FEBRUARY 2022 POLICY COUNSEL SPEECHES
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya
“The Great Barrington Declaration”
I wanted to talk briefly just to get everybody up to speed about where we are, and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you about what’s happened these past two years. Every single one of us has lived it. I want to help you understand why the policy that we’ve followed has failed and what we need to do to fix it going forward.
The policy that we followed on the pandemic was absolutely unprecedented in history. The normal pandemic plans that have worked for a century involved something very close to the document that was just mentioned: “The Great Barrington Declaration.” The scientific basis for it is very simple in the context of COVID. There’s a thousand-fold difference in the risk of severe disease among age groups. 80 percent of the deaths from COVID have happened in people over the age of 65, whereas children are relatively protected from severe disease if they get infected.
At the same time, the policies that we’ve followed have been lockdown-focused and catastrophic. In the United States, mainly in blue states, we closed schools for almost 18 months. Now, we didn’t close schools for everybody. If you were relatively well off, you could send your kids to a private school; you could get tutors. But for a poor parent, your kid gets to learn to read via Zoom. The consequences of that are not simply things that happens now and then it’s fine. The consequences of that send ripples through a generation to come. You have a generation of children who have essentially lost their birthright to an education for two years, and the scientific literature is clear on this. Those kids will lead shorter, poorer, less healthy lives. One estimate in the published literature suggests that the spring lockdowns alone, the school closures, means that our kids will lose 5.5 million life years in expectation over their lifetime.
We shut down hospitals and clinics in order to keep them empty of COVID patients. You want to understand why you had states like New York sending COVID infected patients back to nursing homes? They weren’t actually stupid or evil acts; it was an act that came out of a misdiagnosis of the pandemic. The idea was that what was scarce was hospital beds, but hospital beds were not the scarce resource. What was scarce was protection of the vulnerable, protection of the old, because that’s who actually gets sick and dies if they get COVID. So, you’re a governor. You have your scientific advisor. They say, “We’ll take the people who are still COVID infected, and we’ll send them back to nursing homes. Now our hospital beds are open.” If they had followed the actual science, what they would have said is, “We need to do everything we can to protect older people because that’s who dies if they get sick.” That’s in the developed world. People skipped cancer screenings. Women are showing up with late-stage breast cancer that should have been diagnosed last year at earlier stages. Men and women are showing up with later stage colon cancer that should have been diagnosed last year.
We’re going to pay the cost of that for a long time to come, but the harm to the poor in the rest of the world is even more devastating. For the last 20 years—this is a really big, untold story—we globalized our economy. And what does that mean for poor countries? What that means is that they reorganized their economies so that they could fit into the global economies. They reorganized what work looks like, and it worked. A billion people in 20 years were lifted out of poverty because of capitalism. In the last two years, 100 million people have been thrown back into dire poverty, less than $2 a day of income. Tens of millions of people have been pushed into dire food insecurity, meaning that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many have gone hungry and died. Hundreds of thousands of children in poor countries, the poorest of the people in the poor countries, have died as a consequence of our decision to essentially draw up the drawbridge and say, “We’re going to lock down, and it doesn’t matter what happens to you.” An utterly immoral policy that was against the standard way to deal with a pandemic.
What is the standard way? Well, the standard way was actually focused protection. For a century what we’ve done whenever there was a pandemic—1959, 1968, 1976, even 2009—we’ve identified who’s most vulnerable, who’s at the highest risk, and moved resources to protect them. Then, the other side of it is don’t panic the population. Instead, work to keep society going as well as you can (given that there is a risk) while protecting the vulnerable. That’s the standard pandemic plan. We threw it out the window in March of 2020. Actually, if you look back, it’s interesting. In February of 2020 there were op-eds from some of the people who eventually pushed the lockdowns the hardest. What they advocated was focused protection. What they said was something very close to the Great Barrington Declaration, which is the document I wrote in October of 2020 trying to call public health back to its senses.
Instead, the policy was unbelievable. It was premised on this idea that if we just keep everyone apart from each other, the virus can’t spread. It can’t spread if we’re all apart from each other, right? And it’s true. Mechanically speaking, if we were literally all apart from each other for several months, the virus would probably stop spreading. Now, that’s true, but only if you have absolutely no understanding of how society works. Humans are made to be in community with each other. This gathering, this is the kind of gathering that fills me with hope. We have to be in community with each other or else we suffer.
We picked a policy aimed at a small group of people who actually could be apart. I call them the laptop class; they didn’t lose their jobs. For them, it was a virtue to be apart from people. For the rest of society, it’s not a virtue. In fact, it’s a punishment, a disastrous punishment. And so, it failed. People had to work; we called them essential workers, right? The virus spread among essential workers, while the laptop class was protected, and eventually, with Omicron, it’s reached the laptop class. The lockdown was doomed to failure. It was never going to stop the virus. The virus has animal hosts. It’s not a disease that can be eradicated. It’s here to stay forever.
