Great America

Part two of a three-part series.

Following Up on Fauciism

A useful shorthand term for “expert-induced panic,” much in the way “McCarthyism” is shorthand for “anti-Communist hysteria.”

In an earlier article, I introduced the term “Fauciism.” But there is quite a bit more to the story, more than I could get into a single short essay. 

I happened to catch Anthony Fauci’s first appearance in front of the cameras with President Trump at the beginning of the Wuhan virus panic. Before Fauci spoke, I turned to my wife and said, “We are in big trouble now.” 

I remembered Fauci from a previous time. Back in the 1980s, Fauci was responsible for a different nationwide panic that turned out to be based on predictions that were  proven false by subsequent events.

I was alarmed and saddened to see Fauci on the dais with the president. Alarmed because of my concern that he was about to set off another panic; saddened that he had not been fired from his government sinecure on account of his earlier bumbling efforts.

In the early 1980s, Americans were told that everyone was at risk of getting AIDS. Fantastic numbers were bandied about. The claim was that millions of ordinary Americans were at risk. Oprah Winfrey had at least one show dedicated to perpetuating that belief. I remember the panic her show caused. When Oprah embraced that frightening vision of what was coming to America, it became a fact beyond dispute in the minds of many.

Many Americans who were swept up in this belief about AIDS have forgotten that panic, no doubt because we now know better. Events canceled that belief about AIDS, and it largely has been forgotten. I remember because I had to tell many, many panicked people that it was not true, and explain to them why it was not true. 

I knew then it was not true based on information that was readily available and fairly easy to obtain. I believed then and I believe now the man behind the panic also knew it was not true, though of course I might be mistaken about that.

That man was Anthony Fauci. 

He was the official spokesperson for the “ordinary Americans are at risk of getting AIDS” panic, testifying before Congress about the urgent need for vast sums of federal dollars for AIDS research in order to save the lives of millions of Americans. He got the money. He also got his first taste of being a national celebrity.

Curiously, when Fauci’s claims about AIDS did not pan out, the failure of his predictions did not attract the same level of attention from the press. The media, as we have learned to say, “moved on.” Additionally, he got to keep spending tens of millions of dollars in AIDS research money and to keep his exalted position in the government. Amazing! 

I hope the term “Fauciism” catches on. I’d like to see “Fauciism” become a useful shorthand term for “expert-induced panic” much in the way “McCarthyism” is the shorthand for “anti-Communist hysteria.” 

There is this difference between Fauci and McCarthy, however. The media buried McCarthy. For him, it was one show and goodbye, but immortality for “McCarthyism.” Fauci was not buried by the media when his error became clear. Instead, the memory of what he had done was buried. And what he had done was either a massive and costly error, or possibly a fraud perpetrated against the Congress and the American people.