Dr. Anthony Fauci condemned this week people who do not accept his version of the “truth.”
What did he say?
MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked Fauci on Tuesday whether society is becoming “anti-science,” citing the “rise of disinformation and misinformation.”
In response, Fauci denounced the “normalization of untruths,” by which he meant ideas
that he believes are not true.
“The answer is yes,” Fauci told Mitchell.
“But the other thing is that there is so much misinformation that we are experiencing the normalization of untruths,” he explained, “where there is so much disinformation that spreads predominately through social media that people just get so used to the untruths that it becomes normalized.”
According to Fauci, the normalization of “untruths” is “really bad” because it produces fruit of apathy.
“You don’t push back against it,” he explained. “You say, ‘Well, that’s just the way it is.’ That would be a terrible blow to society and, I believe, to our democracy if all of a sudden people say, ‘Well, what’s the use? There’s so much untruth out there we might as well not even push back on it. It’s hopeless.’
“We’ve got to not accept the normalization of untruths,” he declared.
But what is the problem?
The problems with Fauci’s comments are obvious. He complained about the proliferation of “untruths,” but who gets to decide the truth? Fauci? Science (whatever that means)? The government?
By couching his criticism in the context of “anti-science,” “misinformation,” and “disinformation,” Fauci’s rhetorical sleight of hand is clear. What he means by “untruths” is any perspective that contradicts his definition of “truth” or the definition as established by those who hold the power in society, in this case elite institutions and the federal government.
After all, “truth” was notoriously flexible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remember when the COVID-19 vaccine was first being introduced and officials promised it was the answer to ending the pandemic because it would stop transmission of the virus? Well, it didn’t. Or how about masks? At first, officials said they weren’t necessary — then mandates forced most Americans to wear them at the height of the pandemic.
While Fauci is correct to be suspicious of the dangers in the proliferation of false information, the government and the people in power are not the ultimate arbiter of truth.