I found a fun illustration of my theory that American attitudes toward coronaplague are primarily religious. Two physicians in California would ordinarily have been celebrated as heroic “frontline” workers. But then they made heretical statements in a YouTube video, e.g., that the death rate from Covid-19 was about the same as for a bad influenza (what the former chief scientist of the European CDC estimated as well) and that shutting down society and the economy was irrational.
YouTube cast out the heretics, which didn’t surprise me, but sampling the hour-long video (still available on the web site of the doctors’ local ABC broadcast(!) TV station), I was surprised at how mild-mannered the doctors are.
The efforts that elite Americans, such as the executives at Google/YouTube, are making to suppress heresy, all the while claiming that their religious beliefs are based on “science”, would be comical if not for the high stakes in terms of lives. Astronomers don’t spend a lot of effort trying to remove astrology videos from YouTube. People don’t feel that astronomy is threatened to the point that they post on Facebook #BelieveAstronomy and #RejectAstrology.
- Noam Chomsky figured much of this out in 1988 with Manufacturing Consent (but it is still interesting to see how privately owned media can serve as an official propaganda outlet for the elites in a 21st century context!)
- https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2017/08/07/casting-out-the-heretic-at-google/ (a guy who liked his job sitting alone and staring at a screen was cast out for saying that it was mostly guys, rather than women, who wanted a job sitting alone and staring at a screen)