Listen to a reading of this article:

The Joe Rogan/Spotify controversy is still going on and has only gotten more vitriolic and intense. Claims that Spotify must walk away from its $200 million contract with the world’s most popular podcaster for promoting vaccine misinformation have sparked a lot of debates about freedom of speech, online censorship, what exactly those terms mean, and whether they can be correctly applied to the practice of Silicon Valley deplatforming.

When confronted with accusations of quashing free speech and promoting censorship, those who support online deplatforming in this or that situation will often respond with lines like “It’s not censorship, it’s just a private company enforcing its terms of service,” or “Nobody is obligated to give you a platform,” or “Freedom of speech isn’t freedom of reach,” or by posting the famous XKCD comic which says “If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated. It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole, and they’re showing you the door.”

And of course it’s true that nobody is legally guaranteed the right to speak on an independent online platform. But even if we ignore the fact that this censorship behavior is not being driven solely by the wishes of independent corporations and is in fact happening in increasingly close coordination with the US government whose officials openly threaten Silicon Valley platforms with repercussions if they don’t regulate speech, the fact that it is technically legal for those companies to silence voices they don’t like is not a sound argument. It doesn’t prove that censorship isn’t happening or that the deplatforming is okay, it just proves that it is technically legal for those giant monopolistic platforms to do those things. A casual glance at history shows that plenty of terrible things have been done which were perfectly legal at the time.

To really answer the question of whether the increasingly widespread practice of Silicon Valley censorship via algorithm and deplatforming is a major problem and whether an increase in speech restriction is desirable, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves why free speech even matters in the first place. Why is it something that’s written into constitutions and upheld as sacrosanct in so many nations? Why is it a value we’re told has supreme importance all our lives?

Any debate over online censorship will necessarily remain superficial until you can address this question at a fundamental level, because otherwise you’re just bleating noises at each other about “free speech” without being clear about what exactly you’re talking about and why it matters. This is why those debates tend to stagnate.

The American Civil Liberties Union takes a solid stab at answering this question by offering “Three Reasons Why Freedom Of Expression Is Essential To A Free Society“. Firstly, that “The right to express one’s thoughts and to communicate freely with others affirms the dignity and worth of each and every member of society, and allows each individual to realize his or her full human potential.” Secondly, that free expression is “vital to the attainment and advancement of knowledge, and the search for the truth.” Third, that it is “necessary to our system of self-government and gives the American people a ‘checking function’ against government excess and corruption.”

Virtually all debate about online censorship revolves solely around the first reason listed, which is essentially that people should have free speech because freedom is nice to have. This is unfortunate, because it’s easily the least compelling of the three. If your entire argument boils down to “I should be free to say whatever I want on this online platform because muh freedom,” it’s basically just you laying out a narrative about what you think you should get to do which holds no more inherent weight than anyone else’s narrative about what you should get to do. “You can’t shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” gets stretched into “Your freedom to say whatever you want about vaccines on this social media platform is less important than the need to convince everyone to get vaccinated,” and the conversation stalls out there.

That changes when we consider the ACLU’s second and third reasons why free expression is important. Suddenly we’re no longer talking about how Johnny Facebook would prefer to be allowed to post QAnon conspiracy theories because it makes him feel nice inside, we’re talking about the good of society as a whole. If the case is strong enough, then it really doesn’t matter if an app isn’t technically part of the government because it’s still a part of society, and arguments about the needs of the collective trumping the rights of the individual crumble because this is all about protecting the needs of the collective.

So how strong is that case? Well, let’s take it apart and have a look.

The argument is essentially the same in both the second and third reasons for free expression put forward by the ACLU: that allowing people to freely share ideas and information leads to positive change. In the case of the second it’s talking about positive change in society, and in the case of the third it’s about positive change in government. But in both the idea is essentially the same: the free flow of speech lets the collective sort out truth from falsehood and conduct itself accordingly.

In short, free speech matters because it’s how the status quo gets changed. It’s how society collectively figures out that racism is undesirable, that women are equal to men, that science is superior to superstition, and that the world perhaps does not work the way we once thought it did. It’s also how society figures out that a government has become inundated with “excess and corruption,” that status quo systems aren’t working, and that new systems are required.

Now here’s the kicker: if free speech matters because it’s what allows the collective to change the status quo, then it is exactly those voices who oppose the status quo whose speech must be adamantly protected. The speech of those who support the mainstream orthodoxies of the political/media class is vastly less important than those who dissent from those orthodoxies, because only the latter is pushing for change.

What we have now is just the opposite: if you adhere to the mainstream orthodoxies of America’s Dempublican uniparty there is an approximately zero percent chance that you will ever be subjected to online censorship, but if you oppose any of those orthodoxies you will see yourself algorithmically de-boosted, suspended, and shoved further and further away from any position of possible influence.

