1. Mind over matter
2. Mental epidemics
3. Covid mania
4. Mass formation
Our thoughts, beliefs and expectations have an enormous impact on our bodies and health. The placebo and nocebo effects are well-known examples of this. Placebos (sugar pills or other sham treatments) can reduce the symptoms of numerous conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, depression, anxiety and fatigue, if the recipients believe they are receiving a genuine drug or treatment.
For instance, during the Second World War an American surgeon, Henry Beecher, administered saline injections whenever he ran out of morphine, enabling him to cut open wounded soldiers, operate on them and stitch them back up without anaesthesia. The soldiers assumed they were receiving morphine. A study of patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome found that they were able to dramatically improve their symptoms by taking fake medication even when they were told that it was a placebo – but one that clinical studies had shown to relieve symptoms (Dispenza, 2014, ch. 2).
Studies of people suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee found that those who received sham surgery (in which their knee was sliced open but then sewn up without any medical procedure being performed) benefited just as much as those who received actual surgery (involving scraping of the joint and removal of bone fragments). They were able to walk normally and without pain, even several years later (Dispenza, ch. 1).
Sugar pills can also have a harmful (nocebo) effect if recipients believe they are taking a drug that is likely to cause side effects. The nocebo effect is also illustrated by a study conducted in Japan on 13 children with a severe allergy to poison ivy.
Researchers rubbed one forearm of each child with a poison-ivy leaf but told them the leaf was harmless. As a control, they rubbed the child’s other forearm with a harmless leaf that they claimed was poison ivy. All the children developed a rash on the arm rubbed with the harmless leaf that was thought to be poison ivy. And 11 of the 13 children developed no rash at all where the poison had actually touched them. (Dispenza, ch. 2)
Another case involves an American man, Mr Wright, who was suffering from lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands. He had huge tumours in his neck, groin and armpits, and was completely bedridden. He persuaded his doctor to inject him with an experimental drug called Krebiozen. Within two weeks his tumours disappeared. Two months later the media reported that the drug had turned out to be a dud. When Wright heard this, he immediately relapsed and his tumours returned. His doctor, however, told him not to believe the reports and that the drug he had received was part of a ‘bad batch’. A few days later the doctor injected him with what he said was a double-strength version of the drug – but it was actually just distilled water. Again, the tumours disappeared. Two months later the American Medical Association announced that Krebiozen was indeed a hoax, and the manufacturers were prosecuted. Wright relapsed again, and died two days later (Dispenza, ch. 1).
In another study, 40 asthma patients were given inhalers which they were told contained an allergen or irritant but actually contained nothing but water vapor. The result was that 48% of them experienced asthmatic symptoms, with 30% suffering full-blown asthma attacks. The patients were then given inhalers said to contain medicine that would relieve their symptoms. In each case, their symptoms improved, even though the inhalers again contained only water vapor.
The placebo effect can include changes in body chemistry, such as the release of endorphins (natural painkillers) and hormones. It can also affect neural networks, brainwaves and gene expression (and therefore the proteins our bodies make). The placebo effect is stronger in people with a positive, optimistic mindset than in people with a negative, pessimistic mindset. Psychology research estimates that about 70% of our thoughts tend to be negative.
Joe Dispenza comments:
Are we more susceptible to catching the flu because all winter long, everywhere we look, we see articles about flu season ...? Could it be that when we simply see someone with flu-like symptoms, we become ill from [negative] thinking ...? ...
What other self-fulfilling prophecies are we creating in our minds without being aware of what we’re doing? (ch. 2)
Remarkable healings can also be achieved without undergoing fake treatments (which normally involve deception) – through the power of positive thinking alone (see Mind, health and healing). Our physical and mental health is clearly determined not only by things like nutrition and lifestyle, but also by our thoughts, feelings and state of mind.
Joe Dispenza, You Are the Placebo, Hay House, 2014, Kindle ed.
There have been many instances throughout history where large numbers of people suddenly start behaving in particularly abnormal and irrational ways or develop physical symptoms for which no physical explanation can be found. Such phenomena have been given various names, including mass psychosis, mass hysteria, epidemic hysteria, mass delusion, and collective obsessional behaviour. More common terms nowadays, for cases involving medical symptoms, are mass psychogenic illness (MPI), mass sociogenic illness, and conversion disorder (functional neurological symptom disorder).
MPI can take the form of mass anxiety hysteria (symptoms: abdominal pain, chest tightness, dizziness, fainting, headaches, hyperventilation, nausea, heart palpitations) or mass motor hysteria (symptoms: seizures, partial paralysis, etc.), or a combination of both. Motor dysfunction can persist for weeks or months, whereas anxiety may only last for a day. Motor abnormalities are very rare in the West, but quite common in Asia and Africa, where dozens of cases are reported every year, often associated with a belief in witches, demons and ghosts. MPI is generally diagnosed only after all other possible causes have been ruled out.
Western outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness over the past century are usually triggered by environmental factors (e.g. an unexplained odour). An epidemic typically begins with an index case, i.e. a single person displaying particular symptoms, after which the illness spreads rapidly by audiovisual cues, often aggravated by an exaggerated emergency response or sensational media reports. Victims often object strongly to their ailments being labelled psychosomatic, and sometimes accuse the authorities of covering up the true cause. Symptoms frequently disappear after patients are separated from each other, removed from the environment in which the outbreak began, or after being convinced that the illness is over or never existed.
The fact that individuals and groups of people can engage in irrational, illogical, ‘crazy’ and often destructive behaviour that they themselves consider to be entirely sensible and reasonable, and can develop symptoms brought about by their beliefs and expectations does not necessarily mean that they are mentally ill or clinically insane. Perfectly normal people do many things together – both good and bad – as a result of group psychology.
Dancing mania erupted in the 14th century in the wake of the Black Death, and recurred for centuries in central Europe – particularly Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium – before petering out in the early 17th century. Groups of people – sometimes thousands at a time – would dance in a wild frenzy for hours or days on end, often until they collapsed from exhaustion. Some dancers sang, screamed, laughed or cried, leaped about, or engaged in sexual behaviour. They sometimes suffered chest pains, convulsions, hallucinations, hyperventilation, epileptic fits, and visions. Some people danced until they broke their ribs and even died. Sometimes people were coerced into participating.
Dancing mania on a pilgrimage to the church at Molenbeek,
by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638). (wikipedia.org)
In the 14th century, dancing mania was blamed on ancient pagan customs, but by the 16th century it was commonly considered an ordeal sent by a saint (usually St John or St Vitus) or a punishment from God. In the 16th century Paracelsus suggested a psychogenic origin, and advocated various mystical, psychological and pharmacological approaches. D.J. Lanska writes: ‘Later authors suggested that the dancing mania was a mass stress-induced psychosis, a mass psychogenic illness, a culturally determined form of ritualized behavior, a manifestation of religious ecstasy, or even the result of food poisoning caused by the toxic and psychoactive chemical products of ergot fungi.’ Since dancing mania tended to occur in times of hardship, it has been suggested that compulsive dancing was an effort to cope with poverty, war, plagues, floods and famine.
