PANDA, Pandemics ~ Data & Analysis, – and its chairman Nick Hudson – have unapologetically spoken out against senseless lockdown regulations. This has led to a big backlash on social media channels, while Youtube and Facebook also censored some of the messages as a result. But despite the headwinds, the group along with Hudson have stood strong standing up for freedom of expression, choice and society. In recognition the Free Market Foundation will bestow upon the group its first award upon, which you can watch live here at 6pm on Wednesday 23 June.
Free Market Foundation media statement:
On Wednesday evening June 23, the FMF will bestow the first Free Market Foundation Award upon Pandemics: Data and Analytics (PANDA), a group of multi-disciplinary professionals, for making a credible case for freedom as an alternative to lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nick Hudson, Chairman of PANDA, will accept the award on behalf of the group.
According to its website, PANDA aims to promote open science, human agency, and courageous societies by empowering the public with accurate information. This enables individuals to exercise freedom of choice, preserve human liberties and a free society.
Any new threat to people’s lives – and livelihoods – should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, the trend worldwide was for massive State controls and abuses of citizens’ civil liberties. PANDA aims to provide a credible alternative. While no policy response can be perfect, the world must be wary of those responses that entrench government power, destroy businesses, and force people into hunger and poverty.
Martin van Staden, member of the FMF’s Executive Committee and MC at the award ceremony, says that the FMF Award is meant to recognise those individuals and groups who advocate effectively for freedom both intellectually and practically. “There are inventors who make government less relevant in our daily lives, there are advocates who effectively push back against encroaching authoritarianism, and there are intellectuals who make fresh cases for liberty; but they rarely receive recognition for their efforts. We at the FMF hope to begin a new trend of recognising those who advocate for liberty as the best solution for the problems that plague the world,” says Van Staden.
Hudson will speak about the crumbling foundations of the COVID-19 lockdown narrative:
“The novel recipe of lockdowns, masks, fear campaigns and lots of stickers turns out not only to entail horrific collateral damage, but to worsen Covid outcomes. An edifice of lies has been sustained by ruthless censorship, media blankets, and extensive conflicts of interest at our institutions of public health and science. As the lies are exposed, we stand at a crucial junction in history. Down one road lies a painful repeat lesson from history – that technocratic centralisation and surveillance deliver only stasis and gross inequality. Down the other lies an opportunity to cast off the yokes of woke critical theory, concentration of power and safety culture, and to reassert the generativity afforded only by personal agency, freedom of expression, decentralisation and an evolutionary approach to knowledge and economy.”
Robert Vivian, Deputy Chairman of the FMF’s Executive Committee, reasons the award to PANDA as follows:
“The West has lost a great deal of freedom and that freedom will only be regained if people have the courage to stand against bigotry, which is what PANDA has done. Unlike other state interventions, the COVID intervention abridged the liberty of individuals to work and the end of the ability to work is the end of the free market and economy. PANDA was also one of the first, if not the first, to attempt to objectively assess the impact of the state intervention on the economy. Not surprisingly, PANDA has been subject to attack but remains unbowed.”
You can view the award ceremony at 1800, June 23: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OMquZKpQbI.
The Contribution of Panda
Robert W Vivian, Professor Finance and Insurance
The contribution that Panda has made to the current Covid event may be difficult to understand because we have been propelled into a strange complex age. To understand Panda’s contribution it is necessary to understand this age. With the advantage of hindsight, it becomes clear that, for a long time, this age’s pending arrival can be observed. The form of the age was sketched by George Orwell in his famous book 1984. What is probably not clear even to those familiar with 1984 is that this age also signals the end of science.
In the West, the age of 1984 and the end of science was not ushered in by a totalitarian state per se, as one would expect. It was achieved using a two-step modus operandi which itself is very simple.
- The first step involves dogmatic assertions and
- the second step is bigotry.
How this is being applied to the Covid matter is clear. Step one comprises dogmatic assertions such as: “Covid is a terrible, contagious, infectious pandemic in which millions upon millions will die”. Here, it should be noted a prediction of the future is involved. The future cannot be observed. Step two uses bigotry. The word bigotry is probably the most mis-stated word in the English language to the extent that it is now changing its meaning. Bigotry exists where a person holds a view and is then intolerant of any view which is contrary to that view. The important part of the meaning of bigotry is the intolerance. So, the second step is not to allow or tolerate any view which is contrary to the dogmatic views. These views are usually captured in slogans which contain half-truths such as “flatten the curve”. Persons who hold any view which is contrary to the asserted dogmatic view, will, like their contrary view, not be tolerated. Since in the west they cannot be eliminated (yet), they become non-persons and their views become non-views. They, nor their views, can be heard. In the current situation they are deplatformed.