This is on top of the fact that all traditional media are already 100 percent locked down in support of the status quo. You will never see serious opponents of imperialism, militarism, capitalism and oligarchy elevated to positions of influence in the mainstream news media or in Hollywood; every single one of those positions are consistently occupied by people who have proven themselves to be at least politically mute if not virulently supportive of status quo politics.

For this reason we can accurately say that free speech is already missing from our society in every way that counts, regardless of what our nation’s laws might say.

Free speech matters because dissent from the status quo is how the status quo gets changed. If voices which oppose the status quo are consistently denied access to mainstream platforms and are aggressively suppressed online, they’re unable to change the status quo. They don’t have free speech in any meaningful sense, because they’re actively obstructed from using free speech to do what free speech is supposed to do: challenge existing consensus, norms, systems, and power structures.

If the only way to get your voice into a position of influence is to support the status quo, then with regard to the actual reasons free speech matters it’s functionally the same as having no speech at all. It’s like saying “You have free speech; you can say anything you want into this hole in the ground!”

It doesn’t matter what you’re free to say if nobody hears you say it. If those who support the status quo are loudly amplified on all media while those who oppose it are denied access to mainstream audiences and algorithmically censored, dissenting views have no effect. They might as well not exist. An environment where everyone has “free speech” but only those who support the status quo get heard is functionally indistinguishable from an environment where no one has free speech and only authorized state propaganda gets heard.

Which is of course the idea. A tremendous amount of effort goes into keeping the public from awakening to and freeing themselves from the injustices of status quo systems while still giving them the illusion of freedom. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

And some might argue “Sure, okay, allowing dissident voices to be heard is important, but that doesn’t need to include anti-vaxxers and QAnoners!” Or “doesn’t need to include Russian propagandists!” Or “doesn’t need to include CCP shills!” Or whatever your personal bias happens to be.

But how would that work, exactly? How would it be decided who counts as a worthy dissident voice and who doesn’t? Who do we imagine would be making that call? Would we be leaving the question of who qualifies as a legitimate critic of the status quo to institutions who have a vested interest in that status quo, like billionaire megacorporations? Or plutocrat-owned mainstream media “fact-checkers”? Or the government? Or do you imagine that Silicon Valley executives will be shooting you a DM to get your personal okay on whether or not to censor someone?

If you really think about this it quickly becomes apparent that there exists no institution that can be entrusted with the power to determine who is qualified to criticize the status quo, because they’re all inseparably intertwined with it. Even if you had an independent board of rank-and-file citizenry deciding when online censorship is appropriate, its members would all be subjected to the same status quo propaganda systems as everyone else in our society and thus still wildly biased toward the preferences of ruling power structures.

Another problem is that nobody is qualified to serve as an official arbiter of absolute reality. What’s true today may be untrue tomorrow, as we’ve seen time and time again with the official lines about Covid-19 since the outbreak. It could turn out in the future that there are in fact problems with mRNA technology and that some of the concerns being voiced today were entirely well-founded. We simply do not know for certain, because we are not the omniscient demigods that our egos are often tempted to pretend we are.

Protecting our ability to collectively course-correct is more important than preventing people from saying things that aren’t currently considered true. So important that it outweighs even the worst consequences of some people potentially making poor health decisions as a result.

So it becomes clear that the only thing to do is let everyone speak, on the platforms that people have come to rely on for sharing ideas and information with the largest possible number of people. A great many of them will be wrong, and a great many of them will be stupid. But the alternative is shutting down the possibility of healthy change ever occurring in a status quo that is killing our ecosystem, pushing us toward confrontations between nuclear-armed nations, and becoming increasingly despotic.


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101 responses to “Let’s Back Up A Sec And Ask Why Free Speech Actually Matters”

  1. Third-Eye Roll Avatar
    Third-Eye Roll

    Coercing Silicon Valley into censoring internet content that doesn’t support government narratives accomplishes de facto government censorship while avoiding the appearance of it; just another instance of the American ruling class having refined the art of having their plutocratic cake and eating it, too.

  2. Joe Mcellhatton is the worlds foremost authority on trouser snakes and his new book, Tickling Trousers, a Snake Charmers Story is banned from public schools. Its a disgrace.

  3. ……consumers, consumers, “rights” are actually privileges granted……granted since the first city/nation/states emerged and evolved……granted to create and maintain a status quo, as is now….in amerikkka, there is still a free and open society……placebo for the masses….you can do what you will, just don’t be a threat to the power structure…..burgers and fries?…freedoms and liberties?…..tire rotation?….human “rights”?…….”what’s in it for me?”……..young and rogan are celebrities that are consumed by fans, that’s all……one difference, young is an established artist….rogan is a celebrity, famous for being famous for saying things that are famous among his fans who think he’s famous, therefore his fame is celebrated……..famously……..

