Year Zero

Issue #29

  
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Good morning, and welcome to the 29th issue of the Bright Morning newsletter. 

Before we begin, we would like readers to consider the following quote from George Orwell’s classic, 1984, and keep it in mind as we proceed through the recent events and cultural updates from the past couple of weeks. As you will see, it seems strikingly relevant - almost prophetic. 

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless Present in which the Party is always right.”

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| CULTURE

In Defence of Canada Day

In Critical Social Justice (CSJ - the formal name for “woke ideology''), nothing is off limits. Not even national holidays, which are supposed to be a time when individuals and communities can set aside their political differences and celebrate the common fortune of living in a free(ish) nation. Instead, for the woke acolytes, the intention is not to celebrate a nation, but to problematize and deconstruct its history into a series of “powerful versus oppressed” narrative games, all without realizing that there is no society in existence that can withstand scrutiny under the microscope of Social Justice. 

This is what happened with the recent attempt  to “cancel” Canada Day upon the discovery of several mass graves at the locations of former residential schools. For our American friends, residential schools were a series of mandatory boarding schools for indigenous children that operated during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Canada. These schools were rife with abuse (both physical and sexual), assault, and even murder. It is estimated that up to 30,000 indigenous children died at these schools. Thus, when mass graves were uncovered and the remains of over 1,000 indigenous children were found, it was a reminder that Canada does, in fact, have an ugly history. 

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It is not clear how a society ought to react during a time like this. People grieve and mourn in different ways. However, while we might not know what to do, we can at least make assumptions about what not to do. And one of those assumptions might be that it is unwise to use historical atrocities as a battering ram to delegitimize (or to use the CSJ term, “decolonize”) the present. But this is exactly what unfolded in Canada at the end of June. 

In the weeks leading up to Canada Day, a small number of far-left activists, amplified by social media, made “Cancel Canada Day” trend online. Legacy media outlets (notably the Toronto Star and CBC) were falling over each other to declare how “systemically racist” we are as a nation. And some of the most unpleasant and violent activists did what they do best - destroying (or encouraging the destruction of) property that does not belong to them. This was exemplified with the toppling of a statue of Egerton Ryerson at Ryerson University and the burning of Christian and Catholic Churches (at least 8, to date) all with the nodding approval of journalists (an amalgamation of journalist and activist) at the CBC. The Prime Minister has been silent about this violence, of course. A quick question: are there historical precedents where citizens are permitted to use violence as a means for settling historic grievances? Any at all?

If a person’s media diet consisted of only legacy sources, such as the Toronto Star or CBC, he might be misled to believe that these actions are normal, acceptable, and supported by the majority of the public. But he would be wrong. According to recent polls, at least 86% of Canadians disagree with the idea of “canceling” the national holiday and instead prefer to honour their nation and its progress, even if its history contains some reprehensible actions. Even more telling is that this sentiment is stronger amongst non-white and immigrant Canadians. And so we are left with a situation in which a minority of wealthy, mostly-white, and metropolitan members of the Peloton class are attempting to skew the collective perception of our nation towards something that is untethered to reality. In a column from Rupa Subramanya, she aptly states the following:

“For those of us who chose Canada, and didn’t have the privilege of being born in one of the wealthiest, most advanced countries in the world, the notion of cancelling Canada Day seems truly bizarre. Many of us came from countries where racism and discrimination not only exist, but are often widespread, sanctioned by the state, and are realities of everyday life. Ask a non-Muslim living in the Arab world, where discrimination is baked into the system; or a Muslim in India, where, despite theoretical equality under the law, bigotry is pervasive, with the government often looking the other way. We need to compare Canada in the context of the real world, not compare it to a utopian ideal that has never existed and probably never will” (our emphasis). 

In other words, Canadians of all races and religions choose to celebrate Canada Day not because it is a perfect nation, but because the idea of Canada (and the West) is better than anything that has ever existed. And that idea is one that is predicated upon freedom, equality, and opportunity for all. Our nation might not have always lived up to that ideal, but progress is slow and steady. Thus, when we celebrate Canada Day, we are celebrating the progress our nation has made since its inception. We are celebrating the end of residential schools. We are celebrating the soldiers who died fighting real fascism. And we are celebrating the fact that other people across the world choose to see in us what the CSJ cult condemns us for wanting to see: that we are still a place where we can pursue the lives we want with a substantial degree of freedom.

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Jonathan Kay recently wrote that the CSJ cult “is unsustainable not just because no country can exist indefinitely without believing in its own worth, but because very few ordinary people share this belief system. And Canada Day itself is one of those few times of the year when ordinary folk actually wear their patriotism (or what passes for it in this country) on their sleeves.” Thus, to close out this section, we would like to wish a happy belated Canada Day to our Canadian audience and a happy belated Independence Day to our American audience. Do not be afraid to be grateful for living where you do. You are not settlers, you are citizens. Our history contains ugliness, but it also contains some of the best parts of human progress - all of which is worth knowing and understanding.


| PUBLIC HEALTH

The Ivermectin Debate

Silicon Valley is not morally or politically neutral. Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube do not sit back and let individuals speak in a free and open manner, despite their insistence to the contrary. The idea of an “open marketplace of ideas,” where individuals and groups can speak and challenge each other to work towards the truth, is not the objective of these companies. Instead, tech giants restrict speech, and more often than not, they restrict speech to serve a narrative. This is why the Lab Leak Hypothesis was forbidden (literally) to discuss on Facebook until a couple of months ago. However, after the overwhelming evidence to support the hypothesis (including the Fauci emails) was revealed, Facebook stopped removing posts which discussed the lab leak. There are still some attempts to discredit the hypothesis, though, such as Stephen Colbert’s tut-tutting during Jon Stewart’s comedic rant about the potential lab leak.

