I can think of no other year in my 57 years on this earth when men and women of such small stature, piddling talent, and questionable worth have ascended to such overbearing prominence: Kamala Harris, Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden, Patrisse Cullors, Kim Jong Un, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Boris Johnson, giant pygmies all. Some members of the roll-call can attribute their ridiculous ascent to politics, others to serendipity (Patrisse Cullors). For most, the coronavirus is a contributing propellant. Let no crisis go to waste, so goes the rallying cry of alert prevaricators everywhere.
No pygmy has ascended so high relative to his launch than Dr. Anthony Fauci. An immunologist once as anonymous as a DMW clerk last year, Fauci has ascended to a Colonel Sanders level of notoriety this year.
The caparison to a DMV clerk is apropos. Fauci is a life-long government functionary. He has spent his entire adult working career toiling on the government dole and suckling at the taxpayers' teat.
Fauci's Wikipedia entry reveals that he joined the National Institute of Heath in 1968 (52 years ago) as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation (LCI) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (The ponderousness of the agency names alone hint at useless paper shuffling, overreach, and beadledum). His credentials, which include a medical degree from Cornell University, guaranteed a quick ascent. Fauci's superiors levitated him to head the LCI in 1974. Six years later, he was appointed Chief of the Laboratory of Immunoregulation. Fauci stood upon the pinnacle in 1984, when he was appointed director of the NIAID -- a position he has held for the past 36 years.
An internet search reveals Fauci is paid over $400,000 annually for laboring at the NIAID. Whether he labors productively, creating value for the money he receives, is anyone's guess. Government bureaucracies generate no income statement. "Revenue" is guaranteed. ("Revenue" is a budget funded by tax receipts, as opposed to real revenue generated from free-will exchange.) Is Fauci underpaid, overpaid? The answer is impossible to answer in a government agency. (Don't assume Fauci creates value as he ploiters. Paid labor isn't synonymous with value created.)
Fauci is more secure --- in his home, his job, his salary, his finances -- than most. He is inconvenienced not at all by the pandemic, except at the hand of his own pandemic directives. His security is apparent in his myopia: The virus must be tamped down, no other costs considered. The tamping down is the be-all, end-all.
Fauci enjoys the additional luxury of being inured against the costs of offering bad advice. He has no skin in the game. He is inured by the lack of counterfactuals and the nature of government employment, where incompetence is rarely cause for dismissal. Only a PC faux paus -- an untimely transgender quip or an all-lives-matter observation -- will get you canned.
We have no way of knowing what the alternative reactions to the virus would have produced in the United States (though Sweden offers a suggestion). The virus is unique, as are all viruses.. Whether Fauci is right or wrong, no one can determine. He will always have access to explanations and directives that no one can refute with certainty.
When asked by the Washington Post what people overwhelmed by the pandemic should do, Fauci answers with the profundity of a bored teenager, "Don't give up."
More people are overwhelmed and considering giving up.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week found that among the 5,400 respondents, nearly 41% reported at least one mental or behavioral health condition -- anxiety, depression, trauma, increased use of drugs or alcohol. Anxiety symptoms were three times as prevalent as the second quarter of 2019. Depression was four times as high. A quarter of young adults reported that they had thought about suicide in June, compare with 11% of respondents overall reporting they were seriously considering suicide in the 30 days before completing the survey.
The young rightly have a chip on their shoulder: American aged 44 and younger account for only 2.7% of all COVID-19 deaths. As for the 24-and-younger crowd, they account for only 0.2% of the deaths.
When I read Fauci's exhortation "don't give up" and saw the above Fauci-faced photograph that accompanied the advice, my favorite German word sprang to mind. The word is backpfeifengesicht, which translates to English "as a face badly in need of a fist."
All the giant pygmies mentioned in this post have been deserving of backpfeifengesicht at some point in 2020. (I assert most are perpetually deserving.) Fauci, with his counsel of the simpleton, his myopia, and his recommendation that more of the same despair-inducing, livelihood-destroying nostrums should continue into fall and beyond, is more deserving than most of backpfeifengesicht.
Unlike our BLM Portland and Antifa protestors, I speak metaphorically only. I advocate no violence. I have no desire to punch a septuagenarian soon-to-be an octogenarian in the face, nor would I want anyone else. I find it increasingly more difficult to accommodate the masking, the social distancing, the quarantining, the crippling of the economy, the rising rudeness to tamp down my frustration. I am frustrated by the pretense of knowledge, and the diktats of those pretending to possess knowledge.
More than anything, I'm by the reflexive propensity to deify "experts" as the apotheosis of knowledge, wisdom, and action. Where so many see a G-d, I see a tyrant and a coxcomb. Expert schemes are frequently follies. Expert schemes fail to incorporate the heterogeneity that naturally accompanies with free development. One size fits all. Expert schemes retard the ceaseless local searching and expounding that occurs with free development. Top-down planning, the essence of their nostrums, fail to equal in efficiency and efficacy the vast search and matching process with free development. Expert schemes, therefore, must be fundamentally unreliable schemes.
So few will concede the truth: We are unsure. We don't really know how it will all play out. Therefore, every conclusion in every written or spoken utterance about healthcare and medical care should be stamped with the following proviso in bold type: "This is based on what we know today. As we receive more information, our conclusions will change. Our recommendations (no diktats) will change. You need to think for yourself and act based on local conditions." I doubt such forthrightness will be forthcoming.