On a scale of pretentiousness, from 1 (Mr. Rogers) to 10 (Mr. T), Anthony Fauci is a 2 and Rand Paul is a 15.
Badgering Fauci in a Senate hearing, Paul, who puts more stake in herd immunity than masks, said Fauci is “making policy based on conjecture.”
Science often is based on conjecture, which Rand Paul, a physician himself, should know.
What Fauci promotes is the best guess of the best medical minds at the Centers for Disease Control. What Paul promotes is his own suppositions.
Sadly, he also promotes a kind of myth-making that contributes to ignorant acts.
It goes this way: People who want to reject scientific convention seek out a boogie man.
We saw that with climate change, aka “Al Gore’s global warming theory,” disregarding that Gore was simply a vessel speaking the truth held by most climate scientists.
We see that now with conspiracy types who warn that vaccines are somehow linked to one figure’s dark designs — Bill Gates, George Soros . . .
Only a degree of separation exists between those who seek to make Fauci a punching bag and those who direct their ire at China, or Chinese-Americans or anyone Oriental, amid the pandemic.
The insidious lip-baiting by Donald Trump and Republicans about China and the virus serves only to deflect the role Trump played in making the pandemic much worse.
Whatever the claim, making Fauci the bad guy is outrageous when he is simply acting in consort and consultation with fellow epidemiologists.
In the hearing last week, Paul said he wanted proof – a study – that wearing masks after vaccination is a necessary step.
Fauci wouldn’t play that game. He said that mask wearing for those vaccinated is simply a precaution because we don’t know at this point if people who are immune via vaccination can transmit asymptomatically or if they might be susceptible to new variants of the virus.
Understand, Rand? The answer is we don’t know.
What Paul is doing is what we’ve seen done in so many public health issues: the seeding of doubt in science.
We saw it when the tobacco industry did all in its immense power to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the public about smoking’s link to cancer.
The very same strategy by some of the same players
, has been employed to forestall useful steps to curb carbon-loading in our atmosphere and hence to moderate global temperatures.
Read all about it in Eric Conway and Naomi Oreske’s book about that two-pronged assault on science, “Merchants of Doubt.”
It is very useful for those merchants to make Al Gore the punching bag. It’s easier to assail one man than a massive body of scientific inquiry.
Say what you will about Fauci; it’s not HIS science that is at play in this still-tender moment. It’s a whole bunch of scientists making a bead on a moving target.
Only the hawkers of ignorance would make him a target.
That brings us to the unfathomable rage directed at Asian-Americans – for what?
We know what.
Certain individuals, like the man from Mar-a-Lago, know what whatever ails us that might involve reasoned changes in our behavior, they can block by making someone else the villain.
Mexicans and Central Americans seeking new lives. Black people seeking justice amid unrelenting oppression. Muslims seeking simply to exist among us. Any and all can be made great distractions.
All it takes is a blowhard and a microphone.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.