Updated: Nov 6, 2020
On January 6, 1994, two days before U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Championships and 6 weeks prior to the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was brutally attacked by two hitmen hired by Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of fellow skater Tonya Harding. The two men smashed Kerrigan’s knee with a pipe, attempting to cripple her for the upcoming Olympics.
Tonya Harding wanted to be the number one female figure skater in the world, win the gold medal in Norway, and enjoy all the benefits from that success. Nancy Kerrigan, the number one ranked figure skater in the United States, stood in her way. Instead of competing in the arena and proving she was the best, Harding tried to have Kerrigan taken out, effectively shut down.
What we are witnessing in our country is the intellectual equivalent of Jeff Gillooly. Instead of stepping into the arena of ideas, there are certain factions of society who want to win intellectual arguments by shutting down competing ideas, by crippling the competition. And much more is at stake than who’s the best figure skater in the world. Twitter and Facebook have become the Jeff Gillooly’s of social media.
For months, Twitter and Facebook have been blocking posts which question the WHO’s Covid-19 guidelines, in particular advocacy of lockdowns. Those who posted dissenting views on lockdowns because of the devasting effects lockdowns were having on our economy and on people, were labeled hateful and anti-science. Their posts were blocked and their accounts were locked out.
But on October 9, 2020, the WHO changed its position on the use of lockdowns to combat Covid-19. Dr. David Nabarro, the WHO's Special Envoy on Covid-19 said, 'we really do appeal to all world leaders: stop using lockdown as your primary control method'. He described the many unintended consequences of lockdowns, such as “doubling of world poverty… doubling of child malnutrition.” He concluded by stating, “lockdowns have just one consequence… making poor people poorer.” More accurately, lockdowns make everyone poorer, except elites like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Jeff Bezos, who all own pro-lockdown media outlets.
Maybe, if we were allowed to have discussions on both the efficacy of lockdowns and their disastrous effects, if people against lockdowns were not shut down like heretics, the WHO would have come to this conclusion months sooner and the devastating effects of the lockdowns would be much less severe.
The fact of the matter is that Covid-19 is a “novel” virus meaning, a virus we had never seen before. So, there has never been settled science on how to most effectively deal with this virus. But opinions that were contrary to the official stated position were silenced, as if the procedures and protocols put in place to combat Covid-19 were proven scientific fact that date back decades.
The scientists, who we have been told we must follow blindly, were figuring it out as they went, and they have been wrong as often as they have been right. I don’t blame the scientists who made mistakes. I blame those who demanded that we must obey these scientists without question. Even patients who have been diagnosed with the most well-documented diseases are allowed to get second and third opinions, yet any contrary opinions on Covid-19‘a official directives were shut down. And now, the WHO is advocating for one of those Covid-19 second opinions that had been shut down.
On October 15, 2020, The New York Post, the 4th largest newspaper in the United States, ran a story about Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, based on emails claimed to have been obtained from his computer. The story details how Hunter exploited his father’s office and power to make millions of dollars with corrupt entities in both Ukraine and China. Twitter and Facebook immediately blocked the New York Post story, as well as anyone from sharing the story, and locked out accounts who attempted to share it.
It has not been verified that the emails obtained by the New York Post are authentic, But most people are capable of looking at this story with the same level of skepticism as the New York Times story of Trump’s stolen tax returns that claim he only paid $750 in taxes. Those who automatically believe these stories have already made up their minds on these candidates anyway, they are not being swayed, and are so inescapably biased that no amount of contrary facts will change their minds.
If a story must be verified 100% before it is allowed to be posted on social media, most political posts would be shut down. But it appears that the criteria for blocking a story is not based on how true or how well it has been verified, but by which political party is hurt by the story. There can be criteria set in place by these social media outlets on what is allowed to be posted, but the limits should never be placed along party lines. When that becomes the criteria, the site becomes a propaganda outlet.
But if many different and competing versions of stories are allowed, who’s truth should we believe? There’s a reason why we have two eyes. Look at an object and close one eye. Then, at the same time, open your closed eye and close your opened eye. Now go back and forth. You see the same object slightly differently when only looking at it with each eye singularly. Each picture we see is true but limited by their individual perspectives. When we see with both eyes, the brain takes both distinct images and integrates them together to form a picture with a better perspective and more depth. Looking at the world through one perspective creates a myopia that lacks the necessary depth perception to see the world properly.
During NFL games, the league has cameras mounted around the entire stadium, shooting the action from all possible angles which creates many of the NextGen images and stats that are revolutionizing the game. Each camera captures the action on the field from a different angle, and they are merged together to create a total picture. The more perspectives we look at something, the greater the depth and understanding we have of what we are looking at.
We need as much information as possible. As many perspectives as we can get, even if those perspectives are proven incorrect. The founders understood this, and that is why freedom of speech and freedom of the press are explicitly written into the constitution. There are a lot of political perspectives and beliefs that I disagree with, that are demonstrably wrong, yet I would never call to censor or block these points of view.
We don’t need social media to be arbiters of truth because each and every one of us are our own arbiters of truth. We can come to our own conclusions. We are fully capable of deciding for ourselves what we believe. Isn’t that the essence of our First Amendment; the freedoms to speak, assemble and practice our religion are the freedoms fundamental to us so we can live the way we deem best without the government or powerful elites telling us how to think, how to speak, how to believe.
The reader may disagree with every sentence I have written in this piece. You have the right to question and contradict every point I have made, and I welcome it. That makes me better. It forces me to thoroughly think through every position I take, every argument I make, and consider all points of view. What you don’t have the right to do is shut me down. You’re not allowed to say, I disagree with you so you’re not allowed to speak. Freedom of speech, and open disagreement which arises from that, makes us better, smarter, more informed. Limiting speech, shutting down debates, burning heretics, makes us worse, duller, less informed. No one has the right to tell any of us what we are to think. If you want to win someone over intellectually, step into the arena of ideas and compete, don’t hire Jeff Gillooly to do your work for you.