Re: Reality Based and Truth Seeking
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2021 11:13:32 -0700 (PDT)
Thank you for all the responses pubic and private my post on Jonathan Rauch’s 
The Constitution of Knowledge: A defense of the truth. I really do encourage 
anyone who is interested in understanding the anti-truth blast of negativity we 
have experienced in the last 20 years to read it. 

Rauch blames the "spiral of silence” for allowing the unreasoned well-organized 
minority to dominate. Reasonable people are quiet, hoping the flame will burn 
itself out. But the flame burns on threats of violence and intimidation. I find 
the “spiral” to be convincing. First you are silent, and then silenced. It just 
spirals out of control.

The stereotype of the anti-vaccination argument as being anti-science, 
ignorant, daredevils that are marching in defiance of logic, however, is too 
narrow. There are also many other people who have very good reasons not to be 

Science has not proven anything conclusive about the vaccine or COVID. It’s too 
soon to make that claim. Look back at all the corrections made by the CDC and 
NIH. This is also evidence that scientific method is being used to determine 
what works but vaccination is just our best guess at the moment. It isn’t the 
best guess for everyone—vaccinations of any kind are dangerous for some people. 

There are also sound reasons to be cautious about claims of cures and safety. 
Everyday there is more evidence that vaccination is not the cure-all. It will 
not, at this point, eliminate COVID. 

The only sure defense is to avoid all human contact unless physically 
well-protected. Vaccination plus physical protection is probably better. But 
avoiding the source of the virus is still the only sure bet. And even then some 
people have been sickened and a source cannot be found.

Viewpoint has a huge influence on the vaccination argument. I don't have to go 
out to work everyday. I live in an urban center where anything I need can be 
delivered. I live in a cohousing community that is cautious while still finding 
ways to be socially engaged and supportive. I have unlimited Facetime and Zoom 
and texting and email and the whole world wide web to explore. And I’m an 
introvert. I’m vaccinated because my neighbors were getting uncomfortable to 
have an unvaccinated person in their midst. I remember the smallpox vaccination 
at the age of 5 that was horrendous so I’m not right out there to get 
vaccinated against anything. I waited at least 2 months to see if there were 
generally bad reactions.

Fauci and the public health professionals who live here, however, have a 
different viewpoint and a different responsibility. I see me myself able to 
live safely. They see millions and millions of people not able to live safely, 
health care institutions going under, caregivers with PTSD, and receiving 
personal blame everyday for not fixing this faster. Or even seeing it coming. 
(That they did see it coming we won’t go into now.)

From their perspective, it is a no-brainer to emphasize the importance and 
safety of vaccination. The rewards are too massive and the defeats too 
defeating — wiping out even more of our population plus our institutions and 

In academic circles the reasonable approach would be to stress the 
scientifically tested merits of the vaccines, acknowledge that some people are 
too delicate, and the importance of continued protections. But neither academia 
nor research institutes take responsibility for public health. They research, 
debate, and advise. 

A politician makes rules. Where is the power of my community? My city? My 
school system? Knowing if they make a good call but it still has devastating 
consequences, they are responsible.

This is really off topic and too lecturing but it’s on the point when you think 
about cohousing being a liberal enclave that can easily err on the assume 
science is infallible side.

In the rest of the book, Rauch presents incredible evidence of the bias in 
today’s academic disciplines toward the liberal. Some fields have no 
self-identified conservatives, for example. Others have 50 self-identified 
liberals to every 1 self-identified conservative. I think the same is true in 
cohousing and could have the same disastrous results. Narrow critical 

Please read this book:

Jonathan Rauch’s _The Constitution of Knowledge: A defense of the truth._

There are also ebooks available to check out remotely from your library but 
since it is a new book, it may not be there yet. Libraries typically wait until 
prices go down.

Sharon Villines, Editor & Publisher
Affordable Housing means 30% of household income
Cohousing means self-developed, self-governed, self-managed

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