Why so Heartless? 8 Ways “Groupthink” Makes You a Victim

I read a thought-provoking article this morning in *UnHerd: “Vaccine Purity has Infected the West.” In the article, Mary Harrington asks, “Why, then, have views on how we should…treat vaccination — become so heartless, judgemental and politically tribal?” Being on the receiving end of some of these heartless judgements, I wonder how people I know could demonize me like this? Could we all be victims of “groupthink”?

Ms Harrington’s article gives a clue as to why even people with common sense cannot seem to hear other viewpoints. Things like the latest research showing without a doubt that vaccinated people – those with two and even three shots – can and DO infect others with Covid. Something else is at work here. I know there is a strong need to blame someone for this pandemic – Ms Harrington suggests a new “hygiene authoritarianism” has taken hold. But are we being dehumanized to justify a determined course of action by the government?


In an article on dehumanization by Michelle Maiese, published in Beyond Intractability, she states, “…for individuals viewed as outside the scope of morality and justice, **‘the concepts of deserving basic needs and fair treatment do not apply and can seem irrelevant.’ Any harm that befalls such individuals seems warranted, and perhaps even morally justified. Those excluded from the scope of morality are typically perceived as psychologically distant, expendable, and deserving of treatment that would not be acceptable for those included in one’s moral community.” 

As an example, here is Global news telling people how best to exclude unvaccinated relatives from their Thanksgiving dinners. (Isn’t this a religious holiday? I wonder what Jesus would say to this? Didn’t he accept and welcome lepers?!) Another example is from an article in the Atlantic, reporting that there is little to no sympathy for anyone who is unvaccinated and dies of Covid.

All Hail

It isn’t just that there is no tolerance for anyone who makes a different choice than the one demanded, people who choose not to be vaccinated are denounced publicly. Sometimes by their own leaders. In Canada, our Prime Minister recently said, “They are extremists who don’t believe in science, they’re often misogynists, also often racists. It’s a small group that muscles in, and we have to make a choice in terms of leaders, in terms of the country. Do we tolerate these people?

My own PM labels me as a misogynist and a racist and wonders if I should even to be “tolerated” in my own country. Without so much as a trial! The punishment for not conforming is becoming more and more severe, with most people going along with it. In my own life, I have been ostracized and fired (Conform or be Cast Out: Have Courage Unvaccinated Friends and Vaccination: The 24/7 Helmet You Can Never Remove). In the polls, I was told that 70% of the population was glad I was fired.


I have come to believe that our governments and health authorities are operating under the phenomenon of “Groupthink” and by extension, the public as well.

According to Verywellmind.com, “Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group. The term was first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving L. Janis. People who are opposed to the decisions or overriding opinion of the group as a whole frequently remain quiet, preferring to keep the peace rather than disrupt the uniformity of the crowd. The phenomenon can be problematic, but even well-intentioned people are prone to making irrational decisions in the face of overwhelming pressure from the group.”

In one of its articles, the Centre for Evidence-based Medicine, states that “Groupthink is a term… George Orwell used in his dismaying world of 1984. In that context, groupthink takes on an invidious connotation… The main principle of groupthink…. is this, the more amiability and esprit de corps there is among the members of a policy-making ingroup, the greater the danger that independent critical thinking will be replaced by groupthink, which is likely to result in irrational and dehumanising actions directed against outgroups.”

Consider the 8 symptoms that indicate “groupthink” from Irving Janis and what we are currently experiencing:

1/ Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.

Governments all over the world are playing fast and loose with the old ideas of free speech, freedom of movement, and human rights. They feel invulnerable – like they can be as heavy-handed as they want. Who’s going to stop them when they are “morally” right?

The government is encouraging me to take the vaccine so that I’ll be “saved” from Covid. They minimize any risk of taking the vaccine and reassure me that they are “safe and effective” over and over again. It’s as if a script has been given to all government and news media outlets.

Not so Safe, Nor so Effective

They are NOT completely safe and I have never seen a mainstream media outlet report in a balanced way the many complications and death that can and do happen from receiving a vaccination. The one-sidedness alone is a huge red flag to me. Why are they suppressing this?