  4. thorsjackhammer Avatar

    Isn’t ‘TRUTH THE FIRST CASUALTY OF WAR’? That’s the obvious hint of where all this bullshit is going. Hence, selective freedom of speech, increasing censorship. Tightening mass media narrative control. Governments are incrementally stripping away previously accepted freedoms of expression, to make sure the up coming full blown war propaganda narrative won’t be significantly impacted upon.

  5. Well,
    The really cool thing is,
    That the original Declaration of Independence, and the original Constitution of the United States of America (to include the original Bill of Rights) actually are things that actually exist.
    They really are legally binding documents that have been lawfully ratified by living breathing human beings on this planet.
    They also happen to be the foundational documents of the genuine Law of our Land.
    It’s a thing,
    We should look into that…

    1. The Informer and Vyzigoth (online audio is available) explain how the ‘bill of rights’ doesn’t stand up in a law court and references cases where it was dismissed as having no power in a court of law. I think they go on to say that it only applied to some people, like the state plantation owners and politicians living in Washington DC. It’s interesting and disturbing listening.

    2. The New History Of America – (Part 1of6) – The Informer

  6. we should be thinking more in terms of Freedom from Thought Containment rather than Freedom of Speech.

    When thought is contained within the bounds of an authority approved container – then we will be granted Freedom of Speech.

  7. Bravo! Another very important and much-needed article.

  8. Technocracy is Unsustainable Avatar
    Technocracy is Unsustainable

    Corporations want “corporate personhood” rights when it comes to making campaign donations (free speech!) but they don’t want it when they want to censor someone on their private platform.

    Can’t have it both ways.

    1. Technocracy is Unsustainable Avatar
      Technocracy is Unsustainable

      Btw, anyone else find it extremely rich that modern medical science has the audacity to call out misinformation, when the medical industry was led down a dark path a century ago from which it has yet to break free?

      One of the worst crimes against humanity was when the medical industry was seized by the robber barons and steered toward a chemical-based allopathic regime a century ago.

      The Flexner Report – John D. Rockefeller’s Ticket to the Monopolization of the Medical Industry

  9. To summarize Noam Chomsky, unless you allow, and even fight for, free speech for people who you despise, you do not believe in free speech. I am even bothered by Caitlin’s exception stated at the end of her articles which says, in part, that racist platforms are not allowed by her to reprint anything from her articles. Free speech means free for everybody. I think that angry and hateful people just make themselves ridiculous, so let them do it. I would only restrict the number of comments which an individual can make for a single article to keep them from dominating the conversation by sheer quantity.

  10. The New York Times has this today:
    Book Ban Efforts Spread Across the U.S.

    Just one paragraph from it:
    ‘The advocacy group No Left Turn in Education maintains lists of books it says are “used to spread radical and racist ideologies to students,” including Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Those who are demanding certain books be removed insist this is an issue of parental rights and choice, that all parents should be free to direct the upbringing of their own children.’

    1. And the same article without a paywall:

  11. Well, I get it. I think lying shouldn’t be allowed in the public forum. But who decides what is a lie anymore? Perhaps a tribunal of some sort, with me at the head. But seriously, short of that, how do we reign things in? What you’re proposing has a strong potential to be an open-loop, run-away process towards chaos. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re advocating, is it?
    So thinking incrementally, there has to be some common law about the public good that can be employed. And if not, then individual actions from JM and NY are entirely justified.

  12. A democracy is supposed to rely on freedom of speech, which suggests that the so-called ‘liberals’, the ones demanding censorship, de-platforming and silencing, are acknowledging, finally, that their system is not democratic after all. They don’t understand that that they cannot have it both ways – democracy and censorship.
    Also, we have to remember, that nearly all of these people do not have the ability to judge whether a matter is right or wrong, even the scientists who claim knowledge and expertise, simply because there are very absolutes in science on which there is unanimous agreement (e.g the earth is not flat).
    In the pandemic case there are no absolutes whatsoever, and therefore nobody can decide if a statement or opinion is definitively wrong.
    In my view, it is a sign of weakness and insecurity when a person demands that another be silenced. Neil Young has made himself look very foolish and narrow-minded, as have the others demanding that Spotify remove Rogan. These people insult Rogan’s listeners by implying that they are not capable of deciding for themselves if they want to act on something they’ve heard, and that they should be treated like ‘innocent’ children by preventing them from hearing certain things. What happened to self-determination, free will, personal responsibility?

    1. So you’re mad at Neil Young for exercising his right not to share the stage with someone? So much for all that “self-determination” bullshit.



  14. Carolyn L Zaremba Avatar
    Carolyn L Zaremba

    “Protecting our ability to collectively course-correct is more important than preventing people from saying things that aren’t currently considered true. So important that it outweighs even the worst consequences of some people potentially making poor health decisions as a result.”

