I Published An Op-Ed Addressing Party Politics in COVID. Yikes.
I called out my (former?) party for having lost its way. Fox News, a website with over 750 million visits a month, decided to publish it. Whoa.
My deep identification with Elon Musk’s below tweet of a diagram depicting recently shifting political spectrum dynamics is what inspired the Op-Ed.
I would love to claim that, as a physician, I publicly avoid political statements, not only because I am not deeply studied on the topic, but largely to avoid harming my newfound ability to disseminate sound, pragmatic, and impactful medical evidence to the greater public. As practical as that aim sounds, it became rapidly elusive during COVID. Much to my surprise, the medical expertise gained by the FLCCC in COVID therapeutics seemed to be sought after and disseminated almost solely by media on the right side of the political spectrum.
“Conservatives” were suddenly the ones questioning authority and asking the tough questions about the health agencies miserably failing COVID policies? Left-leaning media were writing headlines with public health guidance from pharmaceutical company executives? Wait, what?
The reason why I found this so politically disorienting is that I had always thought of conservatives as those with implicit trust in and willingness to maintain the power of societal institutions. I probably overlooked the influence of the Tea Party movement, what with their desire to attack the “liberal” government of Barack Obama by aiming to severely lower taxes and/or limit the power and size of government. More in word than in deed IMO, but conservative’s willingness to challenge the current government led to their championing of what turned out to be data-driven, fact-based health policies during COVID (i.e the opposite of what our captured agencies were doing).
Any entity that questioned, pushed back, or disagreed with policies emanating from health agencies in a state of total regulatory capture was gonna get it correct. Whether the political right adopted the appropriate policy stance simply due to their natural opposition to a liberal government or because they more openly entertained and thoughtfully considered a diversity of scientific opinion, it didn’t really matter.
The right was getting it right in COVID. But hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day, so I am not saying I now agree with them on everything. It is just that my COVID expertise led me to discover that the HHS was being run by pharmaceutical and vaccination companies exerting their influence via Anthony Fauci, rapaciously putting profits ahead of public health at every turn. And my aversion to the current government’s COVID policies existed even before their obscene Misinformation boards (Ministry’s of Truth) started to become a thing.
I am embarrassed to remind myself that, at the start of this pandemic, I was like any other “liberal”, thinking Fauci was a sympathetic fella, doing the best he could in a tough spot with a lot of critics. It took me longer than it should have to understand that he is almost certainly a sociopath, having led the U.S biomedical industrial complex for the last 40 years. Almost singlehandedly causing untold misery, morbidity, and mortality across generations of increasingly sick Americans, especially children. I don’t think anyone can consider themselves truly informed on the topic of public health if you have not read “The Real Anthony Fauci” by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Then, almost as a coup de grace nearing the end of a horror show of a career, Fauci’s Big Pharma slavish COVID policies caused millions more preventable deaths, not only in the U.S but around the world.
The destructive and demonstrably non-scientific U.S COVID response became the most important humanitarian fight of not only my adult life, but in my career as a physician. I was going to join with whomever would fight alongside me and the FLCCC in getting life-saving medical information out to the public. If that desire landed me amongst folks whose other political beliefs did not align with mine or ours, so be it. Let’s just save as many lives as we can and sort out the rest later.
Funny thing is, the day before I published my Op-Ed, I got attacked in a hit piece as some sort of “Right-Wing Rising Star”. What? It was published in the Pharma rag called MedPage Today (it hits the daily inbox of many doctors in the country). Me, Paul Marik, and the FLCCC have long been their punching bags. They even led off with a quote of mine which they essentially characterized as “dangerous ideology.” I happened to have made that statement at the Defeat the Mandates Rally in LA last month, solely as my deeply studied assessment on the the media and medical sciences over the last 2 years. It was not a judgement.. it was an observation. I love how they said that many of us docs “have given up our careers in mainstream medicine.” It wasn’t voluntary ya shmucks, but then again, you knew that.
However, at this point, I no longer lament my excommunication from academia as I am quite fulfilled in my private tele-health practice. Problem is that I am not sure how long I can continue practicing medicine given the the Medical Board complaints about my public medical opinions keep pouring in.
Here’s the first few paragraphs of the MedPage article:
Contrast the above with my Op-Ed published by Fox News. For those familiar with my writing style, it should be easy to tell by the measured, thoughtful tone… that I got some help writing it :).
I did not choose the headline, although I can’t say I disagree with it. Enjoy.
