Yesterday the Department of Energy joined the FBI in concluding that the COVID-19 virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
In the manner of all such conclusions the Department of Energy included its level of confidence in this conclusion, and that level of confidence is “low.” The FBI’s level of confidence, based upon a parallel but different analysis has a “medium” level of confidence.
Defenders of the assertion that speculations about COVID’s origins should be left solely to the experts and should be suppressed among people like you and me downplay the significance of the DoE’s conclusion because of its “low” confidence while ignoring the facts that 1) this was a reconsideration that changed their conclusion from “who knows?” to “probably lab leak;” and 2) “low” confidence just means “we believe so, but can’t provide a definitive case that it is certain.”
Other intelligence agencies disagree, and the issue is unresolved. As a reasonably intelligent person, I have concluded that a lab leak is the likeliest source of the virus, but then again nobody cares if I blame millions of deaths on careless Chinese scientists funded by Anthony Fauci, while the US government accusing China of this could blow up international relations in the Pacific.
In other words, the standard of proof would be pretty high if you were in the intelligence community.
The reaction to the reconsideration of the DoE’s assessment is fascinating to me. During the height of the pandemic discussion of the lab-leak theory was banned on social media, and so-called “fact checkers” routinely called the lab-leak theory “debunked.” The former was tyrannical and the latter was dishonest propagandistic narrative enforcement.
I am looking at you, Glenn Kessler.
Countless stories were written about how the lab leak theory was simply a right-wing conspiracy theory, and the MSM and the Left even used their “proof” that the lab leak theory was impossible as evidence that anybody who suggested the possibility was a xenophobic untrustworthy conspiracy theorist who should be exiled from the policy debates about COVID response.
Yeah, well. Not so much.
Whether it ever is definitively established how COVID entered the population, one thing is glaringly obvious: the lab leak theory is a legitimate one to discuss. There is active disagreement among scientists, intelligence agencies, and ordinary people about the likeliest cause. Moreover, people outside the public health establishment are much more likely to be objective, since the public health “scientists” were actively funding the research that would have led to the release of the virus if it came from a lab.
In other words, the MSM was spreading the narrative of the people most likely to feverishly cover up a lab leak if it happened. Who wants to be publicly outed as responsible for millions of deaths?
Hell, I would cover it up if I could. Most people wouldn’t just shrug and say “my bad.” Nobody wants to go down in history as a mass murderer of epic scale.
I am looking at you, Fauci.
What is, or at least should be remarkable is how many of the Best People™ are unwilling to acknowledge that suppressing discussion was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad thing. Rather than simply arguing that they still believe that the virus has a natural origin (which is still possible), they are sticking to the position that the discussions about the origin should have been suppressed.
Because bad people were saying what might very well have been true. Can’t have that.
Nate Silver started a conversation on Twitter that got some traction, and it was surprising to see how many people thought that the whole censorship thing was A-OK, even if what was being censored was possibly true.
Just curious: Did you read to fifth paragraph of this story? “Low confidence” in the assessment?
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) February 26, 2023
James Fallows is a public intellectual of some note and a prominent member of the media. Basically, his argument appears to be “so what if we suppressed debate?” Until you can prove otherwise, we will insist that it is right to shut people up.
Because we, the Elite™, should have a monopoly on Truth™ and debate.
James’ position drew a lot of support, and it was pretty much based upon the notion that you have to shut up Bad People™ even if Bad People™ are closer to the truth than you are. (Which begs the question: if you are wrong about this, are you really the Good People™?)
All of these wonderful people have concluded that suppressing debate is a good thing because the people who disagreed with the Elite consensus are bad people.
Of course, the original conclusion that they are bad, irresponsible people pushing conspiracy theories was based upon a now obviously unfounded belief that Fauci and company were always in the right because they are the experts, and anybody who disagreed with him was a murderer in waiting.
Fauci, again, would have been the man who funded that lab leak if it actually happened. It seems to me that in judging who has the biggest incentive to lie, you have to take that into account.
Except he is of the Right Class™ and a hero to the Elite, so best attack everybody who disagrees with him.
An enormous amount of effort was put into suppressing debate about the origins of COVID. Politifact, The Washington Post, The New York Times, every MSM outlet, and social media companies all mobilized to attack anybody who even brought it up. It was an Orange Man theory that must be debunked.
I posted this yesterday but if you missed my story, I will excerpt from a Twitter thread from “Comfortably Smug” highlighting just a few of the many “debunkings” of what is now acknowledged to be very plausible.
In a now-retracted fact-check, Politifact gave a Tucker Carlson guest a “Pants on Fire” for the “debunked conspiracy theory” that COVID came from a lab. https://t.co/4uoawOKTtl pic.twitter.com/pV1Tjm2yFW
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 26, 2023
NYT reporter: The lab leak theory has “racist roots”
This was AFTER the WSJ reported that Wuhan researchers were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in fall 2019 https://t.co/nV6kz2DCa5 pic.twitter.com/glFzP8wDOz
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) February 26, 2023
I am not going to go through everything along these lines, because we all know it by heart now. People were excommunicated from polite society and censored for saying something that was more likely true than not in my judgment, and certainly is a respectable opinion among both scientists and intelligence agencies.
We were suppressed because the war the Elite was fighting was not against disease and death, but against Orange Man and his followers.
It really is that simple. COVID was one of many excuses to attack the president and his supporters. The media worked very hard to separate Trump and Fauci (remember how they kept on getting Fauci to dismiss the president?) and then they embraced Fauci as The Science™, a role he reveled in.
I can’t say this enough: everybody knew that if the virus did originate in the Wuhan Institute of Virology then the research that caused the pandemic was funded by Fauci.
He literally was the least credible source in the world to ask if this could have happened. Not because we know he was guilty of anything, but because his incentive to dissemble if the lab leak theory is true was beyond measure.
One can only conclude from these facts that the insistence that it was perfectly cool to attack anybody skeptical of the zoonotic origin of COVID was based solely upon ideology and that a vast swath of our public intellectuals is utterly indifferent to the truth.
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