From a manageable epidemic to a terrifying catastrophe

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The present time is a jam buffet for an anthropologist. Finally, in its positive aspect, the one that arouses the greedy curiosity for the collective productions of the human species. The other is made of a mixture of consternation (in front of the turpid mediocrity of the time) and of empathetic suffering in front of those inflicted in pure loss to the most fragile categories of the population and to this one as a whole. 

The facts of the matter are clear: the « sanitary measures » imposed over the past 18 months are radically contrary to what was known to be necessary to effectively manage an epidemic, the essence of which is summarized in an article by Donald Henderson (the epidemiologist credited with the eradication of smallpox) from 2006(1) :

« Experience has shown that communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond better and with less anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.

Strong political and public health governance to reassure and ensure that necessary health care services are provided are essential elements.

If either is not optimal, a manageable epidemic can turn into a disaster. » 

However, this is exactly what the authorities of our different countries have provoked under the comminatory injunctions of the WHO and the CDC, two deeply corrupted organizations: to inflict, against all medical ethics, a deprivation of care (useful drugs) and follow-up (monitoring of the blood oxygen level); to stop the society whatever the destructive consequences; finally to impose pathogenic, vexatious and even traumatizing measures in addition to being useless against all the rules prevailing in the matter. 

This observation may, of course, appear excessive when the subsidized press has only invited « experts » who peremptorily affirm the opposite. The only difference is that the experts in question are far from being the best, and that the public issue of their conflicts of interest has never been addressed, and for good reason. 

So we see a gap in which the media-political « elites » have convinced themselves of a strongly erroneous narrative, which they have then passed on with a form of obsessive fury to the people. While at the same time the real and best specialists were not only not listened to but even systematically denigrated and fought. 

Let me say it loud and clear since it is my own field of expertise: the best epidemiologists of today, working in the best universities (such as Prof. Ioannidis and Battacharya at Standord, Kullforf at Harvard, Gupta at Oxford, as well as big names such as de Brouwer, Rentier or Giesecke) have been ostracized or denigrated. While we listened to multi-recidivists of errors and frauds like the infamous Professor Ferguson of theImperial College of London and a whole procession of bureaucrat doctors or TV shows. 

The warning messages of the real specialists as well as their reminder of the data, the good practices and the ethics have simply been ignored. In a recent interview with Epoch Time(2), Professor Martin Kulldorf, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at Harvard, expressed his bitterness: 

« So the collateral damage of these containments on public health is something we’re going to have to live and die with for many, many years, unfortunately. With an impact on mental health that will have been enormous and tragic.

This response to the pandemic is truly horrific and goes against the basic principles of public health that we have followed for many decades. This is very unfortunate. » 

To this denial of science and intelligence has been added a systemic violence and persecution of scientists with integrity. Media and social network harassment campaigns have been orchestrated in our various countries to sully the reputation and credibility of experts who dare not only to challenge but even to question the dominant discourse. 

In an unprecedented way, quality science has been suppressed (as the Bristish MedicalJournal has repeatedly denounced (3)), pure scientific frauds have been used to impose absurd and destructive measures, and intellectuals doing quality work to make known the data hidden or censored by the media have been literally beaten up, as happened recently in France to my excellent colleague, Laurent Mucchielli, director of research at the CNRS, who has a quality blog on Mediapart(4)

We then saw the appearance of what can only make us shudder with horror: a sort of Stalinist « Ministry of Truth », which says « Reality », « Science » and « History » as it pleases, rewriting it as needed. Like the French government’s « Mr. Vaccine », who publicly denies the risks of gene injections, even though they have been known for several decades(5).

We rewrite the present, we even rewrite the state of scientific knowledge in a kind of orgy of omnipotence where neither reality nor ethics nor even the law have any more importance. They just need to have the « power to say and do » (as Professor Michel Maffesoli puts it)(6)) so that the « elites » in power can enjoy it ad libitum while exonerating themselves from any duty, any responsibility and of course any ethics. 

