Searching for a third way to live with corona
We feel a growing discomfort with the current struggle against corona. The (im)material sacrifices we have to make are immense. In addition, we find it risky and undesirable that we are gradually creeping towards a world in which a majority may exclude a minority with digital tickets.
In the face of dissent, we often do not feel at home. We don’t want fear and propaganda, whether on the left or the right, and we don’t want to point to scapegoats. We therefore call for a third way. A way that seeks to learn to live with corona. Without fear, with respect for verifiable facts, but also with respect for differing opinions and with a healthy skepticism against large-scale, technical ‘solutions’.
We do not believe we can control a virus like covid-19 with a lock down and ‘vaccinated or recovered’-policy. Indeed, the desire to control in a technocratic way creates a tunnel vision that carries enormous risks. We promote and try to live our selves the concept of better protection for vulnerable people as painted in the Great Barrington Declaration.
There are rational arguments to be made for vaccination, but counter-arguments – especially when it comes to people under sixty – are not as ridiculous as they are made out to be. So far, vaccines do not help well against the infectiousness of the virus. Apart from that, it is “morally reprehensible” (we say with WHO) for rich countries to buy up booster shots, while in poor countries there are elderly people for whom none is available.
Yet in an increasing number of countries, unvaccinated people are no longer allowed to go to school, swimming lessons, sports clubs, studies or work without a QR code, and can expect heavy fines and even imprisonment. Because of this compulsion, many people reluctantly allow themselves and their children to be vaccinated, an act they also have to start repeating regularly.
We make different choices among ourselves regarding vaccination, but we all believe that the ultimate consideration lies with people themselves and not with a state. We respect both positions. When it comes to QR codes, we encourage each other and others to be critical of them or even refuse them.
Any dissenting opinion is now flattened with fear visions of full ICUs and Italian states. This is a possible scenario. We think there are intermediate solutions and alternative turns possible. But we also think we need to rethink how we deal with death. Is everything in our lives makeable and controllable? Do we not allow ourselves to be hijacked by fear, the fear that with all our knowledge and technology, there is surely a limit to how far we can postpone death?
We are steeped in the notion that corona is a risk. But if we recognize that corona is particularly a risk to the elderly and vulnerable, then suddenly new ways of thinking and possibilities open up than what has been tried so far. Let’s take care of them, vaccinate them, protect them.
And let us also use our powers to combat dangers that are much larger and much more serious, such as the various spiritual, environmental and social crises that are undermining our society.
If we do not reflect on our values now, we will be taking steps toward a society where control is central, where the majority is allowed to determine who belongs and who does not, with the help of advanced technology that is difficult to adjust.
You can’t divide the world into people who do and don’t pose a health risk. Cured, vaccinated and unvaccinated, we all spread the virus to a greater or lesser degree. We see no other option but to live WITH this virus.
Frits ter Kuile
Why this call now?
This statement is crafted by a few friends who believe in the good news of Jesus Christ, the news that there is going to be a good world of peace and justice. We are inspired by thinkers like Jacques Ellul, who teach us to look critically at the dominance of technology, money and propaganda in our society. We have been following the corona debate critically for some time, but plans for a ‘vaccinated or recovered’-policy we really think is a red line. We work wholeheartedly with anyone, from any background, who is of good will, to contribute to a peaceful, inclusive society.