Lots to talk about this week, so LET’S DO THIS 🔥
Topics & Timestamps (Full Transcript Available Below)
00:38 Tribalism, the hive mind & social media
04:44 Alt-Middle & holding beliefs loosely
06:53 Vax on vax violence, friendly fire & today’s Twitter storm
15:10 My conversation with Karen Ernst, healthy discourse, seeing the human behind the handle
21:38 New CDC mask guidance, why good people disagree
23:43 Emotions & self reflection
26:25 Fair criticism & acknowledging struggles among public health leaders
29:05 Myocarditis, boosters & college students; safetyism & the liberal education hive mind
31:45 Vaccine mandates, the Supreme Court & the role of moral values
39:37 Social media themes as a religion
44:07 Politicization of public health, guns
47:08 Red church vs blue church, the value of covid testing
53:53 Final thoughts, assuming good intent & establishing a meditative practice
– [Zubin] All right guys, it’s me, Dr. Z. It’s about, what? January 14th, 2022, and this is almost 4:20 Pacific time. Weed. Couple things. We’re gonna talk about the Supreme Court decision briefly. We’re gonna talk about the CDC’s talking about masks. We’re gonna talk about Omicron. We’re talking about anything you want. We’re gonna do it live because we can. But what I really wanna start with is something that has been on my mind, you guys know this, I’m just pulling up your comments here, has been on my mind for quite some time, since before the pandemic started. And that is how incredibly divided we are into these big sort of tribes of group thinking sort of hive minds.
Like all of us, all of us are captured by this. And I really think it’s because, in many ways, if you define like consciousness, like awareness, as a kind of shared receptivity to information, it used to be that that consciousness was ourselves because our own mind is receptive to our senses and to subconscious parts of our mind. We kind of contain multitudes ourselves, but since we’re social creatures, obligate social creatures, we actually create even higher consciousnesses that are sort of created by us sharing information with each other, and having receptivity to that information. Well, in the old days, you would share that information in the form of local stuff, city council stuff.
Money itself would kind of trigger how people connect because economic incentives would do that. But since the rise of… And there was very little media, right? It was like one centralized media, a few channels, that kind of thing, few newspapers, not that much division, at least on a national level. Well, now we have this, right? And so every single person can not only create content and put it out on the web and their own sort of opinions and sort of mindset, but we can each create a collective brain that shares receptivity in the form of these social media applications, Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, all this stuff. And each of us then acts like a neuron. We have a neurotransmitter, which is like or dislike. We take in information through social media, it’s pushed to our phone, which we are addicted to. So we’re pulled into it. And then we respond in real time to data and information that’s fed to us. And then we feed it back out, maybe with a little modification, maybe with a new meme thrown on and so on. And pretty soon you have these competing hive minds that operate on meme juice, competing for brain space. And in the world of… and they’re real, like they actually exert influence downward on the individual neurons, which is us.
And we’re all captured, to some degree, by whatever hive mind we happen to participate in on this. So if you’re in the CNN, MSNBC hive mind, you’re in one space, the Vox hive mind. If you’re in the Fox, Breitbart, this hive mind, you’re in that space. And then there’s a bunch of different sub-hive minds. And each of them has a totally different outlook on the same data, the same world, we see totally different things. And this goes back to the 2016 two Americas thing, like people who didn’t vote for Trump couldn’t imagine how you could vote for Trump, and people who voted for Trump thought the people who didn’t were crazy, and these are all good people actually. They actually literally are. They’re all trying to be moral, based on their own moral foundations that they have. We have these moral taste buds. Jonathan Haigt has written about it. And so whether we value care versus harm, fairness versus cheating, which those are very liberal values, right? Then you’re gonna operate in the world in your hive mind, retweeting and pushing stuff that pushes that. Or you’re in the more conservative hive mind that says I actually also value authority versus subversion, loyalty versus betrayal, sanctity versus degradation, like these other palettes, taste buds. Well, then you’re gonna see the world slightly differently, and you’re gonna orient towards a hive mind that feels more good to you. And as that mind starts to be created through the neurotransmitters and our addiction plugged into this matrix, the world starts to look like it makes no sense. If you were an objective viewer, you would be like, why are these people disagreeing about facts? Like this makes no sense at all, but it does. It makes perfect sense from the collective hive mind of whichever one you’re in.
And this is why if you go against that particular collective in any way, you are going to feel the immune system of that mind push back on you, and it’s gonna be very uncomfortable for you. Very uncomfortable. Well, so this then gets into a story from this morning that happened to me. So I’ve noticed since the pandemic that I’ve taken a very Alt-Middle, that’s my hive mind, right? And we’ll talk about what that means. Alt-middle’s not a political stance. It’s a stance that says, hey, everything is true, but partial. Let’s try to find the truth and build bridges and connections between people that maybe disagree, but are all trying to be good. And we’re captured by our own biases, right? So maybe sometimes a mid position is not correct because something’s absolutely wrong and we need to be more vocal and we can be blinded. We have our own problems in the Alt-Middle hive mind, right? But people in that mind tend to share one common operating system, which is you can have strong convictions, but hold them very loosely because we’re willing to change our mind with good data. And we’re gonna assume good intent on people. So this is what happened this morning. ‘Cause I used to be in what I call the Covidian “Blue Church” hive mind, which is the scientists and the academics and the mainstream media and those kinds of things, believing what the CDC, like the CDC’s the gold standard, like all that. I was there in 2016. And was hardcore like, look, listen, for childhood vaccines, it’s not a question.
