The Case Against Censorship

Robert F Kennedy Jr in 2017

Over the last half century there has been an explosion in bandwidth, that is, in the rate at which information is disseminated through society. Social media is only one small part of this explosion but it is having noticeable effects on human behaviour. One such effect is the proliferation of  “misinformation”.  The political classes fear they are losing control of the narrative, as demonstrated by the Communications Legislation Amendment (Combatting Misinformation and Disinformation) Bill 2023.

Similar bandwidth explosions have occurred before, notably the printing and distribution of the first English bible by William Tyndale in the early sixteenth century. The execution of Tyndale for heresy and the suppression of his bible did not solve the problem and the Protestant Reformation subsequently swept through Western Europe. There was no Protestant Reformation in Russia. (Compare the political sophistication of present-day Russia with that of other European countries.)

One consequence of the present bandwidth explosion is the proliferation of conspiracy theories. Indeed entire YouTube channels are dedicated to conspiracy theories of one sort or another. Conspiracy theorist par excellence is perhaps Robert F Kennedy Jr., son of U.S. attorney general and senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Kennedy’s 3 hour interview with Joe Rogan has been banned from most media outlets, even YouTube, which made me think he may have something to say worth hearing. I was not disappointed.

Kennedy is an anti-vaxer. His major premise is that ethylmercury in vaccines has caused an epidemic of  autism in millions of children. It’s a great theory and seems to fit the facts. I have a background in statistics, so I took the trouble to download key papers refuting this claim. One, by Price et al (2010) convinced me that Kennedy was wrong. Their experimental method and statistical analysis were impeccable. Their conclusion: The results of our study of managed care organization members do not support the hypothesis that ethylmercury exposure from Thimerosal containing injections administered prenatally or during infancy is related to increased risk of autism spectrum disorders.

But that is not the whole story. In the interview Kennedy also claimed that US legislation, in effect, gives pharmaceutical companies carte blanche to manufacture and distribute vaccines which are injurious to the health of the recipient. The legislation states:

The seller of such products, again with the qualification that they are properly prepared and marketed, and proper warning is given, where the situation calls for it, is not to be held to strict liability for unfortunate consequences attending their use merely because he has undertaken to supply the public with an apparently useful and desirable product, attended with a known but apparently reasonable risk.

The important word here is known. Clearly if the risk is not known, the seller is home free. In the drug business the only way in which a property can be known is if it is researched. The best way not to know is not to do any research. Bingo!

This could well explain the under-researched relationship between the mRNA COVID vaccine and myocarditis  in otherwise fit young people.

It could also explain why the current  autism epidemic remains unexplained. Is the pharmaceutical industry afraid of what they may find?

Another issues raised by Kennedy in the interview concerns the unhealthily cosy relationship between regulatory institutions (NIH and CDC) and the drug companies.  This was also the subject of the miniseries Dopesick.

For good  governance it is important that citizens in a democracy are made aware of these shortcomings in drug regulation. The fact that Kennedy goes too far with one aspect of his expose does not mean that everything he said was wrong or that he should be censored by social media platforms running scared of government regulation.

The censoring of off-the-wall conspiracy theories on social media only adds to the paranoia of their adherents and may well preclude healthy popular discussion of important topics.



The Rogan-Kennedy Interview is currently on Spotify. If you have Spotify on your phone, Google “rogan kennedy podcast full” and follow the link.


Liability for the production and sale of vaccines.

6 Replies to “The Case Against Censorship”

  1. Autism may yet be caused by vaccines. Further research might well show that the statistical studies studied were studiously, or innocently, affected by bias in the input. However perfect the models, we cannot rule out Gigo. Garbage, ever present, is always looking for a way in.
    Having said that, though autism is definitely a problem, society may overall not be worse off by having a certain number of its members grow up autististically.
    Some people are artistically gifted, or geniuses. Not to imply that all these people are a boon to human society- many are a pain in the proverbial, whatever one takes that to mean. Imagine what artistic people may do when their art is not sufficiently appreciated. A certain Austrian Adolf comes to mind. Not a genius, but evil indeed.

    However, just as some artist or genius provides us with treasures unimaginable, think J.S. Bach, Rembrandt or Vivaldi, autistic people may provide us with skill-sets, insights and what not which may be of some crucial importance for our continued thriving, or surviving.

    But censorship, yes; a problem which a growing number of autists might well find a solution for. Should not all individuals who are in favour of civil rights and free speech, and in defiance of censorship, become autistic to a degree?

    1. The vaccine/autism case is pretty well settled. By persisting with it we only draw attention and funding away from research into other possible causes such as exposure to glyphosate or other herbicides/insecticides, other infant medications and so on. There may, of course, be other aspects of vaccines themselves which cause autism and that is what worries the industry.

    2. Yes, “autistic people may provide us with skill-sets, insights and what not which may be of some crucial importance for our continued thriving, or surviving” . . .
      In the face of AI doing better than humans now that the more rational and communicative traditions of mainstream economic culture have become less rewarding.
      Various kinds of autism might thus soon become more seen, especially at the Arts end of our cultural spectra, in various entertainments and so on, autistic celebs and so on.
      Savants especially. Yes, we could easily start wasting savants less than we’ve been doing.
      Move up from wasting 99% of them to say 98% instead.

      1. My “we could easily start wasting savants less than we’ve been doing” was an allusion to the impressions IBM and L M Ericsson groundscraper complexes made on me, the pre-2020 equivalents of today’s “Chip fabs”, their reversals of this societal norms to GREAT effect :
        Yes, impression is that savants have long been our under-recognized producers of much of our wealth via business corporational harnessing of their gifts.
        The Pareto Principle is thus explained:
        Much business success, small and large, is due to savants, as much as other kinds of windfall, asset advantages,
        Savants being so vulnerable to entrapment and control, while being extremely productive.
        Some of my strongest memories are of such producers of 80% of what was happening around them. I have been recognizing them as savants.
        My experience of workplace cultures is that they are so spectral:
        Smartly suited, most-personable individuals run things from the Sales and Marketing front ends of these spectra.
        Savant geniuses often occupy pointy ends of production ends of such spectra, with in-betweeners in between, good at dealing with those around them, above and below, factory managers and so on.
        Hence corporeal dominance of the economic world!

  2. “Corporeal dominance of the economic world” via superior harnessing of AI as well as the savants they have been harnessing better than others, as indeed we are already seeing in Silicon Valley cultural dominance of that economic world.
    Hence much bragging by the Chinese about their bigger “Bay Area”, the one surrounding their Shenzen.
    An even more dominating, greater-proportional expansion of that world I was witnessing is thus foreseen:
    A new AI dimension added to those earlier savant-tipped dimensions of the business corporational world
    We may thus find ourselves being sucked harder and harder into by AI-honed entertainments . . .
    As Aldous Huxley was portending in his Brave New World . . .

  3. The near-future thus portended . . . business corporeal AI-ed hyper-normalisation of savants:
    Integration of ever-greater portions of savants into societies via exponential growth of corporational AI-ed tweaking of relationships between savants and surrounding others . . .
    Ad infinitum!?!

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