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Day 54 – Two Bills with Draconian Aspects while there is Spread of False Information

13.05.2020

Today in the National Assembly, we will again see MPs on TV wearing face-masks, staying seated while speaking, and sitting far apart, some even beyond the space they usually occupy and on into the guest areas – epidemic control demands this.


There will be two Bills that the Government wants to pass in one day. The Bills were circulated from Monday morning via the National Assembly site. The Bills are quite “suddenly” urgent.


The Government, made up of the MSM-ML-and Crossers-of-the-Floor, while pretending to be merely making a legal framework for the duration of the epidemic, is at the same time hiding inside both Bills confirmation of the two principle aspects of its nature that LALIT has consistently warned of: 


1) The MSM & Co, having no political project whatsoever, follow the dictates of the capitalist class in all matters politically possible. Here they are just shamelessly transferring public funds to the capitalist class, leaving decisions of national importance in the hands of the bosses, while wiping out the few measures they had conceded to the working class, so as to gain a nod and a wink from the trade unions leaders, prior to the November elections.


2) The MSM & Co, just as in the times of Aneerood Jugnauth, relies on repression as its basic instinct. Having no political vision, the only way that it gets “compliance” is by getting the police to lock people up. If you go out of your house on a day where you are not supposed to because your surname begins with a letter not allowed out that day, you can be arrested and liable to a fine of Rs500,000 (half a million Rupees or four years’ salary) or five years in jail. Giving such outrageous power to the police and judiciary for such a minor infringement represents an inching towards a police state.


LALIT has put analyses of different parts of the Bills on both our site and Facebook page.


It is a credit to the people of Mauritius, and it is despite the Government’s inability to give proper reasoned explanations to the public, that the epidemic is under control as we end the first phase. 


In a recent survey, it is clear that while 2/3 of people believe the Government’s actions on the epidemic were good or fairly good, 2/3 of people believe the Government’s “communication” on the epidemic was bad or fairly bad. Again, that perspicacity is a credit to the people.


But, what will MP’s do today?


The problem with times like these is that social democratic paternalistic Governments like the MSM & Co one, is that they are a sitting duck for all the false and confusing news being spread on the internet.


I am referring here to confusing videos and texts circulating that are part of an international offensive by the extreme right in order to sew confusion in just one “bubble” of people – those on the leftish-wing, more humanitarian people, anti-globalization forces and those rightly suspicious of both big capital, especially Big Pharma, and also repressive regimes. This way of herding people into a “bubble” and bombarding just that “bubble” of people with propaganda was used by companies like Cambridge Analytica (now closed, but replaced by many others) during the election of Trump in swing States in 2016 as well as the pro-Brexit victory in Britain. In the USA, there were two main prongs that worked. First, they herded Democrat-voting recently jobless working class white males into groups and made them “vire mam”, so that many of them have joined the ranks of those right-wing gun-toting loons we see on TV now as they oppose the lockdown. Second, they pushed into groups Afro-Americans, who had voted Obama, and bombarded them with information that Hilary Clinton was a racist like her husband, and a pro-war hawk, not with the idea of making them vote Trump (who is worse on both counts) but in order to promote abstentions in this “bubble”, which they did do.   


How to recognize these campaigns today? It is not easy. We all need to become refined rationalists, checking arguments one by one, turning the arguments used in articles on the article to check. 


Here are some guidelines we propose, for the moment, while we all tighten up our logic:


- It is important to ignore, even destroy, all anonymous texts and videos that spread alarm and confusion. If you want to mull over one, just phone a friend and discuss the content, then delete. 


- The aim of this propaganda is to spread confusion. It is not in order to gain clarity.


- They will tell you that governments are spreading fear. When you check, it is them (those who send the clips and texts) that are spreading the fear.


- They often claim Governments are putting out false statistics on illness and death, exaggerating the figures. This is also proclaimed by overtly extreme-right groups.


- They attack epidemiologists “en masse” – often using one or two scientists to do so. The extreme right opposes the entire study of epidemiology – no doubt because it aims at “the good for all” and not individual curative medicine of the paying sick.


- They claim that the statistical projections of illness and death from Covid-19 and the actual rate of illness and death do not corroborate. True, but false. Why it is false is that they avoid saying that the difference between the predicted illness and death and the actual resulting illness and death is precisely BECAUSE entire peoples took drastic precautions for weeks all over the whole of the world (i.e. lockdowns and social distancing). Note that the people who sew this particular confusion are to the right of Trump. Trump has two stands: he represents these right-wing confusion-mongers, and he is also represented by Dr. Fauci and the other epidemiologists who, in general, have to follow the science – however much he pressures them.


- They support anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, but for “lefties” they disguise this as being against only some vaccines, or as being opposition to “Big Pharma”. (Note vaccines in general prevent pharmaceutical companies raking in money through life-long treatments for everyone.) Trump was an anti-vaccine militant.


- They oppose 5-G networks. This is part of supporting the Trump trade war against China. Sometimes they do not mention 5-G, in case you spot it, but refer just to the electro-magnetic radiation as a key word for 5-G. They link 5-G with coronavirus by juxtaposition. (All this is on Trump’s line.)


- They tend to criticize the World Health Organization from the right. As indeed Trump does.


- Some of the clips have “music” in the background to kuyonn us. 


But there is really no short-cut. We all have to become rationalists, learn all the old fallacies in the philosophy of logic: 


1. False dilemmas (See last Revi LALIT on our site in Documents on page 32)


2. Ad hominem arguments.


3. “Everybody does it” or “knows it” argument.


4. Non sequitur – a false conclusion.


 


This was to name just a few. During the lockdown, we can read up on these – it will help us for the rest of our lives.


 Lindsey Collen


for LALIT, a personal view.