Brave New World Covid Pharmacopeia

(Covid-19 Morality Pills)

The professor actually notes that not all states mandate, nor enforce, social distancing and masks, but people should voluntarily obey those rules nonetheless. Many are too selfish and greedy to commit themselves to the common good, and shows a photo of such a group sporting Trump/Pence shirts.  Clicking Webb’s Tweet to make it stand-alone allows one to see some eye-blinking replies.

‘Morality pills’ may be the US’s best shot at ending the coronavirus pandemic, according to one ethicist’, Parker Crutchfield, [Medical Ethics, Humanities, and Law, Western Michigan University School of Medicine], August 10, 2020, theconversation.com

My research in bioethics focuses on questions like how to induce those who are noncooperative to get on board with doing what’s best for the public good. To me, it seems the problem of coronavirus defectors could be solved by moral enhancement: like receiving a vaccine to beef up your immune system, people could take a substance to boost their cooperative, pro-social behavior. Could a psychoactive pill be the solution to the pandemic?”  […]

Promoting cooperation with moral enhancement

Moral enhancement is the use of substances to make you more moral. The psychoactive substances act on your ability to reason about what the right thing to do is, or your ability to be empathetic or altruistic or cooperative.

For example, oxytocin, the chemical that, among other things, can induce labor or increase the bond between mother and child*, may cause a person to be more empathetic and altruistic, more giving and generous. The same goes for psilocybin, the active component of “magic mushrooms.” These substances have been shown to lower aggressive behavior in those with antisocial personality disorder and to improve the ability of sociopaths to recognize emotion in others.” […]

But he offers us ‘a choice’:

Moral enhancement as an alternative to vaccines

“Another challenge is that the defectors who need moral enhancement are also the least likely to sign up for it. As some have argued, a solution would be to make moral enhancement compulsory or administer it secretly, perhaps via the water supply. [< written by the professor of bio-ethics himself in Aug., 2018]  These actions require weighing other values. Does the good of covertly dosing the public with a drug that would change people’s behavior outweigh individuals’ autonomy to choose whether to participate? Does the good associated with wearing a mask outweigh an individual’s autonomy to not wear one?”

The scenario in which the government forces an immunity booster upon everyone is plausible. And the military has been forcing enhancements like vaccines or “uppers” upon soldiers for a long time. The scenario in which the government forces a morality booster upon everyone is far-fetched. But a strategy like this one could be a way out of this pandemic, a future outbreak or the suffering associated with climate change. That’s why we should be thinking of it now.”

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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The Dystopian Trifecta.

Soma, Victory Gin and the Ludovico Technique. Controlling the masses through chemistry. Alphas, the Inner Party and the 2001 Space Odysee Government setting policy and then manufacturing "reality" to fool the masses. And, now, over the objections of General Ripper, they are going to destroy our Purity of Essence by putting a mind controlling chemical in the water supply.

Wow.

Setting aside the dark speculation about motivation and ultimate aims for this bizarre mix of policies and public exhortation in support of universal compliance with the rules laid down by "science," I have begun to marvel at the boldness and the infinite hutzpah of the mentality behind "shelter in place" from the outset. Before we get to any questions about the ethics or the efficacy of the strategy, contemplate the presumption of power that goes into an Order to Every Fucking Buddy to stop your life and abandon all your freedom of action. Meanwhile, you tell about One Fourth of Every Fucking Buddy to give up your job, your home and your future.

The premise is by analogy to war. With lives at stake, "we" cannot afford the luxury of democratic debate or individual liberty. Like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, his ordering a fatal Code Red was necessary because it saved lives.

The logic is impeccable, if the asserted facts are true . . . .

I will never forget the first week of this War Against the Invisible Enemy. On March 10, during a nationally televised basketball game, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ordered the end of all NBA games, effective at the final buzzer. Two days later, before Trump declared a National Emergency, toilet paper disappeared from grocery stores and hoarding turned shopping into a Third World dystopian ordeal. At that point, there was no governmental order -- just panic. "If there is no more sports, something really BIG must be going on!"

From then to now, a hodge podge of orders, reversals and resumptions of various policies have materialized from a bewildering parade of politicians, bureaucrats and designated experts who appear on TV almost every day to reveal the latest numbers, curves, surges, spikes, waves, explosions and wildfires that show that whatever we have done so far to stop the virus has not worked.

