The Banality Of Evil
Why Anthony Fauci Is A Problem For The NIH That Will Not Go Away
Hannah Arendt’s immortal characterization of Adolf Eichmann from his 1963 trial in Jerusalem for his role in the Nazi Holocaust remains a point of philosophical controversy and debate. How could Eichmann be at once guilty of participating in the incomprehensible evil of the Holocaust and not be himself irredeemably evil?
Recent revelations regarding the career of Anthony Fauci, Director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, invite similar philosophical inquiry. How could a man whose professional career has been in researching and finding treatments for serious illness and disease engage in behaviors that at best are ethically bankrupt and at worst shockingly evil?
How do we reconcile the nobility we want to ascribe to his profession with the ignoble mien of his actions?
Black Mark Number One: Lying About Face Masks
Perhaps the first ethical taint to appear on Fauci’s public persona arose from his shifting stance on the effectiveness of face masks in halting transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Initially, he downplayed their use, and then in April of 2020 he “changed his mind” and became a staunch advocate of face masks. His explanation for the shift led many observers to conclude he had lied about face mask efficacy:
Anthony Fauci has now admitted that the decision to downplay the use of masks was a calculated lie.
"[W]e were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply," said the man touted as the nation's leading epidemiology expert in an interview with the Street. "And we wanted to make sure that the people, namely, the healthcare workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected.
Justifying his original stance downplaying face masks as a means to ensure adequate stocks of masks for healthcare professionals certainly sounds like an admission of lying. Keep in mind Fauci did not urge people to refrain from stocking up on masks, but said outright that they did not work.
Ironically, a body of scientific research regarding the efficacy of face masks supports his initial stance, but not the subsequent shift to advocating for widespread masking.
Was he lying initially, or later on? Either he turned his back on “the science” early on in the pandemic, or later, after the lockdowns began to be implemented. Regardless of when he did so, his stated reasons for the shift in his position point to a measure of deception and a lack of candor. If he did not lie outright, he certainly did the next best (worst?) thing:
Face mask skeptics are presenting a February 2020 email from Anthony Fauci, the federal government's leading COVID-19 adviser, as evidence that he "lied" about the effectiveness of masks in preventing infection by the coronavirus. Fact-checkers, in turn, are accusing those skeptics of falsely portraying Fauci's shifting advice on this subject as disingenuous. The truth lies somewhere in between: While both Fauci's initial doubts about the value of face masks and his subsequent strong endorsement of them seem to have been sincere, his explanation of the shift was misleading.
No matter when the ethical lapse actually occurred, the unavoidable truth is that the ethical lapse did, in fact, occur.
Black Mark Number Two: Funding Gain-Of-Function Research In Wuhan—And Denying It
The most controversial ethical dilemma Fauci has faced has been his funding of viral research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology—a potential (and even probable) source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus—and subsequent denials this research included “gain-of-function” experiments wherein pathogens were made dramatically more virulent.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) raised questions about whether the funding provided to the Wuhan Institute of Virology was used for its intended purposes and not for gain of function research, which Fauci has previously described as “taking a virus that could infect humans and making it either more transmissible and/or pathogenic for humans.”
Fauci confirmed that $600,000 in grant funding to be used over the course of five years was provided to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans, adding that he believes the funding was properly used, but can’t 100 percent confirm it was utilized for its intended purpose.
Leaked documents have contradicted Fauci numerous times, and it is now clearly established that the research at Wuhan did involve gain-of-function research.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was absolutely adamant that the National Institutes of Health has never funded dangerous research on bat viruses in the Chinese lab suspected of being the source of the COVID-19 pandemic, when he was questioned by Republican Sen. Rand Paul two weeks ago.
“Senator Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund ‘gain of function’ research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Fauci said in the fiery Senate hearing on May 11.
He couldn’t have been more certain.
Until he wasn’t certain a few hours later.
