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How big a problem are the anti-vaxxers?

How big a problem are the anti-vaxxers?

My problem with conspiracy theorists, including anti-vaxxers, is they seem to think that governments are super competent, able to develop microchips that are able to track people, when in reality they rarely reach bare competence.

That said, I do think we need to step back and appreciate the efforts made to get where we are in terms of the vaccine – including NHS leaders. Of course, there are still problems: the pay, how GPs are able to cope with the workload, and still a lack of clarity around many issues for GPs. But I also think that the majority of GPs understand that this is inevitable when rolling out such an urgent and speedy programme (not that that makes GPs’ lives easier).

But one thing that can’t be put at the door of NHS managers is the anti-vax movement, and I know that many GPs are worried about this.

In my opinion, however, the biggest problem is not the Andrew Wakefield anti-vaxxers. I think there are people who, for whatever reason, will actively seek out the cod science that ‘proves’ how dangerous vaccines are. There is nothing GPs can do for these people. But luckily, they are small in number.

Perhaps the more problematic cohort are those with – at times, understandable – misunderstandings around how we got so far so quick. They are a lot bigger in number. The Imperial study on patient attitudes – admittedly from mid-November, before the Pfizer vaccine was approved – that found only 65% of patients are willing to take the vaccine is worrying. Today’s news from the MHRA won’t help.

I think that the government probably is doing all it can to counter the anti-vax movement. Deputy medical director Jonathan van Tam has connected with the public on this in the briefings. Even NHS England’s ideas of information leaflets to GP practices will help.

So it may fall on GPs (who remain among the most trusted professions) to give this warning, with the extra work that entails. But there is only so much that GPs and other experts can do on this. Countering Facebook posts warning of infertility from the Pfizer vaccine is a societal problem that can’t be sorted in a few weeks. The media has a role – they need to understand the science, and not look for the sensationalist angle (and this especially applies to household-name political editors).

This is a long road and the tragic death of another much beloved GP shows we can’t forget the stakes at play.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

terry sullivan 9 December, 2020 8:50 pm

i will noyt be taking pfizers unproven injection

it needs at least 5 years full testing

cv19 has very low risk for vast majority and our immune system is 99% effective as opposed to claimed 95% for pfizer

too many trioughers in sage etc and gates involvement is very worrisome after his debacles in africa and india

i am 71 and have never had a flu jab and have never had flu

David jenkins 10 December, 2020 1:13 am

terry sullivan

glad you’ve never had ‘flu.

i am running off the equivalent of one lung (copd/bronchiectasis though never smoked)
i have a ‘flu jab every year – fine until this time last year when my sats went down to 75% and i was admitted, and found to have influenza type A. spent a week in hospital on oxygen and a drip, and further 4 weeks at home on i/v antibiotics. very nasty – no fun at all. i am still more breathless than before, though i can manage a flight of stairs in one go now.

so yes – i’m going to have the jab, though i accept there are those whose health is better than mine who think they can avoid it.

after having the jab i shall be back at work two days a week.

i am also 71

Christopher Ho 10 December, 2020 4:08 pm

Offering pro-vaccine arguments is fine. “counter the anti-vax movement”??? Through what, censorship? Making the vaccination mandatory? There lies the slippery slope to totalitarianism, Jaimie. You almost speak from a position of certainty that the Pfizer vaccine is harmless, which of course, no one really knows.

Christopher Ho 11 December, 2020 10:06 am

As if on cue, my previous comment has been removed/censored? Any explanation, Jaimie?

Patrufini Duffy 11 December, 2020 9:40 pm

The biggest national effort. And I can’t see an advert, poster, billboard, bus covering, telephone number on Eastenders or Pfizer spokesperson anywhere. Weird that. World class. Germans and the Japanese would have nailed this. So, therefore you come up with your own ideas, natural worries and permutations. And you look back at UKGov and big Pharma (well done nevertheless), consider you’ve shielded yourself and had autonomy, and think…who do I trust now? And when the benevolent, angelic GP is ambivalent and naturally unaware that makes your crystal ball a little more opaque.