My favorite example of what passes for public discourse is the Case of Sweden. Some voices early on touted Sweden for taking a more realistic approach. Then other voices, including some guy in the Swedish government said -- Lookie There! More people dying from this shit in Sweden than even here!

Uh, it is too early to make a meaningful comparison about strategies, because OUR DEATH COUNT AIN"T OVER YET.

After all this plays out, a few months or a few years or a few decades from now, then we can know whether the idea of allowing the virus to play itself out was smarter or dumber than the idea of trying to keep the virus from spreading by shutting down almost all human interaction.

I have no earthly idea how that grizzly accounting will come out and it is entirely possible that the shut down idea will prolong the lives of hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people.

Or maybe not.

A certitudinous attitude claiming that Science has already ruled on that question is a sure tell of what that person is all about.

The air of triumph coming from anecdotes and statistical reports showing deaths surging is unmistakable. It follows from a gruesome internet meme from last May when the wingnuts staged a bunch of anti-lockdown protests, chortling about all those idiots would soon be dying from the virus. It is also a major strand of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

.

One of the most plausible criticisms of my point of view is that we did not really follow a coherent lockdown regimen which explains the higher percentages of infection and death within the US than every other country on earth. I am sure that a better planned and better enforced campaign would have worked better than what we did.

Whatever made anybody think that the utterly corrupt USA could accomplish anything that required universal cooperation? Did anybody notice the last four years of American political history as the two major parties accused each other of treason? Non stop. With criminal investigations and impeachment.

If all those assholes were really afraid of the virus, they would have dropped their silly-assed perpetual game of The Dozens and pulled together to save our society. Instead, you see what they just did -- went home to campaign for reelection. During the ban on public events.

Yeah right.

I did not buy any of the various conspiracy theories when this shit started. I was skeptical of the Official Narrative, of course, but the bug really does make a lot of people really sick and kills too many. And I could not figure out how anybody can gain from starving your customers.

I still can't figure that out.

But I have now joined the group of utter paranoids who believes that the virus is being used in a war against the citizenry of the US. Nobody is so fucking dumb as to have just stumbled into this exercise in Civilizational Suicide.

Maybe it is Zardoz that explains it, and the various Elites are building their Vortex One through Ten . . . .

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

wendy davis's picture

@fire with fire

and energy to answer one comment, so i'll choose yours for now. but yes, i was thinking aldous huxley of course:

"When the Warden started booming, she had inconspicuously swallowed half a gramme of soma, with the result that she could now sit, serenely not listening, thinking of nothing at all, but with her large blue eyes fixed on the Warden's face in an expression of rapt attention."

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. "Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does."

They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”

~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

when wearing masks indoors in one's own house is mandated, couples are busted on park benches in NYC of 'failure to social distance', the most famous doctor in the world, bill gates, posits that museum may never open again, looks toward health passports to travel,
but now says 'we may turn the corner by the end of 2021'...wth?

and he says he's so misunderstood! he's not profiting on vaccines, he's just given $350 million to research them! (as one of his chose ones is being tested in seatlle...)

i don't know the truth of the numbers of 'death by Covid-19' nor what it actually signifies as numbers are adjusted, readjusted, but i also sense a certain sick glee about the headlines that can act as MacGuffins, as what's inside doesn't always support the headlines. but admittedly, i try not to read much about the coronavirus, and really only took note, as you had, when people started hoarding toilet paper and tissues, then any shelf-stable foods.

but i do thin that if our rulers on either aisle of the aisle gave a fuck, they wouldn't have taken a month's summer vacation. but oh: the Speaker says she might call the House back in session soonish, and DT says he 'might pardon ed snowden', both bogus campaign rhetoric in a bottle.

so yes, what professor crutchfield wants is a psychoactively drugged populace that can be generous enough to work toward the common weal...even through the ravages of covid and climate. a major twist on jem bendell's 'Deep Adaptation', i reckon. and that Uni pays him to spout this shite? lord luv a duck.

sorry, all; this one's really got my knickers in a knot. wonder if he's gotten bill gates' and the WEF's approval?/s

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Well described. Not CT.
Sooner understood better
the ptb have a plan
to deal with the havoc
set in motion, awaiting
the next trigger

watch out

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Somebody SHOOT this bastard.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

Time to ring the Red Alarm Bells for the Post Office debacle to come. A bit Off topic, but connected so I hope that this comment is okay.

