A state senator from Tennessee is very unhappy with me.
Heidi Campbell of the state’s 20th senatorial district responded to one of the emails I sent out to my subscribers. I must have made some side remark about Dr. Fauci, and she was none too pleased.
As you will see in what follows, Senator Campbell evidently thinks that public health bureaucrats take some class in college that teaches them how to balance lockdowns against collateral damage and therefore gives them the exclusive right to make judgments in this area.
There is no such class, obviously. Not to mention: lockdown was universally rejected by the public health literature before 2020.
(So “trust the experts” both when they tell you definitely not to do X, and then also trust them when suddenly and without evidence they demand you do X.)
Here is what she wrote to me:
The puerility of a grown man who has been given so much opportunity in life actively attacking a doctor who has tried to disseminate good public health messaging is really just embarrassing. I realize that you are the kind of person who does not listen and just speaks, but I encourage you to take some time to think about your value system and what you’re doing to make the world a better or worse place. If you’re honest with yourself I suspect you’ll find some areas where you might want to change some things.
When I received this message I was out with my kids, so I wasn’t in a position to draft the most eloquent of replies. But I did quickly dictate something into my phone:
If you’re [sic; error caused by the dictation function on my phone] concern is science, health, or the norms of civilization, I cannot imagine how you could be criticizing me, of all people.
What’s embarrassing is somebody who continues to make excuses for this man despite being embarrassingly wrong on schools (or are you telling me Europe was wrong?), predicts superspreader events that never occur, and has literally, and I mean literally, no explanation for why states without lockdown have better age-adjusted covid mortality.
Tell me, what is your explanation for that? I’d love to hear it. Andy Slavitt doesn’t know, either.
Oh, and put masks on 2-year-olds, even though there are literally no randomized control studies on this. And Europe doesn’t do it.
The results of this fiasco include literally millions of deaths in the developing world (according to the New York Times, there will be 2 million excess deaths from HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis because of the irrational panic), tens of thousands of premature cancer deaths, the decimation of people’s life savings and dreams, a huge loss in educational attainment, elderly people left completely isolated and begging for human contact, childhood poverty massively increased around the world, and on and on.
And as we can see by using scatterplots, there is absolutely no connection between the alleged mitigation efforts and health outcomes.
Infectious disease epidemiologists, as opposed to immunologists like Fauci, said from the beginning that the correct approach was to protect the vulnerable without shutting down society. That approach has been vindicated a million times over.
Believe it or not, the following was her reply. Not a word about childhood poverty or the devastation of the developing world or anything. Just this:
Amazing that you have this long-running podcast and (I’m sure) a significant number of listeners and your response to an email encouraging you to take some time for introspection begins with a contraction that was obviously intended to be a possessive adjective. Lord help us!
Folks, I don’t pull out the “I have a Ph.D.” card pretty much ever, but I could not believe she was pretending that I must not know the difference between your and you’re, so it was a quick proxy. I said:
It’s dictation software. I hold a Ph.D. from Columbia University; I assure you I can write.
Anytime you care to share any answers to my questions, I’d love to hear them.
Informing people that you have a Ph.D. is never a good look- it just makes you seem insecure. I don’t need to answer those questions. 99.9% of the global public health community has already weighed in. I understand that you make money from spreading disinformation and it’s apparent that you lack the depth of character to have any misgivings about doing so. Inevitably it’s Veronica, Regina, and Amy who will suffer because of your actions. Your choice. Have a great weekend!
I guess she looked up my children’s names. She’s not even good at that: she left out Elizabeth and Sarah. My reply:
I was not boasting about the degree, as is clear from the context, but pointing out that your frivolous comment about the misuse of a word was obviously misguided.
What exactly have world authorities said about why there’s no difference between lockdown and no-lockdown places? Can you at least repeat their explanation for me? Does their explanation satisfy you?
Why is Sweden a distant #53 in death rate, without locking down? Sweden would be #43 out of 50 in terms of Covid deaths per capita were it a U.S. state. Were you expecting it to be #53? Seriously and honestly? If not, do you concede that perhaps the situation is a bit less comic-bookish than Salon has made it appear?
Why aren’t you the least bit curious about this?
I have five daughters, all of whom are critical thinkers, and none of whom would look at the present situation and make an appeal to authority. If you think 99.9% of health experts believe in lockdowns, you are shockingly misinformed. You cannot possibly be serious.
As soon as you can point out a single false statement I have made, I will retract it. But you’ll need to explain to me why I’m wrong, and not just tell me that some public health bureaucrat disagrees.
No response yet.
At every level we are governed by mediocrities like this.
She doesn’t have to answer my questions because “the authorities” have answered them. Oh, have they? Andy Slavitt had no idea what the answer was when the subject came up on MSNBC. He just said that “there’s so much of this virus that we think we understand, that we think we can predict, that’s just a little bit beyond our explanation.”
In other words, he has no answer.
Same with Dr. Fauci: when asked about the success of Texas, the best he could come up with was that maybe everyone was doing things outdoors now. In other words, an embarrassing non-answer.
We’ve ruined people’s lives and dreams with nothing to show for it and what we laughingly call our expert class has no answers for us — and our state senator here has no answer, either. She points me in the direction of Fauci and Slavitt, both of who admit they have no answer.
The complete lack of an answer does not make her curious at all.
Needless to say, she never entertains the forbidden thought that maybe none of it did any good.
Something tells me she has never had a thought that wasn’t safely within the range of opinion permitted to us by the New York Times.
Speaking of which:
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