You just need to do it because there is a community benefit, care versus harm. And you can’t get an exemption because then the whole herd immunity thing collapses, fairness versus cheating. These are very liberal values. But as the pandemic started, and even before that, I started seeing, well, wait, no, wait, there are other value systems, too. And if we’re not able to speak that language and connect in that way, we’re missing a bigger care harm thing because people do value liberty versus oppression, sanctity versus degradation. Like I don’t wanna put something in my body that I don’t understand. So all this stuff you have to understand if you’re gonna reach people with a message you care about, like you’re trying to find truth, okay, how can we have the conversation? So this is what happened to me this morning. I made the mistake, and I said this on Peter Attia’s podcast, “The Drive,” that I also posted on my podcast. Anytime we go on Twitter, there outta to be an automatic electric, a couple electrodes on each one of my testicles that just shocks me with like 1,000 joules of electricity. Just , just to remind me not to go on Twitter. And this is why. I went on this morning and I saw a tweet, ’cause people tag you, I have a search parameter that looks for when I’m tagged so that I can make sure and see what’s going on in conversations. A lot of times people will… Twitter can be very good for like making connections, for seeing what’s going on, that kind of thing. So from that case, it’s interesting, but it is an instantiator of hive minds, 100%, 1,000%.
It’s one of the worst for this. And so Ronald Vector Stokes say, “My value system is centered around tequila this evening.” That is a tribe that I can get behind, RVS. So I’m just drinking water, but you know, I’ll just imagine it’s tequila ’cause I’ll need it to get through this story. So I see a tweet from a person, who in their thing had identified as like the comms director for a group called Vaccines, why am I, oh, my God, Voices For Vaccines. I went blank for a second. I’m having like serious TIAs these days. It must be the COVID vaccines. And I was like, I know Voices For Vaccines, like they’re a great organization, Like they’re trying to get the message out, public health, et cetera. So then I read the tweet and he’s like, “I think this video that ZDoggMD made is tone deaf, telling people to vax n’ chill,” that was the video that I made, “is basically disrespectful. This many people have died. This many people are suffering. This many people have lost parents. This is terrible messaging,” whatever. This is the basic gist of the tweet. And then it had a screen capture. It didn’t tag me directly, but it was like a screen capture of the thumbnail for my video, Vax n’ Chill, which if you’ve seen the video basically said, hey, there’s new thinking within these tribes that the Covidian tribe, the sort of Blue Church is now starting to come with this, hey, maybe we should just vax n’ chill and move on because Omicron is so hard to mitigate. It’s so contagious, which we’ll talk about. So I saw this, and this is how I interpreted this, because this has been a sore point for me. And I could feel it like, ’cause I do too much meditation. I could feel my own emotional state. And I was like, oh, here’s anger. Here’s rage. Here’s righteous anger, like just pure outrage. And it’s all rising, and you feel it right in your chest. It’s a vibration.
You feel it like an elephant stomping on your chest. Hopefully, it wasn’t an early heart attack. And I said, okay, this is exactly what I get pissed about, when people in the public health messaging space, in other words, people who are trying to promote vaccines and the right thing for the most people, will take a public stance and criticize somebody who is on their side. It’s like vax on vax violence is what it is. It’s friendly fire. Like here’s Twitter. Why would you attack me about my messaging publicly when I’m trying to get people to vaccinate? Because I believe in it that strongly, based on the data. My thumbnail says Vax n’ Chill. And you wanna try to take me down a peg, which, hey, it’s your right to do that. But you’re identifying as the communications coordinator for this pro-vaccine organization that I know about. Why would you do that? That’s the most counterproductive thing in the world. And I started getting really mad because this happens on Twitter all the time, like people like Gorski and these guys who are like hardcore pro-vaxxers, like absolutists, come after me all the time. They’re like, how could you platform… And this is the best thing, they all have like a million pronouns in their Twitter handles, and #BLM. And then they’ll make fun of like Vinay Prasad, because they don’t like what he’s saying, by calling him Vinny, which is an Anglicized version of his Indian name. Like is that not racist? Like to call Vinay Prasad, Vinny. He doesn’t identify as Vinny. That’s not his preferred name. So anyways, I digress. See how mad I am. So I was totally mad. I’m seeing this, and these guys attack me all the time. They’re like you’re no better than the anti-vaxxers. I’m like, bitch, I get thousands of emails. And I answer the ones asking about vaccines from people who are hesitant.
And I get hundreds more emails saying you’re the only person who convinced me to get vaccinated because nobody else respected my stance, answered my questions, understood my hesitation that I’m not dumb. That didn’t try to shame me. They didn’t paint it with a one-size-fits-all brush. They treat me as an individual. That’s exhausting to do for me because I got other things to do. But I do it because I care about this. And then this is what happens. So that was my angle. I was pissed. And then I look at this guy and I’m like, okay, he’s a young dude, right out of Stanford, whatever. I’m like, this is just classic. He’s probably brainwashed by his education to think in this tribal way, like it’s all or nothing. Everybody’s dying. Catastrophizing. Your messaging is killing people. This, that, and the other thing. Even though I’m getting the messages back, the feedback saying, no, you’re actually convincing me to get vaccinated. So at this point, I take his tweet. I quote tweet it, and I go, this is how like the pro-vaccine people treat one of, arguably, this is hubris on my part, arguably, one of the biggest advocates of vaccination on social media, me, meaning I have that reach and I do get people to change their minds. I can persuade people, and I’m also respectful when they’re not persuaded. This is the kind of friendly fire they do. This is why they’re so ineffective because they’re more keen to score social media points by taking down one of their own than they are to actually get the job done of convincing people to vaccinate. Because that stance is not convincing people that I talked to to vaccinate. They’re saying the opposite. So I posted that. And of course, shitstorm immediately on Twitter, like people supporting me, the Gorski tribe showing up and doing the usual pronoun dance at me, and everybody pissed off, everybody angry. Recriminations everywhere. The kid deletes his entire Twitter account. By the way, by the way, sorry, sorry. Before I did this tweet, I messaged him directly, and I was pissed. I said this is why I’m pissed at you right now for what you did.
