Sacrificing Virgins in the Digital Age
Twitter recently limited the user privileges of Donald Trump Jr., for the peculiar “offense” of citing a popular video (which I have not seen) in which a group of Houston doctors claim to have used hydroxychloroquine successfully in treating COVID-19. The social media company — which in my opinion ought to have every legal right to make such a decision — defended its condescendingly maternalistic “time out” for the son of a president on the grounds that his post violated Twitter’s “policy on spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
And how do the proprietors of Twitter, an internet entertainment service, distinguish “misleading and potentially harmful” opinions from legitimate alternative points of view? Here is their own policy explanation, as delivered to Trump Jr.:
Let us read those opening words of the explanation together, shall we?
We understand that during times of crisis and instability, it is difficult to know what to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Under this policy, we require the removal of content that may pose a risk to people’s health, including content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.
The core of this argument is clear: The nature of an ongoing health “crisis” is such that straightforward answers about the best way to respond to the problem are difficult to find. Therefore, we are going to actively silence all alternative medical opinions and protect the current orthodoxy, as established by “authoritative sources,” i.e., world governments and global quasi-governmental organizations. If that argument strikes you as completely illogical, then congratulations, you are still alive.
In other words, Twitter has made a summary judgment about which “content” (medical opinion) about the treatment of COVID-19 “may pose a risk to people’s health,” and which does not pose a risk; and their judgment is that whatever the establishment’s experts are saying on any given day counts as safe and true, while whatever conflicts with that given day’s establishment position is a “risk” and “misleading.” And what standard did they apply in making this judgment — a judgment which, if you read it carefully, justifies shutting down all dissenting medical opinion about COVID-19 and its treatment? The standard is obvious; and it is certainly not a medical standard.
If you believed in freedom and the open discussion of ideas, this would be precisely the sort of situation in which you would find it least advisable to silence dissenting or minority reports, which often prove to be useful precisely when our current knowledge is so limited, and opinions so much in flux, such that vigorous debate over the options on the table might eventually lead to improved understanding and better solutions. (No one observing our situation with any modicum of objectivity could reasonably maintain that today’s “authoritative sources” have any sort of handle on the pandemic, or any idea what to do next.)
Twitter’s direct statement that dissenting views on this complex and quickly-changing issue will not be tolerated — even, apparently, if those views were themselves part of the establishment narrative in the past — is summarized with a sentence directing everyone to get all their information on coronavirus from “leading global health authorities,” by which they explicitly mean the World Health Organization.
It is plain from this statement and policy that Twitter is making a pitch to establish itself as an official propaganda organ of the global political elite. The example-making suspension of privileges for Donald Trump Jr. — for the crime of drawing attention to a mere discussion of COVID-19 treatment options involving many medical professionals who are working with coronavirus patients right now — is a digital age version of sacrificing virgins, in this case to the gods of global progressive authoritarianism, in the hopes that those gods will smile on Twitter, and perhaps offer the company some sort of official protected status in the new totalitarian regime.
Any doubts about this being the true motive should be dispelled by noting that Facebook and YouTube, separate and independent social media giants, have also directly restricted this same minority medical opinion from being seen or disseminated on their respective platforms, and that within twenty-four hours of the Trump Jr. suspension by Twitter, Instagram (a Facebook company) leveled the same punishment against Madonna for citing that very same medical opinion video, which they blocked with the label “false information.” False? Which Instagram medical researchers made that determination, and where is the study they conducted to make it? These social media behemoths have clearly attached themselves to the official narrative on the pandemic, to the extent that they have assigned themselves the mission of filtering out and condemning as lies and “risks to public health” any opinion, from any source, which in any way challenges the — ahem — “authoritative” opinion. (I see what they did there.)
The problem for those of us who would prefer to defend the rights of these private companies to control their own space is that they continue to act less and less like private companies, and more and more like government regulators, or more precisely like private contractors hired to provide outsourced government services, where “government” means the administrative state establishment, and “services” means the totalitarian-friendly redefinition of acceptable speech. (Where are the Left’s old anti-Halliburton conspiracy theorists on this issue, I wonder?)
As a side note, I should mention that the main Houston doctor highlighted in the offending “non-authoritative” medical opinion video cited by Trump Jr. and Madonna is both female and black — or shall I say, following the official language guidance of the day, Black — which, at this moment of radical reverse racism and MeToo feminist orthodoxy, is apparently not enough to save her from rampant ridicule all over the mainstream progressive media, designed to undermine her medical claims by undermining her humanity and rationality. Funny how the progressive Left never hesitates to shower merciless hatred and demeaning insults on any black (or Black), male or female, who has the guts to step off the establishment-dependent plantation for two seconds. In this case, the character assassination is based on her overly emotional personal manner (wouldn’t the Left call that sexism?) and the fact that she has expressed a belief in demons and aliens — which beliefs would probably place her in the company of about half of Americans, including, in the case of aliens, many Pentagon officials, astrophysicists, engineers, military officers, and former Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid. (I am not endorsing that belief, by the way, but merely pointing out that it’s cute of the media to laugh at a black woman doctor who believes this stuff, while reporting on the Pentagon’s UFO program on another day without blinking.)
And where is the rule book that says a medical doctor must be “right” about all of her personal beliefs in order to be credible as a doctor? Could anyone on the planet survive a complete public scrutiny of everything he ever said or believed on every subject? Could you? None of this is meant to defend the veracity of this particular dissenting opinion. I have no idea whether these (or any other) anti-establishment medical professionals are correct in their judgments about the best treatments for COVID-19. I only know that the “authoritative sources” have been talking through their ego-enlarged hats on the subject for six months, and still can’t get their story straight — except that they are all certain that more authority for themselves, by way of unlimited and never-ending government mandates, is essential and non-negotiable. More opinions, more debate, more freedom to try things and make one’s case, however apparently unorthodox, would seem to be the order of the day, if getting through the pandemic and restoring normal social existence as soon as possible were one’s goal. If your goal were the opposite, of course, then the recommended course of action would be the opposite as well, precisely as we see in the universal shutdown of alternative medical opinions by the social media giants.
More to the point, it always amuses me when progressives try to belittle others by drawing attention to their supposedly irrational, unscientific, and antiquated beliefs — while they, the progressives, continue to espouse a political philosophy that has proved, over a century of widespread practical experiment, to be the single most effective path to mass starvation, economic ruin, violent oppression of minorities, and the cultural decimation of entire societies for generations. For what it’s worth, I’ll believe in demons and aliens, for which I’ve never seen a shred of hard evidence, before I’ll believe in Marxism, against which I have seen scads of incontrovertible evidence.