After writing about Alina Chan of the Broad Institute about the possibility that C19 was a lab escape, I have thought several times about how fortunate it is that when the PRC tried to discredit her, directly and indirectly, she did not have anything to hide that could be used against her. With the hacking and information leaks on millions of Americans, it is widely speculated that the Chinese have got something on a lot of people that they can use to prevent them from saying what they know. It is rather frightening to contemplate that there might be many things even now that we should be told about, but the tellers fear embarrassment - or worse.
Are we prepared in advance to ignore compromising information that comes public about whistleblowers? I am not only referring to threats from China on this, but from anyone. What was it recently, that someone was making politically hated statements and a journalist went and asked his old girlfriends what they thought? We're talking almost fifty years ago for me, and I haven't the faintest idea what most of them would say about anything. Hmm, except that at least two are liberals, so I might be in trouble there. But if we are going to start digging and reporting on people at that level, few will emerge unscathed.
I try to ignore dirt from the past most of the time anyway, as one can usually sense that it is politically motivated and slanted in its presentation, if not outright fabrication. But I'm not sure I can promise to not be affected by new stuff that comes up. We become affected very quickly by reports that someone has betrayed friends, been harmful to others in their personal lives, been irresponsible with trust. I don't think I can give a blanket pre-assurance "I won't care about any of it and won't pay attention." Yet I think we had all best be prepared to enter a new world where we are going to have to overlook a lot more, simply because a lot more will be coming out.