerous” and “discredited ideas.” As more and more people got vaccinated over the course of 2021, and it soon became evident that vaccines were ineffective in preventing or even minimizing transmission rates, that vaccinated individuals did not in fact “become a dead end to the virus,” the lies had to get bigger and bigger in order “to save the phenomena.”
After the first few months of vaccination campaigns in Western nations, the initial narrative of vaccines being necessary for the reason of “preventing the spread of the virus throughout the community” shifted to a new narrative, that of vaccines being necessary not to overwhelm hospitals and the healthcare system. The countries where this narrative was and remains most prevalent includes the Anglosphere nations of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is relevant here to note the hospital capacities of these nations, one measure being the per capita number of hospital beds: 2.83, 2.52, and 2.42 per 1,000 inhabitants in these countries respectively. In other nations, which had significantly greater hospital capacities – for instance, Japan has over four and a half times the hospital capacity of the United States – these narratives, while present, were considerably more muted.
We can therefore observe that the true intent of this narrative is not to avoid overwhelming the hospitals, but rather to cover up these governments’ prior failures in sufficiently funding their nations’ healthcare systems over the previous years and even decades. First the government creates the problem, then it claims expanded powers as the solution. The very promotion of this narrative exists in order to incentivize future underfunding, both in the health care system and other government programs more generally, thereby providing a medicalized justification both for a never-ending expansion of powers and for future discriminatory policies. For instance, “The Canadian province of Quebec will charge a health tax to residents who are not vaccinated against Covid-19.” Nor is this a new stratagem: the policies of psychiatric deinstitutionalization were designed to expand mass surveillance, policing, and the carceral state, in ways that highly disproportionately impacted non-white people. And as we have seen with other pandemic policies, governments work hand-in-hand with major corporations to strengthen the systems of white liberal supremacy.
With the popularization of this narrative, they seek to privatize the healthcare system so as to transform healthcare from a former right in some nations to a privilege that can be revoked at will (and certainly revoked from anyone who dares “question science” or express alternative opinions), to “provide discretionary services,” whether “to the vaccinated” for the time being, or solely to whomever can afford those services in the near future, with outcomes as expected: “As of 2019, nonelderly AIAN, Hispanic, NHOPI, and Black people remained more likely to lack health insurance than their White counterparts. The higher uninsured rates among these groups largely reflects more limited rates of private coverage among these groups.” Outcomes as expected, and indeed, as per their design.
In their narratives and consistent invocations for the subordination of biology and civil liberties to the so-called common good, one key question is consistently omitted from the discussion, and for good reason: the systems of white liberal supremacy do not want to so much as entertain the possibility of people recognizing the truth of Anatole France’s maxim, “In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” We must therefore ask the same question one would when trying to solve a murder mystery: cui bono? Who benefits from the common good, from the status quo state of affairs? Under the auspices of President Franklin Roosevelt, white liberal icon without peer, Americans of all races and all walks of life fought the nation’s enemies abroad, but only white people were fairly rewarded upon their return home. As we have previously seen with the history of redlining, preferential mortgage rates and home locations, jobs programs, education benefits such as the GI Bill, and more: white people benefited from this common good, while non-white people paid the price of the law’s “majestic equality.” Many Japanese-Americans undoubtedly would have joined the war effort as well, if not for being fired from their jobs, deprived of their possessions, and physically isolated in camps – all for the common good, of course. As with the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks, fighting for the claimed common good results in princely remuneration for some and exploitation for others.
When examining the age variation in COVID mortality, people below the age of 65 have multiple orders of magnitude lower risk than those aged 65 or older. As the paper above by John Ioannidis – the discoverer of p-hacking and the replication crisis, and one of the few remaining honest scientists in the world – demonstrates, “People <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in pandemic epicenters and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon. Strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic.” After the publication of Ioannidis’s essay, the CDC did the legwork and determined similar results, in their analysis if not their public messaging. Returning to Dodsworth’s book, the reason “a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened” is precisely because they are not personally threatened.
It is therefore unsurprising that pandemic policies which targeted people regardless of age proved to be not only ineffective, but in many cases actually harmful, at both the individual and population levels. The government, in collaboration with the media and major corporations, carefully crafted and disseminated narratives and manipulated people into believing otherwise for a very long time. Some people have been so deeply gaslit they still believe it to this day, and will vehemently defend those fabricated narratives even when presented with the facts, due to the severity of their cognitive dissonance. These organizations collectively worked to manufacture consent not for their claimed purpose of public health, but to advance the goals of white liberal supremacy. That older populations are whiter, and younger populations significantly more non-white, means that disproportionately non-white people were and continue to be forced to sacrifice their health, their freedoms, their jobs, and any of their future prospects of equality in order to serve the interests of disproportionately white people. Once again: this is not a coincidence; this is part of their plan.
In order to reassure Canadians that vaccine passports are both wonderful and necessary, TVO, a publicly funded broadcaster owned and operated by the provincial government of Ontario, canvassed a group of academics and experts in this article, titled “How safe and secure are digital vaccine passports?” and representative of mainstream narratives. Their answer: 110%, and you’re a conspiracy theorist peddling online misinformation if you think otherwise.
Vaccine passports and digital IDs also make an appearance and are linked to alleged plots by pharmaceutical and tech companies and governments to surveil and control populations.
There’s a notion that passports are being “used to control our behaviours beyond this public-health crisis, as if there are all sorts of electronic layers embedded in the vaccine [credential] to monitor and survey all of our activities, and not just whether we’ve been vaccinated or not," says Barbara Perry, who directs the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, in Oshawa. “It fits nicely into that broader narrative about medical tyranny and the overreach of the state and public authorities.”
Despite Perry’s assurances, and the article placing the quoted text under the heading “Misinformation and disinformation,” the experts’ rebuttals to the “alleged [sic] plots” are of course blatant lies. We will consider a few counterexamples from nations around the world, including both vaccine passports and various digital identification methods, in more detail, both to explore the real-time construction of this new panopticon and to demonstrate the execrable depths of their lies.
But before we proceed, note carefully the institutional power involved here, “the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism,” and how any opposition to the systems of white liberal supremacy as concretized by pandemic policies are framed as “hate,” with ever-shifting definitions of hate speech meriting censorship in many countries; “bias,” thereby logically implying that the views of the technocratic elites manning the ramparts of white liberal supremacy are unbiased, neutral, and apolitical; and “extremism,” to justify the activities of surveillance capitalism against those notorious domestic terrorists. Some readers may recall a similar institution making news headlines recently, with the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s surveillance of and attempts at deplatforming some popular Substack writers for daring to question the mainstream narratives around pandemic policies.
The government of Israel empowered the Shin Bet, their domestic security service (roughly equivalent to the United States’ FBI), to perform mass surveillance on all people in Israel, citizens, non-citizens, and tourists alike, using cellphone location and data tracking – including “data about the location of the device, the cell and antenna zone to which it is connected, every voice call and text message sent or received by the cellular device, and internet browsing history” – and linking this information with administrative databases to digitally identify individuals and their movements and activities both physical and digital. It is somewhat unclear how voice call, text message, and Internet browsing history relate to the mechanisms of viral transmission – perhaps in Israel, as with the public service of Canada, COVID operates as a computer virus. Naturally, there is no oversight of this pandemic policy, save for the government that ordered it in the first place – not quite impartial accountability, to say the least.
Israel’s contact tracing app similarly empowers its government to “surveil and control populations”:
It will enable location tracking of anyone required to quarantine — due to contact with a coronavirus carrier or returning from abroad. It will notify authorities of any potential breaking of quarantine, as well as allow them to hold video calls with individuals to ensure they are isolating.
Use of the app requires individuals’ consent. Anyone who wants to will be free to opt out, but will then be monitored through other means, including house calls by police. In some cases, those who opt out will be sent to special quarantine hotels to ensure they are keeping to the rules.
As we can observe, the freedom to “opt out” of this system of medicalization is simply the freedom of duress and coercion, the freedom of compulsory engagement with the police force and the surveillance state (note that either option involves the “authorities” or the “police,” which are synonymous), the freedom of forced displacement and imprisonment, the freedom of a stick-up man holding you at gunpoint and saying ‘your money or your life – but don’t blame me, it’s your choice!’
In France, the governments of many major cities worked with technology corporations to implement artificial intelligence and facial recognition technologies in places including outdoor markets and public transit routes such as subways and buses.
