Back in December of 2018, the Wikipedia page about Fat Head was targeted for deletion. It only survived after I started poking the founder of Wikipedia on Twitter and he finally looked into the matter and intervened. This was after Wikipedia articles about Jimmy Moore, Uffe Ravnskov, Malcolm Kendrick, etc., etc., were targeted for deletion.
In May of 2019, Facebook banned a group called Banting 7-Day Meal Plans, which had 1.5 million members. After an uproar, the group was eventually reinstated.
In August, Jimmy Moore’s Jimmy Rants videos disappeared from YouTube, supposedly for violating community standards. It took some doing, but Jimmy finally got the suspension removed.
Also in August, we learned that Google (which owns YouTube), has altered its search algorithms to make it difficult to find diet and health sites deemed unorthodox. At one time, Google’s search rankings were a direct reflection of popularity. If your page and my page were both relevant to the search term and your site had more visitors, your page appeared above mine in the search results. Not anymore. Now Google employees monkey with the algorithm to steer people to the “correct” information – or more accurately, to steer them away from the BAD, BAD IDEAS.
Here are some quotes from an article on that development:
Mercola.com, operated by Dr. Joseph Mercola, is one of the most trafficked websites providing alternative views to medical orthodoxy. If I were researching statins, I would certainly read several of the numerous essays questioning statin use and the cholesterol theory of heart disease. Essays at Mercola.com usually provide references to medical studies. Personally, since Dr. Mercola sells supplements and I am a supplement skeptic, I read his essays—like I read all medical essays—with a grain of salt.
Dr. Kelly Brogan is a psychiatrist who has helped thousands of women find alternatives to psychotropic drugs prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. In her book, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives, Brogan reports that one of every seven women and 25 percent of women in their 40s and 50s are on such drugs.
For their unorthodox views, Dr. Brogan, Dr. Mercola, and others like them are treated as medical heretics. Dr. Brogan and Dr. Mercola have documented how a change in Google’s search engine algorithm has essentially ended traffic to their websites.
Welcome to the brave new world of “de-platforming” ideas The Anointed don’t like. And it’s not just happening to people who disagree with The Anointed on diet and health — not by a long shot. If you write or say something that offends the sensibilities of The Anointed, there’s a good chance your Facebook group, or YouTube Account, or Twitter account or whatever will be suspended or banned.
If you have a large following and you really piss off The Anointed, they’ll try to destroy your career. They’ll demand bookstores stop carrying your books. They’ll go after advertisers who buy ad time on any TV shows where you appear. If you’re scheduled to give a speech, they’ll try to get it canceled – through threats of violence, if necessary. The message – often stated explicitly – is this: you should not be allowed to spread your harmful ideas to others, so we’re justified in silencing you.
I’ve written about why The Anointed are hostile to free speech several times before (this post includes links to a series), but let’s back up and ask some deep, philosophical questions, such as WHY DON’T THEY JUST MAKE THEIR OWN COUNTER-ARGUMENTS?! WHAT THE @#$% IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!
There’s plenty wrong with these people, and it begins with their core philosophy, which, unfortunately, many of them acquired in universities — you know, those supposed centers of open inquiry and freewheeling debate and discussion.
To explain how The Anointed operate, I’ve quoted from The Vision of The Anointed by Thomas Sowell, Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. They’re all great books. I hope you read them.
But to understand the core philosophy of people who feel justified de-platforming those whose “bad” opinions they don’t like, let’s turn to a philosophy book that I’ve only mentioned briefly: Explaining Postmodernism, by a philosophy professor named Stephen Hicks.
I’ve previously summarized the book like this:
- Objectivist: if it’s true, I’ll believe it.
- Subjectivist: If I believe it, it’s true.
Well, the book goes into a little more detail than that. If you want to know why so many university professors and other members of The Anointed have become big fans of censorship and de-platforming, Hicks explains their mindset pretty nicely.
