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Dr. Aaron Kheriaty: Self-Spreading Vaccines, Transhumanist Ideology, and Government Gag Orders–The New Technocracy Threatening Hippocratic Medicine and the Nuremberg Code

“This is part of a broader proposal of potentially bypassing the informed consent process by putting mRNA gene-based technology in foods… You could have a salad and get vaccinated against potential biological threats.”

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty is a psychiatrist, medical ethicist, and author of “The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State.” He has filed several lawsuits against American institutions and the government challenging vaccine mandates and COVID-pandemic policy.

“It’s a level of control over people’s freedoms that this kind of technology and this kind of system will make possible, that the totalitarian dictators of the past could only have dreamed of,” warns Dr. Kheriaty.

We discuss the frightening transition from core ethical principles of medicine to a transhumanist, neo-Gnostic, technocratic medical paradigm, in which informed consent is inevitably replaced with an ideology of scientism and even self-spreading vaccines.

“The concept is almost sort-of treating the human being like a piece of hardware that requires genetic-based coding—mRNA or DNA software updates—every few months to sort-of stay current and stay functional, as though the human body were like an iPhone,” says Dr. Kheriaty.


Jan Jekielek:

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty:

Always good to be with you, Jan.

Mr. Jekielek:

Today we’re going to talk about your book The New Abnormal. Congratulations on publishing it.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Thank you.

Mr. Jekielek:

We’re going to start at the end of the book where you have this absolutely fascinating epilogue that talks about what Seattle might look like in 2030. Why don’t you give me a bit of a picture? I think that will give us a starting point.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Yes. The book is a work of nonfiction, but the epilogue is a bit of a fictional imagination exercise trying to project not too far into the future. 2030 is seven years away now, so it’s a future date that most people can imagine coming before too long. What the epilogue is attempting to do is to show where things are going in the next few years if the trends that I describe in The New Abnormal continue.

What I did in this epilogue was imagine a software engineer living in Seattle and I tell a story of some things that happened to him, and I also paint a picture of how society in this new smart city is looking. I try to present some of the new technologies and some of the new surveillance and safety mechanisms in a way that can illustrate to the reader why people would want to buy into these things. They are a kind of frictionless, very convenient way of engaging in financial transactions and travel and the gathering of information.

What looks appealing at first in the story that I tell in the epilogue unfolds, you then start to see there’s some flies in the ointment. There’s certainly some downsides, at least for certain sectors of society in this new technocratic paradigm. But by the end, hopefully the reader understands what the true dangers and the true downsides of this future would look like.

What I did in Seattle 2030 is I didn’t imagine any new technologies that have not yet been invented. I took things that are already available, and just haven’t been rolled out or accepted or embraced on a widespread, society-wide scale yet. I said, “Okay, if these things which are already with us are successfully rolled out and embraced on a large scale, what are they going to do to us as a society? How are they going to impact our freedoms and our fundamental rights?”

The epilogue is an attempt to spell out very clearly at the end of the book that if what I’m describing in the book is correct, and of course, I believe it is, and if we continue on our current path without some serious course corrections, this is what life is going to look like in just a few years. Is this a future that you want for yourself or your children or your grandchildren?

Mr. Jekielek:

I really like how you wrote this part because as you’re reading you think, “Wow, there seems to be a lot of upsides here.” The question should be, is it a worthy trade-off for the downsides? You’re a prominent opponent of mandates of any sort, and you’re an opponent of mandates on ethical grounds. Explain to me why that is.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Right. My fight against vaccine mandates started with an attempt to defend the principle of informed consent, the principle that says any adult of sound mind should be able to make healthcare decisions about what care they receive, and what medications or injections they accept or decline. Adults of sound mind should be able to make those decisions on behalf of their children who are too young to consent. Those are not decisions that should be made by the state or by other private entities like employers.

What I saw with vaccine mandates was a kind of steamrolling of this principle of informed consent, which has been a bulwark of 20th-century medical ethics that was articulated in the Nuremberg Code back in 1947. Following the atrocities that we saw in German medicine during World War II under the Nazi regime, the world responded with the Nuremberg trials. In the wake of the Nuremberg trials, we developed the Nuremberg Code, which doesn’t have the binding force of law, but certainly has informed the laws of most civilized nations around the world.

What happened during COVID is that those normal protections were suspended under the legal mechanism of a declared state of emergency. It’s precisely during wartime, and it’s precisely during crises, with things like pandemics or natural disasters, it’s most important for us to maintain our core ethical principles. Because in ordinary times, we’re typically not tempted to abandon those principles. When society and our lives are functioning well, we don’t think much about breaching these time-tested and well-grounded ethical principles.

It’s precisely when we’re under pressure, and it’s precisely when we’re in a state of fear or panic that we’re most strongly tempted to abandon those principles. But that’s precisely why they exist. That’s precisely why during those times, it’s especially important to hold fast to those principles and not toss them overboard for the sake of convenience or for the sake of a supposed present or future greater good that may or may not actually come about.

I would venture to say in every case, historically, when we abandon core ethical and core legal principles, inevitably disaster follows. I was an opponent of mandates during the pandemic, because I was an opponent of mandates prior to the pandemic on what I believe are solid, time-tested grounds of the ethical treatment of people when they are subjects of human research, and the ethical treatment of people when it comes to clinical or medical interventions.

Mr. Jekielek:

I want to highlight to our viewers in case they’re not aware that this is in a professional capacity, as you were the head of the Medical Ethics Program at UC Irvine, and this is the centerpiece of what you were teaching young medical practitioners.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right, exactly. When I was at the university and before I made the decision to legally challenge their vaccine mandate in court, I was trying to project ahead to the required ethics course that I teach all the medical students, looking over the curricular materials and the themes that I cover every year, beginning with things like informed consent, and a conversation about Nuremberg.

I was also talking to them about things like moral courage. You may be at the bottom of the hospital hierarchy as a medical student, and so there’s a power differential, and it can be really intimidating to step out and raise a red flag if you see something unethical going on, if you spot something that’s going to harm patients, or something that’s running afoul of sound ethical policy or the law.

But you still have an obligation to do that for the sake of protecting patients. Our duty and our fidelity always has to be to the patients who place their trust in us. Our primary duty and our primary fidelity is not to the institution or the hospital that we work for. It’s certainly not to the state. We are not the long arm of state policies. We are there to treat the sick, and the sick are vulnerable. We are there, first of all, to protect them, and to make sure that they’re not harmed, and then to do everything in our power to heal them, and to help them medically.

I was imagining having those kinds of conversations with medical students if I hadn’t tried to behave in that way in my own professional life. So, I believed it was important not just to stand up in the lecture hall and talk about those principles and talk about moral courage and ethical integrity, but actually to try to live them in my own actions. That was the final piece that I needed to convince me that in my position, I couldn’t just let this policy go unchallenged.

Mr. Jekielek:

Prior to reading The New Abnormal, I hadn’t fully grasped how important Nuremberg was to public health approaches, medicine in general, and also human rights. Obviously, this whole class of crimes against humanity was created, as you outlined, to deal with the fact that people were saying, “What I was doing was just perfectly legal.”

