The weekend before last, I had the immense pleasure and honor of participating in the Brownstone Institute’s conference, The Great Restoration, which focused on the COVID crisis and solutions in the aftermath of the crisis. You can watch the conference here.
Jeffrey Tucker, Brownstone Institute founder and president, brought together some of the most courageous, thoughtful and committed leaders of team reality to discuss the shoddy policies and failures of the public health response, how we got to a place that facilitated those failures, and how we might forge a way forward.
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The weekend exhilarated us as we broke bread and shared thoughts and insights - and in many cases challenged one another’s sometimes long-held perspectives.
I barely slept but departed Miami at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning - absolutely elated, if not a bit sad to leave all my friends.
It was in this state of blissful fatigue that I landed in Salt Lake City to catch my flight home to Idaho. I boarded the plane and took my aisle seat.
A few minutes later, a woman approached and asked me to get up as she had the window seat next to me.
While this all seems fairly routine, this woman whom I’ll call B, used to be a friend. She reviewed my documentary on vaccines, The Greater Good, before release and chose not to vaccinate her children with the Gardasil vaccine after watching the film and learning of the dearth of rigorous science relating to Gardasil. (She posted this on her own public Facebook page so I’m not sharing inappropriately.)
B and I had been friends for about 15 years until the nonprofit I founded and head, Health Freedom Defense Fund, sued the City of Hailey, Idaho, the town in which she lives and which is part of my general community, challenging the City’s mask mandate.
The local rag, which masquerades as a newspaper, wrote a sensationally dishonest article about our lawsuit falsely stating the lawsuit claimed that “Hailey’s mask policy constituted “a grand medical experiment” analogous to “the barbaric medical experiments performed on unwilling victims of Nazi’s [sic] Germany’s concentration camps.””
But that’s yellow journalism as that is not what we claimed in our lawsuit. Rather, we argued that as masks are not FDA approved, only granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), they are, by definition, experimental. Further, we noted that federal law requires that individuals being administered EUA products have the right to refuse them. Finally, as should be obvious to anyone, the ethical principle of voluntary informed consent enshrined in the Nuremburg Code, Declaration of Helsinki, US Code of Federal Regulations, and UNESCO’s Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights constitutes a judicial norm universally agreed and acknowledged and forced medical interventions are thus illegal.
Domestic and international agreements and statutes aside, mass use of masks is not rooted in sound science. On the contrary, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the efficacy of masks in preventing respiratory disease transmission is conspicuously absent while the extant RCTs demonstrate that masks do NOT stop spread of respiratory diseases. See here.
To wit, CDC’s own study (published in MAY OF 2020 no less!), reviewed 14 randomized controlled trials and found no significant reduction of flu spread due to mask wearing, enhanced hand washing, and environmental sanitizing. The authors wrote, “In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks.”
Any thinking person should be screaming, why did CDC and Dr. Fauci continue pushing masks when CDC’s own science in May of 2020 proved, quite clearly, that masks do not work – not even hand washing or sanitizing spaces works?!?
If that is not damning enough, bear in mind that masks aren’t just ineffective they are actually dangerous as they rapidly elevate CO2 levels in the brain and body causing a cascade of harm such as cognitive impairment.
While the body of science on the dangers of masks is certainly greater today than it was when we filed our lawsuit, there was adequate science demonstrating harm - not to mention that forced masking of anyone, let alone healthy people, represents gross violation of fundamental human rights and therefore unethical.
In February, 2020, on 60 Minutes Dr. Anthony Fauci had stated that while masks might make one feel better, they weren’t providing the protection believed. He also emailed a friend that month advising against masks and then confirmed that same opinion in another email on March 31, 2020. Then, April 3rd, he did an about-face on masks and made a vigorous endorsement.
While it might be comfortable to believe that Dr. Fauci and public health authorities made that change in guidance based on new evidence, in his recent deposition for a lawsuit brought by the states of Iowa and Missouri, Dr. Fauci was unable to cite a single study supporting his flip-flopping guidance.
If Dr. Fauci IS SCIENCE, why can’t he remember THE SCIENCE?