Vinci Ho 12 December, 2020 10:47 am

All I would say at this point is :
It is a mad rush to pass , plan and inject this Pfizer vaccine .
A good short term ‘show off’ for the prime minister in front of camera .
Reality is the whole campaign is full of uncertainties and caveats . I am speaking as a PCN Clinical Director where we are supposed to start vaccinating on the week commencing 21/12, the Christmas week , and I am tying all I can to push this nonsense back .
There is a Chinese saying ,’ you can never arrive at the destination if you only desire rapidity’ (欲速則不達)

terry sullivan 12 December, 2020 2:25 pm

DJ–i am not criticizing others–you may benefit but you may not

i have no wish to be a guinea pig

Kristofer Holte 12 December, 2020 3:28 pm

What is likely to be worse. The vaccine or covid?

Christopher Ho 14 December, 2020 11:33 am

Be careful Terry, if you elaborate on WHY you don’t want to be a guinea pig, you might end up with your comment being removed with no warning/debate/explanation… Censorship is real it seems, on a medical/scientific site no less… Scary times…

IDGAF . 14 December, 2020 12:03 pm

Christopher Ho- why do you believe you are owed an explanation as to why your comment was removed? You also reveal nothing new with your revelation that censorship is real.

Participating here is not a right; its more like a privilege. As the avowed libertarian that you are, would you accept all and any communications no matter their nature being allowed to be published here? Or are you the kind of libertarian who is all for utter free-speech unless its unlawful? You see how restricting speech to within the confines of the law is a kind of censorship? Think about it.

Opinions and beliefs are always partial and self-biased; that is their very nature as no single objective truth exists. In terms of covid jab and its merits or otherwise- if we are truly honest the most accurate statement would be that we don’t truly know. Feel how unsettling that is?

Christopher Ho 14 December, 2020 2:46 pm

IDGAF – Asking for an explanation doesn’t mean I believe I’m owed one. A lack of explanation would simply be free for the reader to interpret how they choose. Clearly, I know censorship is nothing new, but sometimes repeatedly pointing out something obvious, may help to drive home a point. A privilege? Well, if the requirement is simply being a qualified “health professional”, then haven’t we all earned that “privilege”? Yes, free speech has to be as broad and as unrestricted as legally possible, and that’s even assuming that I agree with all the CURRENT speech laws. Might I kindly ask then what law am I breaking by introducing information, even potentially inaccurate information, into the public square? Surely, it is up to the individual reader then to make up their minds, and not the “publisher” to restrict information. I never offered up an opinion, I only posted links to alternative information. Oh I have no issue with uncertainty and don’t feel unsettled by it at all. But I’m not the one who’s written an article speaking with utmost certainty that the Pfizer vaccine is safe, and declaring ALL “anti-vax” positions for WHATEVER reasons to be “invalid”. If you truly “don’t know” about the merits/harms of the Pfizer jab, are you going to get it, IDGAF, or do more research first?

IDGAF . 14 December, 2020 3:35 pm

Christopher Ho- You overlook the nuance that even if an explanation was to be offered, it would be interpreted in a variety of ways, akin to how no explanation would also be interpreted, if anyone bothered to consider it. What gave you the idea that simply being a health professional was enough to spout ones stuff here? If you were as clued-up and astute as you portray yourself to be, you would have taken the time to bother to read the terms and conditions you “agreed” to when you signed up here. Or perhaps you didn’t read them. They are not hidden. The publishers are beholden to follow the law of the land, and can impose any additional arbitrary rules over and above this, and the price for entry is abiding by these rules.

Regarding whether or not I have the jab or do more research on it- note how you have constructed a narrow binary position here built on assumptions. Am I currently working which alters the position, or could I be on a chosen extended “Sabbatical” which gives me the luxury of time to observe how things evolve, and make a more informed decision when my demographic is invited to have the jab? Can I be arsed to spend my team trawling through reams of data to diminish the subjective sense of uncertainty and “feel better” about my decision? As it happens, I do have the luxury of time, and much better ways to spend it then analysing studies. So I do indeed “truly” don’t know.

