The Covid Horseshoe explained

AFTER LOSING the initial battle on covid we may be winning the war. In England at least, covid seems to have slipped from the national consciousness and, in making brave (but entirely justified) decisions to reverse vaccine passports, masks and lockdowns, England has dragged the rest of the UK, however reluctantly, along with it.

How much of the surveillance apparatus remains in place and how many ‘emergency’ powers remain on the books remains to be seen, but if we can get through this winter without a return to the unscientific idiocy of the last two years it seems likely that we will be able to put covid behind us. 

Unfortunately there will always be the possibility of another variant, or another virus entirely. For far too many, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the only lesson to be learned from the last two years is ‘mask and lockdown until we get a vaccine’ and unless we make efforts now, we run the risk that this will become the default position for the next pandemic. 

While it’s tempting to crow about what we got right, the most powerful and often the most painful lessons are found in reflecting on what we got wrong. The fact that we wasted nearly two full years of our lives and have caused possibly irreparable damage is a clear sign that we were not entirely successful in persuading sufficient numbers of the right people quickly enough.

There will no doubt be many factors involved but I’d like to propose one an idea that applies to many of the major issues involved that I call the Covid Horseshoe.

Many are aware of the horseshoe model of authoritarianism: the idea that if society moves far enough to the left or the right it ends up in more or less the same place – ie authoritarian control.

I believe a similar principle applies with respect to covid: that if we move far enough in the direction of smart or dumb, we end up in the same place. In other words, while there were very very smart reasons for holding many of our positions, there were also very very dumb reasons for holding the same positions.

On lockdowns AND masks

Very dumb: ‘I don’t like them and I don’t care if I infect anyone else’

Very smart: ‘There is (still!) no good evidence that they work and a very real risk they have caused and will continue to cause harm that far outweighs any benefit (if there is any at all)’

On vaccines

Very dumb: ‘Vaccines cause autism / viruses don’t exist / injections are actually a cover for inserting nanobots and / or microchips’

Very smart:‘ All medical treatments should be subject to rigorous cost benefit analysis, under the principle of informed consent and without coercion, particularly when the technology involved is novel, even more so when the companies involved have less than stellar safety records and more still when previous animal trials of the same technology resulted in the mass death of the subjects(!).’

On conspiracy

Very dumb: ‘ ‘They’ invented the virus to implement their plan (detail TBC) as part of a conspiracy involving untold millions of co-conspirators to subjugate humanity’

Very smart:‘ Various wealthy and powerful parties are taking advantage of the global crisis to advance their agendas, some of whom have values that are very different to our own including but not limited to: 

• Tony Blair, a multi-millionaire Labour Prime Minister who has been pushing for identity cards, against the will of the British public, for nearly thirty years

• Bill Gates, a software engineer with practically unlimited funding who appears to have set himself the goal of receiving a Nobel prize in medicine despite having no medical training whatsoever

• China, a literal dictatorship that has already implemented a surveillance apparatus (namely the social credit system) beyond the worst imaginings of Orwell

In a time when the whole world seemed to be going mad it was tempting to find common cause with anyone who rejected the official narrative. Unfortunately, one of the results of this was that it was all to easy to dismiss our case with straw man arguments. It is worth considering whether we should have made more of an effort to explain why we held our positions and, perhaps more importantly, drew more of a distinction between ourselves and the dumb end of the covid horseshoe.

If you appreciated this article please subscribe to our regular newsletter here, share and follow us on Twitter here – and like and comment on facebook here. Recovery is a ‘not for profit’ campaign (we make a loss!) and need your financial support to survive – if you can spare some of your hard-earned pounds you can donate here

Derek Winton MA(Hons) MSc is a management consultant and software developer living in Edinburgh Scotland. He has previously written here – on the flaws of the Imperial College covid modelling.

Photo of Phrenology Head Busts by holly from Adobe Stock