Response Ability – An Open Letter To Thinkers

For myself, I am interested in science and in philosophy only because I want to learn something about the riddle of the world in which we live, and the riddle of man’s knowledge of that world. And I believe that only a revival of interest in these riddles can save the sciences and philosophy from an obscurantist faith in the expert’s special skill and in his personal knowledge and authority.–Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery. 

As a musician, DJ and writer I wish to project my voice and state my case for responsible artists who may feel similar sentiments concerning the easing of Covid restrictions in the face of rising Covid infections, unknown mutations, long Covid complications and the possible damage to our chances of properly opening up again gradually, returning to an open culture of packed dancefloors, busy festivals and care-free events due to the virus being eradicated, not just temporarily suppressed at manageable levels, completely eradicated! #CoronaSlayer        

The ability to respond is a measure of responsibility in some sense. I’ve responded to the Covid-19 global pandemic to the best of my abilities, through poems, prose, raps, video and music, while physically maintaining a masked-up, socially distanced and clean-hands regime. I could have done more, but what I have done is mostly available at my blog, free to browse. I’ve a Patreon project, exchanging creativity in the form of books, albums, radio shows, video, for some financial support. Most of what I create is shared freely with no expectation of reward. That’s what we do. 

I’ve been unwavering in my support for the national lockdowns, Fire-breakers and vaccination programs, for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology as opposed to ideology. I’ve openly shared my contempt for Q-anon conspiracies, dullard claims that “Covid is a hoax”, and those critters I lovingly call Branch Covidians, a term I borrowed from the author Bruno Argento. I’ve posted searing critiques of the Trump/Johnson/Balsanaro axis of Branch Govidians and conclude that right leaning governments care for profit and power, not the health and safety of their subjects. They have proven to be irresponsible, repeatedly, unable to respond adequately in the interest of public health and safety. This lack of responsibility reaches beyond the left/right paradigm and predates Covid-19, which amplified and highlighted the problems and injustices facing most social democracies.

Yes, I agree that large international pharmaceutical corporations have been profiting off other people’s misery for decades, much like other sectors: finance, banking, military and fossil fuel companies, benefiting from unrestricted international finance capitalism (the free market). However, profits aside, I don’t believe the Covid-19 vaccines are intended to do anything but give humans a stronger immunity to the Coronavirus. I’ve seen no evidence for hostile activities besides those associated with pandemic capitalism and the underground chumocracy network, led by Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and David Cameron.  

One way to help distinguish Branch Covidians and Govidians from response-able measures is to consider if the information under review is faith-based or research based. Not to mean that an atheist can’t be a Branch Covidian, it’s not about belief in god but about absolute certainty or absolute belief in anything. Any research based scientist working in the 21st century works in the language of probabilities and with luck communicates likewise, avoiding absolute pronouncements, leaving that to the political, religious and cult leaders. Research based science and thinking is open to new data, progressive, plural, inclusive, and we can all agree that uncertainty is on the increase. We desperately require research based scientists and a nuanced language of communication, cautiously optimistic, to move forwards together safely. Riddle me this, what happened to baby steps? 

You’re welcome, naturally, to practice as much faith-based activity as you like, but please don’t inflict the results of your faith-based activity on all of us, in particular during a global health crisis as we tackle a novel mutating virus that cares little for faith. If estimates are correct, more than 85% of the world’s population believe in some almighty divine power, so it follows that they’re in dire need of updating techniques of prayer? Covid-19 has not gone away, as many faith-based political leaders have claimed over and over again, on the contrary the virus has mutated and strengthened, feeding off the general stupidity of for-profit governments and broken health care systems overseen by unfit faith-based nervous systems. Centralized government, centralized power and selfish objectives have led to a much worse pandemic across the planet, there’s countless examples of too little too late, opening up too soon, and our faith based leaders seem unable to learn from their mistakes, while sadly, voters continue to support their faith-based leaders, it appears that currently faith and shoddy belief win elections. 

