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Dr. Aaron Kheriaty: Self-Spreading Vaccines, Transhumanist Ideology, and Government Gag Orders

Updated: Feb 7

“This is part of a broader proposal of potentially bypassing the informed consent process by putting mRNA gene-based technology in foods… You could have a salad and get vaccinated against potential biological threats.”

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty is a psychiatrist, medical ethicist, and author of “The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State.” He has filed several lawsuits against American institutions and the government challenging vaccine mandates and COVID-pandemic policy.

“It’s a level of control over people’s freedoms that this kind of technology and this kind of system will make possible, that the totalitarian dictators of the past could only have dreamed of,” warns Dr. Kheriaty.

We discuss the frightening transition from core ethical principles of medicine to a transhumanist, neo-Gnostic, technocratic medical paradigm, in which informed consent is inevitably replaced with an ideology of scientism and even self-spreading vaccines.

“The concept is almost sort-of treating the human being like a piece of hardware that requires genetic-based coding—mRNA or DNA software updates—every few months to sort-of stay current and stay functional, as though the human body were like an iPhone,” says Dr. Kheriaty.


Interview trailer:

Watch the full interview:



Jan Jekielek:

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty:

Always good to be with you, Jan.

Mr. Jekielek:

Today we’re going to talk about your book The New Abnormal. Congratulations on publishing it.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Thank you.

Mr. Jekielek:

We’re going to start at the end of the book where you have this absolutely fascinating epilogue that talks about what Seattle might look like in 2030. Why don’t you give me a bit of a picture? I think that will give us a starting point.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Yes. The book is a work of nonfiction, but the epilogue is a bit of a fictional imagination exercise trying to project not too far into the future. 2030 is seven years away now, so it’s a future date that most people can imagine coming before too long. What the epilogue is attempting to do is to show where things are going in the next few years if the trends that I describe in The New Abnormal continue.

What I did in this epilogue was imagine a software engineer living in Seattle and I tell a story of some things that happened to him, and I also paint a picture of how society in this new smart city is looking. I try to present some of the new technologies and some of the new surveillance and safety mechanisms in a way that can illustrate to the reader why people would want to buy into these things. They are a kind of frictionless, very convenient way of engaging in financial transactions and travel and the gathering of information.

What looks appealing at first in the story that I tell in the epilogue unfolds, you then start to see there’s some flies in the ointment. There’s certainly some downsides, at least for certain sectors of society in this new technocratic paradigm. But by the end, hopefully the reader understands what the true dangers and the true downsides of this future would look like.

What I did in Seattle 2030 is I didn’t imagine any new technologies that have not yet been invented. I took things that are already available, and just haven’t been rolled out or accepted or embraced on a widespread, society-wide scale yet. I said, “Okay, if these things which are already with us are successfully rolled out and embraced on a large scale, what are they going to do to us as a society? How are they going to impact our freedoms and our fundamental rights?”

The epilogue is an attempt to spell out very clearly at the end of the book that if what I’m describing in the book is correct, and of course, I believe it is, and if we continue on our current path without some serious course corrections, this is what life is going to look like in just a few years. Is this a future that you want for yourself or your children or your grandchildren?

Mr. Jekielek:

I really like how you wrote this part because as you’re reading you think, “Wow, there seems to be a lot of upsides here.” The question should be, is it a worthy trade-off for the downsides? You’re a prominent opponent of mandates of any sort, and you’re an opponent of mandates on ethical grounds. Explain to me why that is.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Right. My fight against vaccine mandates started with an attempt to defend the principle of informed consent, the principle that says any adult of sound mind should be able to make healthcare decisions about what care they receive, and what medications or injections they accept or decline. Adults of sound mind should be able to make those decisions on behalf of their children who are too young to consent. Those are not decisions that should be made by the state or by other private entities like employers.

What I saw with vaccine mandates was a kind of steamrolling of this principle of informed consent, which has been a bulwark of 20th-century medical ethics that was articulated in the Nuremberg Code back in 1947. Following the atrocities that we saw in German medicine during World War II under the Nazi regime, the world responded with the Nuremberg trials. In the wake of the Nuremberg trials, we developed the Nuremberg Code, which doesn’t have the binding force of law, but certainly has informed the laws of most civilized nations around the world.

