We are pleased to share with you episode 13 of The Illusion of Consensus podcast with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Rav Arora. We are happy to have received excellent feedback on our previous episodes with Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Alex Berenson, and others.
Today’s guest is Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist and director of the Program in Bioethics and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
Jay and Aaron discuss how core bioethical principles were violated during the pandemic,
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— The Illusion of Consensus team
Dr. Kheriaty on his key involvement in the ventilator triage policy at the University of California:
I was very deeply involved in the development and writing of ventilator triage policy and that's a publicly sensitive policy in fact they tapped the chair of the committee and me to be the public spokespeople for that policy. So the University of California trusted me to explain to the public if in the event that we run out of ventilators and demand for ventilators outstrips supply.
The principles involved things like transparency which has been a guiding principle for me during the pandemic including my critique of many of the public policies.
So you have to explain what you're doing and why clearly in advance and subject that to public scrutiny the principles in terms of allocating the ventilators have to do with trying to do the most good that we can with the resources that we have.
And that means that you can take into account the likelihood of someone benefiting from the ventilator you can look at medical issues or even age related issues insofar as they're directly relevant to prognosis. How much is this person going to benefit in all likelihood if we put them on a ventilator what you can't do is that you cannot take demographic factors or race related factors.
Dr. Kheriaty on how the University of California began mandating the Covid vaccines
When it came to the vaccine mandate policy, now supply exceeds demand for the vaccines and there's people that have hesitancy about the vaccines either for moral reasons, religious reasons, medical reasons or just precautionary principle that this is a novel product and I want to see a little bit more data before I decide whether or not to take it or I've already recovered from Covid I have natural immunity.
There were a lot of people that were not opting to take it and the university was saying “okay we're considering a policy to require everyone at the university from the students to the custodial staff to the president to take this vaccine” and what struck me about the way in which the university went about that was that our committee was never consulted and there was never any meaningful public discussion or debate.
And I knew as soon as the policy was proposed that this was going to be the most ethically controversial policy of all the ones that we had reviewed.
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How Dr. Kheriaty formed his opinion on Covid vaccines:
When I saw the initial data on the vaccine I was pretty optimistic just looking at the NEJM publication on the vaccine data, I thought” hey this looks pretty good so I didn't really have safety and efficacy concerns right out of the gate when the vaccine was first rolled out.”
But I started to take a look at what was happening and later then when some of the evidence came out of maybe higher rates of side effects than we had initially anticipated and more short lived efficacy than we had maybe initially hoped for, I wrote the piece in the WSJ on how it was not an argument about safety and efficacy of the vaccines, but it was an argument based on the fact that these vaccine mandates violated the principle of informed consent
So it was really an ethical argument regardless of how good or not so good these products might be competent adults of sound mind have the right to decide what goes into their body.
Dr. Kheriaty on the three elements which lead to the biomedical security state:
I dug into the history of that a little bit in the book but it's essentially the melding together of three things that used to be distinct. The first element is an increasingly militarized public health apparatus.
The second element is the use of digital technologies of surveillance and control to monitor and in some cases enforce compliance with public health directives.
The third element is that those two things — the increasingly militarized public health infrastructure and digital technologies of surveillance and control — are backed up by the police powers of the state and severe punishments in some cases for dissidents, concluding as you and I have both experienced government-sponsored censorship of people raised dissenting opinions. The book explains the 20-year development of the biomedical security state which was manifested and first became really publicly visible during the pandemic but had a long incubation period in the two decades prior to the pandemic…this began around the time of 911 when our foreign policy and security establishment became increasingly concerned about biological weapons.
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Dr. Kheriaty on increasing surveillance during the pandemic:
The digital surveillance infrastructure is in part a result of new developments in technology right so this is the first pandemic of the digital age where we had mobile phones that could monitor the movements of entire population.
So we now know that the CDC bought bulk cell phone data from a very shady company actually I describe the details in my book if you want to if you want to dig into the details.
But the CDC without the notification or authorization or consent of the American people was monitoring via bulk cell phone data how many people were gathered at churches and schools and other public places during lockdowns
They admitted that they were going to use that data in the future for other public health applications and so why linking that to a philosophy that we're all just biohazards.
This was supposedly anonymized data deidentified data but there were some researchers at Princeton that showed with only four of the data points on any one of these devices. They could easily identify who it belonged to this was not information that respected privacy of users obviously this was not done with the users knowledge or consent.
Canada did the same thing even though Trudeau had publicly promised Canadians that they wouldn't be monitoring cell phone data during the pandemic in this way.
So promises were made publicly that violated the use of digital technologies for surveillance has only increased since the pandemic and I talk about what the next steps in that process are going to be in terms of tying digital IDs to biometric data.
I have a whole section in the book on that so covid accelerated the advance and the adoption and the kind of passive acceptance of new levels of surveillance and control that under ordinary circumstances.
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