Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The Lopsided Politicization of Society—and Medicine

Most Americans are aware that the nation is deeply divided, and that politics is intruding everywhere.

They seem to think that we have two equal opposing forces, as shown by razor-thin majorities in Congress and in many key elections.

This superficial appearance papers over a marked asymmetry in actual power, as described in a new Substack by Information Heals: “Politicization, Polarization & Power Asymmetry: The Sinister Triad Affecting Modern Medicine.”

The two power blocs might be labeled “Progressive” and “Conservative.” Those two adversarial tribes are hostile to each other. They have nothing in common and are locked into hermetic bubbles. The days of civil and courteous rivalry are gone; instead, there is anger and contempt for the other side. Irreconcilable cultural and moral differences preclude any dialogue. Each side believes that the other is unworthy to hold power, and that it is actually dangerous to have it in power. This may lead to the conclusion that stealing the election from the evildoers is morally justified.

In the population as a whole, the number of Progressives and Conservatives may be approximately equal. However, there is no equivalency between them regarding ability to project various types of power. Major institutions that are crucial for the operation of the state are dominated by the Progressives. Those institutions include:

  • Federal and state administrative apparatus including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and medical licensure and specialty boards
  • The legal system including part of police
  • Academia including medical schools
  • Elementary education
  • Industry including the pharmaceutical industry
  • Mainstream press
  • Large parts of organized religion
  • Large parts of the military.

Interestingly, both sides are frequently in denial about the obvious power asymmetry. It is an interesting paradox. Conservatives who are objectively weak keep denying their weakness. Progressives who are objectively strong keep denying their power.

The COVID-19 pandemic with its mandates was a rude awakening for many Conservatives. In a free society, it is essential that experts and institutions be neutral. For example, medicine should be a neutral tool, the purpose of which is to detect and cure disease. Politicization turns it into a partisan weapon designed for manipulation and coercion.

The very definition of “neutral” has changed. It now means “secular,” with the abolition of long-accepted religious or patriotic expressions, replacing them with aggressive ideological advocacy and performative activism in clinical spaces.

Before politicization, medical experts were expected to be impartial skilled consultants, whose role was to guide less qualified colleagues, reassure the public, and advise policymakers about rational public health policies. Politicization of medicine has perverted this mission. Politicized medical experts do the bidding of their masters. They rubber stamp medical treatments and policies that are favored for political reasons even if they are harmful and ineffective. The primary function of such “experts” is to deceive their colleagues and the public.

Many people have started to question the sincerity of politicized experts, and the universal trust in previously reliable experts and institutions has crumbled. The vacuum has been filled by alternative authorities. Unfortunately, the quality of this newly founded industry is variable. Speculation, misinformation, propaganda, and outright lies are inter-mixed with true and genuinely helpful information. These dissident experts lack the resources to undertake the sophisticated research needed to answer difficult scientific questions. While their role is indispensable, their abilities are limited.

The politicization of medicine should be stopped and abolished. This is unlikely to occur as long as a heated political climate combined with economic crisis favors the deployment of powerful partisan weapons. While awaiting better and more harmonious times, people of good will and conscience need to recognize that we are engaged in asymmetric warfare, and try to expose and oppose the politicization of medicine by any means available to them.

No one should be coerced to follow one set of politically motivated rules presented under the guise of “benevolent” public health policies or “scientific” medical care.

Freedom fighters must not lose hope. In asymmetric warfare, the superpower does not always win, as the American Revolution showed.

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