What happened during COVID is that those normal protections were suspended under the legal mechanism of a declared state of emergency. It’s precisely during wartime, and it’s precisely during crises, with things like pandemics or natural disasters, it’s most important for us to maintain our core ethical principles. Because in ordinary times, we’re typically not tempted to abandon those principles. When society and our lives are functioning well, we don’t think much about breaching these time-tested and well-grounded ethical principles.

It’s precisely when we’re under pressure, and it’s precisely when we’re in a state of fear or panic that we’re most strongly tempted to abandon those principles. But that’s precisely why they exist. That’s precisely why during those times, it’s especially important to hold fast to those principles and not toss them overboard for the sake of convenience or for the sake of a supposed present or future greater good that may or may not actually come about.

I would venture to say in every case, historically, when we abandon core ethical and core legal principles, inevitably disaster follows. I was an opponent of mandates during the pandemic, because I was an opponent of mandates prior to the pandemic on what I believe are solid, time-tested grounds of the ethical treatment of people when they are subjects of human research, and the ethical treatment of people when it comes to clinical or medical interventions.

Mr. Jekielek:

I want to highlight to our viewers in case they’re not aware that this is in a professional capacity, as you were the head of the Medical Ethics Program at UC Irvine, and this is the centerpiece of what you were teaching young medical practitioners.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right, exactly. When I was at the university and before I made the decision to legally challenge their vaccine mandate in court, I was trying to project ahead to the required ethics course that I teach all the medical students, looking over the curricular materials and the themes that I cover every year, beginning with things like informed consent, and a conversation about Nuremberg.

I was also talking to them about things like moral courage. You may be at the bottom of the hospital hierarchy as a medical student, and so there’s a power differential, and it can be really intimidating to step out and raise a red flag if you see something unethical going on, if you spot something that’s going to harm patients, or something that’s running afoul of sound ethical policy or the law.

But you still have an obligation to do that for the sake of protecting patients. Our duty and our fidelity always has to be to the patients who place their trust in us. Our primary duty and our primary fidelity is not to the institution or the hospital that we work for. It’s certainly not to the state. We are not the long arm of state policies. We are there to treat the sick, and the sick are vulnerable. We are there, first of all, to protect them, and to make sure that they’re not harmed, and then to do everything in our power to heal them, and to help them medically.

I was imagining having those kinds of conversations with medical students if I hadn’t tried to behave in that way in my own professional life. So, I believed it was important not just to stand up in the lecture hall and talk about those principles and talk about moral courage and ethical integrity, but actually to try to live them in my own actions. That was the final piece that I needed to convince me that in my position, I couldn’t just let this policy go unchallenged.

Mr. Jekielek:

Prior to reading The New Abnormal, I hadn’t fully grasped how important Nuremberg was to public health approaches, medicine in general, and also human rights. Obviously, this whole class of crimes against humanity was created, as you outlined, to deal with the fact that people were saying, “What I was doing was just perfectly legal.”

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. Whenever you draw a historical analogy to the Nazis people instinctively recoil and say, “That kind of thing could never happen here.” The first thing is it’s important for Americans to understand that Nazi medicine in the 1930s was the best in the world. The medical institutions, the medical institutions of education, and the schools there were considered the best in the world. This was a civilized country, not a backwards nation that just turned barbaric all of a sudden.

It’s also important when you look at Nuremberg to examine the defenses that these doctors mounted, the arguments that they made during the Nuremberg trials. As uncomfortable as this might be, we’re tempted to dismiss all of them simply as sociopathic or psychopathic individuals that were just opportunists using the death camps and using the Nazi regime as a chance to willfully torture patients for the sake of inflicting pain. Perhaps Josef Mengele and a few others were in that category, but many of them were considered distinguished men of science and very distinguished physicians.