Christopher Ho 14 December, 2020 4:17 pm

IDGAF – “even if an explanation was to be offered, it would be interpreted in a variety of ways, akin to how no explanation would also be interpreted” – You’re trying to say, any explanation is no better than a lack of explanation? It would depend if the explanation offered was sh*te then, wouldn’t it?

Oh I am aware of the T&Cs. Doesn’t make them free from criticism, does it? The law of the land? Again, quote me which law I presumably “broke”. Oh now we’re talking about “IMPOSING”, “ARBITRARY RULES”, “OVER AND ABOVE”? Sure, that doesn’t seem subjective, authoritarian, and unaccountable at all…. Price for entry? I haven’t been warned, suspended, etc. Even with other online “platforms/publishers”, there are “terms of service”, that supposedly govern their decisions, and offer explanation to people that cross them. It would seem that you’re actually in favor of unaccountable authoritarianism by playing defence for whoever is responsible for censorship on Pulse.

Binary? 1. Have the jab. 2. Don’t have the jab. 3. Wait and do more research… I haven’t assumed anything or offered you a purely binary choice. I would’ve been fine with the answer “Don’t know yet”.

IDGAF . 14 December, 2020 5:24 pm

Christopher Ho- “You’re trying to say…”- notice how you are interpreting and imposing a meaning? Reminds me of Cathy Newman vs Jordan Peterson.
The law of the land- legal strictures which underpin anything that can be printed without bringing grief to the publishers. You didn’t break any but you “interpreted” this in a way which enriched your outrage.
Imposing arbitrary rules over and above- joining any “club” has these which don’t have to be part of the legal strictures mentioned above. To use the facilities of the “club” you are bound by the rules. If you don’t wish to be thus bound, take your custom elsewhere. It’s not right nor wrong but just the price of entry.
“It would seem”- another self-serving interpretation and your outrage is really frothing now.

This to-and-fro beautifully demonstrates how everyones perception is biased and partial; this also extends to the scientists who claim objectivity and that they are “doing science properly”. This is not to throw science out as bunk, but to have full faith in its infallibility is misguided. Its the best tool for the job but anything which requires observation to derive conclusions is prone to fall foul to some degree of this human quality.

Christopher Ho 14 December, 2020 5:58 pm

Idgaf – It would only remind you of Cathy Newman vs JP if I was MIS-interpreting you. You failed to address if I was wrong? Just because an explanation can be interpreted in any number of ways, doesn’t make it equal worth to a lack of an explanation entirely. My answer is it depends on the explanation, and your over-generalization is simply that.

I’ve asked you to show me the law that “could bring grief to the publishers”. You answered with “you “interpreted” this in a way which enriched your outrage.” And? How is that answering anything?

Oh, so now we have imposition of arbitrary rules governing posts involving Covid vaccines? Could you direct me to the memo about that? Did anyone vote on these rules? Again, I repeat, having such “rules” doesn’t free them from criticism. If Pulse wants to silence criticism, then it knows what it has to do. I can’t help but notice, you’re trying to make it seem I’m “outraged”, instead of answering the question about your seeming acceptance of restriction of speech/authoritarianism. If the readers think I’m outraged, they’re fine to think that, after all freedom of speech matters.

You want to paint everyone as “biased”… Sure, but some are more “biased” than others.

IDGAF . 14 December, 2020 6:13 pm

Christopher Ho- you state you are aware of the Ts+Cs. Don’t just be aware- read them and realize you agreed to them by signing up. They are not specific to covid 19 and apply at all times. In essence, the publishers do WTF they like and because it is their site you like it or lump it. I accept this. You conflate legal aspects and more localised “Pulse specific” rules and are trying to weave a narrative that some new unwritten rule pertaining to covid has “appeared”. It hasn’t.

Everyone is biased to some degree. No exceptions.

