Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone, and welcome to the 131st episode of the Atlas Society asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. My friends call me Jag. I'm the CEO of the Atlas Society. We are the leading nonprofit, introducing young people to the ideas of Iran in fun, creative ways, like graphic novels and animated videos. Today we are joined by Dr. Aaron Carti. Before I even begin to introduce our guest, I wanna remind all of you who are joining us, whether on Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube. Go ahead. Use the comment section to type in your questions, get started and be first in queue, and we'll get to as many of them as we can. So, I've really been looking forward to speaking with today's guest. Dr. Kati is a psychiatrist and director of the program in Bioethics and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington dc, director of the Health and Human Flourishing Program at Zephyr Institute in Palo Alto, as well as a senior scholar at the Brownstone Institute. He formerly taught psychiatry at the University of California at Irvine, where he was director of the University's medical Ethics program, uh, and chairman of the Ethics Committee at the California Department of State Hospitals. In addition to frequent articles in the Washington Post, wall Street Journal, and Newsweek, many others. He is the author of The New Abnormal, the Rise of the Biomedical Security State, uh, as well as one of my favorite blogs on SubT. So, Dr. Carti, thank you for joining us.
Speaker 1 00:01:56 Thanks, Ja. It's, it's good to be with you. Glad to be speaking to your audience here.
Speaker 0 00:02:01 So, uh, our audience is always curious about our guests origin stories, and, um, I'd love to hear a bit about the circumstances that led to, uh, to you as a unusually, um, courageous individual and moral and thoughtful person. Uh, so where did you grow up? What motivated mm-hmm. <affirmative> you to become a psychiatrist, and particularly, uh, what may have sparked your particular interest in medical ethics?
Speaker 1 00:02:32 So, I grew up in Bellingham, Washington, a town north of Seattle in the Northwest. Spent my childhood there, went to college in the Midwest at the University of Notre Dame, where I studied both philosophy and pre-medical sciences. And I think my interest in medical ethics probably began my undergraduate years with the study of the history of ethics and the study of philosophy as part of my major. I went to Georgetown Medical School, uh, in Washington, DC and then came down to Southern California where I did my residency training in psychiatry at uc, Irvine. And I, I think my interest in psychiatry, probably looking back, I remember I did a, did a research project in high school on the psychology of surviving a Nazi death camp. And I interviewed, uh, an Auschwitz survivor who lived in our town, and I read a lot of books including Victor Frankel, a book written by a psychiatrist who had been imprisoned Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:03:30 In the Nazi death camp. And that, that book shaped my thinking, uh, at that young age. And so I think it was the combination of my study of philosophy, which, um, you know, tends to get at some of the same questions that psychiatrists contend with in a, in a clinical setting. Uh, questions about suffering, about meaning, um, about contending with, you know, life's, life's difficulties. And, um, and so all of that converged, and I, I didn't see it coming. I did my psychiatry rotation as a third year, but just fell in love with it as soon as I was exposed to it. And so I've now been at, uh, up until December of last year, I was at the University of California Irvine for really my entire career as an academic physician. So I mentioned I did my residency training there, and then I joined the faculty immediately afterwards.
Speaker 1 00:04:22 So 15 years on faculty. I was a professor in the School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and director of the medical Ethics program, as you mentioned in the introduction. And, um, I love that combination of clinical work and teaching in psychiatry, but also teaching and consultation and writing and research in the area of, of medical ethics. So those have been sort of my two professional passions, um, up until the pandemic. Uh, and I've pivoted a little bit to focus more on public health issues and the, the necessary reforms of our public health institutions to prevent the kind of travesties that we saw in terms of policy response to the pandemic.
Speaker 0 00:05:11 All right. Well, also, part of the influence, I suspect, uh, is your wife. You had a very absolutely touching, um, dedication in which you, uh, wrote of her as having, uh, long ago perceived the dangers brewing and, um, resisting the new normal, giving you the courage to oppose it. So let's go to that long ago, which is actually not that long ago. Uh, the early days of the pandemic, uh, you are on the front lines of the pandemic. What was life like for you? When did you start to realize mm-hmm, <affirmative> that, uh, some of the negative effects of the pandemic interventions, particularly your patient population?
Speaker 1 00:05:57 So, my, my state California locked down in March of, of 2020, as did most places in the United States. And, you know, folks will remember the two weeks to flatten the curve meme, which initially sounded sensible to me. Uh, there was a lot of unknowns that there was some scary things coming out of Northern Italy that we hadn't wrapped our minds around yet. So the idea of briefly hitting the pause button while we got a handle on, you know, what is the infection fatality rate, um, how do we manage this, who's really at risk and who's at lower risk made sense? But then after those two weeks, seeing the lockdowns go on in a kind of prolong fashion, I grew increasingly concerned that the original justification was no longer making sense. We had the two most important epidemiological facts about covid available by March or April of that year.
Speaker 1 00:06:51 And those two most essential facts were the, the real, um, case fatality rate, which initially had been reported as three or 4%. Uh, the World Health Organization revised that down to 1%, which was still much higher than the actual number. But we, we finally got a good study out of Santa Clara by my colleague Jay Bia, population based, uh, sampling of antibody levels. And he showed that the infection fatality rate was 0.2%. So that's the first, you know, most essential fact about covid is the number of people who get covid divided by, uh, or the number of people who die of covid, divided by the number of total people who have had c is very, very small and nowhere near that frightening three or 4% number that we were initially in, you know, given by public health authorities to justify the authoritarian mandates. The, the, the second most important fact about Covid is even taking that small infection fatality rate, which, which is not trivial.
Speaker 1 00:07:57 I mean, clearly a lot of people have died of this virus. But, uh, looking at the people who have died, we see a huge age gradient. The age grad gradient is the second most important fact that we know about Covid. That was known by March or April. Uh, so that 0.2 numbers been replicated time and again, and the age gradient has been replicated internationally, time and again, these are as solid as any facts can get scientifically. And by age grade in, I mean that the vast majority of people dying of Covid were over the age of 70. In fact, the average age of death from Covid was 82 in the United States. Um, the average age of death overall in the United States is 80. So it was people who had outlived the expected lifespan, who were at risk of covid. Not that those deaths are trivial, but clearly was not the case that everyone is at risk from this virus.