What happened to them that they went so radically off the rails? In their defense, they made two fundamental arguments that, quite frankly, in some sense, are difficult to answer. The first argument is “Everything that we did was legal, so under what law are you prosecuting us? Because the laws of Germany when we performed these acts permitted them.” That’s a very good legal question. Under what laws was the international tribunal at Nuremberg attempting to prosecute these Nazi physicians?

To deal with that difficulty, we had to come up with this natural law-based argument and this legal concept of crimes against humanity, the idea that even if the laws of a particular state would permit egregious violations like this, nonetheless, as a human being, and as a member of the human family, there are certain things that you must know. There are certain ethical norms that are inscribed in the human heart that should never be violated, and you have clearly violated those things.

The second argument that the doctors made was one of convenience, and even one of compassion, as strange as that may sound. Many of them were experimenting on prisoners who were in the concentration camps, in the death camps, and they argued that the conditions on the medical ward where these experiments were done were more humane than the conditions in the regular barracks where all the other prisoners were housed.

There was better shelter, there was better food, there was more rest from the literally deathly level of work and working conditions in the death camps. Those things also were probably true. Nevertheless, that did not exonerate these physicians from the egregious crimes and the egregious ethical violations that they committed against these patients by violating their informed consent and by doing experiments on prisoners who were in no condition to freely consent or decline participation in these experiments.

The world collectively gave a resounding no to both of those justifications. People can wonder, “How did a democratically-elected chancellor of Germany become a totalitarian dictator?” People forget that Hitler was democratically elected. He also never overturned the Weimar Constitution. What happened was the Nazis governed for virtually the entirety of their time in power, 12 years under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which allowed for the suspension of German laws during a time of emergency, so there was this declared state of emergency. There was this sense of urgency that we should be allowed to do things that otherwise would not be permissible. The doctors again argued, “What we did was legal.” They argued, “What we did was even humane,” in some twisted sense of that word, “and it was expedient.”

They actually gained useful medical knowledge. That’s another misconception that people have about the Nazi doctors is that they were just total quacks who were doing completely scientifically useless experiments and killing people for the fun of it. Some of the experiments certainly had no scientific justification, but many of them yielded scientific and medical information that is still found in medical textbooks today.

It’s a very difficult ethical question, “What do we do with this information that’s already known? How do we put that genie back in the bottle? Should we at least try to acknowledge that this scientific information was gotten by experiments that should never ever be repeated again?”

During the pandemic, we started to see some of these same kinds of justifications being put forward as to why we should abandon core ethical principles like informed consent, which is the very first principle articulated in the Nuremberg Code. You saw, “We’re in a state of emergency, so the normal ways of doing things can be suspended legally and ethically.”

“We need to do this for the sake of efficiency or for the sake of convenience, a needle in every arm, even if it’s going to harm some people, a one-size-fits-all public health policy is necessary for the sake of efficiency.” That was a very common argument that you heard from our public health agencies.

When these arguments started to resurface, it worried me a lot because history doesn’t repeat itself. But as Mark Twain said, “While history doesn’t repeat itself, it often rhymes.” Historical analogies are useful, not because a Nazi regime is going to rise up in the United States, but because if some of the principles and some of the arguments that were advanced in Germany in the 1930s that led to very bad places are starting to be deployed again, that is cause for serious concern.

Mr. Jekielek:

Absolutely. There’s the question of why was natural immunity ignored?

Dr. Kheriaty:

There are several reasons. I quipped on Twitter a year or two ago that the CDC will recognize natural immunity when someone figures out how to monetize it. When I filed my lawsuit on behalf of people with natural immunity, about 50 per cent of the American population at that time had natural immunity, which would’ve cut a $100 billion industry, the vaccine industry, in half. Those profits would’ve been cut in half if half the population no longer needs your product. That number is closer to 90 per cent today. There were financial interests at work pushing us in the direction of a needle in every arm, even for people who didn’t need the vaccine, because they had superior immunity from a prior infection.

There has also been a re-imagination of health and illness that’s been developing for many years, but I think we fully saw it manifested during the pandemic. What I mean by that is we saw some strange reversals during the pandemic. We saw that prior to the pandemic, a person was presumed healthy, and you had to establish or prove that you were sick. So, if you wanted to miss work, you needed a note from a doctor saying that you were sick.

