Whatever Happened to Medical Ethics?

by | Mar 10, 2022

Whatever Happened to Medical Ethics?

by | Mar 10, 2022

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I recall being shown in grade school a series of short films about the danger of seemingly friendly men who drove popsicle trucks and tried to lure young children into accepting free treats. We were sternly instructed to stay far, far away from such people. How the world has changed.

Today we have political leaders with no knowledge of our personal health situation asking us to accept injections of experimental substances for the simple reason that they have been told by their advisers (also ignorant of our circumstances) that it would be good for us to do. It is a bizarre, even absurd idea, that healthy persons should agree to inject any substance at the behest of people who know nothing about them. In fact, it is the opposite of what we were trained to believe throughout childhood, when everyone was strictly warned not to accept gifts from strangers, least of all drugs with unknown effects.

Fellow citizens, something sinister is afoot. People have somehow been persuaded, through mountains of propaganda and divisive rhetoric, that the government can decree what substances its citizens must ingest. This is unprecedented in the history of democratic society and a represents a rejection of the patient-centered paradigm of medical ethics. Bodily autonomy is no small thing, and yet the leaders of many governments have pushed relentlessly to strip it away, insisting, in direct contradiction to the Nuremberg Code, that you do not have a right to decline the injection of a substance into your very own body.

COVID-19 “vaccination” has been made a requirement on participation in civil society in many countries. You may not travel to most parts of the world without first demonstrating that you have complied with the reigning vaccination regimen. (Last I checked, U.S. citizens are allowed to travel to a grand total of five countries without providing health documents.) This is not, as some may claim, a matter of mere inconvenience, for people are being through these policies conditioned to believe that governments have the right and the authority to mandate medical procedures. If healthy people must now share their medical records with government officials, what else can they be required to do? The digital identification system being implemented can be deployed far more generally, to restrict the activities of persons who dare even to disagree with the government. Consider what happened recently in Canada.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to freeze the bank accounts of anyone, regardless of their vaccination status, who donated to the trucker convey, he demonstrated for all to see how dangerous the present situation has become. To criminalize dissent in this way is to open the door to a system of totalitarian tyranny, where people said by government officials to hold “unacceptable” opinions can be stopped in their tracks by a variety of means. In some ways, all of this has served as a test to see what people will accept. The results are disconcerting, to say the least.

The Freedom Truck Convoy protest in Canada was portrayed by the media as a gigantic nuisance, with nearly no attention given to the rational basis of the dissent: a rejection of the notion that truckers, who spend most of their day alone inside the cab of their vehicle, should be required to undergo injection of a foreign substance which they themselves have already concluded is not in their best interests. Some among the vaccine hesitant are persons who do not, as a matter of prudence, volunteer to serve in trials of new medications, and certainly not when they are not suffering from any disease. Others are persons who already survived Covid-19 and base their refusal to undergo inoculation on the concepts of “immunity” and “vaccine” which held sway for their entire life—until the Coronapocalypse. These people quite reasonably accept what before 2020 was a widely held precept among doctors and patients alike: Do not undergo unnecessary medical procedures or accept prescriptions for drugs which you do not need.

It used to be that anything labeled a “vaccine” could be depended on to prevent infection and transmission of a disease, which the novel mRNA shots do not. It used to be equally obvious that anyone who had already survived a disease had no need to take a vaccine against it, for they had already developed antibodies and T-cells to combat it naturally. It stands to reason that if natural immunity does not protect a person, then neither does a vaccine which depends on natural immunity in order to work. That so many, even educated, people do not recognize this obvious implication is best, and perhaps only, explained by the discombobulation induced by the government’s assiduous propaganda campaign, which instilled an irrational fear of death into the populace over a period of two years. President Biden’s cheery Christmastime 2021 salutation, that unvaccinated persons could expect “a winter of severe illness and death” was typical in this regard.