Christopher Ho 14 December, 2020 8:19 pm

I read them Idgaf. Pls point out where it says that info posted that is seemingly contrary to the narrative can be taken down without recourse. They can’t do whatever they like. Even publishers are restricted legally. Like it or lump it? Is it illegal to post criticism of censorship? Aye, you accept it, as you do not value freedom of expression, clearly. I conflate them as they are bound by legal aspects. There is no new unwritten rule, as I have no explanation to base that on. It seems censorship is unaccountable on this site, when you would expect a scientific site to be better. Oh I agree that everyone is biased. But not at all times, and not to the same degree. Keep going with your generalisations though, I’m sure it is finding traction.

IDGAF . 14 December, 2020 9:59 pm

Christopher Ho- terms and conditions point 7.5, beginning with the words “We reserve the right…”. I won’t spoil it for you. Perhaps go and read it. I will give you a clue though, they use the words “that we consider”. Subjective interpretation, which they are permitted as they are the hosts here. They can’t do “whatever they like”, but what they can do is scrub anyones comments without having to provide an explanation. Rule 7.5 is the “arbitrary rule, over and above, imposed” that I was pointing towards earlier; if you want the more “legal” stuff, which you seem fixated on, read the rest of the Ts+Cs. Its all in there, if you put your freedom-fighter perspective aside for a moment.

Have you ever considered that “freedom of expression” is a concept? It is just an idea which people choose to share, and live by to some degree, in order to facilitate communication and foster a degree of harmony. Some concepts/ideas are useful, but any notion of value is applied and not inherent within them.

Also, if you think this is a scientific site then you set the bar pretty low. Its an online GP rag with the most superficial consideration of the scientific aspects of medicine and doesn’t pretend to be anything more scientific than that.

Christopher Ho 14 December, 2020 10:20 pm


7.5 We reserve the right (without limiting our rights to seek other remedies) to remove offending material placed on the Website that we consider to constitute a misuse of the Website or which is otherwise harmful to other users of the Website.

Note: “Offending material”, “harmful”…. all subjective of course.

27. Governing law

27.1 These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law.
27.2 Any disputes shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts, to which both parties submit.

So this censorship can be disputed in court. I’ve simply pointed it out for the public.

Freedom of expression is not just A concept, it is the most fundamental tool for advancement of society. If you can’t freely debate in the marketplace of ideas, then you limit the ways you have of determining the good ideas to keep and the bad ones to leave behind. Voltaire – “I wholly disagree with what you say and will contend to the death for your right to say it.” Orwell – “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” To you, you think it is some airy fairy idea… Like I said, you clearly do not value this freedom high enough, and if you’re British, your forebears paid a high price to pass down to you.

GPs/scientists contribute to this site, to discuss medical/scientific matters. Its not the journal Science, as articles are not peer reviewed prior to publication. But it is still a scientific site.

IDGAF . 14 December, 2020 11:08 pm

Christopher Ho- I stressed the subjective nature of 7.5. I am glad you agree. In terms of your referring to 27.1/27.2, I am sure Jamie Kaffash has sent his lawyer a Whatsapp message to clarify matters so he is not plagued by insomnia tonight. If you are minded to take Pulse through the courts, to demonstrate your faith in the legal system, then let me know so I can grab some popcorn and watch.

Regarding freedom of expression, and the marketplace of ideas, you overlook the fact that this place, here, is Pulse, with rule 7.5 in its “constitution”, so by definition is not an open unrestricted marketplace. This freedom is a concept because it is never truly free nor potentially without consequences. Like having your comments scrubbed. Or something more significant.

Theres a nice juxtaposition in your reply on my Britishness and quotes from Voltaire and Orwell. By British, do you mean white-skinned, or does your use of the term allow for the possibility that my skin is not white? If the latter then consider that the British white folk could have actually exacted a high price on my ancestors freedom of expression. Interesting don’t you think? So were my ancestors really “free” to express? Worth pondering.

