Creeping Censorship in the Name of Public Health

Creeping Censorship in the Name of Public Health
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File)

While McCarthyism is recalled as a low point for our democracy, most Americans in the 1950s were sympathetic to the Wisconsin Senator’s efforts to root out alleged communists from government and other walks of life. Massive fear generated by the very real threat of global Soviet aggression led to a reprehensible trampling of constitutional rights, in a classic example of how the ends do not justify the means – even if that was only widely grasped in retrospect.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, we have witnessed another troubling deterioration of fundamental democratic principles, again stemming from a pervasive sense of fear, this time from the (also very real) threat of a viral pandemic. Whereas McCarthyism sprung from the conservative end of the political spectrum, this time the hacking-away of our democratic values has tended to come from more progressive political and professional circles.

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