A few years back, a hackneyed journalistic come-hither led me to a sober reckoning: would I write about someone alive today whom I especially admire? I couldn’t think of anyone I held in high esteem who wasn’t dead. Either I was surrounded by mediocrities, or I was an ungenerous, withholding jerk.
I’m pleased to discover that these days I admire a host of folks who aren’t dead. Some are colleagues or acquaintances; others I’ve never met. While they don’t all embrace the same catechism, they’ve one thing in common: they depart from establishment orthodoxy on Covid-19. What they share, then, is an anti-catechism.
I’ve been vocal about my dismay over unquestioning public capitulation to wholesale rescindment of civil liberties during this pandemic. I’ve raised the alarm over the irrationality of divisive but bizarrely popular vaccine mandates and passports, when the inoculated also catch and spread this disease. I’ve decried the collusion of government, Big Tech and the mainstream media, all singing in such perfect harmony that they could go on tour as a Motown revival band. But the Covid story has not altogether been one of unrelenting conformity. Often at some cost to themselves, a range of British journalists, academics, doctors and, yes, even politicians have sung piercingly off-key.
I’m therefore taking this seasonal opportunity to thank these perverse if not downright self-destructive outliers, upon whom for the past 20 months I’ve personally relied to maintain my sanity and my faith in humanity.
Beginning the second week of the UK’s original lockdown, our own Toby Young has doggedly put out a free daily newsletter, which is still the first thing I read when I get up. Lockdown Sceptics has now morphed into the more broad-based The Daily Sceptic, but under both titles the newsletter has encapsulated new scientific studies at odds with stock narratives, excerpted dissenting articles and provided a forum for isolated prisoners of quasi-police states like Australia.