The book begins by describing what postmodernism seeks to replace: the objectivist philosophy of The Enlightenment, which traces its roots (most of them, anyway) to British thinkers and philosophers: Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes (not British), John Locke and Adam Smith. The objectivists believed that:
- Reality exists and is independent of our feelings, wishes, hopes or fears
- Logic and reason are how we discern reality
- The individual is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others
Not surprisingly, The Enlightenment thinkers emphasized rationalism, the scientific method and individual freedom. To quote Hicks:
Modern thinkers start from nature—instead of starting with some form of the supernatural, which had been the characteristic starting point of pre-modern, Medieval philosophy. Modern thinkers stress that perception and reason are the human means of knowing nature—in contrast to the pre-modern reliance upon tradition, faith, and mysticism. Modern thinkers stress human autonomy and the human capacity for forming one’s own character—in contrast to the pre-modern emphasis upon dependence and original sin. Modern thinkers emphasize the individual, seeing the individual as the unit of reality, holding that the individual’s mind is sovereign, and that the individual is the unit of value—in contrast to the pre-modernist, feudal subordination of the individual to higher political, social, or religious realities and authorities.
If one emphasizes that reason is the faculty of understanding nature, then that epistemology systematically applied yields science. Enlightenment thinkers laid the foundations of all the major branches of science.
Individualism and science are thus consequences of an epistemology of reason. Both applied systematically have enormous consequences. Individualism applied to politics yields liberal democracy … individualism applied to economics yields free markets and capitalism.
If you enjoy living in a prosperous, technically advanced society with a high degree of individual freedom, you have no friggin’ idea (unless you’ve studied a bit of history and philosophy) of the huge debt you owe to The Enlightenment thinkers.
Today, of course, many college professors tell us we can simply dismiss The Enlightenment thinkers as a bunch of dead white males. The irony (which is no doubt lost on the professors) is that postmodernist ideas were also conceived and promoted by dead white males.
The bigger irony is that the subjectivist philosophy that eventually morphed into postmodernism began as a reaction against The Enlightenment to save faith, tradition and mysticism from the onslaught of objective science. If you deeply believe that X is true but logic and reason say X is false, well then, there’s a simple solution: simply declare that reason and logic don’t matter.
One of the most influential subjectivist philosophers was Martin Heidegger. We’ll quote Hicks for a summary:
Heidegger and postmodernism Heidegger’s philosophy is the integration of the two main lines of German philosophy, the speculative metaphysical and the irrationalist epistemological. After Kant, the Continental tradition quickly and gleefully abandoned reason, putting wild speculation, clashing wills, and troubled emotion at the forefront.
In Heidegger’s synthesis of the Continental tradition, we can see clearly many of the ingredients of postmodernism. Heidegger offered to his followers the following conclusions, all of which are accepted by the mainstream of postmodernism with slight modifications:
1. Conflict and contradiction are the deepest truths of reality;
2. Reason is subjective and impotent to reach truths about reality;
3. Reason’s elements—words and concepts—are obstacles that must be un-crusted, subjected to Destruktion, or otherwise unmasked;
4. Logical contradiction is neither a sign of failure nor of anything particularly significant at all;
5. Feelings, especially morbid feelings of anxiety and dread, are a deeper guide than reason;
6. The entire Western tradition of philosophy—whether Platonic, Aristotelian, Lockean, or Cartesian—based as it is on the law of non-contradiction and the subject/object distinction, is the enemy to be overcome.
Later in the book:
Postmodernism rejects the reason and the individualism that the entire Enlightenment world depends upon.… Postmodernism’s essentials are the opposite of modernism’s. Instead of natural reality—anti-realism. Instead of experience and reason—linguistic social subjectivism
Objectivity is a myth; there is no Truth, no Right Way to read nature or a text. All interpretations are equally valid. Values are socially subjective products.
Declaring reason and logic to be irrelevant of course leads to some interesting contradictions. As Hicks points out, only a subjectivist could believe that:
- All cultures are valid and equally deserving of respect, but Western culture is really, really bad
- All values are subjective, but racism and sexism are really, really bad
- Technology is destructive and bad, but it’s not fair that some people can afford more of it than others
Totally illogical and therefore rather stupid, right? Yes, you’d think so. But ya see, that’s because you — lacking the deep, philosophical insight that logic and reason are irrelevant — don’t understand that by gosh, I can be totally illogical and still be right … while you can be completely logical and still be wrong. That’s what the postmodernists believe.
So what does this have to do with why The Anointed consider it acceptable and perhaps even necessary to de-platform anyone who disagrees with them?
I don’t want this to be a mega-post, so we’ll get to that next time.