So, let me now just bring you an update on where we are, what you can expect, and what I would call for, so that we can avoid this situation again in the future. I just told you the virus is here to stay forever, and I can tell that it sounds like it’s scary. Let me tell you, it’s a very different situation now than it was two years ago. Two years ago, when the virus arrived, our population was immune naive, meaning we’d never seen the virus before. Now, most of the population has either been sick and recovered, has had the vaccine, or has had the vaccine and gotten sick and recovered. It’s like other coronaviruses: if you’ve ever had a cold, that means you’ve probably had a coronavirus. We now no longer have an immune naive population, and though you are likely to see it again multiple times in your life, the virus is nowhere near as deadly as the first time you saw it. So, the virus is here to stay, and that’s just a fact that we have to cope with. It now joins the 200 other pathogens that affect humans through common circulation.
In the West, we’re not used to thinking about viruses and pathogens as part of our normal life, although they are, but it’s only one part of public health. For the last two years, we decided that it was all of public health. Public health needs to return to a holistic vision of what health really means. It cannot simply be about the prevention of one disease. Because when you focus all your attention on one disease, what you’re going to get inevitably is that all the other diseases that affect humans are going to get worse. Children are more obese. We have more cancer deaths. We have more diabetes deaths. We have, as I said, starvation in poor countries in the world. We have to work to fix those things that we basically took our eye off of.
So, I’m going to tell you about what we need to do, and that has to start with what would fail. The decision to do a lockdown was made by a relatively small group of very powerful scientists, people like Tony Fauci. What they did was that they systematically made sure that dissenting voices were silenced. When I wrote “The Great Barrington Declaration” with Martin Kulldorff from Harvard and Sunetra Gupta (who is a fantastic mathematician and epidemiologist) from Oxford, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, wrote an email four days after we wrote it calling the three of us fringe epidemiologists, and they unleashed a propaganda war. I started getting calls from reporters asking me why I wanted to let the virus rip, as if I had some control over what the policy is, as if it’s possible to stop the virus from spreading. That propaganda was aimed at a very particular thing. It was meant to create an illusion of consensus in favor of lockdowns that did not actually exist. There were tens of thousands of scientists who signed the Great Barrington Declaration and many more who stayed silent for fear of being called fringe.
There’s a deep conflict of interest when you have someone who funds scientists for a living—tens of billions of dollars NIH gives to scientists—who are also in charge of policy. How many people voted for Tony Fauci as the de facto president of the United States? That’s been our president for the last two years. Scientific leaders have a very important part to play in informing policy, but they should never be in charge of policy because you can’t eject us; we aren’t elected. There’s no real accountability when we’re wrong. Everyone in society, through the political system and elsewhere, has to play a role in deciding how we deal with disease. So, the first reform is never again put scientists solely in charge of policy. Never again allow your voices to be silenced just because you don’t have a science degree.
The CDC plays a very important role in setting guidance, but the CDC institutionally has this risk aversion that most people don’t share. They have guidance about eating sushi when you’re pregnant. Anyone not eat sushi when they’re pregnant? My wife would have thrown me into the winter snow if I had told her that she couldn’t eat sushi when she was pregnant. Anyway, the CDC is much more risk averse than most people are. Now, I think it’s fine to have a CDC that is institutionally risk averse, but it’s not fine for them to decide every aspect of human life as they have for the last two years.
We have to reform that organization, but the trust has collapsed to the point where very few people trust public health. And it’s partisan; you see a very big partisan split. You see red America ha a deep distrust of public health. Blue America has an excessive trust for public health. But public health is not like other political things. Public health actually needs to be nonpartisan. It needs to have the trust of the entire population. It’s acted out in partisan ways, and that has caused a rift that will reverberate in the health of the population going forward. We have to work to reverse that. Public health, in order to do that, has to become worthy of trust, of your trust. Going forward, as we move beyond the pandemic, there needs to be political movement to reform our institutions of science and public health so that this never happens again. And I’ll leave you with one final thought. “Lockdowns” needs to be a dirty word.
Dr. Victor Davis Hanson
Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow
If you had gone to sleep on January 20th, 2021 and woken up today, you’d think, “I’m a stranger in a strange land.” My wife and I play a game, and we say, “If you wanted to screw up the United States, you would…” And you couldn’t do a better job, so it’s also kind of tragic. I’d like to very briefly in the next 30 minutes try to put a context so that we can make sense of what is happening. I think the tie that binds all of these catastrophes is an erosion or even a destruction of citizenship.
We should start with the idea that citizenship is very rare in civilization. Civilization is 7,500 years old in the Near East, but citizenship didn’t occur until 5,000 years later. The natural order of humans is not to be citizens. It came in Greece about the seventh century B.C. It was probably for a group of agrarians that wanted to protect property and hand it down to their children. It was kind of an ordinary want, but it grew. And there was an idea that a resident was not a citizen. A citizen had particular rights and responsibilities vis a vis the state. He was not a peasant; he was not a subject; he was not a slave; he was not a serf. He had rights, and he created the government. He audited and adjudicated the government.