The Canadian government finally launched its Vaccine Injury Support program in June 2021. Only one mainstream media outlet picked up the story – CTV. To December 2021, only 5 claims out of 400 have been approved. The CTV article was corrected with the following noted at the very bottom: “A previous version of this article stated that the risk of contracting a serious side-effect after COVID-19 vaccination is less than one in a million. The correct figure, based on data reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada, is roughly one in 10,000.”

One of those serious side effects is death.

See also the US VAERs data in the article in the next segment.

As for being effective, when first one and two vaccinations don’t work to wipe out Covid and now a third and even fourth shot doesn’t work, why does the government keep telling me vaccines are effective? Am I not to trust my eyes and ears? I can SEE that the vaccinations aren’t working to get rid of Covid! I knew six people – four double-vaxxed- over Christmas who had Omicron. And that’s in my very limited social circle – I live alone and don’t have a job anymore.

The fact that Israel, the most vaccinated of countries, even had to get to a 4th shot at all should tell you all you need to know about the effectiveness of vaccination against Covid. Here is a Global article about the lack of efficacy of Israel’s 4th booster.

Weigh the Benefits vs. the Risks

I am not talking about the prevention of serious disease and death – I believe anyone who is vulnerable should get their shots if they want them. Weigh the benefits against the risks of getting Covid vs. getting vaccinated for your age and any comorbidities. I know it’s a lot of digging. The stats are buried deep. In Canada, you can find the age of those who died in one place but not if they had any comorbidities.

The Stats Can site has data that is over a year old now – but enlightening. For example, “Of the over 9,500 COVID-involved deaths between March and July, the majority (90%) had at least one other cause, condition or complication reported on the certificate.” Remember that “Covid-involved” means that a person might have gone into the hospital for late-stage cancer treatment and been tested for Covid. If they passed away, many times this was counted as a Covid death in the stats.

This is Shocking!

“There were fewer than fifty COVID-involved deaths among those under the age of 45….In fact, 100% of the COVID-involved deaths of Canadians under the age of 45 as of July 31 had at least one other disease or condition certified on the medical certificate of death.”Statscan

Does this means that your odds of dying from Covid last year in Canada, if you were under 45 with no comorbidities, was ZERO?

But what about your odds of damage from taking the vaccine?

Well, I could only find the rates that younger age groups were getting myocarditis or pericarditis from vaccination in public health stats from Ontario.

Put it this way – a small number of people got myocarditis or pericarditis from the vaccination, but it is higher than ZERO!

2/ Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.

I have already given several examples of the unkind things that have been said against unvaccinated people. The government and media also repeatedly quote elected leaders or famous people in articles that call us “an enemy”, “completely irresponsible”, or “a-holes”.

There is never a thought to how their words (and actions) are hurting other people, just the smug assurance of their own moral superiority (shame on you, Gene Simmons!).

3/ Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.

There have been many examples of public health bodies rationalizing away any concerns brought forward. Safety being the one I care about most.

In the US, they have the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system (VAERs), which has always been an underrepresentation of adverse events. Even so, the numbers from the beginning of the Covid vaccine campaign are alarming. More on that from Rounding the Earth newsletter, here.

I remember telling a co-worker at the very beginning of the pandemic, who was obsessed with washing every surface with a toxic chemical product, that the virus was airborne. Common sense, I thought. It took 1.5 years for the government to admit it was and that all the surface washing was a waste of time. (China, however, still hasn’t admitted that.)

The limited usefulness of masks against the virus, the harmfulness of plexi-glass shields (due to limiting air circulation), the toxic nature of hand disinfectants, the ridiculousness of people in restaurants being “safe” breathing the air at their table but not when walking into the restaurant, all were (and are still) rationalized by public health bodies well past their plausibility dates.

4/ Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, impotent, or stupid.

Again, see Trudeau and the other name calling comments above. Any online search will spit out hundreds of examples of the stereotyping going on. Here, mainstream media gets in more digs, (Global January 2022), and nastiness such as “deniers of science”, and “right-wing anti-vaxxer fanatics”.

