My father was a very wise man. He gave great advice (which I mostly ignored) and often came out with wise words.
Whenever he heard someone spouting dangerous nonsense, he would say: “The right to free speech does not include the right to shout “fire” in a crowded cinema.”
Right now, there are many people doing just that – or the equivalent.
This week, we had UCD Professor Dolores Cahill telling a (very small) rally in Dublin’s Herbert Park, that masks deprived the brain of oxygen. “Wake up parents, Oxygen is required for your brain to function.”
A medical doctor said she had seen nobody “gasping from Covid.”
And a barrister urged people to use “every loophole” to break the 5km rule.
They aren’t alone.
There were some at a protest in the city centre last week claiming that 9,000 people went missing in Ireland last year for some mysterious reason.
They said babies were being murdered and buried in the foundation of the new children’s hospital so that andrenochrome could be harvested to keep RTE stars looking younger.
The QAnon mob believes there is a big cavern under Central Park in New York where children are kept so they can be used by paedophiles – like Hilary Clinton.
Seriously. People believe this stuff. And they’re given the space to spout their nonsense.
Of course, the internet is to blame for much of the spreading of their dangerous beliefs.
But what has become known as MSM (MainStream Media) gives them space too.
God knows why.
That’s God. Remember him? Nutty professors get more airtime now that God does!
The real problem is that there are those who contribute to these nonsensical theories but are clever enough to only talk around the edges, to demand an end to lockdown and the requirement to wear masks, who say the whole thing is an attempt by government to control us.
The thing is, that if a government, in any democracy with which I’m familiar, had half a chance it would abolish income tax, pay for our electricity, give out free jelly and ice cream to the nation’s children and fund a sunshine holiday for us all every year.
Why? Because from the minute they’re elected, the first priority for most politicians is to get re-elected. No. That’s not ideal. But it beats the alternative.
The idea that politicians here or anywhere else would introduce unpopular measures unless they absolutely had to, is nonsensical.
Yes we had a right to free speech. Yes we can stand up and say we don’t agree with policy in relation to Covid.
But no, I actually don’t believe we have the right to tell blatant lies in order to encourage people to do things which endanger lives, things like abandoning social distancing and mask wearing.
Let’s beat this damned thing and then let the conspiracy theorists stand for election.
Mind you, if they lose they will no doubt, Trump like, say it was all a fix.
Got to rush now.
Off to a media conspiracy meeting…