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George Monbiot comes out in favour of censorship

“Covid lies cost lives – we have a duty to clamp down on them”, he writes in the Guardian.

I will skip the bit where I tell Samizdata readers why censorship is morally bad. You already know. Once upon a time Mr Monbiot knew, too, but it no longer surprises me to see that yet another left winger has succumbed to the modern McCarthyism. You would think sixty-five years of fantasising about how they would have stood up to Senator McCarthy or his equivalents in the House Un-American Activities Committee would have strengthened their spines a little more. But I can still be shocked at how much of a betrayal of the scientific method Mr Monbiot’s attempt to defend science by means of forbidding the publication of opposing hypotheses represents. As a commenter called “tomsmells” says,

This is quite an astounding agenda, considering how new this virus is and how frequently the experts in control have been wrong. Perhaps we should have considered banning talk of encouraging mask wearing when it was very much not considered a good idea by the experts in charge? Or when loss of taste and smell wasn’t considered a symptom? I’m not sure it would have been helpful for the understanding of what works and what doesn’t. It probably won’t be now either even though you seem to suggest we apparently we know exactly how to deal with this virus, despite the bodies piling up around the world. In circumstances when you clearly don’t have all the answers, it can’t be a good idea to ban ideas your consistently wrong scientists disagree with. That is essentially how freedom of speech functions within a democracy, ideas get talked about, hopefully the best prevail.

And on top of that, surely you can see how this approach is wrought with danger? It’s always easy to do the censoring, but bugger me is it difficult when you are the one being censored. Bear that in mind when you advocate this level of censorship, particularly in a debate when you have no doubt been wrong about plenty of things – which may I add is no shame, this is a complicated and evolving problem whose solution won’t be found any faster by banning discussion.

21 comments to George Monbiot comes out in favour of censorship

  • Paul Ormerod

    Well put and thank you!
    As far as I’m concerned, you’ve won the debate already, without any need to refer to conspiracy theories, or biblical advice.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I’d actually forgotten about him. I recall he advocated “re-wilding” the UK a few years ago: bringing back wolves and other predators, getting rid of conventional livestock farming, etc. Sometimes these ideas aren’t totally bonkers, but his underlying philosophy is about diminishing Man as much as protecting other species. Some of this goes back to JJ Rousseau, one of the most nasty and silly writers who ever lived.

  • pete

    Well, if censorship is needed then the government should hire the Guardian to do it.

    It has years of experience of deleting comments and banning people from contributing to them.

    Facebook and Twitter are mere amateurs in comparison when it comes to silencing incorrect opinions.

  • Fred Z

    Monbiot is an evil nutjob, and always has been.

    If he ever got power he’d join the Hitler – Stalin – Mao – Pot death cult club in a matter of months, and all for our own good.

    The only reasons to read him is to see how far advanced his megalomania is and whether he has any hope of achieving his ends.

  • Sigivald

    Monbiot can be relied upon to be dangerously wrong on any topic, no?

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Sigivald writes, “Monbiot can be relied upon to be dangerously wrong on any topic, no?”

    Actually, no. Once or twice he has shown a streak of independent thought and a willingness to change his opinions in the light of new evidence, and in a direction that will not have pleased his peers. For instance he wrote this in 2011: “Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power”.

    Or take this piece that he wrote in 2009 in response to “Climategate”: “Pretending the climate email leak isn’t a crisis won’t make it go away”.

  • GregWA

    Is anyone pushing the idea that we need accurate death statistics for COVID-19?

    An orthopedic surgeon friend of mine tells of a patient admitted for knee surgery who tested positive for COVID. He was listed as a “COVID hospitalization” even though he was asymptomatic. And we’ve probably all read about “died with COVID” versus “died from COVID”. How much have the death statistics been inflated–I honestly don’t know. As far as I can tell, it could be a factor of 2, 5? 10?

    Knowing that determining the true cause of death is hard to know in some cases, maybe in many cases for the very elderly, those with co-morbidities…so why can’t we just ask the doctors to say that: “multiple causes”. And only fret intensely if the “died from COVID and nothing else” statistics warrant fretting to the point of economic suicide.

    Or is this just too far in our past now to sort it out? And I don’t mean too far in the past for those who know this stuff to sort it out, but too distant for the political will to have it sorted.

  • bobby b

    A relative administers a small string of nursing homes. She tells me that the word “Covid” appearing on a death certificate means $8,000-$17,000 in additional government funds. Her budget is always very tight. People respond to incentives.

    She’s shown me her numbers. It was indeed a scorching fire through these facilities. But we don’t really know just HOW scorching it was. And, aside from a massive individual records review, we’ll never know.

    Which means we’ll never know.

  • staghounds

    The only number that means anything is increase in deaths over the same period last year.

  • Chester Draws

    The numbers being reported in the US for Covid deaths are in line with the excess deaths since January 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm#dashboard

  • Tim Worstall

    Censoring those who are objectively wrong – Monbiot’s proposal – has all sorts of problems like the liberty angle, the worry over who decides what is objectively correct and so on. It would also leave us with very much less of Mr. Monbiot’s output.

  • Rob

    It’s quite simple really – Monbiot and his fellow travellers opposed censorship when they were the outsiders and they wanted to present their view.
    Now that they are winning, censorship is a useful weapon to keep them winning. I mean, you didn’t think he actually meant it, do you? On the grounds of principle?