During the witch-hunts in Europe and Colonial America from 1450 to 1750, an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people were executed, usually by being burned at the stake; even children were tortured until they confessed and then burned alive. Bartholomew & Wessely write:
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, exceedingly strict Christian religious orders appeared in some European convents. Coupled with a popular belief in witches and demons, this situation triggered dozens of epidemic motor hysteria outbreaks among nuns, who were widely believed to have been demonically possessed. Episodes typically lasted months and in several instances were endured in a waxing and waning fashion for years. Histrionics [dramatic behaviour] and role-playing were a significant part of the syndrome. Young girls typically were coerced by elders into joining these socially isolating religious orders, practising rigid discipline in confined, all-female living quarters. Their plight included forced vows of chastity and poverty. Many endured bland near-starvation diets, repetitious prayer rituals and lengthy fasting intervals. Punishment for even minor transgression included flogging and incarceration. The hysterical fits appeared under the strictest administrators. Priests were summoned to exorcise the demons, and disliked individuals often were accused of casting spells and were banished, imprisoned or burned at the stake. Witchcraft accusations also were a way to settle social and political scores under the guise of religion and justice. These rebellious nuns used foul and blasphemous language and engaged in lewd behaviour: exposing genitalia, rubbing private parts or thrusting hips to denote mock intercourse.
Burning of three ‘witches’ in Baden, Switzerland (1585), by Johann Jakob Wick. (wikipedia.org)
During the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693, over 200 people were prosecuted for witchcraft or making a covenant with the devil: 30 were found guilty, and 19 of them were hanged (14 women and five men). Another man was slowly crushed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail. This was one of the most notorious cases of mass hysteria in Colonial America.
It began when two young girls from a very religious rural community suffered unusual convulsions and started screaming, throwing objects, uttering strange sounds, crawling under furniture, and contorting themselves into peculiar positions. They also described being pricked with pins, though no wounds could be found on their bodies. Similar behaviour was soon displayed by other young women. Much of the evidence used against the accused consisted of claims by those afflicted that they could see the apparition or spectre of the person who was allegedly attacking them. Suggested explanations for the epidemic of madness include psychological hysteria induced by Indian attacks, poisoning from eating fungus-infected rye bread, bird-borne encephalitis lethargica (a catatonic state), jealousy, spite, and attention seeking.
Following the industrial revolution, the appalling working conditions led to mass motor hysteria outbreaks, especially among factory workers, during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Symptoms such as convulsions, abnormal movements and neurological complaints were reported in England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the United States and Singapore.
The Tanganyika laughter epidemic began on 30 January 1962 at a mission-run boarding school for girls in Kashasha, Tanzania. The laughter started with three girls and then spread through the school, affecting 95 of the 159 pupils, aged 12 to 18. Symptoms lasted from a few hours to 16 days, and those affected were unable to concentrate on their lessons. The school was closed six weeks later, but the children and parents then spread the epidemic to surrounding villages. A total of 14 schools were shut down and over a thousand people were affected. In addition to the laughter, there were reports of fainting, flatulence, respiratory problems, rashes, crying and screaming. The mass hysteria petered out after about 18 months. One theory is that it resulted from the cultural clash between the strict conservative traditions at home and the challenge to those beliefs posed by the new ideas at the missionary schools.
In August 1985, 65 students (mainly adolescent girls) and a female teacher at a Singaporean secondary school were suddenly stricken with chills, headaches, nausea and breathlessness. Environmental and medical tests failed to identify a cause. The episode began when several pupils detected an unusual smell, amid rumours that a gas had infiltrated the school from a nearby construction site. Investigators found that those who accepted the idea succumbed, while those who were indifferent to it were immune.
In November 1998, a teacher at a high school in Tennessee noticed a gasoline-like smell in her classroom, and soon afterwards she suffered a headache, nausea, shortness of breath, and dizziness. The school was evacuated, and 80 students and 19 staff members went to the emergency room at the local hospital, resulting in 38 persons being hospitalized overnight. When the school reopened five days later, another 71 persons went to the emergency room. An extensive investigation failed to find a medical or environmental explanation for the reported symptoms. Blood and urine specimens showed no evidence of poisoning. Most of those affected were females.
In autumn 2001, not long after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September and the anthrax attacks directed against several US senators and media figures that began a week later, children (mainly girls) at more than two dozen elementary and middle schools across the United States began breaking out with itchy red rashes that faded away when they went home, but reappeared when they returned to school. A few adults were also affected. The outbreaks were widely believed to be at least partly psychogenic in origin: ‘The agents of contagion may have been the shared suspicion that people around you were falling victim to some sort of noxious substance and the powerful sympathetic reaction to seeing other people scratch’ (nytimes).
On 21 February 2005, at the Virgin Blue terminal of Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport, a worker at the news agency complained of feeling ill. Within the next hour another two people reported feeling unwell, though with different symptoms. Soon 47 people, mostly airport staff, were reporting dizziness, nausea, vomiting and respiratory problems. Over 40 people were taken to hospital by ambulance, and others were treated at the scene. Most people quickly recovered, but the terminal was evacuated and closed for eight hours, resulting in 60 flights being cancelled and 14,000 people being stranded. An investigation failed to identify what caused these events. They appear to be an example of mass hysteria, fuelled by fear and anxiety.
In 2006 an episode of a popular teenage soap opera was broadcast in Portugal in which the characters got infected with a life-threatening virus and experienced rashes, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Soon afterwards over 300 Portuguese students were struck with the same symptoms and several schools had to close. An investigation concluded that the students’ symptoms were caused by mass hysteria from watching the show.
In March 2009 a wave of mass hysteria spread through a secondary school in Pretoria, South Africa. It was the fifth attack since the previous month, and occurred two weeks after a pupil had committed suicide. It began when a girl collapsed at her desk. Soon afterwards, about 25 pupils in different classes started fainting, hyperventilating, screaming hysterically and having seizures. Some pupils reported seeing visions: at least one of them saw a vision of the boy who committed suicide, and a girl saw three green four-legged men trying to kill her; her mother blamed the occurrences on an evil spirit. An investigation failed to find anything medically wrong with the pupils or any evidence of drug use. The school’s principal said that the school was seriously dysfunctional and had major discipline problems. The situation returned to normal after the school was closed for a while and the students were assured that the source of the outbreak had been dealt with.
In October 2011 about a dozen teenage girls at a high school in the small town of LeRoy, New York, developed facial tics, muscle twitching and garbled speech. This epidemic lasted several months. It started when a girl posted a video of herself on YouTube suffering an episode of such symptoms. After the video went viral, other girls at her school started to display the same symptoms. A teenage boy and a 36-year-old woman were also ‘infected’. The woman started having these symptoms after learning of the girl’s story on Facebook. The illness was officially diagnosed as ‘conversion disorder’, but many people challenged this. Some argued that the cause was a 40-year-old cyanide dump near the school, but no evidence of contamination was found on the school premises and this would not explain why the illness was confined almost exclusively to adolescent girls.
Following the death of a socially active woman from breast cancer complications in Derashe Woreda, southern Ethiopia, in 2012, many other local women started to report multiple vague physical complaints similar to those of the deceased woman. About 120 women were affected over the next few years. Many women believed their illness was punishment from God, while others attributed it to environmental pollution. No objective evidence of breast cancer was found in about 95% of them.
In December 2016, American and Canadian embassy staff working in Havana, the Cuban capital, started reporting symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus, headaches and various forms of cognitive impairment when in their hotel rooms or homes. US officials put the blame on some kind of sonic weapon, and later a microwave weapon, but no conclusive evidence for this was found. Sounds thought to be associated with the attacks were recorded, but an investigator concluded that they were probably made by crickets. Diplomats, intelligence officers and service members were encouraged to report ‘anomalous health incidents’ and were also offered compensation. Since then ‘Havana syndrome’ has been reported over 200 times in US officials and diplomats around the world. Whether the original incident was entirely or partially a case of mass psychogenic illness or not, mass suggestion appears to have played a role in subsequent outbreaks.
