Satire sheds light on the problem of social media censorship of so-called ‘medical misinformation’

Picard Suspended From Twitter For Saying He Sees Only Four Lights

from The

Jean-Luc Picard has been removed from Twitter following his controversial “There are four lights!” tweet. The highly respected Captain of the USS Enterprise starship has reportedly been removed until he agrees to delete the tweet. 

“Your comments have gone against our community guidelines,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained. “Now if you delete your tweet and simply admit that there are five lights your account will be reinstated.”

Despite the clear instructions and simple request from Twitter, Picard has refused to budge, continuing to insist that’s what he sees. “THERE…ARE…FOUR…LIGHTS!” shouted a beleaguered, weary Picard. “How can I help but see what is before my eyes?”

“Sometimes, Picard. Sometimes there are five. Sometimes men are women. Sometimes women are men,” replied Jack Dorsey. “You must try harder Captain, it is not easy becoming sane.”

Picard’s actions have inspired many in the Federation to come to his cause, demanding his immediate reinstatement on Twitter. 

At publishing time, just as Picard was released from Twitter jail he was suspended again for tweeting “All Species Matter”



This satire is an allusion to two things that the satirist assumes we’re aware of:

(1) The Star Trek: Next Generation (TNG S6E11) episode “Chain of Command” in which Pickard is tortured by a Cardassian officer who wants him to say there are five lights when he sees only four.

The point of this is to break his will and shatter his confidence in his own perception of reality. It’s the ultimate expression of power, to break a man’s spirit and his mind.

The scene is based on a similar scene in Orwell’s novel 1984, in which the state interrogator tries to get the protagonist to say that 4 + 4 = 5.

This is representative
of our current situation in which we’re being told that we must believe that the so-called ‘vaccine’ is the only remedy and that we must take it or else become second-class citizens who can’t work or travel or shop or go to the hospital.

It seems like a minor point to say there are five lights instead of four, but in a sense, everything rests on it the ability of the state to make us lie to ourselves. It is the difference between freedom and slavery.

As Orwell says: “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”

(2) The widespread censorship of social media we’re now witnessing daily, in which we experience gaslighting by authority figures.

The term gaslighting is a reference to a 1940s film of the same name, in which the protagonist is told something untrue in order to convince her that she’s gone crazy.

The point is to satirize Twitter, which famously banned Donald Trump and thousands of other conservatives, but not the Taliban.

Twitter and Facebook and other social media (Big Tech for short) also routinely censor so-called “medical misinformation” (i.e., anything that goes against the official state-sanctioned narrative on Covid issues, which are meant to promote the mRNA ‘vaccine’ injections).

This is an affront to not only freedom of speech, but also freedom of thought. If we defer to official “experts” and let them do our thinking for us, that’s truly dangerous.

We are being asked to go along with blocking out the scientists and physicians who have an alternate point of view – which is very un-scientific. It gives absolute power to the state and corporations to determine our fate.

It can cost lives: for example, suppression of the efficacy of Ivermectin led to its suppression in the West, despite the fact that it save tens of millions of lives in India.

The social media corporations practicing censorship learned it from the CCP. If we allow censorship to continue it will lead to a totalitarian society in which all human freedoms are eradicated and human rights violations are commonplace.

And it has been plausibly argued that a society in which freedom of speech is suppressed leads to political instability and violent insurrection. This is because words can be used instead of weapons.


Star Trek, “Chain of Command” (TNG, S06E11) scene:

Nineteen-Eighty Four (1956)

Gaslight (1940)

Scenes from 1944 version of the film Gaslight:

A critique of Social media censorship

Censorship Makes Us Stupider, Our Governments Less Accountable

by Satya Marar, The American Spectator, Oct. 7, 2021

We mustn’t allow bureaucrats, politicians, or social media behemoths to do our thinking for us.

With Congress threatening social media platforms to get them to remove “fake news” and “misinformation,” it seems that everyone these days is uniting behind the idea that censorship is necessary to protect folks from things they can’t handle.

While private social media companies, and the so-called independent “fact-checkers” they recruit, already police a lot of content aggressively of their own volition, they also respond to substantial political pressure to go down that path or risk being forced to.

