Is there a readily available and simple diagnostic test to confirm ones credentials as a critical thinker? Something you can shove up your nose, send to a lab somewhere and wait for your phone to ping.
Perhaps not, but in Westminster Hall on April 17th, approximately 1 hour 40 minutes into the WHO Pandemic Prevention and Preparedness Parliamentary debate, we were gifted with the perfect assessment tool.
To take the test, read this short passage, courtesy of the member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Labour/Co-operative Party), Preet Kaur Gill:
Climate change and globalisation mean that natural biological threats are becoming more common… The lesson of the pandemic was that no one is safe until everyone is safe, and that global health is local health, so global co-operation on pandemic preparedness and biological threats clearly needs to be strengthened. That is why the Opposition absolutely supports the principle of a legally binding WHO treaty.
If, as you read these words, you feel your blood pressure rising and the vessels in your neck pulsating with rage, then congratulations, your reaction is appropriate. You are clearly immune to the dark art of modern sophistry and rest assured, your critical thought processes are finely tuned.
If, on the other hand, her words reassure you, reconfirm your faith in humanity and fill you with a warm fuzzy feeling, then sadly you have succumbed to the propaganda; you may be a lost cause.
Those who fail to elicit a strong response may be forgiven for questioning the test’s validity. They may perceive the passage as banal or idle rhetoric, innocently drafted figurative speech that washes over you harmlessly. But make no mistake, these words are pernicious and carefully crafted to achieve a specific outcome. What we are being exposed to here are the new variants of political sophistry, engineered to seem superficially plausible, but they are incorrect and aim to deceive you. Put on your double-thinking cap, because now you must accept that “global health is local health” and “climate change and globalisation mean that natural biological threats are becoming more common”. These statements are at odds with the facts.