Woke feminist scholar apparently prefers people to die rather than have white Oxford males be the first to develop a coronavirus vaccine

This is the most disgusting piece of woke, virtue-flaunting blather I’ve seen in several years. It’s not just disgusting, but expresses sentiments that are inhumane and even dangerous. In effect, the author is hoping that one of the schools where she teaches, Oxford Brookes University, loses the race to produce a coronavirus vaccine because that would only buttress British exceptionalism and the view that Brits are “white saviors” who have overcome a “threat to civilization” by people of color (the Chinese).  Oy, my kishkes!

Writer Emily Cousens is described this way on the Oxford Brookes webpage:

Emily lectures in Politics at Oxford Brookes and is the Founder of the Free School of Critical Feminisms, an intimate feminist summer school that charges no fees.

Prior to joining Oxford Brookes, Emily completed both her BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Oxford. Emily is an experienced researcher, having worked in this role for community and policy organisations.

Perhaps that background conditioned her to place the dismantling of British exceptionalism above people’s lives. Or, as reader Ariel (who sent me the link) characterized Cousens’s piece, “In short: I wish old white men don’t find a vaccine because then they will be glorified at the expense of marginalized people and feminism.”

Well, that might seem a bit harsh, but it’s not far off. Here—read and weep (click on screenshot):

A few excerpts:

Oxford, that symbol of British excellence. Producing the finest minds in the world and, if this week’s news is anything to go by, leading the race to develop a vaccine against Coronavirus.

Surely I should be proud that the institution I have spent a decade studying and subsequently teaching at, could be the first to develop the vaccine?

. . .So why was my initial relief at hearing Oxford and Imperial are racing away to develop the vaccine followed by worry?

Let’s suppose that Oxford does develop the first vaccine. What happens next?

. . . If there is enough vaccine to go round, the UK will be the world’s saviour. We’ll quickly forget the devastating delay of the UK government to take action, as Boris Johnson proudly safeguarded British institutions like individual liberty, and the pub, over lives.

We’ll forget the lessons that the pandemic has taught us so far: that the UK and the US are in fact not exceptions at the global stage. That we are not only vulnerable but can also afford to learn lessons from countries, regardless of whether we have a special relationship with them – such as South Korea. That being white, male and Oxford-educated may not be the only criteria for effective leadership (the countries whose responses have been most widely praised, Germany and New Zealand among others, are all led by women).

Dr. Cousens apparently is unaware that, as pointed out by JezGrove in comment #15 below, the vaccine effort in Oxford is being developed by Oxford University’s (not Oxford Brookes University, so it’s not even Cousens’s school) Sarah Gilbert, a woman.

Regardless, she had to slip the identity politics in there, even though they’re completely irrelevant to a situation in which the fastest development of a vaccine (by whoever does it) is the outcome we want. And yet. . . .and yet Cousens apparently doesn’t want that outcome. To put it bluntly, as Ariel implied, Cousens would prefer to have people die rather than for white, male, Oxford researchers to develop the first vaccine. Oh, and she can’t abide the disgusting British patriotism of the “vaccine race” (I haven’t seen any, but so be it). Cousens goes on:

It is clear, then, that international co-operation saves lives.

But do our Oxford-educated leaders think like this? Coronavirus is a global epidemic. Yet, rather than motivating the UK to take a proud role at the global stage, as leaders like Macron have urged, the UK is increasingly resorting to patriotism in response.

And, finally, the denouement:

The race is on and researchers at Oxford are doing vital, life-saving work. But races have winners and losers. If my university is the first to develop the vaccine, I’m worried that it will be used as it has been in the past, to fulfil its political, patriotic function as proof of British excellence.

Since when did the UK, or Oxford, develop any vaccines, much less using them to tout British excellence? There was Jenner, of course, but was smallpox vaccine used for jingoistic purposes? (Britain, by the way, has an excellent history of scientific research, and not all by “old white males.”) Can Cousens buttress her statement with a few examples? And even if a vaccine were used to “prove British excellence”, so what? What’s important is that lives be saved, either by international cooperation (which in fact is happening with the vaccine), or with  lone but determined researchers, as with Jonas Salk.  But Dr. Cousens fears above all a story of UK researchers as “white saviours”.

She ends with what really bothers her:

The story will be clear: China, once again, has unleashed a threat to civilisation. But the best brains of the UK have saved the world.

Whilst I’m hopeful that I will be able to visit my Dad soon, this must not overshadow the key lesson of coronavirus: international cooperation saves lives. The research community knows this. Let’s hope our politicians do too.

This is what woke education, what postmodernism-infused “grievance studies”, have done to Cousens’s ethics. It’s warped her mind so severely that she’s hoping that Britain doesn’t develop the coronavirus vaccine, even if it could do so before others, thereby saving lives. Where are Cousens’s priorities? In the dumper, I’d say. Her views and her ethics are contemptible.

Frankly, I don’t care who develops a coronavirus vaccine: the important thing is that it be done right and be done as fast as possible.  People like Cousens, wringing her hands on the sidelines and hoping that old white males don’t play a key role, are terrible human beings, people whose ideology has become more important than human lives.

I have a feeling this article won’t be up for long, so I’ve saved a pdf.

