Last month I wrote about the heat wave in Perth where we had a few days of temperatures over 40oC (104F). It reminded me of the heat waves we used to get when I was a child. Yet one thing had changed. It was no longer a heat wave but a “deadly” heat wave. The doom and gloom merchants were out in full force.
The fact that we are better prepared than ever for heat was lost on this crowd. When I was at school there were no air-conditioned classrooms and air conditioning in cars meant opening the window – to note two changes.
Not surprisingly the populace survived. And the doom merchants were silent about another in their long list of wrong predictions.
So why am I writing about this?
What was interesting was the reaction. I was accused on social media (where else) of “irresponsible journalism”. This is amusing at one level. As a blogger I am not a journalist. And in expressing an opinion I am not telling anyone what to do. They are free to read (or not read) the article and form their own view. People can agree or disagree.
But to those of a certain mindset, any opinion, different to their own, is either “misleading”, “misinformation” or “confusing”. The same happened when excellent investigative journalist Paul Murray wrote an op-ed piece on the use of statin medications. Quoting new research he questioned the downplaying of side effects and the exaggeration of their benefits.
Rather than debate the facts, critics from public health came in with the “this is likely to mislead” approach. How dare anyone question what we say? Unfortunately the mix of scare tactics (people will die if they read this) and attacking the person rather than debating the facts is a trend in society.
It has become the standard response by those elites who not only feel they know everything, but also have to silence those who are too “stupid” to understand.
We see this in attempts to shut down discussions by labelling people who want to question “conventional wisdom” as a racist, sexist or some other “ist” or “phobe” of choice. When a senator who questioned the “Safe Schools” program (which is now under review because many expressed concerns that it was social engineering rather than an anti-bullying program) the attempt was to dismiss the concerns by calling him a homophobe. Again this means the merits of the argument can be ignored.
It is never quite so simple though. A law of physics is that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The shutting down of different opinions and free speech is causing a reaction. Like a pressure cooker, at some point people will explode. The rise of Donald Trump in the USA demonstrates this. He is giving the finger to the PC brigade who has bullied Middle America. As one commentator observed people may not agree with what he says but are glad he says it.
The most staggering part of the rise of PC censorship has been that those who preach tolerance are generally the most intolerant of any view other than their own. The mindset is not really dissimilar to that of the Middle Ages. In those times heretics were to be burned at the stake. Today they are to have their names and reputations burned on social media for expressing a heretic opinion.
Whether that is on climate change, statins, education, the former husband of Kris Jenner or a host of other topics makes no difference. Hence Trump’s refusal to apologize for “offending” PC sensibilities has been a big part of his appeal.
But when the pressure cooker explodes there can be collateral damage and we may be about to witness this.
You would have hoped that health, which is supposed to be scientific, would be above this. Sadly you would be wrong.
The good news for readers is I do not intend to be silenced.
Dr Joe Kosterich M.B.B.S is an author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, who wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life. Dr Joe also gives practical, motivational health talks for the general public and organisations where he is known as “An independent doctor who talks about health”.
His latest book “60 minutes to Better Health” is available on Amazon.