This op-ed features opinion and analysis from Raw Egg Nationalist, the popular health and fitness author recently profiled in the Tucker Carlson Originals documentary, The End of Men. His book, “The Eggs Benedict Option”, is available on his website and from popular book sellers.
According to a new study by Global Language Monitor, “denier” was officially the most used word of 2022, followed by “COVID”. “Vaccine”, “variant”, “pandemic”, “booster dose”, “lockdown” and “Omicron” were all on the list of 37 phrases that were used the most over the last year.
Although I don’t have any real clue about how the group actually counts instances, including which classes of words they must obviously exclude – or why they chose to make a list of 37 and not 40 or 50 words – I’m told that “the group tracks usage across the internet, as well as in print, online and social media.” There certainly doesn’t seem to be any reason to doubt their findings.
It should hardly be a surprise that even now, nearly three years after the pandemic officially began, our language – and by extension our thoughts, hopes, fears and aspirations – are still so dominated by the pandemic and its terminology.
But the fact that the specific phrase “denier” – as in “COVID denier” or “vaccine denier” – came out on top ought to give us serious pause for thought. Something else is going on.
Quantifying the harms of the pandemic is no easy task. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the number of dead from the virus. What I should have said was, “the harms caused by the pandemic response”.
In addition to the more obvious medical harms, such as the global use of experimental medical technology without proper informed consent and the deliberate suppression of alternative therapeutic treatments as basic as supplementation with vitamin D and zinc. We have a myriad of social, environmental, economic, psychological and physical harms to reckon with, of both a direct and indirect nature
A true reckoning would have to consider everything from harm due to missed diagnoses and delayed treatment, to surges in domestic violence, obesity, depression and mental illness;from massive environmental pollution of discarded face masks and PPE, to the enormous economic damage done to small businesses.
We also need to think long and hard about what the pandemic has done to society itself and, in particular, how it has altered relations between governers and governed, as well as among ourselves, the governed.
The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben isn’t someone I normally find myself in agreement with. Agamben is most well known for saying that modern Western society, in its entirety, is patterned after Auschwitz, with everyone being subject to a “state of exception” which could see them exterminated at any moment. His politics are decidedly further to the left than my own.
What we are witnessing is a fundamental transformation of society, and the emergence of a new kind of citizenship on a biological basis.
Even so, the devil must be given his due. Since the very beginning of the pandemic, Agamben has spoken out with clarity and courage against the disproportionate response of the authorities in his native Italy, and the willingness of Italian institutions, including the Catholic Church, and the people themselves to abandon everything they supposedly held so dear, all for the sake of an illusory “safety”.
Agamben is in no doubt that the pandemic represents a “threshold” in politics, a word he seems to like using. What we are witnessing is a fundamental transformation of society, and the emergence of a new kind of citizenship on a biological basis.
The new “biosecurity state” justifies its existence, and the measures it enacts, primarily in terms of public health and protection against contagion. Any measures, so long as they “protect life”, are permitted, even if they actually diminish life and rob it of its purpose and meaning.
Agamben is careful not to define exactly what this new form of government is. Indeed, he believes that our rulers themselves aren’t entirely sure, and I think he’s right not to give them more credit or power than they deserve. Things are being thrashed out, with some planning but also a lot of improvisation.
That being said, it’s clear that many of our most fundamental assumptions about the nature of politics are vanishing before our eyes, and there is a logic to this process.
Not least among them is the liberal understanding of the state as a guarantor of peace and accord. In basic terms, the role of the liberal state is to eliminate violence by monopolising it and providing ostensibly neutral fora for citizens to resolve their disputes without bloodshed, as much as that is ever possible.
A denier cannot be trusted, but must be shunned, shamed and silenced.
This idea is articulated perhaps most famously of all by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan (1651). The sovereign, Leviathan, brings to an end the “war of all against all” that prevails in the “state of nature”, before the existence of the state.
The war of all against all endangers every man’s life, however great he may be, and as a result, man’s life in this condition tends, in Hobbes’ immortal phrase, to be “nasty, brutish and short”. The price of such protection is, of course, the so-called “social contract”, under which citizens or subjects agree to renounce certain fundamental rights and submit to the authority of the sovereign.
What we are seeing now is a major change to the terms of that social contract.
Instead of being a guarantor of peace and accord among citizens, the state – Leviathan – has become an active agent of conflict and discord, setting citizen against citizen.
For who else, ultimately, is responsible for the suspicion and hysteria that has gripped the world over the last three years if not governments, in alliance with the medical regime, corporations and the media?
The new study from Global Language Monitor is simply a reflection of how successful they have been in altering the way we see our fellow man: not as a fellow citizen who is entitled to hold different views from our own, but as a potentially dangerous subversive – a “denier” – whose very existence is threatening to us and the political community.
A denier cannot be trusted, but must be shunned, shamed and silenced.
Anybody who says cultivating civil strife can’t be a deliberate, or effective, form of government clearly hasn’t read their history, recent or ancient.
We need look only as far as East Germany or Mao’s China during the Cultural Revolution, to see how encouraging fear and suspicion of one’s neighbour can strengthen and sustain a regime.
The Biblical proverb that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, is far from true – certainly in the short terrestrial time frames that concern most people.
Looking back further, to the ancient Greeks, we can see that such methods were an essential part of how tyrants – whom Aristotle called “perversions” of kings – governed their subjects.
In the fifth book of the Politics, Aristotle discusses at length how tyrants are able to sustain their regimes:
“…[T]he tyrant should lop off those who are too high; he must put to death men of spirit; he must not allow common meals, clubs, education, and the like; he must be upon his guard against anything which is likely to inspire either courage or confidence among his subjects;he must prohibit literary assemblies or other meetings for discussion, and he must take every means to prevent people from knowing one another (for acquaintance begets mutual confidence)…”
He then adds:
“Another art of the tyrant is to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another.”
Aristotle wasn’t attempting to provide a handbook for tyrants, merely a description of how tyrants such as Dionysius of Syracuse were able to hold on to power.You could be forgiven, though, for thinking that our governments over the last three years had been reading Aristotle very closely and taking plenty of notes.
Thus far, they have given no indication that they will renounce what were supposed to be “emergency” measures, or allow themselves to be held accountable for their use of them.
Trudeau’s government, in Canada, is probably the most brazen and unrepentant of them all. What’s coming next is anyone’s guess, but it’s unlikely to be good.
The first step towards holding our governments to account for the harm they have caused, is to recognise them for what they are – tyrannies. Call them by their name.
The next step? Well, perhaps the Greeks have an answer for that too…
Described by Tucker Carlson as the “spiritual leader” of “the broscientists,” Raw Egg Nationalist is a health and fitness author who may be best known as the subject of The End of Men, a Tucker Carlson Originals documentary released earlier this year.
Raw Egg Nationalist’s books and social media are available on his website.