Emily Cousens, author of this dire piece

p.s. I put up this comment on the HuffPo site, but they took it down:

121 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Titania McGrath look out!

    “Frankly, I don’t care who develops a coronavirus vaccine: the important thing is that it be done right and be done as fast as possible. ”

    Precisely- this is the empty shell in the argument. In the 19th century perhaps a glorification as argued could be expected. In modern times, I don’t see it.

    • Carey Haug
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I first learned about this article when Titania tweeted about it. So, we can count on Titania.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      … I’m starting to wonder if this is a prank article- Oxford Brookes University… if that is a university?… is developing a vaccine? Really?

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        It is a university but as far as I know the research team working on a vaccine for Covid-19 is at Oxford University which is a separate, unrelated institution that also happens to be in Oxford.

  2. GBJames
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Sub

  3. Julian Cattaneo
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    She teaches at Oxford Brookes University, not Oxford University. Not the same institution!

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      She’s the one who used “Oxford” in her title. So I used “Oxford” in the article. But I did change “Oxford University” to “Oxford Brookes University”

      That doesn’t change how disgusting the piece is, though!

      Thanks for the heads up.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        “She’s the one who used “Oxford” in her title”

        Somehow Harvard never has this problem. Or MIT. Maybe not Yale… “Oxford” is a type of shoe – goes to show how many uses the name “Oxford” has.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        To be clear – I think she did that deliberately.

        • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

          I do too, because the university where the vaccine is being developed is not in fact “her” university: it’s the University of Oxford. She implies that it’s her own university that’s in the vaccine race, but it’s not.

          • GBJames
            Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            Maybe she’s unaware of the difference? Maybe postmodern education doesn’t distinguish the institutions?

      • Posted April 24, 2020 at 1:54 am | Permalink

        She’s the one who used “Oxford” in her title.

        Yes she did, didn’t she. That fact coloured my reading of the rest of the article to an extent.

        To be clear, her bio in wikipedia says she studied at Oxford University and she now holds a teaching position at Oxford Brooks University which used to be called The Oxford School of Art. I suppose she could claim that Oxford is her university because she graduated there in the same way as I can claim University of York as my university because I graduated there but it is a tiny bit dishonest.

    • EdwardM
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is (or so the googles say). But then why did she say this; “Surely I should be proud that the institution I have spent a decade studying and subsequently teaching at..”?

      Is she hallucinating?

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      You’d never have got that from what she wrote, but yes it’s the place that used to be Oxford Poly. The sentence that EdwardM cites, and that I also read, is misleading to the point of blatant dishonesty.

    • A C Harper
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Oxford Brookes is not Oxford University, and quite a bit down the list of ‘top universities’. Academic envy perhaps?

      I had two school friends go on to ‘Oxford’. one gained a PhD and became a professor in Canada and the other went to Westminster College which was a teacher training college and college of higher education.

      • Diki
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        Just been looking at her linkedin profile she completed her undergraduate studies at Oxford University and then seems to have popped next door to the former poly to complete her bullshit studies.

        I’d love to know about her own privileged background, did she complete her secondary education at Roedean or some other elite institution belonging to the Headmasters Conference? Is she an old school chum of Titania?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 24, 2020 at 4:07 am | Permalink

        *I* went to Oxford.

        Several times. Got lost in the one-way system once.

        Marvellous how misleading language can be and yet be technically true, eh?

        cr
        (Full disclosure: the sum total of my visits to Oxford is about six hours, as a tourist).

    • Gareth Price
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I also thought her claim might be deliberately misleading, but according to the article, while researching at Oxford Brookes, she does also teach on a course at Oxford University.

  4. Simon Hayward
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I saw Titania tweet this out this morning with their (did you see that!) “supportive” take 😉 So I broke a lifetime habit and read the puff ho piece. (I generally let you read huff so we don’t have to!) This just confirms my established opinion of the crap they publish and validates my lack of interest in them.

    And btw Jerry – NOT one of mine!

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      She is–she’s a Brit!
      I won’t hold you responsible, though. 🙂

  5. Kirbmarc
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I think that this article is an example of what happens when you let short-term and local political concerns and a need for attention for your political cause cloud your judgement over an issue that goes beyond parochial instincts.

    The article is filled to the brim with the concern that Borish Johnson might use the development of a vaccine at Oxford for political means and, one supposes, turn it into political soundbites to win another election.

    The woke lingo and expressions are used to mask the political concern and ennoble it as a fight for social justice and against, one assumes, racism and sexism.

    But the aim is clearly political here, and the reference to Macron and a “role on the global stage” make me think that one of the core reasons why Cousens might dislike the Johnson administration is Brexit.

    I think that if Cousens want to make the case that Johnson has little to brag about any potential Oxford success (which is true, since Johnson so far hasn’t exactly been stellar in his approach to the COVID19 crisis) in the development of the vaccines she should have done it directly, and referencing actual policy failures, rather than trying to turn political criticism into a woke narrative.

    If Theresa May or Sajid Javid had been Prime Minister and had made the same choices as Johnson with the same political aim I doubt that Cousens would have approved of them, but she might not have felt the need to emphasize, respectively, “female leaders” or the negative role of racial narratives.

    Indeed that’s one problem with wokeness: it lends itself to a very shallow analysis that turn politics into a discussion of identity rather than policies.