It was very hard for that to take place if there were not certain requisites. It takes a lot of time. The first very important thing was—and Aristotle talks about this in the Politics—there had to be a middle class. A middle class is not the natural order of things in history. It was a late idea. Mesoi was the word was for it in the Greek language. Mostly, you have masters and serfs or lords and peasants, kind of like California. We have coastal elites, and then there’s the rest of us who can’t buy a house and have student debt. As long as you have a middle class, you have a viable constitutional system with citizenship because the citizen is not like the poor, dependent on the government, and not like the rich, often given concessions by government. Think of the Biden family. You have an empowered middle class that is able to be economically self-sufficient so that they don’t look toward government, and they’re proud that they don’t depend on a patronage system of relationship with the wealthier in society.
And yet when you look at the United States for the last 30 years, for 12 years, prior to 2017, middle class wages eroded 3%. We have $1.7 trillion in aggregate student debt. There’s never been anything like that, and we can see the wages of what happened. The age when we get married has plunged from 23 all the way to 29, the first child from 27 to 32. As late as 2000, the average American family was 2.1; it’s now down to 1.7. We’re creating what Tocqueville in Democracy in America warned about, and that is a prolonged adolescence. We’re creating people who do not go out and buy a home. We were making great progress in the 50’s, and up to about 15 years ago, 63% of the country owned a home. That’s going back down. But you have people who are indebted—and they’re not getting much for their indebtedness—to the university. They are not getting married; they’re not having children; they are not buying a home; they are prolonged adolescents.
You could really see it with the Obama advertising. Remember during Obamacare when we had those two commercials? One of them was pajamas boy, the guy that was an adult with his little footsie pajamas drinking hot chocolate. I was thinking of that ad the other day. There were some people working on our roof. They were citizens, but they were from Mexico. They were 19 years old on top of my old Victorian at 45 feet in the air hammering all day long without any supporting harness or anything, and I thought, “That is the ideal, not pajama boy.” Or, do you remember the life of Julia? We were all told that this was the Obama ideal. They went through pre-school with government help, and it was just a whole lifetime of support. Exactly what Tocqueville said, he used the words “prolonged adolescence.”
We are losing the middle class, and it’s no surprise that we don’t have an empowered group of people. You can see from the trucker strike that these demonstrations that are coming not from the very poor or the very rich but from independent people who feel that they have no voice, and they’re hated. There’s a whole vocabulary. If you think of what Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Barak Obama have in common, it was this disparagement of irredeemables, deplorables, chumps, dregs. They had a whole vocabulary for people that they just despise but should have been championing. These were supposedly the bulwark of the democratic party.
A second thing that you have to have in civilization: You’ve got to have a distinction between a resident and a citizen. Residents are people who come and go, and to have a distinction, you have to have a border. It always seems like the people I know in California who are the greatest critics of borders have the biggest fences around their homes. They really do, so they do believe in borders. It’s a great challenge. We have 50 million people that were not born in the United States. It’s the greatest number we’ve ever had percentage wise and in absolute numbers. Some of them are legal residents; some are illegal residents, but few are citizens. This is growing, this number, at the very time that we’ve lost faith in the melting pot, assimilation, and intermarriage immigration.
There used to be clear ways to distinguish residents and citizens. If I asked all of you, “What is a citizen versus a resident,” you might say, “Well, I know, you can leave the country when you want when you’re a citizen, but if you’re a resident, you can’t.” That’s not true. I was in San Francisco Airport, and a person brought their passport. They took them into a room, and I never saw that person again on our flight after we landed. But you can go across the southern border at will. It doesn’t exist. So, in a way they have an advantage without a vaccination, without a test over people who are coming in who are citizens. Another was that citizens served in the military and residents didn’t. That was gone a long time ago. Another was that only citizens could vote; residents couldn’t. Did you see 800,000 residents of New York City will now be able to vote, and they’re voting in California. We had a distinction that if you were not a U.S. citizen, you could not participate as a consultant or be active in a paid facility in a national campaign. That’s out.
The only thing that I can think of that is different is that only citizens can run for office. No sooner did I say that than I read articles saying that the Left wants to get rid of that distinction. You may say, “What difference does it make here in the United States?” But they don’t have a common civic identity. When someone comes across the border and they’re not a citizen, the first thing they did was to break the law. They reside here illegally. I’m a big fan of immigration that’s legal, measured, meritocratic, and diverse, but you don’t have a common tie. When you see young people today, and you say, “What was Iwo Jima about? What was the battle of Shiloh? What was the Emancipation Proclamation?” Nobody knows what they are. There’s no common core.
They have nothing in common, which brings me to the third erosion of citizenship, and that’s what I call tribalism. When you look at the birth of citizenship—and there’s a lot of philosophical writing about it—people said, you’ve got to have a middle class; you have to have a distinction between residents and citizens; there has to be a border; and people have to give up their tribal affiliations. In ancient Athens, everybody had a particular ethnic tribe. They gave that up and became an Athenian. You know, we’re engaged in a great experiment that’s never happened before: to have a multiracial constitutional government. The Romans did it when they went imperial, but they had a level of coercion that would be intolerable today. The Ottomans did it; they had a level of coercion that we wouldn’t put up with. Today, there are two great multiracial democracies—neither one is working very well—Brazil and India. It’s not the natural order of things. You know this phrase, “birds of a feather flock together?” That comes out of Plato.
