RON UNZ—Preconceived notions sometimes crack and crumble a bit before they finally collapse. For years I’d begun to see claims about the past use of biological weapons floating around the Internet, but the collapse only began in early January when I read a remarkable 12,000 word cover story in New York magazine. The author was Nicholson Baker, a prominent writer and liberal public intellectual, and he made a detailed and rather persuasive case that instead of being natural, the Covid virus devastating our country and the rest of the world was artificial, the product of some lab. As an intelligent layman rather than a scientist Baker’s expertise on the topic came from the many years of research that he had undertaken for Baseless, his 2020 book documenting America’s own extensive biological warfare program.
Nearly all of Baker’s very long article concerned the Covid issue, but a few facts from that book were mentioned here and there, and these greatly surprised me. Apparently during the 1950s our biowarfare program had been assigned a priority and importance comparable to that of nuclear weapons development, and the project had also resulted in numerous accidents, many of them fatal, which was hardly something I’d ever seen mentioned in my introductory textbooks. So the actual history of the topic was apparently far more complex than I’d realized.