Discover more from Mattias Desmet
The UN’s Digital First Responders – or The UN’s Virtual Brownshirts?
I found it hard to believe at first, but the United Nations website leaves no doubt about it: the UN recruited more than 100,000 ‘digital first responders’ worldwide during the corona crisis. Melissa Fleming, head of global communications for the United Nations, also described its function in a podcast: to detect and neutralize “misinformation” and “fake news” on social media as quickly as possible by countering it with “accurate, reliable information”.
The UN campaign also states it clear: digital first responders use their voice for good [sic], by providing life-saving [sic] information. The 'digital first responder' thus forms an addition to the now well-known 'fact checker'. However, unlike the fact checker, the digital first responder doesn’t get paid and the UN doesn’t disclose who is working for them. Why not? Perhaps for this reason: whatever strategies these volunteers use, the UN’s image won’t suffer.
In other words: at first glance, the digital first responders are a group of selfless citizens who fight disinformation purely for a good cause - in the name of “science and solidarity”. The question, however, is whether they would more accurately be described as the virtual Brownshirts, unfettered by any ethical rule or moral principle to marginalize, ridicule and criminalize dissident voices.
The UN is not the only major institution that feels obliged to impose its ideology in this way. A fine piece of investigative journalism byshowed that during the corona crisis, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paid organizations to silence critical doctors through cyber stalking.
That those digitally roughed up doctors often turned out to be correct is apparently beside the point for institutions such as the CDC and the UN. It doesn't seem to matter what the truth is. The powers that be will eventually realize the best possible society. That goal is so sacred that it doesn’t matter by what means it is pursued. Or, something along those lines…
If you read the list of UN goals – the well-known Sustainable Development Goals – you might indeed be tempted to give them communion without confession. Among other things, the UN wants to eradicate hunger (Goal 2), make the oceans plastic-free (Goal 14) and provide clean water (Goal 6) and decent work (Goal 8) for everyone. Who could object to that?
The UN will also tackle poverty and reduce inequality (Goal 1) and is waging this noble fight mainly through donations from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. By donating billions of dollars to charitable work, Gates claims to be reducing financial inequality worldwide. But Bill Gates must know how far he still has to go before he’s on par financially with an impoverished Ethiopian child especially since, thanks to his own philanthropy, Gates is becoming even more, not less, wealthy; that means the gap is widening, not narrowing, with such “charitable works”. How exactly that works is not my expertise. The Wolf of Wall Street will be able to explain it to you better than I can.
No matter what UN goal you scratch at, a questionable ideological foundation emerges from below its charitable surface. I can appreciate that people are deeply concerned about the environment (Goal 13), but that’s not the same thing as going along with an ecomodernist climate discourse. If Bill Gates wants to lower the Earth's temperature by dispersing millions of tons of chalk dust into the atmosphere or by suspending technologically manipulable mirrors between the Earth and the sun, the ecomodernist remedy may well be more dangerous than the disease. Far more dangerous.
Something similar can be said about the pursuit of 'gender equality' (Goal 5). Most people will agree that men and women are equal. But it seems that the UN is going along with a woke ideology claiming that men and women are the same. This has gone so far that drawing a distinction between men and women can now be considered a criminal act.
It’s true that we cannot simply equate the UN with Bill Gates or UN ideology with woke ideology. But it’s also true that their ideological foundations – like all ideological foundations – should be the subject of open discussion and debate, whether on social media or elsewhere. And that is exactly what the ‘digital first responders’ are charged with making impossible.
The UN is even collaborating with social media platforms to develop strategies to promote the dominant narrative and suppress anything that deviates from it. As Melissa Flemming explains: “We meet with the social media platforms regularly. They have made some significant policy changes. They have been pointing people to the direction of good content – to WHO content, to UN content, CDC content – when they are in that space of searching, and they are trying to suppress misinformation in various ways. Some of it is ‘flagging’, some of it is putting it way down in their algorithms, some of it is even banning certain groups. But still, despite these measures, we’re seeing a huge prevalence of misinformation travelling on social media channels. So we do think there’s much more they are gonna need to do to really spot it in real time and to suppress it. …” In other words: the virus must be defeated by defeating free speech and dissenting opinions.
But the greatest danger to humanity is not a virus, nor the climate, nor even poverty. The greatest danger to humanity lies in ideological blindness and fanaticism. Man ceases to be human when he becomes so convinced of his own ideas that he wants to forbid those of the other.
I suggest that the UN read their Sustainable Development Goal number 16 again. It’s about creating open, inclusive institutions and a society in which everyone feels heard. Do they think deploying an army of ‘digital first responders’ to censor or discredit any voice with an opinion other than its own will contribute to this? Perhaps yes, if only within its own narrow and dangerous ideology. And that is precisely why its ideology must so urgently be challenged. I wonder if the digital first responders will agree.