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. Whenever you draw a historical analogy to the Nazis people instinctively recoil and say, “That kind of thing could never happen here.” The first thing is it’s important for Americans to understand that Nazi medicine in the 1930s was the best in the world. The medical institutions, the medical institutions of education, and the schools there were considered the best in the world. This was a civilized country, not a backwards nation that just turned barbaric all of a sudden.

It’s also important when you look at Nuremberg to examine the defenses that these doctors mounted, the arguments that they made during the Nuremberg trials. As uncomfortable as this might be, we’re tempted to dismiss all of them simply as sociopathic or psychopathic individuals that were just opportunists using the death camps and using the Nazi regime as a chance to willfully torture patients for the sake of inflicting pain. Perhaps Josef Mengele and a few others were in that category, but many of them were considered distinguished men of science and very distinguished physicians.

What happened to them that they went so radically off the rails? In their defense, they made two fundamental arguments that, quite frankly, in some sense, are difficult to answer. The first argument is “Everything that we did was legal, so under what law are you prosecuting us? Because the laws of Germany when we performed these acts permitted them.” That’s a very good legal question. Under what laws was the international tribunal at Nuremberg attempting to prosecute these Nazi physicians?

To deal with that difficulty, we had to come up with this natural law-based argument and this legal concept of crimes against humanity, the idea that even if the laws of a particular state would permit egregious violations like this, nonetheless, as a human being, and as a member of the human family, there are certain things that you must know. There are certain ethical norms that are inscribed in the human heart that should never be violated, and you have clearly violated those things.

The second argument that the doctors made was one of convenience, and even one of compassion, as strange as that may sound. Many of them were experimenting on prisoners who were in the concentration camps, in the death camps, and they argued that the conditions on the medical ward where these experiments were done were more humane than the conditions in the regular barracks where all the other prisoners were housed.

There was better shelter, there was better food, there was more rest from the literally deathly level of work and working conditions in the death camps. Those things also were probably true. Nevertheless, that did not exonerate these physicians from the egregious crimes and the egregious ethical violations that they committed against these patients by violating their informed consent and by doing experiments on prisoners who were in no condition to freely consent or decline participation in these experiments.

The world collectively gave a resounding no to both of those justifications. People can wonder, “How did a democratically-elected chancellor of Germany become a totalitarian dictator?” People forget that Hitler was democratically elected. He also never overturned the Weimar Constitution. What happened was the Nazis governed for virtually the entirety of their time in power, 12 years under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which allowed for the suspension of German laws during a time of emergency, so there was this declared state of emergency. There was this sense of urgency that we should be allowed to do things that otherwise would not be permissible. The doctors again argued, “What we did was legal.” They argued, “What we did was even humane,” in some twisted sense of that word, “and it was expedient.”

They actually gained useful medical knowledge. That’s another misconception that people have about the Nazi doctors is that they were just total quacks who were doing completely scientifically useless experiments and killing people for the fun of it. Some of the experiments certainly had no scientific justification, but many of them yielded scientific and medical information that is still found in medical textbooks today.

It’s a very difficult ethical question, “What do we do with this information that’s already known? How do we put that genie back in the bottle? Should we at least try to acknowledge that this scientific information was gotten by experiments that should never ever be repeated again?”

During the pandemic, we started to see some of these same kinds of justifications being put forward as to why we should abandon core ethical principles like informed consent, which is the very first principle articulated in the Nuremberg Code. You saw, “We’re in a state of emergency, so the normal ways of doing things can be suspended legally and ethically.”

“We need to do this for the sake of efficiency or for the sake of convenience, a needle in every arm, even if it’s going to harm some people, a one-size-fits-all public health policy is necessary for the sake of efficiency.” That was a very common argument that you heard from our public health agencies.

When these arguments started to resurface, it worried me a lot because history doesn’t repeat itself. But as Mark Twain said, “While history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes.” Historical analogies are useful, not because a Nazi regime is going to rise up in the United States, but because if some of the principles and some of the arguments that were advanced in Germany in the 1930s that led to very bad places are starting to be deployed again, that is cause for serious concern.

Mr. Jekielek:

Absolutely. There’s the question of why was natural immunity ignored?

Dr. Kheriaty:

There are several reasons. I quipped on Twitter a year or two ago that the CDC will recognize natural immunity when someone figures out how to monetize it. When I filed my lawsuit on behalf of people with natural immunity, about 50 per cent of the American population at that time had natural immunity, which would’ve cut a $100 billion industry, the vaccine industry, in half. Those profits would’ve been cut in half if half the population no longer needs your product. That number is closer to 90 per cent today. There were financial interests at work pushing us in the direction of a needle in every arm, even for people who didn’t need the vaccine, because they had superior immunity from a prior infection.

There has also been a re-imagination of health and illness that’s been developing for many years, but I think we fully saw it manifested during the pandemic. What I mean by that is we saw some strange reversals during the pandemic. We saw that prior to the pandemic, a person was presumed healthy, and you had to establish or prove that you were sick. So, if you wanted to miss work, you needed a note from a doctor saying that you were sick.

But during the pandemic with mass testing of asymptomatic individuals and mass surveillance of the population, we saw that reverse. People were presumed sick, rather, and had to prove by some medical means that they were, in fact, healthy. During the pandemic, if you wanted to go to work, you needed a negative COVID test.

What was behind that? There has been a shift in how we imagine the human person and how we imagine the human body and how we conceptualize health and illness that is very, very consequential. The mRNA vaccine paradigm has a lot to do with that because the mRNA vaccines can be scaled up very quickly, and they can be retooled, or reprogrammed, if you will, to try to deal with new variants.

That project hasn’t actually worked out very well in terms of producing more efficacious vaccines, but the concept is almost treating the human being like a piece of hardware that requires genetic-based coding, mRNA or DNA software updates every few months to stay current and stay functional, as though the human body were like an iPhone.

Again, that’s the same kind of assumption behind that. You’re presumed to be suboptimally functional until you get this intervention. Rather than having your normal, flourishing, healthy human body until you get sick, then medicine can intervene to try to bring you back to that natural healthy state.

That’s the Hippocratic paradigm for medicine. But the technocratic paradigm for medicine sees you as just a collection of physiological processes that we can tinker with and that we can upgrade and that we can improve and that we can potentially enhance indefinitely. That’s a very profitable enterprise if people buy into it.

It’s also a very concerning enterprise, because it has the potential to do enormous harm by trying to make people through science and technology and medicine more than human, this enhancement project of biotechnology. We’re going to end up, I fear, dehumanizing people. We’re going to end up with not just a two-tiered society, the sort of Gattaca problem that’s outlined in that movie that a lot of ethicists have talked about, but we’re going to have a complete reversal about how we understand ourselves and our bodies and the natural processes of health and healing.

I don’t think that’s going to take us as individuals and us as a society to places that most of us want to go. You’re not a piece of hardware that requires a software update every few months that the government or you should have to pay for. You are presumably a healthy, functioning human being. If you’re not, if you’re impaired by sickness or disability, let’s look at how we can restore that function. But let’s not treat the entire population as though they need ongoing biological interventions just to bring them up to date or up to speed in terms of health and human flourishing.