  6. A C Harper
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    And here’s the acid test… if pale stale males (mostly) produce the first reliable vaccine will Emily Cousens refuse to be immunised until a ‘Woke’ version is made available?

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Worrying about white exceptionalism? Apparently has not been watching the action across the pond for the past 3 1/2 years.

  8. Ken Pidcock
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    “In short: I wish old white men don’t find a vaccine because then they will be glorified at the expense of marginalized people and feminism.”

    Honestly, I don’t imagine that’s how she’s thinking. It’s more like “In short: I’ll take any opportunity to express my grievances.” Not necessarily admirable, but not the same thing.

  9. Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Unless I missed it (I read it quickly), she never suggests in the article that she doesn’t want Oxford to win the race to a vaccine. This is expressed in the title only! Perhaps she’s just a victim of the editor’s race to cause outrage among its readers. She’s basically making a plea that international cooperation be recognized. She’s actually assuming Oxford researchers have a good chance of winning the vaccine race and she’s warning the politicians, ahead of time, against using it to boost the UK ahead of others that contributed to the effort.

    • EdwardM
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Yes, that’s actually what she’s doing. It doesn’t make her any less of a stupid git.

      • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Besides the stupid title, which I am pretty sure she didn’t write, the only thing that makes her a “stupid git” in my mind is that she “researches vulnerability and gender”. That’s always a red flag to me signifying “bullshit ahead”. Still, even that can be done right and be useful. I’m not saying this is a great article. I don’t have any idea of whether UK politicians would misrepresent a vaccine breakthrough were it to occur at Oxford. The title is very stupid, of course.

        • EdwardM
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Paul, it’s nice that you’re being so charitable towards her. It is a quality so lacking today. Nevertheless, she is not fooling anyone; this is nothing more than virtue signaling and it comes at a time that is MOST inappropriate. People are scared out of their minds and she is worried that a vaccine to ease that fear might hurt people’s feelings?

          Stupid git.

          sorry…this all getting me cranky.

          • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

            She is NOT worried about the discovery of the vaccine but politicians’ reactions to it.

            • EdwardM
              Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

              Fine. Perhaps this is better.

              “People are scared out of their minds and she is worried that a vaccine developed by British scientists to ease that fear might hurt people’s feelings?

              Stupid git.”

              • Posted April 24, 2020 at 2:02 am | Permalink

                No it isn’t better. She is worried that we’ll keep it for ourselves instead of distributing it to the World.

        • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          You may be reading the same article, but you’re not reading between the lines, or so I think.

          If you want to defend this numbskull, fine. But you’ve defended it enough.

          • Posted April 24, 2020 at 2:08 am | Permalink

            There doesn’t have to be anything between the lines.

            At face value she is concerned that the vaccine will be hoarded by old white mail British politicians who were educated in Oxford.

            I think there will be some pressure to keep it for ourselves initially. It’ll come from the same segment of the population as the Brexiteer sentiments but hopefully our politicians will be a bit more responsible than Donald Trump, who has already tried it.

        • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          And what makes you so cocksure that she didn’t write the title? Yes, sometimes editors write title but I’ve written plenty myself, and I ALWAYS am allowed feedback on titles if I think they’re not good.

          • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

            Just because it doesn’t echo the sentiment of the body of the article. She doesn’t want development of a vaccine to be used for patriotic boosterism.

            • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

              And ergo, she might want it developed elsewhere than in the UK.

              By the way, you’re dominating this thread and I’d urge you to let other people have their say.

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      The title is pretty much enough for me. In every piece I’ve ever written, I’ve been able to change the title if it distorted what I was trying to say. I assume she has no problem with the title.

      But there’s also this:

      The race is on and researchers at Oxford are doing vital, life-saving work. But races have winners and losers. If my university is the first to develop the vaccine, I’m worried that it will be used as it has been in the past, to fulfil its political, patriotic function as proof of British excellence.

      The story will be clear: China, once again, has unleashed a threat to civilisation. But the best brains of the UK have saved the world.

      She’s WORRIED about her university developing the vaccine because of how it will be used. That buttresses the title.

      And she gives other examples of dire things that would happen if her school “won the race”:

      Let’s suppose that Oxford does develop the first vaccine. What happens next?

      David Heymann, an infectious disease specialist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who heads a panel that advises the World Health Organization (WHO) on Coronavirus, says that there could be a production shortage. Researchers have also warned that this will lead to rich countries hoarding supplies. We were too late when it came to stockpiling PPE, but we won’t be caught out again. The vaccine, developed by our finest brains, is ours. And it will be Britons who are prioritised for protection.

      If there is enough vaccine to go round, the UK will be the world’s saviour. We’ll quickly forget the devastating delay of the UK government to take action, as Boris Johnson proudly safeguarded British institutions like individual liberty, and the pub, over lives.

      We’ll forget the lessons that the pandemic has taught us so far: that the UK and the US are in fact not exceptions at the global stage. That we are not only vulnerable but can also afford to learn lessons from countries, regardless of whether we have a special relationship with them – such as South Korea. That being white, male and Oxford-educated may not be the only criteria for effective leadership (the countries whose responses have been most widely

      I think that’s enough reason to assume that she doesn’t want her school to win the race.

      • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        For sure she’s worried how it will be used but I can’t see any way to read it as hoping they won’t be successful. In fact, she acknowledges they’re “doing vital, life-saving work”. She’s also not accusing the researchers of doing anything wrong, just the politicians and the media who will tell their story.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          I agree. I don’t see her saying she’d “prefer people to die”, or anything that particularly suggests that. I think that’s an unnecessary, clickbaity title.

          Again, the requisite disclaimer: I do not like these people, they get on my nerves. But their basic inanity is enough, it doesn’t need to be exaggerated so.

      • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        It seems to me that SHE’S the one who’s interpreting things this way, before anyone else has said anything, and before the pertinent events even happen. Rorschach test, anyone?

        • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I do agree that it seems odd to write an entire article about a fear that some hypothetical event will be politicized in a way she wouldn’t like. She should stick closer to her areas of expertise.

        • Historian
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          Her fear that the development of a vaccine will become politicized may or may not come true, but it is hardly an irrational fear. For centuries, non-scientists have used scientific achievements for their own ends. Certainly, Trump would do so if American scientists develop a vaccine while he is still president.

          Based on the history of the politicization of science, I do not fault her for her warning. Whether the warning would be heeded is quite a different story.

          • loren russell
            Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Based on his approach to date, Trump would

            1) Buy up the first firm or research group claiming to have a vaccine or silver-bullet drug.

            2) Privatize the firm producing the vaccine to cronies, putting an American face on it.

            3) Claim that Jared’s personal doctor [or any available sycophant was the genius behind it.

            4) Have FBI raid and shut down all competing research labs.

            5) Announce at his rallies that the afore-mentioned genius has named this game-finisher “the Trump Vaccine”.

            6) Demands that he expects to receive Nobel prizes in Medicine, Chemistry and two Peace prizes to make up for past omissions.

    • eric
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      That’s a plea I’d bet a lot of money is based on complete ignorance.

      If the various teams “racing” to develop a vaccine aren’t regularly talking and sharing feedback, I’ll eat my hat. The cooperation is there, though of course the press in various countries is probably happy to ignore it and claim precedent.

    • Posted April 24, 2020 at 2:00 am | Permalink

      That was exactly my take on the article. She is concerned that we will horde the vaccine for ourselves and not let the rest of the World have it until we are done. However, part of her reasoning is that is what old white men from Oxford do.

      Hopefully our politicians are not that stupid.

  10. Roo
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I feel this is a disturbing trend on the far Left, the idea that you should quash evidence of outcomes because then you can tell whatever story you want about how things are going. It seems to me that this is the same mentality that “solves” the problem of racial disparity in academic test scores in places like NYC by banning academic tests as ‘racist’. Meaning that there is then no objective way to measure if minority students are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to schools.

    I feel I have similarly seen cause and effect around Covid-19 labeled ‘racist’. For example, the idea that it’s racist to blame wet markets because those are just xenophobic fears about the Chinese ‘eating weird things’. You can feel any way you want about ‘eating weird things’, but animal-to-human virus transmission is a statement of fact, not a moral judgement. Same for theories that it resulted from a lab accident in China – this is not some self righteous statement about the superiority of lab standards in other countries, it’s simply a statement of fact that certain procedures decrease the risk of accidents and that transparency increases the likelihood of compliance with safety procedures.

    So whoever comes up with a vaccine, it seems like the normal response should be to applaud them and to assume that they are doing something right. And that it’s a good idea to study systems that produce good outcomes, no matter what culture they come from (and I think wisdom on various topics can very much be found in all cultures). I think it’s a bizarre response to flip that on its head and say “No, see, if you have no outcomes then you have no concept that one system is better than another, which creates this wonderful equality.” Especially since it’s not as if China is some frail victim in desperate need of our tender sympathies, truth be damned. Yes, this was a huge, huge misstep on their part, but it’s also true that they are becoming an economic powerhouse and accomplishing plenty.

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Don’t you think the Trump administration would have done even worse if the pandemic had started in the US? They wouldn’t have had the power to do a cover-up like the Chinese government did but it wouldn’t have been for lack of trying. The Trump admin would have tried to thwart international cooperation for fear that it would let out the news that the virus had started in the US. The CDC would have done it anyway, of course, though its leaders would have lost their jobs, just like that aircraft carrier captain did.

      • Roo
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure if you mean this as a direct response to what I’m saying in my post or as an aside. If it’s a direct response, I didn’t say that the outcomes should be predetermined, as in we should assume that America is going to automatically handle things better than other countries (or that Oxford is the best research facility). I said I think they should be based on objective outcomes. Creating a vaccine is an objective outcome. If Oxford does it, great. If China does it, great.

        That’s not to say that one can’t talk about other pitfalls of whatever system produces a given outcome. Say China came up with a vaccine, and a hundred other amazing innovations, but within the framework of frightened scientists working within an authoritarian framework. (I don’t think that would happen as I think free thought and innovation are linked, but just as a hypothetical.) I would think it’s important to say “yes, these innovations are wonderful, but the price paid to produce them is too high.” If that’s how Cousens feels about Oxford culture, well, ok, that’s her prerogative. But, I think it’s subtly different to say “I hope X group does creat a vaccine” and “I hope X group doesn’t create a vaccine.” If I said “I hope America creates this vaccine and shows the world what democracy can produce,” that’s one thing. If I said “I hope China fails at making a vaccine because they’re authoritarian,” I think that would be a pretty horrible thing to say.