Video surveillance cameras in France will monitor how many people are wearing masks and their compliance with social distancing when the coronavirus lockdown is eased next week.
. . .
The French surveillance system does include an automatic alert to city authorities and police where breaches of the mask and distancing rules are spotted.
But Datakalab, a startup launched in 2017, insists that it is “not facial recognition”, as the system does not store identifying data.
Intriguingly, theirs must be the only facial recognition technology in the world that consumes massive amounts of CPU cycles to identify individuals without storing the identifying data, at least assuming one believes their claims, claims which are conveniently impossible to verify given the lack of public access to their software, algorithms, and databases. From a technical standpoint, this raises the software engineering question: why use the significantly more complex algorithms and increased processing requirements of facial recognition, if their computer vision problem to be solved is the much simpler one of whether or not people are wearing masks covering their noses and mouths, without requiring actual identification of people’s faces down to the individual level?
Perhaps the integration of an “automatic alert” system exists solely to summon the police to the appropriate location, the police having no sweet clue as to whom they need to investigate upon their arrival as “the system does not store identifying data,” logically a great and effective use of scarce police resources. But then, if you can’t trust an AI company working with the government to implement and normalize the use of invasive and inescapable facial recognition technology for the purpose of a mass surveillance police state to tell you the truth about their goals and methods, who can you trust? (Surely not “online misinformation!”)
In other nations such as the United States, it was government health departments who directly took charge of population surveillance and control, in conjunction with corporations, particularly in the technology sector. In their article “Mass surveillance in the age of COVID-19,” Natalie Ram and David Gray summarize this collaboration:
The U.S. government is already tapping bulk cell phone location data for public health surveillance purposes in the fight against COVID-19. These efforts include tracking the “presence and movement of people in certain areas of geographic interest.” Under new legislation, Congress appropriated “not less than $500,000,000” for “public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.”
Private enterprise has been quick to cooperate. Google analyzed location data from its app users’ devices to generate “COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports” for every county in the United States. These reports “chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.” Another much-watched visualization analyzed cell phone location data to show how the spring break population in south Florida dispersed across America. Each dot along a Florida beach during spring break marked a unique cell phone, which was followed for weeks thereafter.
Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports showcase six weeks’ worth of data, while the spring break visualization follows the dots for at least three weeks thereafter. You may recall from the non-stop public health advisories that the incubation period of COVID “ranges from 1 to 14 days,” with the median length of time being “5 to 6 days between exposure and symptom onset.” From a scientific perspective, it is therefore curious why this technological surveillance would extend much longer than the time period necessary for contact tracing, which is equivalent to the incubation period maximum of two weeks. Of course, by now we should be able to understand their real aims here, namely using the process of medicalization as a justification for long-term mass surveillance.
Of course, the “separate app” that businesses use “to scan the pass” did not randomly appear out of thin air; rather, it was developed in parallel by the state of New York and IBM to integrate with the vaccine passport app itself, and was released to businesses at the same time that the vaccine passport was released to New Yorkers. In addition, the passport scanning app must logically be linked on the backend with an administrative health records database, in order to fulfill its function of verifying an individual’s vaccination status.
This mass surveillance takes many forms, not only with physical tracking but digital informational tracking too, as this related pandemic policy demonstrates:
A request for information from the surgeon general’s office demanded that tech platforms send data and analysis on the prevalence of Covid-19 misinformation on their sites, starting with common examples of vaccine misinformation documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The notice asks the companies to submit “exactly how many users saw or may have been exposed to instances of Covid-19 misinformation,” as well as aggregate data on demographics that may have been disproportionately exposed to or affected by the misinformation.
Naturally, “misinformation” is conveniently defined as anything opposing, or even insufficiently supportive of, the narratives crafted by governments and corporations to justify their discriminatory and oppressive pandemic policies, and as reified by so-called fact-checkers, those odious officials of the Ministry of Truth, whose every pronouncement on matters of import is a lie in service of white liberal supremacy. (We can imagine them scrabbling in their dens, already hard at work: ‘We once stated the truth about some insubstantial affair like a celebrity breakup. Verdict: pants on fire!’)
In the interest of brevity, we’ll conclude our world tour by returning to Canada, where the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) secretly “accessed location data from 33 million mobile devices to monitor people’s movement during lockdown,” only admitting to the program’s existence after an independent journalistic organization investigated the matter. Canada’s population is approximately 38 million, and not all Canadians own a mobile device, so the “data from 33 million mobile devices” includes essentially all mobile devices in Canada.
It is useful here to examine PHAC’s explanation of the necessity of their policy: “Due to the urgency of the pandemic, (PHAC) collected and used mobility data, such as cell-tower location data, throughout the COVID-19 response.” Even if one were to accept their arguments that this unprecedented breach of Canadians’ privacy was necessary “[d]ue to the urgency of the pandemic,” why did they not reveal the existence of the program at the outset? Why operate in such a clandestine manner? It would not materially impact the data collected, and in fact could potentially have been quite a popular measure, as many Canadians might feel like they are ‘doing their part’ by contributing their data towards PHAC’s purported public health goals.
Of course, if the true aim of their policy was not based in their claims of science or public health, but rather one motivated by the interests of government or corporate leaders – for instance, “Trudeau leaves door open to using smartphone data to track Canadians' compliance with pandemic rules”; and note that article’s publication date of March 24, 2020 – then the pieces of the puzzle suddenly fall into place. With the subordination of science to ideology, it would therefore be more accurate to reword their explanation as follows: ‘[Because of] the urgency of the pandemic, [PHAC] [gained a justification to] collect…’ Medicalization is once again used to justify the goals of white liberal supremacy, as in this case the unbounded expansion of surveillance capitalism and the surveillance state: “[PHAC] is planning to track population movement for roughly the next five years, including to address other public health issues, such as ‘other infectious diseases, chronic disease prevention and mental health.’”
Before we continue further, we should cover a brief but important technical point: PHAC’s surveillance program, as with many other surveillance programs discussed in this essay, claims to protect individuals’ privacy by de-identifying individuals’ data, a process which strips a subset of elements, such as individuals’ names, from the datasets being analyzed. However, as some privacy advocates are aware (despite their unwarranted optimism – why think that this is “unauthorized”? statements by political leaders indicate otherwise), there are workarounds:
“I think that the Canadian public will find out about many other such unauthorized surveillance initiatives before the pandemic is over—and afterwards,” David Lyon, author of Pandemic Surveillance and former director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University, said in an email.
Lyon warned that PHAC “uses the same kinds of ‘reassuring’ language as national security agencies use, for instance not mentioning possibilities for re-identifying data that has been ‘de-identified.’”
The process of re-identification is made possible through the accumulation of Big Data, whether from one or a combination of data sources. Using statistical modeling techniques, governments and corporations who hold these wide-ranging datasets can analyze patterns in the data, and can thereby reconstruct individuals’ identities even if the datasets are initially anonymized. To be clear, it is not that they need fulsome amounts of data with only one element, such as the individual’s name, missing to accomplish this. Rather, re-identification can be performed with merely a few data points: “just four random pieces of information were enough to re-identify 90% of the shoppers as unique individuals,” and in another study “that investigated the privacy erosion of smartphone location data, researchers were able to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals in a data set with just four spatio-temporal points.”
Nor is this technological development merely theoretical. Re-identification has been performed in the real world at the individual level “[e]ven though the data set had no identifying information,” using solely a “device ID and location data,” resulting in the individual in question being ousted from his job. Recall that vaccine passport systems, let alone telecommunications surveillance programs, include far more information than merely those two data elements, and that most individuals using vaccine passports will have had their passports scanned at considerably more than “four spatio-temporal points” over the course of the pandemic.
To close out this topic, a CBC article – notably, published a week before the TVO article above – includes a demonstration of the true technological capabilities of vaccine passports in its examination of the PORTpass system in the province of Alberta:
Private proof-of-vaccination app Portpass exposed personal information, including the driver’s licences, of what could be as many as hundreds of thousands of users by leaving its website unsecured.
On Monday evening, CBC News received a tip that the user profiles on the app’s website could be accessed by members of the public.
CBC is not sharing how to access those profiles, in order to protect users’ personal information, but has verified that email addresses, names, blood types, phone numbers, birthdays, as well as photos of identification like driver’s licences and passports can easily be viewed by reviewing dozens of users’ profiles.