And he wrote something back that was not nice. It was like, no, I stand by what I said. And I said I wanna know who’s running your org ’cause I wanna talk to them. Basically saying I’m gonna get you fired ’cause this is not okay. That’s how mad I was. I wanted to cancel this kid. And so, and I could feel it. You feel it like right here. You’re just like, oh. So anyways, long story short. This has a point, believe me, although it’s all about me. So anyways, I’m looking through the tweets. I’m like, this is why I hate Twitter. I came this close to just deleting my entire Twitter account. I’m like it’s not worth the hypertension it’s causing for me. And clearly something inside me is like telling me, clearly, hey dude, you overreacted. Like you’re gonna hurt this kid, who’s like probably a good kid, and an organization by proxy that’s a good organization because you’re butthurt about something he did, which I still feel is very not appropriate to do publicly without privately talking to me, like, we’re all on the same side. Why do you air all this stuff out publicly? Like what’s that gonna accomplish except for piss off your friends. So Karen Ernst, who runs Voices For Vaccines, very quietly tweeted, with her personal account, “Hey, DM me, get my number. Would love to get on a call with you.” So I was like, oh, this is a pretty disarming way to approach someone on Twitter. So through a little back and forth, we did. And I said, “Here’s my number. give me a call.” She did, and this call was fascinating. Social media is so polarizing that you don’t know there’s a human on the other side of tweets and things like that. And it’s so good at hacking our emotions, our limbic system, that unconscious part of the multitude of the hive mind that is us. That little part that maybe was hurt when you were a child or that resents people not listening to you or whatever it is, these little unconscious bits that we all carry around, these little traumas. It knows exactly how to poke right at that and inflame you. So both of us were pissed. So Karen and I get on this call and we haven’t spoken before. I kind of started it off.
We made a little small talk. And I said, listen, this is why I’m fucking pissed at this kid, and I just went off. I said all the things and then she said, “Okay, let me tell you my position.” And then she went off on me. Like we’re trying to do this thing in public health. We do disagree with what you said in that video, because we think that the messaging for this really outta look like this because of these very good reasons. And the one time you pay attention to our organization publicly is to take a crap on us. And this kid is a really good kid. I keep calling him a kid because he’s probably like 30, but you know, I’m so old now. So it’s not to belittle him. It’s because he’s young and fresh out of college, and there’s a little paternalism that happens on my part. So at this point, she’s really mad at me. And it’s interesting, so she said all these things, and while she was talking, that’s when it clicked to me, I’m like, oh, okay. Now I see a human here who’s suffering, just like I’m suffering right now. Who’s angry, just like I’m angry. And she’s trying to do right in the world, just like I am. So we could escalate this very easily and get very defensive and very contracted very easily. Or we could try to do what Karen had actually suggested, which is we’re trying to just do the right thing for the most people. So I said something to the effect of, okay, I hear everything you’re saying. I think we have some disagreements here, but I hear what you’re saying. So I’d like you to now tell me, in the video, what you think I did wrong so that I can learn what your angle is, and she did. And I think her angle is, you’re in the Bay Area where people are like triple masked and doing all this stuff. You’re seeing a different world here. What I’m seeing in the Midwest is a very different angle. And so we really wanna play up that there’s a community value.
Play up, meaning we think it’s true. There’s a community value to vaccination, and you’ve hardly mentioned it in this video. You’re talking about individual stuff. You’re talking about you can make a choice to vaccinate. You can wear an N95 mask and you can be protected so this pandemic’s effectively over for you. Make that decision and go. Everybody else who chooses otherwise, well, it’s on you. And that’s basically what I said. Because Omicron changes the game, to me, and we’ll talk about that. So she said, but when you’re talking to communities like this, I live in these communities. You really wanna talk about, it’s not just about you. It’s about your family. It’s about your church. It’s about your job. And so she had very good points. I still stand by everything I said in my video, but I hear what she’s saying. So then I said, okay, and so we had that conversation, and then we started talking. We found places where we aligned. We made some jokes. We opened up. We said, okay, all right. Okay, okay, good. I think we both understand each other. We both hear each other. And we both understand that the social media thing is not the person behind the social media thing. So at that point, I said, all right, how do we make this better for everybody? And at that point, we said, okay, let’s do this. I deleted my original tweet, which I never do, but I deleted it. And I’ve put a new tweet up saying, hey, I deleted this tweet for this reason, that Karen and I spoke. I think it’s a great organization. We understand each other better. We’re gonna try to do better moving forward to align on our common goal, which is do the most good for the most people. So that’s it. Now, it’s very hard to do that on social media, because if you give an inch, people who are there for blood will take a mile. That’s just how it is.