People have this bad tendency to congregate with people who have shared superficial appearances. You know, I think that at one point I was trying to see if I could go to every Middle East country, and I stopped after I got a ruptured appendix in Libya and got operated on on a table. But I would always ask people, “Why does society not work? Why does Libya not work? Why does Jordan not work?” And they’d always tell me the same thing, journalists, intellectuals, professors. They’d say, “We hire our first cousins or somebody from our tribe but not somebody who we don’t know or don’t trust but has better credentials.” This idea that we’re going to regress and go tribal is very dangerous. Look at Rwanda or at Yugoslavia or at Iraq. What I’m trying to emphasize is that it’s the natural order of things for people to feel comfortable with people who share superficial appearances. The natural order of things is not to have a border. The Greeks said that the tribal people came across the borders of Greece, or Thebans went into Athens, or Spartans went into Argives territory. But there cannot be civilization if you have no map. When Rome fell, it was because the Visigoths, Goths, Vandals, Hungarians, etc. swept across the border. These are the natural order of things, and to identify with people because of superficial appearances is a retrograde. It’s always remarked in literature and history as you’re losing the civilization; you’re losing the citizenship; and you’re reverting to your natural affinities.
What I’m trying to say is that we’re losing citizenship in two areas. The first is primordial. We could use the term “premodern.” In the last 30 or 40 years, we’ve been reverting to premodern, pre-civilizational people who don’t believe that there’s a need for the middle class, who don’t think that there has to be a distinction between the natural resident who just goes where he wants and plops down, no big deal, he doesn’t really feel that he’s an American or not an American, and the citizen. You can really see it when we had the Chinese athlete, half Chinese, and she decided to become a Chinese Olympiad athlete because of the greater rewards. Nobody really felt that it would be polite to say, “How dare you? That’s treasonous what you’re doing.” It was. But, besides these premodern pressures from human nature, the organic way that we are, we’re reverting to our natural selves again, a savage natural self.
But there are also post-civilizational forces. These are forces that are destroying citizenship not from the natural bottom up but from the top down. I think you will identify them very quickly. One, I think we could call it, is the permanent state, or we use the word administrative state, or the people who are in government who are not elected and not audited. We have two million people in the federal government. 40% of the people in the United States work for local, regional, state, or federal government. That’s okay, but as Juvenal said, “Who polices the police?” You’re starting to see within one person’s power a legislative, judicial, and executive branch all under one person, in other words judge, jury, and executioner. Anthony Fauci was the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. I don’t think anybody elected him to adjudicate whether people could collect their rent or not from renters, and yet he had that power.
Notice how people in this permanent state are absolutely immune from the consequences that you and I would face. If you are audited, and you tell the IRS investigator under oath that on 245 occasions you don’t remember, you will pay a price. That’s what James Comey did before the House Intelligence committee. Robert Mueller’s entire investigation was based on evidence from the phony Steele Dossier and the third firewall of Fusion GPS. Remember that Hillary, DNC, Perkins Coie, and Fusion GPS are all connected. He was asked under oath, “Do you want to comment on Fusion GPS? You want to comment on that, Mr. Mueller, and do you want to comment on the Steele Dossier?” “I don’t know anything about it,” he said. How could a person who runs an investigation not know anything about those two items that prompted his investigation? No consequences. John Brennan, CIA Director, said on two occasions under oath, “There is no spying by the CIA on Senate staff or computers.” That was an out and out lie. He said on another occasion under oath, “There is no collateral damage on drone assassinations or strikes in Pakistan.” That was a lie. He admitted both of them under oath. James Clapper was asked, “Does the NSA spy on Americans?” He said that they do not. They presented evidence that he was lying, and he said, “I gave the least untrue answer.” There were no consequences for that. None. I could go one with Lois Lerner, but you’re starting to see that we have a permanent caste of administrators who are making law and enforcing it and adjudicating it.
There was something called the Inland Waterways Act, where we were going to try to clean up pollution. And the way that statute is written, nobody in their right mind would think that you could go on a farm and see a low spot in a field after a rain and say that that was an inland navigational waterway, except if you were a state or federal EPA regulator. What they wanted to do was go in after a rain and take a sampling, and if they found a higher than normal nitrogen content, which you usually find after you fertilize, then they would fine the owner. Or at least they could tell the owner that they had that power over them. As one of my neighbors said, it’s not like I had a boat there for two weeks; it’s about 8 inches deep. So, we are surrendering our, I guess we would say our liberty, our freedom, to the unelected. Nobody elected these people.