While this article focuses on the certainly important fact that this vaccine passport app exposed people’s data to the general public, it conveniently elides any deeper investigation of a more important fact, though this elision perhaps speaks less to journalistic incompetence than to the media’s direct complicity with the program of white liberal supremacy as presently concretized through pandemic policies.
This elided and crucial fact is that PORTpass’s vaccine passports contained far more information that would be needed for a simple verification of an individual’s vaccination status. Alberta’s provincial health card, a sample photo of which can be found here, contains only the following information about an individual: their personal health number, their full name, their gender, and their date of birth – that is, solely the information that would be immediately required for healthcare purposes at the initial point of service. Yet PORTpass’s vaccine passport database additionally contained “email addresses, . . . blood types, phone numbers, . . . as well as photos of identification like driver’s licences and passports.”
And as we have seen, it is by no means the only vaccine passport system to include additional unnecessary information, whether stored directly or accessible through backend database linkages – at least, information unnecessary for the purpose of verifying one’s vaccination status; potentially very necessary for the establishment of new physical and digital systems of surveillance and control by employing the justification of medicalization.
This extensive discussion of privacy and civil liberties considerations, while implicitly including an equity lens as per points raised elsewhere in this essay, does not even scratch the surface of the broader equity considerations surrounding vaccine passports, even if they were hypothetically entirely private and entirely effective in their stated aims. We will not explore those considerations in detail at the moment, but simply note for the time being that many populations are less likely to own a smartphone capable of supporting passport apps, such as lower-income people, seniors, the homeless, and groups like the Amish that eschew advanced technology altogether, and that many of these groups are highly disproportionately non-white. Illegal immigrants, too, easily fall victim to “the implicit discrimination of vaccination passports, facilitated through the guise of public health security.”
Despite all the experts’ manifold assertions to the contrary, the evidence from many nations across the Western world indicates that vaccine passports are in fact being “used to control our behaviours beyond this public-health crisis,” and that there are indeed “all sorts of electronic layers embedded in the vaccine [credential] to monitor and survey all of our activities, and not just whether we’ve been vaccinated or not.”
It is not a coincidence that the experts constantly lie in order to inveigle the population; it is part of their plan. And it is precisely these censors and propagandists, along with their governmental and corporate paymasters, who are the actual purveyors of “[h]ate, [b]ias and [e]xtremism,” as well as “[m]isinformation and disinformation,” all the better to achieve the goals of white liberal supremacy.
4. “My Four Little Children”
If you’ve read this far and still believe that these policies were not intentionally designed to reinforce the systems of white liberal supremacy, ask yourself one simple question: if the demographics of unvaccinated people were such that the per capita majority were highly disproportionately white instead of non-white, would any Western government contemplate these measures for even a second, much less implement and enforce them?
White liberal icons like Samantha Bee and Jason Jones send their children to a selective, highly disproportionately white school, and oppose diversification rezoning proposals, wishing to retain the school’s current enrollment plan based on zip codes, which are de facto racially segregated. “After all, didn’t they buy their expensive Upper West Side domiciles precisely for the right to attend this fabulously high-performing school?” Some of these parents make their true concerns quite clear to anyone who can read between the lines: “‘We think that diversity is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed in the district,’ P.S. 199 parent Liz Sutherland said at a meeting Wednesday. But she asked whether the plan would achieve that, and worried that the city would place her daughter in a school ‘that is not a good fit for my child.’” Certainly it should never be their little darlings who may one day be faced with the prospect of sharing a classroom with ‘those’ kids, despite the well-documented advantages of integrated schools. “And across America, desegregation has never been tried at scale, partly because of resistance from white liberals. . . . Why is integration a talking point, but not yet a political priority, in such a proudly liberal city?” To ask the question is to answer it: this is not a coincidence; this is part of their plan.
Ensuring that black and other non-white children are disproportionately placed in failing schools and de facto segregated from their white peers is crucial to the perpetuation of white liberal supremacy. From an early age, non-white children will learn much less than white children, thereby rendering them much less prepared for future steps in the process of elite reproduction, including college or the job market, thus making them less of a (perceived) demographic threat to the white liberals gunning for those positions for their children. In his essay “Who Benefits from Failing Urban School Districts? An Essay on Equity and Justice for Diverse Children in Urban Poverty.,” Martin Haberman asks the salient question: cui bono?
The paper argues that the growth and maintenance of 120 failed urban school districts miseducating diverse children in poverty for over half a century is a predictable, explainable phenomenon not a series of accidental, unfortunate, chance events. The extensive resources funneled into these systems are used for the purpose of increasing the district bureaucracies themselves rather than improving the schools or the education of the children. This massive, persisting failure has generated neither the effort nor the urgency which the stated values of American society would lead us to expect. Instead, the larger society provides the institutional and cultural setting which protects, preserves and enhances these failing urban school systems for the purpose of providing a broad spectrum of constituencies with a priceless set of unearned privileges. The most valuable of these is access to economically and ethnically segregated forms of schooling for middle-class whites which is effective and does lead to careers, higher education and improved life opportunities. (emphasis in original)
Haberman recognizes the incongruity between the “stated values” of policymakers and the real-world effects students experience, demonstrating that these differences in achievement were and continue to be intentionally designed, and with the true intent of a bifurcation in racial opportunities and outcomes.
This true intent can also be observed through the revealed preference of white liberals’, parents and educators alike, opposition to charter school expansion, when it is widely known that the “research shows that charter schools in the urban areas of Massachusetts have large, positive effects on educational outcomes. The effects are particularly large for disadvantaged students, English learners, special education students, and children who enter charters with low test scores.” Of course, “the charter school student population is disproportionately nonwhite,” and significantly so, and it wouldn’t do for these non-white children to one day pose an economic threat to the representatives of white liberal supremacy and their progeny.
Note that it is uniquely white liberals, not any other combination of race and political orientation, who stand in opposition to one of the few non-symbolic and genuinely effective educational reforms. As Jonathan Chait writes, “Polls show that the backlash against charters has been mainly confined to white liberals, while Black and Latino Democrats — whose children are disproportionately enrolled in those schools — remain supportive. It’s not that upscale progressives don’t care about minority children. Their passion is quite evidently sincere.” Chait, being a white liberal himself, is hesitant to criticize his own. Let us be more explicit: their passion and their virtue may, at the superficial level, be shouted from the rooftops and retweeted to high heaven, but actions speak louder than words, and what is evident from their actions is neither passion nor sincerity, but the ugly and enduring stain of racial hatred.
Governments took full advantage of the COVID pandemic in order to accelerate the preexisting differential in learning progress between white and non-white students, particularly in public schools. One analysis of the 2020-2021 academic year measured the impacts on students’ learning and personal lives due to school closures and a policy-imposed shift to remote learning methods:
Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. The pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven. High schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education. And the crisis had an impact on not just academics but also the broader health and well-being of students, with more than 35 percent of parents very or extremely concerned about their children’s mental health.
. . .
While all types of students experienced unfinished learning, some groups were disproportionately affected. Students of color and low-income students suffered most. Students in majority-Black schools ended the school year six months behind in both math and reading, while students in majority-white schools ended up just four months behind in math and three months behind in reading.
Additionally, “[p]arents of Black and Latino students were most likely to report that school closures were the cause of their children’s interrupted in-person learning.” Nor is this merely a self-reporting bias; in fact, these parents were very accurate in their observations: the CDC conducted an analysis of disparities in learning mode access covering 1,200 public school districts across the United States, and found that “[d]uring January–April 2021, access to full-time in-person learning” was 75% among white students, 63% among black students, 59% among Hispanic students, and 57% among students of all other races. These disparate and adverse impacts are all going according to plan, hence white liberals’ insistence of continuing these discriminatory policies in perpetuity. With non-white families considerably less likely to be able to afford to send their children to private schools due to broader racial wealth and income inequality, their children can not only be segregated but additionally miseducated, ensuring that white liberals’ processes of elite reproduction will continue for at least one more generation, via this “priceless set of unearned privileges.”
Some more perspicacious white liberals, wishing to get ahead of any potential fallout if non-white parents come to realize the magnitude of the harms that the education system has enacted against their children, attempt to shift the narrative, to suggest that these policies were mere irrationality in the heat of the moment, rather than intentional and well-planned methods with the projection of facial neutrality – and the very different underlying intents. As Chait writes:
The furnace-hot backlash seemed to be triggered by Silver’s assumption that school closings were not only a mistake — a possibility many progressives have quietly begun to accept — but an error of judgment that was sufficiently consequential and foreseeable that we can’t just shrug it off as a bad dice roll.
