In this interview, Dr. Joe Ladapo discusses his book, “Transcend Fear: A Blueprint for Mindful Leadership in Public Health,” and how he ended up being appointed surgeon general of Florida. Ladapo was working at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center when, in May 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom first locked down the state.
“I witnessed the mayhem in the hospital,” Ladapo says. “I’d never seen anything like it in terms of how frantic people were, and how frantic the leadership was. From there, my wife and I were chatting about it constantly and we had a different take than the take that UCLA and most everyone else was pushing.
So, I wrote an article. It was accepted in USA Today. I shared it with one of the members of The Wall Street Journal editorial board, Holman Jenkins, who’d also been writing about COVID in a way that was not similar to how other people were writing, and he liked it. Their team liked it.
I wrote another article a few weeks later about the lockdowns. That was the first of several articles that ended up being published there, which I’m grateful for because it was like going into the Twilight Zone — like you think about those two years, or almost two years, of deep COVID theater.”
Uprooting Trauma-Based Fear
Ladapo’s childhood was less than idyllic. His father, himself a victim of childhood abuse, did not shy away from corporal punishment. “One of the tough things about trauma is that it disconnects people from themselves,” Ladapo says.
Ladapo was also a victim of sexual abuse by a babysitter when he was 4 years old. In adulthood, he was able to heal the scars, “but I only got the opportunity by chance and really by [God’s] grace,” he says. His wife played a big part in that healing, as she kept encouraging him to seek help. The final breakthrough happened shortly before the pandemic:
“We finally were having kids and these problems that I was having were driving my poor wife nuts … The kids were only making it more complicated because kids tend to bring up stuff too for people that they haven’t dealt with.
So, it was like literally at the lowest point — which happened right before the pandemic — [my wife] Brianna told me she found someone she thought I should see … His name is Christopher Maher and he’s a former Navy Seal. He was the last guy I worked with and I don’t need to work with anyone else because of him.
Basically, he used this combination of Chinese medicine principles — Chinese meridian theory and stuff related to Chi — involving physical manipulations and other types of exercises and activities to help free me from the effects [of] my traumatic experience with the babysitter; stuff related to my family … and helped me get free of those things.
It was all essentially grounded in fear … I was literally reborn. I don’t understand it. It’s the closest thing to a miracle that I’ve ever experienced. But it happened, and it happened in December of 2019, right before the pandemic.
Then the pandemic rolled around, and had I not had that experience, I would never have been able to do the things that I did; being able to see clearly and to do things that, in the past, I would’ve been too afraid to do or too muddled in my own personal BS to be able to see and identify.”
Fear Is a Prerequisite for Effective Brainwashing
In short, in the process of erasing these deep-seated, largely unconscious fears, Ladapo also became “immune” to the irrational brainwashing propaganda that erupted during the pandemic and the social pressures surrounding it.
“It would’ve been impossible for me to have a clear vision and be able to stay clearly on a goal, or be able to stay within myself when everyone’s throwing all this junk at me, as you certainly know firsthand, all the junk that [comes at you] when you’re sharing a message that people don’t like.
Really, what that means is that they’re threatened by it. When people are threatened by something, they throw their junk on you in terms of their projections. And I would never have been able to withstand any of that and remain within myself if I had not had that experience,” Ladapo says.
He then goes on to talk about what he saw happening in California during the height of the pandemic.
“California was quite miserable. The leadership were pouring the Kool-Aid … and everyone was drinking it. You have to stay inside. You can’t socialize with people. You must wear a mask. All of this stuff is very serious, especially for the kids.
I wanted to burn down these stupid little barriers they put around the [local] playground. It was just so frustrating. And they removed the rims on the basketball courts. It was maddening, honestly … I almost wanted to cry sometimes because it was such an assault on people’s humanity …
I’m thinking about it and it brings tears to my eyes because it was such harm with zero benefit and real harm. You know, these are things that are part of the fabric that connect humans to other humans.
Anyone who’s played pickup basketball knows that. Strangers become friends and bonds are made. Those were just examples of the general syndrome that California health officials were propagating and were trying to get everyone else to buy into …
It was sad that people did that to other people; and it was also sad that so many people were willing to go along with it. Truly some people thought it was the right thing to do, but a lot of people knew that it wasn’t the right thing to do. And it made me sad that they still went along with it.”
