Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Ignored Questions of COVID-19

Tom Woods takes on the white coat priesthood. Excellent.

Listen here.

In this episode I cover a lot of ground, albeit a bit haphazardly: the unintended consequences of “lockdown,” the superstitious reverence for “scientists” (who, contrary to popular belief, are not in fact qualified to answer all questions), what’s really happening in the hospitals, the social repercussions, and more.

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  1. There are some thoughts I want to share with all of you – about the “mainstream-fringe” dynamics. I want to clarify what is a “mainstream”, what is a “fringe” and what separates them – with some examples to explain the things better.


    For a view to be classified as a “fringe” one, it is not necessary for it to be defended only by a small minority of population. To the contrary: no matter how paradoxical it may initially sound, most “fringe” positions are supported by the majority of the general populace. For example, a sizable part of the American population rejects the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) explanatory model, is simply irrelevant for the case of its positioning of these people’s view on the “mainstream – fringe” scale. There are a lot of other similar examples: say, more than a half of the American population thinks that there is an intelligent design behind the evolution, and the combination of random mutation and natural selection (and time) is not enough to explain it; however, this view is clearly “fringe”. Much more than a half of the population of any developed Western country, European countries included, accepts the objective existence of parapsychological phenomena like telepathy; nonetheless, this position is also “fringe”. A sizable portion of a population – maybe not majority, but quite a notable part for sure – express doubts about the safety and efficacy of some vaccines, and / or some specific contents of a vaccination schedule, yet such doubts are more than just “fringe” – they are much further from the “mainstream” on the “mainstream – fringe” scale than any of the topics are mentioned previously; “fringe of the fringe”, to call it so.

    So, what makes all these topics “fringe”, despite the massive support for any of them? The fact that they dare to defy the positions supported by the hierarchical power – to be precise, by the cultural hierarchical power, one of its three forms (with political and economic hierarchical powers being the other two).

    What is a cultural power? It is a hierarchical power, tightly held by a small, yet very active and highly vocal, entitled minority, to define “(un)reality”, “(im)possibility” and “(in)evitablity” themselves – and then to try to force this definition, oftentimes in a forceful manner, on a majority of non-entitled people who, unlike the aforementioned minority, held small-to-zero cultural power, either individually or collectively. This power is not something to be jocular or dismissive about; sometimes it can be more forceful – and therefore more dangerous, damaging and devastative – than the political and economic powers combined. By forcing people to accept the particular dubious and controvertible notions concerning what is “real” and what is “unreal”, what is “possible” and what is “impossible”, what is “evitable” and what is “inevitable”, as if they were indubitable and incontrovertible, the cultural enforcers can control not just their behavior – as political and economic powers are also quite capable of doing – but their very thoughts, and, by extension and to some degree, even their direct experience. And, if some people can resist and reject the attempts of being controlled in such a way – and such people are always present – the cultural power can easily denigrate, defame and dehumanise them, thus also turning them into an easy target for repressive acts by the political and economic powers as well – and, what is most horrible, by large masses of powerless people, who accepted the culturally enforced version of “reality” as their own and are willing to enjoy their own small yet intoxicating drop of illusive “powerfulness” by persecuting, vigilant-style, someone who even more powerless than them – the counter-cultural rebels.

    What is the minority that is entitled with a cultural power? In different societies, different minorities claimed the right to define “reality”; but in modern Western society, the near-monopoly of “reality-defining” cultural enforcement is granted to the institutionalised academia. The academicians as power-wielders are, however, are not perfectly monolithic; they are separated in two groups, that are, simultaneously, mutually connected and dependent, since they share the same academic institutional space, yet also mutually competitive and adversarial, since they have to distribute the same power-resource of “defining reality”. In effect, this is a duopoly, quite similar to the Republican-Democrat political duopoly of the USA; two sides of it may be in a perpetual conflict with each other, yet they share the same overarching interest of not letting anyone third (let alone fourth, fifth etc.) to claim their exalted, power-providing status. One side of this cultural power duopoly is the institutionalised community of the technoscientific experts – the expertocracy. Another side of it is the academically entrenched and exalted coalition of the Authoritarian Left activists, usually of the SJW / PC or hardcore-environmentalist nature – the activistocracy, as I call it. It is the dynamics of power struggle (and yet, power alliance) between two powerful minorities of the expertocracy and the activistocracy within the power-permeated halls of academic institutions that define the powerfully enforced versions of “(un)reality”, “(im)possibility” and “(in)evitablity”. And the sum of such versions are exactly what we call the “mainstream” – the picture of the world according to the academic elites.

    (An important digression: while it is the Authoritarian Left that are currently in control of the academia, and thus dominant in the sphere of cultural power, it has to share the space, and power, with the Authoritarian Right in the spheres of economic and political powers. As for the Libertarian Left and Libertarian Right, they are equally disempowered, and thus marginalised and banished into the “fringe” zones of society and culture. One may say so: while not everyone who is on the “fringe” is libertarian, almost anyone who is libertarian is on the “fringe”.)

    However, the uneasy yet stable alliance between the expertocrats and the activistocrats faces a problem that is not just hard – it is getting progressively harder year by year: the large masses of people, who are culturally obliged to trust the duopoly of the technoscientific experts and academic activists, and to believe everything in the versions of “reality” formulated by them in the blind and thoughtless fashion, dare to scrutinize and check expert and activist pronouncements, and the assertions lying in their foundations – and well as personal and professional integrity of the ruling experts and activists themselves. And, in most cases, they find both the experts and activists themselves, and the positions presented by them as “reality”, badly wanting. As a result, they lose both the trust in the wielders of the cultural power, the expertocrats and the activistocrats, and the faith in the justifications of the cultural power, “the scientific consensus” and “the social justice”.

