from the Brownstone Institute
Scandalous incompetence. Profound stupidity. Astounding errors. This is how many analysts – including Dr. Vinay Prasad, Dr. Scott Atlas, and popular Substack commentator eugyppius – explain how leading public health experts could prescribe so many terrible pandemic response policies.
And it’s true: the so-called experts certainly have made themselves look foolish over the last three years: Public health leaders like Rochelle Walensky and Anthony Fauci make false claims, or contradict themselves repeatedly, on subjects related to the pandemic response, while leading scientists, like Peter Hotez in the US and Christian Drosten in Germany, are equally susceptible to such flip-flops and lies. Then there are the internationally renowned medical researchers, like Eric Topol, who repeatedly commit obvious errors in interpreting Covid-related research studies. [ref]
All of these figures publicly and aggressively promoted anti-public health policies, including universal masking, social distancing, mass testing and quarantining of healthy people, lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
It seems like an open-and-shut case: Dumb policies, dumb people in charge of those policies.
This might be true in a few individual cases of public health or medical leaders who really are incapable of understanding even high school level science. However, if we look at leading pandemic public health and medical experts as a group – a group consisting of the most powerful, widely published, and well-paid researchers and scientists in the world – that simple explanation sounds much less convincing.
Even if you believe that most medical researchers are shills for pharmaceutical companies and that scientists rarely break new ground anymore, I think you’d be hard-pressed to claim that they lack basic analytical skills or a solid educational background in the areas they’ve studied. Most doctors and scientists with advanced degrees know how to analyze simple scientific documents and understand basic data.
Additionally, those doctors and public health professionals who were deemed experts during the pandemic were also clever enough to have climbed the academic, scientific, and/or government ladders to the highest levels.
They might be unscrupulous, sycophantic, greedy, or power-mongering. You might think they make bad moral or ethical decisions. But it defies logic to say that every single one of them understands simple scientific data less than, say, someone like me or you. In fact, I find that to be a facile, superficial judgment that does not get to the root cause of their seemingly stupid, incompetent behavior.
Returning to some specific examples, I would argue that it is irrational to conclude, as Dr. Prasad did, that someone like Dr. Topol, Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, who has published over 1,300 peer-reviewed articles and is one of the top 10 most cited researchers in medicine [ref] cannot read research papers “at a high level.” And it is equally unlikely that Anthony Fauci, who managed to ascend and remain atop the highest scientific perch in the federal government for many decades, controlling billions of dollars in research grants [ref], was too dumb to know that masks don’t stop viruses.
There must, therefore, be a different reason why all the top pro-lockdown scientists and public health experts – in perfect lockstep – suddenly started (and continue to this day) to misread studies and advocate policies that they had claimed in the past were unnecessary, making themselves look like fools.
Public health experts were messengers for the biodefense response
The most crucial single fact to know and remember when trying to understand the craziness of Covid times is this:
The public health experts were not responsible for pandemic response policy. The military-intelligence-biodefense leadership was in charge.
In previous articles, I examined in great detail the government documents that show how standard tenets of public health pandemic management were abruptly and secretly thrown out during Covid. The most startling switch was the replacement of the public health agencies by the National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security at the helm of pandemic policy and planning.
As part of the secret switch, all communications – defined in every previous pandemic planning document as the responsibility of the CDC – were taken over by the National Security Council under the auspices of the White House Task Force. The CDC was not even allowed to hold its own press conferences!
As a Senate report from December 2022 notes:
From March through June 2020, CDC was not permitted to conduct public briefings, despite multiple requests by the agency and CDC media requests were “rarely cleared.” HHS stated that by early April 2020, “after several attempts to get approvals,” its Office of Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs “stopped asking” the White House “for a while.” (p. 8)
When public health and medical experts blanketed the airwaves and Internet with “recommendations” urging universal masking, mass testing and quarantining of asymptomatic people, vaccine mandates, and other anti-public health policies – or when they promoted obviously flawed studies that supported the quarantine-until-vaccine biodefense agenda – they were not doing so because they were dumb, incompetent, or misguided.
They were performing the role that the leaders of the national security/biodefense response gave them: to be the trusted public face that made people believe quarantine-until-vaccine was a legitimate public health response.
Why did public health leaders go along with the biodefense agenda?
We have to imagine ourselves in the position of public health and medical experts at top government positions when the intelligence-military-biodefense network took over the pandemic response.
What would you do if you were a government employee, or a scientist dependent on government grants, and you were told that the quarantine-until-vaccine policy was actually the only way to deal with this particular engineered potential bioweapon?
How would you behave if an unprecedented event in human history happened on your watch: an engineered virus designed as a potential bioweapon was spreading around the world, and the people who designed it told you that terrifying the entire population into locking down and waiting for a vaccine was the only way to stop it from killing many millions?
More mundanely, if your position and power depended on going along with whatever the powers-that-be in the NSC and DHS told you to do – if your job and livelihood were on the line – would you go against the narrative and risk losing it all?
And, finally, in a more venal vain: what if you stood to gain a lot more money and/or power by advocating for policies that might not be the gold standard of public health, but that you told yourself could bring about major innovations (vaccines/countermeasures) that would save humanity from future pandemics?
We know how the most prominent Covid “experts” answered those questions. Not because they were dumb, but because they had a lot to lose and/or a lot to gain by going along with the biodefense narrative – and they were told millions would die if they failed to do so.
Why understanding the motives of public health leaders during Covid is so important
Paradoxically, deeming public health experts stupid and incompetent actually reinforces the consensus narrative: that lockdowns and vaccines were part of a public health plan. In this reading, the response may have been terrible, or it may have gone awry, but it was still just a stupid public health plan designed by incompetent public health leaders.
Such a conclusion leads to calls for misguided and necessarily ineffectual solutions: Even if we replaced every single HHS employee or defunded the HHS or even the WHO altogether, we would not solve the problem and would be poised to repeat the entire pandemic fiasco all over again.