I'm going to make this my last post here on IanUsher.com about the pandemic, loss of freedoms, and the roll-out of vaccinations... for now. I guess it really depends on what happens next, and whether our freedoms are returned, or whether life has changed forever...
I plan to get back to blogging on this website about travel, house sitting, and creating a life filled with as much freedom and adventure as possible.
However, as you've probably realised if you've read any of my previous posts, I have been a little side-tracked recently by the current restrictions on our freedoms, and the push towards mass vaccination.
One of my major concerns is we are heading for "vaccine passports" or "vaccine certificates", which will quickly result in a two-tier system of "those-who-can" and "those-who-aren't-allowed-to".
Of course many will argue that you still have freedom to choose. It is easy for those willing to be vaccinated to suggest to the more hesitant that we should simply accept the vaccine, so we can all start "getting back to normal".
Compulsory vaccination has been a reality for many travellers for decades. The last vaccine I had to have was in 2010 when, to be allowed to enter Brazil, I had to have a Yellow Fever vaccination. The choice was either accept the jab and get the certificate, or forget “bucket list” plans to go to Carnival in Rio.
But I see a vaccine passport as a very different proposition, and I have many questions and concerns.
Who do you believe?
A year ago, in February and March 2020 I was a believer.
I thought, based on what I read and heard, that we were facing an on-coming tidal wave of disease and death. I believed the news reports, I understood how exponential growth hides the numbers until they explode off the chart. I saw the haggard doctors in Italy. I saw the reasoning which led to the first lockdown in the UK, because it was necessary to “flatten the curve”. I was an early adopter of mask use. I believed.
I wrote several blog posts about this at the time.
But little by little, over the months, things just haven’t seemed to add up. I began to question what was going on as governments made decisions, then hasty U-turns, as masks weren’t essential, then suddenly were mandated, as lockdowns destroyed businesses, lives and the economy.
I was amazed to see what appeared to be very obvious censorship as any discussion of Hydroxychloroquine was side-lined and ridiculed, and qualified doctors were de-platformed for expressing an opinion which differed from that constantly being pushed in the media.
Many of the regular video creators I followed on YouTube began to have videos "de-monetized", censored, and in some cases their accounts closed and all their content removed.
But it wasn’t until the surprise “Hey Presto!” vaccine announcements in early November2020, months if not years ahead of any predicted timeline, that I really sat up and took any notice.
The final straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the hasty approval for emergency use, and the enormous effort to get needles into arms before the ink on the pharma company research papers had had time to dry.
I really had wanted to believe that the story was simple... a terrible virus, a great scientific effort to provide a solution, and governments across the world concerned about our wellbeing...
Questioning the narrative
However, I could no longer believe.
I was sufficiently surprised by this hasty approval, and the huge governmental and media push that followed, suggesting we all needed to get vaccinated as soon as humanly possible, that I started asking questions, and researching.
Much of what I discovered was further cause for concern... so much so that I started writing.
In my latest book "Vaccine Roundup" I don't claim to know "the truth". In fact, one of the major themes of the book is that none of us really know what is true and what isn't. Our problem in the modern world is not access to information, it is being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of news, much of it conflicting.
The subtitle for the book is "Questioning the narrative: An exercise in critical thinking". What I wanted to achieve with the book was to acknowledge my lack of certainty about what is happening in the world, and help others to ask their own questions, with the ultimate goal of being able to make a rational, considered decision about vaccination for themselves.
I certainly don't want to tell anybody what they should or shouldn't do. After all, one of my most strongly held beliefs is that we should all be able to live our life in whatever way we choose, as free, sovereign individuals.
But apparently critical thinking isn't encouraged...
Here's George Carlin on the "global elite":
Banned by Amazon
At the end of February my book was ready for publication, and my first port of call was Amazon Kindle. Imagine my shock when my book was rejected.
Apparently, as explained in my rejection email, the reason was, "Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around coronavirus, we are referring customers to official sources for advice about the prevention or treatment of the virus."
I appealed at length, explaining that my book simply suggests some questions people may want to ask themselves, and does not give any "advice about the prevention or treatment of the virus".
The reply? A simple copy/paste message saying: "We've reviewed your book again and are upholding our previous decision to not offer your book for sale on Amazon."
Many appeals, many requests for clarification. Nothing back from Amazon ever other than the same copy/paste response.
Bypassing the censorship
If you followed my 100goals journey you know I am not someone to easily give up.
I had already submitted files for a print version of the book to my publisher, and knew of another platform for publishing eBooks.
To date the digital version of the book has been approved for full digital distribution by Smashwords, which means you can now find it on the Apple iStore, and in other retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
And just two days ago, on 11th March, exactly a year to the day since the World Health Organization declared the viral outbreak a pandemic (should we call it "P-Day"?), the print version was approved and has now slowly started to feed out to online retailers.
What gives me the most pleasure at the moment is that the print version is actually starting to appear in listings on Amazon all across the world:
Vaccine Roundup: Should I Have One of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccinations? Questioning the Narrative: An Exercise in Critical Thought
David and Goliath
My publishing company obviously submits paperback books via a different process to a different department, and the book has slipped through the Amazon filter via this route.
I'd suggest you get a copy before they get around to banning this version too.
At the moment I'm reluctant to go back to the Amazon Kindle department and re-submit a digital version, as I'm worried they may then turn their focus to the print version and remove that. I suspect that is unlikely, but I want to wait until I've made a few sales and got a couple of reviews.
If you do want a digital eBook version rather than a print copy, you can find links to many online eBook retailers here:
Do you want a free copy of my book?
Finally, as an alternative, in my David vs Goliath battle against Amazon Kindle, I'm currently offering a free digital version of the book to anyone who wants a copy.
I simply want to help as many people as possible to do some clear rational thinking before jumping to a hasty decision. I think our freedoms are at stake at this very important decision point.
Visit my this page on my new website to find out how to get your free copy:
All I ask in return is if you do read the book, then a review on whatever website you got it would be much appreciated.
My pandemic posts
Here are my 5 original pandemic posts from February and March 2020, when I was a believer:
And here are my most recent pandemic posts, written from a much more sceptical viewpoint:
Back to "Freedom Lifestyle"
OK, that's it for my posts on the impact of the pandemic upon our freedoms. Normal service will now be resumed...