[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on VDARE.com]
Earlier: Congressional Democrats: Lab Leak Theory Is Racist Because Steve Sailer Admires Nicholas Wade
I am pleased, flattered, and gratified to announce that I attained a new level of recognition on Wednesday this week when my name was mentioned in congressional hearing—and thus now appears in the Congressional Record!
It’s a long story. One of the key documents on the origins of COVID was published two years ago in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?, May 5, 2021]. The author was veteran science reporter Nicholas Wade, who has had a long career—more than fifty years—as a writer and editor for prestigious outlets like Nature, the lead science journal in Britain, Science, the U.S. equivalent, and the science supplement of the New York Times.
At that point in time, mid-2021, there were two general theories about COVID’s origin: one, that it had developed among animals in the wild and then jumped to human beings, as diseases sometimes do, and two, that it had leaked from a Chinese lab where researchers, funded in part by our own National Institutes of Health, had been fiddling dangerously with existing viruses.
At the time Nicholas Wade published his article, official opinion favored the first of those theories: COVID had a natural origin, it was, to use the scientific term for pathogens that leap from animals to humans, a zoonosis.
Wade, however, in his long and carefully reasoned article—it is over eleven thousand words—made the case for a lab leak. Since that was a minority opinion at the time among experts, Wade’s article was scientifically controversial.
It was also politically controversial. For one thing, Donald Trump seemed to favor the lab-leak theory, so that our Trump-hating national elites—this was early in the Biden administration—felt obliged to rally to the opposite side. Of course very few of them understood the kind of detailed science Nicholas Wade had presented, any more than Trump did; their opposition to the lab-leak theory was entirely political.
For another thing the lab-leak theory implied fault on the part of the ChiComs. That’s probably why Trump favored it.
ChiCom money is a significant force in U.S. business and politics, though, especially Democratic politics. The Biden family, for example, have done very well from it [‘More money than God’: Chinese titan lavished Hunter Biden with 3-carat gem, offer of $30 million, by Miranda Devine, NY Post, November 28, 2021]. So outside Trump circles there was this additional financial incentive to scoff at the lab-leak theory.
And on top of that, with our NIH having supplied some of the funding for the Wuhan lab, there were people in the federal government who much preferred that the lab-leak theory be buried good and deep with those millions of COVID fatalities.
That was two years ago, however. As the months ticked by, scientific opinion turned away from the zoonosis theory towards a lab-leak explanation. Political opinion shifted some, too, as the clumsy strong-arming efforts of the ChiComs against, for example, the World Health Organization, were exposed.
Last October, a U.S. Senate committee concluded that the COVID pandemic was "more likely than not” the result of a lab accident [No one believed the COVID Wuhan lab leak theory—then the world changed its tune, by Sarah Knapton, Telegraph (UK), March 8, 2023]. Now, just last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray told us that his agency is of the same opinion [FBI chief Christopher Wray says China lab leak most likely, BBC, March 1, 2023]. So both scientists and politicians have swung round to the lab-leak hypothesis.
Should we be happy about finding ourselves on the same side of any issue as the FBI Director? No, of course not. Christopher Wray is a shill for our ruling class and an enemy of our liberties.
As George Orwell was wont to point out, though, some things are true even though the Communist Party—or in this case the Uniparty—says they are true.
And while my only acquaintance with Christopher Wray comes from reading the news, I do know Nicholas Wade, both the works and the man. I have reviewed at least three of his books (here, here and here), was a keen follower of his science journalism when he was writing regularly at the New York Times, and have socialized with him.
Nicholas Wade is a smart, well-read, scientifically well-informed, witty and very good-natured English gentleman.
Christopher Wray be damned: I am happy to find myself on the same side as Wade.
Knotty scientific problems like the origins of COVID can be full of surprises, though. I wouldn’t stake any large amount of money on any one hypothesis.
Or sub-hypothesis: there are at least two schools of thought on the lab leak. Were the researchers doing potentially life-saving investigations on how to counter COVID-like infections? Or were they doing potentially life-destroying work to develop new bioweapons?
And if the latter—so we’re getting down to sub-sub-hypotheses here—if it was all the accidental product of biowarfare research, how much did our own government know about the work they were helping to fund?
With the ChiComs of course being deeply unhelpful and our own federal government far gone in lies and corruption, it’s not likely we shall have a definitive answer soon. We may never have one.
Still, as annoying as this uncertainty is, it offers irresistible opportunities for politicians to practice their skills at grandstanding on their pet issues. That’s how I got my name in the Congressional Record.
The House of Representatives has established a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. That committee had its first hearing this last Wednesday.
The task assigned to this subcommittee is, I should allow, less silly, pointless, and vindictive than most of what Congress does <cough>… January 6th committee… <cough>
The coronavirus pandemic was a nasty business. The disease killed several million people, including two known to me personally. Of course we should strive to find out how it got started and spread, what the origins of the virus were, and so on.