But during the pandemic with mass testing of asymptomatic individuals and mass surveillance of the population, we saw that reverse. People were presumed sick, rather, and had to prove by some medical means that they were, in fact, healthy. During the pandemic, if you wanted to go to work, you needed a negative COVID test.

What was behind that? There has been a shift in how we imagine the human person and how we imagine the human body and how we conceptualize health and illness that is very, very consequential. The mRNA vaccine paradigm has a lot to do with that because the mRNA vaccines can be scaled up very quickly, and they can be retooled, or reprogrammed, if you will, to try to deal with new variants.

That project hasn’t actually worked out very well in terms of producing more efficacious vaccines, but the concept is almost treating the human being like a piece of hardware that requires genetic-based coding, mRNA or DNA software updates every few months to stay current and stay functional, as though the human body were like an iPhone.

Again, that’s the same kind of assumption behind that. You’re presumed to be suboptimally functional until you get this intervention. Rather than having your normal, flourishing, healthy human body until you get sick, then medicine can intervene to try to bring you back to that natural healthy state.

That’s the Hippocratic paradigm for medicine. But the technocratic paradigm for medicine sees you as just a collection of physiological processes that we can tinker with and that we can upgrade and that we can improve and that we can potentially enhance indefinitely. That’s a very profitable enterprise if people buy into it.

It’s also a very concerning enterprise, because it has the potential to do enormous harm by trying to make people through science and technology and medicine more than human, this enhancement project of biotechnology. We’re going to end up, I fear, dehumanizing people. We’re going to end up with not just a two-tiered society, the sort of Gattaca problem that’s outlined in that movie that a lot of ethicists have talked about, but we’re going to have a complete reversal about how we understand ourselves and our bodies and the natural processes of health and healing.

I don’t think that’s going to take us as individuals and us as a society to places that most of us want to go. You’re not a piece of hardware that requires a software update every few months that the government or you should have to pay for. You are presumably a healthy, functioning human being. If you’re not, if you’re impaired by sickness or disability, let’s look at how we can restore that function. But let’s not treat the entire population as though they need ongoing biological interventions just to bring them up to date or up to speed in terms of health and human flourishing.

Mr. Jekielek:

What’s really interesting is that you take this even deeper when you talk about how you believe that this neo-gnostic religious view or quasi-religious worldview is upon us. It’s a profoundly different way of envisioning the human relationship with reality.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right.

Mr. Jekielek:

I’ll just add one more thing. As I was reading in the early chapters, I was thinking, “There’s so many commonalities.” I have this instinctive sense that there’s something about this system that reminds me of woke ideology. I’ve been very deep into trying to understand this, and then you reveal that in the later chapters through this meditation. Please tell me about this.

Dr. Kheriaty:

That’s right. I argue in the book that the transhumanist movement, which we can talk a little more about later, and I would also argue the woke ideology are, if you look at them through the lens of these being novel religions, they both would be classified as what I call “neo-gnostic religions.” Gnosticism was a collection of different religious sects in the early centuries of Christianity that were the main competitors to Christianity. These different gnostic sects had differences between them, but they had a few things in common.

One of the things that they had in common was, first of all, they were elitist. It’s only a few that had access to the secret knowledge, gnosis, where we get the word Gnosticism, that really knew what’s going on underneath it all. And those are the people that should be running the show.

That’s an elitist proposition in contrast to its main competitor in the early centuries of the church, orthodox Christianity, that said, in principle, that salvation is available to everyone, not just to an elite class of people. That was the doctrine of grace that was proposed by Christianity.

The second feature that the Gnostics had in common was a desire to overcome the material world. They had that desire because in their cosmology, the good principle or the good God created only the spiritual world, created the soul, created the angels, and created the unseen realm.

But the material realm was created by an evil principle that was working against that good principle. So, they saw material reality as fundamentally something that they needed to escape from or overcome.

Now again, in contrast to Christianity, Christianity had certain aesthetical tendencies in relation to the body because of the doctrine of Christ’s suffering in his crucifixion. But Christianity never rejected the material world. Christianity acknowledges that the material world and the spiritual world are both created by the same God and that God is good, therefore the material world is good. It’s affected by sin and the fall and so forth.