Many of the people who have declined the shot studied the statistics and concluded that, given their likelihood of surviving the virus, they preferred to bet on their own immune system. In truth, no one should be in the position of having to explain his own medical choices to anyone else, which makes it all the more unbelievable that people are being asked to accept injections of substances with unknown longterm side effects, and for which the manufacturers have been granted legal immunity in the event of any, even proximate, adverse events. This blanket indemnity has been conferred upon the product companies by the very governments which not only purchased the shots but also funded their research and development.

People the world over have been complying with nonsensical measures (such as wearing cloth masks with no prophylactic benefit against airborne viruses, and being injected with spike protein mRNA when they already survived COVID-19) simply in order to be able to keep their jobs and lead some semblance of a life. In complying, they have tacitly renounced their right not to do ridiculous things at the behest of their elected officials. It’s as though these people have already signed a form granting the government the authority to require them to do whatever it wants them to do, freedom be damned. This radical transformation in the norms of society has been rationalized under a “public health” pretext, despite its rejection of the most basic principles of medical ethics upheld since time immemorial.

Until 2020, doctors were taught that patients must be treated as human beings with the capacity to assess the risks and benefits of any prospective medication and decide for themselves whether taking it is something which they wish to do. Only for persons who are not fully responsible, such as children, elderly persons with diminished cognitive capacities, and the mentally ill, are health decisions made by their legal guardians instead. For the leader of a nation to assume the right and power to decide whom to medicate is to render society the equivalent of a psychiatric ward, filled with people incapable of thinking for themselves. The decision to medicate such persons against their will can only be predicated on the assumption that they are incompetent to make such decisions for themselves.

The grand irony in the present case is that ostensibly free citizens have been told by their governments that they must follow the decrees of their elected officials and their associated appointees. But if the citizens are truly incapable of making medical decisions for themselves, then they are equally incapable of selecting their leaders. In other words, the legitimacy of any leader who claims to be able to force medical treatments on his citizens is undermined by the implication that those very same people are not responsible for their own choices, including their election of the leader in question.

Nonetheless, over the past two years, heads of state have not only offered Covid-19 shots to their citizens, but further mandated that they undergo this novel mRNA treatment, never before tested on human beings, and of which many of them have no need, according to all available statistical data. The leaders claim that the “vaccines” are free, when in fact billions of doses were purchased using citizens’ tax dollars. As a result of the large stockpiles in many first world countries, where everyone who wished to take the shot has already been provided with the opportunity to do so, leaders such as Canada’s Justin Trudeau, France’s Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern have grown increasingly intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them, expressing overt irritation and disdain toward those who persist in refusing to submit to the medical treatments purchased by the leaders on their behalf.

Political leaders are, in the vast majority of cases, total strangers to us, persons about whom we know only that they managed to get elected, by hook or by crook. Why in the world should anyone accept medical advice, much less orders to undergo injection of an experimental remedy, from a politician? It boggles the mind. In the specific case of the COVID-19 vaccines, there are multiple reasons for exercising caution. It is one thing to trust someone about whom one knows nothing, and for some people, the default position is charitably to confer upon others the benefit of the doubt. It is quite another to trust someone with a demonstrated record of deception and fraud.

As the opioid crisis continues to play out across the United States, with record numbers of overdoses, it is difficult to understand why anyone should now trust the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) when it comes to COVID-19. After all, regulators themselves condoned for years the pharmaceutical giants’ grossly misleading campaign to massively increase prescriptions of narcotics to any- and everyone for anything. The catastrophic results have been the creation of millions of addicts and the cause of hundreds of thousands of associated overdose deaths. Yet pharma-sponsored media pundits and puppets such as Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, unfazed by the simultaneous overdose epidemic currently underway, have continued to gush that the FDA represents “the gold standard” for safety determinations about the substances which people can and should put into their bodies.

Taking irony to an entirely new level, the opioid overdose epidemic was exacerbated by the lockdowns rationalized under a bogus pretext of stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the lockdowns, many people were rendered hopeless by the sudden proscription of normal social activities. Some among them lost their means of livelihood and even their homes, as can be seen in the ever-expanding tent encampments all over the United States. But those lockdowns, which proved to be deadly, were in fact imposed at the recommendation of “public health experts,” providing further grounds for skepticism in following their advice.

