I’ve been reading about the history of the Nuremberg code and it’s surprisingly interesting. The book is Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials: From Medical War Crimes to Informed Consent, by Paul Julian Weindling. It's a story of hard-won incremental moral progress.
This helped me express some key points when referring to the Nuremberg code.
When I read the code (attached below), I considered the spirit of the code and not just the letter.
Morality trumps legality: even if the code is not a legally enforceable document, it has great moral import. The Nuremberg code is part of our accumulated corpus of ethical thinking that we can draw upon in meeting new moral problems. The fact, emphasised by some, that it is not a legal document stating a law with ready enforcement mechanisms, ought not to distract us from its greater worth as a moral compass. And it, along with other documents has, since its publication in 1947, enriched the formulation of our moral and legal codes. Ideally, laws are shaped and sometimes abolished by morals, not morals by law. The recognition that morality is a far larger domain than law is itself a product of enlightenment thinking, and the conflation of law and morality is only seen today in dark-age theocratic monstrosities such as Iran's government.
Weindling argues that the judges, led by Justice Sebring, said that although the code was not intrinsic to their verdicts, it helped them to reach their verdicts. Charges of manslaughter, murder, assault and battery were more central and often sufficient. It seems that the code helped to refine the ethical boundaries and landscape of their thinking.
The number one principle of the Nuremberg code, echoed in other important humanitarian principles and laws, is the principle of informed voluntary consent. This is unpacked as the absence of any coercion, “duress” or “overreach” and the liberty to withdraw at any stage. Logically, duress and overreach seem to cover the pressure to take a vaccine or booster to retain one's employment. The case would be different if the requirement were part of the original employment contract, as opposed to imposed out of the blue post-contract. Typically, people who work in dangerous fields such as mining and construction are made aware through their original contract of the risks they face and agree explicitly to take those risks in advance. It would be outrageous for employees to be suddenly presented with them halfway through their employment.
Also crucial in the Code is the demand that the experiment must benefit society in a way not procurable in any other way. This is a point Dr Peter McCullough emphasises in his promotion of the discussion of pre-hospital treatment in a context of heavy and ubiquitous censorship. Dr McCullough calculates that such measures may have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. (Dr McCullough does not argue that treatment was a certain complete alternative to vaccines, but rather argues more subtly, that it undermines the requirement for mandates as such.)
Much rides on what an “experiment” is. The rollout of the vaccines is not taking place in a lab with minutely controlled conditions and trials. It does not look like an experiment in the public’s mind. But it is an experiment in a broader and possibly more ominous sense: it is a risky trial upon the whole population of unknown duration by emergency authority with explicit immunity against legal complaints about adverse effects. Can you imagine the look on the faces of the judges at the Nuremberg trials if the defendants had claimed that their experiments were acceptable as the German state had given them an open-ended emergency authority for their procedures and immunity from any future complaints against them such as the arrogant allied Nuremberg court proceedings?
The authors of the Nuremberg code, Leo Alexander and Andrew C. Ivy, were trying to formulate principles that might alert us and save us from other future possible tyrannical policies.
“Ivy nurtured the judicial interest in the Code ‘so that something of a preventative nature had to come out of the “Trial of the Medical Atrocities”’. Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials
As a bonus, they improved on the then protocols of the American Medical Association, which neglected the explicit requirement of voluntary consent, though in most cases that would have been tacitly known and followed. The allies were not even sure at first if there were such a thing as, and what might constitute, a medical war crime. The allied prosecution team confessed that they learned much from the sophisticated Nazi defence spear-headed by Rose and Brandt, which attacked medical practice in the USA, which at that time had used prisoners as experimental subjects, and other allied countries such as Britain where a Professor McCance had used terminally sick babies with meningoceles for experiments. McCance had not asked for parental permission. The defence’s attempt to turn the tables on the prosecution is expressed by the Latin adage tu quoque - lit. and you too! Confronted by this cunning manoeuvre by Rose and Brandt, the allies found themselves in a vulnerable place and to get the convictions it is arguable that Ivy gave the Tribunal the impression that the consent procedure at US penitentiaries was more formalised than it really was. The point is that Alexander and Ivy not only succeeded in condemning the Nazi atrocities but also sharpened the allies’ own ethical conceptions through this clash. Let’s not throw away that hard-won advance in civilisation through complacency.
