Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
“There’s a lot of folks who think that, due to climate change and due to the globalization in general, it is inevitable that we’ll deal with more and more viruses like this,” Dr. Fauci told Meet the Press.
The “lot of folks” in question include the patron saint of the pandemic.
In addition to appearing on every single news show on the planet, Fauci occasionally co-authors papers. But “Emerging Pandemic Diseases: How We Got to COVID-19” in the journal Cell is less of an academic paper and more of a survey and an advocacy editorial. It might not be all that significant except that its co-authors are David M. Morens, the Senior Scientific Advisor at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Fauci who heads it.
If you didn’t know that its authors are prominent figures in the scientific community, you might mistake its contents for the ravings of hippies at an Earth Day rally a generation ago.
“There are many examples where disease emergencies reflect our increasing inability to live in harmony with nature,” Fauci’s paper insists. “Living in greater harmony with nature will require changes in human behavior as well as other radical changes.”
It goes without saying that the proper way to live in harmony with nature would be to live in caves, hunt buffalo for food, and die at an average age of 38. Fauci’s $2 million D.C. house with its 5 bathrooms and 6,500 square foot lot size, is not in harmony with nature.
His Wesley Heights neighborhood was one of the country’s first “planned communities”: it’s described as “desirable” and “affluent”, and originally banned Jews and black people.
But living in harmony with nature and radical changes are for other people.
The paper lays out a bold prescription for “rebuilding the infrastructures of human existence, from cities to homes to workplaces” to “prioritize changes in those human behaviors that constitute risks for the emergence of infectious diseases”. The idea that we can change human behavior by transforming infrastructure is one of the basic ideas of Socialism. From the old Socialist utopian communes to the Soviet Union’s initial efforts to remove kitchens from apartments through Bauhaus and the housing projects of the United States, it ends badly.
But the two NIAID bigwigs essentially argue that every modern human behavior is a disease risk. Imagine lockdown and mask ‘safetyism’ culture applied to every facet of civilization.
“Some, and probably very many, of the living improvements achieved over recent centuries come at a high cost that we pay in deadly disease emergence,” Fauci and Morens contend.
But the agenda goes beyond some nebulous call for less dense living and working conditions to the much more ambitious and politically safer realms of the boilerplate wishlists of the Left.
The paper calls for “minimizing environmental perturbations such as deforestation, intense urbanization, and intensive animal farming” and “ending global poverty”.
But the only way to end global poverty is through industrialization and urbanization.
Fauci can have environmental purism or he can have less global poverty, but he can’t have both. And indeed, the coronavirus pandemic, like a number of previous outbreaks, came out of China which has dramatically reduced poverty by moving its rural population into cities.
The paper tiptoes around the China question. Nature appears repeatedly through the paper, even though it’s used as a vague and unscientific term, but China only appears twice.
Fauci calls for an end to “intensive animal farming”, but that’s why we don’t randomly eat wild animals from wet markets like the kind that may have caused the pandemic. We have massive herds of cattle, instead of bat soup, because we reacted to past famines with herding, while China learned to eat anything and everything that was available. Including wild bats.
Wet markets are much more in harmony with nature than the cattle herds of Wyoming.
Trapping and killing wild animals, and reselling them at fairs, is more natural. It integrates man with the existing natural ecosystem, rather than attempting to impose our own priorities on it.
And it may have helped cause the pandemic Fauci is exploiting to call for a return to nature.
Ending factory farming would make it harder for Fauci to get the burgers from Chef Geoff’s, grilled steak quesadilla from Millie’s, and barbecue pork rib tortellini from Sfoglina Van Ness that he loves so much, but living in harmony with nature is for other, less important people.
Fauci isn’t practicing science. This is touchy-feely hippie dogma from a man who is being paid a small fortune to act as a leading health expert and instead sounds like an aspiring leftist guru.
After sprinkling some sage and rosemary, Fauci’s paper warns that, “our increasingly extreme alterations of the environment induce increasingly extreme backlashes from nature”.