If Pulse is a scientific site, and the current scientific narrative is that “the vaccine is good” (irrespective of whether this is true or not), how can you be surprised if anti-vax material is removed without explanation? A case of trying to have your cake and eating it.

Christopher Ho 15 December, 2020 2:33 am

IDGAF – I might not, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a case for the court.
A “constitution” on a platform/publisher, does not exempt Pulse from the court of common law. The consequences that have been put in place are exactly that, a restriction on freedom of speech that has been either uncalled for, or called for with no thought on the long term consequences of the restrictions. Look at what racial laws did to foster the environment where grooming gangs were allowed to roam freely.

By British, I mean British, you brought race into this. Not all white-skinned consider themselves British, and not all coloured people consider them non-British. So what’s your point? Your ancestors weren’t free to express themselves, so now the British in present day shouldn’t be allowed to either?

Oh I am not surprised at all by censorship, as you correctly point out, it exists everywhere, even though I think it is uncalled for in THIS situation, where I simply posted a link for people to peruse. I’m not criticising the narrative, merely the censorship. Now you’re conflating the two. And conflating the fact that Pulse is a scientific site, with the opinion of its Editor, which POSSIBLY, may not be based on ALL the scientific info/properly informed.

IDGAF . 15 December, 2020 7:26 am

Christopher Ho- Thanks for clarifying that British means British. Good empty explanation.

Let the readers view this thread and make their own conclusions- which they will, and there will be a range of them I am sure. There are always many ways to view any matter, and having some degree of flexible thinking can alert one to this observation. That is the point here- ones perspectives are held as some kind of “objective” truth but things are always much more nebulous.

Christopher Ho 15 December, 2020 9:43 am

Empty? If you don’t understand it, that reflects more on your lack of value of “British” culture and western values. Unsurprising for the position of today’s Left really, along with its support for authoritarianism. Your reply is “empty” as you simply dodged the question about how your “ancestors” not being free was relevant to present day. I have no issue with the readers taking their own conclusions from this thread. After all, I’m the libertarian here, and am for the public discourse. It’s ironic though, that you’re supporting the restriction of information from the readers by Pulse, yet want to be on their side in making an “informed” decision? Who’s trying to have their cake and eat it now?

IDGAF . 15 December, 2020 11:05 am

Christopher Ho- your Definition of British needs filling out. British means British is on a parallel with “Brexit means Brexit” ie empty, saying little. Unless you assume everyone thinks British means the same as you hold it to mean. You project that I am a lefty and authoritarian. You identify as and with being a Libertarian, and because you identify with this, thinking that is what you are, you defend it. Like a Millwall fan battering the Arsenal fan because ” We are Millwall, From the Den”. But what is a Libertarian but a label, a concept? You mistake concept for reality and struggle to see the difference. Attaching to any identity restricts your freedom to some degree.

Regarding restricting information here at Pulse- I am utterly ambivalent about it because if I cared that much about “the restriction” that ails you I wouldn’t bother posting here. Pulse has its own identity which it too will seek to preserve and if this means removing/censoring stuff then that’s what happens.

Christopher Ho 15 December, 2020 11:27 am

IDGAF – I described it as simply and as broadly as I could for you, yet it still went over your head – Being British means valuing “British” culture and western values. Like I said, a failure to understand that reflects more on you than a failure on my part to explain it.

I project? Do you deny that you’re a lefty and pro-authoritarian? You are apologising for a public platform restricting scientific and legal information that is in the public domain ALREADY. I’m not projecting if it is true, isn’t it? I don’t think I’m a libertarian, I am a libertarian. And I don’t defend liberty simply because I am one, but for a whole multitude of reasons, which of course, you haven’t even tried to understand. Mistaking concept for reality? Just because reality isn’t where I want it to be, doesn’t mean I can’t promote a concept, surely.

Attaching to my “identity of being a libertarian” restricts my own liberty???
“ambivalent about it because if I cared that much about “the restriction” that ails you I wouldn’t bother posting here” – but you did. And all you’re doing is obfuscation.