    The ability to course-correct is, of course, one of the foundations of science. There are no shibboleths in scientific discovery that cannot and are not knocked down when new discoveries are made that correct some unwarranted assumptions made when little information was available. This is how it works. The only things that can refute the misinformation or prejudice of any group of people are facts and knowledge acquired from new discoveries in the never-ending search for truth.

    Mis- and dis-information when not only condoned by governments but encouraged by them in order to fool people and control through ignorance is repugnant and dangerous. What must change is the ability to broadcast truth and have it heard, as Caitlin says. Critical thinking needs to be encouraged, not blind obedience.

    1. “Some people potentially making poor health decisions” are not always making those decisions for themselves. When they go around other people without wearing a mask or getting vaccinated for covid they are forcing their decisions onto the rest of us. They only talk about their own freedom but never offer their victims the freedom not to get infected by the deadly virus they are spreading. All because they can’t admit that the libruls are right.

      1. So should I stop selling you donuts because your poor decisions eating junk foid may harm you. My actions are causing you harm. Slippery slope you going down John.

        1. You would give me the freedom not to buy the doughnut, but deny me the freedom not to be infected by spreaders. Your right to swing your fist, or infect strangers, ends where my nose begins.

      2. How do you feel about the reversal of the law that required HIV+ people to disclose this information to their sex partners before having sex? Do you think they have the obligation to disclose their HIV status?

        You also have to understand that the right to breathe freely and to not have an injection against one’s will are fundamental freedoms. If a person has no control over his/her body, then that person is not free in any way.

        1. If someone infects you with covid without your permission, that person is the only one to deny you the right to breathe freely. Your argument is like saying that the right to shoot someone is a “fundamental freedom”, and the rest of us should buy bulletproof vests; but you do not allow your shooting victims control over their own bodies because you have put your bullet, or virus, into them without their permission. Your right to swing your fist, or spread a deadly virus, ends where my nose begins.

      3. John Know – Isn’t that what vaccinations are supposed to do? Protect those that may be exposed to the cooties19? Ah, that’s right, the elite made sure they had those people that ‘can’t be vaxxed for medical reasons’ narrative ready to wheel out, to counter the right to be happy with just plain old fashioned unvaxxed natural immunity. They got it all worked out. Lucky for them they had that ace card to play or else they couldn’t push that narrative.

        1. Science is real, Rush Limbaugh was lying to you.

  15. Fundamental Law of Free Speech.
    There are two classes of agents capable of constructing written or spoken language. The first are human beings. The second are non-human entities – parties, organizations, etc. Non-human entities are incapable of free speech, as they are driven by an expectation in every instance to promulgate the organization’s points of view.
    We should call the former “Free Speech.” We should call the latter “Advertising.” There is no fundamental for non-human entities to have protection of their advertising, in the manner that humans are entitled to have protection of free speech.
    Whether the claimed freedom of speech is called words, thoughts, images or money is not the issue.
    Humans have now become accustomed to childish obedience to the advertising (aka propaganda) of non-human entities, as though their missives represent rational conclusions, rather than rhetorical propositions.
    Until we treat non-human-entities as second-class entities, we will continue to be their servants.

    1. thorsjackhammer Avatar

      John Knox – So, for e.g. you think it’s impossible that the West and Russia are secretly working a strategy together to stop the rapid rise of China? You think it’s impossible that Russia and the West have been secretly aligned since the end of the USSR to take China by surprise? You don’t think Covid19 could possibly be the first wave of bio-warefare against China in a longer strategy to control them? You don’t think Covid19 mutations could be used to end China’s international Belt and Road project? You don’t believe that we could already be deep into a cold war with China where deception is the norm? BTW, I’m not suggesting that China is the good guy either. Everybody wants to rule the world, remember that song? Personally, I never just accept the official narrative unless it makes perfect sense. I look at other plausibilities because I know governments have a long history of lies and deception. If you can’t smell any bullshit, at all, with the current pandemic then you’ll believe the ‘official narrative’ no matter what.

      Also, I like comments that counter my own, when they’re constructive and logical, it helps me get closer to the truth of matters. If there were no counter arguments to my own, I know my search for truth and facts would be very superficial.

  16. Be like Neil Young. Be brave. Get vaccinated.

    1. Be like John Knox. Believe the state narrative. They never lie. Get vaccinated.

      1. So it’s a lie? Why is Putin going along with it? Because Biden likes him so much? What’s in this big lie for Russia? How do they benefit?

    2. thorsjackhammer Avatar

      John Knox – So, for e.g. you think it’s impossible that the West and Russia are secretly working a strategy together to stop the rapid rise of China? You think it’s impossible that Russia and the West have been secretly aligned since the end of the USSR to take China by surprise? You don’t think Covid19 could possibly be the first wave of bio-warefare against China in a longer strategy to control them? You don’t think Covid19 mutations could be used to end China’s international Belt and Road project? You don’t believe that we could already be deep into a cold war with China where deception is the norm? BTW, I’m not suggesting that China is the good guy either. Everybody wants to rule the world, remember that song? Personally, I never just accept the official narrative unless it makes perfect sense. I look at other plausibilities because I know governments have a long history of lies and deception. If you can’t smell any bullshit, at all, with the current pandemic then you’ll believe the ‘official narrative’ no matter what.

