COVID and cultism
Recently, the principles of freedom of expression, and science were put to test, predictably, "liberals" demonstrated scant comprehension or concern for these fundamental tenets of modern civilization.
The political ideology that we variously call liberalism, leftism, or progressivism has degenerated into an anti-science cult that is impervious to feedback.
In the spotlight illuminating this cultism were Spotify, Substack, and a trucker protest in Canada.
It began with singer Neil Young giving Spotify an ultimatum that it could have either podcaster Joe Rogan or him on its platform. (Spotify is the world's largest audio streamer with over 172 million paying subscribers.) Young claimed Rogan's podcast was "spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation." Rogan had recently interviewed an infectious disease specialist who opposes COVID-19 vaccines for children.
Spotify removed Young's music with "regret" and hopes he will return soon. Reports suggest that Spotify has lost anywhere between $2 and $4 billion in market value after the controversy.
Consequently, Rogan apologized while Spotify pledged to add a "content advisory" to any episode with a discussion of COVID. Also, Young received the publicity he probably yearned for as the crusader of vaccines.
Next, Spotify will be pressurized to fire Rogan, owing to an exodus of musical talent for business reasons. Perhaps "offensive" utterances in Rogan's earlier podcasts will be discovered that morally justify his firing.
Now for Substack, an online platform with over 1 million paying subscribers that allows writers to send digital newsletters to subscribers. The platform received criticism from the left for the lack of "regulation."
The Washington Post led the charge by lambasting Substack for "making millions off anti-vaccine content." The Post claimed that Substack "can make like-minded people more radicalized in their beliefs. A popular newsletter can be picked up and amplified by other outlets, as well as forwarded to others."
How ironic that The Post, which made millions by relentlessly peddling misinformation about President Trump has the audacity to blame others for spreading misinformation. But the self-righteous seldom have any self-awareness.
Substack responded by pledging to defend free expression, even for the content it dislikes or disagrees with. We can expect infrastructure challenges for Substack soon; perhaps like Parler, it will be denied servers.
In Canada, a massive convoy of truckers staged a protest against P.M. Trudeau's vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the U.S.-Canada border.
Trudeau reacted by fleeing from his home like a frightened mouse scampering into his burrow. Then, like a deposed dictator, Trudeau relayed a message from an undisclosed location calling the protest an attack on democracy.
In the coming weeks, expect the might of the government to be applied to destroy the lives of the protesters. Trudeau and the Canadian media have already created the ground for severe punishment.
In current times, all mainstream groups in the Western world obediently follow groupthink. This includes the mainstream news media, showbiz, the intelligentsia, the political establishments, international bodies, Big Tech, non-profit organizations, and even comedians.
YouTube screen grab.
Their political leanings, the causes they advocate, their likes and dislikes are identical, which makes their hypocrisies identical. Clearly, the nonconformists prefer to remain silent.
This is tyranny, which is the hallmark of a cult.
Those who lived under an autocratic government will tell you what the regime fears most is contrarian ideas. Rebels can be severely punished and made examples of.
But great ideas, contrary to groupthink, are impossible to restrain or censor. A powerful idea can be spread by word of mouth to capture the public's imagination. It could lead to a mass movement causing an overthrow of the regime.
Hence when the totalitarian cult notices a worthy contrarian challenge, their instincts are to denigrate both the individual and the platform. This is why President Trump was de-platformed; he represented a challenge that they cannot counter.
The cult may claim to be progressive, but in reality, they fear progress and growth because it challenges their monopoly. Their self-righteousness enables them to rationalize the application of anti-democratic measures such as censorship and de-platforming. In their minds, this merits a revision of the principles of freedom of expression.
It is an axiomatic fact that mental growth occurs only when the mind is exposed to a diverse spectrum of ideas. For this to happen, there has to be total freedom of expression. This freedom includes the right to criticize, offend, and insult.
What is hateful to one is compelling to another. What is bigoted to one is brave to another. What is obscene to one is artful to another. What is crass to one may be hilarious to another. A bigot to one is a maverick to another. A liberal to one is a fascist to another. The Alt-Right to one is a rationalist to another.
Individual taste must not be the criterion for restricting or allowing expression.
Dr. Fauci recently claimed that those who criticize him are criticizing science because he represents science. He sounded like a despot leader of a third-world country who treats criticism of himself as treasonous disparagements of the state.
But science is the antithesis of a cult. Scientists regularly seek peer review of their theories and inventions. If the scientist can counter all shortcomings raised during reviews, the theory or invention is confirmed.
These reviews occur at various stages, even after approval, if noteworthy deficiencies are discovered. The manufacturers often withdraw products should customers discover significant shortcomings.
Why should the rules for the COVID-19 vaccine be different?
The vaccine proponents have been inconsistent in their claims.
They first claimed that those who are fully vaccinated are protected from infection of COVID-19. When the vaccinated were infected, they claimed that vaccinated individuals won't suffer during their infection. When the vaccinated people suffered during their infection, they claimed that the vaccinated will certainly survive their infection. When some vaccinated individuals died, they claim that deaths were rare or due to pre-existing conditions. They also keep redefining the term "fully vaccinated" by adding boosters. Some who have taken the vaccine have suffered serious side effects.
This understandably caused a great deal of skepticism.
Also, this isn't a disposable product you can throw away; it is material being injected into your body. The changes are likely to be permanent. Hence, people have a right to be concerned and reject the vaccine.
The censoring of contrary views, the shutting down of questions, demonizing of skeptics, and mandating vaccines, results in the fortification of skepticism, which quickly devolves into dogma.
Instead, the proponents should invite skeptics for a long interaction with the developers of the vaccine. If necessary, there should be demonstrations of the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Since they claim to be certain of the virtues of the vaccine, they shouldn't hesitate to make a full presentation to dispel all skepticism. This would be the best way to promote the vaccine and ensure that everybody takes it.
In the end, as Fauci claims, this is about science. Science is about openness.
For the success of the vaccine, the proponents of the vaccine must follow the principles of science and democracy.
Let every question be answered and doubt cleared.
Will that ever happen?
I request that you don't hold your breath!