The rise of medical authoritarianism | Interview with Jérôme Blanchet-Gravel

The following interview was conducted by Simon Leduc with Jérôme Blanchet-Gravel, a French Canadian essayist, journalist and columnist.

My Post - 2021-10-04T100420.358
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How would you define health authoritarianism?

JBG: Medical authoritarianism is a new ideology that makes zero risk a new utopia. It is very important to understand this. The addition of medical authoritarianism to the great family of ideologies (socialism, anarchism, liberalism, conservatism, fascism, ecology, multiculturalism, etc.) can only be decisive for the future of our societies, given the great influence that these systems of thought have on them. A new model of society is born: it is far from being banal.

Medical authoritarianism aims at the almost absolute protection of people from Covid-19 and perhaps from other viruses and contagious diseases in the future. It subordinates other major issues to the fight against this invisible enemy – at least it makes them secondary themes -, putting a large number of public institutions and companies at the service of its objectives.

The fact that the pandemic is real does not change the doctrinal character of this medical authoritarianism. The equally real existence of social inequalities did not prevent communism from going overboard and sweeping away several countries in its totalitarian madness.

Are there any similarities between left-wing authoritarianism and medical authoritarianism?

JBG: There are many similarities. Left-wing authoritarianism aims to liberate society from every form of patriarchal and “colonial” oppression imaginable, while medical authoritarianism aims to free it from the slightest traces of the virus. Both are driven by a desire for purification that can only be translated politically into strong authoritarian tendencies.

These two ideologies are based on the logic of the safe space, that is to say on this 100% safe space which is of course only imaginary. Absolute security is a dangerous and unattainable ideal. It would be a question of extending the comfort zone of individuals as far as possible as if our States had no other purpose than to ensure the safety of our fragile little beings. Their sanitary, ecological, psychological and economic security. On a global scale, Canada is clearly at the forefront of this sectarianism.

More concretely, we can see that both currents of thought use the same strategies to ensure their hegemony. It is all the same. In Quebec, the recent treatment of the comedian Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge is a clear example. Culture of cancellation, censorship, stigmatization, scapegoating (from the white man who must be debunked to the non-vaccinated who must be fired), wokism and medical authoritarianism are alter egos.

In our beautiful province, I am surprised to see so many critics of wokism not realizing that they share a common psychology with their opponents. This is notably the case of our distinguished Premier François Legault.

How do you explain all these media attacks against the non-vaccinated?

JBG: The hatred towards the non-vaccinated reflects the irrationality of any ideology. In states like Canada and Australia where it is most zealously deployed, medical authoritarianism is not even that far removed from a political religion, that is, a quasi-religion with its clerics and its orthodoxy.

Metaphorically speaking, the vaccine has become a sacrament, the baptism that citizens who want to embrace faith in a world free of virological evil and its irresponsible representatives receive. It also seems that in this hatred there are the remains of a society that has never been able to reach the level of tolerance that it had set as its objective. As if it could not discriminate on a racial and religious basis, it had to find a more politically correct target, in order to vent all its accumulated frustration on it.

I am not at all against the vaccine, but it is important to underline that there is in the compulsory vaccination a break with the conception of the body maintained in the West for several decades. A break with the idea of this private, intimate and personal body that feminists and the modern relationship to sexuality (no means no) have greatly reinforced. There is in this absence of choice the idea that your body does not belong to you anymore: it would be also the property of the State.

We are here in front of the biopower theorized by Michel Foucault. Before denigrating all the “anti-vaccines” in the world, their detractors should at least understand this upheaval.

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