To Live a Lie Is to Lose Your Freedom: Mask Mandates as a Case Study

Oct 14, 2023 | Blog

As seen in The Epoch Times

Physicians traditionally took the Hippocratic Oath. This was based upon the ancient Greek physician’s approach to bioethics. For example, Hippocrates said, “I will use those … regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgment, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.” But just because you may do no harm does not necessarily mean you are doing any good.

Citizens, patients, and physicians can read. In British Columbia, for example, we find that the province is reinstating mask mandates in health-care settings. Is there any empirical evidence to justify this? Does this measure do any good?

One of the best places to start with this question is the study “Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.” (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Jan. 30, 2023). With multiple randomized clinical trials in over 600,000 people, the empirical evidence indicates no clear reduction of respiratory viral infections, whether wearing medical/surgical masks or N95/P2 masks. In fact, even restricting the data to wearing masks of health-care workers during routine care did not prevent respiratory viral infection.

Yet, B.C. has reinstated mask mandates. What gives? As the Hippocratic Oath describes, what is the point of doing something that is of no benefit? You might say, “But Dr. Lange, what’s the big deal about masks? They’re just masks.” The big deal is that our culture will collapse if it tries to live in the midst of lies. It is no way to have a healthy civilization.

Let me describe three aspects to this case that have broad implications. First, I will describe the characteristics of a free citizen as understood by the Enlightenment. Then, I will describe five characteristics of totalitarianism. Finally, I will suggest a potential prescription to remedy this problem.

First, let us consider the characteristics of a free citizen. English philosopher and physician John Locke described the basics of freedom during the Enlightenment 300 years ago. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers on freedom, and is commonly known as the “Father of Liberalism.” He said that we own ourselves—our time, our labour, and our physical bodies, including our tongues to speak. We can neither force anyone to listen to us nor lose those rights when we enter society from a state of nature.

Think of freedom on an axis or spectrum. Envisage yourself as an individual citizen, not being lumped into one identity group or another. Where do you prefer to be on this freedom axis? On the right is a preference for more freedom and less authoritarianism. But on the left is a preference for less freedom and more authoritarianism. A leftist has a more elitist or socialist point of view who believes that people cannot make their own decisions—and that the nanny state must look after us. We have certainly seen more than just mask mandates from Canadian governments. In the process came oppression and violation of personal autonomy, whether in one’s personal or business life.

Second, then, there are at least five characteristics of totalitarianism. After World War II and the rise of the Soviet Union, thinkers such as Aron, Friedrich, and Brzezinski detailed these:

First, there must be a state ideology; in this case it seems to be woke cultural Marxism.

Second, there must be an attempt at state control of the economy. Everything from carbon tax imposition to freezing bank accounts to pandemic lockdowns comes to mind here.

Third, there must be a one-party state for practical purposes. Ask yourself: What is the difference between the federal “Liberals” and the NDP? The spelling? Any classical liberals of the John Locke variety would not belong to the current Trudeau regime. In fact, Canadians can expect an elected dictatorship for some years—even though the current federal “Liberals” hold power with only 33 percent of votes from the last election.

Fourth, totalitarianism requires ideological terror for dissenters. Most Canadians don’t realize that the NDP government in B.C. is attempting to politicize professional regulatory colleges (Bill 36). If you are a health professional in B.C., your licence to work or practice can be taken away if you say something that goes against the prevailing authoritarian ideology. Most people are familiar with a similar case affecting Jordan Peterson. I would reason that leftists in other parts of Canada will try to use Bill 36 as a template to silence other political speech from regulated professionals. Yet, the original purpose of any health profession regulatory college is to protect patients—not to silence citizens who can think for themselves.

The fifth and final characteristic of totalitarianism is that there must be control of mass media for official “truth.” This is where the example of mask mandates enters the fray again. Freedom of inquiry and the scientific method is about seeking actual truth and reality—not settling on one idea despite irrefutable evidence against it. More broadly, official “truth” takes the form of government ownership of the CBC or mass subsidy to other media organizations. By definition, there can be no truly independent journalist who works for state subsidized media. After all, one does not bite the hand that feeds them. Moreover, the federal Bill C-11 controls official “truth” by restricting what can be said on the internet.

Presently, unelected officials take the blame for bad public policy decisions. Yet, we cannot have our elected representatives shirk accountability and expect to retain democracy. There must be a remedy for this. Just as military officers cannot tell an elected government what to do, neither can public health officers tell it what to do. Whether military or health experts, such senior officials are supposed to make recommendations—not demands of elected leaders.

Final responsibility for decisions must lie with elected officials, not anyone else. Otherwise, we have a coup on our hands. Thus, one prescription for democratic accountability here is to have direct democracy, like the ancient Greeks had many centuries ago. It turns out that British Columbia is the only province of Confederation that still has direct democracy in the form of recall legislation. The alternative is to wait indefinitely as our lives get worse and more oppressive.

Sometimes even experts get it wrong. However, as a physician, I want to see my profession take back its honour, integrity, and respect. No more Orwellian official “truth.” Citizens need to take back their country from authoritarians. Empirical observation and reason are the way to true civilization. And we cannot attain a civilization of free, healthy citizens by living a lie.