‘Havana syndrome’ cases worldwide, 2016-2021. (livesafe.in)
It is well established that females make up a disproportionate number of those displaying psychogenic illness. This clearly points to psychological differences between the sexes, even though it is fashionable nowadays to pretend that no such differences exist.
Hysteria was the first mental disorder to be attributed to women. Its symptoms include emotional excitability, excessive anxiety, sensory and motor disturbances, and sexual dysfunction. The first known description is found in an Egyptian papyrus dating to 1900 BCE. It identifies the cause of hysterical disorders as spontaneous movement of the uterus within the body. The term ‘hysteria’ (derived from hysteron, the Greek word for ‘uterus’) was coined by Hippocrates in the 5th century BCE. He, too, attributed it to abnormal movements of the uterus, caused by poisonous, stagnant ‘humours’ (bodily fluids) resulting from an inadequate sex life.
From the 13th century, women with hysteria were often believed to be possessed by the devil and were therefore exorcised. Beginning in the 17th century, there was a shift to the idea that hysteria was caused by the brain and nervous system, rather than by the uterus. It was also recognized that hysteria could affect both males and females. In the 19th century, hysteria was increasingly viewed as a psychological disorder, rather than a neurological one. Sigmund Freud linked hysteria to lack of sexual fulfilment and contended that it enabled patients to discharge libidinal energy and manipulate their situation to fit their needs or desires.
The two world wars made clear how hysterical symptoms can provide a solution for emotional conflicts: a soldier torn between fear of facing death and shame at being thought a coward might develop a hysterical paralysis of his arm as a way out of the conflict. Since the Second World War, there has been a sharp decline in the frequency of hysteria diagnoses in Western societies, and an increase in diagnoses of depressive and anxiety neuroses.
The 3rd (1980) edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deleted the concept of hysterical neurosis. Hysterical symptoms are now considered a manifestation of dissociative disorders, which involve disruptions of memory, awareness, identity or perception; they can be triggered by psychological trauma, stress, and psychoactive substances, and can serve as an involuntary defence mechanism.
According to the reigning materialistic theory of mind, all mental phenomena are ultimately reducible to electrochemical activity in the brain. This implies that shared physical or emotional behaviour is the result of information reaching us purely through our physical senses. Some researchers believe that electromagnetic fields can also convey information (Electromagnetism, section 10).
According to the theosophical tradition, consciousness is neither produced by nor confined to physical bodies; consciousness-substance is infinite, eternal and indestructible, but manifests in an endless variety of impermanent, ever-changing, sentient forms. Humans consist of a series of interpenetrating and interacting vehicles of consciousness composed of different grades of energy-substance: the spiritual-divine self works through the reincarnating soul (higher mind), which works through the lower mind (kama-rupa or ‘desire body’), which works through the astral model-body, which works through the physical body. This means that we communicate and interact with one another not only physically but also on subtler levels.
The inner (astral and akashic) planes act like a lower and higher group-mind (‘collective unconscious’), which can impact us to the extent that we are receptive to its influences. Potential influences include elemental energies (including thought-forms) and the decaying astral souls of the dead (see Life beyond death).
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that if people are pumped full of fear by the authorities and media, and are convinced that their lives are threatened by a deadly virus, they will willingly sacrifice fundamental freedoms, and accept the closure of businesses and schools, the destruction of jobs and livelihoods, bans on gatherings, and potentially endless vaccinations, if they believe that such measures will protect them.
Nationwide lockdowns had never been used before to deal with pandemics, and a long series of studies over the past two years have exposed their ineffectiveness. However, the authorities constantly repeated the claim that the shutdowns were saving large numbers of lives. If adoption of an anti-Covid measure was followed by a reduction in cases or fatalities, credit was given to the measure, while if the measure was followed by an increase in cases or fatalities, the public was told that without the measure the situation would have been even worse – in other words, the lockdown narrative could never be wrong.
A 2022 Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of 24 studies found that lockdowns in Europe and the United States reduced Covid mortality by just 0.2%. Any benefits were more than offset by the devastating economic, social, medical and psychological consequences. The analysis finds that lockdowns ‘contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy’, and concludes that ‘lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument’.
Correlation between lockdown stringency and Covid mortality in European countries and the United States during the first
wave in 2020. If lockdowns were effective, the trend line would slope downward from left to right. Instead, it slopes upward.
Lockdowns were first imposed in China, and then in Italy, partly on the advice of Chinese ‘experts’. The World Health Organization (WHO) also promoted them, and nearly all governments quickly followed suit, fearing that the media would otherwise label them as ‘killers’. The panic was reinforced by wildly exaggerated computer-model forecasts of how many people would die. The UK’s Imperial College models predicted 40 million deaths worldwide by the end of May 2020 unless drastic measures were imposed. Sweden would supposedly suffer 80,000 deaths by the end of May 2020, but the actual death toll was 6000, even though it chose not to go into lockdown. Nevertheless, the model-fuelled hysteria continued.
In May 2022, Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and ‘global health advocate’ (i.e. vaccine profiteer), finally admitted that Covid is above all a disease of the elderly with a low fatality rate, not much different from flu. He insisted that this was not known at the start of the pandemic. In reality, this fact was already clear in March 2020, but those who tried to highlight it were systematically attacked and abused – even eminent doctors and scientists.
It is irrational to focus obsessively on a single risk – ‘the virus’ – at the expense of all other potential threats. The pursuit of ‘zero Covid’ caused untold havoc and suffering. Draconian measures were imposed without any effort to assess whether the ‘cure’ would cause more harm than the disease. Business closures and stay-at-home orders devastated the economy. The incomes of 99% of humanity fell and over 160 million more people are now living in poverty. At the same time, the world’s 10 richest men doubled their fortunes to $1.5 trillion and now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people (oxfam).
A paper on the harm caused by authoritarian mandates points out:
Restricting people’s access to work, education, public transport, and social life based on COVID-19 vaccination status impinges on human rights, promotes stigma and social polarization, and adversely affects health and wellbeing. Current policies may lead to a widening of health and economic inequalities, detrimental long-term impacts on trust in government and scientific institutions, and reduce the uptake of future public health measures ...
Studies show that mass fear of Covid-19 (coronaphobia) together with nationwide lockdowns and forced quarantine generated a wide range of psychiatric manifestations across different strata of society. These include acute panic, anxiety, mass hysteria, paranoia, loneliness, depression, obsessive behaviour, hoarding, and post-traumatic stress disorder – outcomes that were fuelled by an ‘infodemic’ spread by social media.
A study of Europeans over the age of 50 found that lockdown restrictions worsened their mental health, causing insomnia, anxiety and depression, particularly among women, and even among healthier people. It also highlighted the importance of face-to-face social interactions.
A study of the impact of lockdown (especially school and activity centre closures) on the mental health of children and adolescents found increased levels of loneliness, anxiety, stress, uncertainty and helplessness, and impairment of their educational, psychological and developmental attainment. Children experienced disturbed sleep, nightmares, poor appetite, agitation, inattention and separation-related anxiety, and became more clingy, attention seeking and dependent on their parents, and more fearful of death.
Another study of Covid-19 concluded: ‘Negative information which is spread through mass media repetitively can affect public health negatively in the form of nocebo effects and mass hysteria. ... [M]ass hysteria can be exacerbated and self-reinforcing when the negative information comes from an authoritative source, when the media are politicized, and social networks make the negative information omnipresent.’ This can trigger mass psychogenic illness.
