COVID and Censorship: The New Face of Scientific Liberalism
“Unpopular regimes often seek legitimacy by exaggerating perils both to themselves and those they govern.” -Paul Lay, Providence Lost.
The picture says it all. We are moving back toward Medieval thinking, where science is best elucidated by Monty Python’s King Arthur who determined that since a witch is made of wood and thus can float, you can tell if someone is a witch if she weighs the same as a duck, since ducks also float. Yes, COVID science has reached this level of sanity, except we’re not laughing. Most of us who care are crying!
And it’s not just science that’s gone Medieval under the Biden-Fauci partnership. We are becoming a faith-based society expected to comply with the prevailing gospel lest doubters be burned as witches. Yesterday a woman on twitter said that anyone who believed in God must accept the validity of masks, since God gave us masks to protect us from the plague. I asked her whether my patients who all were infected with COVID through a mask were somehow in God’s bad graces, and why, if God loved us so much, He sent the plague down upon us in the first place. But the most bizarre part of the tweet was that it was sent by the most liberal journalist in Baltimore. Because, yea, this is where liberalism has gravitated during COVID. King Arthur and his coconut horses would feel quite at home in the Democratic party!
It’s been a tough week for a heretic like me. On Monday I did a piece on a radio show in New England, and we had a great conversation for about a half hour. We talked about the data out there on COVID, vaccine hesitancy, and how we can get out of this mess. I happened to mention—without any protest from the host—that virtually all of my hundreds of patients infected with COVID got it through masks, and that the mask-based policy in long-term care from the start of the crisis has not stopped most residents of long-term care from getting COVID or averted the 200,000+ COVID deaths there. “We have to acknowledge that fact and admit that there is no good data on masks one way or another, and maybe that will prompt us to do more mask studies or to change direction in protecting the elderly.” Well, that was too much for the host! He didn’t want to hear those facts. So, he pulled the segment from the show. His producer wrote and said: “We are concerned about the Doctor's thesis that masks are not effective. Ron finds that this message would be a dangerous statement under the present pandemic circumstances.” Wow, facts are dangerous now? This is how we move forward in a crisis, by obscuring facts that force us to rethink our flawed assumptions? This is the new definition of science?
That very same day I received a letter from the Maryland Board of Physicians that my medical license was under review because of a twitter exchange I had with someone named Dave Rush, a twitter troll. In the exchange I described facts about masking in long term care. He was mad; he called me some bad names and then sent our conversation to the Board. That alone is not surprising. But the fact that the Board is now threatening to take away my license because I said something on twitter they may not agree with—something not even related to my work as a doctor, where I follow all the rules and have helped saved many hundreds of lives from COVID—is so frightening that even my lawyer (yes, I need a lawyer now) was speechless.
Welcome to Joe Biden’s America! I voted for Biden, I have been a Democrat until recently when I became a Libertarian, but never could I imagine that our country would morph so quickly into a Totalitarian state. The quote at the start of this blog refers to Oliver Cromwell, who used the threat of a royalist insurrection to pass a series of laws restricting people’s rights, even as he proclaimed that his rule was designed to overturn Kingly autocracy. This is a common theme in history; the liberals of the French Revolution killed anyone who disagreed with them and suppressed people’s rights of assembly and free speech (if that speech disagreed with theirs) even as they proclaimed to be fighting for liberty. Hell, the Southern segregationists based their views of racial superiority and apartheid on the science of the day while anchoring it in humanistic language: Black people are just better off this way, we have science to prove it, virtually everyone in the south agrees, and it works. If you didn't agree with them, the segregationists are doing just what the radio guy and the Board of Physicians did not me; they either punished you or censored you. Let’s not even get into the Nazi’s, but yea, they did the same thing. They demolished democracy and slaughtered Jews for purely noble reasons. The McCarthy hearings were no different, as Einstein perceptively observed, saying that he felt like he was back in Nazi Germany.
I’m sure he’d feel the same way now, especially given the mangling of science, the silencing of any constructive discourse that verges from gospel, the obliteration of people’s rights and decision-making capacity in the wake of a self-described “threat,” and a morphing of liberalism into a one-right-answer march toward autocracy.