. . .
It is nearly as clear that these measures did little to contain the pandemic. Children face little risk of adverse health effects from contracting COVID, and there’s almost no evidence that towns that kept schools open had more community spread.
. . .
What happened next was truly disturbing: The left by and large rejected this evidence. Progressives were instead carried along by two predominant impulses. One was a zero-COVID policy that refused to weigh the trade-off of any measure that could even plausibly claim to suppress the pandemic. The other was deference to teachers unions, who were organizing to keep schools closed. Those strands combined into a refusal to acknowledge the scale or importance of losing in-person learning with a moralistic insistence that anybody who disagreed was callous about death or motivated by greed.
At best, assuming one wishes to take their word for it, their actions represent a “tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims,” abominably targeting defenseless children as their victims. Given the mounting evidence in this case, and elsewhere in this essay, that making such an assumption would be hopelessly naïve, these pandemic policies of racially-selective school closures represent “a predictable, explainable phenomenon not a series of accidental, unfortunate, chance events.” The education systems of white liberal supremacy are employing the process of medicalization in order to engage in ongoing, remorseless attacks on non-white children to such a degree that would make even Bull Connor proud.
In many jurisdictions, disproportionately white liberal governors and mayors, working in concert with disproportionately white liberal teachers’ unions, blocked public schools from reopening while allowing private schools to do so. Private schools, of course, serve a wealthier and disproportionately white liberal student body, often including the children of these very decision-makers. This representative article provides a summary of these differences:
The same thing is happening in communities across the country: Public schools plan to open not at all or just a few days a week, while many neighboring private schools are opening full time.
. . .
But over all, fall reopening plans are just another way the pandemic has widened gaps in education. Private schools were able to offer much more robust online learning last spring, and research suggests that school closures have widened achievement gaps. Now, as private schools move forward with reopening plans, it’s the children who most need to attend in-person school — those lacking the necessary technology for online learning, or with parents unequipped to oversee it — who will tend to be the least likely to do so.
In some cases, private schools were able to reopen sooner not solely due to increased private funding from parents leading to safer infrastructure, such as superior air filtration systems or lower student-to-teacher ratios, but also due to government policies providing them with large numbers of free (to the schools), publicly-funded rapid antigen tests that were unavailable and not provided to public schools. While the government would later term this a “loophole” in an attempt to cover up their actions, their request form clearly includes a radio button for “Private Schools (elementary and secondary),” while not including such an option for public schools.
While overdiagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is systematic in schools, black children, particularly black boys, are diagnosed with ADHD at rates almost 50% higher as compared to their white peers, according to the most recent evidence. This finding has been replicated in both aggregate-level studies as well as individualized ones: “Researchers found that, after observing anonymous students in video clips, White teachers rated Black boys’ likelihood of having ADHD and the severity of their symptoms higher than did Black parents who watched the same videos.” The same holds true for associated diseases such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).
So-called “problematic classroom behavior,” which is to say any behaviors deviating from white-set cultural norms, are considered immediate cause for alarm on the part of teachers and educators. Intellectual independence, emotional expressiveness, communal discussions and interactions, daring to ask questions of authority (perhaps one day they’ll even “question science” – can’t allow that to happen!), acting in any way that could be perceived as ‘uppity’ – these ways of learning are not how conformist, socially atomized white liberal children are socialized by their parents, or by the structures developed by their almost entirely white liberal teachers. Therefore, these behaviors must be penalized, and black and other non-white children must be shaped and forced by these incentive structures to ‘learn their place.’
In addition to being diagnosed at higher rates, the increased severity of their diagnoses means that non-white children are consistently prescribed much stronger medications with more severe side effects: “Studies have shown that children of color, including those with ADHD, are more likely than their white counterparts to be prescribed strong antipsychotics – even though the side effects can be severe and dangerous. ‘If you’re seeing little black children or little Latino boys and girls as being potentially dangerous and violent, and you have a drug that can help manage some of that behavior, then you might reach for that drug,’ said Cort. ‘Even though you know that antipsychotics take years off your life.’”
These children’s parents of course recognize that they’re being screwed by the system: “Once diagnosed, children of color were much less likely to take ADHD medication. Just 36 percent of black kids and 30 percent of Latino kids who had been diagnosed with ADHD were taking medication, compared to 65 percent of white children.” (Note that the article linked above elsewhere presents older, out-of-date data on racial differences in diagnosis rates.) These parents understand that their children are in most diagnosed cases not actually suffering from ADHD, so why would they dope them to the gills with dangerous drugs that destroy their personalities and turn them into compliant servants of white liberal supremacy? So that their children’s white liberal teachers can feel better about themselves, that these would-be white saviors can say they ‘did something’ to ‘help’ with their diabolical interventionism?
Myers writes of his past experience working with “at risk” youth:
Most disturbing is the number of adolescent youth I witnessed whose lives are being over-determined by the medical and judicial community’s opinion about their mental health, specifically the way in which psychiatrists, counselors and court officials are quick to label defiance as “mental disease.”
Particularly shocking is the frequent practice to label disobedient kids with either Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a more recent diagnosis, Opposition Defiance Disorder (ODD). At the facility where I worked, children who might present objectionable or defiant behavior were diagnosed with having ODD and received a heavy regimen of anti-psychotic medication to “cool them out.” A November 20, 2011 New York Times article cited that “Powerful drugs intended for people with severe mental illnesses are prescribed for children in foster care at a disturbingly high rate.”
This ongoing process of medicalization, leading to stigmatization and vilification, is clear not only in the attendant health disparities, but in the well-known school-to-prison pipeline. Children who are perceived by their teachers as “defiant” or “aggressive” are medicalized as having diseases whose symptoms prove untreatable over the long term – precisely because they’re not actually sick! recall Lewis’s words: “cured of states which we may not regard as disease” – then for that reason isolated, progressively disciplined, and in many cases eventually pushed out of school altogether, into the eagerly waiting arms of the juvenile justice and criminal systems of control.
The pandemic policies of white liberal supremacy serve only to aggravate these overdiagnoses: “The pandemic and the shift to online learning seem to be intensifying the trend toward pathologizing ordinary childhood behavior. Diagnosing a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder isn’t straightforward. It can be challenging to determine if the child’s behavior indicates a neurodevelopmental disorder or a natural response to a stressful and stifling environment.” It is instructive here to examine the stories of some parents of children who were diagnosed with ADHD after the beginning of the pandemic, and how the process of medicalization operates with the direct support of governments’ and media organizations’ gaslighting about the effects of pandemic policies on people, and particularly on children.
“Remote learning gave me an up-close view of my son’s educational process for the first time,” wrote the parent of an 8th grader with ADHD. “His complete inability to manage his time, turn in work on time, and complete his work at all without constant reminders and oversight was shocking to me as a parent. That is why I sought diagnosis and treatment for him.”
“My son’s almost daily meltdowns, tantrums, and fits of rage in the spring of 2020 were what spurred us to get him formally evaluated,” wrote the parent of a child who was formally diagnosed with ADHD late last year.
That the first child’s educational difficulties were described as “shocking” by his parents indicates that he did not face these issues prior to starting remote learning. That the second child’s parents were “spurred” towards a medical diagnosis “in the spring of 2020” suggests that this child did not face these issues prior to the pandemic.
Could it be that there were seismic changes in these children’s educational, social, and family lives that could have resulted in these behaviors emerging as “a natural response to a stressful and stifling environment?” For instance: the continuous and purposefully-designed distractions of screen time if not properly regulated by a parent, differences in teaching and learning styles due to a virtual setting, lockdowns leading to social isolation from their friends and classmates, stressors at home due to pandemic policies imposing job losses, as merely a few possibilities. Or is it that these children suddenly and without any previous indications began suffering from a disease, one which can be conveniently treated with appropriate monthly payments to the pharmaceutical industry, the same industry which works hand-in-hand with governments and mass media to compel people to consume their products, and which pays doctors billions of dollars to overprescribe drugs?
Unfortunately for these children, their parents, like too many others, prefer to dope up their own children into compliance and stick them in front of the boob tube (or YouTube) rather than fulfilling their parental duties, including but not limited to educational and emotional support. These parents and their Molochian practices can always count on government policies, as well as the corporate benevolence of pharmaceutical firms, to back them up: to paraphrase The Simpsons, ‘they’re not out of touch, it’s the children who are wrong.’