But I don’t care. I really don’t care. I had to let that go. That’s ego, right? It really is. It’s very hard. And what I found is, after the conversation, after the tweet, all that energy in the chest, which is your unconscious mind saying something’s not right. Like, listen to me, listen to me. Feel this purely. Dissipated. So anyways, that’s my story. That’s how we have to get past the hive minds. Even when this hive mind, that I was a part of tries to reject, and immuno-reject me. That’s okay. ‘Cause we’re trying to form bridges between these minds. That’s why the Alt-Middle is kind of like the corpus callosum, the fibers that connect the left and the right hemisphere. Two separate individuals in each of our minds. They’re connected through this. That’s what we’re trying to be with this show, and sometimes I fail. And recognizing our own biases, our own reactivity, our own emotional states, and understanding that social media can be poisonous if we don’t properly use it. And it’s very hard. Our default state is not to properly use it. It’s to tribalize. All right. That’s my take. And then, Kathy H says, “Z, you should absolutely have her on your show. You have common ground and you can debate opposing views, gold.” Yeah, actually I invited her, but she’s far away and is not traveling soon, but when she does, I’ll totally have her on the show because, again, this is a conversation. It’s not a debate. It’s actually a conversation. Like we’re actually aligned on goals. Goals are the same. It’s methods. So that’s fine. That’s Alt-Middle. Like, okay, I think we can both agree that we’re trying to do the right thing, so let’s try to figure out where we can align and where we will disagree and will continue to disagree. And one of the places we disagreed is she felt that I was under, and this is important. This is important, relating to this, because CDC today, said, okay, we’re now saying it’s okay, and probably decent to choose a N95 or KN95 mask. These are high filtration, fitted masks that are much more effective against respiratory pathogens that are aerosolized, like Omicron. Now they’ve not said that before, historically. They’re like use any mask. Any mask that you can wear is a good mask. Which Vinay Prasad and I, and others have been saying, that’s not right, because the cloth mask, especially in Omicron, is not gonna do much.
We don’t know if it has negative effects on development of speech and language in young children, ’cause it has not been properly studied. So those are, I think, they’re not invalid concerns. Like you don’t have to be labeled an anti-masker to say I’d like to see a little more evidence that this is helpful before you use the policy hammer to mandate it, especially for children. And her point was, “Well, no, but you gotta understand, in parts of the country, like nobody’s wearing these masks,” and her feeling is they do mitigate spread, and so it is costing lives to not wear them. But see, we disagree on that because I’m not sure they do unless everybody wears an N95 and wears it well. So we might disagree on science on that. I almost said the science, but there is no the science. We may disagree on the data interpretations, but the goal is still the same. Like we don’t want people to die. But see, I may interpret it through a lens of we’re squandering some of our policy juice, talking about masks and stuff that aren’t big movers when we should be just really focusing on, hey, just get vaccinated. And I’m not a big fan of coercion so I don’t like mandates. I don’t know what her take on mandate is. But good people can disagree on this. We should be able to have conversations, but the way Twitter would frame it is, is good versus evil, your tribe versus my tribe. And you see it because you can rally people to your cause very quickly now. Well, actually let me pull up, ’cause I’m curious what the response was to my tweet, because I’d be interested in seeing what ended up happening. Well, here we go. So Tara Hale, who’s a reporter, who’s been very pro-vaccine for years and years, and we’ve connected in the past. But she’s, I think, been a bit critical of me lately and was critical of this tweet that I did.
She says, “Thank you for taking the time to talk to Karen and for reaching out to Noah. I appreciate your deleting your tweet, and reconsidering how you responded to thoughtful criticism.” So that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. That’s great. That’s how we outta behave. I reacted emotionally. We had a very emotional call. I still get angry when I think about this kind of thing happening. So it’s not like I’m saying, hey, I’m really sorry for my stance on it, I’m not. But I do recognize that my reaction was not productive, and it was actually playing into exactly the thing that I’m criticizing. So I’m glad she recognized that because if people would attack me further after that, then it’s like, well, then there’s just no winning. So anyways, this is like… Again, I’m thinking out loud with you guys live., and there’s like I don’t know how many people here watching, But this is kind of how, there’s 2,000 people watching. This is how I try to think in an Alt-Middle way, which means when we do violate our own sort of operating system, there is an auto-correction that sometimes happens and it’s emotional. You feel it, right? Just like you feel when your own tribe, when you violated the rules of your own tribe, you feel it as a pressure. That’s not good ’cause you outta be able to speak freely. But you feel when you violated your own operating system, and then the goal is you try to undo or do the best you can to make that right without compromising what you believe in. And that’s a delicate balance, but I think it’s worth trying to strive for. I’m not saying I got it right. I still really… Believe me, I’m my worst critic. Like when I sit in bed at night, this is the stuff I think about. If I make a video and it says vax n’ chill, and then a bunch of people that I do respect, that are like, no, I think that’s terrible messaging, I think about it.
I still think I’m right. And maybe I’ll do another video where there’s a little more nuance in it, although I think that video had a degree of nuance in my opinion. But anyways, that’s how I think about it. Let me grab your comments again, ’cause I lost them somewhere in the shuffle. There they are. All right, let me bring ’em back. “N95s may increase my anxiety and trigger panic attacks. No, thanks,” Charlotte. All right, let’s talk about N95s. So they’re really claustrophobic masks if you suffer from that. They are very effective when worn correctly, you don’t have a beard everywhere, they’re fitted correctly. That’s why we do fittings in the hospital for N95s. The reason CDC has not recommended them in the past is that the concern was they would drive shortages for healthcare workers, which makes sense because healthcare workers, 100%, are exposed to COVID people in the hospital because they’re in COVID rooms. So I actually get that. I understand that. One piece of criticism that Karen gave me that I think is very valid, and I hear this from other public health people, is that I’m very quick to criticize public health authorities and how they message because I do believe they’re messaging incorrectly on certain things. But I’m not as quick to acknowledge how difficult it is and the struggles they have in that space. And I have acknowledged it. I’ve said it, but I don’t do it routinely. So I’m saying it again. The position of these guys is a very difficult position. They are trying to do the impossible and they get a lot of shit from it, from a lot of people. And a lot of like Monday morning quarterbacks or whatever. Armchair quarterbacks, that’s the term, backseat drivers and all that. But I think it’s important to have the discourse, but I do wanna say, I do have a ton of respect for these guys.
