Brave New Covidworld?

Today’s the day that my first-ever newspaper op-ed is published. I argue that “Canada’s current pandemic response isn’t supported by the facts“. The working title of the op-ed was “Brave New Covidworld?”, inspired by a brilliant paper by British philosophers Ian James Kidd and Matthew Ratcliffe. In “Welcome to Covidworld“, they raise many of the same concerns with the global pandemic response that I reiterate in the op-ed and that many clear-thinking academics, health scientists, professionals, and other citizens have developed since March 2020. For example, I maintain a short list of dissenting Canadian doctors’ voices published in the mainstream media, see MSHFD.ca. These reasonable critics are largely ignored though, and that is a problem.

Source: https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-canadas-current-pandemic-response-isnt-supported-by-the-facts

I framed the op-ed between Kidd and Ratcliffe’s “Covidworld” on the one hand, and Aldous Huxley’s 1933 “Brave New World” on the other. “Brave New World” is a dystopia in which people are conditioned to function as an anonymous part of a social machine, kept happy only by a state-prescribed drug. The iconic Canadian writer Margaret Atwood once compared “Aldous Huxley’s vision of a totalitarian future” with another classic, George Orwell’s “1984”. Atwood characterizes the latter as more dark, violent than the former, and associates the two alternately with key political periods and events in the last 75 years, including the cold war, fall of the Berlin wall, and 9/11 terror attacks. I’ll leave it to you to decide where you see the world headed as a result of the 2020 corona crisis.

Photo of the Toronto Sun, 14 December 2020, page 13.

Since the op-ed format does not require, or allow for, proper referencing of sources, I would like to share these here for further information:

Despite conducting applied research, I have not written, or even considered writing, anything like this op-ed. And I would never have expected that it would be for the Toronto Sun. Until April, I had been a longtime reader and recent subscriber of the Toronto Star, which is politically the exact opposite of the Sun. I was however deeply disappointed that the Star along with other Canadian and German newspapers and media organizations that I used to read dropped all critical, investigative reporting and commenting, and turned into propaganda tools regurgitating, and sometimes even intensifying, government proclamations.

The Sun ought to be commended for upholding the role of independent media in a democracy as a watchdog for government actions and societal trends. Just this weekend, the Sun also published critical commentaries about “The facts still show COVID-19 is not a problem in Canadian schools” and “Pandemic policy overkill will do long-term harm”, and a balanced piece titled “Mask or no mask — just keep it civil”. I hope that other media will wake up and remember their journalistic responsibilities.