What are the three most important things for human life? The first is fuel, an umbrella term for the food water and oxygen, without which we soon perish. Cut off the oxygen, and we are dead within minutes, cut off food and water, and we are dead within days or weeks. The second, Dr No suggests, is shelter. We are the naked ape, and without shelter, we soon find ourselves in harms way. Without shelter, we are at the mercy of the sun’s burning rays and winter’s icy blasts, and again, sooner or later, we will perish. We need shelter to sleep, and to recuperate from illness and injury. These two things, fuel and shelter, are tangible external things, that we get from our environment, and give us our physical health. The third most important thing could not be more different. It is, in its pure form, intangible and utterly abstract, and in this form, uniquely human, because we alone of all the species on earth have a name for it. It is called freedom.

This freedom is not the upper case freedom seen on the marching banners, even though there are times when that has its place, but the lower case everyday freedom to be who we are. It is the freedom to associate, or not to associate, to work, or not to work, to take part in the arts and the sports, or not to take part. It is the freedom to decide what we eat and drink, and whether we accept or reject medical treatment. It is the freedom to choose what we want to say, just as it is the freedom choose not to hear what we do not want to hear. It is the freedom to practise religion as it is the freedom to be materialistic. It is freedom that allows us to be not just alive, but fully alive, to be human; without freedom, we cease to be fully human. It is no accident that the severest form of punishment in countries without the death penalty, and second most severe in those with the death penalty, is deprivation of freedom. In jail, you have fuel, and shelter, but not freedom.

Being lower case, nor is it an Absolute Freedom to do Absolutely Anything. The ordinary human equipped with a good enough moral compass knows full well that lower case freedom does not include the freedom to harm others, whether that harm comes from an individual discharging bullets into a crowd, or a corporation discharging raw sewage into the environment. The ordinary human with a good enough moral compass recognises there are some humans without a good enough moral compass, and so recognises the need for laws to prevent those harmful behaviours. The ordinary human with a good enough moral compass knows that just as there are some absolute freedoms that must forever be curtailed, there are also other essential everyday freedoms that must never be curtailed.

In its everyday form, lower case freedom is about recognising and respecting the autonomy of others. In the vernacular, we live and let live. Every human society that has not recognised and respected this fundamental principle has come crashing down, and, to the extent that essential everyday freedoms are curtailed in a society, the greater and more terrible the fall and crash when it comes. That is the indisputable lesson of history: the society that curtails the essential everyday freedoms of its citizens is, as it does so, also signing its own death warrant. Those lower case essential everyday freedoms are not some idle luxury to be trifled with, they are an essential part of survival. When we remove them, we bring about a famine of the soul, and the society that does so will soon disintegrate and die. That is the indisputable lesson from history.

That is why we must strain every sinew to resist any measure that curtails any everyday freedom, with the sole exception of measures weighted with unequivocal evidence of effectiveness against a common harm. It is not good enough to say that this measure or that measure might work, because the flipside of the introduction of these measures that might, or might not, work, is certain, unequivocal curtailment of essential freedoms. As Dr No writes this, there are foolish democracies both in Europe and the Antipodes that have even in short order forgotten the indisputable lesson from history: that the society that curtails the essential everyday freedoms of its citizens signs its own death warrant.

And so today abideth food, shelter and freedom, these three. The clergymen who wrote the King James Bible — a freedom defining act itself, because it gave the common man the freedom to access the scriptures his native language — could only ever write as they did under the guardianship of essential everyday freedoms. Without those essential everyday freedoms, we would not have the King James Bible. And now abideth food, shelter and freedom, these three; but the greatest of these is freedom, because without freedom, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.    


  1. dearieme Reply

    “Every human society that has not recognised and respected this fundamental principle has come crashing down”. All human societies come crashing down in the end. Still, it’s much pleasanter to live in the live-and-let-live societies, especially if you grew up in one.

    Unless you are the sort of person whose main pleasure comes from denying others their pleasures. A ‘neo-puritan” if you like. A wokeiste, say, or a green fascist, a red socialist, or a heretic-burner.