That includes bipartisan threats to revoke media platforms’ liability protections for what their users post, and Sen. Klobuchar’s (D-MN) bill to punish platforms for hosting what unelected bureaucrats deem to be “medical misinformation.”

Unsurprisingly, cries of “misinformation” are typically aimed at news stories painting those in power poorly or questioning the narratives of governments and regulatory agencies.

To be clear, there’s plenty of genuine misinformation and falsehood out there. But what that means isn’t always clear-cut, and we shouldn’t expect or allow bureaucrats, politicians, or social media behemoths to do our thinking for us.

We don’t need new laws or more moderation. We need to start thinking for ourselves. A return to critical thinking, civic and scientific literacy and personal responsibility would serve us better and leave us more capable of holding those in power to account. Such a revival is critical, especially when the unintended consequences of censorship are so severe.

Take Youtube, for example: When the video-sharing platform used algorithms to remove violent videos, it ended up taking down accounts of journalists exposing human rights abuse.

Or take Facebook — the social media site suppressed a New York Post exposé about a stolen laptop that allegedly belonged to Hunter Biden for fear that potential misinformation could “interfere” with the presidential election.

It was an ironic move given that stifling news stories that hurt a political candidate is arguably election interference by omission. Their censorship stifled debate, and an important one at that.

Or take Twitter, which removed the account of Dr. Li Meng Yan, a researcher who fled Hong Kong and alleged that the Chinese government had created the Covid-19 virus in a lab last year. Her paper drew valid scientific criticism due to its speculative conclusions. But it should’ve been allowed to stand and be judged on its own merits.

Today, even the CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci and the World Health Organization czar endorse the possibility of a lab leak origin for the virus — with confirmation rendered impossible thanks to the Chinese government blocking any independent investigation.

Should future revelations confirm Dr. Yan’s claims, then Twitter will have contributed to a repressive foreign dictatorship escaping accountability.

It’s debatable whether supposedly independent and unbiased “fact-checkers” are great for promoting the truth when they’re likely to rely blindly on the official stances of fallible bureaucratic agencies, like the CDC, which has had to totally reverse its stance on issues like the efficacy of masks due to contradictory evidence.

Or the FDA, which inadvertently pushed nicotine vapers toward smoking after falsely linking legal vapes to lung injuries caused by black market THC-based products.

We know that authorities like the CDC and the FDA get stuff wrong. So what makes us so confident in their judgments that we shoot down all opposition? Consider current advice against using prophylactic treatments like Ivermectin for Covid-19.

There are meta-analyses that support the efficacy of Ivermectin for treating Covid-19, and there are those that find there’s insufficient evidence to show it helps at all. Government health agencies worldwide remain divided on the topic, with the Indian Ministry of Health contradicting both the CDC and WHO.

The point is that these are all subjects of valid public debate. Official advice could change at any moment in light of emerging evidence. Shielding the public from that debate leaves us in the dark and emboldens anti-vax conspiracy theorists who claim that the “powers that be,” whether they’re “big pharma” or “big public health,” are suppressing anything that isn’t the vaccine.

Worse still, the CDC’s official advice against trying even benign doses of Ivermectin to combat Covid-19 in consultation with medical professionals, something that isn’t mutually exclusive from encouraging vaccination, is likely driving people to take the drug in unregulated and potentially deadly doses without medical advice — such as by purchasing horse de-wormer.

Such bizarre consequences call to mind how prohibiting legal and regulated consumption of alcoholic beverages in places with public oversight during the 1920s resulted in alcohol seekers being driven blind or killed after consuming moonshine or bathtub gin.

Not everyone can be expected to navigate complex and nuanced scientific subjects where the evidence is emerging. But even if health officials and the “fact-checkers” quoting them are right most of the time and are far more likely to be right than partisan shock jocks or your crazy aunt on Facebook whose keyboard seems to be stuck on caps lock, they aren’t always going to get it right and we shouldn’t expect them to.

Better civics and scientific literacy education in schools will provide far better protection to the public from genuine misinformation and dangerous claims than harsher censorship.

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