The Decline and Fall of the Experts

The Decline and Fall of the Experts
A screen at the Karolinska Institute shows this year's laureates Katalin Kariko of Hungary (L) and Drew Weissman of the U.S. during the announcement of the winners of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Oct. 2, 2023. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeffrey A. Tucker

You could just feel the sense of stunned alarm when the Nobel Prize committee announced its decision on medicine and physiology. It went to Katalin Karikó and Dr. Drew Weissman for adding a chemical change to mRNA shots that was taken up by Ms. Karikó’s own vaccine employer, which is BioNTech in Germany, which further contracted out with Pfizer.

When I heard the news, I immediately contacted Dr. Robert Malone, who is an actual expert on mRNA technology. He posted on Twitter the following comment: “Kariko and Weissman get the Nobel, not for inventing mRNA vaccines (because I did that) but for adding the pseudouridine that allowed unlimited spike toxins to be manufactured in what could have been a safe and effective vaccine platform, if safely developed. Good to know.”

I asked for specifics but he wasn’t in the mood. The news was too preposterous to merit further comment, at least for now. Millions of those shots were paid for by governments and then mandated in the United States and around the world. While they were shots that most people didn’t need, millions were forced to get them anyway, and found themselves harmed and sick. Some have died, likely more than from any other vaccine in modern times.

The most common photo of the winners posted online perfectly illustrates that the product for which they won the Prize doesn’t work. Presumably, the two in this 2022 image are fully vaccinated and yet, they are also fully masked.

Japan Prize 2022 laureates Hungarian-American biochemist Katalin Kariko (L) and U.S. physician-scientist Dr. Drew Weissman pose with their trophy during the presentation ceremony in Tokyo on April 13, 2022. (Eugene Hoshiko/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Japan Prize 2022 laureates Hungarian-American biochemist Katalin Kariko (L) and U.S. physician-scientist Dr. Drew Weissman pose with their trophy during the presentation ceremony in Tokyo on April 13, 2022. (Eugene Hoshiko/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
How could the Nobel Committee have done this? It’s all part of the valorization of the ruling class that got everything wrong in the course of the COVID era. It was an epic fail on the part of a small group of people who seized control of all levers of power. Rather than admit it, they are going overboard with a great game of pretend, a part of which involves pretending that the rest of us are stupid.

The Prize seems nearly designed to demoralize anyone who has followed this trajectory over the past three years. The shots were rolled out to great fanfare, and deployed to shame and segregate anyone who didn’t want them. Families, communities, countries, and whole professional societies were sent into wild upheaval, with millions of workers displaced for their refusal to take it.

As events unfolded, the shots proved as dangerous as the critics had warned, and also notably ineffective. They provided a temporary help that vanished in a few months, thus requiring a still-not-ending series of boosters and clocking up a level of adverse effects that we’ve not seen before in the history of modern medicine.

The shots were approved in emergency times for a technology that had previously never been able to negotiate the regulatory hurdles. Under the emergency use provisions, the laws of many countries indemnify the makers so they can’t be sued for damages. Meanwhile, the producers own the patents and list their stock publicly to enjoy a wild ride to high profitability.

It’s this process and product that was just awarded the Nobel Prize. The choice is shameless beyond description, permanently discrediting the committee in the eyes of anyone who has followed this closely and isn’t in the pay of the winning industry. It’s almost as if the truth about the vaccine failure is so grim that certain people who were behind the entire caper are building in the thickest-possible level of protection against criticism.

The New York Times, however, presented the whole subject straight, even claiming (without citation) that “their work enabled potent COVID vaccines to be made in less than a year, averting tens of millions of deaths and helping the world recover from the worst pandemic in a century.”

Oh, really? There is no empirical evidence to back these claims, especially the “tens of millions” statistic. There are studies that throw around those kinds of numbers but they come from models that build in assumptions concerning cases, durability of protection, pace of transmission, and likelihood of death. Such models can be easily constructed to show anything you want.

Real life is another matter.

It’s interesting that the text chose the phrase “helping the world recover” as opposed to ending the pandemic. The shots were supposed to inoculate the population and they didn’t come close. They certainly didn’t stop infection or transmission. That means, in technical terms, they had absolutely no public health benefit, even if in rare instances, they had a private benefit (maybe).

All evidence suggests that for large populations, the vaccine had negative effectiveness; that is, it made people more not less likely to get COVID. The vaccine only helped the world to “recover” by giving governments an exit strategy out of lockdowns.

That’s another way of saying that they offered symbolic value at best.

None of what I just wrote is radical or even much disputed. It’s been known for longer than two years. Thousands of papers and studies back up every statement. Anyone serious about this subject has been utterly amazed at the course of events, even those who desperately wanted to see the shots work. I’m not one to evaluate this, but overall, the COVID vaccines—if they had been a good choice for people, the mandates wouldn’t have been necessary—seem to represent the worst of modern public-health practice.

That the committee went in this direction represents the most conspicuous failing since the prize for physiology went to António Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz in 1949 for the invention of the frontal lobotomy. This was just a few years after the world had been made aware of the grotesque medical experiments conducted in Nazi Germany that ended in mass death under medical and expert oversight—the industrialization of genocide.

Let’s just say that the Nobel Prize committee doesn’t have the best knack for timing. This one will surely go down in history as one of the most disreputable prizes given in our lifetimes. I say this with full awareness of the Nobel for Economics from last year that was presented to Ben Bernanke, whose zero-interest-rate policies from 2008 to 2020 now lay in ruins for having distorted financial and production structures beyond which anyone believed possible.

Even so, this prize is part of a larger problem. It speaks to the universal failure of the credentialed class over the past several years, which appointed itself as master of the microbial kingdom, deploying totalitarian measures of population compulsion to defeat what was for most people something akin to the flu or the common cold. They imposed universal human separation, wrecked the education of nearly everyone in school, censored the press in violation of every civilized standard, and propagandized the whole population to accept a medicine they didn’t need and that turned out to be harmful.

And now, the experts are here to tell us: We the experts have decided that these other experts are actually awesome, despite every bit of intuition you have and despite every bit of what you know from your own experience.

What’s shocking especially about this Prize is that it isn’t shocking. It is precisely what we’ve come to expect in times when it would appear that there is no bottom to the depth of corruption. If someone generated an article with receipts showing that the committee was actually fully in the pay of BioNTech, and that Dr. Anthony Fauci himself lobbied for this prize, that wouldn’t surprise me. We are numb to it all at this point, past the point of alarm and beyond being rattled by the unfolding of events.

The Treason of the Experts”: It’s the theme of our time. They preen, wear medals on their chests, pick up ever-larger checks from venues that pay large honoraria, and speak at dinners worthy of District One in “The Hunger Games.”

The rest of us in the rest of the districts practice our skills and try to figure our way out of this remarkable mess.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is the founder and president of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press, as well as 10 books in five languages, most recently “Liberty or Lockdown.” He is also the editor of “The Best of Ludwig von Mises.” He writes a daily column on economics for The Epoch Times and speaks widely on the topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.
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