If you were to gather the members of the human race and undertake a survey about the important things in life, one of the loudest answers you would receive would be “Caring for your fellow man.” Some might say “Caring for those in need,” and others would say “Looking after those you love.” The exact words don’t matter terribly much; the general consensus is that, as members of a society, we have a duty of care towards those we share a society with.
Often, this duty of care stops when it comes to society’s members of a certain gender (a hint to this is to consider the gendered nature of the response, “Caring for your fellow man”), those who identify as a gender that doesn’t conform with the DNA they were born with, or people who dare be attracted to those of the same gender. This duty of care also tends to be limited when it comes to those who were born in a different location to whoever is answering (particularly if they have a different shade of skin), or people who dare worship a different deity to you (the irony being that in essence, these are the same deity, and this deity would really appreciate it if you would all just fucking get along).
And all too often, which makes Pestilence’s job so much easier, this duty of care also stops the very moment you are asked to inconvenience yourself. As the chorus around the world begged people to wear masks, keyboard warriors with a distaste fought back.
“Masks save lives!” the world was reminded.
“What about my human rights?” the world retorted.
Angry mobs organised protests where they gathered in the hundreds without masks, demanding their freedom to not wear a mask be respected. “Respect our rights,” they chanted. After all, Pestilence told them, their right to avoid fabric covering their face was far more important than the right of their friends and family to be protected from disease.
“Come on, sheeple!” the herd demanded. “Don’t follow the crowd; take off your masks!” As these protesters fought valiantly, they did not develop herd immunity. No, the herd fell, just as Pestilence had planned. And on the way down, they dragged as many people as they could with them.
As the maskless waged war upon the masked, science was determined to beat back Pestilence. While they hadn’t discovered a cure for Pestilence’s attack, they had the next best thing. They couldn’t help the thousands who had already met with Death, but for everybody lucky enough to have avoided it, prevention was surely better than the cure.
And once again, Pestilence beseeched all whose duty of care stopped at the first sign of inconvenience. Keyboard warriors were again smashing their keys in a furious flurry. Again, they demanded, “What about my human rights?”
Yet again, they organised protests, gathering in the hundreds—still without masks, also unvaccinated—parroting Pestilence’s demand to “Respect our rights!” After all, it was their body and their choice, the irony that many of the same people would happily rob women of the choice to make decisions about their own bodies completely lost on them.
Unlike masks—and in too many instances, women’s reproductive rights—Governments around the world took heed of these protesters. It was indeed these peoples’ choice as to what they do with their bodies—if they didn’t want to poison themselves with a vaccine, it was indeed their choice, just as it was their choice to poison their bodies with cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine and cow shit.
The herd rejoiced.
However, they were warned. They were warned that vaccinated or not, the world will open up once again. The planet can only go on for so long without money being pumped through the economy, after all. However, if they refused to accept a little jab in their arm, their ability to partake in said economy would be limited. Their ability to travel would be curtailed. Their ability to attend certain events will be prevented. Jobs—particularly those working with the vulnerable—would be lost.
The herd revolted.
“Come on sheeple,” it demanded, “Don’t listen to the lawmakers; don’t get yourself injected with a vaccine! Don’t protect yourself! Don’t protect your loved ones!”
As loud as the chorus was, deep in his heart, Pestilence knew this wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough for humanity to argue for their right to remain vaccine-free; the people had to fear their best chance of safety. It is one of life’s many truisms that people looking for conspiracies are easier to control, after all.
If there is one thing humans are desperate to protect, it is their humanity. While Pestilence had certainly convinced some to abandon their humanity in the name of their human rights, he also had to persuade others that by accepting a vaccine, they would be sacrificing their humanity. It wasn’t as difficult as one might imagine; a quiet word with a Wisconsin pharmacist convinced him vaccines will alter DNA, creating a people who are no longer human.
If there is another thing humans are desperate to protect, it is their ability to create more humans. A whisper to a researcher, and suddenly, the vaccine would prevent women from giving birth. “Why take a vaccine that can kill you?” the spirit asked others. “Bell’s palsy, prion disease, cancer; if you’re lucky, you will only catch one of them.”
Worse, he told others, “If you are being injected with the vaccine, you are also being injected with the remains of aborted foetuses.” Pestilence wasn’t proud of this, but it was hard to argue with the visceral gut reaction it elicited.
As the globe was covered by word of these coverups, Pestilence perpetuated the one conspiracy theory that caused heads to explode inside their tin foil-lined caps. “The vaccines include microchips,” he said. Soon, microchips were firing up as computer screens became littered with words written about Bill Gates’ latest evil deed: microchipping the public so they can track your movements.