Responsibilities of the State Surgeon General
In addition to the federally appointed surgeon general, five states (Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida) also have a state surgeon general, who is the operational head and senior spokesperson on public health. Ladapo was appointed to the position by Gov. Ron DeSantis in September 2021.
As surgeon general, Ladapo oversees the Department of Health in Florida, which has upward of 15,000 to 16,000 employees. All 67 counties have their own county health departments, and the Florida Department of Health works with and oversees all of them. He also works closely with the governor and his staff.
In contrast, the federal surgeon general is more of a figurehead, and during the pandemic, the surgeon general has basically just promoted the official narrative, rather than making real assessments about what is truly best for public health. As noted by Ladapo:
“We had two years of hardcore pandemic and to the best of my knowledge, not a single word about exercise, about weight loss, sun exposure. Things that we think, or very clearly know, are important factors in helping you live longer and survive, not just this virus, but other viruses and other conditions.
Talk about a wasted opportunity. I mean, it’s absurd that that wasn’t a major part of the public health conversation over the last two or two and a half years. It’s a real shame, and it’s a mistake that we’re not making here in Florida …
I’m a huge believer in personal empowerment and personal health. So, one of the things I appreciate about the work that you do is that you encourage people to take as much responsibility for their own health as possible. It’s so important. Prevention is really important and doing things that can prevent the onset of disease is huge.
And you don’t do that by staying in your house, not being around other people or wearing stupid things over your mouth. That’s not going to make you a stronger, healthier person.”
Florida’s Response to Monkeypox
The World Health Organization’s director-general recently made the unilateral decision to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, even though his advisory committee voted 9 to 6 against it. President Biden followed suit and declared it a public health emergency as well.
The declaration of yet another pandemic was predictable. The question is: Will the people of the world allow themselves to be fooled into irrational countermeasures that don’t work a second time?
In Florida, the response to monkeypox involves identifying areas with higher rates of transmission, and areas with higher rates of high-risk individuals, and providing them education about how the infection is transmitted. Florida is also offering the monkeypox vaccine to individuals who really want it.
“That’s basically the plan,” Ladapo says. “What we’ve seen is this playbook at the federal level, and at some states, is sort of disconnected from reality. So, for example, in Florida, as in the rest of the nation, something like 99% of the cases are in men and almost all of those are in gay men. It may not remain that way, that remains to be seen, [but in the meantime] we are just having very plain public health messaging about that.
Unfortunately, people are so wrapped up in their politics that … they can’t speak plainly. There’s been all this debate about talking to people about their sexual risk factors. It’s been so convoluted. I mean, I can’t even keep up with it. What we’ve done is we’ve been very clear in our language.
And the thing is, if you’re not judgmental toward people, if you’re not biased against people, it’s a lot easier just to be honest and truthful and not worry about how it’s going to be received exactly, or if you’re going to offend someone or make someone think that you’re trying to say something about who they are, and we’re not. We’ve just been very clear about what the risk factors are.
Our strategy is to do the best we can to help reduce the transmission. So, we’ve been very straightforward about that and not pushing the hysteria and all the political junk that we’re seeing come up.”
The Blood Sport of Modern Politics
When asked what has surprised him the most after taking on the role as Florida’s surgeon general, Ladapo replies:
“Probably the politics has been the biggest surprise … it’s a blood sport and it’s really treated that way in terms of the politics and the games that are played, the spinning of words, the creation of words and the creation of narratives, the outright false statements.
And how willing some people are to say whatever they want to say, irrespective of what the truth is … What you find in politics, which I see firsthand, is self-interest. That’s like the name of the game.”
Parents Overwhelmingly Reject COVID Jab for Their Children
On the other side of the coin, what he enjoys the most is the ability to “push something forward that you think is the right thing to do, and to be able to do it in a way that you feel was effective, particularly when you’re disrupting some essentially false narrative or false beliefs that that have come in.”
“I get so much satisfaction from the fact that that we just completely rejected all of the lies that were being pushed about the COVID-19 vaccines in children, specifically healthy children.