Speaker 1 00:08:49 People under the age of 50 were at a very, very minuscule risk of dying from this illness, should have been no more afraid of it than they are of, uh, common cold or influenza in terms of, you know, statistical mortality rates. Um, like most respiratory viruses, uh, any respiratory virus, including the common cold and influenza, can be the last tipping point for someone who's elderly, frail, and especially if they have co-occurring medical conditions, which is exactly the population that has been impacted by covid. And so, armed with those two facts, we should have right from the beginning, been very wary of the kind of one size fits all top down authoritarian policies that were actually implemented and sustained for very, very long periods of time. So I mentioned the lockdowns school closures as well, totally unnecessary. Uh, both of those caused enormous collateral harms that will take decades to fully assess and measure, um, but also the one size fits all vaccine mandates and vaccine passport systems, where rather than recognizing that age radi, rather than recognizing that, um, many, many people had natural immunity which was superior to vaccine immunity, uh, from being infected with covid, we said, no, a needle in every arm.
Speaker 1 00:10:09 You know, everyone has to get exactly the, the same thing. So going back to 2020, I was worried, first of all, just wearing my psychiatry hat and seeing a month or two into lockdowns, uh, clinical evidence in my own clinical experience of these massive collateral harms on people's mental health and, and on their physical health as well. And we finally got some hard data on that. In the summer of 2020, the CDC published very concerning data that got hardly any media attention on the mental health harms from lockdowns and from school closures. So I wrote a piece called The Other Pandemic in October of that year, trying to draw attention, both in my clinical experience, but now backed up by that, uh, that evidence based data, the population based studies from the cdc. And basically what we saw in June of 2020, according to that, uh, that data was one in 10 Americans saying that they had seriously contemplated suicide, not at some point in their lifetime, but at some point just in the last month, just in the month of June.
Speaker 1 00:11:18 And if you break it down by age 18 to 24 year olds, so college age students in the United States reported that sometime in the last month, uh, they had seriously contemplated suicide. That number was 24% of college age students. So one in four young adults in the United States with, uh, serious suicidal ideation. So that was concerning. We saw a tripling of the rates of depression. We saw quadrupling of the rates of anxiety disorders that summer, again, disproportionately impacting young people who were not, not at significant risk of covid. So my initial concerns had to do mostly with the fact that we were exclusively focused on code case counts, covid death counts. We were, we were ignoring suicide deaths. We are ignoring, uh, with social scientists now called deaths of despair, death by suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol related illnesses. So folks might remember, we had an opioid crisis in this country, um, in 2018 before the pandemic that public health officials were con rightly concerned about.
Speaker 1 00:12:30 And, uh, opioid related deaths had more than tripled in the last couple of decades. So back in 1999, there were 20,000 drug related deaths in the United States. By 2018, that number was 70,000. Uh, so this was very serious. What what we did with lockdowns of school closures was poor gasoline on that fire mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that 70,000 number in one year, 2020 left to a hundred thousand deaths by drug overdose. So those, those excess 30,000 deaths on top of an already very, very serious public health crisis was almost never reported in the media. All you saw were the Covid case counts. The covid deaths were exclusively focused on one disease. And I, I knew, but public health is about the health of the population as a whole. Public health is never just about one illness and has to take account the other medical health harms, but also the mental health harms, which can be literally, which can be lethal.
Speaker 1 00:13:26 Um, when you're talking about deaths of despair, same thing happened to alcohol related deaths that year. Alcohol related deaths went from 69 to 99,000, um, during lockdowns. And when this was reported, this really bothered me, Jay, when it was reported, uh, it was always framed as a covid or the pandemic has caused a rise in suicides or a rise, uh, drug related deaths, no, no incorrect. The virus did not cause these deaths. Our policy response to the virus are deeply misguided, lockdowns and school closures, which did not stop the spread of the virus, uh, but inflicted these massive collateral harms on individuals. That's what caused those deaths. It was our dis our decisions and our collective policies that cause those deaths. So, so in 2020, I spoke out about that. And 2021 I pivoted to the issue of vaccine mandates.
Speaker 0 00:14:25 So let's pivot to that now. Tell us about your decision to take uc, Irvine, to federal court over their vaccine mandates. Uh, that could not have been an easy decision, uh, for you. How did the university respond and where do things stand now in terms of litigation?
Speaker 1 00:14:45 So this was late 2020. I saw vaccine mandates coming down the pike, uh, even before they were being discussed, publish publicly. I just had this sense that that's where things are going to go. And sure enough, um, with the vaccine rollout, early, early in the year, um, before long after the uptake of the vaccine voluntarily declined, fairly quickly after the first few months there, there was these discussions of mandating vaccines so that everyone would be required to get them. Now, this was a problem for me as a medical ethicist, because every year when I teach the required ethics course to the medical students, I talk about the principle of informed consent, the central principle of the 20th century medical ethics, which goes back to the Nuremberg Code, which was articulated in the wake of obviously the Nazi atrocities during World War ii, which included the Nazi doctor trials at Nuremberg, where physicians in Germany from very advanced medical system, this was not Germany, had in the 1920s, 1930s, what was widely considered to be the mass, the best medical education, uh, system in the world, the finest and most advanced scientifically, uh, advanced medical institutions in the world.