        • Roo
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          Upon reflection – maybe a clearer way to put it is that I am irked by the fact that Cousens seems to be starting with the narrative she wants to push, and hoping the results fall into place to support this, to the point of wishing failure on people working for a good cause.

        • Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          After looking at what you wrote, my guess is that I was trying to respond to someone else’s comment but it went awry. Sorry about that. I agree with what you say here.

          • Roo
            Posted April 23, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Thanks, that’s what I was wondering but wasn’t sure!

  11. Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Did I read the same article? Her only mention of “white” and “male”:

    “That being white, male and Oxford-educated may not be the only criteria for effective leadership (the countries whose responses have been most widely praised, Germany and New Zealand among others, are all led by women).”

    Not much of a slam against white Oxford-educated males as it implies that they lead effectively. And what she says about female leaders is true.

    • Historian
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I agree with you as well as your comment #9. The headline is misleading clickbait. She is warning that if Oxford develops a vaccine first, British leaders will use it for chauvinistic purposes. In other words, she is not saying that Oxford should not develop a vaccine first. Rather, this result could be used by political leaders for less than good purposes. She is arguing that this should not happen.

      I do not know if her prediction would come true. But, if so, it would be another example of how science gets enmeshed with politics. Scientists need to be aware of what could done with their achievements.

      • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, but the headline may express her real sentiments. How do you know otherwise?

        And, even if the title is not of her confection, for which you have NO evidence, it’s stupid to worry about “chauvinistic purposes” when there are lives at stake.

        For crying out loud, scientists do what they do, and in this case they are working hard to develop a vaccine. It’s not even done yet, and this author is wringing her hands over what could happen if the Brits develop it first. That’s contemptible.

        And even if scientists “are aware that the vaccine could be used for jingoistic purposes”, what are they supposed to do about it when they’re “aware”. Slow down? Sorry, but there’s nothing to be gained by scientists reading her piece.

        • Historian
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          The article is a warning to British politicians, not the scientists. A similar warning should go out to Trump should American scientists develop first the vaccine (if he is still president, perish the thought). Of course, he wouldn’t listen to it. In fact, it seems likely that when a vaccine is developed it will be the result of international cooperation through shared research. For those who bemoan the mixing of science and politics, they should cheer her article. Unfortunately, in the real world, this mixing is pretty hard to avoid. Ask Galileo or Darwin.

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      I think it’s still ridiculous to worry about who comes up with an effective treatment. Paraphrasing: “if British scientists produce an effective vaccine, everyone will forget about all the sins in Britain’s past.” That’s ludicrous because, one, we need that vaccine asap, and two, because what a non sequitur. I highly, highly doubt any decent global citizens will have their memories of Britain’s sins erased by the production of a vaccine in Britain. It’s as Prof CC says: this is first and foremost a piece of virtue signaling.

      • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I have no problem with it being interpreted as virtue signalling. Just pointing out that only the title reflects the idea that she doesn’t want the Oxford researchers to be successful. If memory serves, this website often points out cases where publications attach a misleading title to an article. Why not this time? Admittedly, we have no proof either way. I also didn’t see anything on her Twitter feed where she disowns that title, though I only looked briefly.

  12. EdwardM
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    As an aside, IMO, one of the tragedies of wokeness (and post-modernism in general) is that now the term “Feminist Scholar” or “Woman’s Studies Professor” has become a suspect academic title, even a pejorative. qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I am coming to think that pretty well any university course with ‘Studies’ in the title is likely to have been created in order to promote fashionable virtue-flaunting over either intellectual rigour or practical utility.

      • Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        An excellent point. It sort of puts the subject at arm’s length, indicating that if the opinions of the professor are at odds with the facts, the former will take precedence.

  13. Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Just to give some context for non-UK readers, this lady read Philosophy, Politics and Economics for her first degree at Oxford (aka PPE). PPE is the standard degree taken by most would be politicians in the UK. The cynical would say it’s so they can go on to govern the country without actually knowing anything useful

  14. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m actually a little more perturbed that your comment on HuffPo was taken down than even by the article itself. Did they give any justification or pseudo-justification for that removal?

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Nope. But I saved it because I figured they’d take it down.

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      It reappeared!

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        I week later, and it seems to have disappeared again.

  15. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I would of course plan to welcome the development of even a sort-of-effective vaccine from any source. If it comes from the Dear Leader of the DPRK, I would want to give him a hug.

  16. JezGrove
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    She doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about. The pre-clinical research was led by a woman: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52394485

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      In fact, including Sarah Gilbert herself, the lead team (a key word Cousens overlooked) is gender-balanced: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Gilbert_(scientist)#Research_and_career

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The article doesn’t comment about the gender or racial balance of the research team. She comments about the white, male, Oxford educatedness of the UK’s political leaders but not about the scientists. She also refers to the fact that the Oxford vaccine research is being done in collaboration with other teams around the world.

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        In which case, Cousens is happy to hope that a female-led and gender-balanced team – which she doesn’t even do the service of acknowledging, and which is collaborating with international partners – fails because the UK has a white, male, Oxford University-educated prime minister who has surrounded himself with similar chaps. I’m not sure that makes her motivation look any better?

