Christopher Lucero | Quackery Isn’t Protected Speech

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Long ago (Jan. 29) I called out amateurs who believe their own (faulty, incomplete, speculative) medical advice to be superior to professional consensus.

Now another voice (Phil Neiman, Dec. 8) is dispensing crackpot quackery, and hoping that a (flawed) COVID misinformation bill fails, so that “free speech” will rule. Let’s first recognize that this is not the constitutional “free speech” that this author hangs his memescapery onto. He thus employs a deception that is sly, sneaky, but common among conservatives. It’s also pretty doggone desperate.

Franklin, Adams, Jefferson were anything but capricious in their intent. Constitutionally enshrined free speech is not intended to enable liars and dishonest actors. It is meant to allow citizens to provide their candid feedback to the government, and for the government to take appropriate action. To believe our founders meant for it to endorse misinformation, or a speculative unprofessional fringe, is to enable ignorance/evil. People who believe that approach will culturally/socially undermine truth, justice and the American Way. (Or, “…a better tomorrow…”)

Pandemics and epidemics are deadly.

As a national security issue our defenses against them are formulated as we would against our enemies in warfare. We weigh the costs and benefits, decide on appropriate actions, and defend citizens accordingly.

Yet, the author of the Dec. 8 opinion is right on one count: “Giving the government the ability to control speech from the medical community” would be an error.

Fortunately, the medical community has already spoken, and quite clearly: They are literally ALL on the side of COVID precaution.

And don’t worry: The community of health care providers already has numerous associations like the American Medical Association that self-regulate. The AMA can revoke medical credentials. In November 2021, they instituted a policy to combat disinformation by health care professionals. The policy includes study of the mis/disinformation and development of strategies against it.

Strategy and tactics, like any soldier might formulate: to understand, preclude and manage threats.

The (flawed) bill that irks the author of the Dec. 8 opinion attempts to enshrine the judgement of multiple professional communities who express frustration over the misinformation sphere that undoes their defensive and preventive work. Progressive for sure. Overreach: likely.

Still, I ask the Dec. 8 author to perform a full review of the prevailing guidance from the AMA, National Nurses United,, or literally any professional health care organization — the voice of the medical community — before he, an individual without credential, considers his own knowledge superior, whole, complete and authoritative.

Of course, predictably, it’s likely he’ll then migrate to “it’s a corrupt system” or cite some fringe of tribal exception mongers as authoritative.

Stay tuned.

Christopher Lucero


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