Stu Redman: What about the folks I came in with?
Dr. Dietz: From Arnette? All dead. Which is why we can’t affor—
Stu Redman: What did you do? What did you people do?
—The Stand (1994)
Amanda Dunfrey: You don’t have much faith in humanity, do you?
Dan Miller: None whatsoever.
Amanda: I can’t accept that! People are basically good, decent. My God, David, we’re a civilized society!
David Drayton: Sure, as long as the machines are working and you can dial 9-1-1. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, you scare the s*** out of them? No more rules!
Ollie: You scare people badly enough, you can get ‘em to do anything. They’ll turn to whoever promises a solution.
—The Mist (2007)
[Note: submitted to NewsWithViews.com the evening of March 18, but in light of time-sensitivity and ongoing events, I decided not to wait to post a version of this here. I’ve also created a new category: Coronavirus, as there will likely be follow-ups to this post.]
I’ll start by saying that the media-inflamed hysteria over Covid-19 worries me a lot more than the virus.
Markets have tanked worldwide; the Dow has lost almost a third of its value since the start of this month, including its biggest point drop in history: 2,997 on March 16.
Panic buying has set in. Political leaders have declared states of emergency. Businesses, school districts, churches, government agencies have closed and may remain shuttered for weeks. Conferences and even major sports events have been canceled.
Frankly, the bubble on Wall Street would have popped sooner or later, but never mind that now.
Does anything justify the borderline-insanity surrounding this coronavirus?
The vast majority of people who test positive for it seem to be recovering with no ill effects, although a few are complaining of loss of lung capacity. When symptomatic, the virus attacks the respiratory system.
Yes, there have been a few thousand deaths. It’s been observed, though, that more people die of the flu or complications from the flu each year. Far more people died from the H1N1 virus during the Obama presidency. There were warnings, but not a mass panic.
Coronavirus testing has sometimes been spotty, meaning that more people have it than we know about, and the actual mortality rate is therefore lower than the official number. Public officials are worried about these “stealth spreaders.”
The greatest dangers from Covid-19 are to the elderly and to people with respiratory and immune systems already compromised by chronic conditions. Those people should take it very seriously.
But when all is said and done, this is clearly not the genetically engineered superflu which accidentally gets loose and wipes out most of the world in Stephen King’s The Stand, though there’s an worthwhile point to be made about that kind of scenario I’ll come back to at the end.
There are numerous coronaviruses. They live in animals. The official narrative is that this one jumped from bat meat to human consumers in a crowded and probably unsanitary Wuhan, China marketplace.
Yes, that can happen. It’s not impossible.
The other narrative — the one mainstream Western media wants you to dismiss as a “conspiracy theory” — is that this coronavirus (like others for which patents can be found online) was manufactured and got loose, whether by accident or by design.
Wuhan, as many reading probably know, sports a Pathogen Level 4 microbiology laboratory able to produce and study coronaviruses. It’s called the National Biosafety Laboratory and is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Do you believe that Wuhan’s being ground zero for the appearance of this coronavirus is a mere coincidence?
“I’ve analyzed the entire genome sequence of this virus and compared it to the entire genome sequences of all the other coronaviruses that we have data for, and this weird element that doesn’t belong there; I’ve found that it actually did match a vector technology that was published in 1998 in the proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
“This vector technology is a mechanism by which molecular biologists insert new genes into viruses and bacteria….
“Now it’s really unusual to find a vector technology sequence in a virus that’s circulating in humans, and so naturally, one thing we can say, I think for certain, is that this particular virus has a laboratory origin….”
Other reports are circulating suggesting that components of the virus are related to HIV and could not have formed naturally. This would explain why people with compromised immune systems are especially at risk.
So if this coronavirus is artificial, what was its purpose? Is it a bioweapon?
I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else does for sure, either — except for those directly involved in its production.
To use against the Chinese people? This abhorrent idea has been kicked around, and one has to wonder who in his right mind would do something so reckless.