  17. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    What pains me is that she studied philosophy. This discipline is now full of idiots. Just today I saw tenured professors tweet how great and important Lenin was.
    With philosophy lost, I think it is time to divorce the humanities from the rest of the university.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      By definition, if they don’t love wisdom then they are not philosophers.

  18. rich99999
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I feel like I read a different article to the rest of you! Maybe it’s cultural, but I just can’t find evidence for the points you’re making, in the article. She doesn’t mention any problems with white men, anywhere that I can find. From my reading, all she’s saying is that if the UK makes a successful vaccine, she worries that it’ll be used to back up the attitude that Britain is special. As someone that lives in Britain, and has seen how prevalent this attitude has become, and the damage that it can do to a society (a lot of support for Brexit is underpinned by the idea that we’re special, and don’t need anyone else to be a success), this seems a perfectly legitimate point. I really don’t understand where the evidence for the your arguments against the piece are coming from!

    • Historian
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Imagine that this article had a different headline such as “Don’t Politicize the Development of a Vaccine,” and the author was listed as Anonymous. The actual article itself would be left completely unchanged. My guess is that its harshest critics would be cheering it as a call to keep science and politics separate.

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Balderdash! Poppycock!* You are suggesting that her critics should only read the words she wrote not what she meant by them. This is resorting to an absurd kind of strict literalism that suggests a piece must only be interpreted by the order in which letters and punctuation are placed on the page. It may work in a court of law but it doesn’t fly in an opinion piece.

        She is not fooling anyone.

        *I’m not really worked up, and you do make a good point. No real reason for those; I’ve always wanted to use them. Olde tyme words like these are fun to use because they are so expressive and the original belligerence in them has been lost to quaintness.

    • eric
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      From my reading, all she’s saying is that if the UK makes a successful vaccine, she worries that it’ll be used to back up the attitude that Britain is special.

      The problem is that this shows ignorance and unintentionally communicates misinformation of how science is done. She wishes for us to remember that international cooperation saves lives, and that Brits (let’s also add Americans) can learn things from other nations.

      Well, guess what – I’m willing to say with reasonable authority even without being a participant in such teams that that international cooperation is occurring. It’s part of the vaccine efforts. As an example, there are currently two different strains of the virus. How do we know that? Because different teams, analyzing different samples in different parts of the world, share their information, and had one or more “hey Alice, your sequence doesn’t match mine” moments.

      Now, it’s a valid science communication question as to whether the press is covering these efforts accurately, or giving it an unwarranted nationalistic skew. I can certainly see the value in complaining about that. But in terms of the science and the way the teams themselves are conducting the work, i think it’s largely unfounded to complain that they aren’t internationally coordinated or that the UK/UK teams aren’t willing to learn anything from what the other teams are doing. At an absolute minimum, every team is reading every other team’s published letters and articles as soon as they hit the press…and say they only do that would be an extremely conservative/worst case estimate of the coordination going on.

  19. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    When I express that whoever plays against Roger Federer should win, I am not necessarily saying I want the match to last longer. It’s merely a preference on who I want to emerge victorious. When I worry about that Federer is currently ahead, and he might win, I also don’t say that I prefer a longer game, only that I would prefer a situation where his opponent is ahead.

    However, your less charitable interpretation is not unreasonable, depending how badly she detests the wrong outcome. I assume that nobody in their right mind would want vaccines delayed, and just cannot believe she means it like that. I may be wrong.

    The injection of critical race theory into everything annoys me as much, made worse by the excessive use of their boilerplate phrases. It’s always the same, never examined slogans and ideas. The chants in a Dominican monastery have more novelty.

    • eric
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, but if you were to say that you worry a Federer win would send a message that the Swiss aren’t learning anything from other countries’ players, you’re not voicing a legitimate complaint – you’re merely showing an ignorance of how top-ranked tennis tournaments are run and how top-ranked players study and learn from each other.

      I’d say the same thing is going on here. Her worries show a misunderstanding of how top-flight science is conducted and the way the various teams are likely already learning from each other.

  20. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Reading the article, the headline really is misleading, and yet…

    The fact is that what we need in the world are more people who do good things, not more people who take other people doing good things and turn that into an insult like “white saviour”.

    If Oxford won the vaccine race, would she seriously rather the UK decided to keep it to itself? No white saviour in that case, just a lot of dead non UK people.

    And seriously speaking, if the UK developed the first vaccine, then it should be a rah-rah moment. There is nothing wrong with celebrating or feeling pride in actual achievements.

    Celebrating such an achievement only ever really undermines your politics if your idea of your political opponent amounts to a Snidely Whiplash figure incapable of ever doing anything good.

    If you accept that the people across the aisle from you are first and foremost human beings and not cartoons, the fact that they’re capable of doing some good things isn’t half as fatal as if you’re incapable of basic nuance.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      To be fair to Cousens, she uses the word “saviour”, but not the phrase “white saviour”. But her implicit suggestion that if a country other than the UK developed a vaccine first it would supply it to other countries’ citizens ahead of its own is naive in the extreme. (The alternative interpretation is, she hopes another country develops a vaccine first and that it prioritises it’s own citizens, leaving UK patients to die. I don’t believe that is what she wants to happen for a moment, but it does follow logically from her argument. Another interpretation would be that she thinks there’s going to be some utopian international breakthrough in which enough doses are miraculously available for all countries simultaneously, but I would equally hate to insult her intelligence by attributing that belief to her.)