That very afternoon, Fauci admitted to “a very minor collaboration as part of a subcontract of a grant we had a collaboration with some Chinese scientists,” during an appearance at Poynter.org’s “festival of fact checking.”
It’s like being a little bit pregnant. The NIH either funded so-called gain-of-function research to juice up bat coronaviruses in China, or it didn’t. Turns out it did. And it did it by exploiting a loophole in an Obama-administration ban on the Frankenstein research put in place in 2014.
What is noteworthy in Fauci’s denials is his repeated defense of the virus research at Wuhan.
“I think the real unfortunate aspect of what Senator Paul did is he was conflating research in a collaborative way with Chinese scientists which was, you’d almost have to say if we did not do that we would almost be irresponsible because SARS-CoV-1 [the coronavirus responsible for the 2003 Asian SARS outbreak] clearly originated in China and we were lucky to escape a major pandemic so we really had to learn a lot more about the viruses that were there, about whether or not people were getting infected by viruses, so in a very minor collaboration as part of a subcontract of a grant, we had a collaboration with some Chinese scientists. He conflated that . . . therefore we were involved in creating the virus which is the most ridiculous majestic leap I’ve ever heard of.”
As with his dissembling on face masks, Fauci’s rationale for funding the Wuhan research, as well as his transparent dissembling regarding that funding contains not a hint of ethical awareness. The end goal of more research was the priority, just as the end goal of face masks for healthcare providers was the priority.
Ultimately, the National Institutes of Health have been forced to concede that the research in Wuhan did encompass gain-of-function experiments.
In a letter to Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) on Wednesday, a top NIH official blamed EcoHealth Alliance — the New York City-based nonprofit that has funneled US funds to the Wuhan lab — for not being transparent about the work it was doing.
NIH’s principal deputy director, Lawrence A. Tabak, wrote in the letter that EcoHealth’s “limited experiment” tested whether “spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model.”
The lab mice infected with the modified virus “became sicker” than those that were given the unmodified virus, according to Tabak. “As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do,” Tabak said.
Gain-of-function research refers to viruses being taken from animals before they are genetically altered in a lab to make them more transmissible to humans.
The admission from the NIH official directly contradicts Fauci’s testimony to Congress in May and July, when he denied the US had funded gain-of-function projects in Wuhan.
Black Mark Number Three: Beagle Experiments
Recently, revelations of Fauci’s prior research initiatives have taken on far more disturbing dimensions. The depictions of the research funded by Fauci’s NIAID agency involving beagles is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Access from the central part B of the apparatus to sections A and C was initially restricted by netting placed over the connecting openings. After the sand flies had been introduced into the central section, they were allowed to acclimatize for (20 mins) then the netting covering the connecting openings to both sections A and C were removed to allow the free movement of P. perniciosus toward either the infected or uninfected dog. After 20 minutes, the connecting openings between the central section B and side sections A and C were closed. The sand flies were then allowed to feed on the sedated dogs for 60 min in the dark at 27°C. After this time the number of engorged and unfed female P. perniciosus in section A and C were counted as well as the number of females in section B [considered as not responding (NR)] were counted. The experiment was replicated six times with six different pairs of infected and uninfected dogs. For each pair of dogs we carried out 5 replicates. A total of 30 replicates were done for this experiment. To control for any effect side bias, the positions of the infected and uninfected dogs were swapped every replicate. The work was performed in a bio-safety level laboratory 2.
We compared the fecundity of sand flies fed on infected and uninfected dogs. Engorged females were held individually in glass vials (5 cm high and 2.5 cm diameter) containing a small wet filter paper, with access to cotton wool soaked in a sucrose solution (30%). Vials were maintained at 27°C and 90% relative humidity in sealed polythene containers. Flies were examined daily for up to 10 days post-blood feeding; those in the infected groups that had died the previous day were dissected and examined for the presence of parasites in the gut. Only those flies in which parasites were observed (N = 75) were considered to be infected and used in the analysis. For each female sand fly, the number of eggs laid plus those retained in the ovaries after death were recorded. As this experiment is extremely time consuming, we compared the fecundity of a subset of sand flies fed on two pairs of infected and uninfected dogs. Thus with the first pair of dogs we examined 47 females engorged on the infected dog and 42 on the uninfected dog and for the 2nd pair of dogs 25 females engorged on the infected and 30 on the uninfected dog.
