We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, July 23. 2022
I had a conversation recently with a new member of my team. She was explaining to me why her dog (I'd name the breed, but don't want to put anyone on the spot - suffice to say it's a little yippy dog) was very "anxious". My immediate thought was of two items. The first was the breed is of a nature that has a naturally anxious demeanor. I had several friends who owned these, and they are definitely "anxious" dogs. The second was that she was anxious and transferred her anxiety to the dog. It's probable both points are applicable.
However, as I discussed this conversation with Mrs. Bulldog, she stated "anxious times make anxious people" and we discussed how for the last 2 1/2 years we were basically bombarded with frightening scenarios of Covid and, more or less, given 'permission' to be anxious. As a result, she stated, many people who were naturally anxious got it ramped up a degree or ten, while others on the borderline of being anxious were probably pushed over the edge. "No doubt," was my response.
This, of course, is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the long term damage of the Covid policies are, and will be. If all we were faced with is a bunch of people with increased anxiety, that's pretty bad. But it's manageable. Reality is, it's many times worse and we just haven't seen all the aftereffects occur. At a bare minimum, I know people who put off much needed medical treatments because they were afraid to go out or go to hospitals. How will that affect them? My own father has seen a reduced ability to speak, and I believe it is due to the long period of isolation he'd gone through. His thinking and ability to reason are fine. Getting the words out seem to be very difficult, and his decline (he is 86) has been significant.
But the original person on my team is of particular interest to me because she told me, very early after joining our team, how she'd basically avoided leaving her apartment during Covid. That's why, when she mentioned her dog being anxious, my primary reaction was that the dog was merely reacting to what it knew and saw, as most dogs do. Anxious owners make anxious dogs and she was clearly anxious.
I can't say I spent even a moment of Covid being particularly anxious. The whole thing never really registered with me as a major problem, even after I'd contracted it early on. I found the mandates and requirements more hassle than benefit. I happen to believe that if you are a naturally anxious person, there's plenty to find in life to be anxious about. It doesn't take much. My step-sister has a long list of things which set her off. I've never understood this. Sometimes just getting in the car to travel can trigger it. Seems to me Mrs. Bulldog had it right, though.
We basically were given permission to let our feelings run amok for the last two and a half years, and were told not only was it OK to be anxious, but had that anxiety promoted daily on every news and entertainment program. In fact, we were told if we weren't anxious, we were 'part of the problem'. Frankly, I think my lack of interest in Covid and low levels of anxiety made life better for those around me.
I can think about a million other things which I'm concerned about, other than Covid, and none of them make me particularly anxious. I don't remember being anxious about anything since 1972, when I was ten, and I'd heard about the mining of Haiphong Harbor and the potential for severe Soviet response. Nothing came of that, and I guess I learned at a young age that spending time being anxious over things I have no control over just isn't very useful.
I'm not sure we live in particularly anxious times. Maybe we do. There is a lot going on in the world, but there always is. Most of the time we just don't pay too much attention to it.
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There are very dangerous games being played. The Afghans and Iranians may get nukes. The Russians are playing with their nukes. China is facing serious internal problems and is saber rattling. The WEF is planning a new world order and you and me and a few billion commoners aren't going to be in it. Most of the Western nations are playing with fire with the climate change scam which is pushed by the Socialist to disrupt successful capitalism so it can be replaced with socialism. Our critical federal government has been infiltrated by communists, fools and activists whose goal seems to be to destroy our country. Recent studies have agreed that in a nuclear war between 1 and 2 billion people in the Northern hemisphere would die and yet we are toying with nuclear war. There isn't enough food to feed everyone and the latest predictions on crops this year are way down. And on and on...
If you aren't anxious you aren't paying attention.
Worry shortens life. Nervous diseases are a scourge to the country and they are the affliction of the human family only. No bird ever tries to build more nests than its neighbor. The fox does not fret because he has only one hole in which to hide. The squirrel does not sicken and die of anxiety lest he should not accumulate enough nuts for two winters instead of one. The dog loses no sleep over the fact that he does not have enough bones laid aside for his declining years. ~Anonymous, c.1916
If I'm not anxious it's because there's little I can do to alter or control any of those things.
Am I concerned about them? Of course! I don't want them getting nukes. But worrying about them? Fact is, if they get them and the worst-case scenario plays out - what would my worrying have accomplished? Nothing.