If critical thinking, the philosophy of science, scientific methodology and the hard sciences were deemed vital for a healthy, secure and well informed society, why would the government cut spending and access to programs that teach these skills and systems of research based knowledge? In the UK, Brexit has already encouraged the exodus of countless research scientists and health professionals. Nations with faith-based, opposed to research based systems of government are doomed to repeat their dumb mistakes with their fingers crossed [insert prayer emoji]     

As the disunited Kingdom approaches July 19th and the removal of any mandated Covid restrictions, I must hammer out my opposition to this policy and make it known why I object to a sudden, all-at-once dropping of social protections, and extend these sentiments to Holland and other countries who may pay the price of yet another full lockdown due to opening up too fast while also miss-reading the cultural landscape so as to be wholly ineffective at communication with their subjects, youth in particular. Where’s the world beating advertising geni and behavioural science whizz kids, with their superpowers of persuasion and coercion, where’s the influential secret agents or influencers? At least Mark Rutte can apologise to the Dutch people for his mistakes, Boris Johnson, like Donald Trump is completely incapable of admitting mistakes, impervious to the shame and guilt most human beings feel when they’ve made a mistake that’s led to suffering. This is what happens when you invite liars and sycophants into the highest positions of power. I object to the herd immunity (mass infection) strategy and I always have done, since I noticed the tendency of those who promote it to be leaning right and leaning faith-based thinking. “Let it rip” is the catchy slogan that succinctly sums up irresponsibility in 2021.

So what is to be done? Like many of you out there reading this, I suspect you’ve also encountered entrenched views and opinions, frustrated by the inability to get through to friends and family, let alone representatives and government officials. The spectrum is wide and growing, from flat earther’s and 5G mast burners to Yogi’s and MCs there’s seemingly, to me, no walk of life not touched by this schism between faith and research concerning Covid and how to respond. I think you’ll agree, the majority of those with vaccine hesitancy and a slightly wonky view of biology are not bad people carrying malice intent, they are our friends and loved ones. It seems to me that a small but wide reaching network of dedicated faith-based thinkers are being encouraged and assisted in propagating their alternative views by political forces interested in destabilization and populism. I’d hope that the anti-vaccine groups and those on the fence also notice the subtle differences between those who support restrictions, lockdowns, masks, social distancing due to care for vulnerable people (not for profit) from the minority of oligarchs who dream of a totalitarian system of government and wish to keep the population in quarantine indefinitely.

Yes, I admit, I’m guilty of losing my center at times, especially when writing as Squintin Quarantino, serving up Covid punks, plague DJs and MCs cold. But this is a purposeful antagonism, aiming to set the scene for an open debate/battle between poets, rappers, preachers and politicians, all in the spirit of sporting competition and intellectual, witty combat. This is what all governments refuse to acknowledge, that art and creativity is a forum for democracy, a furtive ground where the gloves can come off and the language can explode in all directions, for the sporting entertainment and enlightenment of the society. That said, I regret some of the bombastic and mocking tone of some rhymes and aspire to a clearer, research based form of verse, able to hold history, scientific facts, statistics and epic drama. The work continues. Stay tuned.  

Here today, in this letter I’m drawing attention to the fact that I’ve puffed and huffed and pouted and made weird noises to encourage feedback, opened myself up for critique and stood my ground when it comes to the goal of slaying coronavirus with eternal vigilance. The reckless decision to remove all Covid restrictions in the UK (and Holland) is another kick in the teeth to research based, science based thinking. The government is overriding the scientific consensus, demonstrating they are in league with Branch Covidians by way of their faith-based approach to public health. So it goes. 

Be responsible around others, it might rub off.

An additional problem that needs to be addressed is that of the growing gap between the rich and the poor. Tackling these difficult circumstances will require that we work together–14th Dali Lama.

–Steve Fly a.k.a Squnitin Quarantino


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