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        Horrible stray apostrophe – “its” not “it’s”! I really must sort out the stupid autocorrect on my new tablet!

    • BJ
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      “There is nothing wrong with celebrating or feeling pride in actual achievements.”

      According to people in her circles, it is wrong to celebrate the achievements of white people and, further, that all white people “have no culture.” It’s fascinating how they group all white people together. French, British, Swedish, Russian, etc. Nope, none of them have any culture and are just a giant, homogeneous blob of oppression. Just like men.

  21. phoffman56
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    From the article:

    “If my university is the first to develop the vaccine, I’m worried that it will be used as it has been in the past, to fulfil its political, patriotic function as proof of British excellence.
    The story will be clear: China, once again, has unleashed a threat to civilisation. But the best brains of the UK have saved the world.”

    I do not think one needs to project very far, ‘read between the lines’, to realize that Jerry’s take on this is likely very accurate. What Mr. Topping says in #9, and a few others later, are far more charitable to the author than appropriate, and are fundamentally incorrect, IMO.

    Furthermore, re another discussion above, it seems pretty obvious that the “..my university..” above is a vagueness meant to to likely mislead the reader as to whether the author actually has an academic job at a university among the world’s top 10 in every rating, or rather the top 10,000.

    Finally, I can’t remember if it was Cambridge or Oxford (and it was also London), but I’ve never heard a thing in the last 70 years about the discovery of the structure of DNA (not unrelated to vaccine research!) being some kind of ‘proof’ of either white man’s or Britain’s superiority in any respect. And that’s not simply because Crick’s partner was not British.

    I doubt that racists have made such claims either, if you know what I mean. Is Watson still alive?

  22. Jon Gallant
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    According to the Oxford Brookes website, Ms. Cousens is a Lecturer and Associate of the Centre of Diversity Policy Research and Practice. As a Diversity specialist, Ms. Cousens is no doubt deeply concerned about the cultural implications when persons of European ancestry (and, worst of all, old ones) accomplish anything at all.

    Concerns similar to hers may be raised by the active research in Israel, including labs at the Migal Galilee Research Institute, which are well along toward creating a coronavirus vaccine. Should they succeed, we can no doubt count on Ken Loach and his co-thinkers to propose a boycott of any vaccine developed in what they like to refer to as the Zionist Entity.

  23. Malcolm
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    well said I completely agree, quite contemptible.

  24. Filippo
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    sub

  25. KD
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps its time to introduce a quantitative measure for these tenured psychopaths.

    If we define a Holo as 6 x 10^7 dead innocent persons, how many Holocs would miss Ms. Cousen’s tolerate before allowing Oxford to get credit for a vaccine. A DecaHolo? A MicroHolo? The Khmer Rouge got up to a .25Holo, is that the right range?

  26. Mark R.
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, if the scientists at Oxford find the cure, she won’t have to worry because Trump will get Boris to give it to him so he can claim America, under his supreme leadership, developed it. Merkel wouldn’t play his game, but Johnson might. (Kidding of course…well, mostly, it’s hard to tell nowadays.)

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget that Boris Johnson was born in the US and would be eligible to run for president! He might see that as being closer to “King of the World” than his current role as prime minister. https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/clive-bull/boris-johnson-world-king-documentary-maker/

      • GBJames
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        He’s not a citizen.

        • David Harper
          Posted April 24, 2020 at 1:23 am | Permalink

          The IRS evidently thought he was, because Johnson explicitly renounced his U.S. citizenship back in 2016 to avoid the tax liabilities that flow from the United States having citizenship-based taxation (rather than residency-based taxation, which is what almost every other nation in the world uses):

          https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/08/boris-johnson-renounces-us-citizenship-record-2016-uk-foreign-secretary

        • GBJames
          Posted April 24, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? If you renounce your citizenship, you’re by definition not a citizen.

          • Posted April 24, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            Not necessarily. Some authorities don’t care what you say. I can renounce my maleness but it doesn’t change much. But seriously, I’m not sure the US has a citizenship renouncement mechanism. Is there a form for that? My guess is that there is not. If Johnson changed his mind and wanted to make use of his US citizenship, would someone from the government tell him he couldn’t because he had renounced it? Not sure.

            • GBJames
              Posted April 24, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

              Google is your friend.

              • Posted April 24, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

                Don’t care enough to look for such things. Plus I don’t want that in my FBI dossier.

              • GBJames
                Posted April 24, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

                You cared enough to get me to do it for you! And now you’re on the FBI list anyway.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 24, 2020 at 4:20 am | Permalink

      He’s working on it.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52407177

      cr

  27. BJ
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I agree with some other posters here that her position doesn’t appear to be as you’ve portrayed it. In the past, I’ve defended from misinterpretation many statements by many people I don’t like, from Trump to the extremely woke. In this case, despite my extreme dislike of this person based on her article (and her clear dishonesty in trying to convince people she’s an academic at Oxford by using extremely vague language), she does not appear to be saying in any way that she “prefers people to die rather than have white Oxford males be the first to develop a coronavirus vaccine.”

