by Roger Kimball
Last week in this space, I included a few words about Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s remarkable new book, The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. I also included a link to Kennedy’s appearance on “Tucker Carlson Today.”
It was a remarkable exchange and I commend both the book and the interview to your attention. I disagree with Kennedy about various things, including the efficacy of vaccines in general, but his assessment of the highest-paid employee of the federal government, Anthony Fauci, is worth the price of admission.
As I remarked a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had done writing about COVID. Surely, I thought, the hysteria is on the wane. Most people are rational. They know that the flimsy porous masks you see everywhere are useless tokens of conformity. They understand that the disease is serious for only a tiny part of the population. They also know staying home and practicing “social distancing” has its own liabilities, not least of which is a diminution in the potency of one’s immune response.
Unfortunately, the people making the rules are not “most people.” They are bureaucrats being advised by public health “experts” like Anthony Fauci who has demonstrated ostentatious incompetence at least since the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. When news of the so-called Omicron variant first surfaced a few weeks back, I assumed the fact that doctors first described it as very contagious but also with symptoms that were “very mild,” meant the “experts” would let us get on with our lives.
Fat chance. It’s not just the old Rahm Emanuel wheeze of never letting a crisis go to waste. It’s also a matter of fabricating crises where none exist because emergencies justify emergency powers, and emergency powers mean that you can push ahead with your agenda on all fronts using the fake crisis as justification for bending or discarding the rules.
So, even as Fauci warns that it is a matter of “when not if” the definition of “fully vaccinated” will change to include at least one who-knows-how-many booster shots, the CEO of Pfizer, dollar signs in his eyes, has already said that a fourth jab may be needed “sooner than expected” because of the Omicron variant.
New York City is once again flirting with lockdown, stiffening various protocols and prohibitions. And the United Kingdom, having rolled out “Plan B” which imposes new quarantine rules, mask mandates, and work-from-home rules, is contemplating an even more stringent “Plan C.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reports that it has documented zero deaths from the Omicron variant of the world’s most popular virus.
Yes, you read that correctly. “[W]e have not had any deaths reported,” but of course it’s early days yet and “this may change.”
Still, it makes one think. And it’s worth noting that the CDC, ever eager to ratchet up the seriousness of COVID, has nevertheless made a similar report. Its latest data, from early December, indicate that “there were no documented deaths from Omicron during that period.”
There are a lot of cases attributed to Omicron, but so what? The number of people who “test positive” for COVID is a meaningless data point. The new variant showed up first in South Africa, but Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the chair of the South African Medical Association, cautions against overstating its seriousness. “Let me be clear: nothing I have seen about this new variant warrants the extreme action the UK government has taken in response to it.” Why? “No one here in South Africa is known to have been [hospitalized] with the Omicron variant, nor is anyone here believed to have fallen seriously ill with it.”
Early on in our experience of Wuhanomania, many commentators, including me, noted the pertinence of Farr’s Law in understanding the behavior of the “novel coronavirus.” William Farr’s name has receded from the commentary on the disease, but the pertinence of his model has not. Epidemics, Farr noted in 1840, follow a predictable bell-curve-like course. They are born, rise in virulence, and then recede. They do this with or without human intervention.
As I noted at the time:
Our panic has destroyed trillions of dollars of wealth, impoverished millions, and handed much of society over to the machinations of socialistically inclined bureaucrats. It has also precipitated a huge and irresponsible disgorging of federal funds, the baneful effects of which will be felt for decades if not generations.
That was in April 2020.
One of the most percipient commentators on COVID is Aaron Ginn, a Silicon Valley technical writer. In March 2021, Ginn predicted that when the COVID crisis was finally over, we should expect “massive confirmation bias and Pyrrhic celebration by elites. There will be vain cheering in the halls of power as Main Street sits in pieces. Expect no apology, that would be political suicide. Rather, expect to be given a Jedi mind trick of “I’m the government and I helped.’”
It’s too early to say whether Ginn will be proved right, but all indications are that he will. Commenting on Ginn’s prediction at the time, I invoked the political philosopher James Burnham, who famously observed that civilizations tend to end not because they are invaded by an external enemy but from an inner collapse. “They are not murdered; they commit suicide,” I wrote, and went on to observe that “The really scary thing about this latest health scare is not the disease but the unexpected depths of passivity it revealed.”
Some things never change.
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Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine’s Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art’s Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).