IDGAF . 15 December, 2020 11:41 am

Christopher Ho- this is getting tedious.

“I am a libertarian”. Attaching to this restricts your freedom to see things from Pulses’ perspective re why they remove stuff should they choose.

Other problematic identifications include Antifa, Proud Boys, Extinction Rebellion, Salafist Muslim, Feminist, MGTOW, anti-vaxxer etc etc. All labels which result in identification producing a blinkered outlook and behaviour commensurate with the identity they have adopted.

Lefty and pro-authoritarian are identities that in this discussion you project and as you might have gathered, I am not keen on identities. No denial nor affirmation, rather a smirk.

You are a self-admitted concept. Libertarian!

Christopher Ho 15 December, 2020 12:04 pm

IDGAF – It’s only tedious due to your failure to address the points I’ve asked you directly. Oh “restricting my freedom” to see things from Pulse’s perspective? You think I don’t have an idea into potentially WHY they’ve done it? I’m criticising the censorship not because I don’t have an idea why, but for those potential reasons themselves.

Oh so a libertarian is a “problematic” identification? All those identities and labels are all equal in bother are they? Anti-vaxxer = salafist muslim? Talk about conflation. I’m not JUST a libertarian, but also an individualist, which is the least identitarian position possible. Again, I couldn’t help but note you failed to address my point that you’re apologising for unexplained restriciton of public information on a public site. You don’t have to deny or affirm that you’re pro-authoritarian, your actions say it all.

IDGAF . 15 December, 2020 7:18 pm

Christopher Ho- All you have are your speculations as to why Pulse removed your contribution, but these ideas are just that as Pulse do not feel the need, nor are they obliged, to explain themselves. Recognising Pulses aloofness from your concerns makes me pro-authoritarian? Umm.

Did anyone claim all the cited identities are equally problematic? Your mind is believing its own faulty and imagined interpretations. Perhaps a more salient example, considering the nature of this site, would be to consider how holding an identity as a doctor causes those who are burned-out and leave the frontline to end up feeling guilt, and a sense of loss in addition to the battering the job has imposed upon them. Identifying thus, or holding firm to an identity is not without consequences. Don’t accept what I say; look into the psychology of it.

Christopher Ho 15 December, 2020 7:29 pm

“Recognising Pulses aloofness from your concerns makes me pro-authoritarian?” – No, saying they are right to do so whilst ignoring common law, and being anti-free speech ANYWHERE does.

Did anyone claim all the cited identities are equally problematic? – I quote you directly: “Other problematic identifications include Antifa,….. All labels which result in identification producing a blinkered outlook and behaviour commensurate with the identity they have adopted.” – You insinuate being a libertarian is “problematic”. To the authoritarian point of view yes. You then lump all the above stated “identities” in the same sentence, and tar them with the same “blinkered outlook and behaviour”? So none, or some, or all of them might be justified? If you think I’ve misinterpreted you, sure. But I don’t. And your other example is simply changing the subject. Who’s aloof now, in assuming I’m ignorant of the psychology that you speak of?

IDGAF . 15 December, 2020 7:59 pm

Christopher Ho- do you honestly think the blinkers on the Antifa supporter are the same as the blinkers on the Proud Boys supporter? The blinkers are specific to each, clearly, in keeping with the identification each adopts. Holding any identity is consequential, and the root of many problems we face today. They divide, pitch one group against the “other” and produce fragmentation- in society and in peoples thinking.

If you really understood the psychology of it, why do you cling so firmly to your identities?

Christopher Ho 15 December, 2020 8:48 pm

IDGAF – Of course they are not the same. Which is why I don’t lump them all in one sentence calling them “problematic”, and why I pointed out that none/some/even all might be justified. depending on who’s asked. You included political identities, religious identities, gender identities, all in 1 generalisation. I was hoping you were starting to get the individualist position now, but then you lapse back into collectivism. They ALL divide? They’re ALL consequential? ALL root of problems? Your over-generalisations don’t do you any favours. Identity is simply a way of describing something, but no assumption should be made that 1 identity encompasses all that someone is. People belong to many identities and relinquish and adopt different identities all the time. Oh understanding psychology of identity, doesn’t immediately discount ALL identities as completely worthless. No identities are worth valuing to you? Like valuing freedom?? My answer to your question: Some are worth clinging to. What do you value?

