2021 was about “mostly peaceful” riots with burning buildings in the background. It was about smash and grab looters stealing Gucci purses, jewelry, and other luxury items and excusing them because they come from a disadvantaged minority. It was about politicians pushing to defund the police while watching a tidal wave of crime wash over our cities, which have targeted largely the poorer and disadvantaged among us. It was about masking and social distancing, except when engaged in mass protests, eating or drinking in a restaurant, illegally crossing our southern border, or attending former President Obama’s birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard during the Delta surge (which, unsurprisingly coincided with the largest spike in Covid cases on the island a week later).
I have tried very hard to avoid crazy, unhinged conspiracy theories to explain some of the illiberal, illogical, and unscientific positions taken by those I would normally consider my colleagues and professional peers. Some of what has gone on in the past two years has been so horribly wrong and counter to reason that it has been difficult not to ascribe it to some malevolent attempt to take down America. Given the ascent and undeniable ill intent of the Chinese Communist Party to increase its sphere of power and influence while taking us and the rest of the western world down a notch, with Putin and the USSR playing jackal to the CCP’s tiger, a global conspiracy is not out of the question. What is most disturbing is that we are cooperating with them, both passively and actively. The NBA rakes in hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, in China while remaining silent on the plight of over a million Uyghers who have been interned, sterilized, and forced into slave labor. Where were the other professional sports organizations in supporting the Women’s Tennis Association in protesting the CCP’s cancellation, or worse, of Peng Shuai? Our government and the rest of the western world stand silent on promising unconditional support to Taiwan and Ukraine in the face of undeniable aggression on the part of the new evil empire and its “mini-me” subordinate Russian counterpart. There has been official silence on the clear complicity of the CCP in the origin and dissemination of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid and millions of lives lost as a result. The silence on multiple fronts to the march of totalitarianism has been deafening.
If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it is that the inevitable pushback seems to have begun. There are those seeking to shine light on the darkness that has surrounded us for two years. They are the likes of the Brownstone Institute, which seeks to inject science and reason into the Covid discussion. It is the University of Austin, in Austin, Texas, founded to counter the culture of academic censorship in America’s former centers of scholarship and debate. It is grass roots organizations, like the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) that are pushing back against the wave of intolerant, racist critical race theory in schools, and even in my own profession of medicine, that seeks to divide us into categories according to race. The only question is how determined and effective this pushback will be.
As far as Covid is concerned, we have much harm to undo, a big part of which is to restore the primacy of, and trust in, science to help us deal with such a massive, complex health issue. The message has been lockdowns, masks, social distancing, and vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. All efforts to mitigate the undeniable, and sometimes catastrophic side effects and collateral damage of this simplistic, single-minded approach have been countered with censure, ridicule, and scorn. These are not the tools of science. There has to be open dialogue and debate among doctors and scientists based on known facts and reasonable suppositions and this must include experts in all fields, not just a few of bureaucrats with questionable allegiances and no background in epidemiology or public health policy or, for that matter, real life experience in treating patients. Yes, I am referring to the quadrumvirate of Fauci, Collins, Redfield, and Birx. There are certainly others. Speaking of conspiracies, while I do not ascribe evil intent to these individuals, there is enough smoke of incompetence, personal and professional prestige, arrogance, power, and tunnel vision to signal quite a conspiracy fire on its own. I invite you to read the article below, reflect on the past two years, and make up your own mind. If you are looking for a conspiracy, this is as good as any.
Richard T. Bosshardt, MD, FACS