Harmless Untruths – Our incurious faith in infallible science
In Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Cat’s Cradle, the deadpan realist from the Midwest–the 20th century’s Mark Twain–delivers an instructive review of the way in which Americans hold scientists in exceedingly high esteem—and the perils therein.
One of his characters is scientist Felix Hoenikker. Hoenikker is a partial reflection of Robert Oppenheimer, who led the team that invented the atomic bomb, but was later distraught by the use of his invention to exterminate whole urban populations in Japan.
At the successful detonation of the bomb Little Boy in New Mexico, he recalled a verse from the Bhagavad Gita, when Krishna tells Arjuna, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
After Oppenheimer witnessed the fruit of his labor in Nagasaki, he became an advocate for the banning of nuclear weapons, but was, to put it mildly, a day late and a dollar short.
After materializing in Washington to air his views on nukes, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, the fanatical anti-communist and inspiration behind the Cold War, said of the man who might have done more to enable American military hegemony than anyone, “I don’t want to see that son of a bitch in my office ever again.”
Vonnegut’s Hoenikker is comparable. Consumed by his task, he is somewhat near-sighted and does not at first perceive the larger interest of humanity that might be imperiled by his work and invents a solution that freezes anything it touches: Ice Nine.
Once he contemplates the staggering potential of his brainchild, he attempts to hide Ice Nine, and is increasingly troubled by the implications of his invention. His children discover his creation later and cannot resist the power it offers. The world is destroyed.
Vonnegut seems to suggest some scientists are perhaps morally naive regarding the possible uses of their work—as in most any innovative profession—and that their moral faculty emerges too late to mitigate their achievements, particularly after their inventions have fallen into the corrupt clutches of bought politicians or pharmaceutical executives beholden to an ever-needful bottom line.
A disturbing enough question in its own time, it now seems the world has evolved in a darker direction. Our scientists are no longer mere bystanders in the use of their work, no more are they unwitting accomplices to inscrutable ends.
Rather they are more likely the purveyors of those ends, having infiltrated political power and gained extraordinary influence within a caudillo of private drug monopolies and global health institutions.
Who are the power players in the modern world?
Bill Gates commands a multibillion-dollar foundation (BMGF) the express purpose of which is ‘a decade of vaccines’ and population control, among other global “health” initiatives. The foundation has its tentacles in every major media empire, in numerous global health institutions, leading pharmaceutical firms, and in novel NGOs designed to advance its agenda.
Gates has conceded that although he runs an ostensible foundation committed to the global good, he has never seen an industry with such stupendous return on investment. At the beginning of 2019, he enthused on Twitter about the prospects for vaccines, “…one of the best buys in global health.”
According to author and independent researcher Jacob Levich, GAVI is a Gates-created, Gates-funded, and Gates-controlled organization explicitly designed to connect major independent global institutions such as the WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank with Big Pharma (Pfizer, Merck, Janssen).
Ostensibly launched to save the world’s children through vaccination, it seems more likely the organization is committed to the traditional goals of the white man’s burden, namely profit and power, with a kicker of population control.
Anthony Fauci, a beneficiary of Gates’ largesse, controls a $6B annual budget at the sprawling National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). His bequeaths to colleges and universities, labs and research centers, gives him immense influence over the aim and direction of those entities.
In 2017, Fauci warned on Twitter that the Trump administration would have to deal with an infectious disease outbreak before its term was finished.
For its part, dependent on the BMGF and US aid, the WHO delivers edicts adopted by dozens of nations worldwide. Public health is big business, and it is now the conduit through which Big Pharma ‘markets’ its latest innovations under the guise of rescuing humanity from a fell pathogen.
These WHO-stamped recommendations, seconded by nations and sometimes mandated, achieve what Obamacare sought to deliver—a government-mandated medical product largely paid for by the government. In other words, a risk-free, federally backed slush fund for health monopolies. Is it any surprise that Big Pharma is Washington’s largest lobby and that its front man and facilitator, the BMGF, is global health’s largest patron?
