"Darkness At Noon"
Eerie shades of Arthur Koestler's classic 1941 novel.
By John Leake
This evening at dinner, Dr. McCullough talked about the troubling signs that the noose is tightening on the Medical Freedom movement, with Drs. Paul Marik and Pierre Kory recently receiving ‘Notice of Potential Disciplinary Sanction’ from the American Board of Internal Medicine. The once intellectually sound institution now resembles a Maoist Tribunal. Equally alarming was Chase Bank’s recent decision to shut down the bank account of Dr. Joseph Mercola, apparently for no reason apart from his unorthodox views of health and medicine.
Then there was RFK, Jr.’s abominable treatment at the hands of Democratic members of Congress at a hearing about the federal government’s flagrant violation of the First Amendment. As I watched the shocking rudeness, arrogance, and brutality of the Representatives, I was reminded of accounts I’ve read about so-called People’s Courts and Tribunals—i.e., Kangaroo Courts—that have been erected by various totalitarian regimes. Last but not least is the constant legal harassment of former President Donald Trump, who is accused of being “a threat to democracy,” even though he is apparently the preferred candidate of roughly half the electorate.
All of the above remind’s me of Arthur Koestler’s classic 1941 novel, Darkness at Noon, which he wrote in 1940 while living in France. A Hungarian Jew, Koestler studied at the University of Vienna, and then embarked on an adventurous life, residing in various European countries and in Palestine, working as a reporter and author. A socialist in his youth, he was discerning enough to recognize that for all of its idealistic promises, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia quickly became a corrupt and tyrannical regime.
Darkness at Noon is set between 1938-1940, after Stalin’s Great Purge of dissidents (real, perceived, and fabricated) and the Moscow Show Trials. The action takes place in an unnamed prison in which the protagonist—a old guard Bolshevik named Nikolai Salmanovich Rubashov—has been arrested as part of Stalin’s campaign to eliminate all potential rivals. Rubashov undergoes a series of interrogations, which initially have a strange air of affability, but then turn progressively more severe and doctrinal.
At no point is it clear what law Rubashov has allegedly broken, or why those who have arrested him perceive him to be a threat. For some mysterious and frightening reason, it seems that he simply cannot be tolerated.
When I first read Darkness at Noon as a junior in high school, I found it fascinating and terrifying, and it left an indelible impression on me. At the same time, I assumed (in the year 1988) that such a scenario could never happen in the United States.
Now I’m not so sure. The English title comes from Job 5:14: "They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night." As Koestler recognized, evil may, at any moment, become ascendent and prevail. Unfortunately, most people fail to perceive the gathering darkness until it’s too late to stop it.
Is it too late to stop it now? I’m not sure, but Dr. McCullough and I are bracing for further reprisals against heterodox doctors like Pierre Kory, Paul Marik, and Joseph Mercola, and heterodox political candidates like RFK, Jr.
Dr. McCullough has already been stripped of his entire academic medical career, but he continues to communicate with the citizenry through Substack, Twitter, and independent media outlets. I continue to express my thoughts on Substack.
Will our few remaining free speech platforms be shut down? Will our bank accounts be frozen? We will ultimately—like Rubashov—be arrested and imprisoned for reasons that aren’t really clear to us, apart from the fact that we express heterodox views?
At this moment it is difficult if not impossible to predict if the disturbing trend we are observing will abate, or if it is the early expression of a regime that will eventually obtain full dictatorial power. If history is any guide, we are justified in feeling very alarmed by what is going on.