That said, I hold no great hopes that a bench of innumerate congresscritters will bring us any answers. If they come to any definite conclusion at all it will most likely be one of the following:
(A) It was Donald Trump’s fault, or
(B) It was Vladimir Putin’s fault, or
(C) It was caused by White Supremacy.
At least one member of the committee seems to favor (C). That is Rep. Kwesi Mfume, an anti-white mulatto representing the noble city of Baltimore, Maryland. Rep. Mfume, called to speak on Wednesday, lost no time at all in bringing forward race as a central issue.
You might wonder what race has to do with the origin of COVID. If you do wonder that, permit me to enlighten you. To race grifters like Rep. Mfume, everything is about race—otherwise their lives have no purpose and they themselves have a much-reduced income.
So how did Rep. Mfume pull this off, and where did my name come in?
One of the witnesses before this committee on Wednesday was… Nicholas Wade, presumably because that article of two years ago arguing the probability of a lab leak had caused such a stir.
When Rep. Kwesi Mfume was given his five minutes of committee time to question the witnesses he first opened with some bland remarks about the importance of the committee’s inquiries, then he turned and bared his dentures on Nicholas Wade.
I am a bit appalled that this hearing now gets layered over with the issue of race in a very strong way with the presence of Mr Wade. And, Mr Wade, I have read your book, and I’m appalled by it. And I would hope that giving you this platform does not paint or taint the issue that we’re trying to get to and deal with here.]
Which book is Rep. Mfume talking about? Well, it’s Wade’s 2014 book A Troublesome Inheritance, subtitle: "Genes, Race, and Human History." I reviewed the book here at VDARE.com on March 14th that year.
A Troublesome Inheritance is a mild, cautious summary of the state of our knowledge in population genetics ten years ago, a perfectly sane and respectable work of popular science. To the best of my knowledge, no new findings in this past ten years have falsified anything the book presents as settled science.
What is it in A Troublesome Inheritance that so appalled Rep. Mfume? Let him tell us.
In your book The Troublesome Inheritance [sic] you talk about a number of different things; and David Duke talks about it and says that he really endorses your position on blacks and Jews.
The book was championed by the infamous white supremacists Jared Taylor, John Demmonchire, and Steve Sailer. The book has been promoted on a neo-Nazi forum that is linked to almost a hundred racially motivated attempted murders over the last five years and it troubles me that—and I’m going to ask unanimous consent, Mr Chairman—that the New York Times piece for which you wrote [?] actually said that your theory has come off at the wheels [?] particularly when you talk about East Asians and their genetic makeup.
I’d like to ask that the David Duke statement and the copy from his website be entered into the record; and I’d like that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks these things annually, and their assessment, which is similar, be added to the record.
Rep. Mfume then wandered off into promotional stories about the selfless sacrifices he has made in pursuit of racial justice. Looking him up on the internet, I see that indeed his sacrifices have indeed been so selfless that his net worth last year was a mere five million dollars.
I’d offer a detailed critique of that last clip if I hadn’t linked you, a few weeks ago, to Dr. Johnson’s put-down of Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline:
To remark the folly of the fiction, the absurdity of the conduct, the confusion of the names, and manners of different times, and the impossibility of the events in any system of life, were to waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, upon faults too evident for detection, and too gross for aggravation.
I shall not waste criticism upon unresisting imbecility, although I will register doubt—very serious doubt—that Rep. Mfume has read Wade’s book, or indeed any book at all; and I will marvel that he managed to extrude so many words without a single mention of Emmett Till.
Note that Mfume, who asked that the SPLC “assessment” be added to the record, is more less reading verbatim (changing “noted” to “infamous”) from a 2014 attack on Wade’s book published on the SPLC website:
Wade’s book has been publicly endorsed by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, championed by noted white supremacists like Jared Taylor, John Derbyshire, and Steve Sailer, and tirelessly promoted on the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront, which the SPLC has shown to be linked to almost 100 racially motivated murders over the past five years. For all of Wade’s supposed concerns about the politicization of science, his book is entirely a phenomenon of the racist, far-right fringe.
Troublesome Sources: Nicholas Wade’s Embrace of Scientific Racism, by Jon Phillips, SPLCENTER.org, May 28, 2014
So there I am in the Congressional Record: John Demmonchire.
I sympathize with Rep. Mfume having been faced with a three-syllable word to pronounce.
And I don’t actually mind "Demmonchire." Seen in print, it looks like the name of a character in Trollope.
On balance, though, I’d rather the editors of the Congressional Record used the correct spelling so that when my children and grandchildren go looking for it, they won’t be disappointed.
And just one more point on the onomastics here. "Kwesi" is an Ashanti name meaning "Sunday." The Ashanti people of West Africa name their children according to the day of the week they were born on. Rep. Mfume was indeed born on a Sunday: October 24th, 1948.
His actual birth-name was Frizzell Gray; he changed his name to an African one to help the grift.
So what’s my point? Just that I was born on a Sunday, too; so in Ashanti, Rep. Mfume and I share the same forename. How about that!
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.
For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at VDARE.com for no charge. His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.
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