COVID19 and DARVO: willingness to get sick does not an evil person make.
Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender. “ DARVO,” an acronym understood by psychologists, counselors, family court personnel, therapists, and domestic violence advocates, but unknown to many in the general public. Knowledge is power, so we should all learn about this common trick now: a tool of psychological destruction and manipulation, it is used by some of the most dangerous people in the world. These undercover bad guys are very good at “getting out there first” with their stories of victimization, and their lies “travel halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” They create delusional false realities in which they are innocent, and their chosen victims— the people they need to discredit in order to disempower and control — are the bad guys, not to be trusted.
Nice little trick they’ve got there!
It is notoriously difficult for the victim to escape from this clever trap, so we owe it to victims everywhere: when there are vocal “good guys” (plaintiffs, whose story is heard first) and more silent “bad guys” in a situation, we must carefully consider whether the “obvious” good guy could be a bad guy in disguise. This is particularly true when the “good guys” try very hard to silence and discredit the “bad guys” before their side of the story gets out.
Rarely is there a narrative with such clearly delineated “bad guys” and “good guys” as we see in COVID19. Dare to disagree with your “conservatively social distancing” neighbors, and most of them will freely and expeditiously let you know what they think of your devious “bad guy” behavior. They’ve developed message boards and apps to snitch on and publicly shame dissenters, and they will gossip behind your back, exactly as the advisors to the British government envisioned: “Social disapproval from one’s community can play an important role in preventing anti-social behaviour or discouraging failure to enact pro-social behaviour.” The governments knew that with some clever propaganda messaging, they wouldn’t even need police enforcement for social distancing— we’d do that for them, by turning on each other.
The government believed, based on epically flawed models, that it needed us to “socially distance” temporarily, in order to control hospital capacity. They didn’t think we would cooperate, so they decided to exaggerate our personal risk; tell us that failing to cooperate would make us murderers. The following moral construct was born: “If you disagree with lockdown, you’re selfish. If you won’t wear a mask, you’re selfish. If you won’t give up your business and educating your kids, you’re selfish. If you won’t agree that it’s fair for us to take away everything you ever worked for at whim, you’re selfish — you’re a killer. Did you see those teenagers at the park, at the party? Selfish. They’re going to kill grandma.”
Five months in, although hardly anyone has died in my “epicenter” community despite all of this deviance, this premise is so basic that it’s taken utterly for granted: anyone willing to hide out at home (indefinitely) and wear masks (indefinitely) is generous; anyone who doesn’t is selfish. It’s true…right?
Maybe partially, at first, when hospital capacity was an issue. But not anymore. Now, the perpetuation of this misguided morality — this anti-science — turns victims into offenders.
The claim: YOU make the world more dangerous for ME by exposing yourself to COVID19 infection.
If hospital beds were in short supply, maybe. Then, you could argue I may deprive you of a bed if I’m irresponsible. Barring that, however, my voluntary exposure to a pathogen makes the world safer for you. It is a natural vaccination. I am essentially agreeing to be vaccinated for your benefit, and you are calling me a killer, which is the opposite of the truth. Keeping ME safer actually makes you LESS safe, and leads to unnecessary deaths by protecting the wrong people and prolonging the period during which the elderly must be isolated. This fact is summarized nicely by infectious disease expert and Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff in his article, “Delaying herd immunity is costing lives”:
Social distancing that cannot be permanently sustained is a different story. [F]or every young low-risk person avoiding infection, there will ultimately be roughly one additional high-risk older person that is infected, increasing the death count.
Anti-vaxxers do not suffer the consequences of their beliefs, as they are protected by the herd immunity generated by the rest of us. Neither will the anti-herders, many of whom can afford to isolate themselves from Covid-19 until natural herd immunity is achieved by others. It is older and working-class people that disproportionately suffer from the current approach, becoming infected and thereby indirectly protecting much lower-risk college students and young professionals who are working from home.
The current one-size-fits-all lockdown approach is leading to unnecessary deaths.
You may argue that the antibodies I develop won’t last, but that begs the question: what point is there to waiting for a vaccine, if the human body won’t make lasting antibodies? If my own body fights off the infection so easily that I don’t even need to make many (or any) antibodies, isn’t that really great news? Also, the virus disappeared from Stockholm even though only a small percentage of the population developed antibodies. Do we really care how many of us have detectible antibodies, as long as the virus is gone from the area? We shouldn’t.
Speaking of Stockholm, they never wore masks there. Sweden’s annual all-cause deaths for 2020 are running almost identical to 2018, and not significantly above the five-year average. That is great science, right there: a live trial testing the premise, “can a dense city survive COVID19 with no lockdown and no masks?” Yet anyone who thinks we should follow suit is shamed. One could reasonably believe that masks perpetuate the idea that COVID19 is as dangerous as we thought it could be back in March, when we now know it is only .16% more dangerous than seasonal flu. Fear generates irrational behavior; an unwillingness to allow other people to develop natural immunity is clear evidence of that irrational fear.
Everyone has the power to stay six feet away from other people, and wear an N95 respirator — even though there is no randomized, controlled, outcome-verified trial demonstrating it limits infections — if they feel so inclined. (Incidentally, the permissibility of respirators invalidates the argument that “masks are for others,” because they do not filter on exhale). We all have the power to adequately protect ourselves without forcing anything on anyone else. That should never have become a thing. It is more toxic than any virus. It has caused us all to get stuck participating in “opposite year,” in which herd immunity is a bad thing, sheets of paper worn on faces protect you from viruses that escape from Level 4 virology labs, and people who are willing to get sick to keep the world functioning for poor people, women, and children are the bad guys. They should be willing to trash their own lives to help the COVID-scared “feel safer,” even though this contradicts science, otherwise they are murderers.
This is all DARVO, plain as day. Down is up, and up is down.
It’s always nice when a Medium article ends with a personal story. Here is mine: on March 7, 2020, I spent 3 hours unmasked — blissfully ignorant about COVID’s proximity (NYC metro) — with my hairstylist, gabbing away without a care in the world. Unbeknownst to us, this was to be her last day of work for over three months, because the following day, she got slammed with COVID19. I can’t remember experiencing any symptoms apart from a few sneezes, and I only remember those because I remember feeling paranoid about them due to the rapidly-developing, uber-paranoid environment. I have no antibodies.
Conclusion: I am either immunologically sound, COVID is not as contagious as people make it out to be, or both. Either way, I should not be subject to mask and lockdown mandates, nor should the people like my stylist who has recovered from COVID. People from her church are dying alone in hospitals and care homes, forbidden the comfort of a kind word and human touch.
These are your rules. You don’t allow exceptions. And you won’t even say when they expire.
And you call us the bad guys.