Speaker 1 00:16:05 But nonetheless, uh, physicians during World War ii and particularly physicians in the death camps had committed atrocities against individuals. And the world rightly responded to that. During the Nurnberg TR trials where 12 Nazi doctors were tried, seven of them were convicted of capital crimes, of crimes against humanity. Uh, and several of those, um, sentenced to death by, by hanging. And the Nuremberg Code, which I encourage our audience to go and read. A lot of people have heard of it. Most people haven't read it. It's very short. It's like a page or two, uh, won't take you. But a minute or two to read. The very first principle articulated in the Nuremberg Code is this principle of informed consent that also sound mind should have the right to decide, uh, whether to be a part of a research project and in the medical setting, whether to accept or decline a proposed medical intervention.
Speaker 1 00:17:03 And they should have the right to make that decision on behalf of their children who are not yet old enough or don't have the capacity to consent to medical decisions. And that principle was steamrolled with these vaccine mandates, um, on, on the pretense that, you know, you should get vaccinated for the sake of others. But, uh, the, the chief problem with that argument when it comes to covid vaccines is we knew very early on, even though no one was really talking about it, the data was clear that these vaccines did not stop infection or transmission. So, so this kind of social solidarity argument that you may not benefit, you may be at some risk of vaccine side effects, but you should do it for the sake of grandma. Well, that, that might be a little more compelling argument. Uh, I don't think it's an entirely compelling argument, but it would've been a little more compelling.
Speaker 1 00:17:52 Uh, had we, uh, had what are called sterilizing vaccines for covid vaccines that do in fact stop infection or transmission, like the measles vaccine is pretty close to a sterilizing vaccine. But the co none of the covid vaccines were there. We knew that they weren't there. So this was really a decision that would, that would impact either through benefits or potential harms. The individual who's deciding whether or not to take the vaccine, and I I believe firmly that it should be the individual's right to make that medical decision for themselves. So I published a piece in the Wall Street Journal arguing that university vaccine mandates were unethical, talking about the Nuremberg Code and the principle of informed consent. And I focused on university mandates cuz they were the first institutions that started publicly doing this. And I knew that the University of California had one of these in the pipeline.
Speaker 1 00:18:43 And interestingly, I had been involved in developing all of our covid related pandemic policies for the entire uc system from the beginning of the pandemic, uh, including our ventilator triage policy and other, you know, ethically sensitive policies up until the vaccine mandate where our, our committee at the office of the president was not even consulted on that policy. It just came down from on high. There was no discussion of it. I was hoping my Wall Street Journal piece would at least provoke some discussion at the university. But my attempts to, to get a conversation or debate going on this, which is clearly the most ethically consequential and would be the most publicly controversial policy of any of our pandemic policies. Nonetheless, we couldn't have an open discussion or debate, uh, or deliberation about it. And so when the university finally published its vaccine mandate, you know, I was thinking ahead J to to the, the annual ethics course that I teach to the medical students, which I mentioned already.
Speaker 1 00:19:39 I was trying to imagine myself standing up in the lecture hall and teaching the first second year medical students about informed consent in Neber and talking about things like moral courage and integrity, right? You're a medical student, you're at the bottom of the hospital hierarchy, there's power differentials. It can be scary to sort of stick your neck out and say something. But look, if you, if you're in a situation which you see a patient who's going to be harmed, you have, you have a duty to stand up and say something and try to protect that patient as a doctor in training. So, you know, if you're scrubbed into a surgical case in the OR and the attending surgeon walks in, um, you know, and his, his, his gait is unsteady, and his breast smells of alcohol and his hands are shaking, you know, you better say something, you better intervene there, uh, because someone's about to be seriously harmed and, uh, we all have a responsibility to do this sort of thing.
Speaker 1 00:20:29 And that it just couldn't imagine having that conversation. If I personally had been in a situation in which I'm in a position of some authority, as the ethics director, I saw something that I believed was egregiously wrong, being rolled out by our own institution. And I didn't stand up and say anything about it, or even more stand up and actually try to try to stop it. So, long story short, I decided for various reasons, um, that I was tired of seeing people at my institution being steamrolled students, having their, uh, religious exemptions denied arbitrarily, uh, staff, nurses, faculty, having their medical exemptions denied arbitrarily, or, you know, it became defacto impossible in California to get our medical exemption because physicians had their medical license threatened by the medical board, uh, if they wrote exemptions. So, uh, I'd had just about enough of this and I said, okay, well, it's time to try to do something.
Speaker 1 00:21:27 So I filed a lawsuit in federal court, challenging the university's vaccine mandate on constitutional grounds, arguing that our equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment, uh, were not being respected. And I made the case, uh, on behalf of people with natural immunity because I thought, legally this is a case that we can win on scientific merits. And, um, so that case went to federal court and the district court and the appellate court unfortunately, decided in favor of the university, and not to get it too far down into the weeds of the legal issues, but basically they disagreed that a constitutional issue was at stake, which means they, they applied the lowest level of scrutiny to that policy, so-called rational basis review. And under a rational basis review, uh, all the university had to say is that we had a, we had a plausible public health reason for instituting this policy.
Speaker 1 00:22:19 They didn't have to show that the policy achieved its purpose. They didn't have to show that the policy was narrowly tailored. And, you know, so it's not to capture people or harm people, uh, that didn't need it. Um, they didn't have to show that the benefits of their policy outweighed the burdens or the harms. And so the, the, the court literally said, you know, carry cited his studies on natural immunity, and the court has to assume that they're valid. Uh, the university cited its own studies, but we don't actually have to look at the science on a rational basis review. Uh, we, and so they, there was this kind of automatic deference to the, uh, to the university, unfortunately in that case. So I haven't decided yet whether we're gonna appeal the case to the Supreme Court. Um, I, I'm, you know, I'm wondering whether a legislative solution to the issue of vaccine mandates may be more effective, uh, than, than trying to go to the courts. Even the Supreme Court hasn't been that inclined to actually critically examine the evidence or the, or the science. They've decided most of the vaccine mandate cases purely on sort of procedural issues. Right. Did this agency or this entity kind of have the authority delegated in law to do this or not? I think they haven't looked at the actual, um, issues, you know, related to the medical evidence on declining vaccine efficacy over time on natural immunity or on vaccine safety issues.
