Obsolete Man

In light of what all half-sentient humans now know about the origins of the Covid-19 virus (and what many of us who are slightly more than half-sentient were very confidently assuming all along), I just want to put this little human interest story out there for your consideration.

On February 10, 2022, Luc Montagnier, one of the most renowned, admired, and honored virologists of our time, died at age 89. Montagnier won a Nobel Prize for discovering HIV, the AIDS virus. He worked at the highest levels in the field of virology for several decades, and was head of the virology department at France’s famous Pasteur Institute from 1972.

Here is how the death of this great scientist — this Nobel Prize-winning virus expert — was announced by the Associated Press:

French researcher Luc Montagnier, who won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for discovering HIV and more recently spread false claims about the coronavirus, has died at age 89, local government officials in France said.

That is the first sentence of the AP’s death notice for a virologist who was a central player in the world’s efforts to understand the deadliest new disease to assail the human race in recent times before Covid-19. His Nobel Prize in virology is mentioned almost pro forma, whereas the main focus of the announcement is the incendiary and remarkably matter-of-fact assertion that he “recently spread false claims about the coronavirus.”

After reciting the history of Montagnier’s research on AIDS and his Nobel Prize, the article returns to its primary concern, which is to remind the world, on the occasion of this man’s death, that in spite of whatever he may have contributed to science in the past, he was no longer serious, credible, or even worthy of basic respect.

To wit:

Since the end of the 2000s, Montagnier started expressing views devoid of a scientific basis. His opinions led him to be shunned by much of the international scientific community.

Regardless of what those “views” might have been, one thing we can all agree on today, if we are honest, is that, contrary to the AP’s intended implication, being “shunned by much of the international scientific community” may be the single highest endorsement, and the most admirable word of mouth, that any scientist could possibly achieve in the current intellectual and academic climate. But of course, the chief outrage among Montagnier’s latter-day shunning offenses, as the article’s opening sentence declares, was his spreading of false claims about the coronavirus.

And what were these false claims? Do you even need to ask? Of course not, but let us read how the AP defines these false claims nonetheless.

As COVID-19 spread across the globe and conspiracy theories flourished, Montagnier was among those behind some of the misinformation about the origins of the coronavirus.

During a 2020 interview with French news broadcaster CNews, he claimed that the coronavirus did not originate in nature and had been manipulated. Experts who have looked at the genome sequence of the virus have said Montagnier’s statement was incorrect.

Before even mentioning any specific view, the article informs us that “conspiracy theories” and “misinformation” about the origins of the virus were flourishing. In other words, in proper propagandistic form, the authors are careful to plant the real intention of their article, namely to reinforce yet again the ubiquitous message that any ideas about the pandemic which have not been officially endorsed by the correct government agencies and pharmaceutical corporations are to be denied the status of “alternative hypotheses” or “matters for discussion,” but rather must be condemned out of hand as conspiracy theories and misinformation, i.e., deliberate and malicious lies intended to cause harm to innocent human beings.

With that framing established, the AP finally informs us that Montagnier’s primary contribution to the spread of lies was his claim that “the coronavirus did not originate in nature and had been manipulated,” a claim which the article takes pains not to let stand, even after having already prefaced it with the stamp of “misinformation” and “conspiracy,” but rather follows immediately with the debunking statement that “experts who have looked at the genome sequence of the virus” have verified that Montagnier’s claim was false, so you never have to give it a second thought.

Notice, further, that in mentioning Montagnier’s claim about the virus’ origin, the article gives no account of why he made this claim — that is, on what theoretical basis he came to this conclusion. On the other hand, the article describes those who disputed Montagnier’s claims as “experts who have looked at the genome sequence of the virus,” and who have concluded that Montagnier’s claim “was incorrect.” In short, Montagnier is depicted as having gone off half-cocked, while his critics are afforded the respectful title “experts,” and are said to have done big fancy scientific research using sexy science language you could never understand (genome sequence!) to prove the absolute truth about the origins of the virus.