This shift, which I don’t think any of us would have expected (the very wise Maffesoli and a few prophetic minds like Albert Jacquard(7) had anticipated it, sometimes long ago), reveals two faces: 

The first is that of a paranoid delusion, typical of totalitarianism(8).

The totalitarian delirium is indeed inevitably accompanied by a discourse that makes a clean sweep of all values (while insidiously claiming them) and substitutes itself in fine for reality. With a mimetic violence (according to the work of the philosopher and anthropologist René Girard(9)) needing to designate scapegoats and to put them to death, actually or symbolically. This is what happened to such luminaries as Prof. Raoult, Perronne or Montagnier, and explains the incantatory and systematic attacks against fictitious groups such as « conspiracists » or « anti-vaxx », collectively fulfilling the function assigned to counter-revolutionaries under Stalin or to heretics under the Inquisition. By this shift, a person having for example doubts (recognized as relevant by real science) on the harmlessness of the messenger RNA injection becomes a heretic (« antivaxx ») endangering the community and even a potential killer! Particularly aggressive and malicious « journalists » (RTBF has its share of them) do the dirty work day after day to stir up collective violence against these designated enemies and their emblematic figures. 

The second face is that of a methodical and brilliantly orchestrated plan. It is not within my competence to analyze the relevance of the competing hypotheses, whether the project is that of imposing a « Chinese-style » model of social surveillance (here we are) or (as the German lawyer Reiner Fuellmich(10)) to liquidate the unmanageable debt of our failed states and banks by finding a pretext to confiscate the savings of individuals. Or to impose a definitive supranational governance(11). I don’t know which of these scenarios is valid, but it is obvious that the forced march forward imposed by the governments of our so-called democracies has from the beginning nothing to do with the health of the population and any concern to protect it. And if it is true that a consideration of systemic dynamics could be enough to explain the totalitarian drift, it is today a probable hypothesis in my eyes that something else seems to be hidden behind what we observe. What? How do you do it? I am too far out of my field of knowledge here to evaluate the hypotheses, but not to understand that a health delusion (admittedly billionaire lucrative) is insufficient to exhaust its own causality. 

This being said, the only question that remains is how to resist this steamroller. 

Frankly, I would be reasonably pessimistic at this point. The fact is that the mountain of lies (to call a spade a spade) uttered by the authorities and the media without interruption and without leaving room for any questioning for the last eighteen months constitutes a collective manipulation of an overwhelming and even basically unrepresentable weight. 

The « Covid doxa  » (according to Laurent Mucchielli’s happy expression(12)), or this narrative made of four blocks, all of them false (« the epidemic is terribly serious, there is no early treatment available, restraint measures are necessary, the vaccine is the only solution ») is terribly effective, all the more so when it can rely on the wave of terror that it triggered and has been sustaining ever since. 

The impact on the individual neuropsychology and the collective psyche of the repeated message that we are all permanently in danger of death because of Sars-CoV‑2 will have been truly devastating, without any regard for reality, since the slight excess mortality observed in 2021 in our countries is essentially correlated with the aging of the population(13). Add to that the impact of the lack of early care and there’s nothing scary that really happened. 

The devastation produced by the narrative is real, not only for well-being and health (knowing that refraining from panicking the population is a cardinal principle in public health, established in operational and of course ethical manuals! 

It will not have escaped anyone, I think, who is not caught up in the collective hypnosis that the doxa, its injunctions, its rewritings, are in reality of a consummate stupidity and wickedness. 

For example, to say that any suspicion of study rigging and government manipulation by pharmaceutical companies is conspiracy — when systemic corruption in health policy is one of the most well-studied facts(14)The fact that these are documented and ultimately recognized problems of public governance represents a kind of feat. 

It’s like denying outright that junk food is a public health problem in the West. 

While the UN, the European Commission (in full relapse for the last 18 months), various parliamentary commissions of inquiry, the ethics centers of the best universities and many former editors-in-chief of the most prestigious medical journals recognize in unison the extent and the gravity of the problem as well as the threats it poses to the health of populations(15)The authorities and the media have simply covered it up in a sumptuous collective denial. 

