rand paul xavier bercerra

Sen. Rand Paul confronts HHS Xavier Bercerra at a Senate hearing September 30, 2021
Sen. Rand Paul rebuked Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra yesterday over vaccine mandates ordered by the Biden administration at the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing yesterday. Paul attacked Becerra on two crucial issues. First, he criticized Becerra's description of those advocating natural immunity as "flat earthers." Second, he emphatically challenged Becerra on the idea of natural immunity from COVID-19 for people who already contracted it.

As much as the Biden administration has publicly touted "trust the science," Paul emphasized how the science disagrees with Becerra. And quite frankly, Paul was justified in taking Becerra to task.

"The science is against you on this," Paul said . "The science is clear. Naturally acquired immunity is as good as a vaccine. This isn't an argument against the vaccine, but it's an argument for letting people make a decision who already have immunity."

This was a rather important statement by Paul. "Trust the science" has become an unofficial mantra for Democrats during the pandemic. It has been used to delegitimize all other opinions as intellectually inferior or not educated — to insult and discredit dissenters. Paul flipped the script.

"You, sir, are the one ignoring the science," Paul said. "Mr. Becerra, are you familiar with an Israeli study that had 2.5 million patients and found that the vaccinated group was actually seven times more likely to get infected with COVID than the people who had gotten COVID naturally?"

"I'm not familiar with that," Becerra replied.

Becerra's reply should raise some red flags. The Israeli study has been circulating for some time now. Given his prominence and position of power, if Becerra is not familiar with it yet is arrogant enough that he feels compelled to label people who have read it and cite the information as "flat-earthers," what does that say about the usually invisible HHS secretary? Furthermore, he should be required to answer why he isn't familiar with the study. It's not as if it was some conspiracy claim on social media. It is a legitimate scientific study.

"I think you might want to be if you're going to travel the country insulting the millions of Americans, including NBA star Jonathan Isaac, who had COVID, recovered, look at a study with 2.5 million people, and say, 'Well, you know what? I should make the decision,'" Paul said. "Instead, you've called Jonathan Isaac and others, myself included, flat-earthers. We find that very insulting. ... Are you a doctor or a medical doctor?"

After Becerra tried to deflect Paul's question about being a doctor — Becerra has never been one and was roundly criticized as having no qualifications for his post — Paul continued his rebuke.

"Are you a doctor? What gall you presume to tell over 100 million Americans that have survived COVID that we have no right to determine our own medical care? You call us flat-earthers?" Paul said.

There need to be more people like Paul speaking up in government during this pandemic. "Trust the science" must not be synonymous with authoritarianism in this country. The entire story of studies should be told to the public so they can decide on what to do. It should not be limited to agenda-driven, politically biased bureaucrats who have already made enough errors and incorrect assumptions over the past 18 months. People deserve to know everything in its entirety. This means information that could run counter to what those in power believe and claim.

"Arrogance coupled with authoritarianism is an unseemly and un-American posture," Paul said.