A professor at Stanford University and one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) – check out our earlier coverage to learn more about the GBD – Bhattacharya remains an outspoken opponent of covid lockdowns. And for holding this position, he has certainly paid a price.
"When you take a position that is at odds with the scientific clerisy, your life becomes a living hell," Bhattacharya says, adding that "academic freedom is dead" when it comes to expressing independent thought as a professor or faculty member in higher education.
Speaking at the recent Academic Freedom Conference, which was held at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, Bhattacharya reminded listeners that he believes covid lockdowns to be the most catastrophically harmful policy in "all of history." He also called them "the single-worst public health mistake in the last 100 years."
"We have a high clerisy that declares from on high what is true and what is not true," Bhattacharya further stated.
You can watch Bhattacharya's speech at the conference below:
Prof. John Ioannidis also spoke at the conference, as did numerous others who oppose covid tyranny. Academics who support covid tyranny were also invited to give their side of the story, but none agreed to participate.
"The conference organizers invited professors who disagreed with us to participate in the session, but they declined," Bhattacharya tweeted.
"Some of those pro-lockdown professors have complained that there are people at Stanford talking to each other at Stanford with whom they disagree. At least one pro-lockdown reporter took to Twitter to create some sort of scandal around this fact."
Bhattacharya says he is truly perplexed that those on the other side of the argument are so against actually presenting their case. He also wonders why they continue to oppose freedom of speech about this issue.
It turns out that the pro-lockdown narrative cannot be supported by science, which is why those who hold it refuse to engage in healthy debate with their opponents. They also know their argument quickly shatters when challenged, which is why they want to muzzle and silence those who stand against lockdowns.
"The basic premise is that if you don't have protection and academic freedom in the hard cases, when a faculty member has an idea that's unpopular among some of the other faculty – powerful faculty, or even the administration," Bhattacharya said in a separate interview with Fox News. "If they don't protect it in that case, then you don't have academic freedom at all."
Early on, Bhattacharya and his colleagues faced intense opposition. Their careers were threatened, and yet they held strong. Now, their positions have been vindicated as the societal and medical toll of all that covid tyranny is becoming undeniably apparent.
"The purpose of the one-page document was aimed at telling the public that there was not a scientific consensus in favor of lockdown, that in fact many epidemiologists, many doctors, many other people – prominent people – disagreed with the consensus," Bhattacharya added about the GBD.
"If Stanford really truly were committed to academic freedom, they would have ... worked to make sure that there were debates and discussions, seminars, where these ideas were discussed among faculty," he continued, adding that "power replaced the idea of truth as the guiding light."
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