So much for science. Instead, Fauci tells us that Mother Nature is angry with us.
But what ‘backlash from nature’ caused the coronavirus pandemic? While the media and the expert class have tried to laboriously connect the pandemic, like everything else from higher crime rates and illegal migration, to global warming, they’ve done so with no evidence.
A paper in February finally managed to laboriously argue that global warming might have helped forests in China grow resulting in more bats which might have led to the pandemic.
In contrast to the usual environmental dogma, this theory blames global warming for not killing enough forests and bats. The logical conclusion must be that, in contrast to Fauci, we should be cutting down more forests and killing more animals to compensate for global warming.
Earlier in their paper, Fauci and Morens argue that, “Gaining a better understanding of the enormous reservoir of bat coronaviruses has been an urgent priority since the 2002 SARS epidemic, and remains so today. Considerable surveillance and phylogenetic and experimental work remains to be done. In 2020, it is among our most urgent research priorities.”
And that might be exactly the problem.
Some months before Fauci’s paper, President Trump had ordered the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cut off all funding to the EcoHealth Alliance which under Obama had provided grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study coronaviruses in bats.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology houses China’s only Level 4 lab handling some of the most dangerous viruses around. That, as many non-experts have noted, is quite a coincidence.
An edgy maxim by a medieval Franciscan friar would suggest that the likeliest explanation for a global virus outbreak centering around a virology lab would probably be that very same lab.
Rather than Fauci’s theory of a backlash from Mother Nature.
But Fauci might favor the ‘Mother Nature is Angry at Foolish Mortals Over Cheap Burgers’ theory over the Chinese virus lab theory because the grants were funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which he heads. There had been chatter about the lack of safety and precautions at the Wuhan Institute of Virology well before the pandemic.
The expert class and the media have dismissed such talk as an “unscientific conspiracy theory” in favor of the much more scientific theory that we’re experiencing a “backlash from nature”.
It’s easier to tell other people to live in harmony with nature from your D.C. mansion than acknowledge the possibility that your organization’s decisions may have been disastrous.
“Science will surely bring us many life-saving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics; however, there is no reason to think that these alone can overcome the threat of ever more frequent and deadly emergences of infectious diseases,” Morens and Fauci’s paper concludes.
The top NIAID figures are telling us that drugs and vaccines won’t work. Science is futile in the face of Mother Nature’s wrath, the expert class, borrowing from a horror movie, lectures us.
We must repent of our wicked industrial ways.
Or perhaps Fauci and Morens should resign, move to Vermont, and live off the land.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is yet another reminder,” Fauci’s paper insists, “that in a human-dominated world, in which our human activities represent aggressive, damaging, and unbalanced interactions with nature, we will increasingly provoke new disease emergences.”
Science can’t help us, scientists at the organization that may have caused the disaster, insist.
We’re accused of provoking “the latest examples of a deadly barrage of coming coronavirus and other emergences” that will bring us to our knees if we don’t bow to Mother Nature.
“COVID-19 is among the most vivid wake-up calls in over a century. It should force us to begin to think in earnest and collectively about living in more thoughtful and creative harmony with nature,” the paper concludes.
Collectively and creatively are two things that don’t go together. Neither do credentialed experts who want to be treated like scientists, but insist on rambling about nature like hippie gurus. A scientific argument actually tries to reason out its own understanding of the world. Babbling about harmony with nature never requires any such exercises in logic.
The coronavirus pandemic was either caused by a wet market, the living embodiment of Fauci’s call for harmony with nature, or by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was funded by Fauci’s own organization. Either way, Fauci’s preferred answers to the pandemic are its likely cause.
Instead of blaming civilization for the pandemic, Fauci might consider a mirror.
And Americans might want to consider whether the people they’re paying to act as their leading scientists, but who dismiss science in favor of nature’s wrath, ought to be replaced by scientists.