There’s a second group of what I would call postmodernists that are pressuring to change the system and devalue citizenship. We can call them the evolutionaries. These are the people who believe that human nature changes. It’s not fixed. That over the centuries, we speak better than Demosthenes does. We’re much smarter than Socrates. No one would ever need to read Machiavelli or Jung. We’re just smarter people. There’s no evidence that we are because, we’re just talking about technology. We can talk on a cellphone, which is the product of 2,500 years of research, because we just happen to be the lucky last bit in that chain. We’ve confused that into thinking that we’re somehow smarter rather than just beneficiaries of giants. We’re standing on the shoulders of giants.
You can really see what they are doing as it applies to the Constitution. Since this Leftist party came in, they had two main problems. One is the present system in the United States does not favor a hard left agenda, and the present demographic doesn’t. So, they open the border trying to bring in a new demographic, but they wanted to change the system because the presently constituted system doesn’t give them the desired result. That’s kind of a radical thing to say. I mean, they own Wall Street now; they own the corporate boardroom; they own academia; they own the media; they own Silicon Valley; they own the foundations; they own Hollywood; they own the NFL; they own the NBA. And they still can’t get 51%.
We started to see these evolutionaries tell us that the electoral college is terrible. It’s an artifact. It was made by a bunch of old white people. I went back and looked at the press accounts of 2008 and 2012, and Barak Obama and everybody were writing things that said things like, “Thank God for the wonderful blue wall. Republicans can never win again because before they even start counting the electoral votes on election night, they have lost New York; they have lost Illinois; they have lost California, and now we have this blue wall that they can’t win in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania.” All of the sudden now the electoral college is terrible, horrible. We’ve got to get rid of it because we’ve had now two elections, the Bush 2000 and the Trump 2016, when they didn’t win the electoral college despite the popular vote.
They have no interest in reading why we have an electoral college. You read the Federalist Papers that said that you don’t want multiple parties, 20 or 30 like you have in Europe. You don’t’ want a parliamentary system for a variety of reasons. The Founders—let’s face it—a lot of them believed that there was value in rural life that was disproportionate to the numbers. If we just had a popular vote, basically people would go to California, New York, up and down the two coasts, and they would never venture into and never meet anybody in that vast red swath. We haven’t really had a lot of contested elections where we’ve had presidents with third parties, where we elect presidents with 30 percent of the vote, 20 percent of the vote. They have to build coalitions like they do in Israel, in Europe. It’s a pretty stable system, but nobody talked about that. And they’re out to destroy it.
I don’t know when it was, maybe 2020. Remember that term “pack the court.” It was a dirty word. It was always associated with Franklin Roosevelt in ‘37, the one big blunder in the Roosevelt administration where he overreached, and even the democratic Congress said no. Since 1869, we’ve said that we’re not going to anymore have a Republican or a Whig or a Populist or a Democratic party come in and change the number of Supreme Court justices and pack it. We’ve had for 150 years a nine-person Supreme Court. All of a sudden, why did these evolutionaries tell us that we have to have a 15-person Supreme Court? We know why—because they don’t have a popular consensus.
They’re losing the poor, and they want to change the electoral college. They’re going to change it. They’re about 75% there. They don’t want to get a constitutional amendment because they can’t do it, so they have this national voter compact, where if you get enough states that vote in their legislatures to honor the national vote unconstitutionally and not their own state totals, then they will pledge in advance their electoral votes to the winner of the national election. When you get up to 270, you don’t need all the states. That will be de facto the end of the electoral college without even a constitutional amendment. We’re getting close to that. The latest state, I think, was Colorado that joined the national voter compact.
But besides that, we’ve had 50 states for 60 years. Barak Obama at the funeral of John McCain—I couldn’t believe it—he brought up the idea that Puerto Rico should be a state. What he meant was that Puerto Rico could give us two Democratic senators by fiat. Same thing with D.C. That was a big issue in our past. You didn’t want to bring in states that would have one state versus another state because you didn’t want to pack a particular party by bringing in a state that was ideologically akin to the majority in the Congress. There’s a long history, but that’s exactly what we’re doing again. The Constitution is pretty clear that the primary responsibility for voting and national elections rests with the states. It does have a qualifier. It says Congress can from time to time can adjudicate things like being 18 years old to vote, to get rid of this racist tradition that blacks couldn’t vote, to pass women’s suffrage. But primarily the states have that ability. You can imagine what this national voter law, if it had not been stymied temporarily, would have done. It would have overridden state legislatures, completely unconstitutional.
I grew up with my mother who was a superior court judge. She was the first female appellate court judge in California. I had a big respect for the law, but I always hated reading these law journals that she’d show me. I started reading them, and it’s just astounding how many articles there are about the unfairness, the racism, the bias, of the U.S. Senate. We have two senators from states like Wyoming, and they only have 250,000 voters each. We in California have 20 million, and this is nondemocratic. Just like the Supreme Court said, one man one vote, that every House District had to be the same, 750,000 roughly, so every senator must represent the same number of people. You can imagine what the next paragraph is. Wyoming should have a token one senator, and California should have 30 or 40 senators and expand the Senate. Of course, that’s what our Founders were afraid of. Look at the age to join the House vs. the Senate, 25 vs 30. In the Senate, you have six years, in the House you have two. The House flips every two years, the Senate takes two years, two years, two years. It was all designed so that you have a popular body with its hand on the pulse of hysterical people, frenzied, sober. Whatever mood they were in, it would be reflected. Sometimes it would be good, sometimes dangerous. Then you have a senior Senate from the syntax in Latin, the older people that would say slow down a little bit. It was a perfect system, but if you were to make the senators popularly represented by population, and you got rid of the idea of federalism, that they represent a state not people people, then you’re going to destroy this whole idea of the Founders.
