In America, a medical ethicist says it’s fine for primary care practitioners to refuse to treat unvaccinated people. In France, older people who don’t get their boosters will be denied access to amenities. And in Austria, unvaccinated people will be confined to house arrest. For a disease with a minimal mortality rate for healthy people under 60, the race to otherize them continues unabated.
Ever since I learned about Peter Singer, a chaired professor of bioethics at Princeton University, I’ve been deeply suspicious about ethicists. Singer, after all, is simultaneously the ur-source for the animal liberation movement, which tries to give animals the same legal status as humans, and the man who believes that parents should have up to a month to determine whether to euthanize a newborn infant because of physical or mental imperfections.
Meanwhile, a little over a decade ago, in England, the land of socialized medicine, Baroness Warnock, described as “the influential medical ethics expert,” announced that elderly people suffering from dementia should be encouraged to get euthanized. “The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be ‘licensed to put others down’ if they are unable to look after themselves.”
Whatever medical ethics is, if one judges by these two people, both of whom are leaders in their fields, it doesn’t align with actual morality and human decency.
Those of us who remember the rise of AIDS also remember the ethical issues associated with it. AIDS was a disease with a 100% fatality rate back in the day and was transmitted through bodily fluids, especially blood. Barring hemophiliacs, the people who got AIDS were almost entirely gay men, especially gay men who engaged in extravagant sexual orgies, and intravenous drug–users. More than most diseases, AIDS was a lifestyle disease that people could avoid through abstinence or monogamy, and not shooting heroin.
The power of the gay lobby (which is what made the LGBTQ+++ movement realize that it truly had political chops) was such that not only did it become impossible to turn away AIDS patients who could be said to have brought the disease upon themselves, but HIPAA made it illegal for any medical practice to make someone’s health status public. Think about it: a contagious, completely fatal virus, that was the product of bad decisions, but that could not be turned away from medical care and that had to be kept private.