I just think that absolutism in messaging is bad and we criticize that where we can, and that it’s gonna backfire. I really think generating psychological reactants to vaccine messaging is gonna haunt us for a generation with kids’ vaccines, which are very important. Now back to the N95s. You can wear N95s, the thing is, at some point, you are gonna… Omicron is very hard to avoid. So you’re gonna have to wear them religiously. If you’re already vaccinated and boosted and you’re not high risk, I don’t see why you should wear a mask. This is my take, and Karen would criticize me for this and others will, too. I don’t see why you should wear a mask. You do have a less risk of transmitting when you’re vaccinated because your illness parameters are narrower. You’re sick for less time, and you’re less likely to get infected in the first place, but you can still transmit and you can still get infected. But if everybody around you who’s not wearing a mask is also vaccinated, and if they wanna be boosted, boosted, then I don’t see how really compelling people to wear masks is a good idea. Anyone can choose to wear a mask and I would never shame them for doing that. You can wear a mask while driving, that’s fine. Wear gloves if you want. That’s dumb, but you can do that. So the point is you can wear an N95 mask if you want, if you’re high risk or you just don’t wanna be infected, or you live with loved ones who are high risk. No problem, I just don’t think we should compel it because I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense. Curious Hominid, who sent me a $10 SuperChat, thank you. “Says I’m an international grad student at UCSD. I’m already double-vaxxed, and I’m concerned about myocarditis. I felt pressured to take the booster because they can cancel my visa and destroy my career.” Let us talk about this, Curious. This is so important because, again, we, like Vinny Prasad and I, Marty Makary, Jay Bhattacharya, people in the heterodox world of physicians who are pro-vaccine, pro-public health, have some public health backgrounds, like Marty and Vinay. Epidemiological backgrounds, policy backgrounds, like Jay, are concerned that the benefits of vaccination, of boosting, and all of this, and compelling it, of compelling it in young people who are in college are outweighed by the social harm of the compulsion of it, and situations like yours, where you just don’t wanna take even the small risk of myocarditis when you know your overall risk of everything is low and you’re already vaccinated, with two doses. I don’t understand why we are compelling that in college kids, and what we’re doing is we’re creating this, we’re reifying this culture. That’s another reason that this guy on Twitter triggered me a bit, because he’s a recent graduate from Stanford. And I know how Stanford’s behaving now. Virtual classes, compulsory boosters, like all this stuff. It’s like I disagree with what they’re doing.
I think we’re creating a culture of safetyism among young people who are the most safe. Look, if you think that there’s a community benefit to forcing them to vaccinate and boost, then you better just say that, but don’t say it’s for their own good. And then you should actually let them make the decision. So I feel for you brother, or sister. I hear from a lot of college students who feel like you, and here’s the biggest thing, because they’re in the hive mind of liberal education, they cannot speak out. They will get destroyed, they will get destroyed. And I think that’s important to talk about. If we can’t even have the conversation then, well, what are we doing? We have to recognize that we’re all captured by these minds. And education is a big mind capture, it is. And some of the mind capture is wonderful, and some of it’s just, I think it’s quite destructive. And Jonathan Haigt writes about this, the moral foundation guy, writes about this in “The Coddling of the American Mind.” He really talks a lot about our education system. Thank you, Mandy, for your SuperChat and support. Okay, let’s talk about the Supreme Court real quick. So Supreme Court just came out with a decision, kind of saying, okay, lower court said it was okay to do the vaccine mandate for employers of 100 employees and more, via OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They said, Supreme Court said, no, that’s not okay. OSHA is overreaching. The majority opinion was conservative justices, and they said, this is a clear overreach of trying to protect workers.
It’s now going into a broader public health thing and that’s not their space. And then the liberal justices dissented, and they said, we’re not letting experts do what they do, and this is a pandemic, it’s extraordinary times, and we’re hobbling their ability to keep people safe. All right, well. Clearly that’s split on political lines. Why? Each mind, each collective political mind values different things. It may be the same science they’re looking at, but they’re valuing different things. And values are played out through politics, through policy. Policy is what our values are. What do we actually want for people in the community? Here’s data, here’s this, here’s that, here’s arguments, okay, what’s our policy gonna be? Well, of course, they’re split along party lines because the parties value different things. Care versus harm. The liberal justices saying, hey, you’re gonna cause harm. And liberty versus oppression, and maybe it’s authority versus subversion because they don’t wanna misuse authority. Maybe a sanctity versus degradation because they said this in the majority opinion. No, no, no, sorry, this was in the other one. All right, we’ll get to this. Okay, good. This is good. So the second opinion was talking about healthcare workers mandates through Department of Health and Human Services. Now this is a different department. This regulates Medicare and Medicaid services and the entities that provide them. If they’re gonna get paid by Medicare and Medicaid, which like the vast majority of medical professionals are paid by those groups, they are subject to different rules and regulations through Health and Human Services. Which is why when we did our clinic at Turntable Health, we were off the insurance grid because we did not do fee-for-service insurance and some various other rules, we could not see Medicare patients because Health and Human Services mandated that if you see Medicare patients, you could not bill them a membership fee for any services, because you’re supposed to just bill Medicare. And we didn’t bill Medicare. So we couldn’t see people 65 and older in our clinic, unless they like signed a Medicare waiver.