5/ Self-censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.

Facebook CEO, in August 2021, said that Facebook had removed 18,000,000 posts. He was pressured by the government to make sure that Facebook remained “on message”. These posts contained “misinformation”, according to the government.

As for the rest of the Facebook posts? Emilia Niemiec is the author of this excellent article, Covid-19 and Misinformation from Embo Press. Here she talks about Facebook’s exploitation of human psychology and why someone would choose self-censorship:

Sean Parker, a former president of Facebook, put it this way: “…we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you… more likes and comments. It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

Twitter Policy Nonsense

Twitter updated its guidelines in December 2021, according to the Rio Times: “The policy now states that Twitter will label tweets with ‘corrective information’ and give users a strike if they: Claim that ‘the vaccines will cause you to be sick, spread the virus, or would be more harmful than getting COVID-19’. Post what Twitter describes as ‘false or misleading claims that people who have received the vaccine can spread or shed the virus (or symptoms, or immunity) to unvaccinated people.’

This means Twitter users could now be sanctioned for sharing or discussing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) admission that “vaccinated people can still become infected and have the potential to spread the virus to others.”

6/ Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.

When every dissenting viewpoint on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is removed, when every outspoken person’s account is removed, and when almost all mainstream media news stories contain the same information, it gives people the illusion that everyone is in agreement with that mainstream view.

I have also noticed that those who are “for” the government / mainstream vaccination agenda will freely speak out, assuming everyone is in agreement with them. Those of us who take the opposite view are quiet and guarded around these people – classic groupthink at work.

7/ Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.

For this one, I will tell you a story from this past summer. In July of 2021, I was volunteering at the local emergency services command centre, which was really the upstairs social room of the curling club where the curlers went to drink beer and trash talk with their fellow curlers during the season. We worked under regulatory Covid efficiency with laptops the required 2 metres apart and mandated masks worn at all times when not talking on the phone.

I Loved Volunteering

I felt useful, unlike in my day job where I pushed paper, just waiting for someone to need me. These people had lost everything and I could at least help to ensure they had a roof over their heads and food to eat. It was emotionally tough but very gratifying to be able to help, at least in this small way.

I was one of a handful of volunteers that day, helping the remaining 200 or so people who had lost their homes in the wildfires that had ripped through several small towns nearby after an unprecedented “heat dome”. I was finishing up what would be my last shift, logging in a respectable 66 hours since they’d called for more volunteers the month before. Not bad for someone who also held down a fulltime job.

A New Friend

To top it off, I’d made a new friend named Shirley. We had been through the initial training together and ended up on the same shift many times. During breaks we’d gotten to know each other. It turned out that she had gone to the same school I had and was only a couple years younger. She was a simple, positive person and we joked around a lot to ease some of the emotional tension of these tough calls.

Management asked me the day before if I would consider joining the ESS team on a permanent volunteer basis and if I’d be interested in becoming a supervisor. I enthusiastically replied, “YES” and “YES”! I thought I had found a place where I could be useful – where I was still wanted.

The New Policy

The next day, between my calls with people who were going through a much, much more challenging time than I was, I became aware of a supervisor visiting each volunteer and speaking quietly. She approached Shirley, who always took the seat nearest to me, and I heard her inform Shirley that a new vaccination policy would take effect the following day. From now on, every volunteer was required to be double vaccinated and to show proof upon admittance to the centre.

I felt my brain slow down and my eyes get that red feeling behind them. It has only happened to me a few times in my life. Once when my husband told me that he was leaving after 32 years and before that when I was told my beloved Father-in-law had died.  I get a sort of hollow ringing in my ears and the world seems very far away. I become uncharacteristically quiet.

Dirty Unvaxxed

As I sat with my eyes cast down, braced for my turn, I overheard Shirley’s response to the supervisor. She said, “Oh, good! We don’t want any of those dirty unvaxxed people in here, anyway!” She went on in that way for several minutes.

