Deafening Silencing is a series documenting the widespread and indiscreet use of direct censorship, de-platforming, smearing, coercing and other attempts to silence individuals questioning the official narrative on the Covid-19 event and the associated vaccines. The crude censorship methods employed by the mainstream press and large tech corporations enable and support the equally crude propaganda our societies are flooded with.
Since the start of the Covid event, authorities around the world have sought to implement quite extraordinary policies including the so-called “locking down” of entire populations, compulsory masking and coercion through, for example, the mandating of multiple ‘vaccine’ injections. A central part of selling these extreme, and ultimately highly destructive, policies has involved the use of propaganda on an unprecedented scale.
One aspect of the Covid-19 event propaganda has been the aggressive promotion of official narratives; but just as important has been the suppression and censorship of those questioning authorities. Part of this process of suppressing arguments and opinion involves superficially well-meaning attempts to manage what has been increasingly labelled as “misinformation” and “disinformation”.
A SUCCESSFUL REPRESSION
Identifying or labelling arguments and opinions in this way runs hand in hand with direct censorship through the removal of critical or questioning content and de-platforming of individuals, the sponsoring of hostile coverage designed to smear and intimidate anyone raising critical questions regarding the Covid-19 narrative, and coercive approaches involving threats to livelihood and employment.
Numerous scientists, experts and members of the public have been removed from social media platforms for allegedly violating ‘community standards’ whilst academic papers have been blocked or retracted. Others have been subjected to ugly smear campaigns in which unscrupulous journalists seek to denigrate an individual whilst the emergence of mandates has led to people losing their livelihoods due to their non-compliance.
HOW DEBATE IS STIFLED
The tactics of censorship, smearing and coercion are synergistic and help construct an environment in which self-censorship becomes ubiquitous: the de-platforming of dissident scientists sends a clear warning about subject matter and issues that are off limits, whilst examples of smearing highlight the potential unpleasant consequences of discussing such issues. Coercion acts as a final hardstop for anyone entertaining the possibility of risking talking about censored issues and riding out the smears that will result: loss of job and income is simply too much to bear. Overall, the role of authorities in enabling censorship and coercion broadly speaking results in an institutionalised culture in which the suppression of opinions and debate becomes the norm.
These developments have deleterious consequences for rational debate and democracy. John Stuart Mill explained that silencing the expression of an opinion robs us all of the opportunity to either hear an argument that might turn out to be true, or refine or reject an opinion that is faulty. Things are, potentially, about to become even worse with the pushing through of so-called ‘online harm bills’ including in the UK, Europe and Canada.
It is likely that such legislative developments will operate in tandem with so-called “fact checking” entities and algorithms that work to define and then exclude what is defined as “misinformation”, “disinformation”, and now “malinformation”. These terms are so nebulous that they will enable authorities to proscribe virtually any serious debate or criticism in the public sphere.
Into The Future
Of course, there is nothing new about censorship, smearing and coercion in western democracies. Indeed, for some time now – decades in fact – those questioning western foreign policy have been subjected to censorship and smearing. Of course, we are witnessing a preeminent example of coercion with the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, facing the prospect of deportation to the US and the rest of his life in prison. His crime was to reveal accurate information about the 9/11 wars, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The overall trajectory here is clear to discern. It entails the move to a world where the truth is defined by “fact checkers” and authorities, and legislation provides the underlying coercive framework to ensure any deviance is punished. This is entirely at odds with basic principles of open debate, objective scholarship and freedom of expression. This is entirely at odds with democracy. There are dark days ahead and mounting a robust and uncompromising defence of freedom of expression has never been so urgent.