The idea that COVID was a bioweapon, and that it was unleashed accidentally, has gone from heresy to orthodoxy in the course of the last 18 months. The chain of events is documented in Ron Unz’s American Pravda here.
The transformation has taken slightly less than a month. On May 2 Nicholas Wade, the science writer, published a careful essay on the subject in a low impact website and which was then augmented in subsequent places and by significant endorsements. Unz describes the amplification which the theory has received in various articles since then, which it is not my purpose to recapitulate.
As Unz writes about Wade’s work:
“Although nearly all the facts and evidence that Wade discussed had already been publicly available for most of the past year, his careful analysis and considerable journalistic credibility quickly transformed the intellectual landscape. He began his long article by explaining that from February 2020 onward a huge ideological bubble had been inflated by political propaganda masquerading as science, a bubble that was afterwards maintained through a combination of journalistic cowardice and incompetence. President Donald Trump had proclaimed that the virus was artificial, so our media therefore insisted that it must be natural, even if all the evidence seemed to suggest otherwise.”
If Trump had said that gravity worked, a host of science reporters would have denied it and called it “problematical”. The Office of the Holy Inquisition – AKA Facebook – changed its policy on COVID’s origins on May 28th, a mere five days ago.
“By May 28th, the Wall Street Journal carried the headline “Facebook Ends Ban on Posts Asserting Covid-19 Was Man-Made,” so that in less than one month a self-published article had already changed what nearly three billion individuals around the world were allowed to read and write. This illustrates the totalitarian control of information on the Internet held by American’s huge Tech monopolies, which determine the limits of permitted discussion worldwide at the flip of a switch. Can there be any better example of the ridiculous, Stalinesque climate of intellectual censorship currently enforced by those corporate giants?”.
And this brings me around to Canada’s Bill C10, an Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act. It is currently stalled in the House of Commons Committee on Heritage. This is a relief. What C10 seeks to do is to bring the large platforms, and everyone else communicating across the Internet, into the legal regime of “broadcasting”. There are two regimes of communication, essentially: printing and broadcasting. Printing requires no licence and makes you liable for what you have said after you have said it. Broadcasting requires a licence and imposes heavy consequences for “broadcasting” without a licence or contrary to the terms of the regulations under which you are privileged to communicate.
Publishing is a right, broadcasting is a legal privilege, like a driver’s licence. If Zoom calls are broadcasting, then you are subject to complex and expansive regulations, just as radio and TV are. C10 could well make zoom calls “broadcasting”, at the discretion of the regulator.
It is bad enough that the platforms have the power to automate the censorship of unpopular or unfashionable opinions, and I would be first to argue that something ought to be done about that power. However, the case for regulating the platforms, and user-generated content, is not to control the power of the platforms. No no no. It is to use the power of the platforms in conjunction with state policy to “harness” the Internet – to use a favourite terms of the CRTC – to public purposes. In truth the Liberal government intends not to curb the power of the platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, but to enage their power to shape public discourse in the way that government desires. The censorship is outsourced to the agencies with the power to effect it. Putting it more crudely, the government intends to deputize the platforms to perform the censorship that government has not the tools to do for itself.
Anyone who thinks that the power of the platforms will be curbed under C10, if it passes into law, is gravely mistaken. The platforms will become a new form of CBC adapted to the Internet age. The platforms will consult the government and be consulted by the government. The directives that will issue from the CRTC will be generated after public hearings, at which the platforms will be the dominant voices. The censorship will be smooth and oh so Canadian. Anyone who thinks the CRTC does not control content has not seen the system at work.