Before 2020, many Americans knew little or nothing about Dr. Anthony Fauci, a government bureaucrat since 1968 and head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984. Dr. Fauci, 81, has become a star of daytime television but his contradictory statements leave Americans confused. Fortunately, a pair of popular films provide some insight into what the Biden advisor is all about.
In part, Fauci recalls science officer Ash, played by Ian Holm in the 1979 Alien. Ash lets a malevolent creature aboard the commercial spaceship Nostromo, and the alien starts killing off the crew. Ash turns out to be a robot, and his mission all along was to let the evil creature aboard. As the ships warrant officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) learns, the company wanted the creature for the weapons division.
According to the National Institutes of Health, gain-of-function research can enhance the pathogenicity or transmissibility of potential pandemic pathogens, which can raise biosafety and biosecurity concerns. Fauci funded such research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party as part of Chinas biological weapons program.
In early 2020, Fauci opposed President Trumps ban on travel from China, and the COVID virus spread far and wide. Fauci showed little if any sympathy for the suffering and loss his destructive lockdowns caused. With his paralyzing monotone, Fauci was as robotic as Ash, who told the doomed crew they couldnt kill the evil creature.
For cinéma vérité on Fauci, however, its hard to match Stanley Kubricks 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968.
The Discovery One spacecraft is under control of the HAL 9000 computer, which claims a perfect operational record. HAL predicts that an antenna will fail but it doesnt, so astronauts Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) have a problem. Every aspect of the ships operations is under the control of HAL, who turns out to be fallible. To continue the voyage in safety, Dave and Frank must disconnect HAL, but he fights back by killing Frank and the crew of hibernating astronauts. HALs voice sounds somewhat like Faucis, but the parallels are far more sweeping.
Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966 but his bio shows no advanced degrees in molecular biology or biochemistry. Despite his many reversals, Fauci claims I represent science, as though his record, like HALs, is without error. It isnt, but despite costly mistakes, Faucis power kept expanding.
As he lays down public health policy, the NIAID boss commands a budget of more than $6 billion, which gives him huge leverage. If medical scientists fail to follow the party line, say, on the origin of the COVID virus, Fauci can make their funding disappear. The NIAID boss also boasts a strategic ally.
Faucis wife Christine Grady is head of bioethics for the National Institutes of Health, of which NIAID is part. Whatever Fauci wants to do, from dangerous drug experiments on foster children to the torture of beagle puppies, his main squeeze Christine will tell him its all right. It is as though President Richard Nixons wife Pat headed the Federal Election Commission, and told her husband the Watergate operation was perfectly fine.
For all her clout, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cannot shut down the entire economy. Fauci came close with his destructive lockdowns. When the scientists of the Great Barrington Declaration showed those lockdowns to be harmful, Fauci and NIH boss Francis Collins conducted a vicious smear campaign against them.
Anthony Fauci is the closest thing to one-man rule in America since the composite character David Garrow charted in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. White House occupant Joe Biden now refers to Fauci as the real president. That is not a stretch, and it raises another parallel with HAL.
Ive got a bad feeling about him, says Frank. I sense something strange about him. As far as Dave knows, no HAL 9000 had ever been disconnected, and Im not sure what he would think about it. Dave and Frank were unaware that HAL was reading their lips, and he didnt appreciate the attempt at disconnection.
Dr. Fauci doesnt need to read lips to understand that Americans have a bad feeling about him. Fauci lied about funding the gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab, and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been calling for a criminal investigation. That has gone unheeded, but a different Congress and Justice Department might take it up. That raises things to a whole new level.
In Alien, the resourceful Ripley traps the creature and proceeds to, as she famously put it, blow it the f#$% out into space. None of that for Fauci, who has never been fired, or as far as we know even suspended or disciplined.
In 2001, Dave Bowman blasts his way back into the ship and methodically disconnects HAL. None of that for the highly fallible Fauci, who wields executive-level power with no need to face the voters. In the event of a disconnection attempt, Fauci would have plenty of ways to fight back.
In light of that reality, a line from the 1973 film, The Day of the Jackal might be a more appropriate warning. As inspector Claude Lebel told Madame de Montpellier, be in no doubt as to the seriousness of your position.