I submitted quietly to the supervisor’s news a few minutes later. I was able to avoid having a conversation with Shirley by keeping my headset on, pretending to be on the phone with someone. It was a long few hours until I was able to leave. I didn’t say “goodbye” but just slipped quietly out the back door when no one was looking.

When the flooding occurred a couple months later, I was unable to answer the call to help. Literally, I would stare at the supervisor’s number as my phone rang but could not bring myself to answer. I didn’t want to tell her that I was not vaccinated so not allowed to volunteer. The irony was that I had been fired the week before for being unvaccinated so could have worked for them every single day. I finally emailed the coordinator but that was not a good day. Not a good day in my life at all.

I don’t hold anything against Shirley. It is not in her nature to question what authorities tell her is right and true. She did not mean harm to me, she was just parroting what she had been taught to think and say by the Groupthink.

8/ Mindguards— self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Fauci in the US, “accidentally” caught calling a senator a “moron” as reported by CBS News who dared to question his financials. In this December 2020 New York Times article, Dr. Fauci “quietly” shifts herd immunity up from 70%. It’s always “quiet” when it goes against the story they had been promoting for months. In this case, Fauci and the other “experts” said that if enough people got vaccinated, we’d reach herd immunity. People lined up to do their part. Now, not many scientists talks about herd immunity and none admit that vaccination didn’t work to get us to herd immunity.

Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR) here in Canada, “…in February 2021, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced it would fund an interdisciplinary network of scientists to ‘enable a rapid and timely research response’ focused on emerging variants of concern. The group will help assess the biological threat….and guide public health decisions. CIHR is providing up to $9 million in funding for the first year of research.”

You have to know that in order to receive funding for future years, they’ve got to come up with a convincing variant of concern. This group gives kudos to journalists for their “support” on Twitter and doles out advice on how to convince parents to get their children vaccinated. There is no disputing anything they recommend and there is no bigger course of action recommended than vaccination. They have a fiduciary interest in finding variants and promoting fear of those variants in the Canadian population.

Mindguards Want YOU!

Scientists have become societies’ “mindguards”, like the churches and religious leaders in the 1600’s, competing for members during the witch trials: https://www.history.com/news/how-medieval-churches-used-witch-hunts-to-gain-more-followers

There is no more talk of natural or herd immunity because there is no money to be made from it. The goal posts for percentage immunized to stop the pandemic have moved to 90%+ now, with many scientists sighing sadly and saying it’s probably just not possible.

The latest “mindguard” push? Quoting a scientist on January 17, 2022, the Montreal Gazette: “The hope is for the creation of a multivalent vaccine, a so-called COVID super shot that can protect against all current and future variations.”

4th Dose & Beyond – A Bitter Pill to Swallow

It is hard not to feel bitter, especially when I hear friends and family start to question the groupthink. As they begin to come out of their trance, I try not to think of all the nights I was up worrying about losing my job, defending my decision, or composing replies to nasty comments on Facebook. All the pretending not to be hurt when friends casually mentioned nights out without me, co-workers didn’t write letters of support, or my parents said they didn’t want me to visit.

What about the latest on Covid? CBC News: “Here’s What You Need to Know About 4th Dose of Covid Vaccine” with quotes from a grinning scientist in a white coat – who sits on the CoVaRR, of course.

Cue mad scientist laugh here.


“…aims to do two things: to push back against the herd mentality with new and bold thinking, and to provide a platform for otherwise unheard ideas, people and places… We are not aligned with any political party, and the writers and ideas we are interested in come from both left and right traditions. But we instinctively believe that the way forward will be found through a shift of emphasis: towards community not just individualism, towards responsibilities as well as Rights, and towards meaning and virtue over shallow materialism.”


**Susan Opotow, “Drawing the Line: Social Categorization, Moral Exclusion, and the Scope of Justice.” In Cooperation, Conflict, and Justice: Essays Inspired by the Work of Morton Deutsch, eds. B.B. Bunker and J.Z. Rubin. (New York: Sage Publications, 1995), 347.

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