Being on the administrative/editorial side of Brownstone has been a serious education in information systems. I don’t mean on a technical level. I mean on a social level. I had no idea just how many people there are who simply are not in a position to speak their minds.
It’s strange because the whole idea of the Internet – or so I believed – was to democratize speech rights and opportunities. Surely after its maturation – so I assumed – we could gain a greater understanding of the public mind. I further hoped that this realization would lead to ever more waves of emancipation for the human project in general.
And yet, we’ve lived for a few years in a world ever more closed to a diversity of opinions, at least relative to what I and others believed was our fate. When Covid hit, along with intimidating high dudgeon, came the claim that a deadly pathogen would get us all unless we complied with authoritarian diktat.
I thought I had experienced mass panics and even intimidating political propaganda that claimed that dissent was irresponsible, even evil. And yet, I’d never seen or experienced anything like this. Those of us who had grave doubts about the whole project of massive human quarantine in the early days were called the most grim names: grandma killers, science deniers, Covid minimizers, and far worse. Yes, there were plenty of death wishes and threats along the way.
It so happened that I was in a position to look past all that and merely post factual information as it came in. Over time more people joined in. Many paid a heavy personal price for speaking out: job loss and sullied reputations for starters. But for many of the dissidents, the results were truly grim. They were permanently marginalized.
There has been no payoff for the intellectuals who stuck out their necks, spoke the truth, and led us out of this crisis and the mythology surrounding it. Looking back, it’s pretty clear that many wanted vaccine mandates and passports to be permanent. Why did they go away? Only because dissidents dared to speak. And they have paid a very heavy price for doing so.
Every day for months, and since its founding, Brownstone institute has received notes from people thankful for our content. There are two reasons that correspondents give. First, it makes them realize that they are not crazy and not alone. Second, the content is giving voice to their observations and concerns that they are not in a position to post under their own names. Even posting anonymously is too risky for some. They rely on sites like Brownstone to be their voice.
Who are they?
Medical doctors have come to fear harassment from their medical boards and media, who are both in a position to wreck their lives. They have done it to plenty of people, simply as a demonstration to them all.
Nurses have feared speaking out all along, knowing full well what happened to the brave souls who went public about the murderous practices of ventillating covid cases in the early days. These nurses were promptly fired as a lesson to others.
Professors and researchers have known better than to stand up for truth. Their skills are not very fungible in the marketplace. Losing one job could lead to unemployment forever. For someone who spent 20 years in schooling and slaved through the academic morass, this is too heavy a price.
Courage simply does not pay in our world today. You show it, get attacked by most and praise from some, and then your life is suddenly changed and not for the better.
Think too of the parents who were simply grateful that the schools reopened. Speaking out against vaccine mandates and masking put their own kids at a disadvantage in school. How could they know that teachers and administrators would not take it out on their kids in subtle ways?
Journalists knew better than to write what was true. Their bosses had already made the position of the venue perfectly clear: they would go along. Pfizer money was too important to their advertising budget to enable anyone to play the hero.
Think tanks were the same way. They depend on their largesse from getting along with funders and their relationships with government contacts. Everyone knew what they could and could not say. It was far easier for them to stay silent and pretend that none of this was happening. Not even the libertarians employed to fight for liberty could safely speak out, so they manufactured every manner of ideological excuse to go along.
Public sector employees could not raise their voices, obviously. Certainly that goes for teachers, who would have had their throats slit by the teachers’ unions.
Tech workers – multitudes of them – knew exactly what was what all along. We have received so many notes from people working at Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and even Twitter. They have cheered what we are doing all along. But they could say nothing. It’s been driving them crazy but what are they going to do?
Nothing silences people more effectively than a six-figure salary and all the emoluments of corporate life. They don’t like it but that’s the way it is. There is a mortgage to pay and kids to feed.
Same goes for attorneys, many of whom wanted to challenge clearly illegal acts but were not permissioned to do so by their law firms. Some quit and worked pro bono and won. But most just kept their heads down because they had to and could not afford the risk.
Same goes for people who merely wanted to preserve their Facebook and Instagram pages. Say one wrong word, and and these companies can delete you and your whole history and friend network. For many, that is reason enough to stay quiet.
There just isn’t much money in telling the truth. And yet without truth, there is no preserving civilization. It’s a wicked paradox. The only way out of it has been exactly what has happened over the last 31 months. Some people have to be willing to stand up despite the cost. This has made all the difference.
Brownstone was started to give a platform and opportunity to those who wanted to write and think thoughtfully about the crisis that we face. What we ended up becoming was a crucial voice for the voiceless. This accounts for the traffic and the focus and perhaps what seems like success.
In truth, our success around here is small potatoes compared with the vast power and money of those who, for reasons that still remain unclear, threw themselves into the unscientific and untruthful crusade for censorship, despotism, and the rise and permanency of the hegemonic bio-security state.
Victory is far from assured. There is also the next time about which we should all be concerned. None of the powers that allowed this to happen to us have been taken away and we have yet to hear a single promise much less a guarantee that a future of freedom is ours to be had.
Remember this: every article you read on this site represents the views of thousands of learned and concerned people who are not in a position to speak. Every author here has taken risks and knows the stakes of the debate in which we find ourselves at the center. There is a silent group out there of highly intelligent people who are deeply grateful to all our supporters for making this opportunity to speak truth to power possible.