Doug Farrow's Razor Sharp Pen
While alerting us to what is at stake in the covid debates, a brilliant theologian skewers his intellectual adversaries.
In a recent post, I shared with you my article written in response to philosopher and theologian Doug Farrow’s recent piece. Both Prof Farrow and I argued that civil disobedience to unjust covid mandates is not only justified but may be required under the circumstances:
My article was part of a series that included four other responses to Farrow by Alasdair Roberts, Hans Boersma, Benjamin Miller, and Jason Eberl. The series just concluded with Farrow’s response to his supporters (including yours truly) and rejoinder to his critics, published yesterday. Perhaps because I’m not among those being skewered by his arguments, I have to admit that I take a certain pleasure in the fact that Doug Farrow wields his pen like a sword against his intellectual adversaries. Bracing times call for bracing prose, and he delivers.
Farrow has some kind words for my response, and perhaps it helped that he and I are in full agreement on this issue. Likewise, I cannot but agree with the points he adds to my argument here:
Now, both Boersma and Kheriaty believe, as I do, that disobedience of some kind is warranted in the present circumstances. Perhaps that shared belief stems in part from personal experience of unnecessary and wrongfully imposed suffering. Perhaps it stems from the hard work that was necessary to discover the reasons for that suffering and to explain them to others who didn't understand or were themselves suffering. At all events, I find in their remarks an admirable combination of reason and compassion (just the combination Augustine recommends at Mor. Ecc. 53) that I miss in some of the other contributions….
To Aaron Kheriaty's very fine and carefully constructed remarks, which supply some of the particulars necessary to demonstrate injury to the neighbor and injury to the self—injury indeed to science, to society, and to the state itself—I have nothing to add, except confirmation that the damage is so well-coordinated and so extensive and so persistent that it cannot be put down to good intentions gone awry, though doubtless that was the case in some instances. By no means every instance, for there was foul play from the start, including criminal negligence and what looks like involuntary euthanasia of the inconvenient elderly. And there is foul play today, not only in the ongoing restrictions, mandates, and injections—especially the unforgivable injection of children—but also in the persistent mendacity and perverse projection of guilt onto the innocent. The deep hostility driving that projection was illustrated the other day in Ottawa, when the public was deemed safe only if Tamara Lich, a Freedom Convoy organizer who had been denied bail, was brought into court wearing ankle cuffs. The judge ordered their removal, but the Canadian equivalent of the Committee on Public Safety had made its point: Resistance is forbidden. Resisters will be rounded up. Their assets will be confiscated. The gulag awaits.
On the degrees of invasiveness and coercion implicated in lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates, Farrow offers these sobering observations:
Lockdowns are the signal that the state has full control over the body and may exercise it at will, as it does in China. In that way, lockdowns are like mask mandates, only they attack the whole body and not merely the face. I therefore joined the counterattack immediately. Vaccine mandates upped the ante, of course, because they asserted this control even under the skin, inside the body, rendering control all but absolute. (Some of those behind these developments have boasted, not unreasonably, that this "under the skin" access is the most significant development of the last century and, in evolutionary terms, the most significant development ever, as I observe in part III of Anarchy from Above.)
Farrow’s piece is worth reading in its entirety, particularly to appreciate his rejoinders to his critics—one almost wishes he was served up better intellectual adversaries since it hardly seems like a fair fight. In any case, he concludes his piece with this:
Kheriaty lost his job. I am in danger of losing my country, though not in the same way the Ukrainians (God help the righteous) are at risk of losing theirs. Even under covid regimes, where bombs go off inside heads, then inside cells rather than over heads, many have lost their lives—many whom covid would not have taken and many who could have been rescued from covid—while others are losing their rights, their freedoms, their culture. And this is happening globally, opening the door of distraction to opportunistic chaos such as we see in the Ukraine and to equally opportunistic "order" such as the Inclusive Capitalists wish to impose on the entire world. Such are the consequences of that tissue of lies that is the covid narrative.
In the resulting context, the climate of discourse can certainly be oppressive. One doesn't always rise successfully to the challenge of authentic civility. But I'll tell you where I set the bar on that, and I'll tell you in a single word: complicity. Or, as I have said before, Complicity and her sister, Complacency, those two harpies we must at all costs avoid, for love of God and neighbor.
Amen to that.