An AFLDS Issue Brief for Citizens, Policymakers and Physicians
STATEMENT OF POSITION Countering pervasive cancel culture is a national priority. From music to books to movies and now medicine, cancel culture is eroding constitutional free speech and destroying lives. Cancel culture imposes political and social consequences for attempting to speak truth to power. Among these consequences are professional sanction and social media bans, quasi-public platforms that can effectively silence individuals without due process. Americans across the political spectrum are fed up with the self-censorship and speech restrictions inherent to cancel culture. The coronavirus pandemic has introduced the insidious sub-category of medical cancel culture into our political lexicon. For more than a year, doctors and healthcare professionals nationwide have faced censorship, termination, and intimidation from the state medical and pharmacy boards, scientific journals, and providers like hospitals merely for relaying their patient experiences. Describing one’s job should not result in losing an occupation and source of income. The purpose of this Issue Brief is to describe instances of medical cancel culture and explore what can be done to counter it. This is nothing less than a national emergency. At stake is the health and safety of every American, as well as their access to independent information free from official suppression or censorship. THE WAY WE LIVE NOWThe coronavirus pandemic has tested public health experts like no other event since the Spanish flu outbreak of more than a century ago. Unfortunately, it seems, the truth was again the first casualty in the war on an infectious pathogen in 2020-21. How did we get here? Through a combination of establishment institutions and figures silencing dissent and the mainstream media playing the role of willing enforcer. Below are only a small selection of medical cancel culture examples in the last year:
CONCLUSION Restricting free speech for political ends is the glide path to tyranny. Today, public and private interests alike attempt to “cancel” dissenting voices they find inconvenient or uncooperative. Lives and livelihoods are being lost. Americans should not have to live in fear that they might find themselves on the wrong side of a fashionable issue or suffer professional sanction for disagreeing with conventional wisdom. The answer for speech with which we disagree is not to eliminate it but to allow more voices into an open system of freely exchanged ideas. Trust everyday Americans to weigh the facts and decide for themselves. The stakes in this fight could not be greater. Medical cancel culture is a fast-spreading virus that threatens to infect all independent scientific information unless we push back.