The high-profile back-and-forth between Elon Musk and Twitter has jump started a national conversation about the broader re-alignment of our cultural priorities and ideology. In the face of blowback from progressives, Musk has argued that today’s Democratic Party, "has been hijacked by extremists," morphing fellow center-left liberals like myself to align with current perspectives of those held by conservatives.
He's right—and the Democrat party’s newfound and aggressive affinity for censoring debate and strong-arming doctors is making many of us rethink our political allegiance.
A nurse holds the hand of a COVID-19 patient at St. Luke's Boise Medical Center in Idaho on Aug. 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Kyle Green)
I’m a lifelong Democrat. I voted for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. I used to have an inherent aversion to Republicans, as I joke with colleagues, similar to how the vaccinated feel about the unvaccinated today. (The original line was “I used to hate Republicans like the vaccinated hate the unvaccinated.” It’s true.) But as the pandemic unfolded, and I discussed with doctors across the country and around the world my experience treating patients, I met many new conservative colleagues and friends who put politics aside to focus on doing our best at the bedside. It made me more tolerant and understanding of their worldviews.
At the same time, I used to view Democrats, and the center-left more broadly, as the champions of free speech both in civil society and in our professional institutions. But now, as with today’s progressive political movement, medical boards are adopting policies that censor opinions, defining such speech as mis- or disinformation, especially scientific opinions around COVID. Medical professionals who refuse to toe the party line risk censorship, cancellation, and even the loss of license—a fate far worse than getting banned from Twitter.
The trend is forcing doctors who exhibit critical thinking to face an existential choice: join the mob and support what many of us believe are dangerous policies without a sound scientific basis, or stand up and risk losing your livelihood.
This trend has troubling long-term implications for patients—something all of us will become at some point in our lives.
Consider what is happening in California. A bill moving through the State House grants sweeping new powers to the state’s medical board to initiate investigations of doctors whose COVID treatment decisions "departed from the applicable standard of care." While I am all for policies that protect patients from irresponsible doctors, that’s not what this is. In the bill, the definition of "misinformation" is intentionally vague, the consequences are clear and severe, ranging from "disciplinary action" to loss of a medical license.
Such a policy flies in the face of medical and scientific training. In medical school, we are taught to apply critical thinking and question even established medical protocols and scientific dogma for important reasons—by questioning and researching, we more strongly understand the basis (or lack thereof) which underpin these beliefs. The history of science is replete with established practices being overturned in this way. In medical practice, we are pushed to use all our knowledge to treat patients using our best judgement and abilities and to advance the practice of medicine. The California bill would demolish these tenets in one fell swoop.
Allowing bureaucrats or politicians to intrude on the doctor-patient relationship inflicts irreparable harm on the practice of medicine. Free thought and expression would be replaced by fear and group think. Many doctors choose to go-along-to-get-along—even with policies they vehemently disagree with—rather than finding themselves out of work and struggling to feed their families.
Dr. Pierre Kory, associate professor of medicine, testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Dec. 8, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
As misguided as the California effort may be, it will set a precedent for other states to follow. Already, similar efforts are afoot at the national level. The Federation of State Medical Boards, a national trade association that represents 71 state medical boards, approved a medical misinformation and disinformation policy at its annual meeting.
Falling in line with censorious Big Tech companies bottles up potentially game-changing treatments in our ongoing battle with COVID. Cases are rising again, driven up nearly 60 percent nationally by Omicron subvariants, and experts are warning about another surge in the fall. Now is the time to foster—not suppress—creative thinking that could lead to better treatment strategies.
Science is not static. It is constantly changing. Those who provide treatments need the freedom to do the same. Consider Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statement in January 2022 that COVID will, "ultimately find just about everybody." It is an admission that would have been unthinkable two years ago amid the initial fear of mandatory lockdowns. As facts and science change, so does our collective understand that drives public policy. That is how the system should work.
Tribalism and polarization have made our political and medical discourse nasty and divisive. Doctors must be kept above the partisan fray, not forced to take sides and pick a jersey. Our jobs are too important, and we need to be apolitical to maintain credibility with everyone who comes to us seeking treatment. Progress and innovative medical breakthroughs in the future depend on freedom and medical choice now.
Pierre Kory, M.D., is president and chief medical officer of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.
I just want to say how much I appreciate all the subscribers to my substack, and especially the paid ones. Your support is so greatly appreciated.
P.S I am getting professional help (hah!) to write a book about what I have personally witnessed and learned during the Pandemic war on ivermectin. Pre-order here for: