Moving On, But Not Letting Go

Issue # 28

  
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Hello, and welcome back to Bright Morning. We apologize for our absence last week, but as readers are aware, summer is now upon us. Therefore, this would be a good time for us to mention that our uploads might be shorter, more spaced out, or clustered (depending on how busy we are) over the next couple of months. 

Fear not - we are not leaving this newsletter behind (we made this clear in our podcast from several weeks ago), but now that the nice weather is here, we believe the best thing to do is to take advantage of what we have all been waiting for: the end of the pandemic and the chance to resume our lives. 

However, as we are about to see, there are those who do not want to let go of the pandemic. In fact, they need the pandemic. TV doctors, public health bureaucrats, and other COVID celebrities have been working overtime to suggest that the pandemic is about to get worse, at a time when it has never been better. 


| COVID

Ontario: the only place in the world with a fourth wave

As of this week, Ontario is now the most locked-down region in the world. In fact, it might be one of the only locked down regions in the world (aside from the UK, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended the lockdown until July 19th after he returned home from his Gatsby-like party weekend at the G7). 

While every other province in Canada has plans to remove all lockdown restrictions (including mask mandates) within the first weeks of July, Premier Doug Ford has plans to continue implementing some form of restrictions, with no official end date in sight. Even though Ontario has met all of the criteria to move into Stage 3 of Ford’s so-called “Road Map to Reopening,” the Premier continues to insist that Ontario is still at risk of a “fourth wave.”

And where might Ford get this idea? Well, look no further than the Ontario Science Table (OST - best referred to as the Ontario Scientology Table, considering their standards for scientific rigour is akin to that of L. Ron Hubbard). 

Several members of the OST, in particular the TV doctor known as David Fisman (the same doctor who propagated a conspiracy theory about Sick Kids Hospital being a shill for the PC Party), have argued that the so-called Delta variant poses a major threat to the province. Ontario’s new Chief Medical Officer, Kieran Moore, has put forward the same argument. However, what Fisman and company have conveniently left out is evidence. To date, there have been no studies to support the assertion that the Delta variant is more deadly than any of the other so-called “variants of concern.” In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite. That is, no other region in the world where the Delta variant has become the dominant strain has experienced a surge in excess morbidity. It might be more transmissible, but the purpose of a virus is to spread, not to kill. Thus, as viruses evolve, they become less deadly over time, not more. So why has the OST left out this extremely important detail?

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The answer, of course, is status. We mentioned this several weeks ago, but it is worth repeating here. Over the course of the pandemic, public health bureaucrats have had the luxury of serving as the de facto leaders of the province without being accountable to the public. It is not clear that these people are prepared to give up this power, either. And why would they? The power and prestige that comes with being regarded as a pseudo-divine figure is guaranteed to derange anyone. And so, as the pandemic winds down, what we are seeing is a perpetual raising of their rhetoric from our expert class. After all, their careers depend on it. 

We need language to identify this raising of the rhetoric. Words like “corruption” and “fraud” are simultaneously too vague and too pointed to be effective. Instead, the bureaucrats who speak in hyperbole about COVID might best be described as demonstrating what Douglas Murray refers to as Saint George in Retirement Syndrome. “After slaying the dragon the brave warrior finds himself stalking the land looking for still more glorious fights. He needs his dragons. Eventually, after tiring himself out in pursuit of ever-smaller dragons he may eventually even be found swinging his sword at thin air, imagining it to contain dragons.” 

If this is a temptation for an actual Saint George, imagine people who are no saints, have won no glorious battles, but desperately attempt to prove that they will be the ones who will lead us through the fight. How might they act in such a scenario? Well, look no further than the rhetoric coming from public health.


| PUBLIC HEALTH

Why is there an obsession with vaccinating children?

With most of the older populations having already received their inoculations against the virus, public messaging campaigns have shifted to focus on children and youth. But why?

This is something that we do not have an answer for yet. After all, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that children are not at a significant risk of COVID, nor are they significant sources of community spread. This is why children should have returned to school long ago, despite the erroneous advice from public health bureaucrats and government messengers to keep schools closed. Yet, despite this evidence, public health bureaucrats continue to insist that children must receive their jabs before they return to school in the fall, lest they become the source of a “fourth wave.”  Even Canadian government websites state that the Pfizer vaccine is “safe” for children between the ages of 12 and 17. But is it?

To date, there have been no studies to support this claim. In fact, once again, the evidence might suggest the opposite. As Dr. Martin Kuldorff and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya write, “the mortality risk is extremely low for young adults and children [...] even a slight risk of a serious vaccine adverse reaction could tip the benefit-risk calculation, making the vaccine more harmful than beneficial. We have already observed rare problems with blood clots (J&J vaccine) and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle, Pfizer and Moderna) in younger people, and additional equally serious issues might still be found.” Even the WHO - that organization that is so Beijing-friendly - does not recommend inoculating children against COVID.

