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  • Writer's pictureNikko Norte

Neo-feudalism …

On a bench in front of an old, wooden shed, I pour coffee from our Stanley thermos into its lid. October 2021. The sky is clear and blue. Mountains all around me, their peaks white with snow. The Austrian sun warms me pleasantly. A light breeze comes from the wrong direction, but I don’t feel like worrying about that yet. On foot, I covered the almost thousand vertical meters and some nine horizontal kilometers from home to the Hochjoch mountain station in just over two hours. Not bad for a dwarf.

It is 10.20 a.m. The terrace of the Kapell restaurant, some fifty meters under me, is crowded, which surprises me. The smell of fried food I breathed in when I just passed the restaurant made me doubt the time of day. Bits of sunlight reflect off the mugs from which people drink their beer. It doesn’t bother me to be excluded from that restaurant. What bothers me, maybe even frightens me, is that in exchange for a mug of beer, we bury our heads in the sand and refuse to at least consider the possibility that the fight against corona serves a different purpose than to fight corona.

I am also excluded from mountain lifts, which, this winter, forces Heidi and me to seek shelter in the Sierra Nevada, in Andalusia, Spain, where vaccination passports are still unknown – and where not a single corona victim more will be mourned than in countries which’ governments already introduced those passports …

Yesterday, I had my first experience with the use of vaccination passports in the fight against corona. Riding my bike home, after having filled a backpack with nuts and dried fruit at a local supermarket, I discovered the village center of Schruns to be closed off with crush barriers. Next to an opening between those barriers, a sign warned me that Zutritt to what was happening in Schruns’ village center was only permitted for those who were either vaccinated, tested, or healed. Two voluminous Austrians in polo shirts with the logo of the local tourist office on them asked me for my QR-code. Should I have had such a code, it would have been impossible to show it, for I don’t carry a cell phone with me while riding my bike. Kein Zutritt was the unanimous decision of my new friends, after which I dodged grabbing arms and rode on. Turmoil behind me, but I trusted myself to stay abreast of eighty pounds overweight, even if it was divided over two bodies.

A market in the village center of Schruns. Not an ordinary market or flea market, but a binge-and-purge market – could not think of another word, in my haste to avoid prosecution. An unhealthy crowd – and proud of it, as I perceived it – tasted and bought biscuits, cheese, honey, sausages, schnapps, and waffles at stalls and feasted on beer, wine, and Bratwurst mit Pommes on sidewalk terraces. Leaving that market the opposite side, I again met two Austrians in XXL polo shirts with the logo of the local tourist office on them. Neither could be aware of my unvaccinated, untested, and likely healed status, but both seemed displeased with the way I propelled myself through life. Again, I dodged grabbing arms after which I concentrated on the final miles home, determined to cycle up the hill one gear lower than I did the previous weeks.

As I pour myself more coffee, I realize that research thus far teaches us that vaccination passports only contribute to the spread of corona, and I think of those politicians promising us those passports to be temporary. What a joke! The introduction of a digital vaccination passport is a crucial step toward a new, global system of governance. The word feudalism comes to my mind. In the nearby future, and just for the fun of it, people in each individual country may still choose their governments, but chosen politicians will be nothing but vassals, enforcing rules upon us ordained by people we don’t choose.

If we agree to a vaccination passport now, it will live on under a different name and in a different shape, likely biometric, which means that those politicians promising us the vaccination passport to be temporary have not broken that promise. It is what politics have become. Pitiful, and... can't lick 'em, jine 'em. The precursor of the phrase can't beat them, join them. A US senator by the name of Watson first used that phrase, and I wonder why my memory so often burdens me with useless information, but … can't lick 'em, jine 'em. Too many politicians these days embrace the phrase. Out of self-preservation, they turn their backs on their voters and join the barely visible group of people that has set itself the goal of using corona to get to that new, global system of governance.

Born in the Netherlands, Heidi and I live in Austria. Recently, we heard the Dutch Minister of Health declare that only thirteen percent of the Dutch population is still unvaccinated, which means that the Netherlands share second place of countries with the highest vaccination rate with the United Arab Emirates. Gibraltar ranks highest, and measured by the daily number of new corona cases in Gibraltar – a medically worthless indicator – the peninsula would be a risk state if it belonged to the USA. Data, data, data, Watson, I can't make bricks without clay ...