The process of medicalization doesn’t stop once these children become adults and go on to higher education. This essay will not cover a comprehensive overview of these practices and their effects on educational inequality (one could write a whole book on the subject, and in fact many such books have been written; see one example), but will focus on a few key points. At four-year institutions, black and Hispanic college students are over twice as likely to be assigned to remedial classes, with discrepancies being almost as great in community colleges. Institutions charge tuition for remedial classes and require their completion before admittance to the standard curriculum, but don’t grant credit for them, thereby putting non-white students even further behind financially compared to their white peers. A professor in the link above made an honest admission that the white-standardized placement tests used in the placement process are “a segregation machine” designed to make sure these students “didn’t make it” to achieving academic success.
Nor is this process limited to the educational aspects of the college experience. To pick only one major example, the modern iteration of the #MeToo movement is a perfect representation of white feminism as a subset of white liberal supremacy. Of course we all agree that sexual assault and rape are heinous acts. However, this white-liberal-led erosion of due process rights, and their increased push for punishment and incarceration, have consistently had disparate and adverse impacts on non-white men. Emily Yoffe, in her article “The Question of Race in Campus Sexual-Assault Cases,” writes that while “[t]he archetypal image of the campus rapist is a rich, white fraternity athlete,” the facts on the ground are quite different:
Janet Halley, a professor at Harvard Law School and a self-described feminist, is one of the few people who have publicly addressed the role of race in campus sexual assault. Interracial assault allegations, she notes, are a category that bears particular scrutiny. In a 2015 Harvard Law Review article, “Trading the Megaphone for the Gavel in Title IX Enforcement,” she writes, “American racial history is laced with vendetta-like scandals in which black men are accused of sexually assaulting white women,” followed eventually by the revelation “that the accused men were not wrongdoers at all.” She writes that “morning-after remorse can make sex that seemed like a good idea at the time look really alarming in retrospect; and the general social disadvantage that black men continue to carry in our culture can make it easier for everyone in the adjudicative process to put the blame on them.” She has observed the phenomenon at her own university: “Case after Harvard case that has come to my attention, including several in which I have played some advocacy or adjudication role, has involved black male respondents.” Another Ivy League law professor who has been involved in sexual-assault policy said to me of the issue of race, “Nobody wants to talk about it.”
One can now easily observe the rhetorical trick at play here: first develop and implement a policy that appears facially neutral, then select a small handful of cases (e.g. Brock Turner, Harvey Weinstein) and have the mass media widely disseminate awareness of them so that it appears white people might actually be equally impacted for once, and finally, once the wool is pulled over the public’s eyes, enforce these policies in ways that ensure disparate and adverse impacts on non-white people.
Note that as soon as a white person who is currently influential, who ‘actually matters’ in the eyes of white liberals, is targeted (e.g. Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden), these same white feminists – as in the case of Alyssa Milano, often the exact same ones down to the individual level – will not only come together to support them, but in many cases actively collaborate with them in order to craft the perfect public relations narrative. From the Andrew Cuomo link above, “Time’s Up leaders had collaborated with the Cuomo administration on how he should respond. Subsequent reporting also showed that CEO Tina Tchen had blocked the release of a statement supporting Lindsey Boylan, the original Cuomo accuser, and had suggested that she was not a credible source.” The slogan ‘believe all women, except the ones we deem as inconvenient’ would not be quite as catchy, but would be far truer to their intent. It is not a coincidence that this level of hypocritical support on the part of white feminism is unavailable to non-white men. It is part of their plan.
Historical and ongoing social constructions of masculinity medicalize black men in particular (and this extends even to black boys as well) as having “inherently aggressive, hypersexual, and violent natures,” whose bodies must be “tamed” and “controlled” by white-led systems of order – and, of course, by the attendant processes of punishment when they don’t conform to white-set norms. There is a long history of scientific attempts to define and thereby justify the stigmatization of non-white sexuality; even in recent memory, James Watson, the Nobel Prize-winning co-discoverer of DNA and one of the most eminent scientists of the 20th century, spoke to a scientific audience at the University of California, Berkeley, about dark-skinned people possessing higher libidos, and invoking the stereotype of “Latin lovers.” By the way, even setting aside the crude racism involved, this belief is categorically untrue: on almost all metrics related to sexual behavior, it is in fact white college students who display increased sexual permissiveness and experimentation compared to black and other non-white students. (Recall, as a correlative element, the increased religiosity of non-white people today.)
This also relates to the zero-sum mentality exhibited by white liberal supremacy: by claiming non-white superiority in certain traits, including not only sexuality but also physical ability and athleticism, they can then claim white superiority in other traits, such as intelligence, perseverance, and leadership – traits which happily coincide with those most rewarded in society and the economy. Of course the real world isn’t akin to a role-playing game, where a specific number of skill points regardless of race are allotted between various and divisible character traits, but this will not prevent white people from choosing to perceive a zero-sum game of genetic determinism between elves and orcs, the latter being that brutish race of “savage raiders and pillagers with stooped postures, low foreheads, and piggish faces,” “willing to ‘breed with anything.’”
The advent of carceral feminism, in conjunction with a surveillance state and systems of punishment both legal and extralegal, is thus viewed by white liberals as a rational and necessary technocratic response to the lawlessness and danger presented by non-white people, both in academic and non-academic environments. With their words, white liberals claim they care so much, so damn much about us. With their actions, they reveal that what they actually want to do is dig up the corpse of Emmett Till and lynch him all over again.
Let us return to the case of Andrew Cuomo, which vividly demonstrates an additional aspect of medicalization in the context of pandemic policies. It is not a coincidence that this level of support from white feminist institutions was offered to Cuomo in particular, given his prior glorification as a white liberal leader of pandemic policies: “Cuomo was praised for the briefings in the early stages of the pandemic, as his tough demeanor and an effort to speak the truth stood in stark contrast to President Donald Trump, who often used his coronavirus press briefings to spread misinformation about the virus.” Of course, many of Trump’s more controversial statements which were deemed as misinformation, such as the “lab leak theory,” were later proven to be likely accurate, despite all the esteemed scientists complicit in the development and perpetuation of false narratives, while it was in fact Cuomo who was spreading misinformation from the very beginning. (To be clear, this does not absolve Trump of his own administration’s pandemic policies.) But these inconvenient truths are too small a matter to change the course of white liberal supremacy’s priorities.
As the evidence indicates, one such priority is the disproportionate ‘culling’ (to use the scientific term) of non-white people on medicalized grounds. On this topic, one of New York’s most relevant pandemic policies was the governor’s order to relocate COVID-positive individuals from hospitals to nursing homes en masse, transforming them into death zones given the age variation in COVID mortality rates, which was well-known since the beginning of the pandemic (see for instance Table 2 here) and, importantly, prior to the governor’s order. Given the deaths that would inevitably pile up due to these policies, Cuomo and his administration, working hand-in-hand with the compliant scientists of the New York State Department of Health, would go on to publish false data, statistics, and reports in order to cover up the adverse impacts.
White liberal supremacy works its policies subtly and progressively, ensuring they first target the most vulnerable, such as the very young or very old, who are the least capable of resisting. But give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile – and once these initial policies were accepted without much resistance from the public, they can then progress to more directly oppressive measures, as we have covered elsewhere in this essay. And despite any appearance of facial neutrality, let us be clear: the evidence indicates that this nursing home policy was designed, just as with all other pandemic policies, to ensure disparate impact through the process of medicalization of non-white peoples.
The most recent national survey of nursing home residents by both age group and race is the CDC’s National Nursing Home Survey, 2004. Table 1 shows the per capita rates of nursing home residents: for each age group, the rate of black residents is considerably higher than the rate of white residents, in some cases more than double: for instance, nursing home residents aged 65-74 years old comprise 84.5 per 10,000 white population, but 201.6 per 10,000 black population. (The all-ages total is higher for white residents, but this is a Simpson’s paradox, and is due to the average age of black Americans being considerably lower than that of white Americans.)
The National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, 2016, includes a breakdown by race, though not age group. Figure 22 shows the all-ages percent distribution by race compared to America’s population aged 65 and over, and indicates how nursing homes in particular enroll fewer white and more non-white, and particularly black, residents. White Americans are more likely to reside in their own homes, as due to wealth inequality they are more likely to own a home rather than rent. For New York state specifically, Table 33 of the 2016 study indicates the considerably higher rates of black residents in nursing homes. All this data comes directly from the CDC, and Cuomo and his administration could not have failed to be aware of these demographic facts. Indeed, given the evidence, the only reasonable inference is that it is precisely because of these demographic facts that they implemented those pandemic policies, thus ensuring disparate and adverse impacts to non-white New Yorkers while maintaining the facade of facial neutrality and scientific objectivity.
