The holiday season has unhappily expired, save for our Catholic and Eastern Orthodox friends. Passed has Christmas, Chanukah, the winter solstice, and, the most glorious secular celebration of the year, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci Day, which, for the uninitiated, is observed the day before the birth date of God’s only living heir. Most Americans simply call it Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately for its celebrants, the very first Fauci Day was tainted by the revelation of duplicity via its namesake. In a strictly socially distanced (natch) phone interview with the New York Times, Dr. Fauci let the noble lie out of the bag: he’d been publicly adjusting the percentage range needed for full herd immunity from COVID-19.
“When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,” Fauci admitted, low-balling what he thought was the real number. He continued: “Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”
Notice how the good immunologist simply “thought” he could reset expectations. There’s no admission of lying, no acknowledgement that he was deliberately manipulating people for a higher end. The entire practice is treated like a chess match: feigning and baiting the opposition to get what he wants.
Will there be any repercussions for Fauci’s factiousness? None professionally, of course. Plenty of liberal policymakers have been found skirting their own social-constricting laws, and have met with no accountability other than meek “I’m disappointed in you” reprimands from a few media outlets. Dr. Deborah Birx, the distaff Robin to Fauci’s virus-fighting Batman, was caught out violating her own recommended travel restrictions, visiting family over Thanksgiving. Not one mayor or governor—including California head-honcho Gavin Newsom, New York gruffvernor Andrew Cuomo, Chicago’s impish mayor Lori Lightfoot, and shrieker of the House Nancy Pelosi—has experienced consequence for breaking their own edicts, let alone had their livelihood threatened, despite the tens of thousands of jobs they’ve single-handedly eliminated with shutdown orders.
And why should they? The general public is ignorant enough about epidemiology that they simply follow the medical cognoscenti’s advice without question. What’s the alternative? Plumping the rabbit hole of Facebook comment threads and Reddit boards for advice on homeopathy, healing crystals, bloodletting, and humorism?
As for politicians, nobody older than elementary-school age believes they’re apostles of probity. Politicians stretch points for a living. We expect partisan qualification for every government-issued decree, with mounds of excuses and responsibility evasions. Politics is ever the art of making someone else say sorry.
But with Dr. Fauci’s finagling with the truth, and follow-on abuse of his doctoral credentials, he has desublimated medical science into the realm of political control, shearing it from objectivity. And it wasn’t the first time either. Back in February, before the coronavirus became a full-fledged pandemic, he downplayed the effectiveness of masks in the spread of the virus. Like now, the puppeteer with a stethoscope showed no compunction in misleading the public: ”I don’t regret anything I said then because in the context of the time in which I said it, it was correct. We were told in our task force meetings that we have a serious problem with the lack of P.P.E.s.”
Despite being the nation’s foremost infectious disease authority, Dr. Fauci lacks the rhetorical skills to make his pronouncements read as anything other than expired liver and onions. Fauci says that when he told Dr. Jon LaPook during a “60 Minutes” interview “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” he was correct not for medical reasons, but for a greater objective: preserving the supply for frontline docs. Doubling down on a lie with another lie (“I was right even though I was wrong because I had the right reasons.”) would humiliate anyone else in any other field out of the job. Instead, Fauci kept his national pedestal, elocuting his slippery double-speak and enabling COVID-hoaxers.
Fauci won’t face any recourse because he’s operating with a manual older than the Edwin Smith Papyrus: Plato’s Republic, and the philosopher’s elucidation on the noble lie as a form of noblesse oblige. As Roger Scruton explains, Plato postulated that truth was the “ultimate standard that disciplines the soul” and “people cannot take very much of it.” From Plato’s lips to Fauci’s ears, and to down the rest of us lowly dullards.
Former White House counselor and current Fox News talking egg Karl Rove once described the elite mindset behind treating the truth like a protean plaything, good for fashioning into a crop, and nothing else. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” Rove haughtily informed Ron Suskind of the Times. This was 2004, not long after Iraq was pulverized by U.S. forces, and well before our de facto surrender in trying to transmute the country into a liberal democracy.
The reality of impotence eventually rained down in that Arab desert. Now, the unmistakable stench of distrust is wafting into our betters’ snooty schnozzes. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from September showed an overall decline in public confidence in medical authorities. In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Fauci fretted over a “pushback… against anything authoritative” that has manifested into “an anti-science trend” and “an anti-vaccine trend.”
The great hope that Moderna and Pfizer would ride into the American town square, bearing the pandemic-ender in a borosilicate vial, may be dashed thanks to Fauci’s mendacity. He’s about to learn a lesson tens of thousands of dollars in medical school bills never provided him: you can’t re-prescribe trust. Noble lies don’t work when people know it’s a lie.
To sum it up: worst Fauci Day ever!