I want to finish with the third part, and I think even the scariest. Socrates supposedly said he was a kosmopolitēs. I don’t think he really said it; it’s a late attribution. But the globalists keep quoting that a lot. They say, well, Socrates said he was a citizen cosmos, a world kosmopolitēs citizen. So, our term “citizen of the world” is cosmopolitan, and globalism is what that is. That’s the idea that the brotherhood of man is such that we have more in common with people all over the world because of our shared humanity than we may have with fellow Americans. For example, the United Nations, a nice international body, this session, Vladimir Putin is the chairman of the Security Council. Anthony Blinken asked right after the George Floyd tragedy, if the UN Commission on Human Rights would come and adjudicate whether the United States was a systemically racist country, and members of that commission included North Korea and Iran. We know what the International Criminal Court does. A lot of people would file a complaint during the Iraq War if a US colonel ordered an artillery strike that killed a civilian. The International Criminal Court would override US sovereignty and say that this person is a war criminal, and we’re not going to let them into our country. This has never worked because international bodies always are like chains, and they only succeed or fail on their weakest link. We’ve got a lot of weak links with China, Iran, North Korea, as we’ve seen with Russia.
And yet there’s this push to surrender national sovereignty, and you can really see it in the international or transnational body. This global reset, you’ve probably heard of that at Davos, Klaus Schwab’s idea that they’ve already worked on. A group of nations have already worked out a framework where corporations will be uniformly taxed overseas to punish countries like Ireland. If you’re a poorer country and you want tax incentives to bring corporations to you to get parity with wealthier nations, they’re going to say, “No, you cannot reduce the corporate tax rate in your country.” So says Klaus Schwab the multimillionaire. These people, Bill Gates, John Kerry, all of these people at Davos, and they have this idea of green energy. There would be particular goals that would be guaranteed. The Paris Climate Accord, remember that was another treaty that we supposedly joined that was a treaty but for some reason we didn’t need a 2/3 ratification by the Senate. I don’t know why we didn’t use the word treaty. Therefore, we violated the Constitution.
What’s happened in America, just to finish, is with globalization, which was a great thing. It gave eyeglasses to people in the Amazon basin. It spread antibiotics to people in Mongolia. It was a westernization of consumer capitalism, and it could include medicine and things like that. But what it also did was said to America, “If you have particular skills that can transcend your country (law, scholarship, media, tech especially, bureaucracies, government expertise, an author, corporation, CEO) then you don’t have a market of 330 million; you have a market of 8 billion. These people largely had degrees, A.B.C.D., Ph.D., J.D., behind their names. They lived on the two coasts, one with a window on the EU, one with a window on the so-called Asian tigers, and they became fabulously wealthy. But anyone who did muscular labor—things like mining or timber or the ingredients of life, which we kind of forgot about until COVID hit, and then we sort of needed these people—was forgotten. We Xeroxed that labor. We offshored and outsourced assembly, manufacturing, etc. We kind of confused cause and effect and we said, “Well, because they’re not making as much, and they don’t know how to code, what do you do with these irredeemables? They’re losers.” We kind of wrote off the entire industrial heartland of the United States.
I was thinking, just to finish, after WWII, Hiroshima was completely flattened. 1945 – of all the major cities in the United States, Detroit had the highest growth in GDP per year. It had some of the best symphony and opera. It was a beautiful city. If you look at Hiroshima today, it looks in comparative terms like Detroit did in 1945. And if you look at Detroit—I’d drive there once in a while when I was teaching at Hillsdale—and it looked like until recently that somebody had nuked it. So, whatever the government did to Detroit was as injurious in some ways as what we did to Hiroshima. It was entirely preventable. When you invest great power in government, it’s very scary when you lose a citizen’s ability to audit.
And I’ll finish by just suggesting what can we do. I’m not here to give a big shoutout to Donald Trump, but for a brief moment there were people in the government who said that people in the interior of the country mattered. Of all of the people on that Republican stage, the least likely person was Donald Trump to say, our farmers, our workers, our soldiers, but he started using the first personal pronoun possessive. There started to be emphasis on it. He started to talk about a border. He started to talk about a citizen. He started to talk about the middle class, energy, and all that. For somebody who was so crass and apparently so uncaring, he cared about the price of fuel. “I got prices down, a guy can drive now,” he would say. For the first time in a long time, we were talking about shrinking the government again. We hadn’t talked about that and the oppressive bureaucracy for so long, and we were starting to say that the Constitution was fine as it is. It has an amendment system as the Founders envisioned, but don’t tamper with it. We started to very suspicious of and to almost caricature global elites. Then with a whiff, in 2020, we forgot that. But the bright spot is that we saw a glimpse of how we can stop it and restore the sovereignty of the citizen. So, it’s up to us to restore that again, and I think we can.