Of course, the above is par for the course in communist and other totalitarian regimes. The surprise is how it became part of the West, bypassing parliaments and individuals not being protected by states since, if nothing else, this new age violates constitutionally enshrined freedom (liberty) of expression.
The operation of the above system can be illustrated with Covid in a totalitarian regime. In the case of any disease, the first to detect it will be, hopefully, a normal everyday medical doctor treating patients. And that is exactly what happened in Wuhan. Dr Li Wenliang, when encountering the problem of Covid in late December 2019, raised the alarm, mainly on social media. This view was contrary to the established dogmatically asserted view. Shortly thereafter, therefore, the bigots in the form of the police arrived and he was forced, like Galileo centuries before, to recant, which he did. A few days later he was dead. Several others were detained at the same time for “spreading rumours” about the disease. Views outside of the party view are not tolerated.
The Wenliang event explains why the 1984 age is also the end of science. Bacon’s Scientific Method ushered in the Scientific Age. Bacon’s famous aphorism, the only thing we can know is what we observe, was correct. Dr Wenliang was scientifically stating an observed truth. His patients had been infected with something new. He had to recant the observed truth; that is why the 1984 age is the end of science.
One should compare the Dr Wenliang event with an earlier one in the West. As indicated, medical problems, if detected, should be by doctors because they will be the first to observe the phenomenon. In September 1961, in Germany, a pediatrician, Dr Widukind Lenz (1919-1995) noted a sudden increase in birth deformities. He also realised that 50% of the mothers had taken Thalidomide. He raised the alarm and a mere two months later, November 1961, the use of Thalidomide was stopped. Notwithstanding this, it is estimated worldwide that 10,000 babies were born with deformities. But it should be noted the authorities did not arrive to arrest Dr Lenz for spreading rumours and force him to recant his statement, nor did the mainstream media attack him, nor was he fired by his employer. There were no bigots in play. His alertness saved an untold number of persons being born with deformities.
So, what is different today? Today, for the first time, any views other than the Dogmatic Asserted Views are suppressed; bigotry at work. In the 1984 world, it is the “party line” or suppression. Anything other than the “party line” is not tolerated. Any views but the “party line” must be silenced. This is thus also the end of science. Science exists because of objective facts, the data. In the place of cold objective facts are ever changing confusing irrational dogmatic slogans. It started with “We need to protect the health infrastructure”. We need to “Flatten the curve”. When predicted millions of deaths did not appear, it changed to “Cases”. When cases did not appear, it was the fear of the next “Wave”.
Contribution of Panda
It is against this background that the contribution of Panda can be understood. The West can only be extricated from the 1984 Age and the end of science if the power of bigotry is broken. For that, New Galileos and Martin Luthers are required. It is just over 500 years ago that Martin Luther stood before bigots and famously proclaimed, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God”. Or, in the case of Galileo, having recanted, he was heard to say, “The earth moves”. All Dr Wenliang was saying is “people are infected”. All Dr Lenz was saying was “babies are being born deformed and their mothers took Thalidomide”. In the 1984 Age it takes enormous courage to state simple facts – the truth. This is the essence of the scientific age.
To my mind, the contribution of Panda is that it has the courage to present and interpret the facts. The facts they presented are not hidden. They are there to be seen by all. This interpretation of these facts calls into question all the actions of the state in dealing with the pandemic in its unprecedented manner. But, in revealing the facts, Panda’s views, like that of Dr Wenliang, went against the “party line”. The West has lost a great deal of freedom and that freedom will only be regained if people have the courage to stand against bigotry, which is what Panda has done. Unlike other state intervention, the Covid intervention abridged the liberty of individuals to work and the end of ability to work is the end of the free market and economy. Panda was also one of the first (if not the first) to attempt to objectively assess the impact of the state intervention on the economy. Not surprisingly, Panda has been subject to attack but remains unbowed.
In my view Panda should be recognised “For courage to set out and interpret the facts surrounding the Covid pandemic, in the face of opposition, and thereby calling into question the unprecedented state intervention into the lives of ordinary individuals and the economy”.