In 1918, letters to the editor were the equivalent of social media today, a mixed bag of opinions many times anchored in counter factual arguments. This letter from 'ONE WHO PROTESTS' from Los Altos, California during the Spanish Flu would be at home with much of the arguments around COVID today. If you substituted 'Germans' for 'Chinese' you almost wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
Some favorite insights:
Germany has sent secret agents to spread fear and misinformation about the Spanish Flu to strike fear into US citizens
The German Flu propaganda is being used to turn people away from God towards fear. "Close your churches, you may be slain in the act of worship.’
Common complaints about constitutional rights being violated. Religious liberty vs public health. All topics debated in both pandemics.
The US is being Pro-German by using medical methods used by them for discovering treatments, vaccines and cures
The methods for creating the cure for Spanish Flu "has presented us with filthy serums and vaccines of decomposed animal matter "
Troops in the training camps are "with vitality lowered by compulsory poisoning, are ready victims of this now plague of fear"
Los Altos, Oct. 26. 1918
Editor Mercury Herald:
Germany has launched her most successful drive. The Bureau of Enemy Psychology. with headquarters in Berlin and secret agents in every quarter of the globe, skilled by years of artful study to upon the passions, prejudices and fears of men, has enlisted us heart and soul in self destruction. Well it knows the compelling charm of a novel name, also tho terror- inspiring power of mystery. The new and mysterious name of this latest drive is Spanish influenza. It is the same old cold, or "grip,” under another title and with a big fear attached. This disease offensive has been carefully worked up weeks advance of its launching Our interest was first aroused by vague, far off rumors, stimulated by an appropriation of a million dollars of the public money by an easily manipulated congress, excited to the point of receptive frenzy by a clever propaganda to which the press lent ignorant and willing aid. Then, behold, the great expected was among us finding us thoroughly prepared to lie down and die under the mesmerism of fear. It is a phase of the policy of frightfulness. The Zeppelin and the U-boat had done their worst, but the policy of frightfulness could find other means so long as people were so easy to frighten. The Spanish Influenza is German propaganda and is to be resisted as such with courage and defiance.
It is far less trouble to plan the destruction of our forces here at home than to meet them on the battlefields of Europe. So the Bureau of Enemy Psychology whispers into the thoughts of men through thousand hidden avenues. "Be afraid, something terrible is going to happen” and mens hearts fail them for fear. It says. "Cease your wanted activities, death lurks wherever you gather." and unified action ceases It commends "Close your churches, you may he slain in the act of worship.’ and a Christian people turns momentarily grant it may be momentarily—from God to serve and propitiate the god of fear enthroned. The churches close their doors, the light of hope goes out in many a heart and the death rate rises.
We have special services and prayers for rain, for success under arms for peace. When disease comes we shun God and close His temples. What is the hope of the race? What are we doing? What all-prevailing insanity of fear makes this state of affairs possible? What law, moral, spiritual or even legal, are we living under in these mad days? The Constitution of the United States is being openly and universally violated. Those inherent, sacred rights, suffered for in the dark ages, won at last through martyrdom, steadfast spiritual vision and unceasing prayer, prized and guarded for us by our forefathers and by them incorporated into the very foundation of our government where are are they? Religious liberty, freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, the right "peaceably to assemble" for this purpose, these are denied us today in the United States of America! Men and women, citizens, Christians, do you realize what this means?
Germany has said. 'Worship the war lord's god and fear ye him. or have no God" and we obey Pro Germanism in the form of certain medical methods originating in the laboratories of the Fatherland has proclaimed. "These be thy gods" and has presented us with filthy serums and vaccines of decomposed animal matter and we have given up and continue to sacrifice the very flower of our young manhood to the service of these gods. And our army is decimated quietly at home and Kaiserdom smiles! The forcibly diseased and depleted recruits in the training camps with vitality lowered by compulsory poisoning, are ready victims of this now plague of fear. They have no energy with which to fight back, they simply die in such appalling numbers that the authorities scarcely dare to give publicity to the facts.
Little children are seeing sights and hearing words in these days that will mark their plastic minds with fear and disease for years, in many cases for life. They are moreover, receiving strange object lessons in seeing that their parents, teachers and pastors consent to the closing of the churches as a measure of safety. History repeats itself. Under other forms and names, as of yore the high priests of Baal forbid the worship of the true and only God. and as of yore the people are submissive through fear Is this making the world safe for democracy? According to law, if one permits a thoroughfare across his land for a certain length of time, his title to the roadway is lost and he cannot reclaim it. If we yield up our constitutional rights to the unrighteous request or illegal demand we shall presently, and deservedly. forfeit those hard-won rights. We have been so busy putting down autocracy in the old world that we have allowed it to enter our very doors and manacle us hand and foot. Our churches are closed. Who could has foreseen such a terrible situation in this, the greatest republic upon earth? Are Christian men and women still reading their Bibles? Do the promises and admonitions of Scripture mean anything to us? Are we blind to the appalling iniquity of this crowning act of moral madness? Is there no relation to be seen between closed churched and a rising death rates? Is not mighty repentance about to sweep over this deceived and darkened country, enthralled by the policy of frightfulness to play directly into the enemy's hands'
ONE WHO PROTESTS