Some doctors argue that there is a psychogenic component to the phenomenon of ‘long Covid’. Chronic symptoms attributed to this ill-defined ailment include palpitations, headaches, severe fatigue, difficulty sleeping, hair loss and brain fog. One study found that two-thirds of those who believe they have long Covid had negative coronavirus tests. Moreover, media coverage of Covid generated high levels of stress, anxiety and depression – conditions conducive to mass psychogenic illness. These factors encourage the attribution of a wide range of symptoms to the lasting effects of ‘coronavirus infection’, and play a major role in generating these symptoms.
In his book United States of Fear (2021), psychiatrist Mark MacDonald describes how the spread of fear throughout society impairs the ability to think and act rationally. The more the media and government officials fuelled people’s fear of Covid, the more the public clamoured for even tougher restrictions to ‘protect’ them – even though the pandemic almost exclusively affected the sick and elderly, and the risk for healthy people was no greater than that of dying in a car crash.
MacDonald says that the government’s ‘leadership’ largely consisted of ‘irrational, incoherent abuse of power’.
Rather than explain the scientific basis for their decisions, politicians and unelected bureaucrats simply repeated empty slogans such as ‘Better safe than sorry’ and ‘We’re all in this together.’ In April 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo famously said, in defending his statewide lockdown policy, ‘If it saves just one life, I’ll be happy.’ This absurd fallacy became the basis for many destructive policies to come, most of which accomplished little or nothing and, in fact, actually cost many American lives. (p. 10)
The ‘mass delusional psychosis’ that took hold was ‘rooted in fear but organized around a perverse worship of safety’. Fearful people ‘always look for a savior that can offer the promise of safety’.
To secure that safety, no sacrifice was too great: canceling graduation and prom, depriving individuals of their ability to make a living, masking children, banning Easter, ordering ailing nursing home patients to die alone and then prohibiting their grieving family members from holding funerals. (p. 18)
The cancellation of social activities, home sequestration, instituting of masks and hand sanitizer, and now the mad rush for universal vaccination with an experimental biological agent with no safety record but growing evidence of significant physical harm – are all irrational, delusional, psychotic practices born of safetyism. (p. 67)
Focusing on achieving the impossible – a life without risk – guarantees a dead life devoid of joy, excitement, achievement, and growth. (p. 79)
MacDonald notes that the ‘social contagion of psychotic thinking and behavior’ spread through the entire population, but appeared to be less prevalent in rural America and among political conservatives.
Democrat-controlled cities and states largely followed the fast and hard lockdown approach, while the response by Republicans trended toward greater liberty and personal choice. Based on this, it would be reasonable to conclude that, as a group, liberals prefer the promise of safety to liberty, even when those promises cannot be supported by rational arguments. Conservatives, on the other hand, are far more willing to assume personal risk to retain the power to make their own choices. (p. 21)
MacDonald points out that people who feel a lack of control over their own safety often resort to aggressive attempts to control those around them. This gave rise to the ‘Karen’ phenomenon:
Countless videos were uploaded to social media showing angry, hysterical women screaming at others for not wearing a mask, often chasing them and even physically attacking them. (p. 22)
Karens became the psychotic enforcers of the arbitrary rules imposed on the population by unelected bureaucrats and unaccountable politicians. (p. 72)
Restrictions embolden the hysterical, validating their fears. A vicious cycle ensues, one that becomes nearly impossible to halt, much less reverse. Many people now appear to be addicted to the daily drama of fear and the power it confers on hysterical and angry individuals, irresponsible media outlets, and overweening public officials. (p. 25)
However, no one can live in a permanent state of fear and anxiety. When, in late 2021, some Republican governors in the US abolished mask mandates and eased restrictions, the mainstream media accused them of killing people. However, when – in early 2022 – the Democrats finally realized that public opinion was turning against them, they proceeded to take the same steps themselves, to loud media applause. Emergency legislation remains in force in many countries, and it is quite possible that repressive measures will be ramped up again once the next ‘deadly virus’ or ‘virus variant’ is invented.
The political left has overwhelmingly supported lockdowns. A rare dissenting voice is The Grayzone. In an article entitled ‘How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind’ (March 2022), Christian Parenti calls the left’s embrace of Covid hysteria ‘a tragic and disturbing spectacle’. The left failed to realize that US public health agencies have been entirely captured by big pharma, and ignored abundant evidence that lockdowns ‘wreaked massive destruction on the most vulnerable’:
For two years the left has championed policies of surveillance and exclusion in the form of: punitive vaccine mandates, invasive vaccine passports, socially destructive lockdowns, and radically unaccountable censorship by large media and technology corporations. For the entire pandemic, leftists and liberals – call them the Lockdown Left – cheered on unprecedented levels of repression aimed primarily at the working class ...
Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic helped get him out of office. But then the Democrats and liberal journalists got stuck in an ever more hysterical overreaction to Covid. ...
Left refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the populist critique of mandates, passports, lockdowns, and censorship is alienating large swathes of the working class. ...
Many working-class people have taken vaccines under duress, carry their vaccine papers because they must, and deeply resent the lockdowns, mandates, and high-handed directives from unaccountable bureaucrats like Fauci. ...
From now on, political elites and pharmaceutical profiteers will be eager to re-engage rule by pandemic. (thegrayzone.com)
Mark MacDonald, United States of Fear: How America fell victim to a mass delusional psychosis, Bombardier Books, 2021, Kindle ed.
Vaccines can have both placebo and nocebo effects. A study of nocebo responses in Covid vaccine trials found that, within a week of the first dose, 46% of those in the vaccine group reported at least one ‘systemic adverse effect’ (i.e. fever, chills, fatigue, malaise, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea), but so did 35% of those in the placebo group (mainly fatigue and headache). After the second dose, 32% of placebo recipients reported side effects, compared with 61% of vaccine recipients. This study did not look at serious adverse events, such as myocarditis/pericarditis, heart attacks, permanent disability, severe allergic reaction and miscarriages. Nor did it look at long-term effects, which is impossible anyway, because companies like Pfizer destroyed the control group by offering participants the vaccine for ‘ethical’ reasons. Pfizer’s revenue is expected to exceed $100 billion in 2022.
Leg amputations due to vaccine-induced blood clots. (thecovidworld.com)
The US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) shows that Covid vaccines have caused more injuries and deaths than all other vaccines combined over the past 30 years. As of 29 July 2022, there had been 851,369 reports of adverse events and 13,894 reported deaths from Covid vaccines in the United States. However, most adverse events are not reported at all, and the real total is estimated to be about 40 times higher than the number reported. Autopsies reveal that between 30% and 93% of deaths attributed to Covid vaccines are actually caused by the vaccines. This puts the absolute minimum number of deaths in the US at about 150,000.
Deaths reported to VAERS, as of 15 July 2022. 54% of the
reports come from outside the US. (OpenVAERS)
A survey in June 2022 indicated that at least 600,000 Americans may have been killed by the vaccine, about 5 million vaccinated people (2.7%) are now unable to work, about 10 million (6.6%) have suffered heart injury, and about 10 million (6.3%) have had to be hospitalized. In addition, the vaccinated are 20 times more likely to die than the unvaccinated. Covid vaccines are 800 times more likely to kill and 25 times more likely to cause serious injury than the smallpox vaccine, which used to be regarded as the most dangerous vaccine ever. Fewer than 50% of Americans are willing to get more shots of the Covid vaccine, and the government is throwing away tens of millions of vaccine doses – and billions of dollars of taxpayer money. 10% of Americans (about 22 million people) regret getting the vaccine.