This process of medicalization, and its implementation here in the form of disproportionate racial culling, is naturally intrinsically related to the eugenics movement. We will cover this only briefly in this essay, but the white liberal policies targeting the most vulnerable have similar disparate and adverse effects at and even before birth. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas writes, abortion has “the potential . . . to become a tool of eugenic manipulation,” a method which aligns with Sanger’s view of birth control and eugenics being necessary to reduce the “ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.” This is not theoretical, and was in fact applied throughout America’s history to non-white populations, from slave owners’ control of slaves’ ‘breeding,’ to compulsory sterilization (naturally applied in a highly disproportionate manner to non-white people), to its modern-day forms such as abortion. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg averred, the legal case of Roe v. Wade was de facto decided by the Supreme Court on precisely these medicalized grounds: “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.”
While some white liberal feminists may claim facial neutrality, that abortion policies are solely due to necessary advancements in women’s rights, without any ill intent or eugenic impulse against non-white populations, the facts on the ground beg to differ: “Broken down by race for 2009: Specifically non-Hispanic Blacks have a 59.8% abortion rate. Hispanics have a 41.3% abortion rate. Asians have a 22.7% abortion rate. And non-Hispanic Whites have a 20.4% abortion rate.” Actions speak louder than words. White liberals seek to advance and expand abortion rights, while only sparingly making use of them, and through their policies create environments – such as job losses due to pandemic policies leading to financial insecurity – in which non-white women are compelled to have far higher abortion rates, thus severely weakening the future democratic and political power that non-white people would otherwise have if the rates were equal. After all, in a democracy, any given group has power in proportion to and contingent upon its numbers. So what better way to keep non-white groups, these “populations that we don’t want to have too many of,” in perpetual servitude than to ensure they can never mount sufficient votes against those policies?
New York’s, and America’s, racial culling at birth and at death are only likely to expand in the coming years, as the primarily white liberal push for assisted suicide and euthanasia continues to gain steam across white-majority Western nations. Non-white people are not ignorant of these policies’ true intent: “some African American and Latino participants were concerned that wider racial inequality would make them targets for hastened death.” (Let’s play along and try to predict potential arguments in advance: climate change or some other crisis will necessitate radical changes in lifestyles and lifespans, changes which happily coincide with the policies of white liberal supremacy, what don’t you trust the science, though only for regular people of course, the rich white liberals still need their mansions and servants and private jets, no we’re not building nuclear it has nuclear in the name that’s scary, all the experts tell us the planet is overpopulated, a bunch of people (the ones we don’t want to have too many of) simply have to go, it’s all very sad of course, no one likes human sacrifice but there’s no other way honest, besides we’re not reporting any protesting, why ever leave your rented pod when you’ve got a metaverse interface, we’ll give fancy speeches and post tweets in their memory, and anyway it’s for the common good as we’ve decided it for you, how could anyone be against the common good, what are you some kind of bad person who needs to be penalized, careful now your score gets any lower and it’ll be only half rations of bugslop from here on in. Let’s return to this in a generation or two, and we’ll see how accurately our predictions held up.) By medicalizing pregnancy and birth, end of life care in places like nursing homes, and eventually even death, white liberal supremacy seeks to control and oppress non-white populations over their entire lifespans, leaving no opportunity for resistance or independence, no escape from the system.
That the same white liberals who fêted Cuomo’s ascendancy are now willing, even if sometimes only reluctantly as Time’s Up’s undercover collaboration demonstrates, to dispense with him is not a sign of their suddenly growing a conscience; rather, it is an act of misdirection. Their strategy is simple: first, implement a policy which disproportionately harms non-white people, have it accepted as a precedent, then have the fall guy take a stumble. This allows his successors to hit the reset button on public perception while – crucially – maintaining equivalent policies in place. Once Cuomo’s precedent-setting job is done, he can be personally displaced if he later proves to be a liability – it is after all the entrenched policies and laws, not any particular individuals, that form the power of white liberal supremacy as a system. The Emmy Awards can now rescind their support of Cuomo, and toss “any reference to his receiving the award” down the memory hole, so as to appear blameless in the future. But sweeping things under the rug and pretending they never happened is not quite so easy for all the people who died in New York’s nursing homes, or for all the families grieving the loss of their loved ones in those policy-designed death zones, or for all the varied and ongoing forms of suffering caused by these pandemic policies. Letting go of the past is a privilege afforded only to the oppressor.
5. The Ouroboros and the Phoenix
Exploring potential solutions to a problem first requires properly defining the problem and gathering evidence to understand it more fully. While the exploration of comprehensive solutions will have to wait for a future essay, some short-term possibilities are immediately apparent. We will cover these only briefly for the time being.
The first step is simply to stop doing harm. Based on the evidence we have observed, it is clear that pandemic policies were intentionally designed to disproportionately harm non-white people in a wide variety of ways, always under the subterfuge of science and medicalization. If any policymakers wish to improve the situation in a short-term fashion – or, if any policymakers are intelligent enough to realize when they’ve overplayed their hand too quickly – they simply need to reverse all the policies they implemented in the first place. They can admit their mistakes, and most importantly, apply appropriate remedies: people must be made whole again. For instance, those who were fired or suspended from their jobs should be restored and repaid in full. Those whose voices were suppressed from various platforms should once again be allowed to voice their opinions equivalently to anyone else. There is also a case to be made for financial reparations for policies such as lockdowns, police engagements, and the violation of rights such as privacy and freedom of movement. It doesn’t matter what fancy speeches policymakers come up with, or what they think inside their heads, so long as there are no material impacts.
The second step is not for the policymakers, but for the people. We must be eternally vigilant. It is easy, too easy, to give in to fear and psychological manipulation. Indeed, as we have seen, governments and corporations employ behavioral science, among other domains, precisely for that purpose. Medicine, science, education, policing, law: these are all now evidently broken systems of control, interlocking gears in the decaying oppression machine that is white liberal supremacy. But only through eternal vigilance against even the slightest hint of creeping tyranny can a people remain a free people.
It is telling that governments only started removing pandemic restrictions once white people started protesting them. For close to two years now, black and other non-white people have been fighting for our rights, for our freedoms, for our voices to be heard, only to be censored, suppressed, suspended and fired from our jobs for daring to hold independent perspectives. But the moment white people such as the trucker convoy in Ottawa, Canada, start protesting, only then do governments around the Western world prove unwilling to immediately push further.
Of course, the propaganda organs of white liberal supremacy continuously operate to marginalize and decry any white people who dare to stand alongside non-white people and fight for common interests. As Edwin Aponte writes:
This silence betrays the Left’s allergy to the varied social character of the working class as it actually exists in 2022. Any amount of social conservatism among the lower and working classes flies in the face of the Left’s condescending narrative of the downtrodden as the most morally dignified political subject. (After all, that is how the chattering class see themselves, and do they not have workers’ best interests in mind?)
. . .
[W]e have an ostensibly socialist publication like Jacobin arguing that, because we are already subject to a litany of more dramatic more dramatic intrusions upon our civil liberties (such as mandatory drug-testing for many workers and welfare recipients) and restrictions on freedom of movement for certain individuals under the pretext of “national security,” Americans may as well submit to a likewise invasive, but ultimately benign, state edict. In Canada the same argument is being made against the trucking protesters.
. . .
But the most alarming conflation made by the political Left apparatus is between anti-mandate protest action and domestic terrorism.
. . .
[I]f the Lori Lightfoots of the political world do eventually succeed in getting their way, protesting workers may find themselves not only on the wrong side of the law, but under threat of serious and life-destroying criminal charges.
Now credit should be given where credit is due. Except for a fringe minority of radicals who aimed to hijack protest movements for their own nefarious ends – and even these in their wildest dreams could not match the dizzying ideological heights of Ukraine’s famed Azov Battalion, today the toast of white liberal supremacy’s media organs, and the pig fat-coated tip of the spear of its geopolitical ambitions (if you were curious: it’s for the “orcs”) – and who were sensationalized in media reporting, truckers and the white working class they exemplify have centered considerations of economic and racial justice in their protests. Indeed, through their actions they have proven themselves to be the genuine white allies that white liberals have always claimed to be, yet never once acted as.
