The Global Assault on Freedom – JIM GERAGHTY

Joe Rogan hosts weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., Jul 9, 2021. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Somehow, you can just tell it’s a Monday from the news cycle. The animating spirit of our age is that you are having thoughts that you are not supposed to think, you are listening to voices that you’re not supposed to hear, you are reading books that you’re not supposed to see, and powerful forces in government and business must come together to stop you and put you on the right path. Meanwhile, a Washington Post columnist fumes that Canada must not “humanize” the truckers who are protesting vaccination mandates. What, does he think they’re Cylons or something? And for once, Joe Biden would have been better served by a memory lapse.

The Left Tries to Deplatform . . . Critics of Big Pharma?

You may love Joe Rogan, you may hate him, or you may not have strong feelings about him. I suspect that many of people who profess to hate Joe Rogan have either never listened to him or have listened to little more than a snippet. Zaid Jilani observed, “It’s interesting seeing so many conservatives rally around Joe Rogan when he’s probably more liberal than 90 percent of Americans. Agnostic dude who loves drug legalization, Bernie Sanders, thinks the CIA is awful, etc.” He later made the accurate point that the “average episode of Rogan is about [mixed-martial arts] or drugs and these folks think it’s like a Satanic cult ritual.”

Perhaps conservatives are rallying around Joe Rogan because they don’t need a figure to agree with 100 percent of their worldview in order to conclude that he is worth defending from an angry mob that desires censorship of differing views.

It’s very clear that the people who are the most determined to “deplatform” Rogan — to force Spotify to cancel his show, and likely with that, get his videos off of YouTube as well — are battling a cartoon-like caricature that they’ve drawn in their heads.

If you listen to Rogan defend his choices in a recently taped video, you’ll see that he’s not a lunkhead, and seems the opposite of a wide-eyed extremist ideologue, hungry to hammer a twisted narrative into brainwashed followers:

There’s a lot of people who have a distorted perception of what I do — maybe based on soundbites or based on headlines of articles that are disparaging. The podcast has been accused of spreading dangerous misinformation. Specifically, about two episodes — a little about some other ones, but specifically about two.

One with Dr. Peter McCullough and one with Dr. Robert Malone. Dr. Peter McCullough is a cardiologist, and he is the most published physician in his field in history. Dr. Robert Malone owns nine patents on the creation of MRNA-vaccine technology and is at least partially responsible for the creation of the technology that led to MRNA vaccines. Both these people are very highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished people and they have an opinion that is different from the mainstream narrative. I wanted to hear what their opinion is. I had them on, and because of that, those episodes in particular, were labeled as being dangerous, had dangerous misinformation in them.

The problem I have with the term disinformation, especially today, is that many of the things we thought of as misinformation a short while ago are now accepted as fact. For instance, eight months ago, if you said, “If you get vaccinated, you can still catch Covid, and you can still spread Covid” — you would be removed from social media. They would ban you from certain platforms. Now, that’s accepted as fact. If you said, “I don’t think cloth masks work,” you would be banned from social media. Now, that’s openly and repeatedly stated on CNN. If you said I think it’s possible that Covid-19 came from a lab, you would be banned from many social-media platforms. Now that’s on the cover of Newsweek.* All of those theories, that at one point in time were banned, were openly discussed by those two men that I had on my podcast, that have been accused of “dangerous misinformation.”

I do not know if they’re right. I don’t know, because I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist. I’m just a person who sits down, and talks to people, and has conversations with them.

Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong. But I try to correct them. Whenever I get things wrong, I try to correct them. Because I’m interested in telling the truth.

For a guy who’s supposed to be a dangerous megalomaniac who’s indoctrinating people into a hardline, deceitful ideology, Rogan seems awfully humble about what he knows and doesn’t know.

De-platform Joe Rogan? We should give him a medal and hold him up as a role model for conducting probing, open-minded, respectful interviews.

Want to know something spectacularly ironic? Drs. McCullough and Malone are opponents of Covid-19 vaccines in large part because of their skepticism and suspicion of the profit motive of big pharmaceutical companies. Voices on the left are now up in arms because Rogan is showcasing the arguments of critics of Big Pharma.

Rogan is unvaccinated, has had Covid-19 and fully recovered, and he is no fan of the Covid-19 vaccines. But he has had pro-vaccination doctors such as CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his program. Rogan has all kinds of guests on his program and gives them all a respectful hearing. (If you haven’t disagreed with any Rogan guest about anything, you might have multiple personality disorder.)

There’s a giant leap from “Joe Rogan is wrong about this, and here’s why” to “Joe Rogan must not be allowed to have a program where he says these things.

