Guest essay by Andrew Lowenthal, expert in digital rights and open technology.
Thanks Paul for sharing Andrews essay, very interesting to get a 'behind the scenes' perspective on this insanity.
It's been maddening to see friends, family, colleagues captured by this group-think pro-censor movement. I keep wondering if I am the crazy one, but then I open my copy of The Demon-Haunted World, remind myself of how science ought to be conducted, and soldier on. It is really bizarre how many esteemed scientists, journalists, and intellectuals immediately tossed out the Mertonian Norms in March of 2020.
The creep of "bigotry of low expectations" is unsettling. I would be insulted if I learned that Facebook was protecting me from having my views and claims challenged. I would feel so disrespected to learn that AI scripts were setup to remove me from seeing even the slightest challenge to my ideas without my consent. I would think that would lead to an identity crisis, to learn that all along, the reason I never saw dissent wasn't because no good arguments could be formed, rather, I wasn't allowed to see alternative hypothesis or flaws in my reasoning because Big Tech didn't respect my ability to handle critique.
For the archives, I'm posting two instances Facebook prevented my (I believe) respectful comments from reaching their desired targets. Both auto moderated by Facebook, for anyone who cares to skim through these posts, note how even benign pushback using government sponsored sources triggers censorship.
Example A, The Unbiased Science Podcast shared this post  in May of 2021 attempting to explain why California and Florida were seeing such similar results despite having vastly different policies on masks, which they (Jess and Andrea), felt was due to confounders, rather than considering cloth masks didn't prevent viral transmission. Having spent considerable time compiling, reviewing, and occasionally replicating every single mask study shared across traditional and social media the past 2 years , I thought I would politely point out to them that the studies they relied on and cited for mask efficacy, ignored the very same confounders they used to explain why California and Florida were having such similar outcomes despite masking.
As a professional, I would hate to be spreading studies of such poor quality, and I assumed that as professional science influencers perhaps they hadn't had the time to recreate the results of the Kansas and Tennessee mask studies since originally published, because if they had they would see the claims made within collapsed be re-running the results a few months later. Since I had that time, thought I would share, but Facebook wouldn't even give them the courtesy to be challenged. They both continue to promote masking, and I have to wonder, how much of their passion for masking might have been tempered were they allowed to have their views challenged early on, rather than Big Tech ensuring the data dredged studies they reposted never saw sunlight?
Screenshots of my moderated reply FB deemed too dangerous: https://imgur.com/a/a9zjkr3
Example B, A close friend had shared an article from MSM in August of 2021 (probably NYT, maybe WaPa), lamenting that the reason vaccinated people are getting infected was because variants were driven by unvaccinated people, and had everyone gotten vaccinated these variants wouldn't have been able to penetrate the vaccine.
Again, Facebook felt my friend must be too stupid to handle another hypothesis, so prevented him from looking at some CDC links and comments from Michael Osterholm that countered this idea. In this case I appealed the FB censor decision, a week later they said appeal accepted and it was their mistake, but my original posts still never appeared in that thread which my friend confirmed.
My dangerous post found here: https://imgur.com/a/rcK0HPg
It's so silly and sad. All of this.
 My personal collection of all mask studies, begins with the 70 YLE shared as "settled science" and continued from there.
Scientific censorship (beginning with natural immunity) was the first step in the process that turned me into a recovering liberal. If I quoted every paragraph that struck me as exceptionally well-phrased, I would end up quoting the entire article. This articulates brilliantly many of my feelings. Thank you.
No one is more committed to free inquiry and dissent than I am. Most of your article makes sense. But not all. When you refer to vaccination as violating bodily "autonomy", then I question your reasoning and principles. The notion that in the middle of a pandemic that is killing millions an individual can decide whether or not to cooperate in minimizing deaths is not liberty but irresponsibility. Vaccination for many childhood diseases has been mandatory for nearly a century. No one questioned the need for it. It was always understood that some might suffer adverse reactions but this is true of all drugs, everywhere on earth. The notion that an individual can make moral decisions suiting herself but potentially harming many others is like allowing armed criminals loose and hoping they behave themselves. Your personal judgment of how we dealt with public health and minimizing deaths is not the basis for public policy. You have no right to carry a disease and be allowed free contact with other people. You would be committing a criminal act. Putting your own concept of liberty ahead of social responsibility and sound medical practice is not autonomy but anarchy. The mistakes of doctors and government are not intentional and sometimes there will be faulty judgment or errors. But personal responsibility for acts with wide public consequences that can lead to deaths is MANDATORY. Get your head together. You are not the emperor of the world, and your personal judgement doesn't override that of others who look to government to protect their health and welfare. Or do you not think this is the responsibility of government?
Your last paragraph is the best summation of the whole Covid Planned Demic in my book: Pandemic information controls and restrictions on free speech had real world consequences that contributed to poorer, not better, public health outcomes. By neglecting to address corporate and government pandemic censorship, the digital rights movement failed in its core mission of securing online freedom of expression.
Once we give up our freedoms, any of those freedoms from digital rights to personal body autonomy rights, for whatever reason we are stepping out onto the slippery slope of tyranny that endangers all of us in terrible ways! But when we give up those rights based mainly on FEAR to give us some modicum of SAFETY, as the person references above in the scolding that we have no personal right to walk around with sickness to infect humanity from a disease with a 99.975% survival rate, then it is easy to see that those in power will continually use the FEAR PORN to maintain their power and silence any dissent in every journalistic medium!!!
The biggest problem I have with everything that we were told by every government, their agencies, the WHO most scientists and Doctors during this planned Demic was just plain wrong!!! What did they get right??? And yet they keep insisting we may someday soon need to go back to masking, which never did nor will work; social distancing, which we all now know 20 feet apart is no better than 6 feet apart for an airborne viral illness transmission; and lockdowns which have been proven on many fronts to not work and are in fact more dangerous and deadly than the virus we are trying to protect ourselves from!!! And with the mRNA jabs what did we find out? They don’t prevent transmission, stop transmission, work anywhere near as effectively as we were told and have serious if not deadly side effects when we were told repeatedly by everyone from The President of The United States to your local Nurse Practitioner that they are 100% safe and won’t hurt you at all; trust us!!!
And yet today the MSM continues to hold all of the Cast of Characters, from Fauci to Walensky to Albert Bora of Pfizer, as the unquestionable experts and people with the final say on what we should all listen too!
We have all been dealt a very dirty hand by every journalist from every medium that drunk this Kool-aid and has not offered to report critically or accurately and stand up to the powers that be!