While the language of the study is detached and clinical, the reality is clear: this research involved allowing sand flies to literally feed on dogs.
The introduction to the study carries that same lack of ethical awareness:
Zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL) is a vector-borne zoonotic disease caused by the parasite Leishmania infantum, which is transmitted by the bite of female phlebotomine sand flies. ZVL can affect both humans and canines and is considered by the WHO to be one of the most important neglected tropical diseases. It affects about 0.5 million people per year [1,2] and is widespread in South and Central America, North Africa, Southern Europe, Middle and Far eastern countries. ZVL distribution is strongly correlated with poverty  and in Tunisia is a peri-domestic disease mostly endemic in rural areas affecting families of low social and economic status .
The research is the priority, the end by which the means are then justified. Yet ethical norms for medical research even involving animals are not nearly so relativistic.
No responsible scientist wants to use animals or cause them unnecessary suffering if it can be avoided, and therefore scientists accept controls on the use of animals in research. More generally, the bioscience community accepts that animals should be used for research only within an ethical framework.
Black Mark Number Four: Destroying The Brains Of Primates
Shortly after the revelation of NIH funding of the beagle experimentation came another inflammatory news item: the NIH was funding cruel and inhuman experiments on primates at all seven of the country’s National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs).
Some of the experiments done by the NIH-funded NPRC’s involve:
Turning monkeys into “binge-drinker” alcoholics (Oregon NPRC);
Surgically-inducing heart attacks in monkeys (Washington NPRC);
Exposing monkeys to biological weapons (Tulane NPRC);
Intentionally threatening monkeys to cause fear and anxiety (California NPRC);
Psychologically tormenting baboons (Southwest NPRC);
Drilling into monkeys’ skulls and injecting them with the ADHD-drug Ritalin (Wisconsin NPRC); and
Drilling to monkeys’ skulls and injected toxins to destroy their brains and cripple their limbs (Yerkes NPRC)
As with the beagle research, these experiments were funded through NIAID—through Fauci’s agency.
Fauci’s response to the mounting public criticism of his actions has been essentially indignant and dismissive.
In a new National Geographic documentary glorifying Anthony Fauci, the controversial Biden regime medical advisor is shown complaining in 2020 about “These f**king dark web people” who “are really, really getting bad.” Fauci claimed he learned growing up in Brooklyn that “you didn’t take any s**t from anybody.”
Black Mark Number Five: Experiments On AIDS Orphans
By far the most disturbing revelation to date has been NIH funding of medical research involving “AIDS orphans” in New York City. This is actually a past scandal that was reported somewhat in the media some fifteen years ago. Through a series of grants involving the Incarnation Children’s Center in Manhattan, the NIH faciliated medical research on some 50 children residing at the ICC
Some 50 foster kids were used as “guinea pigs” in 13 experiments with high doses of AIDS medications at Manhattan’s Incarnation Children’s Center, sources said.
Most of the ICC experiments were funded by federal grants and in some cases, pharmaceutical companies. They used city foster children, who were sent to the Catholic Archdiocese-run facility by the Administration for Children’s Services.
ICC was involved in 36 different experiments, according to the National Institutes of Health Web site. One study researched “HIV Wasting Syndrome,” which studied how a child’s body changes when his medication is altered.