  2. DevonshireDozer Reply

    Well said. I am sure that every one of your readers will agree wholeheartedly with what you have written. In fact, if I listen carefully, I can hear the applause. Or it might be my tinnitus.

    Trouble is, there is no ‘authorised’ resistance anywhere. The vast majority of windbags in Westminster are all for it. The few who might be against have no power.

    I went into the village shop yesterday & was confronted by the usual collection of biddies & bozos who live here. All seemed to be in favour of lockdowns, travel bans, compulsory jabbing, nosebags & so on. They were simply regurgitating the drivel they’ve been fed by the MSM & rational discussion was impossible. I doubt any of them could spell ‘science’ let alone do some & I’m now waiting for the mob to kick down my door.

    So . . . agree with your sentiments, but what the hell can we actually do?

  3. Peter Hickey Reply

    Absolutely Dr No – our government has an absolute duty to protect our freedom, which is a fundamental and inalienable human right. Protection of our freedom is so vital and precious it should only be infringed where the burden of proof demonstrates that there is a catastrophic risk to humanity, which is overwhelming and incontrovertable.

    Even with all the propaganda, hype and yes, distortion of the facts, there is no way that this current so called pandemic fits the above criteria to invoke any infringement of peoples’s freedoms.

  4. Paddy Lenox-Conyngham Reply

    A beautiful piece of writing.
    Thank you Dr No
    And thank you for all the other posts you have written. I have enjoyed, learnt and been inspired by each over the past year and a half.
    And a nod of great respect to the engaging comments of your regular followers.
    May goodwill and common sense prevail.
    And may the bastards never grind us down
    With best wishes to all

  5. dr-no Reply

    Thank you all for your very kind comments.

    Resistance: the problem is fragmentation. There are plenty of voices out there, but it is as if they are spread out over a desert under a night sky. We hear the voices, but there is no chorus. There are no troops to be rallied, and Dr No mentions this because almost all if not all the truly great speeches of history were rallying calls delivered to those faithful to a cause, often united in a desire to throw off the yoke of one oppression or another. “I have a dream…” “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman…” “We shall fight on the beaches…” There are many others, and it is also worth noting they all use not the cold logic of argument, but the heat of emotion, to work their magic. The lone voices in the desert can’t work the same magic.

    What about the masses? Annie’s facebot page has an interesting post about Mattias Desmet and his theories on mass psychology. In brief, he suggests that pre-covid there was a global epidemic of free-floating anxiety (you feel anxious, but can’t pin it on anything) and then covid came along, the perfect thing on which to pin the free-floating anxiety. The global epidemic of free-floating anxiety became a global epidemic of coviphobia, with marked OCD elements (obsessive: we’re all going to die from covid, compulsive: the distancing, masking and hand sanitiser rituals, disorder: seriously disrupts your life). Generally, the best treatment for this sort of disorder is CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), but how to do mass CBT? And more than that, CBT never works unless the patient wants it to work. Right now, the masses are hooked on the rewards and positive reinforcement that stem from their maladaptive behaviour. Things can only change when the distress caused by the disorder outweighs the distress caused by having to change behaviour. Right now, the prognosis does not look good…

    And what about us? We shall never surrender! Where there are words, there is hope.

  6. John B Reply

    Indeed freedom is high on the list. Being pedantic (wot me?), third after food & water and shelter is reproduction, without which a species would be extinct after one generation.

    The value of anything is associated with what it cost to get, and true cost of anything is what you had to give up to get it.

    Since the post-Cold War generations know nothing of doing without, or a tangible threat to their way of life, and have had to give up nothing to get ‘freedom’ – in either case – it has no cost, no value to them. They inherited freedom from those who went before who gave up a great deal to get it and keep it.

    I am not convinced we have a majority who value freedom over safety, and would rather have, or the illusion of having, the latter. The ‘cradle-to-grave’ welfare state has produced a society with an intellectual, emotional, temperamental age of about 24 months – frightened to leave the nursery and clinging to mother’s skirts.