Rolling Stone is deeply concerned about misinformation, you see.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they “expressed their ‘concerns’ to Spotify over Covid-19 misinformation on the platform, joining a growing group of personalities putting pressure on the streaming service amid a dispute about Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast.”

I am only slightly tongue-in-cheek when I declare that Prince Harry should be deported and barred from the United States, and perhaps we should grab Sussex Royal merchandise and throw it into Boston Harbor. This country was founded on the idea that the British royal family doesn’t get to tell Americans what they can and can’t say.

Many voices on the left do not believe that good information can overcome bad information, that truth can overcome lies, and that people need to be free to explore, discuss, and debate ideas as they choose to find the truth. They truly believe that your naïve, credulous, and foolish little mind must be protected from dangerous ideas and “disinformation” and “misinformation” that will drive you to do terrible things. This philosophy is not compatible with the First Amendment, a constitutional Republic founded upon democratic principles, or freedom in general. If you see the general population as children incapable of making their own decisions, you inevitably end up with a powerful overclass making all of the important decisions.

There are a lot of governments around the world that wholeheartedly embrace that role as the all-knowing, always-wise, paternalistic, controlling authority figure protecting you from dangerous ideas and your own hopelessly bad judgment.

The Chinese government set up a massive, all-encompassing social-credit system to “commend sincerity and punish insincerity” — including using artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and other technologies. Iran’s mullahs and Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice are protecting those devout Muslim societies from the temptations of sin and blasphemy. The Russian government explicitly cultivates the idea of Vladimir Putin as the national father figure who always knows best. Sure, the American Left is nowhere near as brutal, violent, ruthless, or authoritarian as those governments. But the operating philosophy is the same: We know best. You cannot be allowed to make those decisions. We must find a way to force you to make the selection that we have decided is the right one.

Either you trust your fellow citizens to make their own decisions — and live with the consequences, even if they’re bad consequences — or you don’t.

*I think Rogan might have been thinking of New York magazine.

Censorship from the Right

Of course, the social-media mobs aren’t the only censorious forces at work in American life. It is embarrassing that the McMinn County School Board in Tennessee thought that the graphic novel Maus “was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools” “because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.” Previously, the graphic novel had been part of the district’s eighth-grade English language-arts curriculum. You can read the meeting minutes here.

How, exactly, do you tell the story of the Holocaust without any depiction of violence? (Is that why The Diary of Anne Frank is part of so many curriculums? Because in addition to having an author–narrator that kids are more likely to relate to, so much of the violence and brutality of the Holocaust is metaphorically “offscreen,” with Frank’s horrific fate addressed only in a brief section after the diary ends?)

Yes, removing a book from a curriculum is not the same as “banning” it, and educators have a responsibility to determine what materials are age appropriate. I suspect the people defending Maus right now would concede it probably wouldn’t be a good choice for kindergarteners. But getting up in arms about the depiction of nudity of an anthropomorphic mouse in a concentration camp is an epic case of missing the forest for the trees. Of course Maus is deeply upsetting. The Holocaust is deeply upsetting! There’s no way to teach about the greatest horror in modern history and to make it emotionally “safe.”

This is one of the many advantages of local control of schools. A dumb decision by a local school board gets contained in that community, not statewide or nationwide.

To Our North . . .

Washington Post columnist declares that:

Canada’s response to the convoy should be a strict line of resistance that doubles down on, or in certain cases at least introduces, commitments to anti-hate resistance, pandemic supports, vaccine mandates and a media policy of refusing to platform, humanize, or, God forbid, glorify the convoy and its members beyond the bare necessity of speaking to their existence and outlining a program for pushing back.

Do not “humanize” the convoy of truckers protesting vaccine mandates? What does he think they are, space aliens?

Meanwhile, the “Foreign Correspondents Club of China said journalists there face physical assaults, hacking, online trolling and visa denials.”

Are you sensing a pattern here?

ADDENDUM: As the country awaits President Biden’s nomination to the Supreme Court, imagine how much better off both he and his nominee would be if he hadn’t explicitly promised to select a black woman? Ironically, on the campaign trail in early 2020, Joe Biden almost forgot to make that promise.

Via National Review


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1 Comment on The Global Assault on Freedom – JIM GERAGHTY

  1. Revocation of all CORPORATE CHARTERS throughout the world would correct all the hype and balderdash. Civilian populations have been subject to the Maritime Rules of corporate dictate for over 300 years. See: Revocation of Corporate Charter.

    You are surviving by the graces of a corporate Plantation/State. You are not even serfs. You are slaves treating one another as slaves.

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