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Michael, I find the situation very worrying. It’s so convoluted that it’s hard to put into words.
The fuel for this potential fire has been accumulating for years, decades, in fact centuries. Despite its massive impact so far, covid is just a spark. The people have a choice between socially inhibiting the spread of the virus, mass vaccination, or letting the virus run riot. But if the people rise up without coordination, in chaos, society will be disrupted and vaccine production and distribution will cease. Social viral control will also be so fragmented as to be almost ineffective.
The fuel is exploitation and oppression. There is little consumption or production that poor people do that does not make rich people yet richer, because nearly all work is mediated by money, and every time money moves, the system diverts some of it to those who have more; the more they have, the more they get. Most people can’t even stop and sleep safely without subsidising someone better off, either through mortgage or rent.
We’ve all heard of inequality of wealth, but seldom stop to think what it really means. As it increases, everyone’s experience of life diverges from everyone else’s. Watch a queue of vehicles at a red light. When the light goes green, they start to move and speed up, but they also all get further apart from all the others; the distance between any two cars increases. Another analogy is the starburst of a firework rocket – pick and follow any spark in the burst; whether it was leading near the circumference or slower and near the centre, all other sparks move away from it as the starburst expands.
Inequality of wealth literally tears society apart; everyone’s comprehension of everyone else’s situation decreases, and with this comes distrust. Why should anyone trust the findings of science? The majority don’t have a single scientist as a friend. This applies to the rich and powerful as much as to the poor and disempowered, science being one of the middling professions.
This problem was understood by those returning after World War Two, they had all been in the shit together, officer and private alike, and for a couple of brief decades it was reversed through socialist politics, the great Labour governments of the UK that built the NHS, the Welfare State, rent control, council housing and universal education. But the system of privilege is centuries older than that, and through its media power it persuaded the people to vote against it. I watched that happen, and, to my shame, I was even persuaded of it briefly.
I have to go now, but now we have a mass of people who distrust social structures so much that they don’t even believe the virus exists, and think the vaccines are designed to kill them. I’ll get back to this tomorrow hopefully.