  7. Helen McArdle Reply

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this post and all the stuff about balancing freedom with responsibility and some rights not being absolute (what if this was a deadly bioweapon with a high IFR etc). Luckily it isn’t a deadly bioweapon with a high IFR, so we do have some time to focus on bioethics and what it means to live in a free society.

    Respect for autonomy underlines the principle of informed consent. In November 2020, the GMC updated its guidance on consent. We see an interesting rewording on what it means to be informed, “You SHOULD USUALLY include the following information when discussing benefits and harms…ANY risk of serious harm, however unlikely it is to occur.” replaces the 2008 wording, “You MUST give patients the information they want or need about…the potential benefits, risks and burdens, and the likelihood of success, for each option.” (my shouty capitals).

    But the right to autonomy and consent has never been absolute. Helpfully, in the updated GMC guidance, we now see public and mental health legislation lumped together in one paragraph, ’A patient’s right to make a healthcare decision for themselves can be affected by mental health or other** legislation and by common law powers of the courts. Patients may be required by law to comply with assessment or treatment because they present a risk to themselves, to their health or to others. There are strict safeguards around using these legal powers to restrict or restrain individuals, and these determine what is permitted without consent. You should be aware of what treatment is, and is not, legally permissible’.

    **For example, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984; the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008; the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967.

    Presumably proponents of compulsory vaccination consider un-vaccinated and un-boosted people present such a profound ‘risk to themselves, their own health or to others’, this justifies over-riding bodily autonomy and consent. They must also have great faith in the power of vaccines to mitigate real and imagined risk. And to force someone to accept a prophylactic medication that they do not want and may not need, it goes without saying that it has to be supremely safe (non-maleficence and all that).

    I don’t know how they plan to punish those who break the new laws. For those who do not choose freely, there is currently a continuum from coercion, loss of ‘non-essential’ freedoms… to mandates, loss of essential freedoms (with a small f), denial of the right to work, to education, to family life, to access to healthcare… ultimately leading to house arrest and criminalisation of the unvaccinated. All these things are already happening in the name of Covid. Perversely, many of this newly defined subhuman class, the un-vaccinated and the newly un-vaccinated (un-boosted), will have superior immunity to Covid-19, acquired the old way (the type we are now forbidden to discuss). It may even be the case that these unvaccinated people with forbidden immunity may be more susceptible to side effects of the vaccines that they do not need or want.

    If we consider the ‘seatbelt analogy’, (https://europepmc.org/article/MED/32082418), the law in some countries now requires all people get fitted with new seatbelt technology. A few big corporations have designed and manufactured the new seatbelts astonishingly quickly. Full testing data that proves just how good they are will be released in 55 years. Some people have very good quality seatbelts that they have relied on for years, but they too are required to get new seatbelts, because two seatbelts are better than one. We now know these new seatbelts wear out at different rates, but from 3-6 months they will need to be replaced. We’re not sure how often new ones will be needed or whether they will work. Some will work very well. In an accident, some will protect the wearer only. For some they don’t work at all but you can’t tell this as they all look the same. Some belts have lethal faults and can kill or maim the wearer, but that is ‘incredibly rare’. If that does happen to you, no one will talk about it in case other people refuse to use the new seatbelts. This will make you sad and angry, especially if you believed in the new seatbelts and think other people should wear them, but more so if you didn’t need a new seatbelt, were forced to get one and got one of the bad ones. You will be cancelled. You will read stories of people who would have been saved by the new seatbelts and regret not getting one. You will be silently silenced by such stories, and feel that you have no voice and the world does not recognise you exist. If you are unlucky with a bad belt, you or your family (if you are deceased) won’t get compensation from the corporations – they will concede no liability at all, ever. If you are very lucky, you or your family may get a modest payout from the government in quite a few years, but only if you can prove that your seatbelt injury was caused by the seatbelt and not by an act of God. You won’t be able to prove that your seatbelt injury was not an act of God, because most seatbelt injuries mimic acts of God.

