To the Editor:

I could hardly resist, could I? Mr. Fraser’s  letter of July 26 (On truckers and vaccinations) raises so many flags, it’s a virtual parade. Naturally, it wasn’t that hard to notice as a result.

I recently wrote to you about hate and misinformation and internet use. Mr. Fraser’s letter sorely tests my feelings on the matter, if I’m honest, but it is also an example of the ability of misinformation to arrive in front of eyeballs from other sources than social media. In short: we should be done with this nonsense.

So where to start? One could point out that cherry-picking statistics, words and sources is not exactly ‘playing the game.’ It’s worth pointing out that Andrew Lawton is perhaps a teeny bit biased. Like the rest of the people who write for and work with True North, a negligible amount of thought would predict what they might say (let’s see “Trudeau bad, <pick Tory candidate here> good” or some similar partisan gushings).

I’ve never really been that much of a fan of partisan writers of any stripe – they are really rather too good at this cherry-picking nonsense, but needs must, eh? Still, the drivel that comes out of many ‘sources’ such as True North is amazing in its inventiveness. Fortunately, the world still has places which have an unbiased view, allowing intelligent others to work out their own thoughts.

As recent activities in Ottawa and Peterborough and elsewhere in the country have shown us, we are indeed dealing with buffoons. Really, even when they claimed an agreement had happened they disagreed with themselves. As for attempting to arrest the police, I’d simply point out that, well, it takes a certain amount of chutzpah, but also, well, stupidity? Should anyone wish to read exactly what the convoy was like for the people of Ottawa, I’d recommend a web search for “The Ottawa Convoy Is Not Peaceful: Megalist” (use DuckDuckGo, not Google, for your own privacy).

Conviction is likewise not always as virtuous as Mr. Fraser might think. There are many examples of violently wrong convictions in our troubled human history. For which, we always pay dearly as a society.

The conviction that vaccines are useless is one such example. Indeed, a report by Viches et al (1) estimates that in the United States alone, 14 million cases, 1.1 million hospitalizations and more than 240,000 deaths alone were prevented because of vaccination between December 12, 2020, and June 30, 2021. More, from an updated April 2022 study. But, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good argument, right? To put it in another way, the CDC (2) estimates that among over 50s, the unvaccinated are 14 times (yes, you read that right) more likely to die from a COVID infection than the vaccinated (if you’re under 50, it’s three times, lucky you.

The point? Sure, people still get COVID, masked or vaccinated or unvaccinated or whatever, but this says less than nothing about how many lives were actually saved. Vaccines work. Masks help. Being careful is not stupid. I also wear a seatbelt when driving (I can hear the cries of government overreach from the 1970s). Denial of vaccines and the accompanying infodemics results in tragedy, as the recent Polio outbreak in the U.S. also shows us.

We live longer now, partly because we are vaccinated to the hilt as children and adults. Enough said? Probably not, I fear.

Whilst on the topic of cherry-picking, may I remind Mr. Fraser that Dr. Fauci’s discussion about vaccines not working “overly well” was actually “even though vaccines – because of the high transmissibility of this virus – don’t protect overly well, as it were, against infection, they protect quite well against severe disease leading to hospitalization and death.” One might as well say that Dr. Fauci had said that vaccines work “quite well” and leave it at that. It’s really not good enough to pick and choose words (which is why I gave you the full quotation). Honestly, don’t simply believe headlines, look beyond them. Use your head, that’s what it’s for.

Our final flag in the parade? The so-called “great reset”. It’s hard to express the amount of head-shaking Mr. Fraser’s penultimate paragraph elicited. Seriously: the world has enough problems, and we could do with less of the “there’s a government plan” conspiracy theories. At best they are annoying and at worst, they kill people.

The world, like it or not, has changed. It simply is not what it was and, at least in my lifetime, it is unlikely to become so, for which I am enormously grateful. Because really, do we want it to? Reflection is needed. In our last few hundred years we’ve managed to do very little good for the world in which we live, and many of the people who exist in it. A different way to work, rest and play might well be quite reasonable. How, exactly, was the world before the pandemic such a wonderful place for anyone anywhere other than the Global North? I think we can do a little better, don’t you?

But, that’s a discussion for a different day perhaps?

Canada is a great country. I chose it and I am happy with that choice. I can’t stress enough that there is a very slippery slope from unthinking partisan nonsense to authoritarianism (Hint: read your Arendt. Another hint: look South).

Best we don’t go there.

It’s a shame we have to have this ‘conversation’ because for some stories, there are simply not two sides.

Steve Marsh

(1) Eric C. Schneider, Arnav Shah, Pratha Sah, Seyed M. Moghadas, Thomas Vilches, Alison Galvani (2021)

(2) CDC Covid Tracker