Christopher Lucero | Self-Preservation and Patriotism

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Re: What conservative thought has devolved into. It reminds me of the saying, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

In full context, the quote from Samuel Johnson is as follows: 

“Patriotism having become one of our topicks (sic), Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest.”

That is, self-serving interpretation can hide within a shroud of knowledge or of rhetoric or even of otherwise honorable traits like patriotism.

That is Brian Richards. He is constantly misusing his rudimentary understanding of epidemiology to impugn medical science in a way that serves his own purpose; a purpose that seems to be merely to express his own dyspeptic rumination about vaccination.

If Brian had paid attention in his epidemiology courses, he would understand that the stimulus of the immune system is an action taken that hopes to produce fully successful immunity into the inoculated being. He would know from his courses that inoculation does not produce immunity in every person, though that is the intent. It Depends Upon The Person.

Wait, what’s that? Brian did not take classes in medicine, or epidemiology?


I guess he took classes in technical writing or in medical communication/bedside manner though, right? He attacks the definitions and risk communication messaging, so he MUST HAVE taken courses in those specialties.

No, you say?


So, why would anyone lend any credence to an amateur’s speculations about risk communication, or epidemiology or really ANY topic?

Anyone who actually has to make a living in communications knows that the message must be tailored for effectiveness, and when some people “don’t get it,” the message must be changed so that the chance that the numbskulls will “get it” increases.

Unfortunately, there are some numbskulls who actively resist knowledge. They cannot be helped.

It is sad that active ignorance and amateur attack on expertise is becoming an accepted norm in conservative political rhetoric.

It is a sign of desperate weakness, of the ascent of a kind of witchcraft, where magic has supplanted knowledge, wisdom and millennia of human effort. Literally: magical thinking.

Many ersatz “patriots” out there are completely willing to trust their own rudimentary certainty while they fail to grasp the depth of their uncertainty. Or, failing that, to just derail onto a defunct siding of “definitions” expressed in communications instead of intellectually honesty.

The best performers in life are those who “know what they don’t know,” who seek to either become expert or to recognize their uncertainty for what it is, in order to proceed in a safe, honorable, ethical way.

As we witness daily, some do not pursue this. They are dying intellectually and physically.

Christopher Lucero


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