This article was originally published by Tho Bishop at The Mises Institute.
This past March, Dr. Anthony Fauci sparred with Dr. Rand Paul over any public health benefit that came from wearing a mask if one had developed immunity to the virus. In dealing with both a democratically elected senator and a medical doctor, Dr. Fauci was dismissive and condescending. He demonstrated the degree to which he held himself higher than the Senate.
Dr. Fauci was also wrong.
A medical expert in Dr. Fauci’s position losing a debate on the science to an ophthalmologist—even one of Dr. Paul’s great reputation—would itself be enough to declare them a fraud.
But Dr. Fauci is much worse than a fraud; he is a technocrat. He doesn’t see himself as simply someone to explain “the science” of the virus but appointed himself a covid czar. He leveraged the corporate press’s personality cult and used it to manipulate the public to behave the way he wanted them to behave.
He prioritized control over presenting the science.
He also has no shame in doing this. He has repeatedly boasted about it to his devoted followers in the media.
For example, this morning, Fauci explained on ABC that his wearing masks indoors was about optics—not science.
I didn’t want to look like I was giving mixed signals but being a fully vaccinated person, the chances of my getting infected in an indoor setting is extremely low.
This is not the first time Fauci has given himself the authority to act beyond “the science.” Last December, Fauci started changing his claims about the necessary rates of vaccination to achieve a state of post-covid normality. The original aim of 70 percent was moved as high as 90 percent. As Fauci explained to the New York Times:
When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent…. Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, “I can nudge this up a bit,” so I went to 80, 85. We need to have some humility here…. We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.
America has subjected itself to a lost year of economically devastating, mentally abusive policies—all based on the authoritarian impulses of a learned ignoramus.
This has also become the norm for Washington’s imperial federal government.
While Fauci’s thirst for the camera has made him an easy target for ridicule, most of the true power of the federal government rests in the hands of similar unelected “experts.” For all the arguments that can be made against democracy, it is in these unelected institutions of power that we have seen the most aggressive expansions of state power in pursuit of the most radical policies.
Take the institution most challenged now by the success of Fauci-ism: the Federal Reserve.
Though he doesn’t make enough television appearances to earn his own progressive prayer candle, Jay Powell has received his own fawning praise from the slice of the corporate press that follows the Fed. Senate Democrats have even begun to push for Biden to keep Powell on board when his term comes up next year.
Outside the Beltway, however, Americans are feeling the impact of inflation. Google searches for “inflation” hit record highs in March, long before the 4.2 percent reported an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Perhaps an American consumer seeing their paycheck buy less and less would be comforted by the fact that inflation is precisely what the Fed has been explicitly calling for.
Of course, the consequences of the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary policy go beyond simply the devaluation of money. The Fed’s low-interest-rate policy has massively increased risk in the financial system by depriving investors—both large and small—of safe, conservative investment options. Doing so has been great for large corporations, which have seen stock prices soar since 2008, both richly rewarding CEOs and subsidizing attempts to purchase smaller potential competitors. Those Americans who just wanted to simply save money, avoid debt, and avoid the volatility of the stock market have been less lucky.
At least they can look forward to funding the bailouts when the collapse of a stock market bubble ends up designating Facebook a systemically important company.
Even better, the Federal Reserve continues to give itself greater and greater authority to expand its mission far beyond monetary policy, with policy aims such as “greening the financial system.”
These bold and aggressive power grabs come in spite of the fact that the Fed’s own actions have repeatedly demonstrated that it has no idea what it is doing. Examples include not only the inability to identify the financial crisis in 2008 but its failure to reverse quantitative easing (QE)—as it repeatedly claimed it could do—and its repeated inability to forecast economic growth. The Fed has gone from one crisis to another, expanding its power, creating new tools for itself, and without any clear or coherent vision or economic theory.
Just like Fauci and the other parts of America’s technocratic class.
As the Trump era showed, the problem of these unelected policy czars is not solved simply by a presidential election. They are embedded deep within the structure of the federal government. To reign them in, we either need systemic change or pressure from the states.
Ultimately, what forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to break itself from the propaganda of Dr. Fauci were the counterexamples offered by Florida and other open states, which were grounded in science rather than a personality cult. While it is easier for a state to nullify public health guidelines than it is to separate a state from America’s central bank, we have seen states like Wyoming and Texas take legislative action to promote alternatives to the Fed.
Hopefully, the example of Dr. Fauci will help kill some of the faith in “policy experts” that government schools spend so much time instilling in the public.