This is not new information, of course. But it is worth reiterating so that we can set up the framework and discuss the latest example of tech censorship: the Ivermectin debate. 

Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used to treat infections, including river blindness, scabies, and head lice, among other ailments. It was created in 1975 and put into widespread circulation in 1981, with approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because it has been in widespread circulation for over 40 years, it has since lost its patent - meaning that it is no longer a source of significant revenue for its manufacturer due to its common use. According to the evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein, Ivermectin has been used over 2 billion times to treat various parasites with minimal adverse effects, thus confirming its relative safety and efficacy. 

Weinstein, along with the critical care physician, Dr. Pierre Kory, and the founder of mRNA technology, Dr. Robert Malone, have also been vocally supportive of preliminary research and anecdotal evidence claiming that Ivermectin might be a potential treatment and prophylactic for COVID-19. There was a podcast discussion on Weinstein’s YouTube channel, but it has since been taken down by the platform. However, at the time of writing, a video of Weinstein speaking with the AI-researcher Lex Fridman about censorship and the Ivermectin debate is still available on YouTube. There is also an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience on Spotify in which Weinstein and Kory talk about the potential benefits of Ivermectin. If the audience is looking for more context, then we recommend these two episodes.

You would not know any of this with a quick Google search for Ivermectin. The top result is an FDA website which discusses the potential harms of taking “large doses” of Ivermectin as a potential treatment and prophylactic for COVID-19. Taking large doses of any drug seems unwise, but that is not what the debate is about. Instead, this debate is about whether or not we have a cheap and effective medicine that could be used to treat or prevent COVID. Of course, critics could suggest that the population already has access to free medicine within the vaccines, but that misses the point. 

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Instead, consider the following argument: vaccine hesitancy exists because the COVID vaccines have been in circulation for less than one year. So, it is understandable how some people might feel uncomfortable or uneasy about the potential long-term adverse reactions (myocarditis and blood clotting being two notable examples). Then, there are the lies, half-truths, and data manipulation from our so-called public health experts over the past year and a half (which we have documented extensively). If we combine these two factors with the basic liberal argument for the right to refuse medicine and the right to informed consent - both of which are being undermined by the slow creep of vaccine passports - then we are left with a cocktail of mistrust for what was supposed to be a trusted authority (i.e. government and public health). So, if authorities truly want to eliminate all COVID cases, and there exists the chance of a cheap treatment and prophylactic for COVID that does not involve vaccination, then would it not be in everyone’s best interest to explore this possibility? Are two choices not better than one? What if individuals who want to get vaccinated, get vaccinated, and individuals who choose to take Ivermectin (assuming its efficacy is confirmed), take Ivermectin? Why would research, conversation, and debate about this be denied? Could it be that there is no money attached to Ivermectin?

For committing the sin of discussing Ivermectin - which has harmed no one - Weinstein now faces the prospect of losing his YouTube channel. Legacy media outlets are engaging in their usual hyperbole to suggest that the drug could be fatal. However, it looks like these censorship and disinformation strategies are not working as well as the tech giants might have hoped. This was exemplified by the liberal comedian, Bill Maher, condemning the tech giants on his show, Real Time with Bill Maher, stating that “YouTube should not be telling me what I can see about Ivermectin. Ivermectin isn’t a registered Republican. It’s a drug. I don’t know if it works or not, and a lot of other doctors don’t either.” So, at this time, we can at least be cautiously optimistic that there appears to be a mainstream interest in the debate, despite the censorship. 

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And that is all that we want here: open research and open debate. We do not want to go down a road where public conversation is filtered through the moral and political lenses of Silicon Valley, whose ideological proclivities are several degrees to the left of a liberal arts college campus. Otherwise, we will be left with a culture that looks a lot like the George Orwell quote that we opened this article with. Unfortunately, our culture has been accelerating down that road for the past several years, but it is not too late. Reason can still prevail. It just requires a little civic courage and a commitment to free speech and the pursuit of truth. The truth, after all, is nothing more than the culmination of infinite debate.


| EXTRAS

Further Listening 🎞️

This week, we encourage the audience to listen to Andrew Doyle as he is interviewed by Jordan Peterson. Doyle is a comedian, playwright, and cultural commentator. In this interview, he discusses his new book, Free Speech And Why It Matters.

Free Speech and the Satirical Activist | Andrew Doyle | The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast - S4: E32

Enjoy your summer and we will see you next week. Cheers, everyone.