Friday, 24 December 2021

Trust your instinct

I find it almost impossible to listen to audio or watch video in the age of clicks, but I watched a very stimulating discussion with John Cleese, which I recommend to you, about creativity. John Cleese quoted Bernard Berenson the American art historian saying he could recommend a forgery because it made him feel ill.

Some people give you a bad feeling in your stomach. It is more important to trust your instinct than your reason.

I have a historian's instinct about things which often serves me. I know some stories are thin and shallow - the arguments for lockdowns are an example.

I gave up the news and social media almost completely (I allow myself the press over my breakfast like a Victorian paterfamilias) so I was a week late catching this article in the Daily Mail by Professor Jay Bhattacharya, headlined

We cannot stop the spread of COVID, but we CAN end the pandemic: Protect the old and vulnerable, forget lockdowns - and learn to live with the virus, writes Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford University School of Medicine professor

I have been following his thoughts since March 2020 and have been more impressed by him than by anyone else during the pandemic. He has what Tory MPs in the 1970s called 'bottom' - a word Dr Johnson used and which he defined (when people laughed) as 'fundamental good sense'.

What is deeply saddening and very frightening is that, though his views were listened to at the start of the pandemic and quoted in the media, he became a non-person. Dr. Bhattacharya, I mean, not Dr. Johnson.

The Great Barrington Declaration, which he wrote with equally distinguished epidemiologists, was scarcely mentioned in the mainstream media.

The same historian's instinct told me that the traditional narrative of the Cold War was shallow and missed out a lot. It does. The same goes for the origins of the Second World War, but AJP Taylor corrected that before I was born, the idea that Russia is a threat to NATO now and the martyrology that surrounds figures like Lincoln, Gandhi, Mandela or Martin Luther King. The idea that Communist China threatens the interests of England or any European state might belong on the list, though she might threaten England's cousins in Australia and New Zealand.

1 comment:

  1. 'the Great Barrington Declaration was scarcely mentioned in the mainstream media'

    Government covid campaigns cost £180 million in 2020 and a further £320 million was committed from April 2021. By the middle of 2022 more than £500 million will have been spent on Coronavirus advertising.

    Nobody bites the hand that feeds them...