(I do not know if our response to the Covid-19 Virus was Too Big, Too Small or Just Right. I have some ideas that wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places and careful handwashing did work because New York State has less than a 1% infection rate and deaths in the single digits, statewide, for weeks.)

It's very clear that while Democrats are yelling about saving the PO they went home for a month's vacation. So, whatever the Dems or GOP come up with, if they come up with anything at all, is likely to be too late.

We need to think about what is coming next and prepare ourselves if we can.

Many Americans get their prescriptions by mail. Maybe for some because they are old and feeble, but for many others because the by-mail companies allow a 3 months refill rather than a one month refill on many common meds.

This is a convenience and a time saver.

But now I think that everybody needs to change back to the safer in person prescription pick-up system as soon as they can.

In the same vein, if anybody here still relies on mail billing and sending a check back, this would be an excellent time to go to online bill paying.

The widespread tragedy of ruining the Post Office both for its vast work force and its even larger consumer base---the entire population of the USA--- is going to be a big challenge. It's possible that spreading the word that we can protect ourselves a bit by making a few changes in our ways of doing things, may ease some distress.

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NYCVG

@NYCVG

appointed to dismantle the USPS
DeJoy got a wake-up call from the people
this morning

Pa3aMpuo.jpeg

linky
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/512164-dc-protesters-stage-w...

line in the sand, perhaps but the people
will not back down on this assault

spread petitions
address your local clerks
demand management negotiate
a better future for the USPS

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@QMS good news

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NYCVG

wendy davis's picture

@NYCVG

Save the Post office diaries in the past couple months, so i do hear you. but it's been a very pointed duopoly scheme to undermine, then partially privatize, and now trump crony contributor DeJoy and the PO board of governors (#POSs) who appointed him.

but then i've been writing about it (Ringing the Red Alarm Bell) since 2011 when the Save the Post Office website came into being.

we won't do online billing but thanks for the suggestion. as far as meds: i think more aged and infirm than you might imagine can't get out to get their meds, including the massive numbers in lockdown who can't get their cancer treatments, dialysis, and so on. even though some might have family or other home health help...their time might be stretched pretty thin.

(I do not know if our response to the Covid-19 Virus was Too Big, Too Small or Just Right. I have some ideas that wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places and careful handwashing did work because New York State has less than a 1% infection rate and deaths in the single digits, statewide, for weeks.)

that's good to hear; this is their page about it. as a side note, some claim that not all test kits for covid and antibodies are equal, and many give both false negatives and false positives, or at least had in the past.

i gotta go see if i can find a used clothes dryer in zetroc (cortez spelled backward). the used appliance place is on Facebook, of all things. our died, and is so old there are no parts available. ; )

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studentofearth's picture

Already accepted almost without question in hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, prisons, schools and many individual homes providing care for a loved one. It decreases time, training and skill required to work with an "uncooperative" person. The list of potential drugs is long, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antianxiety and recreational drugs. The use of legal and illegal mood effecting substances has a long history in the United States.

We need to keep watch on this thinking and push back.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

@studentofearth @studentofearth

the pcp* I was assigned by the insurance agents
kept giving me blood tests every year
then scribed drugs to get my levels
close to norm
otherwise it was a scrip trip to a specialist
who would invariably recommend *tests*
which would usually require more *tests*
way too expensive and stress full for me

said bag the whole deal
if this is health care
it's not working

thanks soe for your wholistic wisdom

*primary care provider (TM)

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wendy davis's picture

@studentofearth

there was some point in recent history that it was far more efficacious for shrinks to provide bigPharma meds, even if off-label use than to spend the time listening to patients and helping them to self-discover the sources of their neuroses. some personality disorders may be partially exempt from that sort of aha! epiphanies, of course.

ahead of this pandemic, how many homeless nationally were vets suffering from PTSD without any access to meds that may or may not have helped?

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enhydra lutris's picture

that I don't know where to start (only the excerpts posted, I read no further).