The key here is the benefit-risk calculation. As Kuldorff and Bhattacharya write, “medical interventions should pass the test of providing more benefits than risks. For the COVID vaccine, this is decidedly true for older populations but it is not yet clear for younger people.” In other words, the jab makes sense for older and more vulnerable populations, but the benefits of a jab simply do not outweigh the risks of COVID in younger populations. Additionally, the strong public pressure for young people to receive their vaccinations, such as making vaccination a condition of accessing education, public events, or services, risks shattering whatever trust might remain in public health. It is one thing for young people to choose medicine on their own volition - in fact, we endorse informed consent - but it is another thing entirely to threaten the civil liberties of those who choose not to take that risk. Our bodies, our choice. Right?

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Unfortunately, at this time, it does not look like public health bureaucrats are going to heed the advice from Kuldorff and Bhattacharya. For the record, these two are not quacks, either - both hold prestigious positions at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University, respectively. Nevertheless, their warnings are receiving about as much attention as their Great Barrington Declaration, which outlined the dangers of extended lockdown policies. We are now even witnessing public health bureaucrats undermining parental authority by bribing children with ice cream if they show up to a vaccination clinic - without the consent of their parents.

This brings us to the original question: despite the overwhelming evidence against the mass vaccination of children, why is there a massive push for it? It could be another case of Saint George in Retirement Syndrome, where public health bureaucrats scramble to prove that the fight is just beginning, even though it is all but over. Or, could it be one of the oldest explanations in the world: money? It is worth remembering that pharmaceutical companies did not manufacture vaccines exclusively out of the goodness of their hearts. There was a lot of money invested into these companies from governments all around the world, and so it is entirely possible that these same governments want to see every last dollar put to use, even when the products they paid for might not be necessary for certain people. After all, in this day and age, who would be the first to admit to overreacting, and then to overcorrecting?


| LOCKDOWNS

Adamson Barbecue: risk it for the brisket 

Let us wind the clock back to December 2020, when we wrote our very first issue in which we covered Adam Skelly - the owner and operator of Adamson Barbecue in Toronto - who defied public health orders and opened his restaurant to the public. 

Legacy media outlets threw everything except the kitchen sink at Skelly, accusing him of being racist (because wanting to operate a restaurant without government interference is a well-known tenet of racial prejudice), “privileged,” and so on. Nonetheless, Skelly persisted - he kept his restaurant open for three days before he was arrested. Upon his arrest, a Go Fund Me page was promptly set up to help his family cover the legal fees that resulted from his actions. To date, he has received over $300,000 in voluntary contributions. 

Since his arrest in December, Skelly has been an extremely vocal critic of lockdowns. He might come off as somewhat of an eccentric character, but he is undoubtedly a man with principle. This was demonstrated this week after he was set to deliver a constitutional challenge against the Province of Ontario.  

Skelly’s challenge did look promising. He had an “impressive list” of expert witnesses, “featuring former Manitoba Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Joel Kettner, Harvard and MIT-educated pulmonologist Dr. Gilbert Berdine, Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch, author and former Cornell professor Dr. William Matt Briggs, University of Guelph virology and immunology professor Dr. Byram Bridle, and Simon Fraser economics professor Dr. Douglas Allen.” His challenge was ntended to prove that “governments have invoked extraordinary executive powers predicated on unsubstantiated scientific and legal grounds with catastrophic consequences to people in Ontario, Canada and indeed throughout the world.”

If Skelly’s challenge was successful, it would have meant the province did not “demonstrably justify” the limitations on our Charter rights and therefore walk back all lockdowns and enforcement measures. It also could have had global implications, as it would have shown that lockdowns should never have been the default response to the pandemic - a point rigorously argued by historian Niall Ferguson in his new book “Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.”

The reason we are speaking in past tense about “what could have been” is that at the time of writing this week’s issue, Skelly posted an update stating that his challenge was all but dismissed by the Ontario Superior Court. None of Skelly’s expert witnesses were challenged by the government and nothing was heard. The judge overseeing the challenge said that the claims raised by Skelly were not in the “jurisdiction” of the Ontario Superior Court. This begs the question: who does have the jurisdiction? How can citizens challenge the rules of the government if the government is not even willing to hear their concerns?

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According to Skelly’s update, this was the “first time a Notice of Constitutional Question, served and filed months in advance with a huge evidentiary record, was refused to be heard in a Superior Court in Canadian history.”

We hoped Skelly’s challenge was successful. We believe that individuals like Skelly, though sometimes dipping their toes in hyperbole, will be looked upon favourably by history. We have mentioned this before, but it takes grit for someone to dig in their heels and declare “no” to the government, the police, and the media. This is why Skelly has become a leading figure in the We Are All Essential movement - an initiative designed to help Canadians understand their rights in the face of unlawful emergency powers. 

Despite facing yet another roadblock, it looks like Skelly will continue to explore other options so that he can be heard. And to him, we say “thank you.”


| EXTRAS

Further Listening 🎞️

This week, we encourage the audience to listen to historian Niall Ferugsion as he speaks about his new book Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. Ferguson highlights how the global response to COVID was first an underreaction and then swiftly changed to overreaction. Ferguson also touches upon lockdowns, authoritarianism, and the future of public health. The interview is short and sweet, and it should be listened to by everyone.

Niall Ferguson on COVID, Lockdowns and Authoritarianism

See you next week.