What Was Going on in the Minds of Twitter’s Censorship Gestapo? The Answer Isn’t Pretty
You don’t need me to lay out the pattern of facts. Intrepid liberal journalist Bari Weiss already did that on Twitter, at the request of the courageous patriot Elon Musk (please pray for him!). As The Daily Caller reports:
Twitter kept secret “blacklists” that included a doctor at Stanford and several prominent conservative voices that suppressed their ability to be found or heard on the social media platform, according to journalist Bari Weiss, founder and editor of The Free Press and former Wall Street Journal and New York Times columnist, who launched the second chapter in Elon Musk’s so-called “Twitter Files” Thursday evening.
Here’s Weiss’s detailed, profoundly alarming Twitter thread in its entirety:
THREAD: THE TWITTER FILES PART TWO.
TWITTER’S SECRET BLACKLISTS.
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 9, 2022
Weiss runs down a list of respectable, mainstream figures — not race-cranks or fraudsters or advocates of violence — whom Twitter saw fit to stifle, silence, or cancel. Names include Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk, but one jumped out at me. Because I have met the man and talked to him at length. Again, from The Daily Caller:
Weiss tweeted what appeared to be a photo of Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of health policy, with his account being prominently marked as being under a “Trends Blacklist.” Bhattacharya was secretly blacklisted because he “argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children,” and was thus unable to trend on the platform, according to Weiss.
Speaking Reason Against the Politicized Panic
I was a guest at a conference in Florence this fall where Bhattacharya was a speaker. I listened to his talk closely, and buttonholed him for more than an hour of private conversation. Since he was a leading figure in the Great Barrington Declaration that tried to speak reason against the politicized COVID panic, I peppered him with questions. He answered patiently and candidly, with the occasional tentativeness we ought to expect from a research scientist who doesn’t want to make assertions that exceed the evidence.
Dr. Bhattacharya is one the most gracious, reasonable, judicious and sober-minded faculty members whom I have ever met. He is also profoundly accomplished, with a rich history of publications in peer-reviewed, elite journals. He richly deserves his tenured spot at Stanford, one of America’s premier universities.
Finally Some Answers
I learned a lot from him. For instance, that it’s almost moot whether China intentionally spread COVID around the world, by keeping open flights outside of China from Wuhan province while locking down domestic travel there last fall. The virus had already made its way to America by then, he told me. The genie was out of the bottle. (Though of course, infected people flying from Wuhan to Italy and the U.S. didn’t help matters.)
I also asked him about what I consider the elephant in the room: The Blue State Nursing Home Genocide. That is, the concerted policy of big blue state governors needlessly dumping COVID patients in nursing homes, thereby vastly inflating their states’ death statistics. Those same statistics were used to justify fraud-ridden mail-in voting, and extended states of emergency that were used to shutter churches and seize private citizens’ firearms.
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I asked him if he thought that policy traced back to Joe Biden’s chief COVID policy advisor, Ezekiel Emanuel, who publicly states that life over 75 has no value, and patients over that age should be denied life-saving medicine. Was this a planned euthanasia of the elderly, I asked him, that not-so-coincidentally helped the Democrats steal an election?
Bhattacharya shook his head. He said that Emanuel wasn’t a major player in the “catastrophic” decision to dump COVID patients among the most vulnerable people in America, while shuttering schools and businesses. Bhattacharya gave credit for that to Deborah Birx, who “panicked at what happened in Italy” and flew around the U.S. “spreading panic” to any governor who would listen.
Scapegoating and Death Threats
In his talk, Bhattacharya told a sobering story, of how public health officials uncritically adopted a panic-driven policy agenda, then colluded with academia, media, Big Pharma, social media monopolies, and various government agencies to fan that panic into a wildfire. Instead of adhering to the scientific method and academic freedom, our leaders in virtually every sphere of life began to act like religious zealots during a witch craze. If you didn’t join in the panic, you weren’t just wrong: you were an enemy, a contagion, and almost in fact a human virus.
How else to explain the fact that Bhattacharya was virtually hounded off Stanford’s campus, by public shunning, protests, and numerous death threats? He actually agonized about whether or not to resign from a university where he’d spent decades earning honors and plaudits. That’s how toxic the atmosphere became. To his credit, Bhattacharya soldiered on, with support from his family and church. And now the facts have vindicated him in every particular. But make no mistake: those who demonized him for resisting our elite’s global panic attack will never forgive him for being right. That’s the one unpardonable sin against the holy Zeitgeist.
The Charge of the Gadarene Swine
This is the kind of person whom Twitter executives were conspiring to punish and silence, in secret meetings and “yours-eyes-only” emails. And from his individual story, we can start to understand the alien mentality of our degenerate “elites,” the Alpha Sheep, whose only credential as leaders is their skill at being joiners. They can sense when the herd is headed toward a cliff, so they dash out in front of it, then claim to be in charge.
In the post-human Hive mind of censors at Twitter, at Stanford, and inside the NIH, a strange transformation has happened. It’s almost as if the past 600 years of intellectual history had been reversed, and the Scientific Revolution (mostly driven by Christian believers, as Stephen Meyer documents) had never happened. Instead we find ourselves in the fever swamps of ignorant villages in the Rhineland or rural Scotland, where wandering preachers blame bad weather or plague on the evil spells of sorcerers, or the secret “sabbats” where witches allegedly gained from Satan himself the power to fly through the air.
From Esteemed Colleague to Human Virus
That’s the kind of absolute smug self-certainty, of dogmatic assurance and uncritical consensus, that prevails among our elites. They don’t claim that alternate views are mistaken or even irrational. They won’t even assess contrary evidence. Instead, once they’ve accepted a given party line, they regard any dissent from it as “harmful,” or “unsafe.” They consciously abandon the language of rational discourse about ideas, to speak instead in terms suited to a medieval village consumed by the plague. So a brilliant and accomplished public health researcher like Dr. Bhattacharya doesn’t appear to them as a skeptic or a contrarian. He ceases even to be a colleague.
Instead he becomes a contaminant, a source of contagion, almost a human virus (to borrow the term that the Nazis applied to Jews). He must be ritually denounced, effectively silenced, and if possible driven out into the wilderness to die with the other scapegoats.
That’s a heck of a way to run a social media platform, a university, or a country.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”