Thirty-three percent of the Dutch population is still unvaccinated, according to more reliable sources than the Dutch Minister of Health, and a tiny bit of research into corona-related death rates per country, related to the same death rates a year ago and related to the vaccination rate, casts some doubt on the success of the existing vaccines in the fight against corona. In the few countries where the death rate appears to be declining – in Austria it is higher than a year ago – it is unclear whether the decline is being caused by the vaccines, by an increase of natural immunity, or by the lower virulence of the delta variant compared to the original strain of the virus, which is common in viral mutations. Elementary, my dear Watson. Meanwhile, after deducting corona deaths, excess mortality gets worrisome in countries with a high vaccination rate, societies are disrupted, and vaccine induced adverse reactions increase. And mind me, the problem with adverse reactions has to be addressed more urgently than ever because there is an unforeseen problem with the efficacy of the vaccines.

If I have understood correctly, the Dutch Minister of Health has been vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. According to a recently published American study, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine leaves us with three percent efficacy after five months, which means that the Dutch Minister of Health, while advocating medical apartheid, is unvaccinated unless he has recently taken a booster shot. Man, I don’t care whether the Dutch Minister of Health takes that booster shot or not; as long as people are free to light a cigarette, he is free to refuse his booster shot.

Unvaccinated people pose no threat to public health. Unvaccinated people pose a threat to the evolving neo-feudalism, and in the back of my head, I hear Sherlock Holmes mutter: In solving a problem of this sort, Watson, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. In doing so, thinking backwards, deductively in other words, I realize the future nobility has overplayed its hand. COVID-19 does not deserve the label pandemic, the efficacy of the vaccines, for what it is worth, wanes too rapidly, and the adverse effects of the vaccines pose a bigger risk to our health than expected. That apart, not enough fear has been spread at the outbreak of the so called pandemic to keep the group of people refusing to be vaccinated to COVID large enough to justify the introduction of a vaccination passport but small enough to not endanger the success of the worldwide, digital, neo-feudal coup that is being staged.

Those staging that coup have calculated with a number far less than forty percent of the population of the Western world refusing to be vaccinated to COVID, and there is more trouble. After a year and a half of corona measures, most people in the Western world are unhealthier than ever. To curb the increase of COVID infections, booster shots are inevitable, while those shots were intended for poorer countries, for what if COVID becomes endemic in those countries without their populations having been vaccinated? You see, Watson, but you don't observe...

We eh… we have to force our heads out of the sand. Not enough people die from COVID to fear the disease, and hardly anyone dies from it without at least one comorbidity, anxiety, by the way, one of the most dangerous comorbidities related to possibly dying from COVID. Most comorbidities, even anxiety, can be traced back to an unhealthy lifestyle, so change that lifestyle! For those failing to do so, vaccination may be the solution – at least every six months until better vaccines are available. But if our freedom means more to us than having a mug of beer on the terrace of an alpine restaurant, we best part with the believe that our governments cannot possibly mean us harm, embrace our unvaccinated fellow man, literally, say no to vaccination passports, and ... I screw the lid on the thermos, slide it into a side pocket of my backpack, swing the backpack on my back, and continue my walk.

Some five hundred meters, I follow a path uphill. Then, on all fours, I climb to a plateau. Once on that plateau, I take my paraglider out of my backpack and spread it over the rock-strewn ground. The glider's lines, when I try to sort them, stick to the tough weed that grows from between the rocks, my heart pounding. The plateau slopes too steeply, the wind comes from behind me, and the cables of the chairlifts, left and right of the plateau, are too close. If I don’t want to contribute to the overburdening of hospitals like smoking, drinking, and binging and purging people do, I take my loss and walk back home. On the other hand, having spent only a single night in a hospital during my life – tonsils, five years of age – I have paid my part of the insurance premium of deliberately unhealthy people, and on top of that, I pay an extra insurance premium for most of the sports I practice.

My heart still pounding, I turn my backpack inside out and buckle myself into the harness I have thus created. I buckle my emergency parachute to the carabiners on that harness, buckle the lines of the glider to the same carabiners, put on my gloves, put both hands through the steering lines, grab my A-lines, and take two steps forward. I feel the glider coming up behind me, but there is not enough pressure on the lines, one second to abort my takeoff. Instead, I throw my upper body forward, trip over rocks, and fly. I fly over the cable of the chairlift to my left, and before my heartbeat has calmed down, I am separated from the pine trees under me by a distance that allows me to throw my emergency parachute in case there is more lee side turbulence than I pray for. The air feels restless indeed. Four kilometers to cover if I fly to the landing field in a straight line. Nine if I first cross the Silbertal. I lean sideways in my harness, turn slowly to the north, and realize I miss the beeping of my altimeter. Oh man, I have forgotten to take the thing out of my backpack before turning the backpack into a harness. Clueless with regards to today’s thermal activity, I am evenly clueless about the direction to choose. Will I keep flying north or will I swerve toward the landing field, invisible from my current position? Sherlock Holmes decides for me: It is a mistake to theorize before one has data, Watson. Inevitably, one twists facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts …


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