To Curb Anti-Vaxx Propaganda Should We Give Up Free Speech Entirely?

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It’s entirely true that there are people out there who insist that vaccines are terribly dangerous and no one should have them. Or at least not my children. They’re wrong, to an extent. Vaccines are dangerous and that’s why we’ve got vaccine compensation schemes. Vaccines will indeed kill some who have them and damage more. The point being that non-vaccination will kill and damage many more.

It’s all about relative risk that is.

OK, but now we’ve those insisting that anti-vaxxers should be denied the liberty to propagate their misunderstandings. The point of free speech being that we all get to say stupid things. Which should win?

Anti-vaxx propaganda is flooding the internet. Will tech companies act?
As vaccine advocates we can change our tone but companies such as Amazon, YouTube and Facebook must stop profiting off human vulnerability

We might even think that’s a reasonable insistence. Who would put free speech up against the terrors of a polio outbreak for example? And yet that’s not actually what is being argued for. What is is that we should give up that free speech nonsense altogether:

This means that to create lasting change, our work as advocates is twofold: to be more present and compassionate in our communities, and to hold technology companies accountable. We need to push for a radical shift in the business practices of tech companies, away from ads and back towards people. Offering minor fixes after harm has already been done is not enough. It is not OK to sit there and profit while society pays the catastrophic cost of unfettered hate speech, erosion of democracy, and public health crises. A better social media industry is possible and essential; one that serves human values, rather than exploit human vulnerabilities.

Unfettered hate speech means whatever right on campaigners say it is. Erosion of democracy means the wrong people winning. That’s the power that’s being demanded, that the tech companies -and through them our own ability to say what we damn well like – is to be curbed, eradicated even. Vaccines are only the Trojan Horse, the aim is to stop us expressing BadThink.

At which point they can go pedicare* themselves, can’t they?

*Gibbon.