Mr. Brandon Judd
National Border Patrol Council
I represent a labor organization, something that all law enforcement has. We do not strike; we cannot. We do not negotiate wages; we cannot. We don’t do those things that labor organizations do. What we do is serve as a watchdog. We watch for policies, bad policies, and we try to correct those bad policies. Our main focus is simply border security, your safety, your protection, the protection and safety of your children. Now, I get asked all the time, “How are you doing it right now? What’s going on at the border? How are the men and women of the border patrol actually putting on that uniform and continuing to go out and serve?”
I’ve got the greatest story, best example I can think of. Any of you that have served in law enforcement know that there is a series of tests that you go through before you can be hired. The last test is that you have to sit before a hiring panel, and they bombard you with a number of questions. You have to be able to answer those questions rather quickly. They don’t expect you to get the question exactly right, but they expect you to use common sense. And they expect you to exercise that common sense. Well, I had a very, very good friend, and I think that everyone can agree that the CIA does some things that we just don’t want to know about. We can’t. Fair to say? So, I had a really good friend, Samantha, border patrol agent, and she was in the process for the CIA. She absolutely knocked it out of the park on the application process, the written test, just knocked it out of the park. Well, there was one position open, and she was going against an FBI and a DEA agent for this one position. Well, it came down to the hiring board. It came down to that battery of tests where a bunch of CIA agents sit in front of you, and they give you a bunch of questions.
The FBI was first. The FBI agent went into the hiring board and did a great job, absolutely did a great job of answering those questions. The last question was, “Will you do anything and everything that the CIA needs you to do? Remember, this is the protection of your country. Will you do anything and everything the CIA needs you to do?” The FBI agent said, “Absolutely, I’ll do that.” They put a gun in front of the FBI agent on the table, and said, “Your wife’s in the next room. You know what we need you to do.” The FBI agent said, “I can’t do that.” The CIA said, “Thank you very much, you’re not our material.”
The DEA agent came in, same thing. Knocked it out of the park, did a great job. Last question: “Will you do anything and everything that the CIA needs you to do?” DEA said, “Yeah, I can do that.” Set the gun in front of him and said, “Your wife’s in the next room. You know what we need you to do.” The DEA agent looked at the gun, picked it up, took a couple of steps, stopped and said, “I can’t do that.” The CIA said, “Thank you very much. You’re not our material.”
My good friend Samantha walks in, and she again did the same thing. She killed the interview. I shouldn’t use the word “killed” because you know what’s coming. Did a great job on the interview. And last question: “Will you do anything and everything the CIA needs you to do?” She said, “Absolutely, I can do that.” Set the gun in front of her. She didn’t hesitate, picked that gun up and went into the next room. The panel of CIA agents heard a bunch of kicking and screaming, a couple of chairs breaking against the wall. 10 minutes later, she walked out of the room profusely sweating. She said, “The gun was empty. I had to strangle the idiot!”
Obviously, that was a joke. Border Patrol agents are not willing to kill anybody, but they’re willing to go out and put that uniform on. I serve a dual purpose. I patrol the border, and I also put this hat on where I’m in the political realm. I have to talk about politics, and I have to look at policy. AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] said that we run concentration camps. She equated us to the Nazis; that’s what she did. Even though we are constantly vilified and constantly under attack, the men and women of the border patrol are willing to put that uniform on and are willing to go out and are willing to patrol the border even though the vast majority of people that we arrest are being released. We are doing that because we care about your children. We care about our fellow citizens.
I’m a solutions-driven person. We have to look at solutions. We can talk about problems until the cows come home. We can do that as much as we want. (If you can’t tell, I live on a farm.) We can talk about problems as much as we want, but if we don’t look at the solutions, we’ll never be able to get the country that we truly want back.
We look right now, and this administration absolutely refuses to define what is going on at the border today. They refuse to do it. They will not call it a crisis. They’ll call it a serious problem. Let me take that back. I’ve never heard the words “serious problem.” “Challenge” is the word they’ll use. You’ll hear challenge. And then they’ll try to deflect, and they’ll use “root causes.” Well, I don’t know about you—I am getting long in the tooth, I’m 48 years old—but those root causes have existed in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, for as long as I’ve been alive. Yet we haven’t seen floods of people come, and it’s not just those countries.
When I originally joined the border patrol back in 1997, 95% of the people who were crossing the border illegally were coming from Mexico. Every now and then, we would get a few people from a few other countries, mainly Central and South America. Now, we’re dealing with 151 nations. We deal with Russia, and I mention Russia because of what’s going on now. We deal with people from Bulgaria. We deal with Bangladesh. We’re now seeing people from African nations, something that we’ve never seen before.
