• Joe Xie

The Growing Anti-Science Movement and the Pandemic

It isn't a stretch to state that currently, there is an anti-science wave spreading around the US and even the world, along with the second, third, and fourth COVID-19 waves hitting many countries.

These anti-science beliefs are not limited to any specific religion or political ideology and is apparently spreading with equal speed to the pandemic ravaging many parts of the world.

Even various heads of state have succumbed to such beliefs, much to the detriment of their respective countries' fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

These kinds of anti-science beliefs are being spread mainly via social media, whether it is the "Anti-Vaxx" movement, or the "COVID-19 is a Scamdemic/Plandemic" movement. These anti-science movements are also strongly linked to a robust distrust in the authorities, whether they be scientific organizations or government agencies.

The US is fertile ground for such kinds of beliefs, due to the fact that it is almost engrained in our cultural DNA to strive to be "free", after all, our country was founded via resisting and finally breaking free of the rule of the British monarchy. Any kind of governmental action that attempt to limit the individuals' ability to live the way they want to is viewed with suspicion if not actively resisted.

The other aspect of our culture is a massive emphasis on individualism, and a strong fear and rejection of socialism (often linked explicitly to communism, despite the fact that the two schools of thought are not the same thing). Even if certain socialist policies may improve our lives, they must not be instituted due to a fear of increased governmental control.

Hence, lockdowns are "tyranny" because it is viewed as taking away our individual freedoms, and mask-wearing inconveniences the individual and thus must be shunned and resisted. Vaccines must also be resisted because I, the American individual, knows better than anyone else, based on my own research.

This is not to say that individual freedoms are not important or must not be cherished. However, when a society must come together for the benefit of the greater good, this is when an absolute emphasis on individual freedoms gets in the way, such as during a pandemic. Wearing a mask and following social distance guidelines are suddenly equated to "socialism" and "tyranny"; vaccines will make us sick and are another form of government control; and before you know it, a "resistance movement" is born.

It also doesn't help that certain countries are taking advantage of such sentiment, and using social media to spread misinformation, with the deliberate intention to sow distrust and chaos, and thus weakening their opponents on the international stage.

This emphasis on individual liberties over the greater good is now also spreading in many other democratic countries, such as in the EU, and even as far as Brazil, India and South Africa. Unfortunately, a virus has no ideology or beliefs, it's only driving need is to replicate itself, over and over again (which somewhat ironically, is similar to ideologies).

The fact of the matter is this, whether some of us believe the virus is a "scam" or not is irrelevant to the nature of the virus itself. It will simply spread much easier if many of us decide to ignore hard scientific data and facts, which is highly unfortunate for the others with whom we share the society we all live in.