    I fear the UK medical profession will back this move to universal mandatory vaccination and progressive deprivation of freedoms for those who choose differently…if it is where politics and groupthink leads us. That someone who has been mandated or required by law to take a prophylactic medical treatment that they do not want and may not need, may come to harm, fills me with horror. Those who back these mandates must be gambling on the harms being so ‘very rare’ that they can be forgotten: https://nomoresilence.world

  8. dr-no Reply

    John B – you are right, reproduction is up there at the top of the list. But at the risk of also being pedantic (wot, me too?), effective reproduction requires certain freedoms eg the freedom to associate, to avoid inbreeding. Without those essential lower case freedoms, human life becomes diminished, which is why freedom is the sine qua non, the without which nothing else can happen.

    Helen – our profession is not going to cover itself with glory in this ugly business. Many individual doctors have done and will do good things, but as a profession… We only have to remember what the German doctors did in the 1930s. There is a darkness at the heart of the profession that once allowed out of its cage is very difficult to constrain.

    In contrast to the paper you link to, which provides an example of ethical buffoonery at its very best (the authors fail to distinguish between a passive external device and an active invasive internal prophylactic treatment, or if they did, its buried in the terminal waffling), your seatbelt analogy on where all this ends up is spot on. And that’s for a passive external device, while mandatory vaccination is an invasive procedure, which takes debate to a very different place.

    It’s also worth remembering that making seatbelts compulsory (as opposed to promoting their use) almost certainly had no discernable effect, see posts passim. It’s also worth (re-)reading Enoch Powell’s speech (again) made in the Commons in the run up to compulsory crash helmets for motorcyclists. Whatever one thinks of Enoch Powell on certain other matters, it is superb oratory on the balance to be struck between the freedom to make foolish decisions and the value of human life. There are no easy answers, and speaking as a doctor, Dr No has no with to spend his time scraping cranial contents off the tarmac, but he can also see the thin red line that runs from compulsory crash helmets (passive intervention) through compulsory seatbelts (also passive) to compulsory vaccination (active and invasive, and so fundamentally different). It’s one of the oldest arguments in the book, the slippery slope/thin end of the wedge), but once we cross the line to allow mandatory active invasive procedures ‘in the public good’, where do we stop? Tubal ligation? Once again, we only have to look to 1930s Germany to see that, given the wrong set of circumstances, there is no stopping, until the evil has worked its way to its own final convulsive destruction, and the society that crossed the line ceases to exist.

  9. Tish Farrell Reply

    Folks who come here might be interested in this piece of group activism: you can admit yourself to a citizens’ control group and get an identity card. Of course this confers no actual authority against the powers that be, esp in places that have gone full totalitarian, but on the other hand, by virtue of all the nonsense foisted upon us, it might actually work in certain situations. The moderators ask people to keep them informed once a month of health issues; also if they’ve been subjected to coercive/abusive measures: https://www.vaxcontrolgroup.com/
    You can tell them is little or as much as you feel comfortable with and hope they are not a counterintel outfit.

  10. Annie Davenport Turner Reply

    Wonderful blog, and wonderful discussion – thank you all.

    One of the best things I think I’ve heard to date is this very recent conversation between two mothers in Israel, Nick Hudson of Pandata in Cape Town, snd Neil Oliver in Stirling. Yes, it’s long (a long drive to Cornwall worked well for me!) but could be heard in instalments, but within its natural conversational to-ing and fro-ing, there are some absolute gems describing how humanity has reached this nigh-on disastrous precipice – yet again.

    A delight was Neil’s anecdotal account of how, should pregnancy tests become as prevalent as the infernal kovi tests, 1,000 men would be declared pregnant daily. That would – possibly – get a few more thinking…

    There are some (imho) deeply profound discourses on the clearly visible results of long-term safetyism, and, as John B says, the current (non)understanding of ‘freedom’…. And there is hope – yet hope grounded in reality. I know around 58 mins and 1.05 mins we’re good – and maybe the moments I mention – as I took a screenshot to remind myself to find them again, and the last 15 minutes contain gold. Anyway, I pass it on in case: https://www.pandata.org/twitter-space-neil-oliver-nick-hudson/

    In the meantime, yes, we have voices and, yes, we must gather our courage and use them more and more. Quiet, persistent, ‘much water wears the stone’.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *