Some important new documentation on Covid, medicine and politics:
While some have sought to make the case that there is complete unanimity as to both the Covid virus and government responses to it, there have in fact been plenty of competing voices seeking to present alternative points of view, especially concerning harsh government lockdowns and mandates.
I have featured many of them on these pages and will continue to do so. Things like the Great Barrington Declaration, the Moses Statement, and the Ezekiel Declaration are just some of the many documents on this that I have shared and discussed, as well as numerous articles, opinion pieces and entire books.
Let me feature three more of them, beginning with two from Australia. An article in today’s leftist Age by Holly Lawford-Smith, associate professor in political philosophy at the University of Melbourne is worth noting. She strongly argues that vaccine mandates must be a last resort. Her piece begins:
I spoke in recent days with two women who feel strongly that they do not want the COVID-19 vaccination. One works in construction, the other as a teacher. Both are likely to get vaccinated – under duress – because they cannot afford to lose their jobs. The JobSeeker payment wouldn’t cover their rent.
When it comes to vaccination policy, there are a number of more and less severe approaches the state can take. We can think of a ladder, starting at persuasion (including education campaigns), and moving through nudging, to financial incentives, to disincentives, and finally outright compulsion. Mandatory vaccinations are technically in the class of disincentives, but applied as prerequisites for working they come dangerously close to outright compulsion, in that they threaten people with their career and livelihood if they are not willing to comply.
But there’s a huge difference between vaccinating the willing and coercing the unwilling into vaccinations by threatening their livelihoods. How readily – how unquestioningly – should we accept state coercion and compulsion as legitimate tools of public health administration, especially when we have not exhausted the less invasive options?
The World Health Organisation, for one, has an answer. Delivering its policy brief on mandatory vaccinations in April, it said that if public health goals “can be achieved with less coercive or intrusive policy interventions (e.g. public education), a mandate would not be ethically justified”.
She notes that some, like professor Peter Singer are demanding that EVERYONE be forcibly vaccinated with no questions asked. He recklessly argued that this is just the same as making everyone wear seatbelts. But of course it is not. As she states:
“But failure to wear a seatbelt is a minor infringement on freedom that lasts the duration of a car ride. Injecting a substance into your body may have short-term and/or lasting health impacts – however low the probability. It is qualitatively different.”
None of this is to say mandates can never be justified. Ultimately, this is an empirical, not moral, question. For health and aged care workers, perhaps the risks of spreading the virus are already well enough established. And there may come time when it is clear what proportion of our population will be vaccinated willingly (or after persuasion, nudging and financial incentives). And if that falls short of the proportion we need vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, or otherwise avoid serious harm, perhaps we will then decide that disincentives and compulsion are the only way to meet that public health goal. But we are not yet at that point.
Both of the women I spoke to had reasonable objections to vaccination, prominent among them that COVID-19 hadn’t been around long enough for longitudinal studies on the vaccines’ effects. Perhaps their concern is misguided, but coercing them into vaccinations they don’t want may be even more misguided. https://www.theage.com.au/national/why-vaccine-mandates-must-be-a-last-resort-20210924-p58uew.html
My second Australian commentary is by two Lutherans – a pastor and a doctor. In their six-page document Rev Dr Michael Lockwood and Dr Ian Hamer offer some Christian views on the current ways of dealing with Covid, including looking at some of the Ten Commandments. Here is a small part of the paper:
At first glance, proponents of the mainstream narrative appear to be on safe ground when they claim that the Fifth Commandment supports their stance. Yet matters are not that simple, for the following reasons:
1. When it comes to saving lives, we must consider all lives. Lockdowns may contribute to preventing deaths from COVID, at least in the short term. Yet lockdowns also increase the number of deaths from other causes. In the developed world they increase deaths from suicide, depression, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse. They decrease life expectancy by causing stress and limiting healthy activity, and increase the number of people who will die from illnesses such as cancer and heart disease by impeding early treatment. In the developing world they cause even more deaths, by pushing people into extreme poverty so that they starve or experience severe malnutrition, and by disrupting control measures for serious diseases such as TB, AIDS, and malaria. Only if we do a cost benefit analysis that takes all these lives into consideration can we know if we are on balance saving lives or not. This is something that proponents of the mainstream narrative routinely fail to mention or consider.
2. There is more than one way to save lives. Some medical experts have called for “focused protection” of high risk groups rather than broadscale lockdowns. Others, including leaders in the field of frontline care, have pointed to a growing body of data that suggests that early treatment with various supplements and cheap, off-the-shelf drugs (which make little to no money for the big pharmaceutical companies) can reduce hospitalisations and deaths by more than 85%. Yet such approaches have been suppressed and their proponents slandered and censored. It is difficult to know what will save the most lives if we are not allowed to have an open conversation.
