Dialogue With a Narrative Believer

Much to my glad surprise, one narrative believer1 was plucky enough to respond to 30 Questions for a Narrative Believer!

While I received numerous responses from narrative skeptics (which I plan to share later—I’m still trying to find time to read them all), this has been my first (so far) from someone who identifies as pro-lockdown, pro–social distancing, pro-masking, pro–school closures, and pro-vaxx (although against mandates and vaxxports).

I am grateful to this individual for his willingness to participate as well as to his wife, the reader who shared these questions with him. I will be referring to her as CA and to him as CAH (“CA’s husband”) to keep the spotlight off of them specifically and instead on the exchange, which I feel was cordial and I hope will open the door for further exploratory conversations between the two of them.

For ease of reading, I have interspersed the original questions (formatted as pull quotes to distinguish from his comment), removed the repetition of those questions in our responses, and inserted my follow-ups to each of his answers rather than just dumping his comment followed by my lengthy response.

CAH: Hi, I’m using my wife’s account who thinks that Covid vaccines are dangerous (like most of those who read your article). (CA here, taking a moment to specify, while my husband takes a call…I think the mRNA platform holds promise for quick crisis response, but understand the technology to be in its infancy. I also understand the lipidnanoparticles to be inflammatory, taking spike protein indiscriminately and uncontrollably throughout the body and past protective membranes…)

I took the 2 shots and happy to have done so: I thought (back then) that the benefits outweigh the risks. I have read many of my wife’s articles, talked about this issue for 18 months now. We are part of a multicultural church (in Montreal) and thus have heard stories from multiple countries (Latin America, Africa, etc). Most of the people in our church have chosen to take the shot (including many elderly). I have yet to see someone dying from the vaccine…

MAA: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, CA’s Husband! (I hope it’s okay that I call you that since I don’t know your name

You are the first person on your side of this issue who has been brave enough to respond, and I sincerely applaud your willingness to engage.

When you say you thought “the benefits outweigh the risks,” what are those benefits exactly? Since it is now widely recognized even in mainstream media that the injection doesn’t keep you from getting or spreading COVID, nor does it prevent hospitalization or death (indeed, the numbers for both are far higher in the injected as I shared in several hyperlinked references in the original article), I am curious to hear what benefits you perceive and why those are worth the well-documented risks of debilitating injuries and death (1,471,557 adverse events reported to the CDC through November 25, 2022; that includes 32,508 deaths—37 percent of which occurred within the first week of injection).

You said, “I have yet to see someone dying from the vaccine.” How many people have you seen die of starvation? Malaria? Diarrhea? Tuberculosis? Meningitis? Homicide? Tsunamis?

But you certainly wouldn’t say people don’t die of those causes, correct?

Your reliance on your personal experience for drawing conclusions about the larger objective reality reveals several cognitive biases, including:

Availability heuristic, which is described by its coiners Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman as “whenever [one] estimates frequency or probability by the ease with which instances or associations could be brought to mind” [or conversely, the absence of them, as in your case].
Base rate fallacy, which occurs when people base decisions on their personal, specific experience instead of “objective, statistical information” and can cause them to “make inaccurate probability judgments.”
Illusion of explanatory depth, which tricks us into believing we understand a concept in greater depth than we actually do.

These are compounded by the overarching cognitive biases affecting the experimentally injected in general, the following being but two examples among many:

Commitment bias, which pretty much applies to everyone who chose to get injected based on a set of information now proven fallacious but have failed to adjust their perspective in light of new information. This is considered a “barrier to personal growth” and often prevents people from recalibrating despite substantial evidence compelling them to do so. Sunk cost fallacy is closely related to this bias.
Ostrich effect, which involves avoiding negative information and often exacerbates the situation by causing the person to postpone facing a problem that snowballs in severity the longer it is ignored.

CAH: In this whole discussion, people seem to forget:

there are other governments involved in this whole story, some of them not on friendly terms with the US (such as Russia, Cuba, Iran, …). Most of them chose to vaccinate their people (often with worse vaccines)
There are other vaccines beside Pfizer and Moderna (I believe there are a dozen vaccines in the world). Different vaccines are encouraged by various governments.

MAA: I’m not clear on your point here—are you saying that because other governments chose worse vaccines, that means the US government’s 1.4 million reports of adverse events are okay by comparison?

Your second point—that there “are other vaccines beside Pfizer and Moderna”—again doesn’t make any sense to me. I and many others have documented the harms caused by other vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) and AstraZeneca. Janssen, as you likely recall, was even temporarily pulled from the market early on due to its association with thrombosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. That other vaccines are also causing injuries doesn’t negate the fact that Pfizer and Moderna are doing so, too.

CAH: I think the whole article has an arrogant tone to it (the title, to begin with. Unless, you use the plural “Narratives”). If a true discussion is sought, the wording has to be less offensive…

MAA: Regarding your point about the arrogant tone, I do apologize for coming across that way. As I mentioned in response to other commenters questioning the use of “narrative believer,” I honestly tried to think of a succinct term that could be used to describe those who align with the media’s presentation of the various facets of this topic, and this was the most neutral one I could come up with (I intentionally avoided “Covidian” as there are kindhearted, intelligent, decent individuals who believe the narrative without being full-blown cult believers).

“Narratives” doesn’t work because I’m referring specifically to the statements the media, pharmaceutical corporations, governments, and allied agencies propagated about COVID. If you have any suggestions on an alternative descriptor to use instead (shorter than “People Who Believed What the Media Told Them About COVID” ;-), I welcome your ideas.

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