We’ll Tell You What’s Good For You

Before you get upset and splash your chianti all over the couch, let’s not act like this hasn’t happened before.  Galileo got the word from the 17th century’s CNN-equivalent, the Vatican, that certain astronomical points of view were not to be tolerated no matter how much fancy math and optics he employed.  Enjoying the sight and feel of his unbroken fingers, Ol’ G. avoided the Renaissance version of being doxed and cancelled, and changed his story.

This week, Penguin Random House Canada was confronted by the “woke” latter day inquisitors over its decision to publish Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by “controversial” psychologist Jordan Peterson.  “He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him,” said one employee.   

“Another employee said ‘people were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.’ They said one co-worker discussed how Peterson had radicalized their father and another talked about how publishing the book will negatively affect their non-binary friend. 

‘The company since June has been doing all these anti-racist and allyship things and them publishing Peterson’s book completely goes against this. It just makes all of their previous efforts seem completely performative,’ the employee added.”  Excuse my chuckling, but outright gibberish masquerading as moral courage is always funny.

Peterson is “controversial” for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns, opposing special “trans-“ protections, and writing outrageous things like “stand up straight with your shoulders back” and “set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”  Oh, the horror. The publisher had several listening sessions, apparently there was more crying, and employees demanded Penguin “consider donating the profits from the book to LGBTQ organizations.”  Honestly, I have never heard of this author or his work, and am only taking delight in the easily offended triggered.  What has this got to do with Authentic Medicine??

A Johns Hopkins study claimed that “according to the CDC only 6% of all deaths labeled as COVID deaths are solely related to the virus.  The remaining deaths have on average at least 2 – 3 comorbidities present.” It was removed shortly after publication.

“Genevieve Briand, assistant program director of the Applied Economics master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins University, critically analyzed the impact that COVID-19 had on U.S. deaths. According to her, the impact of COVID-19 on deaths in the United States can be fully understood by comparing it to the number of total deaths in the country.

According to study, ‘in contrast to most people’s assumptions, the number of deaths by COVID-19 is not alarming. In fact, it has relatively no effect on deaths in the United States.’”  Particularly, the study author noted that during the pandemic time, there was not an increase in deaths due to all causes, but elderly deaths due to heart disease and other causes decreased.  “Every year in the US when we observe the seasonal ups and downs, we have an increase of deaths due to all causes,” Briand said.

“’This trend is completely contrary to the pattern observed in all previous years…the total decrease in deaths by other causes almost exactly equals the increase in deaths by COVID-19,’ the study reads.”

After yanking the study off the internet, the Johns Hopkins editors explained, “The article in question was retracted last night, as it was being used to spread misinformation about the pandemic…We were not censored, but decided to retract the article.”  On Twitter they explained, “Though making clear the need for further research, the article was being used to support false and dangerous inaccuracies about the impact of the pandemic. We regret that this article may have contributed to the spread of misinformation about COVID-19.”  The editors did not specify the “inaccuracies,” nor did they cite any specific flaw in Briand’s numbers or analyses. 

Author Yanni Gu, who wrote about Briand’s study, reveals: “I even got emails saying that thanks to me, people now will not be wearing masks or practicing social distancing. They called me ‘a COVID denier and a minimizer’ and that I have no idea the damage and the lives cost in me writing such an article. I was devastated to receive such accusations, but I stand my ground.”

2020, like 1633, is not a time well-seized of the instinct for free inquiry.  This year has seen Big Tech, the media, and government officials do everything possible to ban any mention of a drug whose name rhymes with “ByproxyStoreMoreGin,” which enjoys a growing body of anecdotal success in treating COVID-19 patients.  Physicians who praise masks, lockdowns, and school closures are lauded and given nice little TV spots, while skeptical colleagues are labeled dangerous quacks by those same approved sources.  Good, honest professionals are on both sides of the public health questions now being used to crowbar apart our social fabric, unfortunately dragging this profession into further disrepute in the sewer of politics.  The story of Galileo is part of a thread that runs through Peterson, Briand, you, and I, as we fight to hang on to our integrity and speak the truth as we each see it against a growing demand for silence.  

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