Perhaps no person in American history has done more to harm trust in public health than Anthony Fauci, who will step down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December. And it’s not merely his aggressive inaccuracy about the Covid pandemic or even his championing of authoritarian policies that created untold damage to American life. All of that is bad enough. But as Fauci transformed into a political operative, he regularly lied to the American people and led the political suppression of debate.
In October of 2020, three scientists — Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, and Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford — released the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a document that rejected the “damaging physical and mental health impacts” of Faucian lockdowns for a more focused protection of high-risk populations. In December of 2021, the American Institute for Economic Research obtained emails between Fauci and Francis Collins, the former director of the National Institutes of Health. In them, we learned that duo had conspired to smear those dissenting scientists.
“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,” Collins wrote to Fauci. “Is it underway?” It was, Fauci, humble public servant, assured him. And quickly, the echo chamber amplified the “fringe” smear — a position that mitigated lost livelihoods, shuttered businesses, devastating school closures, untreated illnesses, isolation, and incalculable social and economic destruction.
And this wasn’t the first time Fauci had conspired with Collins to shut down debate. Another batch of emails revealed that the duo colluded to quash any talk of Covid being man-made and possibly leaked from a Wuhan lab. Anyone who brought up the notion would soon be discredited as a racist and nut — a spreader of disinformation. Left-wing speech monitors at PolitiFact (“Tucker Carlson guest airs debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab”) and Factcheck.org (“Report Resurrects Baseless Claim that Coronavirus Was Bioengineered“) both “debunked” the Wuhan lab theory by relying on a Fauci interview in National Geographic, where he had dismissed the idea.
For a year, Facebook banned its nearly 3 billion users from even theorizing about the possibility that Chicoms had been involved in the development of Covid-19. When, in May of 2021, the Wall Street Journal finally reported that three scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been afflicted with symptoms of coronavirus before the outbreak, we were again allowed to discuss the topic. In the meantime, Fauci had told Congress that Americans had never funded gain-of-function research at a lab in Wuhan. That was a lie. And it wouldn’t be the last one.
“With Covid, things that we thought we knew at the beginning as the months went by turned out not to be the case,” Fauci told Rachel Maddow this week. “That was interpreted as flip flopping when it really was the evolution of the science.”
Was it an evolution in science that compelled Fauci to tell Americans, “[t]here’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” only to implore them to strap on two masks a few months later? Fauci admitted he lied about the efficacy of masking, fearing it would instigate a shortage. “We really need to save the masks for the people who need them most,” he later said.
In the early days of the pandemic, Fauci kept citing the estimate of 60–70 percent vaccination level for reaching herd immunity. Later, he claimed it would be “70, 75 percent.” And finally, “75, 80, 85 percent.” Fauci later admitted lying about that, as well, because “polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine.” But don’t worry, none of it ever came to fruition.
Fauci, who despite his lofty contentions hasn’t saved a single life from Covid, claimed anyone who criticizes him was criticizing “science” — “because I represent science.” But the job of a public health bureaucrat is to relay information to elected officials and the public, not threaten the citizens with doom, or coax or trick them into acting in ways he prefers. Public health officials have trouble comprehending, or very much caring, about economic and moral tradeoffs of their policies. Which is one reason the braindead adulation of Fauci and “science” — as if such a thing is undebatable or inalienable — has been disastrous.
Americans did not need to be compelled to “flatten the curve.” But soon, anyone who had the temerity to wander into the nonessential part of a local grocery store to buy vegetable seeds or demand that their kid be allowed to attend nursery school was accused of putting every American life in mortal danger. Citizens were forced to comply with the diktats of mayors and governors, who often pointed to Fauci’s wisdom as justification for shutting down churches and businesses. No legislatures. No votes. No questions. Those who spoke up were stifled and smeared by the media as members of a death cult — even as virtually every prediction offered by alleged experts proved to be wrong.
Fauci didn’t singlehandedly create the distrust in public health institutions, which have been politicized for decades. His arrogance, however, epitomized the authoritarian mindset of the public health mandarin. As Fauci, the highest paid government worker in the country — is someone making $450,000 in base salary, and $350,000 pension, really a “public servant?” — cashes in on his fame, the country is going to take decades to rebuild the trust he piddled away on his ego trip.