Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, long has been one of the chief doomers of the pandemic, chanting to all who will hear that civilization is doomed and we’re all going to die.
Of course, Dr. Hotez has an equally long history of blaming concerned Republicans for the country’s problems:
So I don’t think of the Republican Party as an antiscience party: Bush 43 gave us PEPFAR PMI #NTDs; Eisenhower signed off on NASA. But I am concerned about growing antiscience elements at the far right fringe now attacking me with regularity, using increasingly violent imagery https://t.co/sKktcOraj7
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) June 7, 2020
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Doing what I can to fix this, but for now it’s hard to imagine something more self-defeating, especially ahead of the delta variant train headed our way https://t.co/6ZFWokTikT
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) June 25, 2021
However, Hotez is expanding his expertise — or lack thereof — to political theory, and under one of his new ideas, I could be convicted of a hate crime for disagreeing with him.
The College Fix reported that in a July 28 paper, Hotez argued that a “band of ultraconservative members of the US Congress and other public officials with far-right leanings are waging organized and seemingly well-coordinated attacks against prominent US biological scientists.”
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The professor also compared American conservatives who oppose pandemic restrictions to historical tyrants such as Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Josef Stalin and Vladimir Lenin, all of whom, he said, viewed scientists as “enemies of the state.”
He’s technically right, but what Hotez ignores is that those tyrants hated all political opposition, much of which came from informed citizens such as scientists. Our current situation, in which average citizens are criticizing the “science” on the merits, bears no resemblance.
Hotez does not stop there.
He asserted in his paper that “for researchers working in the pandemic response to continue to do so effectively, we seek help in halting the aggression.”
Hotez uses Dr. Anthony Fauci and himself as examples, and he cited the “Fire Fauci Act,” which sought to stop payment of Fauci’s salary as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for his inconsistent messages about the coronavirus to the public.
“This is essential not only for our personal safety or national security, but also the reality that attacking science and scientists will both promote illness and cause loss of life,” Hotez continued in his July 28 paper.
The solution, Hotez said, is to protect government scientists “from political interference, but this needs to be extended for scientists at private research universities and institutes. Still another possibility is to extend federal hate-crime protections.”
So there you have it. Hotez believes you should be punished for disagreeing with scientists, perhaps as far as being charged with a hate crime.
Sorry, Dr. Hotez, but scientists are not, nor should they be, a protected class. Scientists are people doing a job. Some have done a phenomenal job, while others have become government operatives in pursuit of a particular agenda.
Either way, we should be able to criticize scientists, just as we criticize any other elected or unelected official. Hotez would have us beholden to the whims and ideologies of people we don’t elect.
And freedom-loving conservatives are the historical dictators?
Hotez’s proposal is far, far closer to Lenin than any of us.