Mr. Jekielek:

What’s really interesting is that you take this even deeper when you talk about how you believe that this neo-gnostic religious view or quasi-religious worldview is upon us. It’s a profoundly different way of envisioning the human relationship with reality.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

I’ll just add one more thing. As I was reading in the early chapters, I was thinking, “There’s so many commonalities.” I have this instinctive sense that there’s something about this system that reminds me of woke ideology. I’ve been very deep into trying to understand this, and then you reveal that in the later chapters through this meditation. Please tell me about this.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. I argue in the book that the transhumanist movement, which we can talk a little more about later, and I would also argue the woke ideology are, if you look at them through the lens of these being novel religions, they both would be classified as what I call “neo-gnostic religions.” Gnosticism was a collection of different religious sects in the early centuries of Christianity that were the main competitors to Christianity. These different gnostic sects had differences between them, but they had a few things in common.

One of the things that they had in common was, first of all, they were elitist. It’s only a few that had access to the secret knowledge, gnosis, where we get the word Gnosticism, that really knew what’s going on underneath it all. And those are the people that should be running the show.

That’s an elitist proposition in contrast to its main competitor in the early centuries of the church, orthodox Christianity, that said, in principle, that salvation is available to everyone, not just to an elite class of people. That was the doctrine of grace that was proposed by Christianity.

The second feature that the Gnostics had in common was a desire to overcome the material world. They had that desire because in their cosmology, the good principle or the good God created only the spiritual world, created the soul, created the angels, and created the unseen realm.

But the material realm was created by an evil principle that was working against that good principle. So, they saw material reality as fundamentally something that they needed to escape from or overcome.

Now again, in contrast to Christianity, Christianity had certain aesthetical tendencies in relation to the body because of the doctrine of Christ’s suffering in his crucifixion. But Christianity never rejected the material world. Christianity acknowledges that the material world and the spiritual world are both created by the same God and that God is good, therefore the material world is good. It’s affected by sin and the fall and so forth.

But we can’t reject it, and we certainly can’t reject the human body, because in the Christian conception Jesus Christ took on a human body and became a man, the second person of the Trinity. So these two competing theologies had different approaches to the material world and the human body. The Gnostics recognized that the material world was ordered by lawful processes, what today we would call the laws of science.

But that order was something to be overcome. The material world was the raw material that they could do whatever they wanted with. So, they took two fundamentally different approaches to the human body. Some of the Gnostic sects rejected eating, drinking, and sex altogether. They would fast very, very rigorously, and they would sometimes forbid all sexual relations because reproduction was bodily and therefore was bad.

Those sects died out fairly quickly. You can imagine why. It’s hard to reproduce your ideas if you don’t reproduce people. But other sects took a very libertine approach to the human body. It doesn’t matter anyway, so you could do whatever you want with it. The idea was to escape this world into a higher spiritual realm, either through these extreme aesthetical modes or through a total desecration of the material world and the human body.

But in both cases, the human body was what I described before. It was just this collection of hardware, this collection of physiological processes that I can do whatever I want with. It wasn’t an organic whole that was naturally oriented toward health and human flourishing. It was just stuff.

Mr. Jekielek:

Or made in God’s image, that’s what I’m thinking.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore worthy of some regard and respect. Nature can give us a norm of health. Disease is defined in relation to the natural healthy, normal, human functioning, not in relation to some cyborg that we need to enhance the human body to become bigger, faster, stronger, smarter.

This transhumanist project of trying to do just those things, melding the human and the technological, making healthy people better, bigger, faster, stronger, smarter through gene editing, through cybernetics, through nanotechnology. This is just a microwaved version of a very, very old ideology. It’s a new form of the ancient Gnostic attitude toward human beings, toward human nature and the human body, that goes beyond just this or that technological application of science, to actually creating an entirely new worldview.

As I argue in The New Abnormal, I think that conception of science and medicine, the technocratic neo-Gnostic conception of science and medicine really began to overtake the traditional Hippocratic view of science and medicine that has dominated science and medical progress in the West since the time of Hippocrates.

Mr. Jekielek:

What you’re talking about is very, very profound.

Dr. Kheriaty:

One of the other uncanny analogies, or the history beginning to rhyme, that occurred during the pandemic is precisely this very subtle shift that I described in the prologue of the book that happened with German medicine in the 1920s and the 1930s, and led them down a very dark path.

And again, caveat, I’m not comparing the current or the previous administration or our own leaders in this country to Hitler’s Nazi regime. But nevertheless, there are these parallels that are very concerning in terms of the underlying mentality and the underlying arguments that are being advanced today. What happened to the German physicians in the 1920s and 1930s is that they became convinced that their primary allegiance or loyalty or fidelity was not to the sick, individual patient in front of them, but to the social organism as a whole.

You had this metaphor being advanced in Germany of the Volk, the people as a whole, being healthy or sick. If the people as a whole are healthy or sick, there are some members of the body politic or the population as a whole that are cancers because they’re disabled, because they’re a drain on resources, or because they’re criminalistic. And what does a physician do with a cancer but carve it out in order to enhance the health of the organism as a whole.

This is a very powerful metaphor that took hold in the minds of physicians in organized medicine in Germany and led very readily to the eugenics programs in Germany—forced sterilization followed by forced euthanasia, followed ultimately by the horrors of the experiments conducted in the death camps. I fear this kind of subtle shift is beginning to happen in American medicine as well. We’re starting to hear people talk in these very same terms.

Just the other day in a New York Times piece that was published about another lawsuit that I’m filing in California, challenging Assembly Bill 2098, which would be a gag order on physicians and allow the medical board to discipline any physician who contradicts the government’s preferred COVID policies.

We’re challenging this in federal court. The New York Times ran a piece about our case just a day or two ago, and the very closing paragraph, the head of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a very powerful entity of organized medicine in the United States, said that physicians in California who are challenging this law need to understand that they have some loyalty or fidelity to basically organized medicine, and to the “experts” that are making decisions about what doctors should be doing. And I immediately recoiled from that proposal because it’s just not true.

Our loyalty is to the sick patient in front of us, the patient who has to put their trust in us. If our loyalty shifts towards organized medicine, if our loyalty shifts to some social program or some state program, however worthy it might appear, then doctors have lost their way. They’ve lost their way because patients need to be able to trust us, otherwise nothing in medicine is going to work.

With the sick patient who’s lying there on a gurney in pain, if I walk up and introduce myself for the first time and say, “How can I help you? I’m here to help,” that person needs to know I can trust this man that I’ve never met before because he’s a doctor. I can trust doctors because their loyalty is always to do the best for me as their patient. They will not become agents of any other social program or any other program, even one developed by these institutions of organized medicine in the United States. And let’s be frank, these institutions of organized medicine have become and can easily become very politicized. When politics intervenes in the doctor-patient relationship, then we’re in trouble.

Mr. Jekielek:

Essentially, most of the policy that was implemented over the last several years was catastrophically bad.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

There’s people that debate this model of having a policy set on high by a group of experts. If we ever needed evidence that this is a bad idea, we have the experiment that’s right in front of us.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. If people would only look at the evidence. The subtitle of The New Abnormal is The Rise of the Biomedical Security State. The biomedical security state is the militarization of public health welded to digital technologies of surveillance and control that things like smartphones now make possible. Both of those two apparatuses are backed up by the police powers of the state—militarized public health, digital surveillance, and state power.