Speaker 0 00:23:47 So, talk, talking about the Supreme Court. Tell us about your involvement in the Missouri versus Biden. Oh, yeah. What was at stake for those, you know, who weren't following it? And, uh, what is your take on their decision on the Supreme Court's decision?
Speaker 1 00:24:03 Yeah. Oh. So thank you for bringing that up. And just before I forget, the, the last point on <laugh> on my personal story is that shortly after I filed the, that lawsuit in federal court, the university placed me on unpaid suspension and fired me even before the court had made a ruling. So I lost my job at the university as a result of, uh, challenging the university's vaccine mandate policy. Um, and, and now I'm engaged in a couple of other legal cases fo focused mostly on censorship and free speech issues. So you, you mentioned Missouri v Biden, which some folks may have heard about or read about in the newspaper. It's received some attention recently, especially with the Twitter fire files and other stories about this coming up. So the Attorney General of Missouri and the Ag of Louisiana filed a suit against the Biden administration for alleged collusion with social media companies, big tech, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and so forth, for censoring information on their platforms that basically, that contradicted the government's preferred pandemic policies.
Speaker 1 00:25:08 And we made it, we named the lawsuit as defendants several senior members of the Biden administration, many of whom also worked under Trump. So this is, is not a political partisanship issue. Um, Anthony Fauci was one of those named, he was deposed last week. So there's been some buzz in the news about what transpired during his deposition. Happy to talk a little bit about that later if you're interested. But, um, the, the, the case also, uh, enlisted four private plaintiffs. So I'm one of the four private plaintiffs that joined the state of Missouri and Louisiana in that lawsuit. Uh, the other three being a health freedom group in Louisiana. And two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, my colleagues, Martin Korf of Harvard and Jay Aria of Stanford, or the other plaintiffs in that case, as people who have been censored by social media.
Speaker 1 00:26:03 And we allege actually by the government for our views on Covid policies. Now, legally, uh, there's an argument about whether social media companies can censor and de platform people. Are they more like public utilities or are they more like private publishers? Uh, and that's a debate. Um, but in arguably no one doubts that the federal government cannot censor, and the federal government cannot lean on social media companies to do, its bidding to become sort of the long arm of its censorship regime. And what we're seeing in the, in the communications that we've uncovered on discovery is that basically under the threat of regulation, cause that's what these big tech companies fear. They have more money than they know what to do with, you know, what they want is, is power and sort of monopolistic control. And they fear, uh, they fear government regulation. Um, and so under the implicit threat of government regulation, um, they've been pressured basically to do the government's bidding.
Speaker 1 00:27:09 And the government has gotten way down into the weeds, like down to the level of, you know, a text message from some senior administra, uh, administration official to, uh, an executive or a VP at Twitter or at YouTube. Why hasn't this specific account been taken off your platform? Like naming not just big themes that you should, uh, you should censor, but, or specific claims that you need to censor, but specific people that you need to kick off your platform. And then, you know, five minutes later they get a text message back from the VP on Twitter saying, oh, no, no, don't worry, we're gonna take care of that. You know, we just kicked him off. Done. Right. So, um, so this, this case, I think already we have sufficient evidence to say this case has uncovered a massive regime of government sponsored censorship. Uh, at least 17 federal agencies have been involved, not just agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services like cdc, fda, nih, but agencies in the Department of Homeland Security, um, this cybersecurity agency that most people have not heard of in the federal government, uh, that was supposed to protect us from like computer viruses and, you know, cyber attacks and that sort of thing.
Speaker 1 00:28:26 Decided a couple of years ago that what they really needed to protect us from was information that they considered bad, you know, misinformation, and that that was the purpose of their existence. And they've partnered with private companies and with universities to engage in censorship. So this, this regime, I think at the core of this regime was, was focused on covid policies during the pandemic, but there were other issues, uh, election integrity related issues and so forth, where this censorship regime was operating. And, you know, with the release of the, of the Twitter files from Elon Musk about how their censorship operation worked and how it worked with the federal government, we've, we've basically uncovered the, the largest censorship, uh, violation of Americans' First Amendment free speech rights. I, I think in American history, I mean, I would challenge anyone to find another example of, uh, first Amendment free speech, censorship related violations that would come anywhere near what we're seeing here.
Speaker 1 00:29:30 And I think, I think, Jake, this is gonna be a story that we're gonna continue unpack, unpacking probably over the next year or two as we dig into the details of how this whole operation at the federal level funded who were the private players beyond the social media companies that were involved in, in flagging things. But essentially what we saw during the pandemic was control of individuals by controlling the flow of information. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if you can control the flow of information online, especially if everyone is locked down and they can't meet and have water cooler conversations face to face, um, that's, that's, uh, that, that's a kind of power that the totalitarian regimes of the past could only dre, you know, dreamed of exercising over. You know, the, the ideas and the thinking and the, and the speech of, of entire populations.
Speaker 0 00:30:25 When you say we will unpack, um, are you seeing a willingness by some of the mainstream media to, uh, to take a look at, uh, this evidence or
Speaker 1 00:30:42 It, mainstream media, uh, has talked about the case in sort of tepid kind of quiet terms. They've, they've definitely kept it at arms length, but there's some, there's some good, honest investigative media outlets, uh, that have started to dig into this stuff. So there was a, an extensive report published by The Intercept a couple of weeks ago. There was another extensive investigative investigative report published by another nonprofit, very well researched, very well documented, uh, published last week. So, um, as we're seeing in so many other areas of society, these, you know, these parallel institutions are, are growing up online of honest investigative reporting, uh, of, of people who are not sort of beholden to, you know, the the power elite. And, um, and
Speaker 0 00:31:36 Pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical advertisers,
Speaker 1 00:31:38 <laugh>, whether it's pharmaceutical advertisers or, you know, the way in which corporate interests are, are often acting on behalf of their pharmaceutical advertisers, as I talk about in the book. Um, but for example, Elon Mo Musk reached out to two journalists formerly, uh, involved in mainstream media, uh, Barry Weiss and Matt tbi, who are now on Subst Stack and now operating independently. And, um, as very, you know, as am I, uh, thank you for, for plugging that, I have a SubT Stack newsletter. Um, those were the, those were the, uh, investigative reporters that he wanted to work with. You know, both of them are left of center, they're not, um, you know, I, I think they're, they're not ideologically strong left leaning or strong right leaning. I think they're just both honest individuals who want to have an interest in doing what investigative reporters are are supposed to do.
