You may think, given the abundance of posts and links to the coronavirus situation, that I’d have some strongly held beliefs about the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. As it turns out, I have two, but they aren’t actually related to the effectiveness of the drug in treating coronavirus infection.
The first is that the politicization of this drug is one of the most profoundly stupid occurrences in a year marked by profoundly stupid occurrences. Whether the drug is helpful or not should be openly and enthusiastically debated, but instead it has become a political bludgeon.
The second is a bit broader, and is mostly how concerned I am that four months into this whole thing, the world’s leading health experts can’t come up with a single effective treatment. This isn’t for lack of data or experience from doctors and nurses working with patients. When I say “health expert”, I refer to the bureaucrat who works for a labyrinthine government organization with the word “health” in the title, and who thus, for reasons still unclear to me, is taken as an authority on all aspects of human life. Yet these bureaucrats can’t even consolidate the information during a global crisis (of fear) to rank the effectiveness of particular treatments. Even more astounding is that people actually want more of this in the form of socialized medicine. But I digress.
I mention these two things to say up front that I don’t have any stake in whether hydroxychloroquine is effective against this virus or not. I don’t know, and I don’t have any mechanism of knowing myself. I look at doctors around the world using it, claiming it has some powerful effects and then I compare that with a few terrible, poorly conceived studies so bad they were retracted and I’m led to believe the thing probably does help if given at the right time in the right dosage.
So, given that I don’t have any stake in it, I’m not sharing the story in this post to persuade you of the arguments made by the doctors assembled in front of the Supreme Court. My point is about the political situation.
Social media platform Twitter barred Donald Trump, Jr. from using most of its features for 12 hours after he tweeted a viral video of doctors holding a press conference in front of the Supreme Court.
In the video, physician members of the group America’s Frontline Doctors touted hydroxychloroquine as an effective treatment for coronavirus and disputed the need for the general public to wear face masks.
Twitter has removed tweets containing the video, claiming they violate its policy against misinformation about COVID-19. The company’s action against Trump Jr. means he cannot post new tweets nor can he retweet or like any other tweets.
Anyone who has paid attention over the past few decades has noticed that when it comes to the subject of climate change, there is only one politically acceptable stance, and it coincidentally – and I’m sure without even a hint of conflict of interest – involves a massive increase in the size and scope of the government that politicians run.
We are now seeing the same thing happen for hydroxychloroquine and masks. Whether these doctors are right or wrong isn’t the point. They happen to be physicians – literal experts – but they don’t have the same views as the approved, political “Experts”. This means that when the mental and moral infants of the Twitter universe report the posts out of incoherent, childish rage, the hacks working behind the scenes at Twitter are happy to ban the content and punish the messenger.
Again, the point isn’t whether the doctors are right or wrong. In a free society, we ought to be free to debate whether they are or not. But Twitter, and increasingly other (anti) social media organizations are clamping down so hard on dissent that they look like your average, run-of-the-mill far-left news outlet like CNN. “You can speak your mind!” they say, with the caveat “so long as you speak the truth”. But by “truth” they don’t mean objective truth, and so what seems like a benign requirement turns into a litmus test of political ideology.
Giant tech companies are run and staffed by people who genuinely think they are smarter and more important than the rest of the world. They think average people are too stupid to make up their own minds, debate issues, and come to conclusions. In this, they share much in common with politicians.
But what they’re doing now goes beyond mere totalitarian control on their websites. They are actively trying to influence an American election by silencing some voices and tacitly approving of others. And they do it under the guise of being platforms, and, even worse, being platforms that only censor “false” and “hateful” things. They use the terms in traditional propagandist ways in that they don’t really censor false and hateful things but instead label what they don’t like as “false” or “hateful” as a pretense.
I suggest anyone who uses these platforms get their own website and find ways to get rid of services that depend on companies run by people who are best summarized in the words of TS Eliot: “Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions”.
I plan to write a post in the coming days on what I’ve done to get rid of my dependence on big tech companies who hate me, my family, and my religion. I hope it will be helpful to others, too.