This militarized response to a pandemic threat did enormous collateral harms, and yet even after those harms became manifest, our agencies were not walking back misguided policies like the lockdowns or the school closures or the vaccine mandates or the vaccine passports which did not advance public health, and which did not slow or stop the spread of COVID.

It’s natural to ask the question, why did those policies continue even after the harms, which greatly outweighed any benefits, became clearly manifest? Maybe the answer has something to do with the fact that COVID was an opportunity for our agencies of intelligence and military to do things and to test things out that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to test—to treat COVID as though it were a foreign bioweapon threat, which is possible. We still have not proven that’s not the case. But in terms of a threat to people’s health, we totally ignored two fundamental facts about COVID, the two most basic epidemiological facts about COVID.

First of all, the infection fatality rate, as Jay Bhattacharya, John Ioannidis and others have shown, was 0.2 per cent, not the three or four per cent that was initially touted by the WHO. And there’s a large age gradient in terms of who dies of COVID. The vast majority of deaths were people over the age of 70. People under the age of 50 were not at significant risk of mortality from COVID, with or without the vaccine.

Those two basic epidemiological facts were ignored with our one-size-fits-all policies, and that did enormous damage. It damaged the trust of so many Americans in public health, and in our government agencies where trust was already fairly low, but also in organized medicine and in medical institutions. It’s very concerning that I have very accomplished, very educated people, CEOs, high powered lawyers, telling me prior to the pandemic, “I always trusted doctors and I always trusted hospitals, and I always trusted medicine as a whole.”

Now they’re saying things like, “I never want to see a physician again. I never want to go to a hospital again.” I understand why their trust has been undermined, and I don’t blame them for thinking that. At the same time, this is not a good situation for us to find ourselves in. There’s been a lot of damage over the last three years, and The New Abnormal is not primarily a retrospective on what went wrong with the pandemic.

I talk about that in the book. There’s a lot of other excellent books out there that do a post-hoc analysis or post-mortem on the pandemic. The book is about why these things happen during the pandemic? What’s the 20-year history behind this? But more importantly, what’s coming next? What does the future look like? What are the next steps in the rollout of this biosecurity paradigm that I describe in the book?

I talk about this so that people can be aware that even though some of these policies have been rolled back, the whole infrastructure at work is still in place just waiting for the next declared public health crisis to advance even further and to steamroll our rights and freedoms even more than what we saw during COVID.

Mr. Jekielek:

One of the things that is being developed is transgenic lettuce that will be able to produce mRNA, one head of lettuce per person. This is apparently what some people think is reasonable to be working on after seeing how these genetic vaccines have been deployed. What do you think?

Dr. Kheriaty:

Yes, the idea is to genetically engineer lettuce and spinach, and then you could have a salad and get vaccinated against potential biological threats. There are some serious scientific problems with this proposal, like oral tolerance, and other issues that we probably don’t have time to get into.

But there’s very serious reasons to believe one, this will not work for its intended purpose, and two, it’s going to potentially cause some serious health harms. More important for our conversation is this is part of a broader proposal of potentially bypassing the informed consent process by putting mRNA gene-based technology in foods.

There’s also research that I described at the very end of the prologue on self-spreading vaccines, vaccines that are themselves carried by respiratory viruses, viruses that supposedly are not supposed to make you very sick. 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the population gets a vaccine, and the rest of the population catches the vaccine contagiously, because the vaccine itself is being carried by a virus. To my mind, these are not just dangerous, but downright ludicrous proposals. They’re entirely reckless, ethically and scientifically and medically.

Mr. Jekielek:

You offer some profoundly interesting explanations for this, aside from simply the financial motive, which I certainly believe is real and strong, when we know this technology has not been successful, at least by any measure that you and I would consider valid. Yet there’s this bizarre lettuce research going on, and the research you described is something that is actively being researched as well.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. The mRNA technology was attractive because it fits perfectly into that technocratic paradigm that I described, where it can be scaled up very, very quickly. It can be retooled and reprogrammed and updated very, very quickly. There is this whole coterie of people who believe that viruses that infect humans are like computer viruses, and humans are like really complicated computers. When computer viruses and biological viruses are nothing alike, and human beings and computers are nothing alike.

Nevertheless, this kind of paradigm makes the mRNA platform very, very attractive to people who want to get into the business of constantly upgrading human beings through essentially what amounts to either gene editing or commandeering our own cellular machinery to express new proteins that are coded for by mRNA that’s given or administered through various means. This is gene therapy, something that would make most Americans pretty nervous if they knew that it was going on, but that’s what it is.

Proposals for gene therapy certainly hold promise for curing diseases. We have to steer through various ethical difficulties and potential pitfalls. But they also hold a lot of promise for people who want to attempt to enhance human beings, not just cure illness, but change your eye color and your height and your weight and your strength and your intelligence.

If these things are being introduced during this state of emergency and Americans are accepting and getting used to them under a state of emergency, it’s not allowing for the kind of public debate, careful deliberation, rational reflection that the use of these technologies really should require.

Mr. Jekielek:

As we’re speaking here, I’m thinking back through the years and remembering all sorts of examples of the celebration of this transhumanist vision of reality. I’m thinking about Hollywood, and I’m thinking about textbooks. I’m thinking that this way of viewing the world was much more deeply embedded than I had really comprehended. Why is this such a big problem?

Dr. Kheriaty:

People need to understand the transhumanist ideology that I describe in chapter three of the book. I argue that ultimately, it’s a religious ideology. The ultimate aim of the transhumanist movement is literally immortality. They want to make people live forever, either staying alive in our biological organic form forever, or this transhumanist dream of uploading the contents of our consciousness and our brains onto some cloud or mainframe in the sky and living forever in a cyber world. So, this is a religious proposal. When you start talking about immortality and eternal life, you’re talking about tapping into deep religious aspirations.

One of the reasons that it’s attractive is that nihilistic atheism is very, very hard for most people to live. Those who have abandoned religious faith or who no longer find the traditional western religions credible still have these innate human longings that revealed religion taps into. The religious dimension is ineradicable.

The religious dimension involves the ability to ask questions like, “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is the meaning of my life? Do I have a specific vocation or calling? What is good and what is evil, and where do good and evil come from? What happens after I die?” These kinds of questions are questions that I think most human beings naturally ask at some point in their life. Whether that leads them to a particular religious faith or not, they’re still asking and wrestling with those questions.

Transhumanism taps into that and says, “We can offer you salvation, not through grace or not through some kind of religious practice. We can offer you salvation through technology. If only we had more money, if only we could advance our technological agenda more quickly, we can eventually get you to the point where we can fulfill these religious longings by technological means and by technological enhancements.” People buy into this to the point where they will cryogenically freeze their bodies. There’s a couple of for-profit companies in the United States that will cryogenically freeze your entire body.

