Hijacking the followers
It's worth considering this graph of US 2021 vaccine hesitancy:
Let's zoom in on the data in May:
The source study is likely underestimating vaccine hesitancy across all groups. They conducted their survey the easy way: using Facebook. People who are skeptical of shots are much less likely to still be there, or to have ever been there at all. The median responder was age 55-64, when the US has median age 38. Real vaccine hesitancy is higher.
Broadly, these data contain three groups by education:
Knowledge leaders. PhDs are at the forefront of human knowledge. They have no higher authority to follow, except other PhDs. If these people don't know where we're going, then probably no one does.
People in this group are less likely to form in-groups and out-groups. They are more likely to evaluate information from all sources and draw their own conclusions.
By education, this group contains the highest relative share of people who are COVID-19 vaccine resistant: they want to stay away from the clot-shot.
Furthermore, vaccine hesitancy in this group has decreased the least over time. PhDs who doubt these interventions have received no information to make them less skeptical.
Knowledge followers. These are people with less than the highest degrees. These are not at the forefront of knowledge: they excel at following.
People in this group are often proud of how well they follow. They form in-groups based on whom they are following, and condemn out-groups if they follow "heresies".
People in this group are now the least vaccine resistant. They are being good followers indeed.
Knowledge skeptics. These are people with the least formal education, such as high school and college dropouts. This can be due to lack of capacity, but they may also simply lack interest.
This group might be skeptical of formal knowledge and think it's a big circlejerk where the participants lead each other from one delusion to another, stroke each other's egos and give each other fake awards. This may be right.
This group is despised by the knowledge followers. They despise them more than heretics who follow a competitive knowledge leader. At least the heretics are simply misled. The knowledge skeptics, however, don't respect formal knowledge at all.
These graphs suggest the knowledge skeptics have more in common with PhDs than knowledge followers: both think for themselves.
In normal times, if some proportion of knowledge leaders have opinion X, then a similar proportion should follow them. Vaccine hesitancy among knowledge followers should therefore about equal knowledge leaders.
Not so today. Because of ubiquitous censorship by technology companies – including Google with BlogSpot – and because of ubiquitous false reporting in mass media, knowledge leaders who oppose the narrative have been largely deplatformed, and must resort to broadcasting on alternate media. Links to such media are frequently censored, and the media are described (quite inaccurately) as "abhorrent" and "You should hate this other platform, just because."
Not only are potential knowledge leaders deplatformed – to the extent that they depend on The Machine
As of today, 58,683 medical scientists, public health scientists and medical practitioners have signed the Great Barrington Declaration. But have you heard of it? Do an experiment: try sharing a link to it on Facebook.
The knowledge followers, who are not at the forefront of science, use non-scientific signals to determine whom to follow. These signals include social status, and social networks and the media are making it seem like those who disagree should have no social status at all. Vaccine opponents are openly dehumanized and treated as less than animals:
This sort of speech is permitted, while linking to the Great Barrington Declaration is not.
In these circumstances, the knowledge followers are, sadly, following what is visible to them.
In large proportion, the followers are likely being led to their deaths.