Book Reviews, Charles, Left-Liberalism, Political Discussion & Analysis, Science, Social Behavior
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First Do No Harm (Paracelsus)

A review by me of this book has been published in the excellent journal IM-1776. The first paragraph, and a link to the entire review, and the journal itself, can be found below.

America is already a low-trust society, and with good reason societal trust is rocketing further downward. Yet Americans still, by and large, trust medical institutions — perhaps more than any other set of entities. The pseudonymous Paracelsus, a practicing physician, in his book with the deliberately ironic title First Do No Harm, narrates how we are foolish to trust the medical profession, what is really the medical industry. Published by Calamo Press, First Do No Harm tells us, in short, that the two words that characterize American medicine are not “health and healing,” or even “science and rationality,” as one might think, but rather “corruption and oligarchy.”

. . . Read more at IM-1776!


  1. Carlos Danger says

    Great review, as always. Interesting to see you on another website with this review and the earlier one on insurance. Those websites recognize quality when they see it.

    I’ll have to get this book and read it. I’ve read many books on our medical system, and those of other countries like Japan, and find the topic interesting. I thought seriously about going to medical school, but hate to be around sick people and didn’t want to spend my career in a non-patient-facing part of the profession. Perhaps my many hours studying medical books and talking with doctors about the practice of medicine reflects the fact that my early interest never died out.

    My suspicion after reading your review, though, and the few reviews on Amazon is that this book is too ranty for my taste. One clue is Paracelsus’s insistence that “the ‘vaccines,’ aren’t vaccines at all, but prophylactic/therapeutic drugs of very limited efficacy and likely significant short- and long-term side effects, about which we are forbidden to talk”. To me, that’s more rant than reason.

    The Covid-19 vaccines are indeed vaccines. No question about that. A vaccine stimulates the immune system to fight a disease without giving you the disease. That’s what the Covid-19 vaccines do. How safe and effective they are at doing that is a different question.

    A doctor like Paracelsus should know that all vaccines (for Covid-19 and for other diseases) are either prophylactic or therapeutic drugs, as all vaccines are drugs. The Covid-19 vaccines are prophylactic drugs because they are used on patients who do not have the disease. Some vaccines are therapeutic drugs for patients who already have a disease (like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease) to help their immune system fight off the disease more effectively.

    The real question is not whether the Covid-19 vaccines are vaccines, but are they are safe and effective vaccines? And we’re not forbidden to talk about that. Quite the contrary, there’s plenty of discussion on that, and lots of data available. These Covid-19 vaccines have been studied more carefully than any other vaccines in history as we have a lot more tools to study them with than with prior vaccines.

    From what I’ve seen by digging in data, the Covid-19 vaccines were initially oversold and the promises made of efficacy and safety were too rosy. But though the vaccines don’t perform as initially hoped, and advertised, to my eye at least the data does show that they are safe and effective weapons against severe illness and death from Covid-19.

    Maybe Paracelsus gives data to support his statements about the Covid-19 “vaccines”. If so, I’ll be glad to read that. But if he doesn’t, and his words are just a rant that he want us to take on faith, that doesn’t interest me. You talk in your review about trust, and when it comes to topics like this, I follow the dictum often (erroneously) attributed to Edward Deming: “In God we trust. All others must bring data.”

    • Charles Haywood says

      There is some data, but not much, so I understand the points. Others do bring data. But frankly, I no longer pay much attention to the point-counterpoint on the vaccines. It’s clear that for me and my family, they provide zero value, and likely negative value (as in the data this week showing drops in birth rates, very dramatic, in several countries for births that should have been conceived during the first vaccine rollouts, covered on ZeroHedge). Life’s too short, and the number of people open to rational discussion is, we can agree, very few.

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