What has precipitated this shift? We can reasonably assume a shift has occurred. In 1976, distribution of the vaccine for the bogus swine flu epidemic was halted after just 53 deaths. Lawsuits concerning vaccine injury abounded after the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
In 2010, the Indian government halted an HPV vaccine program to investigate the death of seven girls who had received the vaccine. And yet earlier this summer the same government waived the need for clinical trials and batch testing for Covid19 vaccines if they had been tested in the country of origin.
Today there are said to be more than 30,000 deaths and five million adverse reactions that followed vaccination across the West, yet the hectoring campaign to immunize the planet goes rollicking along. Fauci has now suggested the definition of full vaccination may now include booster shots, meaning a never-ending regime of shots as they are tweaked to address new variants (identified genetic sequences).
Or, as is evidently the case with current boosters, they are just pushing overstock to drain inventory and reach sales targets. The apocalyptic predictions are the same, the dodgy data the same, vaccine injury problematic.
The difference? One likely candidate is the influence of profiteering on the institutions of public health. There is much evidence these institutions have fallen prey to the same fate as other critical public agencies: agency capture, or the process by which special interests pervert the true purpose of institutions until they serve the interests of private financial patrons rather than public constituencies.
We’ve seen the deleterious influence of elite capital on Wall Street’s regulatory agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions, and of course both houses of Congress.
In some sense politicians have been latter-day sophists, creating novel rationalizations for the abdication of their ethical duty to serve the public. Yet they serve corporate interests with fewer and fewer efforts to disguise the obvious.
The truth of their subservience to corporate capital is an open secret. Their mandate is now to free capital, even if it shackles labor. In fact, the former is rarely possible without the latter.
The larger public these institutions ostensibly represent are troubling afterthoughts that require a frightful media narrative to manufacture their consent for policies that thwart their interests. The narratives follow a threadbare but effective plotline: we must be protected from a dangerous enemy.
The enemies are numberless: a demented collectivist ideology bent on world domination, a rogue nation ruled by a tinpot dictator, a cabal of terrorists building jerry-rigged IEDs, a traitorous president taking orders from abroad, or a lethal virus using us to kill our loved ones.
It makes little difference. The plotline is always the same: the government, staffed by earnest public servants, desperately strives to protect a vulnerable public against an aggressive enemy. Behind closed doors, the opposite takes place: the enemy is often manufactured for purposes of avarice and power, not to mention paranoia (regrettably many in power believe their own propaganda).
The monies to protect national security usually come from the public till. This rhetorical sleight of hand is rationalized by a compromised Congress and Oval Office, and by many other institutions of similar ilk.
As the pandemic emerged, we as a people were woefully unprepared to assess the pronouncements of our deeply troubled health officials, bent gravely over their mics like a scene from Contagion. Despite 1976 and 2009 and excellent reportage by independent journalists about the growing capture of public health by foundation and pharmaceutical money.
Nor were we ready for the subsequent mandates, delivered from the pulpit of the unsmiling state, this more like a scene from 1984. We had little awareness that money had corrupted science as much as it had foreign policy and war, as much as it had domestic economic and social policy.
And so, we swallowed the bitter pill of ‘sheltering in place’ and soon rolled up our sleeves for the public good.
Would we have acted differently had we known that this ‘fatal virus’ script has been used before, step for deceitful step?
This is an enlightening thread on the 2009 swine flu in Ireland. It shows that the unfolding of the vaccine narrative was identical with that of Covid19 and just as flawed.
It begins with the hyping of an uncontrollable and terrifyingly lethal virus. Then it hypes the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the wonder vaccines. Then we see an outbreak of adverse reactions unexpected by the population because they had been reassured of the vaccine’s “safety profile,” which turns out to be a sequence of half-truths as suspect as the computer-generated sequence of Covid19. “Safety profile” being one of the emerging terms in our new Orwellian medical lexicon.
