Sweden Moves To Protect Academic Freedom After Professor Quits Covid Research Due To Harassment

We have been discussing erosion of free speech and academic freedom protections at colleges and universities around the United States. Most faculty have been conspicuously silent as their colleagues are attacked, suspended, or even fired for taking opposing views on systemic racism, police brutality, or movements like Black Lives Matter. In Sweden, the response has been quite different after Professor Jonas Ludvigsson, announced that he would stop all further research on Covid-19 after a campaign of abuse and harassment following his study on the low threat that the virus poses to children and teachers. The country is ramping up protections for academics to combat such cancelling campaigns.

Ludvigsson researches and teaches clinical epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. His research is consistent with studies that have long found a low risk to students and teachers.  This research was highlighted during the Trump Administration in a call for the resumption of classes but largely ignored by the media. The argument for reopening schools, particularly for young children, was portrayed as political and “not following the science.”  Commercial rans that calls to returning to the classroom was tantamount to “murder.” However, the science has been overwhelmingly supportive of such reopening.  Indeed, Catholic and other private schools in many states never closed without surges in the virus.

Ludvigsson looked at children from age 1 to 16 during the first wave of COVID-19 and found that only 15 children went to the ICU, for a rate of 0.77 per 100,000. Moreover, in the 1-16 age group, there was only a slight increase from the four-month period before the pandemic to the four-month period following the period.

Such studies contradict the media narrative and the position of teacher unions, including many which continue to oppose a return to the classroom despite the science. Accordingly, Ludvigsson was attacked and hounded out of further research.

The response of the country however has been different from the response in the United States. Various academic leaders and groups are pushing for legislation designed to protect academic freedom. They are citing a Swedish government study in 2018 found “21 out of 26 universities said that there is a risk that researchers will be exposed to harassment, threats and violence.”

The response in the United States is strikingly different. We have been discussing efforts to fire professors who voice dissenting views on various issues including an effort to oust a leading economist from the University of Chicago as well as a leading linguistics professor at Harvard and a literature professor at Penn. Sites like Lawyers, Guns, and Money feature writers like Colorado Law Professor Paul Campus who call for the firing of those with opposing views (including myself).  Such campaigns have targeted teachers and students who contest the evidence of systemic racism in the use of lethal force by police or offer other opposing views in current debates over the pandemic, reparations, electoral fraud, or other issues.

Faculty have largely stayed silent as campaigns target these professors and teachers. While some may relish such cleansing of schools of opposing voices, many are likely intimidated by such campaigns and do not want to be the next targeted by such groups. We have often defended the free speech rights of faculty on the left who have made hateful comments about whites, males, and conservatives. Yet, there is an eerie silence when conservatives are targeted for their own views. Sweden has shown how this is a global issue but that the response outside of the United States has been markedly different.

85 thoughts on “Sweden Moves To Protect Academic Freedom After Professor Quits Covid Research Due To Harassment”

  1. Billionaires who own the media censor information they don’t like. they wanted the public health dictatorship that has emerged in response to COVID, and they will keep on lying about whatever they find the need to lie about as we go further down the road to ruin.

    Billionaires have plans for us. Not nice plans, you can be sure of that. Sal Sar

        1. Sal, I don’t know if scoundrel is the best word. Many of this group take advantage of the Stupid left and the stupid.

          For example Jeff Bezos is acting to enhance his company’s value. Amazon can withstand the $15 an hour minimum wage and is paying some more than $15 today because when labor is scarce labor prices go up. Smaller businesses that supply just under half of our jobs can’t afford the $15 an hour wage. Some business owners aren’t even taking that much home.

          How does Amazon benefit from a $15 an hour minimum wage? Small businesses go out of business which means Amazon sells more, but that is not all. More workers are available to hire so Amazon can hold back the spiraling labor increases and maybe scale back those that earn more than $15 per hour. Additionally Amazon can then control the market and raise prices on everyone. Among a host of other things that is what people don’t understand about creating an artificial minimum wage.

          What else does Jeff Bezos support? He supports Biden who supports illegal immigration. How does that help Amazon? It provides a larger labor pool. With a larger labor pool labor costs fall and Bezos can pay less.

