This is a blog that I've found difficult to write. There are many issues that come together and the brew that comes out is rather toxic. Firstly, I have to say that if Joni Mitchell and Neil Young wish to take their art of Spotify, that is there absolute right and I totally support them. If they'd done it because artists are not getting a fair deal from online platforms, I wouldn't be writing this. Secondly, I am very pro vaccine and I deplore people who are making money from spouting anti vax rubbish. I totally believe that there should be strict laws about propogating dangerous myths about medical treatments, especially when this is done for cash. I've not listened to the Podcast that the bloke who all the fuss is about has produced. It would simply irritate me. Personally I'd much rather it wasn't on Spotify or any of the other online platforms. But, and here is the big but, I also believe in the right to free speach and I do not think that suppression of legally held views is the way forward.
We desperately need a way of identifying harmful and dishonest content and legislating for it. Medical authorities and National Governments need to ensure that all relevant data is there so that dangerous lies can be debunked and the people who peddle them are held to account. If platforms such as Spotify host such material, they should be liable to face legal action. But it has to be based on science and properly constituted law. If I say "I will not not be vaccinated, because I saw a video on youtube that says it will make you magnetic and die of cancer and it won't stop you getting ill and dying of the disease it is aimed at" and such a video exists, it is a perfectly reasonable thing to say. If the video contains information that is untrue, then the person who has posted it, has potentially caused me harm. If I suffer as a result I should be able to seek recourse against the platform and the person who posted it. If I die, my dependents should. Harm has been caused.
However, Me, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, though we may hold such things in contempt, are not qualified and do not have the information to make such a desicision about whether information is false. We need to see medical authorities take the lead on this and governments legislate on it. I take the view that if someone is making spurious claims online, they should have to be able to prove that there is a scientific basis for their views. If they can, then it is a valdi view, even if we don't like it. If they can't, they should face the cost of having their views debunked and they should be legally prevented from posting material in future about health and well being. I am perfectly fine with David Icke saying he's the son of God and we should all wear Turquiose tracksuits. There is no logical reason to remove such things. When he posts myths about vaccines and makes a fortune from doing so, that is a different matter. It disturbs me that in this distopian age, governments don't have the wherewithal to address such myths in a proper scientific manner.
I am reminded of my mother whenever there is a discussion on vaccines. She was nearly killed by Diptheria in 1937. She also saw my brother suffer from Polio. She told me that the anti vaccine mob existed purely because people had forgot the sheer terror of plagues of infectious diseases. I recall her dressing down a friend who was saying they would not give their children the MMR vaccine. My mother recounted how she was told that my eldest brother had Polio and might die. She said that she prayed in gratitude to the Lord that for her younger children, Polio had been banished by vaccination.
I cannot believe how people fall for such nonsense as peddled by the anti vaccine mob, but given that there is not a proper, central WHO resource, which addresses all of the myths in one central place, globally. Of course, some people will always believe that everything is a conspiracy. There are still some who believe the Earth is flat. That is their right, but we don't put them in charge of the NASA moon program.