Speaker 1 00:32:36 Um, so yeah, I, I don't, I'm not not holding my breath for a lot of help from mainstream media. I mean, the story's going to get to the point where it will be impossible for mainstream media to ignore it. But in the meantime, there, there are, fortunately, a lot of other honest brokers out there that are rolling up their sleeves and digging into some of this work. And, and we're, we're utilizing some of the things that other people are getting from FOIA requests or from investigative, uh, journalism type work, uh, in, in our own lawsuit, you know, to help us know where to look and how to proceed and give us a better understanding of exactly how this regime is operating.
Speaker 0 00:33:16 All right. I have plenty of other questions, but my audience is going to get mad at me. So, uh, and <inaudible>, there's really great questions in here. Um, Scott on YouTube asks, why didn't more medical ethicists come out more openly against vaccine mandates? Were you alone?
Speaker 1 00:33:38 I, I, I have asked myself that question many times. Um, the only one that I'm aware of that, that came out, and she also sacrificed her career is, uh, Julie Psi from Canada, who around the same time, came out publicly with a, a short YouTube video explaining why vaccine mandates were unethical. She eventually ended up losing her job at a major university in Canada. We've gotten to know each other a little bit and, and sort of become friends as a result of having gone through the same kind of experience. And my first and most simplistic answer to that question is sort of, well, look what happened to me and Julie, right? Look what happened to the people that did stick their necks out. Um, they ended up being punished. And so I think for a lot of, a lot of people, it was just self-interest and self-protection and, you know, the fear of professional consequences, which is a very, very powerful tonic.
Speaker 1 00:34:34 And, and to be honest, you know, I, I don't necessarily blame people for that. Um, you know, some people are in circumstances where they have to weigh, you know, being able to care for and provide for my family against, you know, how public do I want to be on this particular issue? Is this the hill that I want to die on or sacrifice my career on? For various reasons, I decided this is a hill worth dying on, but I, I don't necessarily fault others for also not dying on that hill, except to say that, um, you know, many people could have speak, uh, spoken out more publicly without necessarily putting their, their careers at risk. Right? Um, you know, filing a lawsuit doesn't have to be lawsuit. Yeah. Publishing in the Wall Street Journal is, is is one thing. Publishing, filing a lawsuit in federal court against your employer is a good way to go sideways with your employer, right?
Speaker 1 00:35:29 Um, and so I, I, I think there really should have been a lot more speaking and pub publishing, um, in defense of the, the principle of informed consent. Uh, a lot of ethicists were totally ignorant of the science on these vaccines and, and bought into, in a kind of simplistic, facile way, bought into the social solidarity argument, um, and assumed that these vaccines functioned in the same way that vaccines in the past have, have functioned. So they said, well, you know, we make kids get the measles vaccine. So this is no different, when in fact it was very different in, in some really important and relevant ways. So there was a kind of intellectual laziness. Um, there was a climate of right thinking and, you know, not wanting to appear, uh, you know, in sufficiently with it or on the part of, you know, on the part of people who want to be accepted and, and thought, well, of. So all of those human factors, I think, played a role.
Speaker 0 00:36:30 Right? My modern ga on Instagram, uh, gets to, I think the, the question you cover at length, and your book was Covid more an excuse to impose heavy mandates rather than anything genuine, uh, effort for public health.
Speaker 1 00:36:49 I, I think our response to covid, by and large was, so after getting fired, I was wrestling with all, all these questions. What just happened to us? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, why did it happen? Why is it continued for so long when there's mounting evidence that it's harmful and not helpful? And what I recognize is to answer that question, which was what I was attempting to do in the book, I had to go beyond just a critique of the public health policies. Um, and there's, there's some of that in the book, but I also had to sort of Google Earth up and look at the larger, uh, economic, political and social forces that were at work and, and ask that basic question of anyone who's investigating something like this, you know, who benefits, who benefits economically, who benefits politically? Um, and were they in a position to influence policy?
Speaker 1 00:37:39 Uh, and the, and once you start asking those questions, the answers become more and more clear that I, I think the answer is yes. This was an opportunity for an increasingly militarized public health apparatus, um, to, uh, field test. Some of its, you know, biological warfare response and field test, this new biosecurity model that had been developed for the last 20 years behind the scenes, quietly, uh, in an actual pandemic scenario. And a lot of people benefited financially from things like the lockdowns because, uh, you know, there, there was, the lockdowns were the largest transfer of wealth upward from the working class and middle class, not just the upper class, but to the very tip of the pyramid, right to the, to the big tech of elite who benefited from people interacting only behind screens. You know, Amazon lobbied for we lockdowns on the West Coast.
Speaker 1 00:38:32 Why did they do that? Is Jeff Bezos or his employees, are they experts on public health? Are they experts on respiratory viruses? No. But when people were locked down at home for months on end, they had to do most of their shopping online with things like Amazon Prime. Um, they had to interact with one another behind screens, which benefits Google and Apple and, uh, and the rest of the Amazon web services. Yeah, Amazon Web Services. Um, and oh, by the way, it also was a nice side benefit for them, that their competition was destroyed when small businesses had to close down, and 40% of their small businesses have still not reopened after the pandemic. So it was a good way to, you know, to eliminate the, the competition at the local level. So, um, so there were people in positions of power and in positions where they could be part of that apparatus of controlling the flow of information, who benefited enormously from the pan pandemic in terms of power, in terms of, uh, of money.
