Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Justin Hart describes Twitter’s pre-Musk policy of masking or hiding the tweets of Dr. Jay Bhattacharya – tweets that recommended covid policies more humane and better grounded in science than were the authoritarian and often-deranged policies imposed on much of the public and supported by most intellectuals and people in the mainstream media. A slice:
How many people endured weekslong quarantine because Dr. Bhattacharya’s message was suppressed? How many students would have been spared the education death knell of remote learning had schools heeded his advice, or even known about it?
Unlike Dr. Bhattacharya, I am not a medical expert. Normally I wouldn’t insert myself into someone else’s domain, but the nation’s health authorities had no problem inserting themselves into mine. They meddled in my business, my church, my kids’ education, my health, my grocery store, my gym, my coffee shop, my barber. In each case, some government entity was there with strangling regulations or an order to shut down entirely.
So I formed a ragtag group of activists, analysts, experts and parents, all trying to get our lives back to normal. We called our group Rational Ground and worked to amplify common-sense Covid policies. We published interactive charts, highlighted data refuting the stay-at-home orders, and pointed out the low risk of the virus for children. It was a lonely and difficult fight, but Dr. Bhattacharya was a calm and steady ally.
By the fall of 2020 we focused our efforts to support Scott Atlas, a Stanford colleague of Dr. Bhattacharya and a key adviser to the Trump administration on Covid. After President Trump lost the election, the momentum Dr. Atlas had won was seemingly lost. The Biden administration pushed for restrictions and for censorship of those who disagreed with the government’s official position.
In July 2021, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced, “We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office. We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” Ms. Psaki also revealed that senior staff for President Biden were a part of the White House’s efforts to suppress free speech.
This week’s revelations about Twitter add to the evidence that something bad was afoot.
Bari Weiss, who left the New York Times in protest against the culture of that paper, had been given access to another tranche of inside information about the operation of Twitter before Elon Musk took over. She found vast confirmation of what we’ve suspected for years now: the platform was censoring people who objected to lockdowns and vaccine mandates among the whole litany of coercion and compulsion that swept the world from March 2020.
The first person highlighted here is Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya, who only joined the platform in the summer of 2021. During this entire time, Twitter spokespeople had said repeatedly that it did not shadowban but of course all of us knew otherwise.
[DBx: I still oppose using the word “censor” to describe the actions of private entities, but when those private entities are being pressured by government officials to restrict information, the situation obviously becomes cloudy.]
Fans of Little Women will know that Beth March died of the lingering complications of scarlet fever, but who would have thought that this bacterial disease would be in the headlines in 2022? Is this because we have left children who were born during, or just ahead of, the Covid pandemic with an “immunity debt”?
It is now widely acknowledged that lockdowns caused harm to our already stretched health service, with many of the direct consequences such as increased cancer and cardiovascular deaths being reported regularly. Most of these harms were entirely predictable. Less obvious was how some of the more indirect consequences of lockdown might play out, such as the effect on our relationship with other pathogens circulating within our communities.
More than anything, it is clear that we are experiencing an entirely predictable perturbation in our finely balanced ecological relationship with the organisms which are capable of causing serious disease.
Eventually that balance will return. The “immunity debt” that we have incurred will be gruesomely paid off and scarlet fever will once again become a storybook word. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the enormous financial debt we have taken on board to pay for these fruitless lockdowns. Our children will be shouldering this debt for years to come.
Let us reject the idea that prudence requires that we treat each other as biohazards. We the people were made to breathe together freely in the company of our friends, family, and loved ones. It is one of the main purposes of our lives.
Brendan O’Neill is correct: “The eco-derangement of the elites is a threat to reason, freedom and jobs.” [DBx: Well, a threat to good jobs. The economic destruction unleashed by environmental policies will, in fact, leave humanity with many tasks to be done, but tasks that are more-difficult and lower-paying than would be prevalent without such destruction.]
Sometimes, such dynamics are driven by partisan interest — but in Moore v. Harper, it’s not entirely clear which side would benefit from one ruling or another. This suggests the controversy over the meaning of the Constitution’s elections clause is the result of competing legal methodologies, rather than partisanship. Moore v. Harper reflects judicial authority applied as it’s supposed to be. As far as the health of democracy goes, the wild public distortions of the case are a greater concern.