By the time of this writing, governments in most Western countries have lifted their pandemic restrictions: the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, and many others. Perhaps these governments have determined just how far they can push people before the breaking point – very useful information for them to have when the next crisis is generated. As Denmark’s health authorities stated, “I think if you push too much, you will have a reaction – action generates reaction.”
One of the only national governments that is insistent on not only continuing but expanding its discriminatory oppression of non-white people with its pandemic policies is the government of Canada. This government will no doubt assure you that it is simply “following the science,” though it is somewhat curious that science, medicine, and public health apparently operate differently in Canada from most of the rest of the Western world. One may suppose that potentially, the coronavirus is sentient, recognizes Canada’s national borders, and decides to behave differently only once it crosses Canada’s borders but not a moment sooner. Certainly, that would explain the national differences in the constantly-evolving fields of Canadian science and medicine which develop in ways that consistently support the practices of white liberal supremacy. Nor are these national differences in scientific fields unheard of in history: in the former Soviet Union, biologist Trofim Lysenko proved that agricultural crops grew differently within their borders as compared to other nations. One can only assume that Canadian science and medicine are equally accurate, leading to equally wonderful outcomes.
Some will carefully note that is it not only white liberals who biologically embody the systems of white liberal supremacy, who serve at its beck and call, who design and enforce its rules and policies. And they would be correct in this: there are many non-white people who will eagerly bend the knee for personal gain, those who hope to one day hold the whip alongside their masters, rather than ever imagining a world where no one holds a whip over another at all. These people will be ecstatic at one day being considered (in the judgment of white liberals) “better than the best colored man,” even if they will forever be lower than the “lowest white man.”
Many such individuals or organizations claim to fight for change, yet consistently demand only symbolism and representation rather than material change – that is the sign of a liar, of a servant of white liberal supremacy. They “are satisfied with token victories and token progress because they themselves are nothing but token leaders.” Note that the converse is not necessarily true: not all those who demand material change are honest, and many make such demands with their words in order to pull the wool over people’s eyes, while never once delivering with their actions. As always, actions speak louder than words. Diversity as a headcount, non-white ‘representatives’ and “token leaders” that are co-opted and complicit, the totalizing captivation of ‘identity politics’ and ‘cancel culture’: these practices are not merely ineffective, they are anti-effective, that is, they actively detract from real change, which of course is the point. It’s why the systems of white liberal supremacy actively select for precisely those options and not others – because they don’t threaten their power and control, and in fact reinforce it.
To those non-white people who think that if only they lick enough boots that they will one day be accepted in the bosom of white liberal supremacy, who fight so hard to be seen as ‘one of the good ones,’ spoiler alert: they will never consider you one of them. In his novel The Fortress of Solitude, Jonathan Lethem writes about this racial longing for belonging within comfortable, well-delineated systems of control:
And Dylan wondered guiltily why the white girls on skates hadn’t called to him instead. Knowledge of this heretical wish was his second wound. . . . It was between Dylan and himself to consider forever whether to grasp that he’d felt a yearning preference already then . . . for the Solver girls to sweep him away into an ecstasy of blondness and matching outfits, tightened laces, their wheels barely touching the slate, or only marking it with arrows pointing elsewhere, jet trails of escape.
But there can be no escape from oppression by yielding to its majesty. At best, you will live in the house rather than in the field – in modern times, this often takes the form of an academic position or other well-remunerated sinecure – but you will never be treated as an equal. And why would the systems of white liberal supremacy treat you as an equal? In your eager and willing service to their goals and interests, you prove yourself to be nothing more than a servant.
The third, and more comprehensive step, involves radical transformation and societal evolution. We will explore this possibility in more depth in a future essay. For now, let’s describe some things it’s not, so that people are not fooled by false hopes or false prophets.
It is not through traditional theories of change, of social movements, of political processes and voter drives, of cultural signifiers and aesthetic consumerism. After all, people have been trying variations on those methods for decades, and their situation has only worsened and worsened still. There is a famous adage, the law of holes, that goes: “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” It is therefore long past time for even the slowest learners to accept that incrementalism is ineffective – and further, that it is anti-effective. Its methods, much like those of complicit non-white organizations fighting for symbolism as a distraction, serve only as pressure relief or safety valves, designed “to allow discontented individuals to act out their opposition to other elements, as it were ‘to let off steam’.” Incrementalism is worse than doing nothing at all; at least with the latter, the reality of the situation becomes very clear to everyone, leading to the future potential of a punctuated equilibrium of radical, genuine change. White liberal supremacy is cunning, and its leaders and institutions will often provide the people with the appearance of positive change without the substance, so as to convince people that their incrementalist activism accomplished something, anything at all, of value. The people involved can then pat themselves on the back for a job well done, and return to the intellectual soporifics of mass media and consumer culture.
As for the false idol of democracy: “Latvia’s parliament voted on Friday to ban lawmakers who refuse [the] COVID-19 vaccine from voting on legislature and participating in discussions. . . . The restrictions on vaccine-rejecting lawmakers, which includes docking their pay, was supported by 62 of its 100 lawmakers, and will last from [mid-November 2021] until mid-2022.” What happened in Latvia in 2021, what still exists in Latvia at the time of this writing, could analogously happen in your democratic country tomorrow. But there is a genuinely useful lesson to be learned here for those with the wool over their eyes thus far: namely, that any democratic power can very straightforwardly implement a tyranny of the majority using even patently absurd justifications – “The ban on unvaccinated MPs in parliament was necessary to promote public confidence in the government’s policies to control COVID-19 infections” – for what will the people do as an incremental measure? Vote their way out? If one’s rights can be removed by government diktat or corporate whim, they are not rights but privileges, and one is not a citizen but a subject. A quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin goes “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner”; in some cases, the wolves are more honest, and the lamb does not get a vote at all.
As we can observe with pandemic policies, this results in a ratchet effect of oppression, with many people, particularly white liberals, those “people who think of themselves as the good guys,” eagerly welcoming each successive intrusion on the rights and freedoms of others as the ‘new normal,’ one that is especially welcome as it is always disproportionately non-white people who are harmed. It is normalized to accept total governmental and corporate control over the freedom of movement. It is normalized to accept showing identification to all the little commissars at every location people visit (“Papers, please”), public spaces now transformed into gentrified and gated communities.
It is normalized that hatred against those who dare stand against white liberal supremacy is not only desirable but necessary, Two Minutes Hate now becoming Two Years Hate and counting, that they should be fired from their jobs and denied even the unemployment benefits they paid into while working, shut out of public life altogether, refused medical treatment – worse than suicide bombers are treated; though after all, suicide bombers are useful to the systems of white liberal supremacy: the fear they engender serves as a justification for an expanded security apparatus, without ever presenting any real threat to those in charge – while enforcing other types of involuntary medical treatment on their bodies.
It is normalized that such resistors should be involved with the carceral state against their will, that they should become second-class citizens in their own nations – or in some cases, officially declared as no longer even citizens at all: “An irresponsible person is no longer a citizen,” with responsibility naturally being defined as submission to and collaboration with the systems of white liberal supremacy. And if they should make the mistake of dying, they can expect only derision: “Mocking anti-vaxxers’ COVID deaths is ghoulish, yes — but may be necessary” (perhaps we will see the emergence of a ‘mocking mandate’ in the future as well); note also the article’s URL, indicating its original title: “Why shouldn’t we dance on the graves of anti-vaxxers?”
These methods are evidently not, as Klein said, “the most effective way[s] to alleviate suffering during a pandemic—they have these ideas lying around that they now see an opportunity to implement.” Once implemented, “these ideas” become normalized, and the ratchet moves inexorably forward, one more tooth towards the maw of oppression. Any form of incrementalism, while occasionally resulting in an appearance of change as a safety valve, is doomed to failure over the long run.
It is not popular ideological movements that, regardless of their origins, are led today by white liberals: the siren song of socialism, the attraction of anarchism, the false allure of anti-fascism. The once-great Left has become so utterly co-opted that they cannot even conceive of acting against the interests and policies of white liberal supremacy, and its concretizations as neoliberal government and corporate liberalism.