Speaker 1 00:39:31 Um, but the other thing beyond just power and money that I think was at work is I had mentioned this idea of the sort of biosecurity paradigm. And the subtitle of my book is The Rise of the Bio, uh, biomedical Security State. What, what do I mean by that term? The simplest way to understand it, the biomedical security state is sort of the, the melding together of three things that used to be more or less distinct. The first is an increasingly militarized public health apparatus. And I can talk more later about what I mean by that. The second EL element is the use of digital technologies of surveillance and control, right? The, the iPhone was invented in 2007. This is the first pandemic or even epidemic of the digital age. And we now know, as I, as I describe in the new abnormal that the CDC was extracting without consent or without even notifying the public, was extracting both data from her cell phones, uh, to monitor our movements during the pandemic, uh, and during the lockdowns to make sure that people were complying with stay at home orders or school closures.
Speaker 1 00:40:37 You know, they were monitoring whether or not, you know, how many people were hanging around a school or a church. Uh, the Canadian government was doing the same thing, even though, even though Justin Trudeau earlier, uh, that year had promised the Canadian people publicly that they would not do this, they did it anyway, again, without consent, uh, or without even notification. Uh, these digital technologies functioned also in the form of the vaccine passports, right? If you would've told Americans in 2018, early 2019, Hey, in a year or two, uh, you're gonna have to show a QR code on your phone demonstrating that, uh, you've done what the public health authorities told you to do, uh, up to and including injecting a novel mRNA technology, gene therapy into your body, whether or not you wanted that injection just in order to get on a train, get on a plane, go to a restaurant, get back into your country of origin, most Americans would've told you, you, that's crazy.
Speaker 1 00:41:33 We're never going to do that. We're never gonna de dissent to that level of authoritarianism. But under, under the, the Lockdowns a year of the kind of emotional abuse of social isolation, school closures and lockdowns Americans were ready to do just about anything, to get a modicum of their, their freedoms back, freedom of association, freedom of movement. Um, and so we comply with these things that, you know, a year or two ago would've sounded utterly crazy and totally absurd, and, and pretty horrifying to most of us. So militarized public health, digital technologies of surveillance and control, combined with the number three, which is the police power of the state backing this up, and, you know, pretty severe punishments for individuals who did not comply. And what I'm seeing now is that this, even though a lot of those individual policies have been rolled back in the United States, you know, the mandates or the passports or whatever, this whole apparatus is still in place, and it's just waiting for the next declared public health emergency to advance even further. So, so my book is not so much a retrospective on the pandemic. We have to do some work to figure out, you know, what went wrong and what was behind it. But more importantly, it's a book about what's coming next, right? What are the next steps in the progression of this biosecurity, uh, apparatus? And, um, you know, what do we need to do to, to sort of be aware of, of what's going on?
Speaker 0 00:42:59 Some of our donors at the Atla Society have, uh, opined that the lockdowns and the mandates were address rehearsal for future climate lockdowns. And you have a, a very creative and unique epilogue to your book. And by the way, folks, I wanna also just say the, um, the audio version is fantastic. Um, great narrator. Yeah, good. The links to that in there, and, uh, highly recommend. But, uh, judging from that epilogue, which is sort of, um, Seattle 2030, yeah. You see that coming?
Speaker 1 00:43:38 Yeah. So thank you for mentioning the Epilog. It's actually my favorite part of the book. And it's, um, the rest of the book is nonfiction, but the Epilog is a sort of fictionalized construct. But what I was trying to do is per project ahead into the future, not so far ahead, that it felt like the distant future, like it's not coming down the pike for a while, but the not too distant future, you know, seven years down the road, if things continue in the direction that they're going, what is society going to look at? And so that was the, that was the whole purpose of this story. I tell in Seattle 2030, you kind of vignette of a software engineer who lives in Seattle, and what happens, what happens to an under the biomedical security regime that's been established there? And one of the things I did with the epilog is they said, okay, I'm not gonna introduce any technologies that are not already available.
Speaker 1 00:44:27 So this is not science fiction in the sense of, you know, in the, the future, when, when we're able to do this or that with biomedical technologies, you know, these problems might develop, no, these are all technologies that already exist. And this is just looking at if these are rolled out on mass scale, how will it affect individuals lives, right? So it's, it's science fiction, but it's, it's grounded in available facts and, and things that very serious people in positions of power are very talking about openly and, and very eager to roll out things like central bank digital currencies, things like digital, digital IDs tied to biometric data like face ID retinal scan. Uh, and I, I have a section in, uh, chapter three where I talk about, I, I believe those are the next two steps in the rollout of the biomedical security state, the digital IDs, biometric based digital IDs in the Central Bank digital currencies.
Speaker 1 00:45:27 So these things are implemented. What does life look like? And in the epilogue, I, I start out by kind of trying to show how these things are sold based on convenience and ease and a kind of frictionless way of, uh, you know, traveling and doing transactions and so forth. So I, I try to, I try to illustrate the fact that, um, this is a kind of velvet glove authoritarianism. You know, we're, we're, we're not gonna build concentration camps next year, uh, but we don't have to, if people are in a digital go log, uh, we don't have to, if we can control the flow of information and thereby control people's thinking and their ideas. Um, and, uh, so these things will be sold on the basis of, of convenience. But then as the story proceeds in the apple log, you begin to see, okay, there's some flies in the ointment. Uh, and then, okay, there's definitely some downsides, particularly for certain segments of, of society that who's, you know, your social credit score is not adequate. This is, this is sort of where you're gonna end up socially and economically. And then by the end, hopefully, uh, without giving away too much, hopefully people see that the real kind of terrifying problems with, uh, developing in this direction. So yeah, if, if folks are at all inclined to read the book, I encourage you, please read all the way through to the end and, and don't skip the epilogue.