Then come more alarming signals, in that case a “narcolepsy epidemic,” the signs of which were subsequently shown to have existed during the trial period but were covered up by public health officials and the vaccine manufacturers.
Note that the separation between “church and state,” in this case between corporation and state, is illusory. The virus mortality claims, the clinical studies, all fall apart on investigation, which comes woefully late. The trials, of course, are run by the companies desperately dependent on their success.
Finally, lawsuits are filed as the narrative of protecting the people unravels. More than 80 suits emerged in Ireland related to the vaccine. But the corporations and the state continued to push the vaccine on the population, using the standard tool kit of manufactured fear to shape behavior.
Have a look at the ease with which scientific journals are paid by the pharmaceutical industry, compromising their impartiality. In fact, “The average ‘in hand’ payment in 2014 alone was US$27,564, plus research funds.”
The interesting part of this article is that it begins with the line, “It’s no secret that scientists can be corrupted.” But this isn’t a popularly known reality. A significant percentage of the population seem to place their faith in doctors with the most unscrupulous ease.
In some sense, doctors are the modern priests. Priests were society’s original father figures. Scientists in white lab coats have replaced prelates in black vestments. It seems that humans cannot escape the childhood desire to trust an authority figure absolutely. To their own detriment.
We soon learn our parents are fallible. We finally learned the church was an imperfect vehicle of spiritual wisdom. We have yet to understand that the scientific community is corrupt and serves interests larger than the pristine pursuit of truth, a comical conceit that rarely exists in an intensely capitalist society, or anywhere for that matter.
This article takes on Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM), another Orwellian concept of the modern age. Consider:
Research is almost always paid for by pharmaceutical companies. But studies done by industry are well known to have positive results far more frequently. Trials run by industry are 70% more likely than government funded trials to show a positive result.”
Stanford’s John Ioannidis famously penned a well-documented article arguing that most published research findings were simply false. Inbuilt biases and external influence threaten to undermine the perceived sanctity of scientific research, the modern paradigm of impartiality.
Yet it may be that that research capture and trial capture should become as common as the notion of ‘regulatory capture.’ Documentarian of antiquity James Burke once suggested, every generation thinks it knows the truth, and so the next generation comes along and overturns all the established “truths” and creates new ones, which are eventually dispensed with in their turn. Our truth is evidence-based medicine. We await our comeuppance.
Part of the reluctance to vaccinate in the black community has not only to do with cynicism over the official narrative but cultural memory of their historical treatment by the government.
Notable here is the Tuskegee Experiment, which baited black men into a study with the promise of free health care and pretended to treat their venereal diseases.
In fact, they were handing out placebos to track the progression of diseases like syphilis. For most of this 40-year study penicillin was available to treat STDs, but the involved government health ministry declined to offer it to suffering participants. This was at a time when:
Major medical journals argued that blacks were inclined to have certain defects, especially sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, because of their prodigal behavior and lack of hygiene.”
Here is a perfectly clear example of how the medical field is debased by a pernicious ideology, be it racist eugenics or an uncompromising profit motive. Do we really think we are beyond such gross abuses?
In case we protest, “But that was before civil rights,” it might be worth watching the following video:
It describes the inclusion of anti-fertility drugs in a tetanus vaccine being distributed in Kenya in this century. Of course, this video is on the Odysee platform because YouTube regularly censors videos that challenge the official vaccine narrative.
There can be no dissent when faced with life-threatening enemies; it is the same with the virus as when the public rallies around the president in the face of a military threat. The amplification of the threat is the crucial element in attaining a degree of consensus, or at least the appearance of it.
We’ve also seen the perversion of science in other fields, and its application to this pandemic. Consider the playbook of Big Pharma’s forerunner in the practice of regulatory capture, Big Tobacco. The strategy to combat the cancer-cigarette connection was a clever one: pretend to embrace the science but fund your own studies and control the results.
