COVID Is the Virus. Wokeness Is the Disease

COVID Is the Virus. Wokeness Is the Disease
Front-line workers and first responders gather in front of Château Frontenac to protest Quebec's vaccine mandate, in Quebec City on Oct. 15, 2021. (Sonia Rouleau/The Epoch Times)
Bruce Pardy
“Willfully blind and recklessly misleading.” Those are just two of the aspersions that law professors have levelled at the Free North Declaration, a call to arms to protect civil liberties in Canada from COVID-19 irrationality and overreach. Launched on Nov. 12 and profiled recently in the Epoch Times by Lisa Bildy (one of its creators, along with myself and two others), the declaration has now been endorsed by over 400 lawyers and 45,000 concerned citizens. No surprise that it has also attracted condemnation from academics and other woke COVID apostles. After all, the COVID debacle is in large part a crisis born of wokeness itself.

Rather than simply rebut what they oppose with evidence and argument, which would be entirely legitimate, the woke instead seek to scandalize and shame—and in the case of the declaration, not merely its content, but its very expression. For instance, 10 benchers (governors) of the Law Society of Ontario who have signed the declaration have been accused of breaching their code of conduct, for which the Law Society should impose discipline. The declaration is not merely mistaken, but illegitimate. Those who agree with it are not simply misguided, but guilty of professional misconduct. Better to cancel than debate, is the woke philosophy. Shut them down.

Sometimes erroneously dismissed as a passing fad of hypersensitive university undergrads, wokeness, or social justice as it is also known, is an anti-Western ideology in which intellectuals and elites sneer at the foundations of their own society. It has become Canada’s secular religion.

Derived from “critical theory,” an academic discipline that seeks to collapse and reconstitute “oppressive” Western institutions, wokeness is an infection that has spread into the bones of Canadian society. It rejects Enlightenment values such as open inquiry, individual autonomy, free speech, scientific skepticism, and even reason itself. It pretends to champion equality, peace, and social co-operation, but instead promotes identity politics, political theatre, elitism, and centralized control. It is, at its core, an authoritarian doctrine that demands fealty to its premises and directives.

COVID is its perfect storm. Public health justifies government diktats, broad bureaucratic discretion, incoherent policies, rituals such as wearing masks that lack actual benefit, and directives that limit individual agency in the name of the collective good. Vaccine mandates are the ultimate form of cancel culture, literally erasing the unvaccinated from their jobs, education, travel, and social standing.

If wokeness is the new religion, then academics are its high priests. Not coincidentally, universities are the most hyper-COVID-vigilant of institutions. Their faculty tend to be irrationally germophobic and to support the most extreme COVID measures. As the anonymous Substack writer Eugyppius puts it, universities “aren’t just eager sponsors of racial hysteria. They have also emerged as some of the most radical centres of Corona containment in the world. Their students endure all manner of unreasonable hygiene measures. Constant testing, quarantining, mask rules, enforced isolation, officially encouraged snitching, movement restrictions, vaccine mandates — all of this and more are routine for millions of students. … The culprit is a broad, distributed adherence to the dictates of containment ideology, probably driven in no small part by emotional and ideological exhaustion with the prior tyranny of Wokeness.”

The longer the COVID regime stands, the darker the potential consequences for those who have peddled the story upon which it rests. As more Canadians come to doubt that masks are effective at preventing spread, that lockdowns do much to control the virus or are worth the social costs, that the vaccines protect them from infection or have been adequately tested, especially for children, and that governments and public health officials have been justified in imposing some of the most sweeping restrictions on civil liberties in the history of this country, defenders of the regime will become desperate to justify the crisis they have stoked. For woke COVIDians, the Free North Declaration is dangerous heresy.

Open enquiry and civic discussion are antidotes to COVID affections. I invite any law professor who has denounced the declaration to join me for a public debate. Resolved: that the Free North Declaration is willfully blind and recklessly misleading. The woke are known to eschew debate. Let us see if that reputation is deserved.

Given the present state of COVID mania, the debate will have to be online. I have recovered from COVID and am unvaccinated. According to the literature and the data, I am no more likely to be infectious than anybody else. Yet current rules bar me from public venues. By any definition, that is arbitrary and capricious.

Canada is sick. COVID is the virus but wokeness is the disease. It is time to cure this country.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Bruce Pardy is executive director of Rights Probe and professor of law at Queen’s University.