Did something, I forget what the legal stuff of it was. So these things actually affect people on the ground. So this was interesting because they said, no, the majority justices said, this is okay because they’re regulating within the 10.3 million healthcare professionals that fall under this regulation. This is appropriate. This is appropriate regulatory stuff. Well, the conservative dissenting justices, Alito, not Alito. Maybe it was Alito. I don’t remember now. Whoever it was, Clarence Thomas was one of them, basically said this, like, hey, you’re compelling people through this agency to accept an irreversible medical procedure. So now again, we’re going into the realm of politics. You’re saying you’re gonna force me, sanctity versus degradation, to accept the medical thing that’s irreversible, a vaccination, and that’s not okay. So look at the moral palette there. Sanctity versus degradation, liberty versus oppression. And the majority justices says, no, this is okay. This is legal in the law, whatever. Care versus harm. So maybe fairness versus cheating. So you can start to understand why people behave the way they do. They’re not good or bad or evil. They’re humans. Now, what do I think about all this? I don’t know. I don’t like mandates, so it’s tough. Let me explain. So right now, there’s a shortage. Healthcare workers are overwhelmed, because Omicron, even though it may cause less severe disease, even though it’s very hard to mitigate and all of this and vaccines are maybe less effective against it, but still effective against severe disease, hospitals will get full because of the sheer number of people that very quickly get infected. Now I think it’s gonna be a fast on, fast off. We’re seeing that already in New York, potentially, but that means a lot of pain for hospitals over the next few weeks, as there’s a delay, hospitalizations then deaths. Okay, we don’t know what will happen. Maybe they’ll totally decouple. But right now, we’re seeing record hospitalizations on a lot of things. Always happens in the winter, but this is bad. And my colleagues in the hospital are very busy. But part of the reason they’re busy is they’re short-staffed because people are calling in sick or people have quit because of vaccine mandates in healthcare. They’ve gone somewhere where it’s not mandated. So now we’re in a situation where we don’t have enough staff. That’s the main thing.
And then a lot of patients. And yeah, there are still unvaccinated patients. And this was something Karen pointed out to me that unvaccinated patients are a big burden in the health system. They are. It’s true. So what are you gonna do about it? Are you gonna hold them down and vaccinate them? Or are you gonna gently try to educate where you can and hope for the best? Honestly, I’m in the more latter camp. That’s what I think. There’s only so much you can do, and there’s so much division. It’s very, very hard. So what do you do to support hospitals? How do you do that? Well, if you start mandating vaccines in the hospital, you’re saying that I think vaccinated people are gonna be safer for patients. They’re gonna be less likely to transmit to patients, even though they’re wearing masks and all of that. But then what happened? We have a shortage now, and now California’s saying, actually, and others are saying, nah, actually, even if you test positive for COVID, if you’re not having like raging symptoms, just put on an N95 mask and come on in to work. So effectively, what they’re saying is we think a COVID-positive staff member is less dangerous to a patient than an unvaccinated, regularly tested, COVID negative person. That’s literally what they are saying. That’s the policy decision they made with their mandates. And believe me, look, I’m all for childhood vaccine mandates to go to school, public education, absolutely. You’re protecting other people. But in this case, are we really? Are we really? Because it seems hypocritical, doesn’t it? So this is where policy decisions, actually, you really have to think them through. What is the outcome you want? What’s the outcome? Forget about the virtue signaling. Forget about the messaging of it. What’s the outcome you want? And if the outcome is short staffing and potentially risk to patients from… By the way, short staffing is the number one risk to patients. We all know this. This is a fact. Anyone who works in healthcare knows this. It’s like a dirty secret. When you’re short staffed, people have problems happen in the hospital. Right?
We all know this, but hospitals run at barely minimal margins because it’s a for-profit enterprise, even when it’s not for profit. So people like us, who’ve been screaming about this for how long are now branded anti-vaxxers for saying, I don’t think the mandate’s a good idea. So it’s frustrating, to say the least, for me, but look, I think people who want mandates, people who don’t want it, they’re all have good arguments. So have the arguments, man. One thing I also wanted to talk about, Katie says “It’s a plandemic.” Sure it is. Sure it is. David Weigel hit me with five bucks here. “Why do I never hear the fatality rates mentioned on mainstream media? Why do they scrap the pandemic severity index and the 2019 pandemic guidelines?” Well, look, mainstream media is one particular bubble, and they’re flawed. They are severely flawed. They do stuff like that. But look at the alternative media, like the social media that springs up around the antithesis tribe of people. They are pretty flawed, too. Really, really. So nobody is spared from hive mind and group think here. Like it’s religious, it’s religious. It’s religious thinking. Let’s unpack that for a second. Why do I think it’s religion? My friend, David Fuller, Rebel Wisdom, and I’ve been talking about this a lot. Because we have a God-shaped hole in the universe in modern secular society, we humans, who are actually deeply spiritual, wired creatures. That’s why I’ve really gone down the awakening meditation rabbit hole because it’s a calling. It’s like a pull to like what am I, who am I, where am I? What is this? Are we all connected? Why do I have these transient experiences during meditation of unconditional love for everything and everyone, and no sense of self? What is that? Hmm, oh, well, we used to call that God. And then we kind of stripped that away, and now we have this need for this kind of tribal spiritualism in many circles. And so what’s the sort of Blue Church Covidian spirituality in COVID? What’s the religious fervor? It’s you are unclean if you’re unvaccinated. You are not baptized. You should be rejected from this church, not allowed to come into my restaurant, come into my hospital, come into my home because you are an impure thing. It’s sanctity versus degradation. They have that moral palette, too. So we will treat you as a religious outsider, as someone who is a heathen or an infidel, and they do.
