Nine News’ latest poll has revealed more than half of Australians believe police should be given the power to penalise people for spreading COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
According to the outlet, 56% of those surveyed believed police should be allowed to fine Australians who intentionally spread “chaos-inducing conspiracy theories” during a pandemic. Of those surveyed, 16% said a fine was too lenient while only 6% opposed the idea.
The obvious question is, what constitutes as a “conspiracy theory” and who, exactly, will be the arbiter of truth? In recent months we’ve seen plenty of examples of arbitrary censorship of content contrary to the accepted narrative.
In May, John Piper had his audiobook Coronavirus and Christ banned from YouTube after the video-sharing platform deemed it a violation of community guidelines in relation to COVID-19 reporting.
One month prior, Google suspended a popular church app from the Google Play store after accusing pastors Tony Sumpter and Doug Wilson of mishandling the subject of coronavirus in a series of sermons.
And that’s to say nothing about big tech’s consorted efforts to suppress, delete, and silence anyone, even those in the medical profession, from speaking about the possibility of alternative solutions to the virus.
Much like baseless accusations of “hate speech,” the term “conspiracy theorist” is increasingly being employed against anyone and everyone who questions the mainstream narrative.
As Rod Lampard recently noted, these approved, pre-scripted labels such as “science denier,” “fake news,” and “conspiracy theorist” are simply an attempt to morally justify dismissing an opposing viewpoint without having to engage in thinking about it rationally.
It’s a worrying day indeed when more than half of Australians would substitute their freedom for a false sense of safety by handing the state more power over their lives.
And besides, given government’s woeful track record since time began, shouldn’t the people who unquestionably trust their politicians and blindly accept the narrative be the ones branded the “conspiracy theorists”?