There are sociopathic mercenaries and terrorists who would do it.
The globalist Deep Establishment would surely not target its own intended global manufacturing base, though.
Or would it — if its minions knew the global economy was on a very weak and precarious footing, exemplified by the bubble on Wall Street?
And if its minions knew that Covid-19 was only life-threatening to “useless eaters” and that the bulk of those infected would recover.
And if the globalists also knew they were failing to contain the rising “populism” out here in the world’s hinterlands. “Populism” is the word pundits use for mass resistance to open borders, “free trade,” and the merging of everything and everyone into a single extended shopping mall of mass consumption and disposability — with masses of consumers buying on credit and going into debt.
Efforts to brand leaders such as Trump, Orbán, Kaczynski, Bolsanaro, etc., as incipient fascists haven’t worked outside the echo chambers of punditry and academia, after all.
Given all this, the globalists might just decide to throw a time bomb right into the middle of it all.
Enter this coronavirus, stage left.
They simultaneously pull their money out of the system while fomenting a global panic through their controlled media corporations. The latter blame the coronavirus.
Do I know all this? No, of course not. But it fits globalist psychology (or psychopathology).
Let’s not forget: these sociopaths are masters of misdirection.
What do we know?
While common people were watching their portfolios plunge, panic-buying, and even getting into fights over dwindling supplies of toilet paper:
On March 13, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates practically to zero and initiated a new round of QE.
Translation: the big banks were bailed out again. To the tune of around $5 trillion.
Small investors, meanwhile, have been hit hard. As I noted, the Dow dropped 2,997 on March 16. That’s its biggest numerical drop ever.
Talk of a massive recession is now everywhere. Naturally, Covid-19 is being blamed, not the actions of the financial elites who dominate Wall Street.
Donald Trump’s presidency has been named a likely casualty, given the awkwardness of his initial response to the appearance of the virus in the U.S.
Meanwhile, authorities are laying in place means of tracking the movements of those quarantined because they’ve tested positive for Covid-19. Many are all for this.
A vaccine is in the works. Naturally, no one will know what is really in it.
In times of induced panic, people indeed lay down what few freedoms they actually possess before the feet of those who promise a solution.
Our financial elites are bailed out to the tune of trillions, and President Trump suggests handing $1K to each American household of peons.
“If you give us more power and you give it freely, we’ll take care of you. A little, anyway.”
What do we really learn from this “pandemic”?
Besides, that is, the obvious lessons about how easy it is to lead the masses by their noses through fear, and how easily politicians get in line in the face of total media saturation and potential shaming.
The “pandemic” has exposed, for all with eyes to see if they dare to look, the dark side of globalization.
Economists have noted how the lockdown in China has threatened global supply lines of goods ranging from food to new technology to crucial medications. Supply lines on which Americans have become dependent.
It seems worth asking, how did we get into this pattern of dependency in the first place?
It happened because corporations try to make as much money as possible by locating in places with the lowest labor costs, while economists shrug off disruptive consequences as “externalities.”
And because most people weren’t paying attention.
The idea of economic integration isn’t new. It goes back at least to post-war Europe, and further. The idea was that if nations encouraged mutual dependencies leading to a common market they would be less likely to fight one another. This seemed to make sense, and for a while, it seemed to work.
There are dangers of economic integration, however, especially if you are not in the class of moneyed elites. I don’t think most Europeans were counting on the financial-elite dominated political union they have now. Nor were they counting on being colonized by Muslims who would refuse to assimilate and start to destroy European cultures.
On our side of the Atlantic, what came to pass was corporations chasing the cheapest labor they can find while opening borders to immigrants from everywhere and driving down wages at home.
All the while a punditry in semisecret organizations like the Trilateral Commission works out an ideological rationale and promises of a coming Utopia.
The ideology was neoliberalism, the basic premises of which were: privatize everything in sight; value is limited to monetary and exchange value. The Utopia long ago turned dystopian, again if you are outside the one or two percent that has reaped the lion’s share of the profits, generally from investment — “money making money” — as opposed to real productive work meeting people’s needs.