Investigative reporter Liam Scheff presented a far darker depiction of the research:
In New York’s Washington Heights is a 4-story brick building called Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC). This former convent houses a revolving stable of children who’ve been removed from their own homes by the Agency for Child Services. These children are black, Hispanic and poor. Many of their mothers had a history of drug abuse and have died. Once taken into ICC, the children become subjects of drug trials sponsored by NIAID (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, a division of the NIH), NICHD (the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) in conjunction with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies – GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Genentech, Chiron/Biocine and others.
The drugs being given to the children are toxic – they’re known to cause genetic mutation, organ failure, bone marrow death, bodily deformations, brain damage and fatal skin disorders. If the children refuse the drugs, they’re held down and have them force fed. If the children continue to resist, they’re taken to Columbia Presbyterian hospital where a surgeon puts a plastic tube through their abdominal wall into their stomachs. From then on, the drugs are injected directly into their intestines
In 2005, New York City retained the Vera Institute For Justice to review the research involving ICC, and while the Vera’s top-level findings did not show any particular targeting of minorities or other obvious discriminations, the report did identify a number of ethical lapses and concerns. Most notably, the informed consent of a child’s parent or legal guardian was frequently found to be absent.
1. Child welfare agency policy after 1991 called for a review of clinical trials by a Medical Advisory Panel and approval by the commissioner. However,
• Twenty-one children participated in three medication trials that the MAP reviewed
and did not recommend and the commissioner did not approve. Thirteen of these
enrollments took place before the children entered foster care.
• Thirteen children participated in four medication trials that the MAP had reviewed
but for which no recommendation had been forwarded to the commissioner. Two of these enrollments took place before the children entered foster care.
• Sixty-four children participated in 30 medication trials that were not reviewed by the MAP. Thirteen of these enrollments took place before the children entered foster care.
2. Regulations and policy required the child welfare agency to retain signed informed consent forms, commissioner approval documents, and other documentation for each trial and each enrollment. For 21 percent of enrollments in medication trials that took place while the children were in foster care, signed informed consent forms were not found in the child welfare files.
This is no small omission, as the principle of informed consent lies at the heart of both the Nuremberg Code—formulated during the Nuremberg war crimes trials following World War II—and the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki governing the ethical considerations of medical research. The Nuremberg Code’s ten points begin with voluntary informed consent:
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.
The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
The Declaration Of Helsinki’s statement on informed consent is short and to the point:
Participation by individuals capable of giving informed consent as subjects in medical research must be voluntary. Although it may be appropriate to consult family members or community leaders, no individual capable of giving informed consent may be enrolled in a research study unless he or she freely agrees.
Informed consent appears to have been conspicuously absent for at least 21% of the ICC test subjects.
From Black Marks To A Trail Of Total Disregard For Ethics
Any one ethical controversy is typically quite consequential for a public figure. In the case of Anthony Fauci, we see not one but at least five ethical controversies spread out over his career. That is not a simple “black mark”, but a pattern of such marks, and a trail that can best be described as a near total disregard for ethics, either medical or general.
While Fauci has never said these exact words, it is distressingly easy to picture him channeling Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Not giving a damn seems to be the essential ethical backdrop at the top of the NIAID.
Such lack of ethical awareness would be problematic in any bureaucracy, but Anthony Fauci is a medical researcher working within a medical bureaucracy. One need only briefly review the World Medical Association’s International Code of Medical Ethics to realize that concern for unintended and adverse consequences is paramount, and that failing to respect patient rights and to secure informed consent is absolutely unacceptable.
Moreover, Anthony Fauci’s own National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases clearly identifies good treatment and prevention of disease as its primary mission:
NIAID conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. For more than 60 years, NIAID research has led to new therapies, vaccines, diagnostic tests, and other technologies that have improved the health of millions of people in the United States and around the world.
Preventing disease is hardly an outcome compatible with the gratuitous infliction of suffering, whether through deceit or casual disregard for life and well being.
Nor is this goal unique to NIAID. The National Institutes of Health, the parent agency for NIAID, have the same basic goals applied more broadly across the spectrum of human health.
to foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health;
to develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical resources that will ensure the Nation's capability to prevent disease;
to expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order to enhance the Nation's economic well-being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research; and
to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.