Anxious? My eye started twitching during the 2020 election. Then it moved to the whole side of my face after Resident 80millionbiden was sworn in. MRI, neurologist, botox, muscle relaxers-nothing works. Only time I'm twitch free is gardening, weeding, picking berries and fruit, feeding the animals. Just stay away from people (twitch) and relax in the eve with wine.
I have met you and talked to you, I have commented positively on your site, quoted you, and even linked to you. You are a smart person and capable of reasoning.
But this is really a first class example of how people come to believe unscientific nonsense because it comports with what they want to be true for social or political reasons. You have no evidence for any of this., just hand-waving feelz. You don't know that we are more anxious by any measurement except that other people are treating something as serious which you do not. You do not have evidence for increased mortality because of delayed treatment - the question has actually been examined repeatedly the last two years. There might be a slight increase, but bears no relation to the state level of lockdown restrictions. More likely, it is people who were already more anxious than average (weak evidence, but there). Your father's experience is an anecdote. I feel bad for him, and you, but it is inadmissable when you are making anything remotely like a scientific claim.
Let me get personal and provide a theory that comports with the evidence of what you yourself have gradually evolved into saying here. You got covid, felt terrible and were weakened (how would an older, less healthy person have done?), and since that time have been progressively more dismissive of the danger, month over month. You have allowed your personal experience to make you scientific decisions. It is worth noting that the people who died have not done this, have they? Wonder why?
Steelman your arguments before making them, considering sample size, selection bias, confirmation bias, the whole lot.
Just to amplify Bulldog's observation about folks who put off much-needed medical treatments: my wife and I decided early on that delaying health care visits was exactly the wrong thing to do during the Big Freakout, so we just plodded on. But ALL of our caregivers--doctors and dentists--told us that regular patients were not showing up for checkups or ongoing treatments. Things are getting back to normal, but we still notice very few people in most waiting rooms.
I was put off by the masks. Seemed kinda fake to me. Politicized and fake. I like to travel but I'm not flying or leaving the country until the mandates and stupid stops. Saw a video recently where some guy flew to Canada and didn't have a vax card so he was fined $5000 and quarantined and eventually sent home.
I was just in for a back problem. My wait times, pre-covid, were long. 20-30 min. Since Covid, I've had to visit the doctor 8 times.
Once for Covid.
Three times for an antibody test or covid test (for travel or work)
Once for a torn finger ligament.
Twice for annual check ups.
Once for a back problem (two weeks ago).
My wait times have been non-existent. There is nobody in the waiting room at the doctor's office. Anecdotal, to be sure. But telling.
I didn't actually make any of the claims you say I did, though, did I? And no, your presumptive belief about what happened to me and my approach to it is incorrect. At no point in any of my previous posts on Covid, or now, did I say I had some scientific knowledge which led me to be dismissive of the information or that Covid wasn't dangerous. In fact, if you read what I've posted in the past I've always clearly said Covid IS (or was, in its original form) somewhat dangerious to those with risk factors (sometimes risk factors are unknown, so that's a problem), but that the POLICIES APPLIED TO CONTROL IT were ineffective based on the information supplied to support them. There is no falsifiability taking place - we cannot prove masks or lockdowns did anything beneficial. We can't say they didn't, either. So my POV has always been voluntary. If you think they work, employ them for yourself, but do not force others. What you'll find is people will wind up being more compliant with a voluntary justification to wear a mask when a business says "Please wear a mask when you enter" rather than "State policy mandates you wear a mask". It's the old "No shirt, no shoes, no service" approach.
Beyond NOT making any claims of the sort you think I did, in my closing paragraph I state I'm not even sure we live in more anxious times. I was, though, commenting on a few situations I've experienced of individuals whose lives were turned upside down because of their anxiety over all this, and that the media basically gave us permission - if not tons of misguided data - to be anxious.
None of it made me anxious, and why should it have? I can't control any of it.
On the other hand, I can, anecdotally, provide you many, many examples of people who excoriated me, or friends, because of their own anxieties during the lockdowns. They took their own fears and beliefs, multiplied them by 20X supported by media fearmongering, and decided their view was more important, and gave them the moral high ground to make others feel like they were "the problem".
Now we're dealing with some of the residue from this, and I told the story of my own co-worker (who is far more common than not, since I've hear many people tell me they are still afraid to return to the office).