Turning back to the shoddy journalism of my local rag, as has become disappointingly commonplace, the author of the fallacious article never reached out to provide me the journalistic courtesy of a comment on the lawsuit or the article.
This is the same newspaper that published a large article reviewing my documentary and also published my well-referenced op eds and letters to the editor about vaccines for years, before suddenly ceasing a few years ago - without explanation.
In a similar manner, B, my former friend and now seat-mate, rather than reaching out to hear my perspective, just blindly read the article, took the content at face value and sent me this text:
I was rather taken aback but replied to her with the following:
She then began posting negative comments about me on Facebook accusing me of being selfish and ignorant of the dangers and damage of COVID. She opined on the shortage of beds in the ICU’s with zero understanding that the reason there was a shortage was not due to lack of beds but because healthcare workers who did not want to submit to the COVID injectable had been fired. There was a staff shortage because of the mandate. I can personally verify this as I saw that most of the beds were empty when I visited the COVID wing at St. Luke’s Magic Valley in early September of 2021. To be generous, the hospitals were being economical with the truth.
Then she blocked me so that I could not respond or share my perspective - so I posted this on my Facebook page:
Unsurprisingly, I never heard back from her.
SHE WAS COMMITTED TO HER WORLD VIEW. THAT WAS IT.
It is plain to any observer that I conducted myself with openness, kindness and decency throughout this virtual encounter and yet despite my politeness, B behaved horribly. And even though I remembered her lack of decorum and honor of more than a year prior, I hoped that being seated next to one another on the plane might be an opportunity – and it was, just not as I had imagined.
B portrays herself as a person of compassion and kindness. She’s hosted Buddhist gatherings at her home and events benefiting a local foundation which states, “The heart of our work focuses on revealing our human potential for leading a wise, moral and compassionate life.” B has served on a local spiritual film festival board and holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology.
The irony of that resume is not lost on me. But does she see the irony?
Does she have any grasp of how her posture in life belies her own self-image? Is she ignorant of her hypocrisy?
Does she have any awareness that those of us opposing medical mandates and defending freedom do so because we want to protect people from their harms?
Or that forced masking when masks provide no benefit is tantamount to forced participation in a charade?
Has she learned that she was 100% wrong about the efficacy and necessity of masks and the COVID injectables, neither of which prevent transmission or infection?
It’s clear the answer is no.
So, when the plane finally landed in the midst of a full-on blizzard, I said to B before I walked off the plane, “You know B, the offer still stands if you ever want to talk” to which I was met with a stone-faced and vehement, “No interest.”
I responded, “You might find this is just like Gardasil” and she reiterated in an arctic tone, “Absolutely no interest.”
As I walked off the plane, I wished her a good day and made my way to my car.
To be clear, I am sharing all this for a reason – a very important reason, IMHO.
I had hoped that our airplane encounter might provide an opportunity to build a bridge, to discuss our differences, to explain why I founded Health Freedom Defense Fund, why I’m so committed to standing for truth, why I oppose mandates of any kind, and why I unequivocally support parental rights. But that was not to be.
Instead, the interaction was a useful, timely, and woefully painful reminder of one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn in my life, namely, that just because I do the right thing, just because I am kind, honest, open, forgiving, and ready to acknowledge and apologize for my mistakes, that does not mean that others will be – or even possess any inclination to be.
But this understanding will not stop me from living life my way because, to me, life is not worth living if I’m not living a life of integrity, honesty, and purpose. In my experience, it is impossible to love oneself or have self-respect - both of which are critical to happiness, wellbeing, and a good and meaningful life - absent those qualities.
And as disappointing and distressing as it may be, I’ve come to a place where I believe that I simply no longer share values with many others in our country. Those, like B, who oppose me and wrongfully malign me, who seek to erase me by refusing to even speak to me – after all, that is the purpose of cancel culture, to blot out another person – don’t believe in the American ideals I so cherish and which underlie the founding of this great nation.
They don’t believe in the rule of law, the Constitution, our inalienable rights, integrity, decency – or TRUTH. They have become so persuaded by the mainstream narrative, fear porn and sensationalism that they genuinely believe those who have different views are actually enemies.