As of 4 July 2022, there were 1,432,214 cases of suspected side effects from Covid vaccines in the European Union/European Economic Area, of which 10,992 involved a fatal outcome. In Germany, the passive adverse reaction reporting system indicates that the triple-jabbed have a 1 in 1667 chance of a serious side effect (defined as life-threatening, life-changing or requiring hospitalization). However, data from the vaccine safety monitoring app in Germany shows that the real rate is around 1 in 300 (dailysceptic).
As of 1 July 2022, there were 459,261 reports of adverse events and 2207 reported deaths from Covid vaccines in the United Kingdom. In April/May 2022, vaccinated people accounted for 94% of all Covid deaths in England, and 90% of them were triple/quadruple jabbed. Almost 20% of adults in England have not had a single dose of the vaccine and almost 40% have not had three doses.
Many countries are now seeing record numbers of excess deaths, despite the decline in Covid deaths. Life insurance claims in the US are 2.6 times higher than normal. The cause of death has shifted from respiratory to cardiac. Many countries are also reporting a drop in birth rates and more stillbirths (Steve Kirsch). Something drastic must have changed in 2021, and if it wasn’t global Covid vaccination, what was it?
What makes the disproportionate response to Covid all the more tragic and absurd is that the pandemic is based on a gigantic lie. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has never been scientifically proven to exist; no alleged virus (a protein capsule containing genetic material) has ever been isolated and purified directly from the tissues or fluids of a sick human or animal and shown to be pathogenic (Covid-19; Reclaiming our health; Mike Stone; Mark Bailey).
When virologists say they have ‘isolated’ a virus what they usually mean is that a sample from a sick person (which is assumed to contain a virus) was added to a cell culture (e.g. monkey kidney cells or human cancer cells) that is starved of nutrients and poisoned with antibiotics and other chemicals; if dead and damaged cells (‘cytopathic effects’) are then observed, this is blamed on the alleged virus, and the unpurified mixture is labelled a ‘virus isolate’, a vial of which can be purchased for a few thousand dollars. However, even if no supposedly ‘infected’ human sample is added to the cell culture, cell damage (caused by malnutrition and poisoning) can still occur – but virologists show little interest in conducting proper scientific control experiments (Stone; Settling the virus debate; Mark Bailey; Tom Cowan et al.).
Stressed and/or dead and dying cells produce a variety of often similar-looking breakdown products or vesicles. Because these are nano-sized, they can only be viewed under an electron microscope, but first the tissue sample has to be ‘fixed’ with chemicals, stained with heavy metals, dehydrated with ethanol, embedded in resin and cut into ultrathin slices, before being bombarded with electrons; this process kills living cells, alters their appearance and can create all sorts of artefacts.
These electron-microscope images show similar ‘virus’-like particles in specimens from
people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and people who tested negative. (Frelih et al.)
Some cell breakdown particles have arbitrarily been labelled ‘viruses’, which supposedly invade the body and hijack and kill our cells – a hypothetical process that no one has ever seen in real time. Sometimes laboratory animals are exposed to toxic material thought to contain a virus, but this is done in unnatural ways (e.g. by spraying it under high pressure into their lungs), and although the animals suffer and may get sick, they don’t display all the right symptoms.
No test for the Covid ‘virus’ has ever been validated by isolating and purifying viruses from people who test positive, but such tests play a key role in whipping up panic, by generating large numbers of ‘confirmed cases’ (35% of them having no symptoms) and a grossly exaggerated death toll. Needless to say, no vaccine, facemask or other measure can prevent infection with an imaginary virus.
We are now seeing ‘chronic Covid’ among vaccinated people, which is officially understood to mean constant ‘reinfections’ with the ‘virus’ due to the inadequacy of ‘vaccine-induced immunity’. But all it really means is that poisoning our bodies with injected vaccines can undermine our long-term health (see Vaccination and homeopathy). Chronic Covid is being likened to chronic AIDS, which is attributed to another fake virus – HIV.
‘Covid’ is a reclassification of symptoms found in other respiratory diseases. Reported deaths from or with ‘Covid’ stood at 6.4 million people at the end of July 2022, of whom only 5% are said to have died of Covid alone. The WHO puts total excess mortality in 2020 and 2021 at 14.9 million, which includes estimates of unreported Covid deaths and ‘deaths indirectly associated with COVID-19, due to other causes and diseases, resulting from the wider impact of the pandemic on health systems and society’, i.e. resulting from the disastrous government response. It’s no surprise that the biggest socioeconomic, medical and psychological assault on the global population in decades took such a heavy toll on public health.
Our health is largely in our own hands. Disease symptoms are mainly the result of exposure to toxicity (in food, medicines, drugs, vaccines, the environment, etc.), nutrient deficiencies, an unhealthy lifestyle, negative thoughts and emotions, and an inability to handle stress and trauma. But it’s far easier to blame a virus – and far more profitable for big pharma and the medical establishment.
There’s a lot of speculation about ‘SARS-CoV-2’ being engineered in a biolab. This is because parts of its genetic sequence don’t look entirely natural. Since no one has any purified virus particles, it’s impossible to extract the genetic material and sequence it directly. Instead, Chinese scientists used computer algorithms to piece together 56.5 million RNA fragments found in a patient; out of the 1.7 million candidate genomes of different lengths produced, virologists then selected the one that best fitted their preconceptions and, after making some further alterations, registered it as the SARS-CoV-2 genome. The genome was concocted in record time – just 40 hours, rather than several weeks – and there was no time to iron out all the kinks (Stefan Lanka). It is now used as a template by other virologists, who never find a 100% match and ascribe any discrepancies to virus mutations. The PCR test looks for just a couple of short genetic sequences from this computer-generated genome.
Biolab researchers perform ‘gain-of-function’ experiments aimed at turning ‘viruses’ or other alleged pathogens into lethal bioweapons that can be transmitted from person to person (Stone). In one experiment, genetically modified mice were ‘infected’ with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus (i.e. with fluid from a toxic cell culture assumed to contain that virus). The mice failed to become very ill, so they were killed and their lung tissue was ground up and injected into other mice – a process known as ‘passaging’. This was repeated 30 times, after which some mice got very sick, and even died if given a very high dose of the poisonous gunk. The researchers interpreted this to mean that they had genetically modified the ‘virus’ and made it more dangerous. In other experiments, cell cultures – rather than animals – are used for passaging, and alleged ‘viral’ genes are modified directly.
Apart from torturing animals, biolab researchers are mainly using cell cultures to create liquid poisons – this being the original meaning of the Latin word ‘virus’. But these poisons can only be transmitted by injection, not through the air. Biolabs receive massive funding, and are unlikely to admit that a contagious viral bioweapon is just a fantasy. As ex-virologist Stefan Lanka has said, the best ‘bioweapon’ is fear, which can worsen existing symptoms, cause throat, bronchial and lung diseases, trigger irrational behaviour and aggression, and make people easier to manipulate.
The phenomenon of masses of people – or a ‘herd’, ‘crowd’ or ‘mob’ – engaging in similar and sometimes irrational and destructive behaviour under the influence of authority figures, the media or widespread rumours is sometimes called ‘mass formation’. In The Psychology of Totalitarianism (2022), Mattias Desmet, a Belgian professor of clinical psychology, identifies four interrelated conditions that he thinks are conducive to mass formation: widespread loneliness and lack of social bonds; a widespread sense that life is without purpose or meaning; widespread free-floating anxiety (i.e. anxiety not linked to any specific cause); and widespread free-floating frustration and aggression.
