Salvo 12.15.2021 4 minutes

Impeach Fauci

Jen Psaki Is Joined By Dr. Fauci For White House Press Briefing

There is simply no room in a free country for a ruler with Fauci’s unaccountable power.

Dr. Antony Fauci is a well-known practitioner of the noble lie. If you remember your Plato you will recall that Socrates, in the infamous Republic Book III, empowers the rulers of his imaginary utopia “to lie for the benefit of the city in cases involving enemies or citizens.” This power is expressly reserved for the ruling class to wield over those in their charge: “the rest of the citizens must not put their hands to anything of the sort.”  

Fauci is not a particularly subtle liar in that unlike Plato’s philosopher kings, he makes little effort to cover his tracks. He is famous for this. When pressed he admitted plainly that he once discouraged the use of masks not because he doubted their usefulness, but because “it was at a time when…the N95 masks and the surgical masks were in very short supply.” 

Fauci also broadcast a fake vaccination threshold for herd immunity until he thought he could get away with a higher one: “When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,” he told the New York Times. “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.” 

What emboldens someone to lie like this? Only the conviction that he is, to paraphrase Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, factually wrong yet morally correct. Those who rule in this way assume their goal is just and work backward from there to say whatever they think will achieve it. And so the way to read a noble lie is not to believe it literally but to ask what outcome it is designed to produce. The message is not in the falsehoods you are told to swallow, but in what those falsehoods are supposed to make you do. 

Socrates imagines telling his citizens that their place in the social hierarchy reflects a divinely ordained taxonomy of the human race: some people are born with gold in their souls, some with silver, some with bronze. He has no illusion that this is an accurate description of his citizens’ real psychic composition. But he hopes the story will induce them to accept society as he has ordered it. Socrates replaces the ancestral myths of traditional Athenian culture with a state-approved legend, one whose mood is that of resignation and whose intended product is compliance. 

Dr. Fauci’s message is much the same. He means not to communicate facts but to tell a story whose moral is that he rules and we submit. He says as much when he announces that his detractors are “really criticizing science because I represent science.” The word “science” here stands in not for the actual methods of experiment and empirical verification but for “absolute authority,” the final and immutable word on what is good and evil.  

If this were not the case then telling noble lies in the name of science would be a contradiction in terms. Natural science is by definition the world not of ought but of is, of physical facts that are as they are whether you think they should be or not. But the “science” Fauci represents is actually a set of moral absolutes in whose service he feels entitled to falsify as much as he can get away with. Since he claims sole authority to discern those moral absolutes, he considers our objections and concerns invalid on their face.  

Fauci’s noble lie, no less than that of the Socratic ruling class, is designed to put certain moral questions beyond the reach of the common man. Questions like “how should we live” and “what is the highest good” are foreclosed before we ask them—indeed, the myth makes us forget to ask them altogether.  

In eras before ours it was the church that stood accused of making up stories to keep ordinary men and women from thinking for themselves. But no Pope or priest ever laid claim to anything like the totalizing authority that Fauci and his cultists assume. Under the pretense of scientific objectivity, our new clerisy asserts the right to set the terms of what is just and manipulate our behavior accordingly. It is a right that no majority ever did or could confer upon them.  

It is common to point out that Fauci is unelected. And no doubt it’s galling to hear the actual president chuckle lamely about handing over his administration to an unaccountable bureaucrat (“hey look, who’s the president? Fauci,” said Biden earlier this month”). But even if he had won the national popular vote in a landslide, Fauci’s behavior would be incompatible with free republican government. There is simply no room in our system for someone like him. 

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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