By entrusting the market and an unconditional impunity to companies repeatedly condemned in civil and criminal cases(16)… while treating (in a characteristic inversion) as fraudsters and criminals the rare honest minds ready to recall a certain number of truths at the risk of their situation. 

While the present confirms the brilliant intuitions he has had for forty years, Michel Maffesoli underlines in his last book(17) that we are living a tipping point in the values weaving the background of our civilization: the principles of modernity (individualism, rationalism, utilitarianism) will inevitably be succeeded by those of postmodernity, which has been announcing itself for some decades. 

These will be based on the we (« to make community »), a holistic vision of reality and the valorization of the feeling, leading in the best of the cases to this sensitive rationality which is in some way the antidote to the morbid rationalism and to the triumphant technical imbecility. 

Maffesoli thinks — my hope is the same as his — that we are witnessing the last stand of an elite in perdition. Who at the same time no longer understands things but is not even interested in understanding them nor especially in serving the collective interest. These « elites » are all the more dangerous, as are all tyrannical forces on the verge of being brought down or simply collapsing. 

The fact is that, looking back at the past eighteen months, one must note the brutality, the fury and the malevolence of the elites (« those who have the power to say and to do »), political, media, « scientific », administrative and health. Like these school doctors or teachers’ unions insisting on imposing the wearing of masks, which are useless (the Swedish example has obviously confirmed this)(18)) but above all psychically and physically destructive to children and young people. 

Governments that terrify and violate their population despite reassuring data. Doctors who forbid treatment and prefer to let people get worse until it is too late. Scientists who defraud and excommunicate those who resist the prevailing prostitution. Subsidized media that have become propaganda outlets handing out hate labels while refusing to investigate or ask any embarrassing questions. 

Shadow play, waking nightmare or horror film, all this would be entertaining if there were not so many innocent victims, children and elders sacrificed to the sick that could have been treated and saved, with all the societal, economic, cultural and moral devastation of which we unfortunately only see the beginnings. 

Yes, these are exciting times for an anthropologist who is an expert in public health. It is still distressing, terrible and worrying for me as a person, but it has nothing to do with a new virus that would have caused (if we had done what we knew we had to do) only a manageable epidemic of average size. 

The rest is indeed the problem. And is really scary. 

Jean-Dominique Michel

Blandine Denis
Blandine Denis
Notes et références
  1. Henderson D. A., Inglesby TV et al., Disease mitigation measures in the control of pandemic influenza, Biosecur Bioterror. 2006;4(4):366–75
  2. Harvard Epidemiologist Martin Kulldorff on Vaccine Passports, the Delta Variant, and the COVID ‘Public Health Fiasco’, Epoch Time, August 10 2021.
  3. Abbasi K, Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science, BMJ 2020;371:m4425
  5. Présentation du Pr Christian Vélot, généticien moléculaire, au Conseil scientifique indépendant n° 20,
  6. Maffesoli M. & Strohl H., La faillite des élites, Cerf, 2019
  7. Émission « Noms de dieux », RTBF, octobre 1994
  8. Bilheran A., Psychopathologie du totalitarisme, série d’articles,‑1–3‑ariane-bilheran
  9. Pour une introduction à son œuvre monumentale, cf.
  10. ZvHOj11JJSTxXZa.html
  12. Mucchielli L., La doxa du Covid : Réflexions sur le contrôle de l’information relative à la crise sanitaire. Les Cahiers du CEDIMES, 2021, 16 (Hors-Série), pp.138–146.
  13. Fernique T., Surmortalité Covid » en 2020 ? C’est la démographie, idiot !,
  14. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, Institutional Corruption and Pharmaceutical Policy.
  15. Michel J.-D., La médecine et la santé publique à l’épreuve du Covid, séminaire à l’IHU Méditerranée-Infection, 21 mai 2021
  17. Maffesoli M., Le temps des soulèvements, Cerf, 2021
  18. Shahar E., Pas l’ombre d’un doute : la Suède avait raison,

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