The other warning in Eisenhower's farewell address
This we all — if we have a sense of history — remember from Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address three days before John F. Kennedy became president in 1961:
[W]e must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
This quote is immersed in popular culture, from the movie JFK to any number of anti-war liberal speeches and op-eds and such — that is until recently when the military-industrial complex as currently epitomized by CIANN, etc. were utterly "media purified" because they opposed Donald Trump.
What is less discussed is what Ike said only a few moments later:
Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. ... The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
And he continued:
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
And that brings us to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Ninety-three percent bureaucrat, three percent doctor (exactly zero percent epidemiologist), Fauci sits atop the medical research funding pyramid more powerfully than any pharaoh ever did.
His previous incompetence has been noted by so many other sources — from COVID (I would put a link here, but what's the point? — there are so many) to AIDS — here and here — that to repeat the failures of this particular low-rent G.P. in charge of billions of dollars of government money is, for me, akin to spiking and then twirling the football in the end zone.
Elite means that one is the very best at something. Tiger was (is?) an elite golfer; Van Gogh was an elite painter (once people noticed); Baryshnikov was an elite dancer (both shorter and a much better golfer than you think, but still unquestionably the best of his or possibly all time), etc.
And that brings us back to Ike and his worry. Well educated but not necessarily bright and selfless people take over the government money faucet — and welcome Fauci and another name we have heard before, Dr. Peter Daszak and his EcoHealth Alliance, which received millions in Fauci/federal funding for gain-of-function research specifically to be conducted in a dodgy Chinese lab run by a person with whom Daszak had a longstanding financial and personal relationship.
To this day, this is on their website:
Who stands between you and the next pandemic?
The billions in financial support numbers are staggering. Daszak's group exists solely due to government money (although if you go to the website, you still get asked to drop them 50 bucks), but the idea of what can be hidden in the vapor trail of government dollar zeroes cannot be understated.
There was an infamous call/Zoom/email/smoke signal/talk that occurred at a February get-together — however you wish to describe it — that shows the (financial) hammer that Fauci could bring down. A Scripps human was legitimately worried, before the call, about a lab leak possibility. As the vast majority of his lab funding comes via Fauci, he said something very, very different after the chat.
A few months later, his lab got a nearly $10-million grant — from Fauci's gang.
There is a term called "regulatory capture." It refers to industries that have become so intertwined with government money and function that they have essentially taken over the agency meant to be their regulator. The harridan spawn of Randi Weingarten running rampant in the Department of Education is an example, or the union folks working at the Department of Labor. Semi-conversely, there is the reality of "industry capture" — i.e., the former generals, junior birds, etc. getting paid by defense contractors and/or the other way around.
A particularly egregious example of this concept is Pacific Gas and Electric — a regulated utility in California of Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, etc. connection fame — that has literally pleaded guilty to killing people through its gross incompetence and still manages to have a revolving-door personnel arrangement with the state's Public Utility Commission.
And then there is the matter of hiring your own boss, which could be referred to as "industry capture." Imagine you want a job at a company — do you think your chances of getting the job, amazing benefits, and the ability to demand raises and/or time off at any time you wish would be helped if the boss owed you money? That is precisely the situation around the country when it comes to teachers' unions and school boards: the unions make up the overwhelming majority of all school board election campaign funding, so, in essence, they get to hire their own boss.
As Eisenhower warned, this unholy alliance of money — always spent on the "greater good," so regular lumpen voters cannot dare to complain — and power is a cancer on society.
And, like regular cancer, I'm not sure how curable it is.
Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore and a former newspaper reporter. He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more of his work at https://thomas699.substack.com.
Image: Library of Congress via Picryl, public domain.