We are being gifted with a series of extremely impressive displays of accountability avoidance. They have been virtuosic acts, ones for the history books. I speak of the strange rhetorical symmetry between Anthony Fauci and Sam Bankman-Fried and their responses under questioning for bad actions that no one denies except themselves.
I’ve watched what feels like a hundred hours of interviews and read transcripts of many more. They are enormously frustrating. They both specialize in justifying the small things while systematically overlooking the big picture for which they are wholly responsible. They speak in a passive voice about mistakes made but bounce off that quickly to fob off the blame for the results on everyone but themselves.
What appears below is a kind of composite of them both. It’s written as farce but an oddly realistic one.
Let’s say that a person named Sam Fauci-Fried has been accused of two crimes: theft of socks from WalMart and forcibly preventing children from attending school.
Here is Sam under questioning.
* * * * *
“Did you or did you not steal socks from WalMart?”
“It’s an excellent question, and thank you for asking it. So, as I think back on the events under consideration here, we need first to understand the circumstances in which there are many pairs of socks, far more than were being sold, and also a genuine opportunity for a broader and frankly more socially aware distribution of foot covering through the community. This is where we and many others in our enterprise got involved.”
“So you did steal the socks?”
“I do understand the point of your question and it’s a good one. I think most fundamentally, we are dealing with a misalignment of perceptions over collateralized loan obligations, which, under normal conditions, would be satisfied by rehypothecation through various counterparties over which I have no control. That said, it is true that I should have been keeping a closer watch. As CEO, that was my responsibility.”
“Rephrasing, do you have socks that belong to someone else?”
“This really does raise the question of provenance, which, as you well know, can be very complex in mechanized markets where traders are presented with a range of options from futures to securitized derivatives. On the one hand, one can take custody of a basket of commodities but if you look carefully at the terms of services, that is contingent on an estimation of the risk profile over a range of time. In a volatile market, these conditions may or may not apply.”
“Can you give the socks back?”
“Let me be perfectly clear. It is my understanding, and this may not be entirely precise because I do lack access to all relevant data, that there is no question of full liquidity for customers in the US, and I would also like to draw attention to the excellent supervisory role of Japan in this respect. As for my own custodial relationship, given the present situation due to legal proceedings, I’m in no position to effectuate a reallocation of disposition due to my admitted misestimation of liquidity conditions.”
“Let’s please move on to the second charge, namely that you forcibly prevented children from going to school. How do you answer?”
“If you look at the record, you will see that I never locked anyone down. In my position, it was merely my role to make known the existence of common-sense health measures during a time of community spread as recommended by relevant authorities.”
“But, sir, we have multiple examples of interviews and speeches, and even a trove of emails, in which you said children should be stopped from going to school, in some places for as long as two years. Are you not the nation’s most powerful person to dictate to others on grounds of health?”
“Again, I oversee operations amounting to billions. The very idea that I have time to concern myself with such trivialities is absurd.”
“But we have the emails.”
“I do not recall. Again, I’m a very busy man, trying to save lives.”
“Did you get the idea that you can save lives by closing schools from a foreign totalitarian regime?”
“If you are speaking of China’s social distancing measures, those are just common sense and it was my obligation to draw attention to their effectiveness in slowing the spread with a distinct purpose in mind. For my part, I never went to China and I deeply resent the implication that I did.”
“But you sent your deputy assistant, correct? And he reported to you that China was doing a great job? And you accepted his word.”
“My role is to receive and pass on competent advice but my role is limited to a purely advisory position. You are barking up the wrong tree here! As for all other questions, suffice it to say that I do not remember.”
* * * * *
When Richard Nixon was caught red-handed in a coverup, he resigned. When the markets turned down during Bernie Madoff’s reign, he confessed and turned himself in. But that was before the onset of poststructuralism in which everyone gets to dream up a subjective reality and call it true. Fancy words replace facts and philosophical complexity masks moral clarity.
The madness of lockdowns only intensified the problem. They pretended as if wrong is right and ill-health is health, both physically and mentally. We are so used to lies that many people have grown weary of protesting them. We are so beaten down that we can barely demand that people take responsibility for what they have done. And the perpetuators have become skilled at saving their own skin.
Will we ever get to the bottom of these cases? Not if those who benefitted from their capers also sit in judgment. Instead, they might instead make a mint from speaking fees and book royalties. Cynical times we live in, much like scenes in the Hunger Games when the regime was stable and carnage for sport was the norm.