Dr. Fauci Needs to Look in the Mirror

On May 7, the University of Michigan hosted a “Comeback Ceremony” for members of the Class of 2020, who were robbed of a commencement two years ago due to regulations imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Headlining the ceremony was Dr. Anthony Fauci, leader of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and public face of the COVID-19 regulatory regime that has infringed upon the rights of Americans since March 2020.

Many have pointed out the interesting decision to honor him as commencement speaker and give him an honorary degree. The university felt bad for the graduates for their lack of a proper send-off, so they invited the man whose harmful recommendations—to isolate young, healthy people to whom COVID-19 posed little serious threat—were responsible for their being deprived.

But the content of Fauci’s speech is more revealing. It is consistent with the narcissistic and arrogant persona to which he has treated the American people throughout the pandemic.

His speech was divided into two main parts, the first of which was a discussion on how unanticipated challenges can bring new opportunities.

In June 1981, Fauci decided to “make an abrupt change in the direction of my career” to investigate the pathogenesis of the new HIV/AIDS pandemic that was beginning to grip the world, he said.

He also said that he often tries to draw parallels between the past and the present. His appeal to his handling of the AIDS crisis was appropriate, then, because he gave disastrously wrong public health guidance during that era, just as he did in this one.

In an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association, Fauci sowed alarm among the general public with his claim that “the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease.” This erroneous piece of medical advice led to a mass hysteria throughout the country that contributed to the social ostracization of homosexuals.

It is not his fault that he was wrong in that instance or even early in this pandemic, as he was operating under the best information that he had. However, the fact that health authorities are not omniscient means that his calls to unquestionably “listen to the experts” and his declarations that attacks on him are attacks on science itself are unhelpful. It necessitates a healthy skepticism toward health professionals in government, especially when they make public statements that could lead to unwarranted stigma or take away people’s rights.

In the second part of his speech, Fauci attacked what he called the “normalization of untruths.”

This unwillingness to operate from an objective and general set of facts is “propagated through a range of information platforms, social media and so-called news organizations, and, sad to say, certain elected officials in positions of power.” (Students cheered at the last item in that list.)

His lamenting of a lack of truth-telling is like a man deciding to break a mirror and complaining that he has cut his hand on the glass.

Arguing in favor of any of the following positions would have at some point or other in the pandemic resulted in an accusation from Fauci of being complicit in misinformation: that school closures do more harm than good because COVID-19 has a very low childhood mortality rate, that masks should not be required on airplanes because they have not proven to be substantial vectors of transmission, or that the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan.

All of these positions are either factually true or have enough evidence that they have become credible, yet Fauci has dismissed all of them as false.

His not-so-subtle reference to Republican politicians and conservative media outlets that have pushed the aforementioned beliefs betrays his masquerading as an impartial public servant who simply operates based on the facts of the ground.

Over the past two years, Fauci has tarnished his once respectable and honored reputation and has become the political face of a left-wing hysteria that has sought to prolong the pandemic and expand the authority of the government.

He is everything he denounced in his speech.

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About Charles Hilu

Charles Hilu was editor in chief of the Michigan Review. He currently cowrites the Dispatch Politics newsletter.