Vinay Prasad, who has written wonderful articles every week during this crisis, and who has absolutely no partisan agenda, wrote something amazing recently that everyone should read. He describes seven cognitive errors of COVID communication, including: Dismissing any views that are contrary to the established dogma, providing no evidence for one’s views, using anecdotes and stories of people to make broader claims, proclaiming that ideas themselves are dangerous and need to be suppressed, using majority-opinion as a validation of one’s scientific views, and of course censoring those who don’t agree with the prevailing wisdom. He writes: “if [COVID] interventions continue or repeat, year after year, at some point, it is incumbent on the entity or person asserting the intervention to prove that the net benefits outweigh the harms.” And yet, due to censorship and suppression of discourse, that doesn’t occur.
This, of course, is what I am experiencing. In our book, Understanding COVID-19 Risks, Erik Rifkin and I present factual data (from reliable sources) in the form of a theater. If there are not enough facts to make a theater, we put a ? in that theater. The very idea of presenting data in this way is considered dangerous by those, including the “scientists” of the Biden Administration, and the radio host who deleted me, who want Americans to adhere to a single, unassailable gospel and do exactly what they say. As Prasad may say, we are not allowed to have conversations, or present facts, if they contradict the prevailing policy.
In a recent blog I talked about liberal hypocrisy when it comes to COVID. Liberals have used this national emergency to mandate everything they had previously denigrated. This is why I left the party and why I think many others are not far behind me, those of us who truly believe in free speech, in science that is not dogma, in civil conversation, and in humanism. Pulling my radio segment and now having my license threatened because I dared speak about facts, those are frightening ramifications of COVID liberalism. I expect more of this, more censorship, more fear-mongering, more focus on this one threat while ignoring everything else dangerous that we accept as normal, more diminution of our rights, more chains around us while liberal scientists and politicians and media pundits defile anyone who dares quesiton the need for those chains, as has been done by almost a million doctors in the Great Barrington Declaration.
Liberals are pro-choice, they say it all the time. But what if your choice is not the same as theirs, what if the Governor of Texas has looked at the data (or lack of it) and believes that masking kids is more harmful than not masking them? Biden plans to take away the rights of those Texans. Bad Texans. We are pro-choice, but if your choice is a BAD CHOICE well then, we let you make that kind of choice.
Liberals were furious at Donald Trump, calling him a dictator, predicting he would ruin our democracy. Yes, he was not very presidential or respectful, but during his four years nothing was done to harm our democratic institutions, even though he had the power to declare martial law early in the crisis. Yet it is perfectly ok for liberals to run the country and their states like their own fiefdoms, to expunge constitution guarantees in the wake of a “threat,” to push unproven scientific policies down everyone’s throats without any liability should those policies cause harm, to suppress free speech and assembly, and to essentially take on the role of dictators. They’ll say: This isn’t a threat to democracy, we’re just making sure everyone is safe, and they can only be safe if they do what we say, so we’re just making sure they do that. Caesar and Hitler couldn’t have agreed more!
And for that matter, liberals accuse the right wing all the time of censorship. Meanwhile, they not only censored Trump, but also have censored anyone who dares speak on social media or in any other venue about COVID in a way that contradicts their narrative. Well, they’ll say, we don’t want censorship, but it’s not censorship to shut down people who don’t agree with us, because they are dangerous. That’s why I’ve been censored, why my medical license is in jeopardy. One of Biden’s executive orders allows such censorship if “dangerous speech” gets in the way of his COVID narrative. This is a common ploy of autocratic states and desperate leaders. But Biden’s liberal followers think it’s just grand!
Liberals hate extremism, they accuse conservatives of it all the time. But as they pound and pound COVID, COVID, and only COVID day after day, putting a microscope on this one thing, having their gang of deceptive dogmatic doctors and scientists ignore everything else and mangle data to make sure everyone thinks their way, the Biden way, well, that’s not extremism, that’s just necessary, it’s scientific. Yes, the science President doesn’t need to prove his policies work. He won’t even allow a conversation, when it comes to booster vaccines, masking everyone including kids, shutting down the world, and making claims about COVID that verge far from proven reality. Science, under Biden is simple: Listen to our scientists, don’t believe anything you read or hear that challenges Fauci, don’t ever discuss it, just do what we say and shame all those who think differently. Wow, Einstein would have had a stroke if he heard about Biden’s “new science.” The Church even didn’t treat Galileo as horribly as the liberals are treating someone like me who dares to utter facts about masks that they don’t want to believe. Science isn’t factual under Biden. It’s gospel.
