Central Planning is Bad for the Economy and for Science

In the Great Barrington Declaration, distinguished medical scientists from Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford universities seek an approach that focuses on the most vulnerable to COVID and lets others lead their normal lives. The declaration had scarcely been announced when National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins tapped Dr. Anthony, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), for a “quick and devastating public takedown.” 

In a recent hearing, Sen. Rand Paul, a medical doctor, accused Dr. Fauci of smearing the scientists rather than debating them on the facts. “Dr. Fauci doesn’t want to debate,” Paul said. “He wants to squelch debate because ‘he is science’. If you criticize him, you’re criticizing science.” That prompted Paul to author a commentary in which he cited economist F.A. Hayek: 

“Most scientists realize that we cannot plan the advance of knowledge, that in the voyage into the unknown—which is what research is—we are in great measure dependent on the vagaries of individual genius and of circumstance, and that scientific advance, like a new idea that will spring up in a single mind, will be the result of a combination of conceptions, habits, and circumstances brought to one person by society, the result as much of lucky accidents as of systematic effort.”

In other words, “the benefits of scientific progress are only realized if science is free from excessive restraint” and “the same arguments against central planning for an economy also hold for science.” When a central planner errs, “the entire economy is threatened. Likewise, when a central medical planner errs, all patients are threatened.” According to Paul, Dr. Fauci’s “fundamental decision to ignore natural immunity has led to a cascade of bad decisions, the effects of which have seeped into all of our lives.” 

Central planning is bad for the economy and dangerous for health. A different kind of convergence is going on with Dr. Fauci, whose wife, Christine Grady, heads up bioethics at the National Institutes of Health. This NIH nepotism is now reflected in public health policy.

In her 1995 book, The Search for an AIDS Vaccine: Ethical Issues in the Development and Testing of a Preventative HIV Vaccine, Grady rejects a “person-dominated medical ethic” in favor of an approach that benefits “the community.” True to form, Dr. Fauci, is on record that

“There comes a time when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making your own decision, for the greater good of society.”

Christine Grady earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown but she is not a medical doctor. Anthony Fauci earned a medical degree in 1966 and in 1968 took a job with the NIH. Dr. Fauci’s bio shows no advanced degrees in molecular biology or biochemistry. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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