But we can’t reject it, and we certainly can’t reject the human body, because in the Christian conception Jesus Christ took on a human body and became a man, the second person of the Trinity. So these two competing theologies had different approaches to the material world and the human body. The Gnostics recognized that the material world was ordered by lawful processes, what today we would call the laws of science.

But that order was something to be overcome. The material world was the raw material that they could do whatever they wanted with. So, they took two fundamentally different approaches to the human body. Some of the Gnostic sects rejected eating, drinking, and sex altogether. They would fast very, very rigorously, and they would sometimes forbid all sexual relations because reproduction was bodily and therefore was bad.

Those sects died out fairly quickly. You can imagine why. It’s hard to reproduce your ideas if you don’t reproduce people. But other sects took a very libertine approach to the human body. It doesn’t matter anyway, so you could do whatever you want with it. The idea was to escape this world into a higher spiritual realm, either through these extreme aesthetical modes or through a total desecration of the material world and the human body.

But in both cases, the human body was what I described before. It was just this collection of hardware, this collection of physiological processes that I can do whatever I want with. It wasn’t an organic whole that was naturally oriented toward health and human flourishing. It was just stuff.

Mr. Jekielek:

Or made in God’s image, that’s what I’m thinking.

Dr. Kheriaty:

Made in God’s image and likeness, and therefore worthy of some regard and respect. Nature can give us a norm of health. Disease is defined in relation to the natural healthy, normal, human functioning, not in relation to some cyborg that we need to enhance the human body to become bigger, faster, stronger, smarter.

This transhumanist project of trying to do just those things, melding the human and the technological, making healthy people better, bigger, faster, stronger, smarter through gene editing, through cybernetics, through nanotechnology. This is just a microwaved version of a very, very old ideology. It’s a new form of the ancient Gnostic attitude toward human beings, toward human nature and the human body, that goes beyond just this or that technological application of science, to actually creating an entirely new worldview.

As I argue in The New Abnormal, I think that conception of science and medicine, the technocratic neo-Gnostic conception of science and medicine really began to overtake the traditional Hippocratic view of science and medicine that has dominated science and medical progress in the West since the time of Hippocrates.

Mr. Jekielek:

What you’re talking about is very, very profound.

Dr. Kheriaty:

One of the other uncanny analogies, or the history beginning to rhyme, that occurred during the pandemic is precisely this very subtle shift that I described in the prologue of the book that happened with German medicine in the 1920s and the 1930s, and led them down a very dark path.

And again, caveat, I’m not comparing the current or the previous administration or our own leaders in this country to Hitler’s Nazi regime. But nevertheless, there are these parallels that are very concerning in terms of the underlying mentality and the underlying arguments that are being advanced today. What happened to the German physicians in the 1920s and 1930s is that they became convinced that their primary allegiance or loyalty or fidelity was not to the sick, individual patient in front of them, but to the social organism as a whole.

You had this metaphor being advanced in Germany of the Volk, the people as a whole, being healthy or sick. If the people as a whole are healthy or sick, there are some members of the body politic or the population as a whole that are cancers because they’re disabled, because they’re a drain on resources, or because they’re criminalistic. And what does a physician do with a cancer but carve it out in order to enhance the health of the organism as a whole.

This is a very powerful metaphor that took hold in the minds of physicians in organized medicine in Germany and led very readily to the eugenics programs in Germany—forced sterilization followed by forced euthanasia, followed ultimately by the horrors of the experiments conducted in the death camps. I fear this kind of subtle shift is beginning to happen in American medicine as well. We’re starting to hear people talk in these very same terms.

Just the other day in a New York Times piece that was published about another lawsuit that I’m filing in California, challenging Assembly Bill 2098, which would be a gag order on physicians and allow the medical board to discipline any physician who contradicts the government’s preferred COVID policies.

We’re challenging this in federal court. The New York Times ran a piece about our case just a day or two ago, and the very closing paragraph, the head of the American Board of