A Pandemic Legacy of Fear and Control

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty talks about the rise of the biomedical security state

A Pandemic Legacy of Fear and Control
Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, psychiatrist, medical ethicist, and author. (York Du/The Epoch Times)
Jan Jekielek
Jeff Minick

“Today’s transhumanist project of trying to meld the human and the technological, making people bigger, stronger, and smarter through gene editing, cybernetics, and nanotechnology, is just a microwaved version of a very old ideology,” says Dr. Aaron Kheriaty. “It’s a new form of the ancient Gnostic attitude toward the human being.”

In a recent episode of “American Thought Leaders,” host Jan Jekielek sat down with Kheriaty, psychiatrist, medical ethicist, and author of “The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State.” He has filed several lawsuits against U.S. institutions and the government challenging vaccine mandates and COVID-19 pandemic policy. Here, he also addresses 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.

Jan Jekielek: In “The New Abnormal,” you talk about how this neo-Gnostic worldview is upon us. It’s a profoundly different way of envisioning the human relationship with reality. It reminds me of woke ideology.
Dr. Aaron Kheriaty: The transhumanist movement and woke ideology are “neo-Gnostic religions.” Gnosticism was a collection of religious sects in the early centuries of Christianity that were the main competitors to Christianity. One thing they had in common was their elitism. Only a few had access to the secret knowledge—gnosis—and those were the people that should be running the show. In contrast, orthodox Christianity said salvation was available to everyone, not just to an elite.

The second feature that Gnostics had in common was a desire to overcome the material world. Unlike Christianity, they saw material reality as something to escape from or overcome. Christianity acknowledges that the material and spiritual worlds are both created by God and that God is good; therefore, the material world is good, though it’s affected by sin. 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 call the laws of science, but that order was something to be overcome. The material world was the raw material to do whatever they wanted with. The idea was to escape this world into a higher spiritual realm, either through extreme aesthetical modes or through a total desecration of the material world and the human body. Consequently, the human body was just a collection of hardware. It wasn’t an organic whole naturally oriented toward health and human flourishing.

Today’s transhumanist project of trying to meld the human and the technological, making people bigger, stronger, and smarter through gene editing, cybernetics, and nanotechnology, is just a microwaved version of a very old ideology. It’s a new form of the ancient Gnostic attitude toward the human being.

Mr. Jekielek: People are debating this model of a policy set on high by a group of experts. If we ever needed evidence this is a bad idea, we have the experiment right in front of us.
Dr. Kheriaty: 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.

This response to the pandemic did enormous collateral harms, yet even after those harms became manifest, our agencies didn’t walk back misguided policies like the lockdowns, the school closures, or the vaccine mandates and passports, which didn’t slow or stop the spread of COVID.

These one-size-fits-all policies did enormous damage to the trust of many Americans in public health and our government agencies, but also to organized medicine. Prior to the pandemic, people would tell me, “I’ve always trusted doctors and hospitals.” Now they’re saying, “I never want to see a physician or a hospital again.”

And even though these policies have now been rolled back, the whole infrastructure is still in place, waiting for the next public health crisis to steamroll our rights and freedoms even more than during COVID.

Americans must understand that scientism, this ideology I’m describing, is totally different from science. Science is inquiry requiring intellectual humility and an openness to new information and the revision of ideas.

But scientific conclusions dictated from the top without anyone being allowed to question them is not science. It’s authoritarian and ultimately a totalitarian ideology. If people don’t want to live in that sort of society, they need to wake up and push back against this.

Mr. Jekielek: Fear, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, was everywhere. How is this connected?
Dr. Kheriaty: Fear makes us lose our heads. As a psychiatrist, I can say that a chronic or overwhelming state of fear impairs the ability to think clearly and to reason well.

In the case of the pandemic, the fear which was sustained for so long was not just because of this novel virus, but also from the way information was presented to the public: propaganda designed to intensify people’s fears. People who are afraid are much easier to control. If you want a passive, compliant population that does whatever the authorities tell them, fear, as dictators have known for centuries, is a good way to do that.

Mr. Jekielek: What you’re describing 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 believe they can discern the direction of history and what the future should look like. “We’re the ones who call the shots because ordinary people don’t have the wherewithal to make the right decisions.”

Basically, they believe their job is to tell people what to think and to make people believe they’re coming to their own conclusions. This is condescending, arrogant, and politically dangerous.

Mr. Jekielek: In your book, you offer some thoughtful advice for people on how to do something meaningful in the face of this potential radical shift in society.
Dr. Kheriaty: In the last chapter, I try to offer the reader hope because there are some things I fundamentally believe. I believe human beings are resilient. I also believe that regimes built upon lies ultimately collapse. They can continue, as Soviet communism showed us, for an unbearably long time, and enormous human damage can be done, but eventually they will collapse. The question is how to avoid getting to the point where we find ourselves in a dehumanizing society or regime. And if we’re already in one, then how can we help manifest the lies and contradictions of that regime, so that it collapses sooner rather than later?

I also offer some policy proposals in my areas of expertise, which have to do with public health. I talk about ways we can reform our public health agencies like the CDC, the FDA, and the NIH, which failed us during the pandemic.

I also offer suggestions about overcoming our fear. Anyone who’s 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’re terrified. You can’t do anything.

But there’s a lot you can do. You could start by working on overcoming whatever fear you’ve absorbed. You can talk with people face-to-face in the community. Start a book club, for example, reading great works of literature.

People are not powerless. They were made to feel powerless during the pandemic, but they’re not. They’re not powerless.

Mr. Jekielek: Some of the things you’ve written about in “The New Abnormal” are coming true, as in this court case you’re involved with, Missouri v. Biden. Some of the discovery materials, the emails of collaboration between the government and Big Tech, are astounding.
Dr. Kheriaty: This will be the biggest First Amendment free speech case in decades. This is the lawsuit that the state attorneys general 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, a nonprofit medical freedom group in that state.

We are alleging that the government colluded with big tech companies, particularly social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, to censor information that contradicted the government’s preferred pandemic policies.

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 experiment in this ordered democratic republic is going to come to a grinding halt.

Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts as we finish?
Dr. Kheriaty: 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 a conspiracy theorist or a COVID denier.

But as someone who’s had this experience, I will say 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 care not only about you, but about the pursuit of truth.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Jan Jekielek is a senior editor with The Epoch Times and host of the show "American Thought Leaders." Jekielek’s career has spanned academia, media, and international human rights work. In 2009, he joined The Epoch Times full time and has served in a variety of roles, including as website chief editor. He was an executive producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film "Finding Manny."