Mr. Jekielek:

Or just your head I’ve learned.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Or just your head. Yes, there’s a discounted version where you could just freeze your head. Because presumably once they figure out how to upload the contents of your brain into the mainframe, you won’t need the rest of your body anymore. That’s a pretty serious commitment to an idea if you’re going to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to cryogenically freeze your dead body after your demise.

What is the answer to this? The answer to this, first of all, is we need to stop suppressing those religious questions. Because they’re going to pop out anyways, and people are going to seek answers in the only places that society allows them to seek answers. Which right now is, “Let’s put all of our faith, all of our trust in science and technology.”

We need to be able to ask those questions and wrestle with those answers, and allow people the freedom to pursue the paths that their conscience discerns are best for them in that regard. This is something that the Chinese Communist Party is loath to do, and it’s something that we’re seeing more and more of in the United States with encroachments, not just on freedom of speech, but encroachments on religious liberty and the free expression of religion, particularly in ways that are more publicly visible.

We need to allow people to pursue human good and human flourishing in a way that allows them to follow their own conscience rather than having answers dictated to them by the state. Americans need to understand that scientism, this ideology that I’m describing, is totally different from science. Science is an open-ended inquiry that requires intellectual humility and the openness to new information and revising ideas on an ongoing basis.

But having scientific conclusions dictated to me from the top and not being able to question them is not science, it’s authoritarian and ultimately a totalitarian ideology. If people don’t want to live in what will look more and more like a totalitarian society, they need to wake up and push back against this.

With totalitarianism, it’s important to understand what I mean by that term too. Totalitarianism can exist without secret police and without concentration camps, and even without mass surveillance, as horrifying as all of those things are. The central feature of all totalitarian systems, according to Eric Voegelin, the great theorist of 20th century totalitarianism, is the inability to ask certain questions, the forbidding of questions, and the cancellation of people for asking the wrong questions or posing the wrong ideas. That’s what all the totalitarian systems of the 20th century had in common. That was the core, and that was the essence of their ideology.

Mattias Desmond draws a distinction between a totalitarian regime and a dictatorship. He says in a dictatorship, the dictator rules through external fear. You’re afraid to say what you think because you might get canceled for it or you might get put in jail or you may be punished in some way. You’re afraid to do certain things because of external punishments.

But in a totalitarian system, ultimately, the secret police and the punishments can decline over time because people themselves have absorbed the ideology, and the population does the cancellation for the state or the regime or the party. They do the work of informing on dissidents. When a significant portion of the population internalizes the ideology, the really terrifying thing is that those questions that would challenge the regime simply no longer occur to people.

It’s internalized to such an extent that people’s entire thought process and their perceptions are shaped by the totalitarian system, such that ideas of freedom or dissent just simply don’t occur to people anymore. They’re entirely foreign, and people are compliant, because that’s the only thing that they know, and they don’t have the rational capacity or the imagination to conceive of anything that might be different.

That, in my mind, is the worst form of imprisonment. A dictatorship gives you these external pressures to behave in a certain way. That’s horrifying, right? Nobody wants that. But this interior prison that a totalitarian system eventually induces in a large portion of the population is an even worse form of enslavement. Because if you’re not anteriorly free to have certain thoughts or to ask certain questions, you truly are a slave in the deepest sense of that term.

Mr. Jekielek:

It’s absolutely something that must be pushed back against. The obvious thing that comes to my mind at this point is really that it’s fear that gets people to inhale this totalitarian or mass formed way of thinking. Fear, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, was prevalent everywhere. In fact, there were these so-called nudge units in the UK, and I’m sure there were analogous modes of operation in the U.S., Canada, and other places. How is this connected?

Dr. Kheriaty:

Fear bewilders us, it makes us lose our heads. I can put on my clinical psychiatrist hat for a moment and say treating people that are under a chronic state of fear or an overwhelming state of fear, as happens with anxiety disorders, that level of chronic sustained fear or acute fear impairs their ability to think clearly and to reason well and to sift information carefully. Fear and the fight or flight response is adaptive and helpful in very short term situations where there’s an immediate threat.

But if fear is sustained for a long period of time, for hours, days, weeks, or in the case of the pandemic, literally for years, and as you pointed out, the fear in the population was not just because we had this novel virus, but it was from the way in which information was presented to the public, and involved very exquisite levels of, for lack of a better word, military-grade propaganda designed to elevate and intensify people’s fears. The reason for that is people who are afraid are much easier to control. If you want a passive compliant population that’s going to do whatever the authorities are telling them to do, fear, as has been known by dictators for centuries, is a good way to do that to a population.

Mr. Jekielek:

I just want to jump in briefly. We know from Laura Dodsworth’s work in the UK that this was an active thing the government did, this behavioral unit in the UK government. Do we know as a fact that other governments were deliberately using the same sort of tools?

Dr. Kheriaty:

Yes. It’s clear, for example, in Canada that people involved in the military and intelligence sectors of the Canadian government were central in terms of crafting public health messaging and the Canadian government’s communications response. We have considerable evidence that not only was this happening in Great Britain, but also in Canada and in the United States. Fear was sustained even after we had a lot of robust scientific information at hand that could have been communicated to the public that would have allayed many of our fears.

We chose not to present that information to the public or to downplay it or to sideline it. I believe all of that was deliberate as well. It’s a very concerning development that the government would employ this kind of psychological technique against its own population in order to control population level behavior.

Mr. Jekielek:

One of the things about Dr. Fauci’s pronouncements, for example, at one point he’s on record saying that the reason he talked about masks the way he did was to elicit a particular behavioral outcome.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

I remember when he said that, I looked at almost everything he said through that kind of lens, and it almost looked like everything he said…

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

… had that in mind. It was fascinating. I don’t know if I’m right about it.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Our entire public health apparatus operated in that way. A well-functioning, healthy, responsible public health system would say, “Let’s take constantly evolving and complicated scientific information and simplify it so that the public can understand it,” which will inevitably involve losing some nuance and oversimplifying in some cases, but still trying to communicate that information as accurately as possible in a way that people can digest and understand it, so that individuals can make reasonable decisions for themselves and their families about COVID mitigation measures.

That’s not what we did. What we did instead is the public health authorities decided in advance what behavioral outcome they wanted. Everyone wears a mask or two masks. Everyone stays at home. All the schools should close. Everyone should get a needle in every arm.

They said, “What do we need to present to the public in order to get them to do that thing that we’ve already predetermined in advance is the best or the right or the good thing for them to do?” Now, presenting information only to get people to behave in a certain way is a perfect definition for propaganda. So, this was not a responsible communication of science, of epidemiological data, or of public health information.

This was propaganda. This was highlighting, exaggerating, spin-doctoring information that we think will move people in this particular behavioral direction and squashing, sidelining, silencing, canceling, downplaying, or attacking information, even if it’s true information, that might lead people in a different direction.

Mr. Jekielek:

What you’re describing basically encapsulates this new collective way of looking at health.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. “We know what’s best for everyone,” said this elite clerisy who had access to the right way that we should be moving. They can discern the direction of history and what the future should look like. “We’re the ones who have to call the shots because ordinary people don’t have the wherewithal to make the right decisions on their own behalf. Look where democracy got us. We got messy things like Brexit or Trump.