3. The data on the COVID jabs is too poor and contested to come to firm conclusions. It is likely that in certain high-risk populations such as the elderly and infirm the benefits of these jabs outweigh the risks. It is also probable that in young and healthy people, for whom the risks from COVID are extremely low, these jabs pose a greater danger than the disease. Certainly significant numbers of injuries and deaths from the COVID jabs have been reported around the world, and numerous mechanisms for harm have been identified. Yet this has all been poorly investigated. Until we have long-term safety and efficacy data, and a climate in which red flags are investigated, critics are heard, and the research is not monopolized by those with vested interests, it is almost impossible to know if these jabs are on balance saving lives or not. Furthermore, given that all of these injections are either produced or tested using human tissue derived from aborted foetuses, Christians should have grave ethical concerns about their use.
4. The Fifth Commandment is not just about staving off death. It is also about fostering all those things that make life worth living. As we read in Luther’s Small Catechism, this commandment means “that we do not hurt our neighbour in any way, but help him in all his physical needs.” Our Lord tells us that he did not merely come to extend our physical existence, but so that we may have life to the full. There are many things in life that are more important than staving off death at all costs, including faith, love, righteousness, honour, wisdom, courage, holiness, joy, the mission of the Gospel and the sure hope of everlasting life that we have through Christ. When we steal people’s liberty from them, and in this way steal so much joy from them that depression and suicide rates increase enormously, we are not keeping this commandment. The Exodus, the great salvation event of the Old Testament, was an act of liberation. So is what Christ did for us on the cross. In the Old Testament Law the penalty for enslaving another person was death, and in the New Testament we are told, “You were bought with a price, do not become slaves of human beings.” A free person does not need permission to leave home, go to work, go to church, or visit a loved one. Only a slave needs that kind of permission. Furthermore, if a person no longer has sovereignty over their own body, but others can dictate what they have injected into it, then they have no sovereignty at all. We cannot claim to be keeping this commandment if we support the enslavement of our fellow citizens in this way.
5. Given what the Bible teaches us about the sinfulness of humankind, we know that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. In our human efforts to battle the corona virus we have empowered governments and private corporations with unprecedented power, from the power of mass surveillance, to the power to strip people of their rights and freedoms, to the power to silence those who speak in opposition, to power over what people have injected into their bodies without any liability for the drug companies that profit. Both history and theology tell us that this power is guaranteed to be abused.
You can read their entire document here: https://1drv.ms/b/s!Arr4_k6tqA0shdo5F_C3K4T5x6Y4mQ?e=eTRTK9
Finally, and from overseas, I refer you to the new “Rome Declaration” which has already been signed by some 4000 physicians and medical scientists. It begins with seven brief introductory points, and then finishes with these six main resolutions:
RESOLVED, that the physician-patient relationship must be restored. The very heart of medicine is this relationship, which allows physicians to best understand their patients and their illnesses, to formulate treatments that give the best chance for success, while the patient is an active participant in their care.
RESOLVED, that the political intrusion into the practice of medicine and the physician/patient relationship must end. Physicians, and all health care providers, must be free to practice the art and science of medicine without fear of retribution, censorship, slander, or disciplinary action, including possible loss of licensure and hospital privileges, loss of insurance contracts and interference from government entities and organizations – which further prevent us from caring for patients in need. More than ever, the right and ability to exchange objective scientific findings, which further our understanding of disease, must be protected.
RESOLVED, that physicians must defend their right to prescribe treatment, observing the tenet FIRST, DO NO HARM. Physicians shall not be restricted from prescribing safe and effective treatments. These restrictions continue to cause unnecessary sickness and death. The rights of patients, after being fully informed about the risks and benefits of each option, must be restored to receive those treatments.
RESOLVED, that we invite physicians of the world and all health care providers to join us in this noble cause as we endeavor to restore trust, integrity and professionalism to the practice of medicine.
RESOLVED, that we invite the scientists of the world, who are skilled in biomedical research and uphold the highest ethical and moral standards, to insist on their ability to conduct and publish objective, empirical research without fear of reprisal upon their careers, reputations and livelihoods.
RESOLVED, that we invite patients, who believe in the importance of the physician-patient relationship and the ability to be active participants in their care, to demand access to science-based medical care.
You can read the entire declaration here: https://doctorsandscientistsdeclaration.org/
An accompanying statement on the Declaration says this in part:
The Declaration was created by physicians and scientists during the Rome Covid Summit, and immediately catalyzed support from doctors around the world. These professionals, many of whom are on the front lines of pandemic treatment, have experienced career threats, character assassination, censorship of scientific papers and research, social media accounts blocked, online search results manipulated, clinical trials and patient observations banned, and their professional history and accomplishments minimized in both academic and mainstream media.
Though the declaration’s signatories are diverse in their specialties, treatment philosophies and medical opinions, they have risen up to take a collective stand against authoritarian measures by corporations, medical associations, and governments and their respective agencies. The objective of the declaration is to reclaim their leadership role in conquering this pandemic. https://globalcovidsummit.org/news/welcome-to-the-global-covid-summit
While the mainstream media and far too many politicians and leaders are trying to convince us there is only one story to be told about Covid and its treatment and the responses of the state, this is simply not true. Fear and panic has led to too many people running with a narrative instead of thinking for themselves and exploring alternative takes on these matters.
I am thankful that these courageous individuals and organisations exist and are speaking out. We need many more of them.