In other words, obfuscate and contradict existing science that undermines your business goals. We’ve seen this same blueprint employed by Big Ag as it muddied the waters of research on glyphosate and other GMO products.
The effort to sell the Covid19 pandemic to the public involved even more, namely the coordinated campaign from Big Pharma (running the fast-track trials), corporate media (scaremongering the public and suppressing evidence of alternative treatments), and global health institutions and allied governments (launching the narrative of the global pandemic and providing an official stamp of approval for media hysteria).
The much-repeated phrase about not learning from history applies again, but perhaps more to the point is the fact that we need to know history before we can learn from its mistakes. Ignorance of history also promises its repetition, too.
Knowledge makes a difference. Had we known all this, we’d perhaps not have behaved so obsequiously before the injunctions of the all-knowing corporate medical community and its state shills. We’d have perhaps not spoken so arrogantly about, “following the science.” Although many would still have happily preferred to forego meaningful critique in favor of the false security of absolute faith.
There is probably some sort of evolutionary selection pressure that encourages this sort of behavior. Perhaps we can generally function more efficiently without the complications of uncertainty and distrust. But I haven’t got a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to deliver unimpeachable certainty of that theory. So, it must be a conspiracy.
Is it any wonder, though, that Robert Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology, warns of Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE), or that the inventor of the PCR test, Nobel laureate Kerry Mullins, frustratedly pointed out that his invention was not a diagnostic tool? That it can be manipulated to find “almost anything.” Like Oppenheimer and the fictional Hoenikker, these men of some genius scramble to reign in the dangerous use of their inventions after the fact, to little or no avail.
As Cat’s Cradle illustrates, we treat science as our ancestors treated religion: with reverence, with faith, and with an almost joyful abandonment of our critical faculties to authority, which is a kind of backdoor plea for authoritarianism.
We listen eagerly for the latest proclamation, then scurry back to our debased lives reassured that the powers that be are handling things on our behalf, our debasement a necessary measure regretfully enacted by our betters. Like a child or puppy set loose on a playground, secure in the knowledge he can always clamber back to the safety of the parental embrace.
There’s something freeing in this sort of abdication. But also, something treacherous. The medical profession is the modern church, a population of hypochondriacs its laity.
Pills are the new sacrament. The vestments of the modern prelate are lab coats and scrubs. But no institution is infallible, whether its credo is an ancient testament or a clinical study.
Vonnegut uses religion as a lens through which to comment on human fallibility. He includes a rhyme-making religious prophet named Bokonon to smuggle in his wry view of our longing for the kind of certainty only omniscience could provide.
Bokonon encourages people to live by the “foma” that keeps them healthy and happy. Foma are “harmless untruths.”
Vonnegut’s tale slyly draws the distinction between harmless untruths and those untruths that cause grave harm.
It is no small irony, considering the corruption of science, that the Hippocratic Oath admonishes, “First, do no harm.” Almost the first act of corrupt medicine appears to be harming those to whom it ministers, all while delivering narcotic reassurances.
A limerick from Bokonon summarizes the abject state we find ourselves in, hustling to don our face nappies before entering a store and barking at the unmasked as they dare pass within six feet of us. This from the Book of Bokonon:
Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, “Why, why, why?”
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.
If only we did understand, truly. It was the French philosopher Blaise Pascal who famously abandoned his scientific studies after a powerful conversion to Christianity, performing something not unlike the widespread abdication of criticism we see today.
But it was also Pascal who noted that:
There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous.”
The latter at times seem to be a community of stethoscope sophists hectoring their lessers to bare their arms for the good of the state. Or perhaps it is rather the shadow cast over the medical profession that we should unmask.
If it is true what Camus said, that the welfare of the people is the alibi of tyrants, then we must ask what looms behind these self-appointed saints in white coats.
Julien Charles is a concerned citizen hoping to call attention to the authoritarian drift of states across the Western world, and the disingenuous narratives promoted to gain consensus for such measures.
off-guardian article suggested by danceaway