1) Bolded because it is a biggie, "morality" is a garbage word, nonsense of the first water, unrelated to ethics and ethicality, and not at all related toaltruism, empathy, compassion and all that good stuff. At best we can deem it undefined.

2)

Moral enhancement is the use of substances to make you more moral. The psychoactive substances act on your ability to reason about what the right thing to do is, or your ability to be empathetic or altruistic or cooperative.

OR NOT as the case may be - absolutely no certainty in this area. see below

3)

For example, oxytocin, the chemical that, among other things, can induce labor or increase the bond between mother and child*, may cause a person to be more empathetic and altruistic, more giving and generous. The same goes for psilocybin, the active component of “magic mushrooms.” These substances have been shown to lower aggressive behavior in those with antisocial personality disorder and to improve the ability of sociopaths to recognize emotion in others.” [

OR NOT, as the case may be. The author even has the audacity to use the word "may", meaning "could but might not".

4) Behavior modification via compulsion is the least wrongful of the suggestions, the use of psychoactive substances without consent, by compulsion or stealth,is unconscionable. It certainly cannot be "moral" by any stretch of the imagination unless "morality" is itself unconscionable. In fact, the entire train of thought reeks of sociopathy.

5) Anything that the CIA has already tried one or more times is irredeemably evil and impermissably stupid, by definition.

6) One flew over the Cuckoo,s Nest meets Brave New World meets HOWL; we are all in Rockland now.

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

wendy davis's picture

@enhydra lutris

i'd been taking some notes on his links, but decided that it was all irrelevant to his larger terrifying and amoral theme.

what he doesn't know about mums and babbies bonding (attachment theory) is Everything. but to equate 'more generous giving (fictional $$$$) under oxytocin,' 'decrease sociopathy' (not what his link said at all).

magic mushrooms and decreased aggression = Moral to Crutchfield the bio-ethicist. what?

why do you think they were dubbed 'silly-cibyn shrooms' back in the day. all you could do was sit outside and laugh till ya cried. but then, if water supplies were dosed...

but this ringer may be what he'd included to show that ocytocin wasn't a perfect answer:

One is that the science isn’t developed enough. For example, while oxytocin may cause some people to be more pro-social, it also appears to encourage ethnocentrism, and so is probably a bad candidate for a widely distributed moral enhancement. But this doesn’t mean that a morality pill is impossible. The solution to the underdeveloped science isn’t to quit on it, but to direct resources to related research in neuroscience, psychology or one of the behavioral sciences.

i'd begun imagining he's directed some of his grad underlings to find him some corroborating studies on 'lesser assholes under pharmacopeia'. one link, srsly, was a game.

leaving one to wonder if he has any concept of what morality means, much less 'a strong moral compass'.

thanks, sea otter.

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

My father (a college professor himself) just had the gumption to send this Crutchfield guy a personal E-mail asking him to verify that he actually said this, and rebuking him if so.

I was just reminded of something else by all this: Anyone here a fan of the series Firefly? I'm not, but I did happen to see the movie spin-off Serenity.

Excerpt from the plot on Wikipedia (SPOILER ALERT for a 15-year old movie!):

They find all its colonists dead, and a recording that explains an experimental chemical to suppress aggression had been added into Miranda's atmosphere. The population became so docile they stopped performing all activities of daily living and placidly died. A small proportion of them had the opposite reaction and became insanely aggressive and violent. The Alliance had created the Reavers....

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

and good on him. i hope he read the whole mess at theconverrsation.com, but clearly he wrote it and provided the links.

now iirc, under webb's tweet, one comment laughed that Our Rulers might benefit from a dose or two of...was it LSD or just Morality Pills. can't say that i haven't suggested the same in the past for those who torture, etc. and be forced to watch continual loops of their dastardly deeds. which brings up a whole 'nother subject: moral epiphanies and Redemption.

i'm not familiar w/ firefly myself, but if and when the library opens again, we may be able to get it thru their inter-library loan system. it seems highly relevant to this abnormal discussion.

speaking of which: our local mancos, co schools are due to be open soon. wonder how that will go, as well as who will go?

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis NOT, as I discovered when looking up the plot synopsis, to be confused with a 2019 movie by the same name.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.