YouTube algorithms gave me a “blast from the past” last week, in the form of videos by Dr Vernon Coleman. Vernon was writing for the same medical periodicals as I was back in the early eighties, though he started five years before me, and because he gave up clinical practice, was also writing for the major newspapers and producing books long after I eased off on that aspect of my career.
Coleman sometimes took up fringe-causes, but had several significant achievements, such as being among the first to bring the addictive dangers of benzodiazepines to public attention, against the peer-reviewed claims of Big Pharma that, unlike barbiturates, they were a safe as Smarties.
My point is that Vernon Coleman has, for 45 years, been a major British writer on medical and science matters, often speaking truth to vested power, and sometimes getting things changed for the better.
And now YouTube has banned three of his videos, it would appear (because their actual censorship decisions are opaque) on no other grounds than that they challenged the official line on SARS-CoV-2 management.
This re-emphasizes to me just how very quickly a bog-standard Chinese-originated epidemic has become a freedom of speech matter. You may have noticed how any YouTube videos on COVID-19 have a health warning attached, pointing you to the official sources (the NHS here in the UK), in much the same way as they do for climate change and transgenderism, lest your gullible mind be radicalized by Malignants and Social Terrorists.
Even professional epidemiologists have been censored on YouTube – and, of course, on the other social media platforms, for they all move as one chorus-line. On the “mainstream media” one only hears dissident voices, if at all, in minor slots, subjected to the “lunatic fringe” style of interview technique… you know the one, “So you’re telling me that all the governments round the world are wrong, and you’re right?” It’s a stupid question, when it’s common knowledge that the “world community” has royally cocked up the middle-east situation for the last twenty years, at the cost of millions of lives. It was the argument used on Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms, and it was just as specious then as now.
The censorship is actually incomplete, which is common nowadays – it operates by largely restricting alternative messages to small outlets easily labelled as “far right conspiracy theorists,” and by burying occasional dissidents on the major media with 24 hour blanket official-line coverage that precludes any actual debate, whilst paying lip-service to openness.
But some of these suppressed voices ought to be major players in the public discussion. For example Prof Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, as a theoretical epidemiologist, is every bit as qualified to contribute as was her rival, Ian Ferguson of Imperial College, the main difference being that he had long had the ear of friends in government. Yet her group’s views on the nature and progress of the virus have to be sought out in corners.
The main tragedy is that a matter of such major medical, political, social and economic importance for us all should have become a matter for censorship at all, as if we really were still at war with Germany and the squadrons of NHS heroes were infiltrated by Fifth Columnists. We ought to be extremely worried at how universal the suppression of even informed opinion has become, in the name of public safety. Never before in history has public health been deemed a matter of State Security.
It is not just that the implied message from YouTube and the press is that allowing criticism of the current policy on Coronavirus will undermine public safety and cause 500,000 deaths. The same kind of enforced conformism is nowadays applied, on similar grounds, to a whole raft of what ought to be debatable issues, but which are only allowed to be controversial in the privacy of your own lockdown, lest society collapse. We are, in other words, expected to conform in all matters of importance to someone else’s ideas, much as we would in a totalitarian state. In fact, doesn’t such conformity define a totalitarian state?
Climate Change is the obvious example, where most of the world’s media have decided that to allow air-time to scientists or others skeptical of the fear-mongering norm is to endanger the very world (much as Coronavirus, in their view, will destroy the world unless our governments “beat the virus” – which really means “beating the virus to it” by destroying the world’s economy with their weapons of borrowing mass destruction). Does no one think it odd that “Pandemic Emergency” and “Climate Emergency” should happen to hit us at the same time, and require much the same draconian and economically destructive re-ordering of the world?
This whole censorship model appears to be based on that of trying to suppress “radicalizing” Islamist opinion to save the world from total destruction by suicide bombers. It appears that such media-suppression has failed entirely, except on the softer target of Europeans trying to draw attention to the spread of Islamism, who are de-platformed, and even prosecuted, for endangering the world’s existence through Islamophobia.
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and others, have been silenced in less than subtle ways for endangering the world by drawing attention to massive corruption in political and commercial institutions. Imprisonment without trial and exile are too good for them.
YouTube has also removed videos of the former head of the Christian Medical fellowship over here, Dr Peter Saunders, speaking to fellow medics on the questionable science behind transgenderism. In this case, the very world is, we assume, endangered by transphobia. Others have been removed as school governors, school students, marriage registrars on the same issue, or been given criminal records by police for the Orwellian offence of “hate non-crimes” because they support long-established biology in public.
Roger Scruton was sacked from his government job on spurious grounds of racism – surely as great a threat to the world’s existence as COVID-19. It is only a small mercy that he was re-instated shortly before his death from cancer – not likely to have been helped by the stress of the media frenzy of antagonistic propaganda a month or so before it was diagnosed.
Even Intelligent Design, for goodness’ sake, is excluded from most of the media because, by undermining trust in Science™, it too will destroy the world. You really wonder how Earth survived at all back in the days when “free speech” was a cherished right, rather than a tool of White Supremacy.
You can add to these the “unacceptability” to civilized society of any public criticism of third-wave feminism in the form of the “Me Too” movement, of Antifa thuggery, of exaggerated (ie fraudulent) claims of mass extinction or of floating plastic continents, of the economic and ecological viability of renewable energy technology, of the motives of vaccine and overpopulation monopolists like Bill Gates… in all these areas you will find censorship operating overtly or silently on social media, and indeed everywhere in “educated society.” You will even notice your invitations to dinners or professional conferences drying up if you fail, at least, to acquiesce to the party line in these matters, though no “party” is thought to exist.
This control of speech and thought, I think, is more serious for the future of the world than all of the others put together. Think about it. It seems incontrovertible given the rapid-onset of “Goodthink” on SARS-CoV-2, that we are being channeled into only one way of looking at the world, one in which YouTube and Facebook and Wikipedia and the rest remove any content not in line with WHO or IPCC policy, with the Chinese government, with “Woke” morality, with constant surveillance or with a generally progressive, global capitalist agenda (the “green industrial complex”). They remove individuals as well as conent – Dr Vernon Coleman was refused a Facebook account altogether. From the nature of the censorship, it’s pretty easy to define the kind of world we will see in years to come if the meme of “New Normal” is learned by all the parrots who accept what they’re told.
Unless sufficient people refuse to have their thought and speech censored by the rich and powerful.