Socialists will label any opposition to vaccine mandates and other pandemic policies as right-wing “appeals to ignorance, fear and anti-scientific prejudice.” While it should not be surprising that socialists believe that government always knows best, regardless of all the evidence suggesting otherwise over the course of this pandemic, it is curious that self-proclaimed socialists would align themselves with capitalist, corporate rulers as well, justifying their actions to place employees on unpaid leave, thereby financially coercing them to comply: “It is unavoidable that anyone who has access to a vaccine but refuses to get it cannot be allowed to work beside others. In such cases, the individual should be placed on furlough, which can be brought to an end as soon as he is vaccinated.” Equally curious is their apparent false consciousness about whether their beliefs align with the powerful or the powerless: “Not only has there been no mass education campaign to promote vaccination” (have they been living under a rock?), and “The campaign against ‘vaccine mandates’ is the latest stage in the opposition of the ruling class to all necessary measures to stop the spread of the pandemic.” Of course, the exact opposite is true: it is precisely and solely the ruling class, the government and corporations that represent white liberal supremacy, that are the ones seeking to impose vaccine mandates and other pandemic policies on working people, and in ways that highly disproportionately impact the poorest among people. But then, what passes for socialism these days has long been colonized by white liberal entryism.
Anarchists will now tell you that “we believe that militants should be making the case for vaccination in their own workplaces as part of the broader class struggle against the capitalists. . . . workers should not accept vaccine mandates from their employers, but in every single instance fight like hell so that every one of their coworkers is vaccinated.” Change the label on vaccine mandates while keeping the identical substance, impose them from the bottom-up – the tyranny of the majority (knowing full well that the majority of workers and union members are white, of course) – and these self-proclaimed anarchists align themselves perfectly with the goals of governments and corporations. Perhaps they will next agitate for lowering the minimum wage, or privatizing health care, or dumping toxic waste in rivers – so long as it’s worker-initiated, of course. Their naïveté is striking, too, though perhaps that is their excuse for co-option: surely these organizations are innocent as babes, and would never attempt to mislead their workers and manufacture their consent with well-developed propaganda techniques.
Anti-fascism in its modern incarnation has become worse than co-opted; it has become complicit in the joint actions of governments and corporations, ironically the very economic foundation of fascism. Anti-fascism, which once stood against government and corporate power, and for the rights of marginalized peoples, now chooses to align itself body and soul with the oppressive pandemic policies of white liberal supremacy, including vaccine mandates and passports, that these organizations impose highly disproportionately (and intentionally so) on non-white people, on the poor and working class, on marginalized peoples without a voice in the mainstream. In a future essay, we will explore in more detail the co-option of leftist, purportedly anti-capitalist movements such as Occupy Wall Street, their takeover by bourgeois white liberals, and their integration into the systems of white liberal supremacy. More importantly, we will explore the changes in ways of thinking and knowing that resulted from this co-option, and the attendant decline in any capacity for thought that was once truly left-wing, and once truly innovative.
Naturally the corporate-aligned subservience of right-wing and associated thought, such as libertarianism, provides no remedy either, and does not merit considerable discussion. Except for a small number of independent conservative thinkers who are incisive and capable, the vast majority of this intellectual edifice is beneath contempt. Indeed, the present political structures of white liberal supremacy are shrewd enough to fabricate a controlled opposition of so-called conservatism – a conservatism that has succeeded in conserving nothing, and which serves only as a kayfabe punching bag – in order to define and control the boundaries of the Overton window, “the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time,” with the goal of psychological manipulation of the people via false dichotomy. It should therefore be unsurprising that President George W. Bush, one of the greatest war criminals in history, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, both self-proclaimed conservatives at the time of their election campaigns, are now embraced as comparable leaders in implementing the policies of white liberal supremacy. These puppet rulers played their roles very well, and after their play is over, it’s time for them to join the rest of the cast and take a bow to the applause of the crowd. As with the film Alien vs. Predator, “Whoever wins… we [the people] lose.” Though take heed, and take heart: by the end of the film, the people, by working together, are able to overcome aliens and predators alike.
William Faulkner famously wrote that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” And so we cannot count on the past, on broken systems, on conventional politics, on carefully manufactured frameworks of partisanship, on technology and technocracy, on the obsequious theorizing of gelded academics, on all these failed and co-opted ideas, to serve as a guide to the future. If we are to examine alternatives to the perpetual stagnation of white liberal supremacy – “the end-point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government” – and its attendant systems of control and oppression, we must be willing to intellectually explore and experiment with radical new ideas and possibilities.
You’ve read about black history, about non-white history, about the world’s history. You’ve seen how modern-day pandemic policies represent the hitherto highest concretized point of white liberal supremacy – its smile in the face and dagger in the back – and recognized the prescience of King’s call for “all men of Good Will to be maladjusted until the Good Society is realized.” Now, let’s look towards the future.
As any system grows in power, the substance of its power becomes concentrated within fewer and fewer hands. This is a straightforward generalization of the law of primitive accumulation, and can be observed in forms such as wealth inequality, the pyramid schemes of academia, the dominance of technology companies in the marketplace (“software is eating the world”), the increasingly bimodal distribution of salaries in industries like law and computer programming, even to peculiar forms like the distribution of attention on online dating apps. Also making their appearance are an ever-increasing number of hangers-on, bootlickers, and would-be usurpers mimicking the en vogue fashions of the system, the forms and symbols of power, in the hopes and ambitions of one day climbing to the ranks of the elect. This is the state of things today; we can extrapolate this logic further.
Given their biological fertility rates, it may well be that the systems of white liberal supremacy’s final progeny will be not be embodied in white liberals themselves, but will reach a point where such a physical embodiment becomes altogether extraneous: a perpetual motion machine of oppression, whose sole evolutionary drive is material extraction leading to ideological self-replication. We may observe some glimmers of this potential future already embedding their way into the present: the rules-based, liberal international order of global relations, the economic methods of surveillance capitalism, the technological role of automation (recall for instance France’s video surveillance system’s “automatic alert to city authorities and police”; how long before “city authorities” and “police” are themselves automated?), the biopolitical control processes of medicalization and colonization, and so on – these are metastasized, parasitic, self-perpetuating systems, with white liberals at the individual level still today their masters, yet trending towards many becoming merely their handlers, nevertheless “better than the best colored man” who would forever be their subjects if they continue to have their way.
This runaway process towards escape velocity is an accelerating one, leading to the possibility of innumerable scholars serving only to “demonstrate [the] perfect right” of the by-then impersonal systems of white liberal supremacy. At some point, these white liberal scholars, all these overproduced elites, may even become logically superfluous to a self-perpetuating and self-justifying system – after all, as manufacturing becomes automated, so too can manufacturing consent – and upon nearing that realization, how will they lash out against the people due to this existential narcissistic injury? Indeed, how many of their recent and ongoing activities and methods, with pandemic policies serving only as one example, are precisely due to the more far-seeing of their leaders recognizing this specter on the horizon? We will leave this strand of thought for now, and explore it in more depth in a future essay.
In Jonathan Hickman’s run on the Avengers comics, the titular superhero team faces an escalating series of world-ending threats, threats that the initial (and notably, almost entirely made up of white liberals) team composition cannot handle by themselves. It is only at that point that the team’s leaders recognize the need: “We have to get bigger.” So begins the development of a new team bringing together a multiracial, multiclass coalition of people under the same banner to build a unified “Avengers World.”
Yet even this proves insufficient as we approach the end of Hickman’s story and the multiverse-spanning threats the Avengers face. “But that’s a simple, microscopic way of looking at a much broader dilemma. Don’t you understand? Here at the end times, they’re all broken systems.” (emphasis in original) The analogous corporate practices of treating diversity as a headcount, of ‘representation,’ of providing minority groups with ‘a seat at the table’ (how generous of them!) serve merely as a facade masking their true intentions: of continuing with their existing systems and thinking they can buy people off with crumbs from their table – and make no mistake, it is their intention that it remains their table, their house, their society.
Presaging his appearance as a philosopher-king in the hit film Black Panther, T’Challa speaks true: “Great societies are crumbling around us, and the old men who run them are out of ideas.” Building the future is not the senescence of “building back better.” It’s not about building back any broken systems at all. Audre Lorde famously wrote that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”
Building the future, bringing about genuine change requires setting aside the old epistemic authorities and broken systems that have failed us all. It requires new ways of thinking, new ways of intellectual exploration and experimentation. This is the time of radical thinkers, of dangerous thinkers. This is the time of dreamers and explorers and builders. This is the time to cultivate a rogue state of mind.
We stand at the dawn of the Evolutionary Age. Let’s work together and build something new.
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