          What else happens when one deals with a $15 minimum wage? Amongst a host of other things AI can replace labor. Smaller businesses can’t afford the AI so Amazon can undercut their prices because Amazon deals in volume that supports AI. That means a lot of people working for smaller businesses get laid off increasing the labor pool and enriching Bezos once again. That people lose their jobs and can’t find a new one doesn’t really affect Bezos for he doesn’t pay for the problem he creates (whether good or bad intentions). The unemployed get unemployment, welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance etc. Who pays for that? The taxpayer and most of the costs government spends isn’t coming from the taxes from the Billionaires, it is coming from you and me and others that have lost their businesses, jobs while having to pay for the increased prices from the monopolies we created. The left is dumber than sh!t. That is why the billionaire class of today loves the Democrats.

            1. Micael that is part of my point. He can crush small business because small business doesn’t have the size to manage such increases in costs created by a $15 minimum wage. Amazon can use robots whose cost is less further destroying small business causing unemployment. The unemployed then go on public assistance and taxes are raised on small business owners further bankrupting them providing Bezos more customers and control over the economy.

          1. See Meyer, as you have revealed, thinking about CUI BONO always is revealing in such matters.

            Nobody has crushed small business more than Bezos, and he’s gonna crush it some more. Maybe he did some of that crushing the fair way, but guys like him don’t stop at fair. They do legal, and they do illegal too. They do ethical, and they do unethical. They do competition and they do monopoly too. They do it all. They are gifted, they work hard, they are also as a group, very cunning and typically sociopathic. We would be fools not to watch them and think hard about what they do and why. Anyhow it’s not any one that needs the opprobrium, it is the group as such. these days I like Elon Musk a lot.


            1. I like Elon a lot, but you can see, he makes money in a lot of ways that are pretty questionable. But, At least he is an engineer who develops useful technology, and may help make a big leap for humanity in respect of trying to colonize mars. I think I would trade one Elon for about a hundred of these other cretins. But to argue about one or the other has more merits and so forth is to debate this tree or tthat. I am not talking about trees, I am talking about the forest. Sal

            2. “Nobody has crushed small business more than Bezos”

              We are in agreement on this and the important thing is that he used his political influence and money to destroy small businesses so that he could rape the public at will. Amazon seems great today but he is worse than any robber baron we saw in the past. I don’t blame billionaires. I only blame them when they act badly which it seems that most of the most prominent billionaires are doing today.

    1. A quote from the article you cite,
      “The rise in mortality [in children from 5 to 16] is unlikely to be due solely to COVID-19, Björk notes. Although Sweden tested very few children in the early months of the pandemic, fatal cases of COVID-19 would have likely shown up somewhere in the health care system. “This of course must be ruled out by looking at causes of death and medical records in more detail,” he says. And Björk agrees that the increase could be due to chance.”
      The rise was from 30 to 51, but the causes for th rise were not established, so the relationship to the virus could not be established.
      This sort of rush to judgment has been typical of the 24/7 coverage of the virus since at least February. To date, we have not had an open debate among experts, nor have we had a serious public (transparent) discussion of the costs of lockdowns and the actual number of people killed by the virus. Reporting everyone diagnosed with it who died within 28 days is not a reliable way of establishing the cause of death, especially since we know about 80 percent who have died or/with it are over 65; two-thirds had serious underlying conditions (heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease); and half were beyond the age of life expectancy. We do know that the number of pneumonia and flu deaths have dropped precipitously (see CDC and other data bases), and that locked down states like California and New York have fared worse than more open states like Florida and South Dakota. But we have yet to have an extended, data-driven, open debate.
      Sweden is your control in a large randomized experiment, along with Florida, South Dakota, South Korea, and Japan. No conclusions are credible unless they have taken them into account and compared means and outcomes.

  2. Yeah big discovery. Prof. Didier Raoult has been saying that COVID poses a very low threat to kids for at least a year. But since he’s the hydroxychloroquine guy, i.e. the world didn’t have to shut down guy, he’s been ignored and vilified.

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