Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Suppressing the Science

In a better world the nation’s newsmedia would be blaring the story. In a better world the discovery of the rank corruption of those bureaucrats who have supposedly been leading the fight against the coronavirus would suffice to force them to resign in disgrace.

Alas, we do not live in a better world. We live in a world where politics trumps all other considerations and where the authority of people who mistake politics for science can never be challenged.

As one knows, or as one ought to know, science is based on skepticism. Any scientist who claims to know to an absolute certainty the truth of science is ipso facto a fraud. 

Now we discover, to our chagrin, that when a group of senior credentialed epidemiologists issued a declaration about pandemic policy, called the Great Barrington Declaration, Drs. Fauci and Collins, set out to discredit it, to shut it down.

The Declaration had proposed a different policy regarding the pandemic, so it directly challenged the grandiose narcissism of two leading bureaucrats. These latter seemed more concerned with damaging the Trump presidency than with promoting the best public policy. Or else, at the least, in encouraging open public debate.

The Wall Street Journal editorializes about the scandal this morning:

In public, Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins urge Americans to “follow the science.” In private, the two sainted public-health officials schemed to quash dissenting views from top scientists. That’s the troubling but fair conclusion from emails obtained recently via the Freedom of Information Act by the American Institute for Economic Research.

The tale unfolded in October 2020 after the launch of the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement by Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff, Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta and Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya against blanket pandemic lockdowns. They favored a policy of what they called “focused protection” of high-risk populations such as the elderly or those with medical conditions. Thousands of scientists signed the declaration—if they were able to learn about it. We tried to give it some elevation on these pages.

In truth, I reported it on this very blog. 

The Journal continues with an email from Dr. Collins:

“This proposal from the three fringe epidemiologists . . . seems to be getting a lot of attention – and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt at Stanford. There needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises,” Dr. Collins wrote. “Is it underway?”

Of course, Collins was lying. He was joined by the sainted Dr. Fauci:

These researchers weren’t fringe and neither was their opposition to quarantining society. But in the panic over the virus, these two voices of science used their authority to stigmatize dissenters and crush debate. A week after his email, Dr. Collins spoke to the Washington Post about the Great Barrington Declaration. “This is a fringe component of epidemiology,” he said. “This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous.” 

His message spread and the alternative strategy was dismissed in most precincts.

Dr. Fauci replied to Dr. Collins that the takedown was underway. An article in Wired, a tech-news site, denied there was any scientific divide and argued lockdowns were a straw man—they weren’t coming back. If only it were true. The next month cases rose and restrictions returned.

And Fauci was colluding with a leftist publication called The Nation. It is an opinion journal, one that has a vested interest in political outcomes:

Dr. Fauci also emailed an article from the Nation, a left-wing magazine, and his staff sent him several more. The emails suggest a feedback loop: The media cited Dr. Fauci as an unquestionable authority, and Dr. Fauci got his talking points from the media. Facebook censored mentions of the Great Barrington Declaration. This is how groupthink works.

What was the outcome of the Collins/Fauci policies? Why, it was hundreds of thousands of deaths. Naturally, the good doctor-bureaucrats continue to defend themselves and continue to slander epidemiologists who did not bow down to them.

Focused protection of nursing homes and other high-risk populations remains the policy road not taken during the pandemic. Perhaps this strategy wouldn’t have prevailed if a debate had been allowed. But it isn’t enough to repeat, as Dr. Collins did on Fox News Sunday, that advocates are “fringe epidemiologists who really did not have the credentials,” and that “hundreds of thousands of people would have died if we had followed that strategy.”

More than 800,000 Americans have died as much of the country followed the strategy of Drs. Collins and Fauci, and that’s not counting the other costs in lost livelihoods, shuttered businesses, untreated illnesses, mental illness from isolation, and the incalculable anguish of seeing loved ones die alone without the chance for a family to say good-bye.

Rather than try to manipulate public opinion, the job of health officials is to offer their best scientific advice. 

Apparently, our own officials have not gotten the message. And the American media simply does not care. They will go to any lengths to discredit Republicans and to accredit Democrats.

1 comment:

Walt said...

In his June 2020 booklet, “”Unreported Truths about Covid and Lockdowns,” Alex Berenson made the same points and was censored, deplatformed and libeled as a misinformed (and misinforming) nut case.