Let’s hear from people with inconvenient views

Don’t get me wrong. I happen to believe that the COVID vaccine is an excellent thing, created in the main by beautiful people with the good of mankind at heart. They have worked hard, often at personal expense, to save many people’s lives.

I am strongly in favour of vaccination, not least because it protects people other than the vaccinee. I think we should be prepared to put up with discomfort, and possible mild side-effects, if it helps prevent the spread of what can be a very nasty disease.

But this does not prevent me from having slight misgivings about vaccination in general, partly because I do not understand it. I am not a biologist or a chemist, or a doctor. I certainly don’t think it contains micro-chips designed to control our lives (one off-the-wall conspiracy theory), but does it have a prolonged effect on our immune systems and our DNA? I have no idea. Is vaccination generally behind the many and varied mood disorders, like attention deficit disorder and types of autism, that seem so rife in children nowadays and were notably absent in my schooldays? Or is this total rubbish?

What exactly is being injected into us? I don’t know. Even those who do know may not understand completely how it interacts with all the other stuff in our bodies, but it is a question of proportion. Prevention of COVID is an important, possibly vital, thing to be able to do, as was prevention of smallpox, polio, measles and other once-feared illnesses. It seems worth the risk. That is the best I can say, and so that is what I do say.

What I do not say is that we should create a society where these things cannot be questioned. To dismiss everyone who does not want to be vaccinated, for whatever reason, as “stupid anti-vaxers” and to deny them a platform is the first step (maybe not even the first) down a slippery slope.

Some people have very weird ideas. Take Galileo, for instance. We are at liberty not to believe them, but if we deny them access to publicity or publication, we may be refusing to believe something that turns out to be true. Science changes day by day. If we refuse to read about anything except what is generally accepted, that is anti-science, not the other way round.

We are dangerously close to taking this position on climate change. When was the last time you heard anything other than the “official” position on climate change from any major news outlet? And yet very many scientists have different ideas. I may not believe them, but I want to hear them. No, I am not a “climate change denier”.

To shut out dissenting voices opens the door to a totalitarian society. One commentator from the transport sector sees a real risk of “environmental totalitarianism” in a post-pandemic world, “bypassing any democratic process….The costly climate agenda is all about controlling you, not the climate.” 

Similar threats to freedom occur with movements like Black Lives Matter (of course they do) and the no-platforming of people with controversial ideas at universities, not to mention the refusal to let high school pupils learn about blasphemy. I am against blasphemy, by the way.