I’m so satisfied, so pleased and so grateful that I had a platform from which I could exclaim something opposite of that total mirage. I mean, it was a completely specious story that the CDC and the federal administration was trying to push …
And honestly, it really lightens my heart that so many parents see it for what it is, which is a total lie — this notion that children need this [COVID shot]. The data are quite weak. None of the clinical randomized trial data show a clinical benefit. There’s not a single study that I’ve seen that shows a clinical benefit in healthy children, even in the over 5-year-old age group.
It’s been hard for me personally, just watching the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the federal leadership spit out pure lies, false statements, and unfortunately a lot of people gobbled it up and interpreted it as the truth. So, it’s very refreshing to see parents say, ‘No, I don’t think so.'”
Can Public Health Establishment Survive?
The lies and deceit by our public health agencies have been so egregious and so blatant over the last couple of years, I find it hard to believe they’ll survive in the long term. The damage they’ve done to their credibility is, in my view, irreparable. Ladapo agrees:
“You’re absolutely right. A lot of confidence has been lost … Still from the studies I’ve seen, a good amount of Democrats and Liberals still think everything that was done was the right thing. So, it’s interesting.
I don’t know if [health agencies] are going to regain [trust and credibility] back during my lifetime. I mean, people are not going to forget what happened in terms of all the egregious violations of human rights and human sovereignty over these past couple years.
That’s actually part of what my book is about — [the] central theme … is shaking off the BS … Stress and trauma have effects on people, and then … people have a hard time seeing straight, seeing the truth, and standing up when they do recognize that something wrong is happening.
But those things have to happen for someone to take real responsibility, and accepting responsibility for transgressions; only that will be accepted by the public. Short of that, you will never re-earn people’s trust.”
Ladapo also agrees there’s been a total whitewashing of safety concerns surrounding the COVID jabs, and that we really need to get to the bottom of why disability rates, all-cause mortality and sudden adult deaths have skyrocketed since the introduction of these experimental shots.
I highly recommend reading Ladapo’s book, “Transcend Fear: A Blueprint for Mindful Leadership in Public Health.” In it, he discusses his own experience with trauma-based fear, his journey of recovery, and how you can address challenges in a way that is consistent with who you actually desire to be.
“That’s a major theme of the book,” he says, “and everyone has their own journey. I think I was lucky because I ended up finding my way. I was looking to get better, but not quite going down the right way, and I hope the book can help more people who are on that journey find the right way.”
He also, of course, discusses the COVID pandemic, and how public health decisions based on fear have hurt more than they’ve helped.
“I have a chapter about hydroxychloroquine, for example, and an unbiased look at the evidence there. I talk about how to approach public health decision-making and how that approach would have averted some of the worst decisions we made. Probably the worst [was] school closures.
I talk a little bit about my friend, Dr. Simone Gold … [a] good old-fashioned political prisoner, a doctor who only tried to help people during her career and disagrees with some mainstream ideas. She’s a good friend of mine and I appreciate her commitment to freedom.”
Risking It All Opens the Door to Divine Providence
Fear can make you make horrible decisions, and I reckon many were fooled into taking the COVID jab for fear of getting sick and dying, losing their job, losing their career or any number of other fear-based reasons. Without doubt, having to make the decision between taking a potentially fatal or disabling medical therapy you don’t want or need, or getting fired and losing your retirement benefits is a tough one.
It’s a decision no one should ever have to make, yet many millions have now had to do just that. Sadly, the trap many fall into is the belief that they can’t overcome the negative consequences of choosing freedom and saying no to tyranny.
In reality, when you stand up for what is right and true, your life has a tendency to vector into opportunities you would never have encountered otherwise. I have a deep sadness about the people whose fears didn’t allow them to make that difficult choice and experience the joy of finding and forging a new path for themselves.
“I feel the same,” Ladapo says. “It is a tragedy. There were a few people who were like, ‘Hell, no. I’m not going to do this.’ But a lot of people felt they didn’t have a choice and they didn’t want to open that door.
You’re right, it’s essentially providence, in terms of where your life takes you when you make a choice like that. On its face, you do your arithmetic and it doesn’t make sense. But it’s God’s path and it’s a gracious [divine] path.”