      Also, I like comments that counter my own, when they’re constructive and logical, it helps me get closer to the truth of matters. If there were no counter arguments to my own, I know my search for truth and facts would be very superficial.

    3. thorsjackhammer Avatar

      You don’t believe covid could be selectively released, targeted? You don’t believe pre- immunizations to covid could be planned before a pandemic? You don’t believe a virus could be genetically engineered? There’s heaps more questions, and new ones coming to light, just like these that I ask myself. All I can say is it’s plausible.

  17. I can handle dissenting opinions and even debate them if necessary. The problem is I just detest wasting my time talking to idiots.

    1. Carolyn L Zaremba Avatar
      Carolyn L Zaremba

      Especially when they are “official” idiots.

  18. A persons desire to curb your speech is in direct proportion to how easily one is offended. Really its quite brilliant. You must shut up because I am offended by what you say. What matters is that I am offended. I should have the freedom to living a tranquil life and you are upsetting it by your speech. So just shut up.

    1. That’s why you troll people who disagree with you.

      1. As do you, here and now.

    2. Carolyn L Zaremba Avatar
      Carolyn L Zaremba

      In our current western “snowflake” culture (if it can be called culture) anything and everything seem to offend the delicate sensibilities of people who have been mindwarped into believing that the most important thing in life is to be untroubled by unpleasantness of any kind.

      1. Carolyn L Zaremba – But, but, but, that’s exactly how cognitive dissonance works for the controllers, the public handlers. That is, to be untroubled by unpleasantness by turning them into comfortable lies.

  19. they already took your right to remain silent.

  20. Dissident voices are critical. Billionaires own the media, so these voices are not hired or at least invited as guests. These media owners are pressured by government to restrict content, so these billionaires don’t control the government. Also, public ownership of the big media platforms would still result in censorship. The citizens are being propagandized, so the government is not the citizens. Who is running things and how do we get to a citizen controlled government?

    1. “Who is running things and how do we get to a citizen controlled government?”
      The first part of your question is really irrelevant. Let’s just assume for the moment that the 536 elected Rs and Ds in DC work for them and carry out their every wish.
      How do we get to a citizen controlled government? is the exactly correct question. In other words, just exactly WHAT should people do after they’re all woke up and realize that those 536 people, or, more specifically, the BEHAVIOR of those 536 people has to be stopped? Should they pick up a gun and run? Should they guillotine some VIPs? Should they march hand in hand down Penn. Ave. forever and demand, demand, demand that the Elite behave better, or else? (“or else” just exactly WHAT?!)
      Here’s what tens of millions of The Woke are eventually going to HAVE TO DO because
      there. is. no. other. way. to remove those 536 Rs and Ds that are not going to change a god damned thing in the present “arrangement”.
      If you do not want More Of The Same that you’ve gotten after every election in the past, do not vote for another R or D, ever, no matter what an R or D promises! Jimmy Dore explains EXACTLY why.

      1. Carolyn L Zaremba Avatar
        Carolyn L Zaremba

        Better yet, read the book “Wall Street’s Think Tank” about the Council on Foreign Relations. It is a revelation of exactly who sets the rules for maintaining the status quo and increasing benefits to a small percentage of plutocrats. It describes how the ruling class rules.

    2. The ‘Billionaires ‘ are part of the military-industrial-political complex, or at least puppets of it. Traditionally, a split within the elite itself is what causes a new regime change, for better or worse.

  21. What is “truth”? What price, truth? To help you alone, here’s a nice little clip from the fantastic movie “Absence of Malice” — a must-see movie, IMO.

    1. “along”, not “alone”

  22. The “elites” do not want our free speech because they cannot handle the truth.
    It is interesting how that Washington Post OpEd calling Chinese termites did not get censored.
    The MSM usually cry out loud for the political dialog to be civil. Apparently American MSM do not extend the courtesy of human rights beyond their own physical borders (wait, I thought they were at Neptune last week).
    Also apparent is that they do not want a dialog with anybody, just a monologue as you would expect from monopolies.

    1. This hypocrisy is the most nauseating of it all. In reality, there’s no longing among the pontificating pundits for the end of hate speech and disinformation as those chronic virtue-signallers claim but a channelling of hate speech toward co-opted targets for lynching (Trump, Putin, the Chinese, Maduro, Castro, the ayatollahs, Rocket Man etc.) about whom you’re welcome to express the most extreme views – preferably a bunch of lies – in the most vulgar manner (like calling Covid-19 the CCP virus, I’m asking you…) as well as a channelling of disinformation toward the goals set by Mars and Mammon. You’re not happy about Brandon? Here’s a mic where you can direct all the hate you want against one of the voodoo dolls whose names you’ll find on this sheet of paper – and that includes my wife and her lover – as long as you leave the old buzzard alone.