America began to gut its manufacturing base back in the 1980s, as corporations pursued profit and shareholder interest only. During the 1990s with NAFTA, GATT II, and beyond and into the 2000s, this only got worse.
China, meanwhile, was forcibly turned from a mostly agrarian country into an industrial nation in less than two generations. Now it is the second largest economy in the world. No one may ever know the extent to which ordinary Chinese people suffered because of top-down decisions made by what is still a de jure Communist government. (We know that Mao’s “cultural revolution” murdered tens of millions. China is now a technocratically controlled society.)
While this may fill the local Walmart with cheaply produced mass consumer goods, it increases the overall fragility of economies everywhere (I am using the term fragility in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s sense). No national government or population can control what goes on halfway around the world, or even validate that what they are being told is the truth.
Today, America has millions of people whose service sector jobs fail to pay living wages, and whose standard of living has dropped. They are up to their eyeballs in debt. Most could not come up with $500 in an emergency situation without borrowing. Those working cannot afford decent health care because their wages have stagnated relative to a rising cost of living which seems endemic to advanced “capitalist” political economies. These are the reasons we have crises in all those areas whether we like to talk about them or not.
Obamacare wasn’t the solution to the health care crisis because Obamacare wasn’t really about health care. It was about how health care was to be paid for. There wasn’t a word in Obamacare about, for example, Primary Prevention.
Primary Prevention consists of all those things you can and should do to avoid getting sick: nutritional education and healthy eating; exercising regularly; practicing basic cleanliness; not smoking; avoiding sugar and excessive caffeine and alcohol; managing your stress through prayer and meditation; etc.
In the case of the coronavirus, you can greatly reduce your risk through frequently washing your hands, not touching your face and mouth especially if you’ve touched objects in public such as handrails, and avoiding proximity with strangers. Many of the precautions being urged are sensible.
Education for Primary Prevention would enable a people to avoid risky behaviors of all kinds, and if it began when they were children, avoidance would be automatic, not directed by authorities. It would be common horse sense.
But Primary Prevention is not profitable to those who make money by managing chronic conditions, e.g., with drugs. A healthy population doesn’t need to spend money on doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance premiums, etc.
It leads, moreover, to personal resilience and self- and familial reliance. This does not serve the purposes of globalists who want dependent populations, which has included destroying the family unit. Even this hasn’t been enough. As amoral sociopaths, they may be willing to pull out all stops to throttle their opponents.
Up to and including dynamiting economies and impoverishing entire populations.
This “pandemic” will run its course, just as did bird flu, swine flu, West Nile, SARS, and H1N1, having turned out to be much milder than its political-economic effects.
The latter are guaranteed to leave us worse off.
Especially if they destroy Trump’s reelection chances and put borderline-senile Joe Biden in the White House, ensuring us, in a couple of years, a presidency-by-committee led by whoever his VP turns out to be. (Hillary Clinton?)
Especially if we are all faced with new vaccines and encircling “health” regulations that have nothing to do with Primary Prevention but will soon be conditions of employment, travel, etc.
Trump will be gone. But the problems that got him elected will still be around, in spades.
And full-throttle globalism will be right back on track!
My final reflection:
I opened with a pair of movie quotes reflective of aspects of sinful human nature.
Something almost no one talks about is relevant here: small but well-heeled folks in the scientific-military complex who will continue to play God with the sort of biogenetic engineering that probably created this coronavirus.
Viruses, too, can be patented and sold for profit.
Given the law of averages, it may be just a matter of time till one of these lunatics comes up with something truly lethal, with an extremely high or almost universal mortality rate — akin to the superflu in The Stand.
And carelessly lets it escape its test tube cage.
Then we’ll know what a real pandemic, a real existential threat to humanity, looks like!
Steven Yates’s next book What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory has been accepted for publication by Wipf and Stock. Buy his Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons For the Decline of the American Republic here.
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