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The Disinformation Dozen: Should people be banned?

This afternoon, we went for a drive, and we passed a small park. Usually it’s a small open space, with no-one there. Today I was surprised; the tiny park was filled with people, families with little children and several dogs. I guess we all want our spring break.

I was surprised by something else; no-one was wearing a mask. COVID safety didn’t seem to be a concern for anyone. People were just enjoying the sunshine, as if the COVID pandemic never happened.

Call it COVID denial, if you like, but I see this and hear this everywhere. My work takes me to many places, and I haven’t found anyone who really believes what we are told about the virus and vaccines. I have seen one organized protest, but most people just get on with their lives.

The Government and medical authorities tell us what we should know, and do, and everyone thinks what they want. The disconnect is huge, and growing.

If you are wondering, I am not a denier, or a strong supporter of the official story. I’m just living in this storm and I hope we find our way through it soon. I hope everyone will tell us the simple truth, with no other motives.

If you are following the news, you might have heard about the “Disinformation Dozen.” Someone has investigated, and they now claim that twelve people are the leaders on one side of the debate, twelve people in the world. Information from this dozen is called “disinformation” and it’s easy to see that one side does not like the other side. The accusers believe that twelve evil people are spreading “disinformation” and they should be stopped.

READ: A dozen anti-vaccine accounts are responsible for 65% of disinformation shared online, new report finds

I noticed something recently, with a news article about tracking down the sources of the disinformation, in Canada, and shutting them down. Speeches by protesters were analyzed, and their comments were traced back to members of the “Disinformation Dozen.” Ordinary people with opinions were guilty by association.

Their ideas were tracked back to those villains. I noticed there wasn’t much effort to understand the people with opinions; they were identified as members of the wrong tribe, and dismissed. There was no possibility that the investigators might be persuaded to change their ideas, after listening to the other side. The people on one side dismissed and rejected their rivals.

I have an opinion here; this is not democracy:

READ: Marketplace attended a COVID-19 conspiracy boot camp to see how instructors are targeting vaccine skeptics

There is an interesting development in this story. The “Disinformation Dozen” are not being banned from social media. They have millions of supporters, who represent billions of dollars, and media corporations don’t want to lose business. The Internet is fluid, and new discussion forums could be created by unhappy people. No-one has to log onto a site that doesn’t make them happy.

Score one for capitalism.

We have a problem here. The intentions are wrong. We can’t ban people from speaking and stating their opinions. If we stop the “wrong” voices, we will lose our freedom, and our democracy needs freedom to exist. We all hope that our COVID problems will go away, but we can cause damage in the fight, and that could last for a generation.

This problem, inside us, is not a new thing. Two thousand years ago, a teacher named Jesus confronted the “correct” and official side in a public argument. The disagreement was about what food people should eat, for their spiritual health. One side wanted to ban the other. Jesus was clear: “Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach and then passes out into the sewer? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person.” (Matthew 15:17 and 18)

The request to stifle the other side shows what is inside us, and our inside is the source of the real problem. We know that we need free and open debate, and respect for our neighbors. We all want to live in that freedom. But now we have a COVID pandemic and it is an emergency. Our problems are so huge that we don’t need to respect each other anymore.

Long ago, God looked at us, and told us how He was going to fix our problems by sending someone to help us. There was one big problem, God was sending someone to us. We were going to reject the one who was sent. Rejection is what we do.

Our problems with a pandemic show one thing clearly, we need to find a better way. The real problem is in us.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. (Isaiah 53: 2 to 5)

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