That Difficult Discussion With Your Doctor
"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master." Pravin Lal
A short while ago I expressed my foreboding about an upcoming phone consultation with my General Practitioner. I said that while the subject of the Covid vaccines had not yet been broached, at some point it inevitably would. And when it did, my views might damage what has been a long, very satisfactory relationship.
What could I say to him? Would it be productive to supply the names of highly credentialed doctors who questioned the official narrative, and paid the price of ostracism, censorship, job termination, savage attacks and threats from the various Colleges of Physicians? Would it help to provide links to pertinent articles and videos, or present hardcopies of the more cogent presentations? Even if he had the time to peruse them, it is likely that he would repeat the standard set of talking points that have been made available to debunk, discredit or de-construct the revelations and contentions of Covid sceptics.
Given these considerations, I opted for an alternative. I won't argue about the merit or the potential risks of these vaccines. Instead I will make what I think is the central point. I will simply say that I cannot make an informed decision. I can't do so because I cannot access enough information. Why? Because only one side of the debate has been allowed a podium. The side favoured by Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Government. Without hearing contrarian views, without bearing witness to fruitful debates between the contending parties, without being able to assess what all parties have to say, I would be basing my decision on trust alone. That does not suffice. I need to verify. I need to cross-check competing claims.
If I am denied access to the material I require to do so, what little trust I have in the pronouncements of anointed 'experts' is further diminished. Even without the advantage of exclusive media exposure it has become apparent that many of these officially sanctioned oracles have boldly and shamelessly uttered outright lies, hoping perhaps that the rapid pace of events have produced shorter memories, a key trademark of Orwellian societies. So many flip-flops and disputable statistical concoctions delivered in machine gun fashion over the last year and a half have left our brains spinning. What is the truth and who are the truth-tellers? What sources can we trust? Sources that are battle-tested by open, fair debate, or sources that thanks to government protection and Big Tech censorship, enjoy virtual immunity from contest in the mainstream and social media?
Without adequate information then, I will have to defer to the Precautionary Principle. It is an approach that so many of us have taken these days, when discussion of more and more topics in nearly every field of endeavour is constrained by the dictates of political correctness, and heretical views are abruptly quarantined or consigned to the margins. Like the citizens of a totalitarian state, we know instinctively that the authorities are not telling us the truth, or at least, the whole truth, but we can't easily find anyone who can. Their sites and videos have been taken down, their twitter and FB accounts cancelled, their speaking engagements terminated and their books removed by Amazon. So we do the only thing we can do. We take the official narrative with a bucket of salt. Or we simply refuse to comply.
Two of my friends concurred with my reasoning. Both are retired professionals with Phds. Hardly the stereotypical cranks and nutters that the pro-Pharma crowd like to portray the vaccine hesitant. One of them occupied an important position in Health Canada. Both, in other words, have demonstrated that their brains are in good working order. And tellingly, both have chosen not to be vaccinated. One of them, "J.", told me of her misgivings about consulting doctors about the vaccines. This was her reply:
Tim, I hope you have a better experience with your doctor than we did with ours; I think you mentioned that you like yours quite a bit.
I think I already told you that ours had nothing to offer but government talking points and an appalling lack of intellectual or medical-ethical curiosity about the implications of requiring people to take experimental drugs for a virus that has only a very tiny chance of harming them. We were shocked to realize that he had read less about the various so-called vaccines than we had, and that he had gone ahead to have his whole family 'vaccinated,' including a sixteen-year-old grandson, mainly so that they could all travel regularly to Mexico, where he has a vacation home and is looking forward to his retirement. I have a feeling he thinks a lot more about retirement than about medicine.
He told us, at tedious length, a story that he obviously believed definitive -- and that I suspect is entirely apocryphal -- about an 8-year-old boy who infected and killed his grandfather at the grandfather's birthday party. I asked him why, if some other grandfather took this great vaccine that was supposed to protect him from harm, it would then be necessary for his grandchildren to take it too? He had no answer for that. There were other similar questions that he couldn't answer. But none of it took the condescending, smug smile off his self-satisfied face.
We plan never to see him again, but I don't know whom we'll see in his place, as I suspect that the vast majority of doctors are just like him, following orders, collecting their nice pay cheques, and not actually very interested in medical and ethical issues. If I have an adverse reaction from the vaccine, he's not going to be on the hook for it, so why should he care? And an honest intellectual discussion about the various contradictions and illogicalities in the official position re. Covid was the last thing he cared to engage in.
The incident was one more blow against an edifice that I have come to despise and mistrust over the past year and a half, more than I ever thought possible.
As I say, I hope that won't be your experience with your doctor, but brace yourself for the possibility.
These are tense times.