    Nowhere does she say that she hopes the vaccine takes longer to discover, so long as that means people other than white men discover it; she simply says that she would like someone else to discover the vaccine first. A statement like the former would be required for the claim in the title of this post. I find her politicization of this issue disgusting, her virtue-flaunting unbearable, and her caring about who discovers a vaccine first reprehensibly self-serving, but I feel that what she wrote has been misrepresented in this post.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I took another read and it’s very unclear what Cousen’s *desired* outcome is – and if she is constructing a false dilemma of a vaccine from the actual Oxford coupled to …. gah, the writing is so awful I can’t even write a Dennett style paraphrase of it…

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Her desire is very clearly a non-British vaccine. She doesn’t explicitly say she wants the UK trials that started today (the first human trials in Europe) to fail, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to see her piece that way.

        • BJ
          Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          It is a fair point that, by wishing for the Oxford team to fail based on their race/sex, she is hoping for something that would result in deaths by extension if the Oxford team would have been the first to develop it otherwise.

    • eric
      Posted April 24, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      She expressly argues that a UK discovery will imply lack of cooperation and lack of the UK learning from other peoples.

      Both of these arguments show she doesn’t understand science and, worse, is miscommunicating how science works to the public.

      In reality, a UK discovery shows neither of these things, as the various teams working on it are likely already cooperating and already learning from each other.

  28. JezGrove
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Well, at least her Twitter feed got noticed, though maybe not in the way she was hoping for: https://mobile.twitter.com/Cousens11/status/1253285116597735424

    • EdwardM
      Posted April 23, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      A quick look and found this (from Felicity Cox);

      “I am quite used to the current set of revisionists in our country busy re-writing any good we might have done to show in fact it was malevolence: however, if we now have to apologise and grovel if we unfortunately are successful in designing a vaccine stretches even my credulity.”

      Whatever Cousens meant to say, this captures the message she sent.

  29. Posted April 23, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Curiously, at least on Thursday evening, her page at Oxford Brookes University has disappeared:

    https://www.brookes.ac.uk/the-centre-for-diversity-policy-research-and-practice/people/emily-cousens/

    • Posted April 23, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      I just looked at it about an hour ago but it’s gone now for me too. It could just be an automatic response to receiving an unexpected number of hits. In other words, the sheer number of hits was assumed by the server to be a denial-of-service attack and it responded by making the page unavailable.

  30. poltiser
    Posted April 24, 2020 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Hi, thank you for the article…
    I followed the link – the site was already gone.

    Best regards

  31. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 24, 2020 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    NOT TO WORRY. Your President has it all under control.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52407177

    Injecting disinfectant, that’s the ticket.

    Oh, he’s an old white man. Oh dear. Though AFAIK he hasn’t been to Oxford.

    cr

    • Filippo
      Posted April 24, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      “Injecting disinfectant, that’s the ticket.”

      I gather Trump wants to be (perceived) seen and heard posing thoughtful, insightful (inciteful?) questions. Otherwise, why wouldn’t he have a private conversation with experts about his hypothesis/conjecture?

      He should offer himself as a singular candidate for such a therapeutic trial.

      Will be listening for news reports of Trumpists conducting their own such trials.

      • Posted April 24, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Agree. Why wouldn’t he ask the experts about his hare-brained COVID cures? I can think of several possibilities:

        1. He’s so confident in his ability to reason that he wants to flaunt it in public.

        2. Someone he trusts told him about these treatments.

        3. He likes the fact that he’s surrounded himself with toadies that will agree to do practically anything he suggests. He wants to demonstrate this in public and, at the same time, deliver a loyalty test.

  32. Posted April 24, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    She runs “an intimate feminist summer school that charges no fees”

    Value paid for value received I imagine.

  33. Posted April 25, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Interesting that her Masters (!) degree in Women’s Studies totally undid any intellectual rigor she would have gotten from her undergraduate Philosophy and Economics courses.

  34. phoffman56
    Posted April 28, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    From:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/world/europe/coronavirus-vaccine-update-oxford.html?campaign_id=34&emc=edit_sc_20200428&instance_id=18002&nl=science-times&regi_id=69465559&segment_id=26130&te=1&user_id=4aa66aee58287a8c6aad129dcd35aa3f ,

    we have a top researcher whose pic is not needed to realize the person is female:

    “….In 2014, however, a vaccine based on the chimp virus that Professor Hill had tested was manufactured in a large enough scale to provide a million doses. That created a template for mass production of the coronavirus vaccine, should it prove effective.
    A longtime colleague, Prof. SARAH Gilbert, 58, modified the same chimpanzee virus to make a vaccine against an earlier coronavirus, MERS……”

    It will be highly ironic relative to the topic in this thread if they succeed with the first successful coronavirus vaccine, as the article mainly discusses. Every person at work there has dropped earlier work to concentrate on this–success with rhesus monkeys–hoping very soon for human tests.

  35. Posted May 2, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Oh dear..
    it makes me angry… but at the same time, I try to see the positives – and it’s people like this who do more to undermine their ridiculous cause than we could ever do – so let them carry on speaking I say!
    Marcus


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