Covid – The Big Lie
YouTube has decided to take down video channels associated with some of the key anti-vaccine activists on the Internet, people like Joseph Mercola, Robert F. Kennedy Jr and Erin Elizabeth Finn.
This pits two core American values against each other. It pits freedom of speech against saving human lives.
Why the YouTube censorship? Just 12 people generate 65% of the anti-vaccine shares on YouTube. And anti-vaccine beliefs can kill you.
As of October 2, 701,000 Americans have died of covid. That’s more than the total number of Americans who died in all the wars of the 20th century combined. Almost all of those who died were unvaccinated.
Meanwhile Joseph Mercola, according to the New York Times, “has published over 600 articles on Facebook that cast doubt on Covid-19 vaccines.” But Mercola is not an unbiased source of information. He has earned over $100 million selling natural health remedies he says can allow you to “take control of your health”.
Actually YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook started to police covid disinformation at the beginning of the pandemic a year and a half ago. At the end of September YouTube went beyond censorship of misinformation on covid vaccines to shut down misinformation on all vaccines. Including the claim that childhood vaccines cause autism.
At bottom this is something bigger than it seems. It is a battle of our entire society against the big lie. The idea of the big lie was invented by Adolph Hitler in the 1920s and developed as a tool by Hitler’s propaganda tsar Joseph Goebbels. The doctrine of the big lie says that if you invent a lie outlandish enough it will overwhelm your audience’s critical faculties and will trigger belief. Especially if you repeat it over and over again.
An example of the big lie is the original social media posting over a year ago claiming that Anthony Fauci was Bill Gates’ roommate at Cornell. Then, said the posting, Fauci became the first CEO of Moderna, one of the drug companies making a covid vaccine. The posting implied that Fauci stands to make millions from the vaccines.
But that’s not all. Said the posting, “It was at Cornell that Bill Gates designed the RFID (Radio-frequency identification) [chip] and patented it under US2006257852.” And, the posting claimed, Bill Gates is using the covid vaccine to implant his RFID microchips in you.
There was only one problem. None of these facts were true. Not a single one of them.
Bill Gates did not go to Cornell, he went to Harvard. Bill Gates could not have been a roommate of Anthony Fauci. Anthony Fauci left undergraduate school in 1962. Gates dropped out of Harvard in 1975. The two men were 333 miles and over thirteen years apart.
What’s more, Anthony Fauci never worked at Moderna. Moderna was not founded until 2010. By then Dr. Fauci had been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 24 years.
Topping it all off, the patent number the posting gave for Bili Gates’ alleged RFID chip is not for RFID chips. It’s a chemical patent that “relates to nucleic acids and proteins from the SARS coronavirus.” And the patent was not issued to Bill Gates, it was issued to Jens P. Gregersen and David Chien.
In other words, this critical posting on which a massive conspiracy movement has been based was brilliantly written. Persuasively written. But every claim it made was a lie.
But, hey, freedom of speech means freedom to lie, doesn’t it? No, it means an obligation to give the closest approximation to truth you can muster.
Freedom of speech is central to democracy. It’s one of our checks and balances. One of our self-corrective mechanisms. One of the things that has allowed western civilization to produce material miracles like doubling the human lifetime in a mere 150 years, upping the average iq by 35 points in 100 years, and increasing peace in the world by a factor of ten in 350 years.
But the daily use of big lies in our politics can destroy freedom of speech. And it can poison our entire system of democracy.
What’s more, lies can kill. 3,418 Americans died of covid on September 16. That’s far more than died in our 20-year-long war in Afghanistan. Dying of covid in a single day.
A huge proportion of those who died believed that vaccines are filled with microchips. In other words, because of their beliefs, almost all of those who died were unvaccinated.
So which virus really killed them, the microbe or the virus of the big lie?
Howard Bloom, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism, Prometheus Books, 2009, https://www.amazon.com/Genius-Beast-Radical-Re-Vision-Capitalism/dp/1591027543