“So ordinary people can’t be trusted. Ordinary people’s judgment and common sense cannot be trusted. Basically, our job is to tell people what to think and to make people believe that they’re coming to their own conclusions. Whereas in fact, they’re just being led along in the direction that we would like to move them.” This is condescending. This is arrogant. And politically, this is very, very dangerous in my view.

Mr. Jekielek:

You reference Orwell in the book repeatedly, especially with this concept of newspeak, changing language. You also reference Huxley, the other kind of dystopian model.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 presented a dystopian society in which there was a very high level of top-down authoritarian control over people’s lives. This was done through newspeak, through manipulation of language. If you can manipulate the words that people are allowed to use and the way in which people are allowed to talk, you can actually change the way that people think.

Orwell talked about this in a terrific essay called, “Politics and the English Language.” Orwell understood that the control of language and also the control of the flow of information was necessary for a regime like this to take hold. You had the main character in 1984 working for the euphemistically-termed Ministry of Truth, and he was responsible for taking last week’s newspaper and dropping it down what was called the memory hole, literally an incinerator. History, even history as recent as last week, was rewritten in order to advance what the party wanted to do today.

Last week, the newspaper said that Oceania was allied with Eurasia, but this week, the newspaper says Oceania is at war with Eurasia. In fact, we have always been at war with Eurasia. The thing that you think you read or you think you heard last week has been shoved down the memory hole. We pretend that it was never said. We pretend that it was never done.

In the censorship regime that we saw manifesting in a new way and in a very powerful way during the COVID pandemic, you see many of those same practices. A public health authority can stand up and say something that’s 180 degrees different from what he said last month.

Which is fine if the information has developed or if there’s new information, but there’s never an acknowledgement that they have actually changed their minds and that what they said last month they now believe to be wrong. “We’re sorry for giving you advice based on that information that we now believe is wrong. But here’s why we’re going to change that and rectify that.”

That’s not what happened. People just came up and said something new every week or every month and pretended like what they had said or what they had done in the past just simply never existed. There was never any acknowledgement of the primacy of truth. It was always the primacy of authority that was at work, and that’s very Orwellian, if you will.

Huxley’s dystopia was a little different. It was a more soft totalitarianism where you didn’t have secret police and men in jackboots and this heavy-handed police state level of authoritarianism keeping everyone in line and inducing fear in the population. You had a complacent, lethargic population that was kept more or less content, but in a very dehumanized way by drugs.

You had this fictional drug soma that everyone was taking. Every time they felt any angst or started wondering about the meaning of their life or something like that, they could medicate away these questions or these difficulties. And then you had a society that was just filled with all kinds of diversions, where people were engaged in this superficial hedonistic type of a society that kept them more or less placid and contented in a superficial way and took away people’s drive to actually step back and look at their society and ask how they were living individually and collectively and decide to say, “No, this is not how I want to be as a human being.”

The other thing that Huxley understood very clearly was the role of biotechnology. Much of Brave New World is about advances in biotechnology and the ways in which that can become dehumanizing. All new human beings are bred in these artificial wombs using in vitro methods. The old-fashioned messy means of reproduction are now used only for the purposes of pleasure and have nothing to do with the generation of new life.

There are quality control measures. One of the main characters works at the state hatchery where they run the embryos and the fetuses through the test tube process into birth. There’s behavioral conditioning involved in the Brave New World where these subliminal messages are fed to people while they sleep to shape their thinking.

Huxley, in terms of his technocratic, biologically-driven shaping of the human mass of passive people and drugging people to keep them placid, like the way we do with marijuana these days, was really prescient in terms of seeing that aspect of social development. Huxley saw the importance of language, the importance of controlling the flow of information and censorship in terms of controlling populations, and the importance of backing up some of these measures with the police powers of the state.

What we had before COVID was a little more Huxley, a little more soft biotechnology-based forms of dehumanization. But what we saw during COVID is that the Orwellian aspect of the dystopian regime also rose up to the point where now we have both of them working hand in glove. Both of those writers, sad to say, are really prophets for our own day. Most people have heard of these books. They may believe that they’ve read them, because they’ve read about them. But it’s a good time for folks to go back and read them for the first time or reread them if they read them way back in high school. Look at our contemporary world through these works of brilliant prophetic fiction and see what you see.

Mr. Jekielek:

They aren’t supposed to be instruction manuals.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

They are supposed to be warnings.

Dr. Kheriaty:

They are supposed to be warnings about where not to go. Yes, that’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

That’s right. Apparently, we didn’t heed the warnings very well, so we’re sitting here and we’re smiling at each other a bit, because the reality is deeply troubling. One of the things that I loved about your book is the fact that you offer some really thoughtful directions for people to take in their lives at this point to actually do something meaningful in the face of this potential radical shift in society.

Dr. Kheriaty:

In the last chapter of the book, I do try to offer the reader some hope. It’s sincere hope, because there are some things that I fundamentally believe. First of all, I believe human beings are very resilient. I also believe that regimes built upon lies ultimately will collapse. They can continue as Soviet communism showed us, they can continue for an unbearably long period of time, and enormous human damage can be done in the meantime, but eventually they will collapse. The question for us is how to avoid getting to the point where we find ourselves in a dehumanizing society or dehumanizing regime. And if we’re already in one, how do we help to manifest the lies and the contradictions of that regime sooner, so that it collapses sooner rather than later.

But ultimately, I do believe that the truth will prevail. I like to say that nature itself, but human nature also, always comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, meaning you can cheat things for a certain period of time, you can establish a society or a regime that’s built upon lies about what it means to be a human being or what it means to be a human being in relation to others, but ultimately that’s not going to be sustainable. So, that’s one source of hope.

The second is that human beings are very resilient. In our hearts we can sense when we are not living in a way that is conducive to health and human flourishing. People are extremely creative at finding ways to resist, to build alternative institutions, to create and begin new things when the old institutions have become sclerotic or too corrupt to be reformed or redeemed in any meaningful way. We can begin again.

We can begin with a new Hannah Arendt, the great writer who talked about 20th century totalitarianism and the banality of evil. In her philosophy, she talks about the gift of what she calls natality, the fact that a new generation is born and comes into the world frequently, all the time. That new beginning is always a source of hope for the human race. Our generation may have messed things up, but the next generation comes into the world, and that’s a source of perennial renewal for human beings.

In the last chapter of the book, I do offer some policy proposals in my areas of expertise which have to do with public health. I talk about ways that we can meaningfully reform some of our public health agencies like the CDC, the FDA, and the NIH, which failed us during the pandemic. I also try to offer some broader suggestions that have to do with, first of all, overcoming our fear.

Mr. Jekielek:

I want to touch on that because I remember you talking very specifically about this being the first thing.

Dr. Kheriaty:


Mr. Jekielek:

But easier said than done.

Dr. Kheriaty:

There are small ways where we can begin to develop the ability to push back against our fears. As a psychiatrist I know the way to overcome fear and anxiety is not avoidance, it’s exposure. It’s step by step, graded small scale level building to a medium scale level, building to a larger scale level of literally facing our fears. The therapist becomes a coach to help you do that in a stepwise process so that you don’t get overwhelmed. We have retreated, we have shrunken back from these external threats, stopped living as human beings, stopped being together, stopped relating to what another, and stopped taking risks.

