“CULLING” THE HERD
By Vincent Lyn
In biology, culling is the process of segregating organisms from a group according to desired or undesired characteristics. In animal breeding, it is the process of removing or segregating animals from a breeding stock based on specific trait. This is done to exaggerate desirable characteristics, or to remove undesirable characteristics by altering the genetic diversity of the population. For livestock and wildlife, culling often refers to the act of killing removed animals based on their individual characteristics, such as their sex or species membership, or as a means of preventing infectious disease transmission.
Who should live and who should die?
That brutal and generally unspoken question is behind all the eugenic reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of those assaults on decency are obviously racist, or ableist, but others are a little more subtle and arguably at least as dangerous, since the eugenics is somewhat less apparent. Predators have a nose for the weak, for the so-called “underlying conditions,” as epidemiologists call it today. No matter the predator — from fleas and mosquitoes to bacteria and the novel coronavirus. To the cheetah pulling down the antelope to the most savage predator of all, man, who in the 20th century alone “culled” out tens of millions of souls from those other humans inhabiting the earth in the countless wars.
And, tragically, that represents only the most visible “metric” of the culling of the species. It does not speak to that once-upon-a-time “Sweet Bird of Youth” who now sits sweating in a backroom of a motel-turned-old age facility. Just off the interstate, in the arms of the Haitian refugee who sticks her with more dope than the doc allows. Or the southland émigré who sits alone at dusk up on the fire escape overlooking the railway tracks of New York, New Haven and Hartford to bring in better those beloved Giants on his transistor. The last one “out” brings him inside, past his mattress to risk inching his way down the dark hall to move his bowels.
I’ve lived and worked in my later adult life in so-called “countries under development” at humanitarian organizations. These are nations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I was well-fed as a child, well-educated as a teenager, well-cared for by my parents and well-employed ever since.
Yet those millions upon millions of people around me had none of this. No clean sheets at night, a child whose mother had died before he was 4, along with his stillborn sister. Slim pickings for food, no formal education and a short life as part of a gang or under the heel. Which state or country was this? It doesn’t matter. Iraq, Uganda, Syria, South Sudan, Haiti, Yemen and so on. The Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that up to 10 million people die every year from hunger.
That is also “culling.” And when, 300 years ago, Americans and their progeny leaped into the industrial age, they also laid new foundations for the iniquities above to endure through colonization, slavery or military or market dominance. By every universal metric, the quality-of-life indicators employed reflect a sustainable technological gap between those countries and communities “excluded” and those adept on the inside — and it’s growing in areas of genetics, aerospace, robotics, information communications & technology (ICT).
That “natural order of things” also includes human-on-human expulsion and extermination. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), there are 41.3 million internally displaced people (IDP’s) around the globe who are, essentially, homeless. That rose by 10 million since just 2014. And between January and June 2020 that again has skyrocketed by around 14.6 million new internal displacements that were recorded across 127 countries and territories. The top three countries with the largest internally displaced populations due to conflict and violence are Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Syria. War is a conscious decision by politicians and military leaders who rarely consider the destructive consequences for the indigenous population, culture and infrastructure. Expulsions are “made” and war may be the ultimate form of expulsion. For example, America’s covert actions in the Syrian civil war and its two invasions of Iraq have contributed significantly to the IDP numbers. Remarkably, as a consequence of U.S war-making the Christian cultures of Iraq and Syria have nearly vanished.
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) is an environmental movement that calls for all people to abstain from reproduction to cause the gradual voluntary extinction of humankind. VHEMT supports human extinction primarily because, in the group's view, it would prevent environmental degradation. The group states that a decrease in the human population would prevent a significant amount of human-caused suffering. The extinctions of non-human species and the scarcity of resources required by humans are frequently cited by the group as evidence of the harm caused by human overpopulation. VHEMT was founded in 1991 by Les U. Knight, an American activist who became involved in the American environmental movement in the 1970’s and thereafter concluded that human extinction was the best solution to the problems facing the Earth’s biosphere and humanity.
According to Knight, the vast majority of human societies have not lived sustainable lifestyles and attempts to live environmentally friendly lifestyles do not change the fact that human existence has ultimately been destructive to the Earth and many of its non-human organisms. Voluntary human extinction is promoted on the grounds that it will prevent human suffering and the extinction of other species; Knight points out that many species are threatened by the increasing human population.
Knight, certainly raises some valid points though in response to VHEMT, some journalists and academics have argued that humans can develop sustainable lifestyles or can reduce their population to sustainable levels. Others maintain that, whatever the merits of the idea, the human reproductive drive will prevent humankind from ever voluntarily seeking extinction.
Who Suffers Most from COVID-19?
The evidence is clear. Certain groups are much more susceptible to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic than the rest of us, mostly because they are excluded from access to healthy conditions of life. The fascist mind sees people as expendable. Any means available to eliminate those considered superfluous, foreign (non-white), or otherwise despised, hated, or seen as an inconvenience (the poor and unemployed) is subject to elimination in one way or another.
“Culling The Herd” is a term that has been used to describe the processes by which the weak or infirm animals in a herd are removed by predators. It has also reflected humans killing off sick or diseased cattle to strengthen the herd as a whole. It means literally, “to separate or remove (and usually kill) inferior animals out of a herd so as to reduce numbers or remove undesirable traits.” The eugenics movement of the first half of the 20th century America suffered from the vanity that the “better” people in society could eliminate those assumed genetically unfit in order to improve the genetics of the total population. That was a racist goal of the Nazis as well.
So, consider the following:
1. The current lack of knowledge of how immune one can become after surviving COVID-19, or for how long? How long after being vaccinated will you need to get a booster? Moreover will the new mutant strains give rise to limited resistance?
2. The certainty that many will die if the disease is allowed to spread without public health measures to suppress it, which is very apparent in countries like Brazil and India. Will the deadlier strains once again spread to western countries because we become careless, let our guard down and become complacent?
3. The racist desire of the Trumpists to get rid of non-whites and the poor, reflected in their willingness to risk the death of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people to achieve their political goals.
In this context, we must conclude that the political use of “herd immunity” is really a matter of “culling the herd” with genocidal intentions.
One thing we can be sure of, and that is as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, let us be clear. That those marginalized communities, those with underlying conditions — with whom I associate — have often been culled before, in tragic proportions, and they will probably be so “culled” for a long time to come.
CEO/Founder at We Can Save Children
Director of Creative Development
Economic & Social Council at United Nations
Middle East Correspondent at Wall Street News Agency
Rescue & Recovery Specialist at International Confederation of Police & Security Experts