As Desmet explains, the industrial revolution fuelled the sense of atomization and alienation, by breaking up traditional social structures and replacing local craft production with monotonous work serving factory machines. There has also been a proliferation of menial administrative jobs. One recent study found that only 50% of people felt that their jobs made a meaningful contribution to society. The rise of mass media has weakened social interactions and human connectedness, and the advent of the social media/smartphone age has only made things worse. As Desmet says, ‘in a society where human relationships are impoverished and toxic, life will be difficult and unbearable, however “advanced” such society may be in terms of mechanical-technological evolutions’ (ch. 2).
A UK survey found that 89% of those aged 16-29 feel that their lives have no meaning or purpose. The amount of anxiety/depression medications prescribed each year indicates the crushing levels of anxiety in society; one in five people worldwide has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. People suffering from chronic anxiety become more irritable and intolerant, and more likely to lash out at others. Social media is a good indicator of the level of open hostility in the modern world.
Desmet argues that the four conditions he identifies can encourage the emergence of totalitarianism. A leader (or leadership group) emerges who identifies an object of anxiety and puts forward a strategy for eliminating it. This often involves turning a minority group within society or a group outside society (e.g. a foreign country) into a scapegoat – i.e. an enemy that becomes the target for the aggression and anger of the masses. As a result, the previous isolation and anxiety of the masses give way to a new sense of solidarity and purpose.
According to Desmet, when mass formation occurs, about 30% of the population are fully brainwashed by the group narrative; 10% to 30% actively oppose the official narrative; and the other 40% to 60% either go along with the narrative or can be persuaded to side with its opponents. The hypnotized masses eventually tend to exhaust themselves, and this process can be accelerated if those who oppose the collective madness continue to speak out as calmly and wisely as possible.
Desmet regards Covid fanaticism as a full-fledged example of mass formation. The majority of the public put blind faith in the authorities and joined the battle to defeat the dreaded virus. Dutifully performing the prescribed rituals (distancing, isolating, masking, sanitizing, testing, vaccinating) strengthened people’s bond with the collective. Anyone who questioned the official narrative or refused to comply risked becoming the target of intolerance, anger and hatred.
The wave of mass hysteria and fear was clearly generated mainly by the misinformation and sensational propaganda spread by the authorities and media about an invisible ‘killer virus’. The extent to which the existing free-floating anxiety, unease and aggression in society may have contributed to this phenomenon is open to question. Desmet claims that loneliness is the root-cause of mass formation. However, it would be too simplistic to assume that those who succumbed to Covid mania must be lonelier than those who didn’t; it would be safer to assume that they were more gullible and less critically minded – at least on this specific issue.
As Desmet says, the Covid crisis did not appear out of nowhere:
It fits into a series of increasingly desperate and self-destructive societal responses to objects of fear: terrorists, global warming, coronavirus. Whenever a new object of fear arises in society, there is only one response and one defense in our current way of thinking: increased control. ... Coercive control leads to fear and fear leads to more coercive control. [S]ociety falls victim to a vicious circle that inevitably leads to totalitarianism, which means to extreme government control, eventually resulting in the radical destruction of both the psychological and physical integrity of human beings. (intro.)
Desmet argues that a new kind of totalitarianism is emerging, run by bureaucrats and technocrats. This is reflected in increasing mass surveillance, growing risk aversion and regulation mania, and mounting censorship and suppression of alternative views.
A related development is the ongoing degeneration of science into scientism, i.e. into ideology, belief and dogma. In 2005 statistician John Ioannidis wrote a famous article entitled ‘Why most published research findings are false’. Medical science is in a particularly dire state, with 85% of medical studies reaching questionable conclusions due to errors, sloppiness and fraud. According to Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet:
The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. ... In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.
As for climate science, it has become little more than a form of green activism, which demonizes CO2 (a molecule essential to life on earth) and uses man-made computer models to produce predictions that generate fear and alarm about warmer weather (see Climate models and climate catastrophe). For decades, the fake ‘climate emergency’ and the supposed need to drastically cut CO2 emissions have been used to justify moves towards more global governance by international agencies and institutions, along with a mad rush to replace fossil fuels with unreliable solar and wind energy.
Desmet points out that as Covid phobia began to fade, it was replaced in the West by Russia phobia, after Russia launched a military operation in February 2022 to end the eight-year war waged by Ukraine’s NATO-trained army against ethnic Russians in the Donbas. The West wants to defeat Russia economically and militarily, but instead its actions are hastening its own decline and thereby contributing to the emergence of a multipolar world order.
Mattias Desmet, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2022, Kindle ed. (Original Dutch version: De psychologie van totalitarisme, Pelckmans, 2022.)
When politicians, health authorities, media organizations and international institutions across the globe start saying similar things and acting in similar ways, some people immediately assume there must be a vast conspiracy at work. However, shared beliefs, mass psychology and mass psychosis can achieve exactly the same effect. What’s more, the anti-corona measures introduced in different countries or regions of countries at different times were far from uniform, and changed many times, often in contradictory, chaotic and irrational ways, reflecting the local balance of forces.
According to Desmet (2022, ch. 8), ‘mass formation is largely the result of individuals being gripped by a common narrative that unites them in a heroic battle against an object of anxiety’, but ‘there seems to be a real physical resonance among individuals who form a mass that cannot be explained solely on the basis of sharing the same narrative’. In addition to being united by the same thoughts, beliefs and behaviours, the crowd ‘also seems to form a kind of physical unity, which contributes to the overwhelming impression that it is the product of an immense, planned scheme’. This points to the fact that humans also communicate in unspoken, unseen and unconscious ways, on subtler, mental levels of reality.
Desmet argues that ‘fanatical conspiracy thinking testifies to the almost irresistible tendency of human beings to find someone who can be held responsible in the face of adversity and can thereby be made the object of aggression’. It can itself give rise to a degree of mass formation and lead to the dehumanization of a shadowy ‘evil elite’ that is supposedly supersmart and able to manipulate world events. However, leaders are often as hypnotized and delusional as those they lead. Desmet writes:
There is a certain conspiracy dimension in most social upheavals – those in power may even have little choice but to contrive things behind closed doors – but it is easily overestimated. If anything rules from the behind the scenes, it’s not so much secret societies, but ideologies. (ch. 8)
Officials don’t have to gather in secret meetings to have similar opinions, take similar measures and make similar mistakes. Countless politicians sincerely hold mainstream neoliberal, globalist views and beliefs. Likewise, public health institutions and most medical professionals would not dream of opposing the highly lucrative allopathic, big-pharma medical paradigm, and most politicians would not dream of rejecting their advice. Supporting the collective narrative often has financial and career benefits, while fear of media attacks, public backlash or financial losses can deter people from stepping out of line.
No one would deny that corporations and organizations are capable of engaging in bribery, intimidation or other unethical actions in order to further their interests or pursue hidden agendas. It’s also true that influential figures like Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci have done immense harm, as documented in great detail by Robert Kennedy Jr. in The Real Anthony Fauci (2021). But such individuals most likely truly believe that, on balance, they are doing more good than harm. Their power and influence stem mainly from the fact that they wield massive funds and serve dominant, profitable ideologies. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, is the second-largest contributor to the WHO after Germany.
In May 2009, a group of billionaires held a private meeting in Manhattan. The gathering was called by Bill Gates, and participants included David Rockefeller, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. They discussed ‘how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world’s population and speed up improvements in health and education’ and how to ‘overcome political and religious obstacles to change’. They agreed that population growth should be tackled ‘as a potentially disastrous environmental, social and industrial threat’. They met in secret because they didn’t want to be portrayed as a global cabal (globalresearch). The meeting doesn’t seem very conspiratorial since Gates has openly said that the global population could be reduced by 10% to 15% ‘if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services’.
