Sunday, June 06, 2021

Liberal Corporatist Groupthink Is The Worst And Most Insidious White Supremacy

Nymag  |  As we sift through the lab-leak debacle, the good news is that the healthy antibodies in the system are still strong enough to overcome the groupthink that produced the original error. News media are investigating a hypothesis they once dismissed, and the government has announced an investigation to find the truth.

The bad news is that the problem is turning out to be worse than it initially seemed — and worse still, the source of the failure is not going away. The implications of this episode are much broader than understanding the source of the pandemic. It is a question about whether institutions like the media and government can withstand the pressure of ideological conformity.

A recent Washington Post story, looking back at the government’s response to virus’s origination, reported that many officials refused to explore the lab-leak hypothesis because it was associated with right-wing politics. “For some of the officials who were privately suspicious of the Wuhan lab, Trump’s and Navarro’s comments turned the lab-leak scenario into a fringe conspiracy theory,” the Post found, “It became nearly impossible to generate interest among health experts in a hypothesis that Trump had turned into a political weapon, they said.”

That is an extraordinarily damning admission. Health experts who understood all along that it was entirely possible that the virus emerged from a lab simply refused to examine the hypothesis because it had become associated with the likes of Donald Trump.

Openness to evidence is the historical strength of American liberalism. This is why, for all the errors liberals have committed since the Progressive Era, a capacity for self-correction has given continued vitality to their — our — creed. The lab-leak fiasco ought to be a warning sign of what happens if the urge to not be defeated or manipulated by the right turns into an emulation of its methods. The only thing worse than having a hack gap would be not having one.

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