By Peter W. Dunn, PhD
This week I learned something really important about the field of bioethics. It is generally recognized that it exists as a result of the Nuremberg Code which guides medical experimentation and includes such injunctions as requiring informed consent of the person and the urgency of the experiment (e.g., no other adequate treatment is available such as Invermectin or Hydrochloroquine). The Nuremberg Doctors Trial resulted in several convictions: “Of the 23 defendants, seven were acquitted and seven received death sentences; the remainder received prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment” (Wikipedia, “Doctors’ Trials”).
In Nazi Germany, mass sterilizations occurred in order to commit racial cleansing, a eugenics notion that the Aryan race was superior and therefore getting rid of Jews and people who had bad genes would lead to a even more superior Aryan nation. Eventually this led to despicable experiments in the Nazi concentration camps and is an important aspect of the Holocaust of the Jewish people. As a result of these trials, the Nuremberg Code was created to try to prevent any such behaviour on the part of medical scientists and physicians. This code became the first important text of the field of bioethics.
Later, the ethical principles of the Nuremberg Code were applied to all medical interventions. E.g., the UNESCO Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, generalizes bioethical principles to all health care not to just experiments. So this more recent declaration remains in historical continuity with Nuremberg Code, while providing a more universal application of the bioethics principles created to protect people from Nazis and their would-be imitators. Among the highest priorities of the UNESCO’s code is the right of the person to accept or to refuse any medical treatment, preventative or diagnostic, based on adequate information, without prejudice or disadvantage.
This answers the question why violations of bioethics invites the Nazi comparisons. Bioethics as a field of human endeavor was borne in the attempt to prevent Nazi-like atrocities, and anyone who violates them, risks becoming like the Nazis.
But there is Godwin’s Law, the aphorism that the longer a social media debate continues the sooner that one side of the debate will compare their opponent to a Nazi. I assure you that this is not what is going on. The Nazi comparison to our current COVID 19 vaccine program is clearly justified based upon some clear areas of comparisons:
(1) Emergency Measures resulting in a police state. In 1933, when Hitler took power, the first thing that he did was declare a state of emergency which took away the freedoms of the people of Germany. We’ve been in state of emergency since March 2020, and the police have absolute power to arrest or fine people who exercise fundamental freedoms.
(2) Fear via Propaganda: In order to get people to accept totalitarian police state, we have been told that computer models show that we could all die if COVID 19 gets out of hand. And without good scientific justification, the media has scared the hell out of most people. To arrive at this state of fear, propaganda techniques have been used in the media and by governments. It has resulted in most people thinking that COVID 19 is far more dangerous than it really is.
(3) Ostracism and demagoguery: The Nazis ostracized anyone who disagreed with them, but no one more so than the Jewish people. First they blamed the Jews for communism leading to the emergency police state. Then in 1938, they ostracised them by making them wear Yellow Stars which would mark them out as pariahs in public. These measures eventually led to the concentration camps. Demagoguery is another technique of tyrants. The Jews were blamed for the problems in Germany. And today, people who want receive vaccines or who refuse to wear a mask are pariahs. The media and the government are blaming these people for the continuation of the pandemic, and so the ostracism of the unvaccinated begins. Where will it lead? Certainly to the isolation and persecution of these people. But will it lead to concentration camps. Only God knows.
(4) Snitching: Every totalitarian country has snitches and this is encouraged. We have seen snitch lines set up in Canada to report neighbors who aren’t following the lockdown rules.
(5) Coercion: Our society is using coercion such as the loss of the jobs, places in school, or other opportunities, for those who decline the COVID 19 vaccination. This is already happening. Justin Trudeau, e.g., has said that non-vaccinated tourists will be banned from entering Canada.
(6) Censorship. We have all probably heard of Nazi book burnings. This is happening with YouTube and Facebook with posts and videos being taken down or earmarked as misinformation. Today experts, including university professors in relevant fields and MDs, are being pressured to keep their mouths shut about their concerns about the safety of the vaccines.
(7) Good intentions. Of course everyone of our current day tyrants have good intentions. Didn’t the Nazis have good intentions? They would restore Germany to its glorious place in the world, after its defeat in WWI. What could be wrong with that? Of course, I hate nothing more than the saccharine attitude of bioethics violators. They give service with a smile as they take away your rights. But the aphorism is true: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Stay safe! They say, while they plan to exclude those who want to remain safe from experimental and dangerous medical treatments.
Will there ever be punishment for those who have violated bioethical principles in imitation of the Nazi doctors? Well so far, I know of only one case. In India, a WHO scientist is potentially facing the death penalty if successfully sued by the Indian Bar Association (India Could Sentence WHO Chief Scientist to Death for Misleading Over Ivermectin and Killing Indians):
“The Indian Bar Association (IBA) sued WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan on May 25, accusing her in a 71-point brief of causing the deaths of Indian citizens by misleading them about Ivermectin. There is also an updated legal notice on June 13, 2021. Point 56 states, “That your misleading tweet on May 10, 2021, against the use of Ivermectin had the effect of the State of Tamil Nadu withdrawing Ivermectin from the protocol on May 11, 2021, just a day after the Tamil Nadu government had indicated the same for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.”
Let’s hope this is just the beginning of such trials. But like the Nazi physicians in the Nuremberg trials, there are many today who should face prosecution.
(This was my speech at the Vaughan freedom protest on July 12, 2021, at Bathurst and Rutherford Roads).