      1. I mean it was pretty hateful of Trudeau to say that people who won’t take the jab hate women and are racist.
        A stupid and counterfactual statement, but quite hateful nonetheless.

  23. DisinfectantSunlight Avatar

    It’s all about money, power, and control emanating from deeply seated insecurity. A secure person or entity invites criticism with an open heart to correct any wrong thinking in one’s own mind to improve and grow in the process.
    mRNA vaccines are based on new technology and may ultimately prove to be amazingly useful or useful with significant side effects in long term trials and the clarity may take several years. It looks like they do decrease the severity of disease and hospitalization. Sputnik 5 vaccine is used in dozens of countries without any significant side effects or any deaths according to the available reports I’ve seen (I am a retired physician and our two sons are actively practicing physicians dealing with Covid 19 on a daily basis) and adenovirus based technology it uses is known for long time and proven to be safe. J&J and a few other vaccines use adenovirus technology approved for emergency use.
    Why is WHO dragging its feet to check the available Sputnik 5 data and approve or disapprove based on the facts when it had no problem giving emergency approval stamp for several vaccines without adequate data. CDC and European agencies are doing the same thing delaying the approval process.
    If any body thinks it’s all about science and has nothing to do with big Pharma profits and politics at global level has to explain so many discrepancies.

    1. Carolyn L Zaremba Avatar
      Carolyn L Zaremba

      More like the deeply seated ruling elites the world over.

  24. Do yourself a great big favor and read “The Power Of Myth”, by Jimmie Moglia.

    1. I read a book by Joseph Campbell that has the same name. Good stuff.

  25. Freedom of speech is important for everyone – everyone must have their freedom to speak protected. Regardless of how others feel.

    Tucker Carlson must be allowed to spew his garbage nightly just so long as I have the right to call out his stupidity.

    Alex Jones has the right to claim that Sandy Hook was a false flag event so ‘Obama can take your guns’. Just as the parents of the victims of that shooting have the right to collect compensation for Jones’ lies.

    You have the right to say anything on the internet just so long as it is true. Anything else said must be deemed as OPINION! Which is also your right.

    And that is my opinion. 🙂

    1. I disagree. The US First Amendment states six freedoms, some interconnected:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      This is a balancing statement which limits the Federal Government’s potentially greater power due to its size, over its masters the citizens.
      The broader implications are that the powerful entities which already have access to the public discourse by virtue of their inherent power, have less right to protection than the living.
      Trump’s claims of First Amendment protection while President are absurd. The President has no such right. It is not intended to protect the powerful.
      Carlson and Jones are paid talking heads for machines. News entities are the modern press; their meat puppets deserve limited protection. “Freedom of speech” has become so convoluted to favor the suppression of speech versus propaganda that it’s nearly off the cliff.

  26. Your comments box doesn’t allow me to illustrate it, but consider this.
    You write:
    “I’m not” in 6-point type, and then add in 24-point bold caps, “SAYING COVID IS A HOAX.”
    Is this exercising free speech? Or is it a deliberate and malicious attempt to deceive? Or what?

    1. That is free speech! And there are those stupid enough to believe it.

      Opinion of course. LOL

      1. You clearly haven’t thought it through. Deliberate deception is freedom of speech? So advertisers are free to claim anything they like for their products . . . and governments are free to tell us any lies they wish, because “freedom of speech”?

  27. Is that why you blocked cj Hopkins and others because you censored yourself about covid?

    Methinks you believe the covid spell

    1. 5.68 million dead worldwide from covid, but the antivaxxers want to kill Dr. Fauci for saying stuff that makes them mad. All in the name of free speech of course.

      1. 1/ Most of them died with Covid from comorbidities, not from Covid as pretty much everybody knows by now 2/A lot of them died because of the prohibition of effective and cheap early treatment like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine in order to provide ground for emergency use authorization of the lucrative vaccines of your billionaire Big Pharma buddies. They let thousands of people die this way to make money. As for the vaccine, Israel, which has been the first and most vaccinated country in the world, is now experiencing day after day, the greatest number of new cases per capita. So give us a break with your insane propaganda that’s an insult to intelligence.

        1. So it’s free speech for you but not me? Nope, nothing hypocritical about that.

          1. It was an apt characterization of your speech, not a denial of your freedom to spew it.

            1. “So give us a break with your insane propaganda” is telling me to stop my speech. If you want free speech, you need to let others have it too. That’s the part of the deal that you guys are missing.

            2. Poor contextualization, John. “Give us a break” is likened to “Who do you think you are fooling?”
              But then, you’re really not that obtuse, are you?

              1. On the contrary, Pascal said “Give us a break” because he wanted to bully me into silence. That’s the opposite of free speech.