Described objectively, or at least honestly, what this dispute amounts to is nothing but an example of the normal and necessary procedure of scientific investigation: Some people offer a particular hypothesis to explain a certain phenomenon; some others disagree and seek to refute that hypothesis. Such events are the everyday fare, and indeed the lifeblood, of research. Here, however, this disagreement is reported, without hesitation or qualification, as a straightforward case of unquestionable truth being presented to disprove unsupported lies.

Experts, you see, meaning scientists who were willing to say exactly and exclusively what the government and corporate decision-makers were permitting anyone to say at that time, determined that Montagnier — a Nobel Prize-winning virologist — was wrong, since of course, by definition, anyone, including a Nobel Prize-winning virologist, who says what is not officially permitted must be classed as a non-expert. (And George Orwell smiles.)

My question then, purely rhetorical of course, is this: When is the AP going to issue a public retraction, and a formal apology to the surviving friends or family of Luc Montagnier, for having openly condemned him as an unscientific quack, a liar, and a conspiracy theorist, for expressing — within his proper area of expertise as a Nobel Prize-winning virologist — views about the coronavirus which were not only supported by many other professional virologists and epidemiologists, but which have also more recently gained credibility within the officially accepted public discourse, having now been endorsed or tentatively supported by various government agencies around the world?

The answer to that question, of course, is obvious, just as is the reason for the answer. The truth, on this topic, is not (as it ought to be) whatever proves to be correct. Rather, it is what the official bearers of Truth have decided to permit within the public discussion today. Thus, the fact that a certain view is now officially espoused in no way redeems the reputation or respectability of a man who espoused that view when it was not officially espoused. For at that time, the view in question was not merely unorthodox or questionable; it was false, and false in such a way that espousing it could only be labelled a deliberate lie (misinformation, conspiracy mongering). Hence, Montagnier, on this view of truth, is not owed an apology or retraction, and his reputation does not deserve redemption. He is as guilty and worthy of “shunning” as he ever was, for he uttered words that (at that time) were not to be uttered. His public shaming stands forever, and his belittlement remains the only appropriate obituary.

This is how we in the modern world announce the death of a highly accomplished man who made important contributions to knowledge, if he has been found in any way non-compliant with current official truths. The AP article, which had equivalents throughout both the popular media and scientific journals, plainly announces itself as an exercise in character destruction and totalitarian cancellation masquerading as a death announcement. Its entire message, in effect, may be summarized as follows:

Luc Montagnier, a man who once practiced science properly but has since been shunned by the official scientific establishment for his espousal of non-compliant and therefore immoral ideas, has died. We must all learn from this example what a terrible fate must befall any man, no matter how respectable he might once have seemed, if he forgets that his life, reputation, and legacy depend entirely on his willingness to conform his thoughts to the official edicts of Truth determined by our great rulers, and delivered to us by their officially approved experts.

Or as Rod Serling might have written it: “Luc Montagnier, you have been found obsolete.”

This is the condition of truth, learning, and intellectual discourse today, not only with regard to the coronavirus but in general, although the pandemic has proven to be an excellent opportunity for the progressive authoritarian forces that be to tenderize this totalitarian dish for easy digestion by the masses. That is, through the clever promotion and manipulation of public fear, the rulers and their official experts have very effectively exploited these three years to inure the global population to the previously awkward notion (awkward at least in the so-called free world) that non-compliant views may simply be condemned and suppressed outright as absolute falsehoods, and their advocates branded a threat to the public welfare and therefore worthy of being rejected and dishonored, their dignity denied, and their good names officially deleted from the ledger of history.

We are still only at the beginning of that pandemic, namely the progressive pandemic of absolute discourse destruction, thought suppression, and independence annihilation. None of us will be spared its effects, and there is no vaccine that works. This virus must play itself out, making its horrible run through our societies, our families, and our souls, until it finally weakens due to the force of natural immunity, and dissipates. The unpleasant but unavoidable questions, however, are what kind of world it will leave in its wake, and how many will have to suffer and die in the throes of this disease of the soul before our species finally reaches the other end of the tunnel.

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