Speaker 0 00:46:52 All right. Well, folks, apologies in advance, cuz I think we've got about 12 more minutes left. So, uh, we're not gonna get to all of your questions, uh, or even fraction of mine. Um, but let me grab a couple, Camden on Twitter asks, when do you think, uh, what do you think is happening globally? Um, is there more pushback to prevent lockdowns from happening again? So you, you do talk in the book about some of the global, um, protests Yeah. And Botswana, you know, <laugh> kind of leading the, the, the push to, um, to kind of prevent the, uh, institutionalization of, of some of these mandates. Uh, but, you know, I'd, I'd also, maybe if you would just one of my questions in, in glancing to, to tell us a little bit about what the global effects of these policy interventions were in. Uh, it's very well documented in, in your book in terms of, uh, the, the millions pushed into starvation, um, child marriages, uh, malaria for children, um, and aids, um, these things going untreated. So, uh, some point I have to question whether or not these, these policies have actually, um, killed more people than they may have saved.
Speaker 1 00:48:20 Well, I, I believe that's true. That they have, um, sad to report the global effects of these policies are so disastrous, especially on the floor, that it, it's really hard to wrap your mind around the carnage once you start looking at it. Um, lockdowns and school closures were a luxury of the laptop class people who could easily work from home, uh, and, and educate their children from home and had the resources to do that, had one parent who was able to, to, to stay at home and help the kids and so forth. And the, the poor in the working class were, were disproportionately harmed by those policies. I go into all the ways in which that happened, and chapter two of the book. So globally, we're dealing with a disaster, the effects of which will take us, I think, decades to fully unpack. I mean, the long term effects of school closures on an entire generation are going to take us decades to, to fully comprehend.
Speaker 1 00:49:23 Um, it's really disastrous is, it seems like an inadequate word to describe the, the carnage. Um, but in the last chapter, I, I try to offer some reasons for hope. And one of those things is that, while you may not have noticed it, because there was an almost total blackout on mainstream media of this movement, 2021 saw the largest worldwide mass movement in, uh, I would argue the history of the world with covid pandemic policy protests in countries across the globe and gatherings of people in the tens of thousands night after night, week after week, in countries from Europe to the Middle East, to, uh, uh, to the countries in the east to Australia, north South America. And if you know where to look on social media, you can find, you know, plenty of evidence on the ground of, of what these protests look like. The most publicly visible one, and the most politically effective one was the trucker convoy in Canada, which I talk about in the first and last chapter of the book. And, and I try to point out in the last chapter that the truckers did achieve, even though they were forced out of the city of Ottawa, um, by the, and
Speaker 0 00:50:44 Had their, and had their bank account
Speaker 1 00:50:46 Ceased. Yeah, well, yeah, exactly. They, so Trudeau invoked the emergency act for the first time in Canadian history. He's now being investigated for that, whether it was appropriate to do so. One of the things he did was not only forcibly remove the truckers with his storm troopers, um, but he also froze the bank accounts, not only of the truckers, but of anyone who gave money to the con convoy. So imagine donating 50 bucks to this, uh, this movement and going to the ATM the next day, and, you know, not being able to take money out of your checking account because the government had told the pa the banks to push a button and the banks had all complied, right? And that's small potatoes compared to the level of control that they'll have with Central Bank digital currencies. Um, but even so, the truckers managed to get, uh, much of their, um, their political agenda met.
Speaker 1 00:51:41 So many of the mandates were dropped in many different provinces in Canada during the protests. Um, there was a lot of public support for the truckers that the media downplayed, but people who didn't necessarily even, you know, agree with all of their, their approach or their tactics, you know, maybe they should pack up and leave the city at this point, nonetheless expressed a lot of sympathy for their concerns and their aims, and believed that rather than running like a scared child and refusing to meet with them, Trudeau should have sat down and listened to their concerns and worked out some kind of political compromise. The way, you know, free democratic societies are, are supposed to operate. So the trucker's movement, this mass movement, uh, uh, what you could maybe term a medical freedom movement in 2020, these were all, uh, positive signs that there were many, many people in the world that were ready to, um, to take some risks and not lay down passively and accept everything that was coming at them. And the most recent, uh, and I think tremendous sign of resistance is actually coming from China, right? And
Speaker 0 00:52:51 Similar positive
Speaker 1 00:52:52 Results. Yeah. And again, the media's not able to ignore this. And, you know, people expressing sympathy for the Chinese, which is great, some of those people not recognizing that, um, they had very little sympathy for the lockdowns, which were exported from Wuhan, uh, and then the Chinese Communist Party, but okay, better late than never. Um, and these are people, you know, who are taking enormous risks to stand up and protest, which, you know, we can mostly still do with, um, with a lot of our freedoms intact in the United States. Uh, but the Chinese Communist Party will not hesitate to arrest these people to retaliate with the most severe kinds of punishments. I mean, this is a, this is a totalitarian regime that has no compunction, uh, about, uh, egregious violations of human rights. So this, every single person in China who has stood up over the last couple of weeks and taken part in these protests is to be commended, uh, because that, that takes real courage to do that in a regime, uh, like, like we currently have in China.
Speaker 0 00:54:04 All right, final audience question. We've got about five minutes left from Shari M. Honey asks, how do we hold them accountable, which dovetails into one of my questions, of course, the famous or infamous, uh, Atlantic article, time for Pandemic Amnesty. And my take is that we need to have, uh, accountability and acknowledgement. That's, um, so in addition to how we hold people accountable, are you seeing any evidence of people saying I was wrong?
Speaker 1 00:54:44 I've seen very few examples of that, and a few rare examples, uh, are to be commended. Mm-hmm. Altra, a cardiologist, friend and colleague from Great Britain who, who openly admitted publicly, um, that he changed his minds about, uh, recommending these specific vaccines. That took enormous courage for him to do that. But he's, he's the exception that sort of proves the rule that, you know, the people who are asking for pandemic amnesty, what they're, uh, they're not really asking for forgiveness. They're, they're sort of publicly forgiving
Speaker 0 00:55:17 Themselves. Yeah. They just don't wanna be criticized anymore.