    Such disillusioned people become the new supporters of the “fringe” – the large sector of society, in fact, the majority within it, that is solely defined (and loosely connected) by its defiance of the academic establishment and its “consensus” positions. And, happily for them, they get an increasing support from within the halls of academia itself: there are an ever-growing number of the “renegade” experts (as well as the “renegade activists”) who reject the “consensus” positions and support the “dissensus” ones instead – and encourage the populace to defy the academic elites further. So, the “fringe” sector of society and culture appears, as an alliance between the external (large swathes of the disillusioned populace) and the internal (“renegade” technoscientific experts and academic activists) opposition to the monopolistic, oppressive cultural power of the academic elites, and its anti-hierarchical counter-cultural counter-power is steadily growing.


    As I said above, the most important characteristic of the “fringe” sector of society and culture is its profound diversity, since “fringeness” of a position is defined only negatively, not but what it is but by what it is not: it is not a position supported and enforced by the duopolistic academic establishment. Otherwise, it can be just anything: from the decisive rejection of the materialism and its highly questionable idea of the inviolability and immutability of the laws of physics – to the moderate doubts about the safety and efficacy of some vaccines; from the radical condemnation of the violent institutional psychiatry – to the detailed criticism of the purely Neo-Darwinian, intelligent-design-excluding interpretation of the biological evolution; from the hesitations and reservations about the usage of GMOs – the similar hesitations and reservations about the dominant HIV – AIDS causation theory.

    And, not surprisingly, some of the contrarian views have much more popularity and support within the “fringe” circles than others, thus effectively creating its own internal variant of the “mainstream – fringe” hierarchy: now, one can speak of “the mainstream of the fringe” and “the fringe of the fringe” (or “fringe squared”, as I named it). And – not surprisingly – the degree of the “mainstreamness” and the “fringeness” within the “fringe” is largely defined by the relative degree of social power held by the supporters of this or that position.

    One can ask here: but the “fringe” is defined by its powerlessness, isn’t it? Yes and no; “fringe” is defined only by a cultural powerlessness, and even this type of powerlessness is still somewhat relative: to be clearly classified as a “fringe”, a position should be dismissed by the cultural-power-wielding academic elites as a whole – that is, by both sides of the cultural power duopoly, by the expertocracy and the activistocracy, in the same time and to the same degree; and this is not always the case. Moreover, the cultural power is not the only one in existence – political and economic powers also exist, and their influence in the sphere of culture – including technoscience – should not be underestimated.

    So, let me describe you a kind of “fringe’s” own informal hierarchy, to clarify how a counter-power can turn into a power of its own.

    1) “Almost-mainstream”. This is the highest position of the “fringe’s” hierarchy: views that are supported either by expertocracy or by activistocracy, but not by both at once. The most well-known of such views is the criticism of the GMOs: GMOs, while being enthusiastically promoted by the vast majority of the technoscientific expertocrats, in company with the large segments of the economical and political elites, are being actively opposed by the notable part of the environmentalist activistocrats, in company with smaller parts of economic and political elites, as well as a few “renegade” technoscientific experts. Another one is anti-psychiatry and critical psychiatry: while dismissed by most members of the technoscientific expertocracy, as well as the vast majority within the political and economic establishments, they are constantly kept afloat by the portion of activistocrats in alliance with the “renegade” minority of the expertocrats.

    2) “Core of the fringe”. These positions are rejected by the vast majority within technoscientific expertocracy, and dismissed by most wielders political or economic power, yet the activistocracy is not overtly hostile towards them. Therefore, a few “renegade” experts, and a small minority of political and economic actors who support them, can work without being intensely demonised. The most common “fringe” sphere of research with such status – as well as, probably, the most well-known “fringe” area at all, often symbolising “fringe” as such – is parapsychology, accompanied by transpersonal psychology, near-death studies and non-materialist philosophy of mind. Other areas with a similar status include some heretical models and applications within physics and cosmology, such as applied cold fusion – or, as it is more commonly called today, low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or chemically assisted nuclear reaction (CANR) – or Big Bang-rejecting Electric Universe model.

    3) “Distant fringe”. These are the stances that are not just dismissed by the vast majority within expertocracy, but are also furiously attacked by the overwhelming majority within activistocracy, because of being associated with the Right-wing (and activistocracy is dominated by the Authoritarian Left). An easy example of such stance is the criticism of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) explanatory model: it is demonised by almost the whole culturally powerful academic elite, technoscientific expertocrats and environmentalist activistocrats alike, as well as their numerous allies within the political and economic elites, yet the support of the other parts of political and economic elites, ones where the Authoritarian Right is still powerful, keep the CAGW criticism, and the small bunch of “renegade” experts who support it, at the margin of the academic circles, not allowing it to be damned completely and banished to the area that may be called…

    4) “Fringe of the fringe” (“Fringe squared”). Here reside the views that are dismissed the overwhelming majority within all elite circles combined – be they cultural, economic, or political – and supported only by a coalition of powerless populace (oftentimes a large number of such populace, however) and a very small number of “renegade” experts and activists – “renegade” enough to be banished from the expertocratic and activistocratic circles for their heresy. Any criticism of any particular vaccine, or any specifics of the vaccination schedule, leads one to this censored, ostracized, persecuted area. So is the doubt of the currently dominant explanatory model of AIDS (the one that states that it is caused by HIV).

    * * *

    So, these are my thoughts. What do all of you think about them?

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