By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
Throughout the Trump years and in particular during the 2020 COVID pandemic crisis, the nation was lectured by the Left “to follow the data,” as the Democrats proclaimed themselves the “party of science.” As sober and judicious children of the enlightenment, they alone offered the necessary disinterested correctives to Trump’s supposed bluster and exaggeration—and to his anti-scientific deplorable following (often dismissed by Biden as dregs, chumps, and Neanderthals).
In truth, leftists and Democrats have become the purveyors of superstition. Their creation of a fantasy world is not because they do not believe in science per se, but because they believe more in the primacy of ideology that should shape and warp science in the proper fashion for the greater good. What prompted Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, or Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hysterically and wrongly to forecast widespread demographic or climatological catastrophe in just a few years was not ignorance of science per se, but a desire to massage science for our own good.
The Godheads of COVID-19
The medical pandemic godhead of the Left has been octogenarian Dr. Anthony Fauci. His twin chief public relations explainer has been liberal darling New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Both were always supposed to be on top of “the science.”
Dr. Fauci has not just been flat-out wrong on the science of COVID—in his assessments of the origins and possible dangers of COVID-19, of when we can get back to normal, of when the vaccinations would appear, and of which particular governors have been doing the most or least effective management of the disease. He has also, by his own admission, deliberately lied.
That is, Fauci has rejected science, as he knew it, to mislead the public. For our own interests, he adopted the Platonic “noble lie” on occasion. So, for example, he conceded that he had downplayed the value of masks (he now seems to approve of wearing one on top of another) in order to prevent too many wearing them, and thus the public shorting the supply available to more important health care workers.
Fauci also proverbially moved the goal posts on herd immunity, from the high 60s to the low 90s as a percent of the population, either vaccinated or with antibodies, necessary to achieve a de facto end of the pandemic. Again, Fauci defied the science on the theory he knew better, in assuming that the childish public would become too lax when and if it believed herd immunity was on the horizon.
Unspoken, is that Fauci usually errs on the side of what is deemed progressive orthodoxy. In contrast, Dr. Scott Atlas warned us that extended and complete lockdowns in any cost-benefit analyses might well inflict more human and economic damage than the virus. And he added that an opened-up Florida and Texas might do no worse virally than a locked-down California or New York, while avoiding the severe recessionary collateral damage.
Yet Atlas was damned for “not following the science” for the crime of working for Trump and for following the science: while targeted wearing of masks and social distancing and quarantining of vulnerable populations are necessary, complete quarantines of the entire population and extended closing schools are counterproductive.
Little need be said of Cuomo other than the applicable Roman dictum he created a desert and called it peace. When the federal government delivered a tent-hospital and a huge hospital ship, they went unused. When it sent ventilators, Cuomo raged that they were too little, too late.
When his own record in New York of COVID mismanagement became public (currently over 2,500 deaths per million population, the second highest state in the nation and about 35-40 percent higher than the open, but hated Texas and Florida), he lied about his own redirection of COVID patients into pristine long-term care facilities that resulted in a proverbial bloodbath.
In his adherence to science, Cuomo received an Emmy for his narcissistic press conferences and adeptness at blame-gaming. That he was brought low not by his lethal politicking, but by serial allegations of being rude and handsy with female staffers suggests that his unscientific approaches to the pandemic were of little concern to his “scientific” supporters.
The “Science” of Quarantines
Consider another scientific debacle. In the midst of the quarantine, when governors and mayors were threatening to jail any who violated social distancing, mask wearing, or assembling en mass outdoors, hundreds of thousands hit the nation’s streets in crowded phalanxes of screaming and saliva-projecting protestors—all supposedly in violation of “the science” of epidemiology and public health.
The reaction of our elected officials—not just silence but open approbation—is to be expected, given the political class is so often timid and simply genuflects to perceived voter pressure groups. But “the science” on spec also came to the rescue of the quarantine violators to offer pseudo-scientific support for violating government-mandated “data”-driven policies.
Over 1,200 healthcare officials weighed in with their “expertise” and postmodern gibberish to defend mass violations of quarantine rules: “Instead, we wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response.”
And the experts added all sort of postmodern hedging to emphasize that their recalibrated woke “science” was now different than others’ less woke “science”:
The left follows the science… then jumps it from behind, clubs it, steals its identity and turns it into their ideology.
The only Science that Interests the M.S. Media is the usial Junk Science we get from Greenpeace of the Brady Campaign that supports their fake ideas and they report the Fake News to us 24/7
I’m old enough to remember when cigarettes were touted as “healthy” in advertisements.
One ad even had a “doctor” representing the brand as good for you.
I later remember the nasty debates the two sides had on public TV about whether it was true that smoking was good for you or bad for you.
The scientific spokeswoman for the smoking side was always this industry woman who was blond and had huge dark circles under her eyes.
The other side varied its experts.
One day, a compromise was reached: smoking would always be LEGAL but governments, from local to federal could each profit off their sale via taxes.
That’s the solution even up to today, altho it is well agreed on that smoking is bad for health and expensive for medical insurers.
The “science” never really had a chance when it came to all the oodles of cash smoking ended up earning for gov’ts.
Today, we see a huge human experiment being done: RNA affecting “vaccines” are being injected into adults of all ages, from 18 to 80 .
The side effects are worse than the stupid disease……. and some side effects are less survivable!
Now Dr. Fauci wants all under 18 given this same vaccine, down to 6 month old babies.
Hopefully there are those who can scientifically stand in opposition to him.
It isn’t that this is dangerous for children and babies, but it certainly might be.
We need to hear that debate before we blindly toss our babies into the burning belly of the false god Baal, or “health.”
Follow the science you choose to fund. Censor every opposing science, call it misinformation.
When more people are breathing outdoors rather than confined you will see a decline in “cases” from a mostly useless test (according to the man who invented it) and now that January 20 has passed maybe we can see the death rate for what it is. Since Sniffy has saved us. Now comes the surge from the incubators on the border, shipped far and wide. And all the new homeless we’re importing, that will help too.
@Ken Laycock: No, now we will see the numbers skewed in the opposite direction, except maybe in Texas or Florida, where higher death rates would be politically beneficial to Democrats. We can also expect proof that illegal immigrants, like rioters and looters, do not spread the virus.