Safety is a fundamental need of the human person, but risk is also a fundamental need of the human person. Those two things have to be kept in balance. A society where no one ever takes any risks is not a society, it’s a collection of corpses. We need to be learning once again to be daring, learning once again to take risks, not reckless risks, but sensible, reasonable, rational ways of moving forward and of pressing forward in spite of dangers and in spite of difficulties.

Collectively, each and every one of us has to relearn that after we engaged in this massive experiment of essentially what amounted to radical avoidance for almost three years. We need to get back to this process of actually facing our fears and being willing to live life again on its own terms, despite our frailty and our mortality and our vulnerability. We’re always going to be vulnerable to illness, to disability, and ultimately to death.

But as Montaigne said, “He who has learned to overcome the fear of death has learned how to live.” Socrates said the same thing. He said, “All philosophy, “filosofia,” the love of wisdom, is a preparation for death.” And Socrates faced his own death without fear, because he had learned to put his life under the banner of truth, “I’m going to serve the truth. I’m going to pursue the truth wherever it can be found. I’m going to be humble and acknowledge that I don’t know everything.” He was the wisest man in Athens, because he asked questions.

As a society, we need to capture that kind of daring spirit again, to be willing to ask questions, to be willing to take risks, to humbly acknowledge that we don’t know everything and that we can’t completely control nature, we can’t completely control pandemics, but we can still live together. We can still support one another. We can still care for the sick when they get sick.

It is really important for us to overcome our fear, because if we’re still living in a state of fear, we’re paralyzed. With severe fear, anyone who’s ever experienced a panic attack knows that fear will literally paralyze you, not just physically, but also mentally. You can’t move. You can’t think when you are terrified. You can’t do anything.

So, this issue of fear is very important. And you may say, “I’m not a public health official. I’m not a person with political power. I’m not a person in the media. What can I do to fix the kind of problems that you’ve sketched out?”

There’s a lot you can do. You could start by working on whatever fear you’ve absorbed, and working on overcoming that. Work on starting at a small scale, meeting and gathering and talking and thinking with people face to face at the neighborhood level, at the school level, and at the community level. Start a book club, reading great works of literature. You could start a dystopian book club and maybe mix in some comedies so everyone doesn’t get too depressed.

There’s a lot that ordinary people can do. People are not powerless. They were made to feel powerless during the pandemic, but they’re not. They’re not powerless.

Mr. Jekielek:

That’s fantastic advice. That’s advice I could take myself, so thank you for that. There’s at least a couple of instances where I’ve been thinking about the things that you’ve written, just general concepts and the new abnormal that we are seeing manifest. One of them is in China right now.

Dr. Kheriaty:


Mr. Jekielek:

There could be whole swaths of cities, where suddenly everyone’s code turns red and they can’t move. They can’t transport.

Dr. Kheriaty:


Mr. Jekielek:

This is the society that you’re describing.

Dr. Kheriaty:

All part of the plan. This is the first time that we’ve seen these kinds of mass gatherings in China, pushing back against the regime since the Tiananmen Square. It’s horrifying to see companies like Apple supporting the regime by removing Airdrop from the iPhones, which was the only way that many of these protestors could communicate with one another during the protests, because that was an app that didn’t go through the network, the cellular network there in China that the state could control.

And rather than celebrating the fact that they had that technological mechanism that permitted communication and freedom for the Chinese protestors, Apple, probably for their own financial reasons, went ahead and sided with the regime and took away that thing that all of us in the West enjoy on our iPhones.

But these Chinese protests are also heartening because they illustrate what I said in regards to human nature, that human nature always comes to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning. Regimes that are built upon lies eventually will fall. I don’t know when the tyranny in China will end. I hope that it’s sooner rather than later. But I know that a regime that operates the way the Chinese Communist Party operates cannot sustain itself forever, because it’s built upon lies. It’s built upon a house of cards. Under the right social conditions and with sufficient pushback from the citizens, the party is going to lose control and things are going to have to change.

I hope these are signs that something like that may be happening, or at least an initial stage in a movement in that direction. But we have to take heart that there are people there who have been pushed beyond their limit, which is horrifying. And now, they are manifesting what all of us know to be true, which is that the human person’s ability to discern, “In spite of all the propaganda that I’ve been fed my entire life, in spite of all the control of education and the flow of information and what I can access, I still know in my heart that I should have the ability to move around in my own country freely. I should have the ability to speak freely. I should have the ability to earn a living for my family and to support my children.” Those are basic, fundamental human truths that are inscribed on the human heart, and no tyrannical regime can ever fully eradicate them.

Mr. Jekielek:

And all of this, despite the deployment of a lot of these technologies.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

You argue that in The New Abnormal that this really needs to be stopped.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. I talk about the next stages in the biosecurity surveillance regime. What’s coming next? Because COVID, in a sense, was just the beginning. My book is more about the future than it is about the past three years. The first step is digital IDs tied to biometric data, face IDs, retinal scans, and fingerprints. We see this with the Clear system at the airports.

Now, we see this in many other sectors and in private corporations utilizing these things more and more. But ultimately, this is a system in which your passport is now stored in the Cloud and it’s tied to information about your health. Eventually, with wearable and implantable devices, it stores your moment-to-moment health, your vital signs, and your emotional state. This is going to give governments and their private corporations that partner with governments unprecedented access and intrusive access to moment-to-moment information about you that most people should be very, very reluctant to relinquish.

Those will be tied to a financial system that centers around central bank digital currencies. This will also be a step that will be rolled out in the near future. And central bank digital currencies need to be distinguished from decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin. A CBDC will allow the government to track each and every one of your financial transactions.

This has already been done in China with the digital e-Yuan, which was rolled out during the Beijing Olympics. They showed during the Olympics that they could induce their entire population to use this, which is not surprising given the level of control the regime has. But they also required any of the participants from the other countries, any of the visitors from the other countries to download that app and utilize that centrally controlled digital currency during the games.

That app is still on their phone, tracking their financial transactions and lots of other information that can be gleaned from your smartphone. They were able to export this internationally using that event as a kind of fulcrum or leverage.

The Feds have already publicly acknowledged that they want to issue a digital dollar. They’re going to pitch it as being a frictionless ease of use, “If you forget your wallet at home or your passport at home and you’re at the airport, no problem. We’ll just scan your iris and you can still get on the plane. You can still make transactions on the other end using your digital wallet tied into your digital ID.” And this all sounds very-

Mr. Jekielek:


Dr. Kheriaty:

… convenient and effective. And yet, it’s important for people to understand that what you have in your digital wallet is not actually money, because these digital currencies are programmable and they can have conditions attached to them.

For example, let’s say the federal government gives you a tax credit. You get a thousand dollars back from the federal government because you have a child. That thousand dollars in your digital wallet is not the same thing as a thousand dollars cash or a thousand dollars in your bank account, because the government can also say, “You need to spend that thousand dollars some time in the next nine months, or it’s going to disappear,” or, “You need to spend that thousand dollars only on these favored industries,” and, “You’re not allowed to spend it on these certain disfavored industries. You cannot give that money to the Epoch Times, because they’re not a state approved media organization.”