We’re dealing with something that is absolutely out of the ordinary. And it’s simply because this administration is willing to look out for their base voters rather than what’s best for the United States, rather than what’s best for your children. They’re willing to pander to their base, thinking that they need to energize them, thinking that if they don’t do what they want them to do, they’re not going to show up at the polls. That’s strictly why they’re doing what they’re doing today, and it is hurting what we’re seeing.
If this doesn’t define a crisis, I don’t know what will. 2017 – President Trump, during his first full year in office, the border patrol made 310,000 apprehensions. 310,000. 2021 – that number jumped six-fold, just under two million. And it wasn’t just that. In 2017, we had a handful of what we call got-aways, people who entered the country illegally, were detected, but were able to avoid apprehension. That’s a got-away. In 2021, we had 400,000 got-aways. We don’t know who those people are or where they came from. We certainly don’t know what their intentions are in the United States, yet this administration has turned a blind eye to that. That is a problem.
Now, there are simple solutions, very simple solutions. Remember, President Trump also dealt with illegal immigration, and it wasn’t easy. In 2019, we saw more apprehensions than we did in any of the years under President Obama. That is because illegal immigration is cyclical, and it goes on our economy. President Trump built a great economy, so we saw apprehensions rise. The problem was that the legislature wouldn’t work with him, so he had to go it alone. I actually spoke with him on multiple occasions on this exact topic. He had to go it alone. He negotiated with Mexico a policy that was the singular act that caused illegal immigration to drop to 45-year lows, and it was on policy and policy alone. That was the migrant protection policies, otherwise known as Remain in Mexico. This administration, they came in and got rid of Remain in Mexico. What they essentially did was they invited everybody to come into our country and then be released once they were apprehended.
I told you that 400,000 people got away. Well, that’s not the end of the story. Another 600,000 people were released after they were apprehended. These people will never show up to their court appearances. They will disappear into what President Obama termed the shadows of society, never to be deported from our country. We added one million, over one million, illegal border crossers to our population last year alone. Never been seen before.
So, you ask, what can be done? What needs to be done? This issue does not need to be passed onto the taxpayer. The taxpayer does not need to shoulder this burden. The reason that President Trump was able to get this program with Mexico is because he threatened tariffs that were greater than the amount of money the cartels were able to bring in by smuggling. These cartels, they’re generating billions of dollars every year. That money goes right back into the Mexican economy. Mexico does not want to see illegal immigration end. They do not want to see the drug trafficking end. That money goes back to their economy. It is a very, very lucrative business. President Trump threatened tariffs that were greater than the amount of money that cartels were able to generate for the Mexican economy, so Mexico acquiesced. American taxpayers did not pay one cent to drop illegal immigration to 45-year lows. It can be done, and it’s done through policy.
Then, if we want to get the legislature, which we need to, then we close the loopholes, the asylum loopholes. I was giving an interview on Lou Dobbs, and he was talking to me about the wall. The wall is very effective, but it’s not effective for the reasons you might think. He was asking me about the wall. This was back in 2019, and again, illegal immigration was very high in 2019. He says, “Well, we’ve got the wall. Why isn’t it slowing people?” I told him that the wall doesn’t stop people from claiming asylum. That wall is built a couple of feet, depending on where you’re at, but in Arizona, it’s built a couple of feet off the border. So, once someone puts one foot in the United States, we have to take them into custody. If they claim asylum, we have to process them as such. Right now, the vast majority are being released after claiming asylum. The wall doesn’t stop asylum seekers. That’s where we need the legislature.
The laws say that if you are in this country illegally, you shall be removed. That’s what the law says. This administration says that they’re following the law. They’re just saying that they’ll be removed later down the road. That’s why lawsuits have not been successful, so the legislature needs to close that loophole. Even working within President Biden’s parameters, we can solve this problem today. I met with Biden’s transition team; I met with the secretary of homeland security; and I told them exactly what needs to be done. If you say that Remain in Mexico is inhumane because they have to wait in Mexico, which I disagree with, but if you contend that it’s inhumane, all you must do is hold people in custody pending their asylum or deportation proceedings. If we release them after they cross into the country, they will continue to come.
They refuse to do that because that doesn’t serve their base, so we will continue to see this problem in perpetuity. Cartels exploit women and children. You will hear the Left say that it’s inhumane to enforce the laws. I would argue that the Rule of Law is humane. Just last week, we had an infant child, 12 weeks old, that was left on a trail as a distraction, as a distraction to get agents to stop chasing after the group. An agent on an ATV came within a foot of running that child over, a foot. The only reason the ATV agent even stopped is because he thought that it was drugs that were left behind. Turned back around, found out that it was an infant child. Another agent came out there and rescued that baby. That baby would have died. I personally witnessed a 22-year-old woman take her last breath because she was left behind by the cartel. She couldn’t keep up, and she was left behind. That’s serious trauma that our agents go through every single day. We can solve this problem. But we can’t do it if we don’t have the political will, and that political will does not cost the taxpayer one cent. It’s common sense and it can be done.