Totalitarianism never arrives in the same outfit. Alexander and Ivy, astute minds, were thinking not only of possible future tyrants that let us know they are here by conveniently arriving on the stage of history in conspicuous Nazi clothing brandishing Swassticker symbols, but of precisely stated universal ethical principles of human medical experimentation whose violation (or adroit bending) may serve as a warning signal of a totalitarian tendency, whether or not that tendency be accompanied by jackboots or flip flops or purple-haired vegans or goaty-bearded meat-eaters.
[The sacred element brought in by poet and horseman for the Enlightenment, Alex Brocklehurst.]
The Sacred Element. A short story by David Ramsay Steele.
(Note. Before you watch the video, I invite you to prime your mind by first reading our philosophical comments here. In any case, do read them in conjunction with the video, as the whole is meant as an entertaining stimulus to thought.)
The Premise of the Story:
The Young Zeno, model BN.00001, an AGI simulating human trials and tribulations and their solution, creates a theatrical piece Moment to highlight the phases of his rational-emotive problem solving.
Humans cannot resist the temptation of creating autonomous Artificial General Intelligence, AGI. Even if they fail, they will learn more about themselves trying. But if AI is to be granted general intelligence, what of emotion? An important hurdle is a reconciliation between what is often thought to be the different universes of reason and emotion. Indeed the Enlightenment as the bastion of reason is often contrasted with Romanticism as the champion of passion.
A common traditional view is that thought comprises all that is rational: logic, analysis, planning and calculation; ...
"Even then you had to take a guest to the bathroom to tell him a
joke. You turned on the water full force and then whispered the joke. You even laughed quietly, into your fist. This marvellous tradition did not die out."
Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich.
Are we really at this point in the West?
Like jokes, music is universally a victim of totalitarian tendencies. In 2020 the Chinese Communist Party banned multiple classical pieces of music, deeming them religious in background, among which was Ludwig van Beethoven's wonderful Symphony No. 9, "Ode to Joy".
The human mind can’t help seeing meaning everywhere. We hear voices in the wind, see faces in the clouds. As the human mind can make anything into a sign for anything else, even works of art without textual accompaniment can appear suspicious to the totalitarian mind. Too much dissonance or a hint of the avant-garde or, at the other end of the scale, the minutest use of traditional motifs or structures (indicating a longing for the past) that the new ...
The Biden-Putin meeting, and two little-noticed summits initiated by Russia with India and China. The Annual Putin Speech, Ukraine, and India as a future colossal power, bringing its own character and aims to the international balance of power.
The geopolitical temperature seems cool enough for a peaceful Christmas.
"Jaw Jaw is better than War War."
Dr Roger Townshend, author of the book Axis Power: Could Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have won World War II?
[A report by Roger Townshend, followed by Q & A with Alexander Brocklehurst and Ray Scott Percival.]
Historical analogies and comparisons to bear in mind in dealing with current sensitive points in international relations.
What was the Armistice?
The Armistice was the ceasefire that ended hostilities between the Allies and Germany on the 11th of November 1918. The Armistice did not end the First World War itself, but it was the agreement which stopped the fighting on the Western Front while the terms of the permanent peace were discussed. The Treaty of Versailles formally ended the War after more than half a year of negotiation.
Dr Roger Townshend,
author of the book Axis Power: Could Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have won World War II?
Alex Brocklehurst, author of a chapter in the forthcoming book Jordan Peterson: Critical Responses. (Preface by Sam Harris.)
The Roger Report on international relations. This episode is about the tense relations between China and Taiwan, the CCP's taunting or probing of Taiwan's airspace.
When a person dies, a world is lost; when your parents die, the universe itself seems adrift. It's a time to reset perceptions and get back on course. It is a time to build new worlds.
For Christmas, all 7 episodes of Liberty Loves Reason will be available to all members.
Defending the Enlightenment through animated philsophy.
"Animated" = Full of life or excitement; lively, vigorous.
"Philosophy" = Love of truth.
An autonomous life is one in which we can make a difference according to our own aims and plans. This is the personal aspect of the enlightenment. However, this is under threat from a perverted alliance of governments and the tech giants.
Enlightenment Defended will repel the dark nihilism of “post-truth”, woke culture, identity politics, and PC-Speak, which are feeding this rotten symbiosis of state and tech giants. To counter this backward step in our society, Enlightenment Defended will catalyse the bright flame of the enlightenment —liberty, reason and progress.
Enlightenment Defended will create a realm that frames our deepest thoughts about life through articles, documentary, animation, poetry, humour, music and myth and philosophical debate. People are many-sided in both apprehension and enjoyment.
Enlightenment Defended will ...