NIH’s sister agency the FDA likewise has a public health mandate.
The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.
FDA is responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health.
FDA also plays a significant role in the Nation's counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.
For its part, the Centers for Disease Control are presumptively committed to the good use of sound science in furtherance of disease prevention and mitigation.
Be a diligent steward of the funds entrusted to our agency
Provide an environment for intellectual and personal growth and integrity
Base all public health decisions on the highest quality scientific data that is derived openly and objectively
Place the benefits to society above the benefits to our institution
Treat all persons with dignity, honesty, and respect
The goal of medicine, the goal of medical research, and the goal of medical bureaucracies are all functionally the same: the elimination of suffering. To inflict suffering while claiming to eliminate suffering is hypocritical at best and psychopathically delusional at worst.
Where Anthony Fauci falls within that spectrum I leave for you to decide. Regardless of where Anthony Fauci falls within that spectrum, he clearly falls outside the ethical parameters explicitly endorsed and subscribed by all of the nation’s public health bureaucracies. Yet he remains a visible—perhaps the most visible—spokesperson and representative of these same bureaucracies. His public persona, “warts and all”, is by direct extension the perceived persona of these agencies, and if his persona is wanting for lack of ethical integrity, so, too, will be the public image of these agencies. It is not possible for it to be otherwise.
The Banality Of Evil
Which brings us back to Hannah Arendt’s much debated characterization of Eichmann in 1963: the “banality of evil.”
We do not need to make explicit comparisons between Anthony Fauci and Adolf Eichmann to reference this phrase. We need only note the one characteristic both figures seem to share: a bland, non-ideological, yet curiously reverent loyalty to the bureaucratic State. As Fauci’s own words from numerous interviews and testimonies make clear, his ethical priorities are whatever priorities the bureaucratic apparatus of the NIH places before him.
If there is an interest in research, Fauci’s apparent priority is to get the research funded and done.
If there is a concern about the public hoarding face masks, Fauci’s apparent priority is to discourage the use of face masks by the public.
This is not the thought process of a committed ideologue, but rather the committed bureaucrat. Unintended and adverse consequences simply do not exist in the world of bureaucracy. There is only the policy, the priority, and the process by which policy is carried out.
Ethics enter into society because unintended and adverse consequences always exist in the real world. No matter how noble the effort, no matter how benign the objective, all actions carry an innate capacity to do damage, to inflict harm. We need only look at the lengthy list of negative side effects attached to many commonly prescribed medicines to realize there are no unalloyed goods in medicine.
These “black marks” on Anthony Fauci’s public persona speak to nothing quite so much as a distinctly bureaucratic unawareness of such ethical realities. The “evil” of Fauci’s bureaucratic mindset is not that it disparages or that it hates, but that it simply does not care. As the research efforts detailed here demonstrate, the cruelty of indifference is every bit as severe if not more severe than the cruelty of malice.
The banality of Fauci’s evil is his seeming indifference to the suffering his choices can cause and have caused, regardless of the scientific benefits sought or gained. The banality of Fauci’s evil is his seeming indifference to the disrepute and opprobrium his ethical lapses bring on NIAID, NIH, as well as the FDA and CDC by extension. The banality of Fauci’s evil is his contempt for the notion that public trust in public health agencies is damaged and even destroyed by his misconduct.
Neither the NIH, the CDC, nor the FDA can hope to retain any semblance of credibility or authority if their spokespeople are seen to have total disregard for the ethics of their chosen profession. With five damning “black marks” already to his name, Anthony Fauci is unquestionably seen as having total disregard for the ethics of his chosen profession—and those black marks are not going to wash away easily. Those black marks are not ever going to go away.
For the NIH and the rest of the nation’s public health entities, Fauci’s banal and arguably “evil” disregard for medical ethics is a problem that is not ever going to go away.