                1. John, free speech right here. $10

        2. Pascal, you know things that are unproven, and perhaps you should consider that, like most people including active researchers, we do not know much.
          Let’s talk about two widely discussed drugs, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
          The Cochrane Review is considered a highly objective, widely referenced and credible source for reviewing many topics in medicine. It is not, like anything else, authoritative. But it’s likely to be close to the final answer.

          We understand that some people are desperate for an inexpensive and widely available solution to the pandemic. This is especially true for health systems struggling to cope with low vaccination rates and severely affected by third or fourth waves of infection. However, even in a health crisis it remains unethical to recommend the widespread use of a drug that has not been proven to be effective under controlled conditions.
          Even with the best of intentions, the idea of prescribing a drug simply because it has not been shown to be ineffective goes against medicine’s guiding principle to ‘do no harm’. This principle should not be ignored, especially when so much ongoing research to address the question of benefit and harm for ivermectin is being carried out in this pandemic. The results from the available clinical studies carried out so far cannot confirm ivermectin’s widely advertised benefits. In other words, we don’t know whether ivermectin is helpful or not in the fight against COVID-19. Every drug has harms. Without proven benefit, the weight of harm is even greater. Therefore, ivermectin should currently only be used and examined in randomized controlled studies.

          Cochrane Review, Ivermectin for preventing and treating COVID-19
          Unproven. We don’t know ‘yea or ‘nay. It’s neither angel or devil, although it’s not turning out to be a promising medication.
          The data is more solidly interpretated for hydroxychloroquine. Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for prevention and treatment of COVID‐19

          HCQ for people infected with COVID‐19 has little or no effect on the risk of death and probably no effect on progression to mechanical ventilation. Adverse events are tripled compared to placebo, but very few serious adverse events were found. No further trials of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for treatment should be carried out.

          These results make it less likely that the drug is effective in protecting people from infection, although this is not excluded entirely. It is probably sensible to complete trials examining prevention of infection, and ensure these are carried out to a high standard to provide unambiguous results.

          One can rebut this information with paranoid fantasies, e.g. when the California wildfires were started by alien lasers in orbit. That was never refuted, either. But the cited articles represent a massive weight of proof on these items.

    2. I don’t “censor myself about covid” (no idea what that even means) and Hopkins is one of a few dozen stupid assholes I blocked for trying to Twitter mob me into writing about Covid the way they want me to. He bitches about this constantly, but he’ll live. If you think blocking someone on your personal social media account is the same as government-tied monopolistic megacorporations controlling worldwide human speech, it’s because your echo chamber has turned your brain into soup.

  28. Thomas Prentice Avatar
    Thomas Prentice


    “An environment where everyone has “free speech” but only those who support the status quo get heard is functionally indistinguishable from an environment where no one has free speech and only authorized state propaganda gets heard.”

  29. “Billionaires already control what our government does and says so it makes perfect sense that billionaires should control what citizens do and say as well,” is totally logical.

  30. I think it’s ironic there is a high likelihood Neil Young’s children’s disabilities were the result of vaccine injuries.

    1. Thanks doc.
      BTW, I’ve got this weird thing on my ass . . .

    2. That’s a very serious charge. Do you have any proof?

      1. Thank you, John, for pointing out an assertion that is an untethered balloon floating off.
        I will take a smack at you, please.
        Be like Neil Young. Be brave. Get vaccinated.
        Yes, I know, Canadian guitarist in the ’60’s, very good guitarist and lyricist with a reedy voice. That’s Jeopardy Info – fun facts.
        #1) In my brief tenure on this planet, I find it hard enough to be whoever I am going to be. I should avoid being Neil Young, Kim Kardashian, Mother Theresa, Vladimir Putin, Pol Pot, Pope Paul, Yoko Ono, or any cartoon cardboard stereotype whom I never met.
        #2) Be brave. This is a worthy imperative, if it means being out of step with the rest of the platoon. Perhaps more important, I am not troubled that all of them are not in step with me, poor ducks.
        #3)Get vaccinated. I am either a)vaccinated against COVID-19, or b)not vaccinated against COVID-19. One of those statements is completely true. My decision was made for my reasons, and is none of your business, unless you are in public health and epidemiology. My decision shows my own good quality of character, and I need not brandish it about as though a virtue test.
        I think from now on, I will pass the word that it’s all the popular thing on FaceTube to ask other men if they have been circumcised or not. That is about as good a test for character as the colour of one’s (fore)skin.
        The assertion “I think it’s ironic there is a high likelihood Neil Young’s children’s disabilities were the result of vaccine injuries.” does not pass the Turing test. It is a grammatically correct assemblage. “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. is too. So what?

