Nobody seems to be safe from the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe.
On November 24, 2020, YouTube took down a Mises Institute video exposing Wuhan virus hysteria.
The video was of a talk by historian Tom Woods, titled “The Covid Cult”, which received over 1.5 million views. It was recorded several weeks at a live Mises event in Texas. In an article for the Mises Institute, President Jeff Deist wrote that the video “offered challenges to the official narrative surrounding the coronavirus, particularly with respect to mask mandates. Woods’s talk featured several charts showing rises in Covid “cases” across multiple cities and countries not long after imposing mask rules, demonstrating how such rules apparently have little effect on slowing transmission of the virus.”
Deist added some more information about the strange nature of this removal:
This decision apparently lasts for all eternity, cannot be appealed to an actual human, and comes with this friendly admonition: ‘Because it’s the first time, this is just a warning. If it happens again, your channel will get a strike and you won’t be able to do things like upload, post, or live stream for 1 week.’
Wood’s speech railed against the unproductive lockdowns and some questionable science related to the Wuhan virus. It also took into account some of the tradeoffs regarding public health and economic well-being. Overall, the speech provided a libertarian take to the question at hand.
In a sane world, platforms like YouTube would actually allow for free discourse. However, we don’t live in that kind of environment any longer. Gone are the days of social media providing open forums for discussion.
Anti-woke scholar Michael Rectenwald has been one of the most prominent scholars in exposing Big Tech’s increasingly politicized behavior. Deist gave an overview of some of Rectenwald’s views on Big Tech’s political actions:
‘Big Digital,’ as Professor Michael Rectenwald terms tech companies, have become ‘governmentalities’: supposedly private enterprises turned into instruments of state power and state narratives. This sordid process is different for each company, (some are more complicit than others, a few are heroically non-compliant) but it involves a mix of early start-up funding; connections and contracts with state agencies, particularly relating to defense and surveillance; and propaganda campaigns in service of state narratives.
Rectenwald went into further detail about Big Tech’s connections to the state in a talk titled “The Google Election“:
In short, Google, Facebook and others are not strictly private sector entities; they are governmentalities in the sense that I have given to the term. They are extensions and apparatuses of the state. Furthermore, these platforms are governmentalities with a particular interest in the growth and extension of governmentality itself. This includes championing every kind of “subordinated” and newly created identity class that they can find or create, because such “endangered” categories require state acknowledgement and protection. Thus, the state’s circumference continues to expand. Big Digital is partial to the interests and growth of the state. It not only does business with statists but also shares their values. This helps makes sense of its leftist bent and their preference for the deep state Democrats. Leftism is statism.
Rectenwald’s book Google Archipelago take a deep dive into how companies such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other tech actors collude with the state to perpetuate corporate and state power.
The good news is that the Mises Institute has a backup option for their content, which Deist points out:
Thankfully, the sneering call to “build your own platforms” is being answered. Companies like Bitchute and LBRY (its video platform is Odysee) continue to host Mises Institute content, and promise to continue doing so. In fact, you can view Dr. Woods’s forbidden talk at those respective source here and here.
Thankfully, alternatives like Bitchute exist, so that controversial content creators can still put out their own content and make a living.