Opinion: Things I’ve Learned From The Pandemic, Part 1

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Today I came across a post by a social commentator named Zuby. He compiled a list titled “20 Things I’ve Learned (Or Had Confirmed) About Humanity During The “Pandemic.”

The past year and a half have been incredibly enlightening about what our society has become. I’ve contemplated what I’ve learned about who we are now, and the realizations I’ve come to are not encouraging.

Inspired by Zuby’s thoughts, I’ve compiled my own similar list of things I’ve learned about our current society. The following reflects part one of my list.

  1. Many people would rather be in the perceived majority than be right.

I say “perceived majority” because this last year has also shown me that a very small number of radicals can make so much noise that they can effectively force the hand of an entire society by making that society believe that they represent the voice of the majority. Don’t let the voices of a few angry radicals convince you that their opinion represents the majority. And don’t forego your moral values and convictions in an effort to fit into what you think might be the social majority.

2.  The fear of social disapproval is as powerful as the fear of death.

In the beginning of the pandemic, people’s actions were driven by a fear of death from an unknown virus. But once the science and statistics showed that most young and healthy people didn’t need to fear for their lives, that children had essentially no risk at all, and that many of the measures being taken (masks, distancing, lockdowns) were not all that effective against the virus, the logical thing would have been for people to abandon those things and make their own informed decisions about what was best for their health. But fear of social disapproval instead became the reigning motivation behind the behavior of the masses. People wore a mask out of fear of being called out for not wearing one. It was easier to just wear one even if you knew it was useless than to risk getting into an altercation at the store. People socially distanced for fear of being corrected by peers or business owners. Now, people are being vaccinated out of a fear of being called “selfish,” “anti-tax,” or “anti-science” by others in society. Rather than making their own informed decisions, people are living their entire lives around the fear of social disapproval. Essentially, peer pressure. Isn’t that what we try to teach our children to avoid?

3.  Once they have made up their minds, many people would rather commit to being wrong than admit they were wrong.
It’s hard for anyone to admit they were wrong. But owning up to your mistakes is important for growth. So what happens when an entire faction of society refuses to admit that they were wrong about something, even in the face of overwhelming evidence? How many times were major issues dismissed as “conspiracy theories,” which were later proven to be entirely true? How many times did the naysayers admit that they were wrong and own up to the implications of perpetuating a false narrative? How many issues were unalterably affected by these people being wrong? This is especially evident in the media and those who believe the media. While major news organizations occasionally print a small correction after finding out that they were devastatingly wrong on an issue, they never really own up to that wrong, nor are they ever really held accountable. They never apologize to the public for misleading them and breaching trust in a free and honest press. They never run a story on how their false narratives did real damage or caused irreparable harm to an issue.
4- Humans can be trained and conditioned relatively easily to significantly alter their behaviors- for better or worse. When conditioned to be sufficiently frightened, people will accept and even demand authoritarianism.
It was truly shocking to me how quickly I watched reasonable and intelligent people routinely do things that made no logical sense, simply because they were being told to or were being made to feel fearful of the alternative. People I respected as grounded and independent thinkers were suddenly changing their entire lives and routines to accommodate strange rules that contradicted basic science, common sense, and sometimes even their core values. The most common explanation I heard was something about it just being easier to go along with it and wait it out rather than put up a fight. I could’t believe that these reasonable and intelligent people didn’t see that excuse as the resignation to authoritarian baby-steps that it was. Did they really not see how they were being conditioned by rulers who were headed down a slippery slope?

5.  People who are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists” are often well researched and are simply ahead of the mainstream narrative. The mainstream narrative only catches up when it is most politically or socially advantageous. The “conspiracy theorists” are given no apology or explanation for why they were entirely dismissed and discredited, and the public is given no explanation for why the truth was so thoroughly dismissed.

This ties back to people being committed to being wrong rather than admit that they were wrong. We have been effectively conditioned to distrust anything that seems fringe or outside the norm. But what happens when “the norm” is being manipulated by a certain group of thinkers? What happens when “the norm” is whatever that certain group has decided to let the public see? In a free and honest press, “the norm” would be the truth, no matter how “fringe” or damaging to the narrative it might seem. But that’s not how our press works. Our mainstream media manipulates information and decides what people should consider “the norm” and what people should believe are “fringe conspiracy theories” to be mocked and avoided. Even when they’re the truth. Once the truth is truly unavoidable, the mainstream narrative-spinners will be forced to acknowledge it in some manner. And even then, it often becomes a wide-scale gaslighting campaign trying to convince people that either the truth didn’t matter in this situation or that the truth wasn’t actually ever being hidden from them.

And these are just the first five. There’s much, much more.

Listen to "Mock and Daisy's Common Sense Cast" on Spreaker. A lot of common sense, no bull sense. Get Mock and Daisy’s UNIQUE take on the world, from the dinner table to the swamp on the new Mock and Daisy Common Sense Cast. Listen on Apple Podcasts, iHeart or your favorite podcast app!