        1. Lots of aggressive words with zero proof. You’d make a great Russiagater.

  31. Thomas Prentice Avatar
    Thomas Prentice

    Most covid and vaccine mis- dis- and dys- information has come from Fauci, Gates, Cdc, Who NIAID, HHS, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, J&J, Neal Ferguson of Imperial College, Johns Hopkins, the Australian govt, the CIA and the shrill hyperventilating of the corporate capitalist class-owned “legacy mainstream media” !

    Read Robert F Kennedy Jr’s book “The Real Anthony Fauci.” Just the introduction and chapter one or the rest seems too intimidating.

    And Watch “JFK Revisited” on Showtime by Oliver Stone. Gripping two hour film. 1963 was *not* an assassination, it was a COUP. The only assassins left out of the film are the Israeli Mossad … JFK blocked Israeli attempts to get nuclear fissile material and under LBJ they got it. And the military /Cia / War Industrial Complex got their War on Vietnam.

    1. Kennedy is a malicious ignorant idiot, and linking him to the real JFK or his assassinated brother is unconscionable.

      1. The world has been wondering for ages when you’d finally decide to come up with this clever, pertinent and well argued remark! Your street has been looking like this for days in case you haven’t opened the window!

        1. Where are your well argued remarks?

            1. You mocked Pasha for not making his own arguments with his own evidence, but you have done the same thing! I didn’t see any actual evidence in that article, just a lot of wild accusations. If accusations were proof, we’d all be in prison! Care to try again?

      2. Carolyn L Zaremba Avatar
        Carolyn L Zaremba

        Hear, hear. Kennedy is a professional loon of the fringe variety.

        1. Summarize his professional career and review his current publication (it’s really a pretty quick read) and then say why you can come up with such garbage.

      3. Actually, you know, he does favor his mother…yet carries forth a good bit of his father’s spirit.
        Malicious? Ignorant?
        Jesus Christ, your remark is an unconscionable case-in-point of malicious ignorance.

  32. The US becoming “increasingly despotic” is the whole intended dynamic behind all the censorship underway throughout nearly all media. This is how a rationalized version of fascism is developed. People like Rogan have to be marginalized, and eventually silenced, if we’re going to be sending the right message to all would-be dissidents to status quo establishment narratives. They’re only being made impervious to dissident voices because they’re “keeping us safe.” This whole shitshow is about how “public safety” is perceived. If they let Rogan and other Covid skeptics have the free speech rights Caitlin says we must all have, then the public is endangered!

    1. People who make child pornography get censored all the time.

      1. What does that have to do with dissidence, or the importance of free discourse?
        You are an inanity unto itself.

        1. If you cared about free speech you wouldn’t throw a tantrum just because someone disagrees with you. Again, your right to swing your fist, or infect strangers, ends where my nose begins. If you won’t respect my rights, you can’t expect me to respect yours.

          1. John, you have the right to stay home. The right to wear a mask in the shower. The right to have your food delivered and medical visits by teleconference. You however do not have the right to tell me how to live my life because you are afraud I might sneeze on you.

            1. 5.7 million dead worldwide from covid. You never gave them the freedom to choose not to be infected. Your hypocrisy is so typical of racists.

    2. Technocracy is Unsustainable Avatar
      Technocracy is Unsustainable

      Public Health begins with ending manufactured homelessness. This is how we know that the Oligarchs are not sincere in matters of true public safety. The collusion of capital and power that creates oligarchy is the enemy that Russia and China are fighting. Where is the west in this fight?

  33. In a recent Glenn Greenwald article, he quotes the VP of Substack: “Withstanding scrutiny makes truth stronger, not weaker.” That is exactly why TPTB urge censorship. They know that their arguments do not withstand any reasonable amount of scrutiny. They don’t want the proles to engage in evidence based rational arguments, they want them to CONSUME and OBEY. Tribal membership is of primary importance to the latte sippers; and that membership requires that any deviation from their dogma is punished by ostracizing and demonizing the deviant. Like Carlin said “It’s a big club”, and thank God I ain’t in it.

    1. Neil Young doesn’t want to take your freedom. He’s just tired of con men taking advantage of his music to make money for themselves.

      1. How exactly do these so-called ‘con men’ make money out of Neil Young’s music? Kindly explain.
        If anything, it could be the other way around. Since Rogan has more listeners than Young, he is attracting more listeners to the platform who might also listen to Neil Young’s music while they’re there – so it means Neil Young makes money off Rogan.

        1. Project much? I was talking about spotify.

          1. why do you assume spotify is a con?

            1. They chose money over humanity. That’s not exactly integrity.

    2. thorsjackhammer Avatar

      “Withstanding scrutiny makes truth stronger, not weaker.” Exactly, then why the mainstream media censorship on counter arguments. It just makes it very telling that the ‘official’ narrative is exceptionally fragile. All they have to do is label something as a national security/national or global health emergency and whalla! Censorship legitimized. Easy as stacking baby blocks.

  34. None other that the Royal Society takes a clear stance for free speech:

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