In the first decade of what became the opioid crisis, regulators consistently and persuasively supported pharmaceutical company marketers as they preposterously insisted that powerful narcotic pills were not addictive. Likewise, during the Coronapocalypse, public health officials contributed decisively to the false portrayal of what was made to seem the imminent virus-induced death of everyone, when in fact only a small percentage of the population was truly vulnerable. Traumatized and terrified citizens lined up by the millions when the vaccines became available, even though most of them were never going to suffer severe illness nor die from COVID-19.

The mental health crisis caused by the fear-mongering campaign and the lockdowns, which had no positive effect on the virus death toll, did lead to a large increase in non-virus deaths—including not only drug overdoses but also suicides. The fact that routine screenings were postponed as a result of the lockdowns, leading to thousands of late diagnoses of cancer and other life-threatening diseases, reveals that the public health establishment, in pushing its monomaniacal vaccine agenda, was willing to kill people, yet more compelling evidence (beyond the opioid prescription debacle) of full capture by the pharmaceutical industry. This hypothesis also provides the best explanation for the refusal of officials to promote non-vaccine therapies and drugs not under patent, as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has ably documented in his disturbing tale of moral horror, The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (2021), which every person affected by the Coronapocalypse should read.

When questioned about the negative effects of the lockdowns, Dr. Fauci explained in his usual dismissive manner that he does not offer “economic advice”, only public health guidance. But as the Great Barrington Declaration rightly observed, there were many other aspects of public health to consider in weighing policy options in response to the appearance and spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Great Barrington Declaration doctors and epidemiologists were denounced, discredited, and censored when they issued their warnings back in October 2020. Now that their concerns have been validated statistically, those who pushed for what proved to be destructive policies blithely deny any responsibility for the damage done.

The United States, despite having doled out more money as a percentage of GDP than any other country except Singapore in response to the pandemic has had the worst outcomes even for virus-related deaths of all industrialized nations. In a rational world, the people whose policies culminated in the greatest death toll per capita would be fired. Instead, they are invited back as “experts” to opine on mainstream media news network programs, needless to say sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. This pharma-friendly, biased coverage of the pandemic explains why and how many people continue to regard Pfizer, in particular, as a world leader in confronting the scourge of COVID-19.

Pfizer paid the largest fine for healthcare fraud in the history of the world. Pfizer misleadingly claimed that its new COVID-19 vaccine offered 95% efficacy against a virus which most people already had a 99.5% chance of surviving. Recently released documents reveal that Pfizer knew that the lethality of COVID-19 was similar to that of the seasonal flu. Pfizer announced that a new shot to address the Omicron variant was in the works and would be available in March 2022, while simultaneously continuing to insist that everyone needed to get a third—or even fourth—dose of the original shot, rebranded as “the booster,” as well.

Now that Pfizer has been court ordered to release its vaccine trial safety data, the billions of people who took the shot will at last have the missing half of “informed consent” which the naysayers have been waiting for all along. With regard to adverse effects, vaccine enthusiasts have relentlessly insisted that the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) database is undependable and so no one should believe the thousands of reports of deaths, permanent injuries, heart attacks, miscarriages, etc., claimed to have ensued after injection, all of which supposedly mistook correlation for causation.

Informed consent is arguably the most fundamental requirement of medical ethics, and now that Pfizer’s own data is being made public, there seems to be no way to deny the reality of the many reported adverse effects which have been consistently minimized by the media in efforts to maximize vaccine uptake. Yet vaccine hesitancy continues to be depicted as not prudential but selfish and evil, despite the statistical reality that some countries with very low vaccination rates had better cumulative health outcomes than wealthy countries which invested in billions of shots. Apparently unwilling or unable to face the statistics, many citizens persist in their pro-vaccine posture, prepared to undergo injection of whatever the government decrees on a schedule determined by public health authorities who are either incredibly incompetent or (vel) completely coopted.