Of course, CNN and Jake Tapper fact checked Donald Trump all the time. But God forbid you fact check Anthony Fauci or the brilliant doctors who are incessently paraded on CNN with sycophantic hosts to tell us that washing hands for twenty seconds kills COVID, and that masks outdoors make sense. They’ll say, there’s no need to fact check Fauci or those doctors, because they are experts, and thus anything they say is a fact.
And too, Democrats are very sensitive about shaming people. Can’t say a bad word about someone obese, or who dresses a certain way, or who smokes. But if someone questions the use of a mask, hell, you can call them every horrible name in your vocabulary, you can take away their medical license, you can fire them from their job. It’s not shaming when we say bad things about those right-wing anti-maskers since they are killing everyone with their bad behavior. One hospital doctor said she had a right to shame and be angry at those not vaccinated since they made a bad choice and were getting sick as a consequence. Does she do the same thing to smokers and obese people who are much more likely to fill up the hospital and ICU, does she write op-eds about that? No, that would be shaming, it’s not nice. But doing it to people who make their own choices about COVID, that’s different, that’s ok, it’s even responsible! That’s because those people didn’t make our choice!
And of course, liberals detest corporate greed. But they stand right there with Pfizer pushing the booster shot on everyone, a shot that will give Pfizer—one of the top financial contributors to the CDC and to many Democratic leaders—a monetary boost of gargantuan proportions, even though not a single study shows that the booster will save anyone’s life or not harm people. That’s not corporate greed, that’s science! Biden’s scientific CDC has been playing Pfizer’s game for a while, propping up Prevnar as the “second pneumonia shot” even though it has no studies to support is value; the CDC’s endorsement for everyone to take Prevnar gives Pfizer a cool $6 billion a year, and, even though they'll say it's not related, Pfizer is not only the main funder of the CDC, but it also has placed many of its stockholders and former executives on the CDC Board. And paying hospitals more to admit COVID patients, paying colleges to mandate vaccination, giving a huge break to large corporations who “help” contain COVID, that’s not corporate greed either. It’s just being responsible.
Most of my fiction books deal with the danger of zealotry that penetrates into government and denigrates civility, democracy, and human decency. Three Brothers tackles this directly by showing how slavery and institutional racism poisons humanity yet is accepted as being normal, scientific, and holding majority support, thus justifying it. Yadel describes how zealotry in Roman Judea led to a million Jewish deaths (at the hands of Jews) and the end of three-thousand years of centralized Jewish authority, all justified by the self-righteous “truths” uttered by well-meaning zealots.
Geriatrics Vengeance Club is perhaps most prescient, in that I wrote it a year ago, and started the book with the protagonist doctor sitting before a Board of Physicians about to strip him of his medical license for merely being caught on YouTube mocking masks in a store. Sound eerily familiar to my fate? Everything dire I put into that book has come to pass, all of it is now true. The Democrats have taken COVID by the horns and bulldozed away everything they claim to cherish. They say that what they are doing is necessary and based on science, as did many other autocratic regimes, and they refuse to look at or discuss facts. That their policies likely killed hundreds of thousands of people while protecting no one is not something they are willing to hear. If you dare say it, you made a bad choice and you can be censored, or worse. I know that better than anyone!
I don’t know how all this will end, whether my license will be taken away, whether we’ll be living in this masked hell forever, whether science will not recover from the liberal massacre of it, whether our nation as we know it no longer exists. I hope not. But I will keep fighting. Because I’m outraged. And I’m shocked beyond belief that others are simply towing the line and aren’t equally outraged. Because quiet compliance to tyranny only helps the tyrant. And that’s what the liberals I know are doing. If they’re not on social media shaming those who disagree with them, they’re quietly following the rules and going with the flow. Don’t want to question their leaders, right? Don’t want to make a stink. That’s how democracies die, and we’re watching ours incinerate in the flames of dogma and fear.