“Following the Science”: The Political Science of Dr. Cara Lysenko

Joe Biden in Phoenix, Arizona.

Devout followers of our state-run religion of mandatory social distancing, such as Vice President Biden, are fond of saying that they are “following the science.” If elected, he has pledged to impose a national lockdown and a national mask mandate, if the scientists who established our state-run religion advocate this course of action. After all, if “we are all (forced to be) in this together,” why shouldn’t every nook and cranny of our country be treated as if it were a nursing home in Queens in March 2020?

As the crescendo of fear-mongering regarding “cases” reaches its peak on election day, public health officials and their allies in the media will bombard us with reports of “impending danger.” Last month, it was widely report that there were 70,000 COVID cases on college campuses. What the media failed to mention is that these 70,000 cases resulted in three hospitalizations. Some leftists who have exploited the pandemic for political purposes are honest about their perfidy. Jane Fonda, long a darling of the left, has described the pandemic as “G-d’s gift to the left.”

Of course, those who claim to follow science are blithely ignoring the mounting empirical evidence showing the detrimental effects of our state-run religion on public health. Leading scientists (e.g., the Great Barrington Declaration) have now concluded that lockdowns were ineffective and deeply destructive (UCLA/NBER study). In many nations and states, this means that more deaths will be associated with quarantines and lockdowns than the virus itself.

Other studies have also shown that there is absolutely no reason why our children should be learning remotely. Why are teachers the only “essential” workers who do not have to report to work (physically) each day? As reported in Science magazine and in many other major research studies (e.g., Brown University), the empirical evidence supports fully re-opening schools for in-person learning and yet, most of our children are not in school five days a week. Why is this science being ignored?

There is no doubt that Joe Biden and our governor are following science. Unfortunately, the science that Biden and other pro-lockdown officials and ardent supporters of the state-run religion are following is political science, since there is little empirical evidence to justify the full range of pseudo-scientific non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been imposed on us for the last seven months. Our maniacal focus on COVID has also distorted other public health/healthcare priorities. Just last year, the same Surgeon General who assured us that all we needed was “15 days to flatten the curve” was telling us that opioid addiction and other substance abuse was America’s #1 public health problem, that was “ravaging our country.”

Has the substance abuse problem magically disappeared? The answer is no. In fact, it is getting worse and much of the blame can be plausibly placed on the pseudo-scientific non-pharmaceutical interventions that treat us as human subjects in an experiment. According to recently compiled national statistics, these human experiments may account for a large chunk of alcohol sales having risen by more than 25%, consumption of nonprescribed fentanyl increasing by 32%, methamphetamine by 20%, cocaine by 10% and suspected overdoses climbing by 18%.

We believe that the “science” our politicians are following, espoused by “public health” officials, who are maniacal and myopic in their focus on one infectious disease, is a modern-day form of Lysenkoism. Dr. Trofim Lysenko, a geneticist, was Director of the Soviet Union’s All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences during the 1930s. Lysenko was the leading proponent of a discredited theory, which holds that characteristics acquired during the lifetime of a plant can be passed down to later generations. His pseudo-scientific methods were reflected in agricultural practice, which led to mass starvation and millions of deaths in the Soviet Union and China.

For political reasons, Lysenko was adored by the dictator Joseph Stalin. Lysenko’s theory of plant evolution was consistent with the Marxist doctrine that humans living under socialism can pass down their newly acquired characteristics of selflessness to subsequent generations. In the Soviet Union, science became the servant of political ideology and Lysenkoism was transformed into a state-sponsored religion.

Current mandatory social distancing measures, including physical distancing, mask mandates, quarantines, lockdowns, and “re-openings” being aggressively promoted by infectious disease experts throughout the West are highly reminiscent of the Soviet and Chinese experience with Lysenkoism. This type of policy response to the pandemic has many pseudo-scientific elements and has led to the establishment of a new, destructive, and even deviant state-run religion.

In the state of Arizona, all economic and social activities, including “re-openings,” are subject to the approval of the architects of the state-run religion, i.e., public health officials. Another disturbing outgrowth of our state-run religion is what seems to be a permanent “new normal,” which not only involves implementing extreme physical distancing in every industry, but also aims to change western culture permanently. An example is the Lysenko-like recommendation by Dr. Fauci that people should never shake hands again. Such behavioral prescriptions threaten our humanity and identity as social beings.

It is clear that this new state-run religion and this modern, politically expedient form of Lysenkoism have been enthusiastically embraced by the media and opportunistic, virtue-signalling politicians, who instituted and now staunchly defend shutdowns during their tedious press conferences on how they are “fighting” the virus. Masters of social media, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, have also interviewed and embraced infectious disease experts that toe the Lysenkoite line, while simultaneously censoring videos of physicians in the field who present an alternative viewpoint with scientific evidence, or otherwise dare to defy the new orthodoxy.

The end result is that public health officials have succeeded in doing more damage to our economy and society, and yes, even to public health, than all of the recent enemies of Western civilization combined. If we do not immediately reverse this modern and frightening resurgence of Lysenkoism, through legislation action to end this “state of emergency,” legal challenges, and peaceful, but vociferous social protests, we will continue to pay a steep price and remain on the road to ruin for many years to come.

Robert M. Sauer, Professor of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London (Robert.Sauer@rhul.ac.uk)

Donald S. Siegel, Foundation Professor of Public Policy and Management and Director, School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University (Donald.Siegel.1@asu.edu)

About Donald S. Siegel, Ph.D., and Robert M. Sauer, Ph.D. 4 Articles
Donald S. Siegel, Ph.D., Foundation Professor of Public Policy and Management and Director, School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University (Donald.Siegel.1@asu.edu) Robert M. Sauer, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London (Robert.Sauer@rhul.ac.uk)