War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
— George Orwell, 1984
The following essay was initially published at the American Institute for Economic Research. First, a brief update.
As you will read, medical ethicist Arthur Caplan argued in 2021 that coercing vaccinations is a “liberty inducer.”
Recently, Caplan said this about RFK Jr.’s views on vaccines: “I knew he was basically talking out of his rear end.”
Caplan’s message was not subtle. He was taking part in an absurd smear to convince voters that they shouldn’t consider RFK Jr.’s ideas. Democratic party censors and their media allies want you to believe RFK, Jr. is ignorant, dangerous, “Real F—ing [K]razy,” antisemitic and racist. He is disgusting; if you support him, you are disgusting. NPR, CNN, the N.Y. Times, and virtually all of the legacy media have given you your marching orders. Get with the program. Don’t listen to RFK, Jr.
In 1943, when Hans and Sophie Scholl handed out flyers at their university in Munich explaining that the war on the eastern front was not going well, they were stating a fact that everyone knew to be true. The Nazis considered this disinformation and executed them.
Over the last 2 years, when Robert Kennedy, Jr. explained that Covid shots were poorly tested, do not stop transmission, and come with horrendous side effects he was stating a fact that everyone knew to be true. The Biden administration considered this disinformation and ordered social media to deplatform him.
Toby might be overstating his case; everybody doesn’t know. Many who get their news from NPR and CNN don’t know the facts and don’t want to know. Many are sadly open to the message: Good citizens, don’t consider questions of war and peace, don’t question Biden’s lucidity or corruption, don’t question unsustainable budgets, Big Pharma, the poisoning of our food and land. Good citizens believe what they are told.
What we’re seeing today is what I call turnkey totalitarianism. They are putting in place all of these technological mechanisms for control we’ve never seen before. It’s been the ambition of every totalitarian state from the beginning of mankind to control every aspect of behavior, of conduct, of thought, and to obliterate dissent.
RFK Jr. is right. The first order of business of totalitarians is censorship, so their anti-freedom program goes unchallenged. And as they censor, they tell you it is for the common good.
A program of widespread censorship is the creation and work of a dictator. By way of censorship, the fledgling dictator not only silences his critics, but also prevents his dictatorial powers, privileges, and activities from being detected and reported. Thus, censorship is the means by which an aspiring dictator becomes a complete dictator.
It’s time to reconsider the totalitarian roots of “experts” and collectivist politicians.
Over the course of the pandemic, principles of what a free society means are being redefined by collectivists.
Consider this essay: Don’t COVID Vaccine Mandates Actually Promote Freedom? Medical ethicists Kyle Ferguson and Arthur Caplan argue, “Those who oppose cracking down on the unvaccinated are getting it all wrong.” Ferguson and Caplan are sure their opponents have a “flawed view of freedom.” They argue “Passports and mandates are hardly ‘strong-arm tactics.’ These strategies are better seen as liberty inducers. They bring about freedom rather than deplete it.”
They add, “a successful COVID-19 vaccination campaign will liberate us — as individuals and as a collective — from the callous grip of a pandemic that just won’t seem to end.” Orwell’s “Party” proclaimed in 1984 that “Freedom is slavery.” Ferguson and Caplan come close to arguing “Slavery is freedom.”
Ferguson and Caplan assure us that the enlightenment view of “the unbound individual” is outdated. They want to reimagine freedom as communal, starting with “the individual’s participation in a community and the kind of community in which the individual lives.” They develop their argument:
Here, freedom is communal rather than individualistic. And rather than being unbound, individuals in the free community are bound by and to each other. Communal freedom achieves much more than the unbound individual ever could. It creates new possibilities and expands our horizons. Life is enhanced when our community is free because we can participate in communal freedom and the goods it creates.”
They want to take us back to the future with Rousseau as their guide:
“This view of freedom is like that of Rousseau’s: A society is made free by individuals cooperating, by binding themselves to each other and to the rational pursuit of common goals. From this perspective, vaccine mandates and other “strong-arm tactics” induce liberty rather than restrict it.”