What you have in your digital wallet is actually not a dollar like a dollar bill. It’s a sort of temporary voucher to nudge your economic and transactional behavior in particular directions. The push is going to be toward a cashless society, where the digital dollar or other forms of centrally controlled digital currencies are the only way to spend money and the only way to engage in financial transactions. The government will know all of your financial transactions. It can tax them on the spot. If you’re buying too much meat, an algorithm in the sky can turn off your ability to buy meat or to buy gasoline or cigarettes or whatever the disfavored behavior that you’re engaged in.

Mr. Jekielek:

Or travel to a protest.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Exactly. Or travel to a protest. And the real problem with this system is that it will be such a pervasive and complete level of control that the system itself will become impossible to resist once it’s fully put in place. Why? Because if you try to mount resistance, a person or an algorithm in the sky will simply push a button and you can’t travel, your car won’t turn on, you cannot buy or sell anything.

It can basically lock you out of the markets. It’s a form of exile that regimes of the past could never have actually instantiated. It’s a level of control over people’s freedoms that this kind of technology and this kind of system will make possible, that the totalitarian dictators of the past could only have dreamed of.

Mr. Jekielek:

We saw a little bit of what that might look like with how the Canadian government dealt with the truckers.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

You’re seeing some of the things that you’ve written about in The New Abnormal come true. And this is even in this court case that you’re involved with, Missouri vs. Biden. Some of the discovery materials that have come out, some of the emails of the close communication and collaboration between the government and Big Tech are astounding.

Dr. Kheriaty:

They are astounding. This will turn out to be the biggest First Amendment free speech case in decades. I don’t want to sound too grandiose, but what we found on discovery suggests that this public-private partnership regime of censorship was even more pervasive and widespread in the various federal agencies than we initially suspected when we filed the lawsuit.

This is a lawsuit that the state Attorney Generals of Missouri and Louisiana have filed against many senior officials in the administration, along with four private plaintiffs, myself, Jay Bhattacharya, and Martin Kulldorff, co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, and Health Freedom Louisiana, which is a nonprofit medical freedom group in that state.

We are alleging that the government has been colluding with Big Tech companies, particularly social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google to censor any information that contradicts the government’s preferred pandemic policies. In fact, we’re seeing now that this was being done to censor other forms of information related to election integrity and the Hunter Biden laptop story.

But we’re focused on the censorship of people who challenged COVID policies during the pandemic. What we’re finding is that many, many federal agencies, not just the HHS agencies responsible for public health, but also DHS agencies responsible for security and intelligence were engaged in this operation.

Now, arguably, and I say arguably, because there’s legal debate about this, but arguably, private social media companies can censor. They can decide who to kick off their platform and who to allow on their platform. Inarguably, no one doubts that the federal government cannot do that. That’s a clear violation of Americans’ First Amendment free speech rights.

The federal government can also not suborn private entities to do its bidding. It cannot be under the threat of, “If you don’t do our bidding, we’re going to make life difficult through more regulation.” They cannot basically lean on the social media companies to become the long arm of their censorship regime.

But this is exactly what was happening over the last three years. The communications and emails that we’ve received so far on discovery suggest that this was happening at a very finely granular level, down to senior government officials saying, “Why hasn’t so and so, this high profile account, been removed from your platform yet? We don’t like him.” And then 10 minutes later, the text message came back from the senior executive at Facebook or Twitter saying, “Oh, don’t worry. We’ll take care of it right away.” And boom, the person is gone.

The companies, under fear of regulation or running into difficulties with the government, which can make life very difficult for them if it wants to, are saying, “Okay, how high should we jump, and where should we go, and what should we do?” This is absolutely egregious, which seems like a soft word for it.

People in the administration did it so casually, without any afterthought, which suggests to me that at a certain point it became so normalized in the federal government to do this, that it probably didn’t occur to many of the people involved that they were doing something illegal. And not just something illegal, but something that violated the highest laws of the land, which is the laws articulated in the Constitution of the United States.

This is a very serious issue. Science cannot progress without freedom of speech. Science cannot progress without deliberation and debate and conjecture and refutation. If you try to lock in a scientific consensus and make it unassailable, then scientific progress will halt immediately on that issue, because we make progress when you’re allowed to challenge a consensus or to challenge what people thought that they knew. If you just read the history of science, that’s how science proceeds.

This is detrimental to science. It’s obviously detrimental to the people who do not get a chance to offer their perspectives or their opinions. But the First Amendment cases in the United States also say that freedom of speech is important. The Supreme Court has articulated this, not just for the person who’s speaking. If my free speech rights are violated, that’s bad, because I’m not allowed to say what I want to say. Or my ideas can’t gain any purchase in the public square because I’m silenced. So, that’s bad.

But I’m not the only one harmed by that. The Supreme Court has said, “No. Free speech also exists for the receiver of the speech.”  People have a right to hear both sides of a debated question, so that they can make a reasoned judgment based on all the available evidence and all of the available opinions. Whichever side makes their case more compellingly should gain more adherence.

It’s the American people as a whole that are harmed by the free speech violations, even if it’s the free speech violations of a few. That’s among the many reasons why this Missouri vs. Biden case is so important and so consequential. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration, Jan, to say that never in our history have we seen this level of free speech violation by the federal government that we’ve seen over the last three years. This absolutely has to stop, or our little experiment in this ordered democratic republic is going to come to a grinding halt.

Mr. Jekielek:

There’s so much more we could talk about here today. Any final thoughts as we finish?

Dr. Kheriaty:

Yes. I want to end on a note of hope. If you stand up and challenge this emerging regime, you may lose some friends. You may be called names. You may be accused of being this or that, a conspiracy theorist or a COVID denier or any of the other terms of abuse that have been hurled at people that are trying to ask questions and trying to challenge the public health narrative that’s emerged over the last three years.

But as someone who’s had the experience of actually doing this, I will say, first of all, there’s nothing better than waking up with a clear conscience every day. And also, you’re going to meet new friends, genuine friends, people who really care not only about you, but about the pursuit of truth. There will be people that you have all kinds of interesting disagreements with, which is good. We should disagree with the people that we’re hanging around with and talking with and not exist just in a bubble.

But you will meet a genuine group of, now I would say millions of Americans and others around the world who are recognizing that, “Hey, something is not right. What happened to us over the last three years is not right.” They are very concerned about the future that we’re going to hand on to our children and grandchildren.

It’s never too late to reconsider assumptions that you thought were valid back in 2020. It’s never too late to admit that, ” Yes, maybe I endorsed something or maybe I did something that now I regret.” That’s okay. In fact, that’s a good thing. I think it takes tremendous moral courage to admit that you’ve changed your mind or to admit that you regret saying or doing something in the past.

I would invite people from across the spectrum of opinions on the themes that we’ve talked about today, just to try to remain open-minded and try to listen to people on both sides of this debate and not be afraid of where the evidence or the truth might lead you.

Mr. Jekielek:

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, it’s such a pleasure to have you on the show.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Thank you, Jan.

Mr. Jekielek:

Thank you all for joining Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and me on this episode of American Thought Leaders. I’m your host Jan Jekielek.

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