They’ll shame you. They’ll say things like it’s okay if you die in the hospital, because you’re less than human. That’s the religiosity in the Covidian sort of thesis tribe. So what’s the religiosity on the other side, on the antithesis tribe, the Covidiot tribe? By the way, I use these words because they are the pejorative words. They’re the demeaning words that each side uses on each other. Peter Limburg of the Stoa first really described this when he talked about Covidian, Covidiot, and thesis and antithesis tribe, while looking for synthesis, which I call Alt-Middle, the trying to find truth from all sides. Okay, so the antithesis tribe’s religiosity is an apocalyptic revelation-type religiosity. So it’s, hey, we have to show the devilry at work here that these guys are conspiring in an evil cult to basically keep this pandemic going forever. It’s a plandemic, and the holy sacraments of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine are being ignored by these devils. And they wanna destroy our church of freedom. And it’s then wrapped in conspiracy and Great Reset and Davos and Bill Gates and these devils. And it takes on the quality of religious fervor. Because if you say the wrong thing, boy, you’ll see your comment section light up. You’ll see friends and family disown you on social media because of something that happened on social media, ’cause you are outside the religion. We’ve seen this happen. We know what this is. Look at the Salem witch trial. Haigt, in his “Coddling of the American Mind,” talks about how modern cancel culture on both sides of the political spectrum is like a witch trial, it’s like a mob witch hunt type of deal. You have a moral panic. You have this group mob. You usually have a private beef somewhere that triggers the whole thing. It’s really fascinating. And I think it’s real. I do, I think it’s real. Carrie Bennett says, “I am assimilated, I am Borg.” Dude, I am Lucutus of the Borg. Remember that? Man, Jean-Luc Picard. Really a good captain. Alex Minor says, “There’s no doubt in my mind that public health is the new way things will become political because everything can become that. See guns.” It’s a great example. Guns is a great example of how really good people can disagree and can cite science and data to support their cause. I’ll tell you, my stance on guns has gotten vastly more nuanced. As a doctor, I hated guns. I’d see the stuff happen in the ER.
I would see the outcome of gun violence. I’ve read in my particular bubble, which was the NPR bubble before, back in the day, living in the Bay Area, it’s the NPR bubble. Everything is seen through the eyes of like, it’s kind of an anti-gun thing. It’s a pro-sort of liberal viewpoint, and people who listen to NPR who say, no, it’s not biased, they’re blind. It is. It’s as biased as Fox News, ’cause you can just listen. This is the angle they see the world, through race, through gender, through identity politics, through power dynamics, that’s how they see the world. And look, that’s fine, but you have to recognize it. I forget what the hell I was talking about. Oh, public health and this sort of gun thing. So I had that sort of viewpoint that guns are… Why don’t we just wave a magic wand and get them gone? Then I listened to Sam Harris’s piece, “Riddle of the Gun.” I read other pieces on the reality of the gun situation. And then I went to a shooting range and fired a weapon to see what that was like. And I was like, wow, I can see why people really like this. Like, it’s a lot of fun, there’s a skill to it. And then hunting, I can imagine, would be a lot of fun and started thinking about that. And then you talk to people who like, my partner on the technical producer side, Logan, who really loves guns, and is obsessed with gun safety, and obsessed with being really good at shooting them and things like that, for a variety of reasons. And it’s like, okay, so what’s the reality? The reality is more complex. There are 3 million guns in the United… No, 300 million. I forget.
It’s like as many as there are people. I forget the exact number. But it’s gonna be very hard to unwind that. So we better actually start to have conversations about harm minimization and be realistic and respectful. And man, that’s a tough position because everybody hates you. When you talk about that, they really do. Thanks for the money, Dell89. “People look for simple answers, where none exists,” says Dre Black, that’s a great name, Dre Black. I love that name. “The idea that a virus spreads, devastating the world, doesn’t make sense to people. The idea that there’s a cabal running things make sense to them.” Well, I mean, this is true because it’s a sense of control, too. Like, okay, I know what it is. I know what the problem is. Here’s what I think is actually going on. And you can come at me. You don’t have to agree with me, but this is my synthesis take. This is a real pandemic with real harm, to a lot of real people,, especially healthcare workers who have to clean up the mess. The elderly people with chronic disease are the most affected.
A lot of also, normal, well people are affected, but not en masse, like not more than would be affected by flu or something like that. But the people at high risk, it’s much worse than flu, like much, much worse. So it’s a real thing. It requires a public health response. It requires a certain degree of community effort and a certain degree of individual responsibility. But the balance of what that is, and what that looks like, is absolutely debatable. And how much our mitigation and control measures actually help versus how much natural human behavior is involved, and how much the vaccines are contributing. I happen to think the vaccines are contributing tremendously to preventing deaths from severe illness. I don’t know they’re contributing much from a transmission standpoint, as much as we would like, say, with a virus that causes disease by entering the blood, measles, you give a vaccine and you have lifelong sterilizing immunity, true herd immunity by vaccinating 90 plus percent of people. With this virus, you will never have that because something like Omicron replicates in the nasal passages and the upper airways, and doesn’t have to enter the bloodstream to cause disease. So those antibodies that are waiting in the bloodstream can’t do anything until it enters the bloodstream.
So what happens? You get infected, you spread the disease, maybe less often than you might if you were never, either naturally exposed or vaccinated, but you’re not gonna get severe disease, typically, because if that virus tries to get in the blood or do something systemic, you have those antibodies protecting you and the T-cell and B-cell memory cells. So even when your antibodies wane from your two shots, even if you didn’t get a booster, chances are you’re gonna have decent severe disease protection, and less data changes on that, ’cause we’re still figuring this out as we go. So that’s what I think. So I think that most people should get vaccinated. I really do, but if you don’t want to, well, then just take the consequences of that. We should support and shore up our hospitals. And we should eliminate at this point in the pandemic, compulsory mitigation, because there are parts of the country where they’re just simply not doing that. And you know what, like places in Texas, they’re just not, nobody’s masking. They’re not doing that. And yeah, there’s gonna be maybe some more cases and some more hospitalized people, but it doesn’t really destroy the fabric of their society. Like for them, the pandemic is effectively over, and they treat it more like a bad influenza season or something like that. And I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s so much different than the Bay Area, yeah, we have pretty good outcomes. Like sphincter tone is super high. Everybody’s masked up. Everybody’s vaccinated. And yeah, our hospitals are doing well.
