Should Your Mother’s Advice Be Banned?
“If freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
- George Washington
One of the very first things at the beginning of this pandemic that raised the ‘What in the world is going on here?’ question within me is when two people I know got banned on social media for posting how vitamins C and D can help keep our immune system strong.
That was the infraction. Nothing else was added. They did not say take vitamins ‘to treat COVID’ - they said take vitamins ‘to help boost the immune system against COVID’. They were temporarily banned and cited for posting ‘misinformation’ and that all seemed very strange to me.
And then I became aware of how widespread this banning and citing was even within the medical community.
My ‘something is off here’ antenna went up. Why would sharing the benefits of taking vitamins to help boost our immune system against any virus be deemed as troublesome and actual misinformation?
This would be similar to a caring family member saying, “We’re in the midst of a terrible flu season, please don’t forget to take your vitamins” and then another family member saying “That advice is misinformation. To keep your immune system strong you only need to wear your mask, wash your hands and keep your distance - not take vitamins. She’s spreading lies.”
Granted, some people did make (as yet) unsubstantiated claims, such as high doses of vitamin D successfully ‘prevented or treated COVID’ but those claims do not discount the scientific evidence that vitamin D does in fact help boost the immune system, as Heather Heying's excellent article points out.
Just as it would make no sense to ban information about the benefits of eating broccoli because some people make (as yet) unsubstantiated claims that eating high doses of broccoli can prevent and treat high blood pressure - this banning of the benefits of vitamins makes no sense.
But at the beginning of this pandemic, I thought maybe the banning was just a social media phenomenon so I began to pay more attention to what people were saying on the news. And as they shared guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) I hoped we’d soon hear something like, “Just as masks don’t prevent or treat COVID vitamin D doesn’t either but we do recommend both. Wear a mask and get some sunshine or talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D. There are many steps we can take, such as eating good food and getting exercise, to help keep our immune system strong.”
But nothing similar to that was ever said on the news and nothing similar to that was ever included in the CDC’s COVID guidelines.
Currently, on the CDC’s website under the prevent getting sick tab, the only recommendation listed is to get the vaccine. And under the how to protect yourself tab their recommendations are listed here in order: get vaccinated, wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated places, wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect, and monitor health daily.
The silence spoke loudly. I started to hear what’s not being said.
During a pandemic, this seems to me like a common sense and caring thing to do.
So what’s the big deal? It just about vitamins, right?
All of this may seem like much ado about nothing.
What’s the big deal if some people are banned or discredited for sharing information about vitamins?
What’s the big deal if, during a pandemic, information about vitamins isn’t shared on the news or by health organizations that are tasked to provide us with information to help keep our immune system strong?
It is a big deal because whenever a free society bans, discredits and omits information that act then goes hand in hand with the demeaning of those who do share that information - all of which is a very big deal indeed.
Whenever we become aware of any censored information or information people discredit as ‘misinformation’ or ‘a conspiracy theory’ we should sit up straighter rather than slouch back further.
We should sit up straighter so we can decide for ourself if what others deem as misinformation warrants that judgment or if the jury is still out.
If we don’t look at the information for ourself we are in fact saying:
“I don’t need to think. You have done my thinking for me. I trust your ability to think over my own. Thank you for doing that work for me.”
No caring person would tell us “You don’t need to think. Trust me - that is a conspiracy theory, a complete lie. It’s not worthy of your consideration. For your good I will ban that information because I care about you.”
Another reason we should sit up straighter whenever there is talk around censorship, is so we don’t get manipulated into believing that those who call for free speech are the enemy, dangerous, extremists, or conspiracy theorists.
Believing in censorship and believing in enemies go together.
There is no way to get around this. If we believe that certain information shouldn’t be shared and there are those who want to share that information then we, at some level, will view them as an enemy - as ‘the other.’
The mindset “What I want for them I would never want for myself” is steeped in ‘us vs them’ regardless of how anyone tries to spin it.
This tragic ‘us vs them’ mindset is such a destructive belief that goes hand in hand with censorship.
Those who call for censorship are trying to manipulate us into not thinking and manipulate us into seeing each other as enemies.
And the thing about manipulation that makes it so manipulative is that it can actually seem reasonable and caring - until we consider things more deeply.
Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Galileo, Newton, Eratosthenes, Pythagoras, Copernicus, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were all accused of speaking lies. And the people of their time who tried to silence them actually seemed reasonable and caring to most people. Many felt strongly that silencing these men was for the common good.
Great vigilance is required for any individual and society that values truth and freedom.
What good fortune for the government when the people do not think.
Thank you so much for reading.
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