IDGAF . 16 December, 2020 10:47 am

Christopher Ho- I assert that all identities are consequential. Some of these consequences are problematic. For an identity to mean anything it requires division, as you beautifully demonstrated with your reference to individualist vs collectivist. Each requires the other for any meaning to be applied. In the same way that “hot” doesn’t mean anything without the relative notion of “cold”. You fail to discern how human cognition, and the English language are inherently dualistic, requiring division. If an identity can be adopted and relinquished (also dualistic terms) all the time, how can the identity be what you are? You may call it simply a way of describing something but one can see that it ends up being so much more than that. It is an affectation adopted to serve a purpose, typically self-serving in some way. And I believe not inevitable nor indispensable.

Being free of the need to adopt identities allows one to “put ones own house in order”, mentally speaking. That is the only place where one is able to effect meaningful change, and provides real freedom. That is priceless.

Christopher Ho 16 December, 2020 11:31 am

Idgaf – Obfuscation – You didn’t say SOME are problematic. Also describing a distinction doesn’t mean divisive – “tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people.” There can be distinction without hostility. Talk about binary? Firstly, if there are different types of identities, then some can be adopted/relinquished, but some can’t, e.g. gender, and if I decide that it is highly unlikely that I would ever change, e.g. libertarianism. Therefore, I am that identity, but not just that single identity alone. The English language is inherently dualistic? Right, sure, that’s why so many words share meanings…. Who’s missing out on the nuances now?

“Need” to adopt identities? I don’t feel the “need” to, I just use some identities to describe my position easily to others. You may have “put your own house in order”, yet it only seems you’re unwilling to commit to any position outrightly… If you actually believe in your principles, stand up for them. You also insinuate that anyone who has “adopted identities”, has not “put ones own house in order”, i.e, considered other positions and reached an informed conclusion and position. Totally dodged my question on what do YOU value: clearly not Article 10: freedom of expression, or the rule of common law. And describing myself as a libertarian/someone who values freedom, “restricts” my freedom? Right…

IDGAF . 16 December, 2020 11:59 am

Christopher Ho-Note how you interpreted the word division (the act of dividing) and transformed it (perhaps without realizing) into the word “divisive” with a definition provided which supports your position? Your interpretation is self-serving.

Saying a gender is unchangeable could have a section of the population up in arms at your “reactionary and out-dated” views. No-platform for Christopher Ho! I make no comment as to the rightness or wrongness of this, but note how even gender is regarded as less rigid an identity than it has been regarded before. You see the vacuous nature of it all?

Your accusation of insinuation in your last paragraph is your interpretation, expanded and generalized to serve your defensiveness.

Article 10 is not immutable; who is to say that it will endure forever. Common law also is prone to revision. If one has no position, then one has nothing to defend, and no barriers to considering all positions without unconscious bias. It can be very illuminating and valuable.

Christopher Ho 16 December, 2020 1:28 pm

Idgaf – I quote you: “They divide, pitch one group against the “other” and produce fragmentation- in society and in peoples thinking.” Also, “For an identity to mean anything it requires division, as you beautifully demonstrated with your reference to individualist vs collectivist. Each requires the other for any meaning to be applied.” Am I wrong in interpreting what you meant as “divisive”?

Well, it depends on what you define as gender. BIological gender, i,e genetic chromosomes are currently unchangeable. A looser definition of gender might be regarded as less rigid by some, but that doesn’t make biological gender vacuous.

Again I quote you: “Being free of the need to adopt identities allows one to “put ones own house in order” So you don’t mean to say that you can’t “have your house in order”, if you’re not “free of the need to adopt identities”?? You keep trying to say I’m misinterpreting you, when all I’m doing is bouncing what you say yourself back to you.