  • Rob

    It is a bad idea even when the people doing the censorship are completely rational and working solely from scientific motives. I now invite you to consider the people Monbiot would want doing the censorship, and consider both their motives and their beliefs.

  • Paul Marks

    Senator Joseph McCarthy drank too much and should not have trusted Roy Cohn (who was useless), but he was a lot better man than the people he was fighting. Senator Joseph McCarthy was fighting vicious traitors who wished to murder tens of millions of people and enslave everyone else. See M Stanton-Evans “Blacklisted By History” for the real history.

    Had not Senator McCarthy and others, not been BETRAYED (and they were betrayed), the institutions of the West might not be as rotten with Marxism as they are now. Although it was indeed the HOUSE Committee (not SENTATOR McCarthy who were really interested in fighting the cultural decay (the corruption of the education system and everything that leads to). Establishment “conservatives” did not want people from “good families” exposed as servants of Stalin and Mao – and so flung people like the ‘Drunken Irishman’ to the wolves. And so we are all doomed.

    But still all that is for another day….. and, yes, I know that the modern left are not really ECONOMIC Marxists (they do not like “Antifa” because they are economic Marxists – no friends of the rich who control the modern left). The modern left, the Davos crowd, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and so on, are more Fascists than Orthodox Marxists (see that classic of modern Fascism – “Stakeholder Capitalism” by Klaus Schwab 1971), but Mussolini was trying to update Marxism for the modern world.

    As for George Moonbat – he is an evil man, and so pushes evil things. That is not complicated.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – I agree that “Covid lies cost lives” – the most important lie being “there is no Early Treatment for Covid 19”.

    That is a lie that the friends of George M. and the Guardian push all the time on the internet – they lie, and lie, and lie and they have cost the best part of one hundred thousand lives in the United Kingdom alone.

    Should they be punished for their Covid lies?

  • Richard S Thomas

    Paul Marks, indeed, McCarthy seems to be receiving something of a redemption these days.

  • Paul Marks

    I hope so Mr Thomas, I hope so – for under my Jewish family name, there is a bit of a “Drunken Irishman” in me. Joseph McCarthy had many faults – but he was the sort of man who would never let a friend down (no matter what the cost), he did not deserve to be betrayed as he was – and the people he was fighting, far from being the “honourable men and women” of the Hollywood films and fake history books, were evil. In fact they were incredibly evil – and people just like them now dominate almost every cultural institution including many of the Churches. Even Joseph McCarthy’s beloved Roman Catholic Church is now dominated by such people as the Archbishop of Washington D.C. and the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago (dreadful men – who have sold their souls).

    As for the House (in which Joseph McCarthy never served) the “House UnAmerican Activities Committee” is often confused with the Reece Committee – which actually did the real research in Marxist influence in the United States.

    B. Carroll Reece was a Republican Congressman from the 1st Congressional District (Eastern Tennessee broke with the Democrats over slavery back in the mid 19th century – and is Republican to this day) – a quiet intellectual, Congressman Reece and the researchers he hired did a lot of good work on the gradual increase in Marxist ideas (often disguised under cover names) in American education – and how this influence was gradually spreading from indoctrination (“education”) to all aspects of American life.

    “Joe” McCarthy was interested in catching spies in the American government (and the people he thought were spies – mostly WERE INDEED SPIES and “agents of influence”) – B. Carroll Reece was interested in the more boring work of tracking the influence of Marxist IDEAS, especially in the big charitable foundations (financed, ironically enough, by Big Business) and the universities – including Teacher Training.

    The reports of Reece were essentially ignored – and he died at the start of the 1960s, although the explosion of Marxist activity in the West in the 1960s would not have shocked him (as it was what he predicted).

    It is all very depressing – one can but hope that such men are in Heaven, for there is no justice down on Earth for those who try to defend society against the totalitarians.

  • Paul Marks

    Will the “Covid Lies” of the people who have claimed (again and again – lying without shame) that there is “no Early Treatment for Covid 19” ever be punished?

    These liars, pushed by the Guardian and so on, have cost many hundreds of thousands of human lives in the Western World – but I do not believe they will ever be punished. How can the system punish people who control (who are) the system? It is like expecting the FBI to arrest corrupt scum such as Joseph Biden – they would also have to arrest THEMSELVES – for it is not one or two individuals, it is THE SYSTEM that is corrupt (to the core).

    Otherwise terrible atrocities, such as the one we have seen in most of the Western World over the last year, could not have occurred.

  • JohnK


    I am now reading that HCQ, given early, as you say, and with zinc and antibiotic, is indeed a very effective treatment for Covid. But it must be given within a couple of days of hospitalisation. Given too late and it has no value. It can also be given in conjunction with steroids, which have also been found to be useful.

    So it seems that President Trump was right all along. It is no surprise, HCQ was known to be a valuable treatment for coronaviruses, President Trump did not make it up. But as you say, the MSM and the corrupt establishment rubbished HCQ, it seems because President Trump advocated it, and for no other reason. They have the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on their hands, and they could not care less. The people who died were mostly old and deplorable after all. They probably voted for Trump or Brexit.

    I wish Trump had sacked Fauci months ago. Maybe he thought the political fallout would have been too bad. But Fauci stabbed him in the back all the same. He need not fear for his job and $417,000 salary under Sleepy Joe.

  • “Once upon a time Mr Monbiot knew”


  • […] it is to censor unorthodox views on medical issues. If would-be censors like the Guardian‘s George Monbiot had had his way, we would have banned all talk of mask-wearing in March […]