So I can appreciate your comment that if I was making a broad and specific claim like "We are more anxious now than ever before" or "people died because of the mandates" - which I did not - then yes, I should provide the data and supporting facts.
I DID NOT say there was increased mortality because of delayed medical treatments. I said I know people who DID delay medical treatments and I wondered if that would have long term effects, and that I see some possible effects of the lockdown on my own father. But I did not say "It definitely caused his decline" - I merely said I believe it had an impact. Frankly, so does his doctor. His condition is one in which decline was going to happen anyway - but the lockdowns probably sped its development.
Ultimately, all this was about was to tell some personal stories of people who I have seen have their lives impacted severely because, basically, they were given permission by the media to allow their anxieties to run wild. But I was also clear that I don't think we're in more anxious times.
Because if we're honest, we're ALWAYS in anxious times.
FWIW, the one 'claim' I did make is that the aftereffects of this is still just starting to be understood. You're right. I do not have any "proof" of this in my article. But really, I don't think I need any. If you feel you do, then here are some articles.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/08/covid19-long-term-effects-society-digital/ (this focuses on presumed 'benefits' without discussing natural consequences, but I'm fair-minded enough to include it)
That was a cursory google investigation. I've read many more, and my own personal experience indicates the negative impacts may wind up outweighing whatever 'benefit' the mandates provided. The problem with any view all of this is that is literally an uncontrolled experiment. Saying "X did Y" is nearly impossible, and certainly cannot ever be said without considering the unintended consequences of any said action "X".
Did masks, vaccines or lockdowns save lives? Not sure you can reliably prove that without a control group - and in a way, there IS a control group of sorts. Florida and Sweden. Overall, there isn't any data which singles them out as 'worse off' as a result of their approach to covid.
Some people seem more susceptible to anxiety than others. Heights make me anxious--as does thinking about stupid things I've done and the consequences of things people I love are doing. But the news generally just makes me ill.
I wrote up a goodbye letter, just in case (it's still on my desk), and stayed home as much as possible ( https://xkcd.com/2276/ ), and preferred that people not bring home strange viruses--the odds were Russian Roulette for someone of my age and conditions. But I couldn't work up a good fear about it that would last very long--not even when I was in the ER (they never did figure out what the problem was that time).
Probably a lot of that is temperament--no credit or blame. Maybe some is not watching the virus news.
That's kind've the point I'm making - that some people do suffer from anxiety over a lot of things (my step sister is an example) and I never understand what it's about. I can tell myriad stories of her doing mundane things and having absolute freak-out sessions over just needing to do some simple task, but allowing her anxieties to overwhelm her. For her - it takes effort to set these feelings aside. But she's an extreme case.
My co-worker is not as extreme, but has clearly suffered as a result of all this, because I spoke with someone who used to work with her and was told the situations I'm dealing with are atypical of her behavior. Not to mention, she flat-out admitted to me last week that her anxiety has forced her into more therapy.
Now, as for certain things which cause anxiety, I remembered something recently. I took part in a 'fun' event when I was in college where we tried to stuff as many people as we could into a very small bunk (like the old phone booth stuffing). I, stupidly, chose to be the first person in. After about 5 minutes of increasing the number of people, I realized I began to feel claustrophobic and at risk. I could easily have freaked out and let my anxiety overwhelm me. Instead I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and calmly asked people to empty out as soon as possible. Then I chose to never put myself in a claustrophobic situation again because I don't know how I'd react.
Which, to some degree, is part of what I'm writing about. We've been bombarded with information about so many things. Covid, riots, "insurrection", corruption, war, etc. I deliberately don't watch TV news because all it does is promote anxiety. It thrives on promoting anxiety...because people think more information can help reduce it. But it doesn't.
The news is the organizer of anxiety, more since it became a profit center and depended on selling eyeballs to advertisers.
Covid has become the new version of that less-than-useless color-coded terrorism threat bar that Bush and his whores at Fox News used a few decades ago - a manipulation tool.
Get your focus off Yahoo! News and place it on God instead - you'll be better off.
Bingo. Bulldog at 4.1.
In my 87 years, I lived through WWII, Korea, the great nuclear scare, etc. My unscientific assessment is that the general anxiety level never exceeded a fraction of what it is now.
I would just add that it is not only the news media. Politicians feast on public anxiety; and work very hard to keep the level high. I would just comment that over the past 1.5 years, cognizant people have two options; anxiety or anger. I have opted for the latter.