In recent decades many institutions have published plans about what future society should look like and how best to respond to crisis situations such as pandemics. Since these plans are publicly available, they cannot be called conspiracies.
On 3 June 2020, Klaus Schwab, the head of the World Economic Forum (WEF), declared: ‘The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.’ The WEF, which represents the interests of government and corporate ‘elites’, has been calling for a technocratic ‘great reset’ for many years. While this agenda promises a utopian future, described as inclusive, diverse and sustainable, it really involves creating a more invasive system of surveillance and control, and will shift even more wealth and power into the hands of the ruling classes. During the pandemic, the related slogan ‘Build back better’ (i.e. better for the rich and powerful) was repeated by many political and other leaders around the world (youtube).
Klaus Schwab, sometimes mistaken for a James Bond super-villain.
The WEF has a Young Global Leaders training programme, whose sponsors include the Gates Foundation and Google. Well-known politicians and other influencers who have passed through this programme include Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland (Canadian deputy prime minister), Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand prime minister), Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Bono, and Leonardo Di Caprio. Schwab openly brags about the influence such people wield.
The idea of sovereign nation states working together while pursuing economic self-sufficiency wherever possible is at odds with the globalist ideology propagated by the WEF and the West in general. The aim of globalization is for everything to be produced where this can be done most cheaply; it is essentially a race to the bottom. The result is large-scale deindustrialization of the West, the concentration of manufacturing in very low-wage countries, and the transfer of more power to giant corporations and financial institutions and to supranational organizations.
American investment banker David Rockefeller once said: ‘The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.’ Former US national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski agreed: ‘[The] nation-state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.’ In 1973 Rockefeller and Brzezinski founded the Trilateral Commission, a powerful club of banking and business executives, political figures and other influencers from the US, Europe and Japan, which pushes the globalist agenda.
In 2016 the WEF released a social media video containing eight predictions about the world in 2030. One of them was: ‘You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy. What you want you’ll rent.’ The video generated so much negative publicity that it was quickly deleted (see it here). In an interview the same year, Schwab fantasized that by 2026 humans would have microchips implanted under their skin or in their brains which would lead to the fusion of the physical, digital and biological realms, enabling our brain to communicate directly with the digital world. This is in line with the transhumanist agenda, which offers two visions of ‘post-humanity’: ‘one in which technological and genetic improvements have created a distinct species of radically enhanced humans and the other in which greater-than-human machine intelligence emerges’.
The WEF, like the European Union, has been pushing hard for the introduction of health passports and ultimately a digital identity, which will contain records on every aspect of our lives. At the start of the Covid pandemic, the idea of being forced to electronically prove your current health status in order to travel or even leave your own home would have been considered unthinkable, but nowadays such dystopian ideas are openly advocated. The WEF and the Gates Foundation are the main funders of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which spearheaded the Covid vaccine project in partnership with the WHO, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and vaccine manufacturers.
In October 2017, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security conducted a pandemic simulation exercise involving a new coronavirus – the St. Paul Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SPARS). This fictional pandemic lasted from 2025 to 2028 and led to coercive vaccination of the global population with ‘Corovax’, under emergency use authorization. The SPARS scenario book describes how the authorities use fear-driven propaganda to secure public obedience and silence opposition to the rushed vaccine, even though it is found to cause severe neurological injuries.
On 15 May 2018, the WEF partnered with the Johns Hopkins Center to host the Clade X pandemic tabletop exercise in Washington, DC. This fictional scenario involved a new influenza virus released by an extremist group, resulting in 150 million deaths, economic collapse and social upheaval. On 18 October 2019, the WEF teamed up with the Johns Hopkins Center and the Gates Foundation to stage the Event 201 pandemic exercise, involving a coronavirus outbreak. This imaginary pandemic caused 65 million deaths in the first 18 months and global economic collapse lasting up to a decade. A few months later, on 11 March 2020, the WHO declared that the alleged coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, had become a pandemic.
Both the Clade X and Event 201 simulations concluded that the world wasn’t prepared for a global pandemic. Virtually every response measure considered in these simulations was used during the Covid pandemic, including worldwide lockdowns, forced quarantines, increased use of biometric surveillance technologies, and the discrediting and censorship of dissent. Recommendations included accelerated development of new drugs and vaccines (including gene-therapy ‘vaccines’), greater collaboration between governments, big business and international institutions such as the WHO, and partnership between governments and traditional and social media companies to ‘combat mis- and disinformation’, i.e. crush any challenges to official dogma.
In other words, the anti-corona measures should not have come as a surprise. Unless there is enough public resistance, the same destructive measures could be imposed again. Humour has an important part to play in deflating the Covid cult (youtube).
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the global war on democracy and public health, Skyhorse, 2021, Kindle ed.
Mass formation comes in many different forms and can occur on widely different scales. To truly understand any particular manifestation of ‘mob rule’ or ‘crowd psychology’, it’s essential to study the specific details of its emergence. Tyranny and oppression can involve mass formation, but so can mass resistance to tyranny. This means that individualism cannot be equated with good, and collectivism with evil, because individuals can obviously be good or bad, and so can collectives, whether it be families, communities, crowds, organizations, movements or societies. Siding with the majority is the path of least resistance and can provide a sense of belonging, purpose and power. Some degree of groupthink and tribalism is virtually inevitable when humans band together, but this does not have to lead to mass hysteria, oppression and wanton violence.
Desmet sees Hitler’s Germany as a classic example of a totalitarian state produced by mass formation. However, the four societal conditions he identifies are of little relevance in understanding the rise of Nazism; a concrete historical analysis is required. Briefly, the Versailles peace treaty that Germany was forced to sign in 1918 placed all the blame for starting the First World War on Germany and imposed severe reparations, and this aroused massive anger and discontent among its population. The Nazis took advantage of this, and put forward a mixture of socialist, nationalist and racist policies that appealed to a wide range of people. The disastrous economic depression that began in 1929 and the inadequate government response, together with the well-oiled Nazi propaganda machine, including Hitler’s hypnotic rhetoric, led to the Nazi Party becoming the largest party in the Reichstag in 1932 and to Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor the following year (bbc).
Hitler greeting members of the Hitler Youth, Nuremberg Rally, 1936. (lookandlearn.com)
As for ‘Stalinism’ in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Desmet simply rehashes the standard Cold War version of Soviet history. He relies heavily on the highly biased and semi-fictional writings of Soviet dissidents like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and ignores the thousands of primary historical source documents from former Soviet archives that have been declassified since 1991. Desmet makes the moronic claim that ‘Stalin’ murdered 80 million people in the 1930s. Death on this scale would show up in the Soviet Union’s population statistics, but it fails to do so, whereas the loss of life during the First World War and subsequent Civil War and the loss of 27 million lives during the Soviet Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany (1941-45) are clearly visible.
Population of the USSR, in thousands of inhabitants. (wikipedia.org)
Solzhenitsyn actually claimed that from 1917 to 1953 110 million Soviet citizens died at the hands of the communist regime, a number in which he even included 44 million people who supposedly died during the Second World War. Such figures are utterly insane (see Zemskov, 2012), but they were exactly what many westerners wanted to hear. Even Wikipedia admits that Solzhenitsyn’s best-known book, The Gulag Archipelago (1973), is not a historical work about the labour camps, but a literary and political work; its subtitle is ‘an experiment in literary investigation’. It contains what his wife called ‘the folklore of the camps’, along with vague reminiscences, hearsay, and made-up numbers that have been repeated ever since.