And this is not an accident. Yes, they are victims, but victims of a sophisticated psychological program to dehumanize anyone who disagrees with them. Just look at the Instagram of Kara Vallow, a Disney supervisor whom Health Freedom Defense Fund is helping a Disney employee to sue.
Vallow unabashedly posts statements such as these under the misguided notion that SHE is virtuous and kind. Memo to Kara Vallow – hatred is neither.
She shamelessly portrays those with differing viewpoints not as part of the rich tapestry of America, but as evil, as hateful, as ignorant, as wicked – and as less than those who think like her. Whether you agree with the pilot’s opinion or view it as abhorrent, dissatisfaction with the president does not make one a terrorist.
While I’m not conflating B’s actions with the posts of Vallow, they do share a theme which is to unperson, degrade, and expunge those with whom they disagree from their orbit’s. Dehumanization is key to this tack and to them retaining a clear conscience.
But history teaches us that dehumanization of others is a crucial component of the psychological methods utilized against the populace to justify the persecution, segregation, abuse and genocide of human beings. It is perhaps the most insidious weapon deployed against the people in the past three years to ensure good people turn a blind eye to the suffering – and rights – of others.
If one resists the mainstream narrative and espouses a different view, one is reduced to a grandma killer, one is selfish, one is vile – one has become a pariah.
B, Vallow, and so many like them, have swallowed that narrative hook, line and sinker. They have zero awareness that Fauci and CDC have no scientific leg to stand on, they have no knowledge of the latest research proving that even their hallowed N95s do not stop transmission of COVID, they’re oblivious to the fact that COVID was never as dangerous as portrayed or that the COVID injectables do not act as purported, and they’ve missed the terrifying increases in excess deaths, and the rise in miscarriages subsequent to the shots.
They’ve been had and they haven’t a clue.
But they do have one thing - righteous certitude.
They are certain they are correct and they don’t need to hear or see the abundant evidence to the contrary. And they are certain they are the good and virtuous ones.
A person of integrity would WANT to know if they’d erred, would court dialogue and would own their mistakes. But B and her type are hypocrites. They hold themselves up as kind, compassionate, selfless and caring individuals but that does not extend to anyone who holds a different opinion or has come to a different conclusion.
They don’t need or want to be reminded that as written in our Declaration of Independence, our rights come from our creator – that they are due to us by virtue of us being born human; that the First Amendment to the US Constitution says the government shall not infringe our right to freedom of speech, worship, and assembly; that the Fourth Amendment protects us against unlawful search; or that litigation is the peaceful way to resolve disputes.
But this experience was exactly the reminder I needed that I cannot, I will not, and I must not yield to B or her crowd as if I do, if we do, they will steamroll those of us who believe in decency, kindness, liberty, and the rule of law.
It is precisely because of people like B that we must pursue and expose the lies surrounding the COVID crisis, we must push back against the Marxist indoctrination of our children in our schools through school choice or building our own schools, we must create true healthcare systems based on homeopathy, chiropractic and naturopathy - not medical systems based on drugs (except for emergency medicine), we must launch independent currencies so that we can wrest control of our financial futures from the commercial banks and central banks, we must develop our local food-sheds and grow our own food – we must stand for freedom, for local control, for self-reliance, accountability, and liberty for all.
We must do all this – for ourselves, and for our children - so we can live free as our creator intended. Some of us would never even contemplate behaving the way B did, but many others would have no qualms about doing so. That fact alone should motivate us to safeguard our freedom and principles.
This lesson is well illustrated by the fact that while an evil minority of people perpetrated the vast majority of atrocities suffered by humans over our history – the silent majority let them. Those of us who understand history cannot sit idly by as the price of doing so is too great. It’s never been so great given the state of our world with collusion between the government and tech giants, social media platforms, captured-media, digital IDs, digital currencies, authoritarian “health” laws and practices, and a naïve populace.
It is precisely because so many are ignorant to the threats we face and the methods of those without scruples that those of us who remain in possession of our moral code must stand and resist the dystopian vision of the world THEY are trying to foist on us.
I will not yield to them. Not now. Not ever.
Heretic with Leslie Manookian is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.