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It really doesn’t matter

If you look back over the past three years, we’ve had a series of epic sociocultural strikes against COVID: lockdowns, masks, vaccines, schools. Each tends to pit broadly similar groups against each other, albeit with some key variations. But whatever you make of those fights, the public debate had really huge and immediate repercussions in the real world. This is what is so strange and mysterious about the intensity of the Lab Leak Discourse. It doesn’t really matter. Or rather, in the real world, there are virtually no consequences for either side being “right” or “winning.” I was talking to someone today who said how incredibly important this is. But after a little thought, I thought, why? Now it is much better for people to think that up is up and not up is down. And there are probably important side effects of misunderstanding whichever way is “wrong”. But it’s not clear in any direct sense that this has any real impact on anything.

I’m not the kind of person who says it doesn’t matter, so why are we even talking about it. COVID is one of the biggest disasters in modern world history. It is worth finding out every detail of how this happened. So maybe I’m exaggerating a bit in my first paragraph. It matters, like many things, but without any drastic changes in how we do things. This is the key. Intensity has nothing to do with someone doing something really differently the day after the issue (if it ever will) is definitely resolved, except maybe one side giving high five and making several buoys.

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