After the Second World War, Ukrainian nationalists who had collaborated with the Nazis promoted the idea that in the early 1930s Stalin had deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians; this came to be called the ‘Holodomor’ (‘hunger murder’) – a word deliberately coined to sound similar to ‘Holocaust’ (Furr, 2017a, ch. 1). However, the Holodomor is a myth, and one that all Ukrainian schoolchildren have been taught since Ukraine became independent in 1991. The truth is that the famine of 1932-33, in which up to 3 million people died, affected the whole of the Soviet Union and was caused by weather conditions and crop diseases. The government responded by reducing grain exports and approving clandestine purchases of grain and livestock abroad using scarce hard currency. It also made efforts to redistribute grain to feed the cities.
According to Desmet (2022, ch. 7), ‘The communists decided by decree that the peasantry as a class should be exterminated’, resulting in ‘tens of millions’ being deported. This is yet another absurd exaggeration (see Zemskov, 2012). The collectivization and modernization of Soviet agriculture in 1929-32 put an end to the devastating famines that had plagued Russia every few years for over a millennium, the only exception being the postwar famine of 1946-47. The alternative to forced collectivization and rapid industrialization would have been defeat at the hands of Nazi Germany or other hostile powers – an outcome that would certainly have pleased the capitalist West.
As Stalin stated in 1931: ‘We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall go under.’ In their history of the Eastern Front, Glantz and House (2015, p. 363) state that the Soviet Union’s ‘enormously sophisticated war-fighting capability redounded to the credit of Stalin and of his entire government and party as well. The German invasion gave the Communist regime unprecedented legitimacy as the organizer of victory.’ 80% of the German army’s 11.1 million troop losses were inflicted by the Soviets. The rebuilding of the Soviet Union after the catastrophic devastation of the war was equally impressive; the country quickly developed into an industrial, scientific and technological powerhouse that ushered in the space age. (For more about its economic successes and failures, see Human society and economic development, section 9.)
After the Russian Revolution in November 1917, the new regime spent four years fighting against invading foreign powers and internal rebellions. Joseph Stalin emerged as leader in the years following Lenin’s death in 1924. In the 1930s a number of anti-government conspiracies were uncovered, some of which involved rival Communist Party factions. Some of the leading figures were prosecuted in the three Moscow Trials of 1936-38. There is abundant, mutually corroborative testimony that these particular plots were real, though some researchers still prefer to believe that they were all fabricated (Furr, 2009).
Germany, Italy and Japan (the Axis powers) supported various Soviet oppositionists, and in 1937 these countries formed an alliance against the Soviet Union. Japan attacked the Soviet Union in 1938 and launched a larger assault in 1939. In addition, the Western Allies refused to make mutual defence treaties with the Soviet Union and continued to push Hitler to attack it. All this contributed to an atmosphere of collective paranoia.
Hundreds of thousands of innocent Soviet citizens and loyal Party members were framed and executed in 1937-38, a period commonly called the ‘Great Terror’, which is usually blamed on Stalin (Furr, 2017b). The mass arrests and executions began after Nikolai Yezhov was appointed head of the NKVD (police and secret police) in September 1936, and immediately after permission had been granted in July 1937 – at the insistence of regional Party leaders (first secretaries) – to form troikas (i.e. groups of three officials) to hear cases and impose sentences. A common falsehood (repeated by Desmet) is that officials were given ‘quotas’ for the number of people to imprison or execute. The Russian word is ‘limity’, which means an upper limit – not a minimum number that must be met.
The historical documents now available show that Yezhov and the troikas were not acting on Stalin’s direct orders, and that the Soviet leadership initially believed all the reports it was receiving about counterrevolutionary conspiracies. Suspicions about what was happening gradually increased, and Yezhov was forced to resign and was replaced by Lavrenti Beria in November 1938. At the same time, the troikas were disbanded. The mass executions immediately stopped, conditions in the labour camps improved, and hundreds of thousands of prisoners were eventually released. Yezhov confessed that he and his men had been seeking to stir up discontent and overthrow the government, and he was tried and executed. Many of the first secretaries and NKVD officers responsible for the excesses were imprisoned or executed.
Number of people executed in the Soviet Union, 1930-1953
(Zemskov, 2012; alexanderyakovlev.org)
Stalin is usually depicted as a malevolent, all-powerful dictator, but he did not always get what he wanted. For example, in the mid-1930s he and his supporters advocated contested, secret-ballot elections to the soviets (legislative bodies), i.e. elections with multiple candidates (but not pro-capitalists). However, he failed to win sufficient support in the Central Committee, because the first secretaries feared that this would undermine their own positions. In 1944 and until his death in 1953, Stalin – along with Beria and others – made further attempts to distance the Communist Party from the reins of power and place the running of the country in the hands of the elected soviets. However, these efforts failed. Historian Yuri Zhukov comments: ‘This proves yet one more time that Stalin never had the power that both anti-Stalinists and Stalinists attribute to him’ (Furr, 2005).
The most important ‘anti-Stalinist’ of all was Nikita Khrushchev, who led the Soviet Union from Stalin’s death until 1964, when he was ousted by the Central Committee. In February 1956 Khrushchev delivered his famous ‘secret speech’ to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, in which he denounced Stalin and Beria for a string of alleged crimes. Unfortunately, virtually every single accusation made by Khrushchev is demonstrably false (Furr, 2011). In fact, the evidence now available shows that Khrushchev himself, who was the first secretary in Moscow and then in the Ukraine in the late 1930s, fully supported the mass repressions and had thousands of people executed – but somehow he managed to escape punishment.
After coming to power, Khrushchev – who is praised in the West for his ‘destalinization’ campaign – had Beria killed and strengthened the Party leadership’s privileged position and grip on power.
During the rest of the history of the USSR the Party continued to rule Soviet society, its upper ranks becoming a corrupt, self-selected, self-aggrandizing stratum of privileged elitists. Under Gorbachev this ruling group abolished the USSR, giving itself the economic wealth and political leadership of the new capitalist society. (Furr, 2005)
To be precise, it was mainly the directors of state-owned enterprises that became the new oligarch class, not high-ranking Party bosses.
Andrei Martyanov (2018) stresses the need for ‘an unbiased assessment of Soviet failures and achievements’. After exposing various dissident distortions about the Soviet Union, he states:
the whole notion that, despite all hardships and dramatic events, life in the Soviet Union, even under Stalin, with the obvious exception of the war-time period, could have gone on in some mode of normalcy is a complete anathema to the whole Kremlinology and Sovietology industry in the US, which continues to portray the life of Soviet people as one continuous unmitigated horror. (p. 109)
Among mainstream historians, it is considered unacceptable to find Stalin not guilty of any crime that he has been accused of. By blindly parroting the standard caricature of Stalin, Desmet has fallen prey to the ‘mass formation’ of researchers whose ideological biases and preconceptions prevent them from pursuing the objective truth. Reality is invariably more complex and less black-and-white than any particular belief system might suggest.
Grover Furr, ‘Stalin and the struggle for democratic reform’, part 1, part 2, Cultural Logic, 2005
Grover Furr, ‘Evidence of Leon Trotsky’s collaboration with Germany and Japan’, Cultural Logic, 2009
Grover Furr, Khrushchev Lied, Aakar, 2011
Grover Furr (2017a), Blood Lies, Aakar, 2017
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