They’re still busy ’cause of short staffing, ’cause Omicron infecting people who did all the right things. Right things. So I just don’t know, I don’t know. I’m telling you right now, I don’t know the answer, which means I think there are a lot of smart people who don’t know the answer. There’s a lot of people who are smart that think they know the answer and are pounding it like it’s an absolute. I don’t think we know. So that means we should have some flexibility. There should be some local controls over what we do. We should wield our policy hammers very wisely and judiciously to not create a backlash that’s gonna harm children in the future with vaccine hesitance. That’s just what I think. Cold D, “Sponsored by Pfizer.” I love that this is a red church, antithesis tribe, hive mind trope. It’s like the neuro-transmitter of a call him a shill, say he’s paid by Pfizer. Say he’s captured by… This is like the religion on that side is like, oh, anybody who speaks anything positive about vaccines must, by definition, be captured by the devil, right? Touched by Satan. Whereas on the other side, it’s like anyone who expresses any nuance around vaccine, or masks, is touched by the devil, is to be ex-communicated, is a mask-denying covidiot. So there you have it. So “Rapid testing,” Elena Diaz, “accuracy, dude.” Personally, testing. This is complicated. I think people should have access to tests, so government’s talking about giving people free tests now. I actually think that’s fine. I just think people are gonna use them incorrectly. We outta be using them really, if you’re worried about someone, and you’re high risk, you wanna make sure you’re not contagious at the time. It’s not perfect, but you can get that test. But then if you’re infected, it’s a nice way to clear yourself out of quarantine, I think. But even that’s a little soft.
Good people can argue about that. Asymptomatic infections. I don’t think we should be screening asymptomatic people. Like my wife still has to test once a week at Stanford, Stanford Medicine, asymptomatic. So all you’re gonna do is create staffing shortages, ’cause everybody’s gonna get this eventually. But that’s just my take. I don’t know. You can disagree. Charlotte says, “You’ll see many mainstream media channels say ‘sponsored by Pfizer.'” And see that’s just… There is, let’s be honest. The antithesis red church tribe is right about pharma. They are awful when it comes to financial incentives, and we’ve allowed that to happen. These are massive conglomerates that are massive because it takes that much money and influence to get anything through the calcified FDA. And these are huge bureaucracies, FDA and CDC. We think like Biden controls them all or Trump controls them all, they don’t. These are deep state organizations. I use a trigger word of the left, and that the red church uses, but I think it’s true. These are massive groups of unelected people that have been running things a certain way that leak to the press, that disagree with whatever the elected official’s saying, and they do their own thing. And money is everywhere. Influence is everywhere. It’s disgusting.
But that doesn’t mean you throw everything out with the bath water. My daughter is texting me. “Hi, daddy. When are you coming home?” Very soon, my baby, I got to stop now to take my family to dinner. We’re gonna wear our masks right up to the restaurant until we sit down when we’re gonna take our mask off ’cause that’s the rule. And see, I think normal people look at that, and go, this just doesn’t feel right. So how am I gonna trust public health people? This is my beef, right? But it’s hard, I know, ’cause you’re trying to minimize harm to the most people you can. So you do the best you can. It’s imperfect, right? Let’s assume good intent. Let’s recognize our own tribal bias. Recognize that we’re all captured by it. And then try to unplug a little bit, try to throw this away at least one day a week, and recognize when it’s pulling on us. If you feel emotional that way, there’s something going on. It’s your body telling you something. It’s the universe saying, hey, hey, right? And let’s, for people who are interested, come be part of this Alt-Middle, where we’re trying to be rational, and when we’re wrong, we’ll say it, and if our biases are clear and we don’t see them, we’ll admit it, like I did this morning on Twitter. I’m like, ooh, that was emotional. I try to undo this mess I’ve made, while making the point that I disagree with the original tweet, and do the best we can, and it come join us, zdoggmd.com. There’s ways to become a paying subscriber, and then you get our private live feeds that we talk about usually every other day or so.
On Locals, you can do that. You can also sign up just for free. Just come subscribe and share the videos, and do it in an Alt-Middle thoughtful nice way so that you’re not part of the problem. You’re not a neurotransmitter that’s part of this hive mind, and I think we’ll go a long way. Anyways, I love you guys. I do. Last thing I wanna say, I try to end with this. Listen, if you don’t have some practice of introspection, whether it’s prayer, contemplation, meditation, running, staring at the night sky, whatever it is, I think you should strongly consider in 2022 trying one, because, like it or not, I think we’re all connected. We’re all wired for this connection. And part of the reason we’re so unhappy and we’re so at each other’s throats and we’re so edgy is that the pandemic, in particular, has drawn us further apart and into the electronic silos. And if we can actually get out of those silos, even by introspecting into ourselves, and saying, okay, what’s going on inside? What is this, right? Then we’ll be much better in what we manifest in the world. I really think that’s the case. And I’ve told you this before, I’m gonna say it again. I’m gonna sound like a broken record. When I went on a six-day silent meditation retreat and I turned this thing off. When I came back, you can see the videos I did. I was filled with light and love. And over the course of weeks, it’s not like that went away, it got interfered with, by a lot of this, and a lot of the noise of the hive minds of the world. But now I see it, I can see it happening, and it makes it even more distressing, to a degree. But at the same time that I can see it means that I have it in my power to do something about it, to be better, right? Not for my benefit, although it helps, for the benefit of people around me and the world. The universe benefits when we do this. So increasingly in 2022, I’m gonna do videos about just that, how we can do that, okay? So stay tuned, Dr. Angela Dilullo’s gonna be back on the show. We’re gonna be talking about awakening, meditation, non-duality, different things like that. And I love you guys so much. I really do. I really do.
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