Oh I never said Article 10 or common law is immutable, simply that you don’t value it. Who’s misinterpreting whom now?

Well, you’re perfectly entitled not to defend anything, or not consider anything valuable enough to defend. But you’re confusing objectivity, with not valuing anything enough to defend. Its perfectly possible to be objective, and conclude that its morally/ethically valuable to come down on 1 position. E.g I’ve considered the arguments on how paedophilia is wrong or right, and I’ve concluded that the rights of children are worth defending, and am anti-paedophilia. Do you have no position on paedophilia, murder, rape, etc?

IDGAF . 16 December, 2020 2:40 pm

Christopher Ho- you chose to interpret it as divisive, although at no time did I use that word directly. Were you right or wrong? Neither, just self-biased.

Regarding gender- you are now making a new distinction “Biological” gender which you define in terms of chromosomes. You see how this will require you to make further distinctions to cover those who are not simply XX or XY? New distinctions, new terms of reference and definitions…… the process is un-ending and hence vacuous, cannot be definitively pinned down.

You quote selectively, as you omitted the words “mentally speaking” at the end of “Being free of the need to adopt identities allows one to “put ones own house in order”, MENTALLY SPEAKING”. The mentally speaking bit is key; one can then see how adopting identities can cause problems and really is not necessary. You try to present everything as either this, or only that.

Quoting myself-“If one has no position, then one has nothing to defend”. No position to be defended. You morph this as equating to not defending anything, with your segue into the topics of paedophilia, murder and rape.

Paedophilia, rape and murder? Not my thing at all. Remember the Golden Rule? That is how I try to conduct myself. If others did the same through recognising common humanity and taking responsibility for their own conduct then having to call yourself anti-this and anti-that could be seen as an affectation. Labels are not required to live by the Golden Rule, nor having to be cowed by formal legislation.

Let the readers see how Christopher Ho “interprets” this post…

Christopher Ho 16 December, 2020 3:11 pm

IDGAF – I’m happy for the readers to interpret this how they choose. I asked you a direct question, “did I misinterpret you”, with the assumed follow-up to tell me HOW I did so, and you couldn’t even answer me directly, simply calling me biased. You used the phrase “pitch one group against the “other”, but you didn’t use the word divisive, sure. If you refuse to engage or even acknowledge your own incoherence, then you’re just wasting time and tying yourself in circles.

No, I never exclusively mentioned XX or XY. You could be other rare potential genetic makeups but those genetic makeups are still not changeable with current medical science. Its fine if you want to keep thinking biological gender is vacuous, I don’t or see much reason to.

I omitted “mentally speaking” out, as I knew that was what you meant. It didn’t change my interpretation of your phrase, I certainly didn’t mistake you for meaning anything else other than “mentally speaking”, i.e. a needless inclusion.

“If one has no position, then one has nothing to defend, and no barriers to considering all positions without unconscious bias. It can be very illuminating and valuable.” is not the same as “Not defending anything”? You certainly spoke like you were referring to yourself.

Oh I understand the Golden Rule very well. And it is entirely based on reciprocity. If you don’t want to be censored yourself, then you shouldn’t be defending censorship unilaterally or subjectively. The Golden Rule itself isn’t perfect, as Christopher Hitchens describes, it is only as good as the person saying it. What you’re doing is waffling/obfuscating… Living by the Golden Rule would make MOST of us anti-murder, anti-paedophiiia, etc. You might not want to label yourself as such, but assuming those are your positions with regard to paedophilia, murder, and rape, then you are part of the identities of “people who are against paedophilia, murder and rape”, like it or not. You would then presumably defend the positions against paedophilia, murder, and rape. Your entire diatribe of having “no position, nothing to defend” is just BS. You’re also demonstrably anti-freedom of expression, i.e pro-authoritarianism, but just refuse to admit it.

IDGAF . 16 December, 2020 3:18 pm

Christopher Ho- OK.

It has been an interesting thread and I hope the readers get something out of it.