Now, it might seem that if the vaccines actually worked, then the case for imposing them on unwilling persons would be stronger. The canned response to those who reject mandatory vaccination is that some people cannot survive the shots, because they are immunocompromised, so everyone who can be vaccinated must be in order to protect the vulnerable. Anyone who refuses to undergo the treatment is selfish and despicable, an enemy of society, and should therefore be ostracized and even criminalized. In reality, this line of reasoning is not upheld in any other area where some people may be harmed if they choose to comport themselves in ways which put them at special risk because of factors peculiar to them.

No one claims that all restaurants must stop selling pasta because persons suffering from Celiac disease may be accidentally exposed to gluten if their server mixes up the orders or forgets to request gluten-free pasta from the kitchen. No one calls for a moratorium on contact sports on the grounds that hemophiliacs exist. In all such cases, people with special vulnerabilities (or their caretakers) are expected to exercise extraordinary vigilance. Why should the vulnerability of elderly, immunocompromised and obese persons be accepted as the basis for shutting down all of society and mandating medical procedures for people who neither want nor need them?

Some will retort that COVID-19 is an infectious disease. But the lethality of COVID-19 is similar to that of the seasonal flu, which is also caused by transmissible viruses. Before 2020, no political leader coerced their population to submit to flu shots with mediocre efficacy on the grounds that thousands of elderly and frail persons might die should they contract the flu. The sobering truth is that more people died of COVID-19 after the mass vaccination program than before.

In any case, that the treatment were efficacious, a vaccine in the classic sense, which reliably prevented both infection and transmission for decades (not months), and offered significant risk reduction (not ~1%, as the mRNA shots do for most people) would constitute only a necessary condition on the rational decision of any person to agree to injection. According to longstanding norms governing the practice of ethical medicine, the sufficient condition for a patient to take a drug or undergo a treatment recommended by his physician is that the person should choose to do so—whatever his reasons may be.

Just as in the case of wars claimed to be necessary by officials, it was the media-generated fear of death throughout the Coronapocalypse which led people to accept whatever their governments said, even when it flew in the face of decades of knowledge about immunology. Given the power and reach of pharmaceutical company lobbyists upon politicians in the United States, no one should be surprised that pro-pharma firm policies have in every case held sway. Vaccine mandates were implemented by many leaders and imposed by private companies at the state and local level, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the federal OSHA mandate.

The Supreme Court did, however, uphold the federal mandate on healthcare workers, which led to the firing of thousands of persons for refusing to undergo vaccination. This unfortunate ruling was based in part on the manifestly false assumption pumped out by public health and other government officials on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry, that previously infected and already recovered workers constituted a danger to their coworkers and patients. That the Supreme Court’s decision was based on disinformation, including the slippery equivocation in the use of the word vaccine, which until 2020 meant a substance which prevented infection and transmission, has gone largely ignored by the media.

Dozens of scientific, peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that persons who already recovered from Covid-19 have more robust and longer-lasting immunity than the mRNA shots can provide. Falsehoods such as that asymptomatic carriers were the drivers of the pandemic have by now been thoroughly debunked. Doctors who have served as industry shills, encouraging pregnant women, children, and already recovered patients to serve as subjects in pharmaceutical trials of treatments for which they had no need, and securing the consent of patients to undergo vaccination without providing them with full information, should be shunned no less than the doctors who propelled the opioid crisis forward through the overprescription of narcotic pills falsely portrayed as non-addictive.

It goes without saying that forced vaccination violates the libertarian’s nonaggression principle (NAP). Sticking a needle into a person’s body against his will is a flagrant act of violence, the moral equivalent of pharmaceutical rape. Both bribery and coercion are immoral means by which to undermine personal autonomy in influencing medical choices. If we are to remain free and retain control of our own bodies, the politicians who deployed and supported any of the misleading tactics used since 2020 to undermine the rights of citizens, in the name of public health but at the expense of medical ethics, must be relieved of their positions by voters at the earliest possible opportunity.

About Laurie Calhoun

Laurie Calhoun is the author of We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age, War and Delusion: A Critical Examination, Theodicy: A Metaphilosophical Investigation, You Can Leave, Laminated Souls, and Philosophy Unmasked: A Skeptic's Critique, in addition to many essays and book chapters.

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