Speaker 1 00:55:19 They don't wanna be criticized anymore. And, um, and look, I'm, I'm a Christian. I, I believe in forgiveness. I think forgiveness and reconciliation is needed for the healing of, of society. And there's, there's a lot of division in healing that, that healing of divisions that needs to happen. But, um, but we can look to the, the truth in reconciliation commissions in South Africa after apartheid, or that, uh, that happened in Rwanda after the genocide. Uh, what these, what these reminded us of is that reconciliation forgiveness is actually really, really hard. And it cannot be divorced from truth. It has to begin with truth. It has to begin with a public acknowledgement that wrongs were done, a public attempt to rectify to the extent possible, the harms, uh, the, the harms are so awful that they can't fully be rectified, even if we had the political will to do that.
Speaker 1 00:56:16 I mean, people have died, people have, um, you know, people's lives have been destroyed. But to the extent possible, we need to make an effort to, um, you know, restore people, uh, to, you know, if they were unjustly fired, to give them their job back with, with back pay, uh, as New York City was forced to do by the courts recently. So it has to begin with the truth. It has to begin with the public acknowledgement that these were bad policies, that, um, that we're not gonna do it again, uh, that this was wrong, and here's why. And then, uh, restitution to the extent possible, and then the, the reconciliation and healing and forgiveness, uh, can begin. But the, the amnesty proposals as they have currently been floated, don't begin with truth. They begin with, well, you know, it was hard and nobody really knew what was going on.
Speaker 1 00:57:04 Not true. People did know what was going on. Those people were silenced, they were censored, they were vilified, they were fired. Uh, they were, public attempts were made to publicly humiliate them and to destroy their reputations and their careers. So it's not true that we didn't know what was going on. Uh, we just didn't have a, a, a public discussion or debate because only one side of that debate was allowed to be heard. So yeah, I'm, I'm all in favor of forgiveness, but it has to be done in the right way. It has to begin with an acknowledgement of the truth.
Speaker 0 00:57:38 So I've been throwing questions at you for the past hour, mine, and, uh, those from our audience, any final thoughts? There's so much that you cover in this book, and I really hope that those of you watching will, uh, give it a read or listen.
Speaker 1 00:57:55 So it's time for us to, I think, overcome our fear. Um, you know, we, we were subject to military trade, uh, indoctrination and propaganda during the pandemic. We now know that this is not an exaggeration. This is a well-documented phenomenon. A couple of books have been written about it already. Um, that deliberate attempts by our governments increased the level of fear in order to, uh, get better compliance with government's preferred policies. So we were afraid of the virus. We were afraid, uh, those fears were amplified by the, by the media and the public health messaging. Um, we hid behind masks, which were ineffective for years, which also amplified our fears. This, this myth of asymptomatic spread, uh, which had no scientific basis increased our fears, literally turned every person into a potential threat to my existence. You know, even if they don't look sick, they could still infect me and I could still die.
Speaker 1 00:58:51 So how do we overcome our fears? Well, we have to take our farm masks. We have to stop avoiding things that we were avoiding before. And I think one of the things that all of us can do is, you know, the fear of what will other people think? If I say what I'm thinking, we need to, we need to start pushing back against that. There's a lot of self censorship, you know, and really effective censorship regime doesn't require a lot of external cens, because at a certain point, the i ideology is internalized and people begin to self censor. Um, they have an idea, they have a thought, they have some thing that they witnessed with their own senses, um, that they wanna speak up about, but they're worried about retaliation. They're worried about what other people will think. They're worried about standing out, you know, in a crowd or going against the, the mom.
Speaker 1 00:59:39 And so I think, you know, you may not be in a position of authority where you have a microphone or, or, or a podcast, and you can speak to the public on a, on a wider scale. You may not be in a position of, uh, authority in terms of changing any policies. That's okay. All of us have a role. Um, we have to begin by overcoming our fear. And I think a practical place to start is, uh, when you notice yourself self censoring, uh, try to push back against that. Um, doesn't mean that you say every thought that comes into your head all the time in every context. Obviously there's discretion and there's, you know, social propriety and so forth. But I think, I think most of us were leaning, you know, extremely far in the direction of actually not saying what, what we were thinking.
Speaker 1 01:00:25 And, uh, when you start to speak up, uh, it empowers other people to speak up. So fear is contagious, but, uh, courage is also contagious. And, you know, you might be the person in that group conversation that empowers two or three others to, to chime in once you've, uh, challenged the the prevailing acceptable opinion. And, um, I think once we start doing that, we'll realize, hey, I'm not alone. I'm not crazy. I'm not the only one who sees this. There's other people who are skeptical and that that will begin opening people's minds. And that's what creates a political movement. That's what creates political change, has to start from the ground up.
Speaker 0 01:01:02 Well, that is a wonderful, I think, encouraging point to end on and one that we can all take to heart. So thank you so much Dr. Kati, and, um, look forward to meeting you in person as we're not too far from each other in the Republic of California here. So thank you. I wanna thank also all of you who joined us, uh, as Dr. Kati said, the, um, the worry over what other people think or fear of going against the grain. Of course, the best vaccination against that kind of worry and fear is the ideas of Iron Rand and Objectivism, which is what we do again at the Atla Society. So if you like interviews like this and uh, you like the kind of content we produce, please consider, uh, making a end of year tax deductible donation to the Atla Society. And, um, be sure to tune in next week. I'm going to be joined by, uh, Dr. Andrew Bernstein, of course, longtime Objectivists. And, uh, we'll be talking among, um, other things about his new book, why Johnny still Can't read or write or Understand Math and what we can do about it. So, uh, also we have, have, uh, in 30 minutes guys, if you haven't gotten enough of the Outlet Society today, uh, we're gonna be having a clubhouse with Professor Steven Hicks and the Out Society founder, David Kelly, will be live taking your questions, ask me anything on philosophy, so we see you there. Thanks.