Could China have created the Wuhan virus to provide a little extra breathing room in its socialized medicine and welfare systems?
I already know that this idea is far-fetched, but it formed in my mind so perfectly that I had to run with it. I’ll make this brief because there’s really not much to say.
According to Dr. Li-Meng Yan, a Hong Kong virologist who claims to be on the run from the Communist powers in Beijing, the Chinese military created the Wuhan virus as a deliberate weapon of war.
However, in a post at Red State, Michael Thau thinks something more complicated is going on. He points out that the normally secretive Chinese government went out of its way to promote to Westerners how dangerous this mysterious new virus was. That being the case, it’s strange that Dr. Yan said that the virus was a deliberately released bioweapon:
[I]f what Dr. Yan is saying is true, the enthusiasm Chinese authorities showed for hyping the virus is tough to explain.
You’d think that they’d want to keep their bioweapon a secret, so it does as much damage as possible before it’s detected.
Why would the CCP want to identify the bioweapon they’d unleashed and its Chinese origins months before it even struck its targets? For that matter, why would they release it in China first and let it make its way to the West, instead of starting it off in one of the countries they were targeting?
Thau thinks that Yan, who seems remarkably insouciant about the safety of her friends and family back in Hong Kong, may not be an enemy of the CCP. Instead, she might be an agent, pushing the CCP’s preferred narrative. Thau thinks that the Chinese wanted a global lockdown and built up a fake narrative to create one.
I think Thau might be on to something, although I come at it from a slightly different angle, and my angle can have Dr. Yan being a patsy, not an agent. Here goes:
If I wanted to destroy the world and had the ability to manufacture a targeted virus, I would make a virus that replicates the Spanish Influenza: That virus was not only exceptionally contagious and lethal, it also targeted hardest the young and healthy. A virus that wipes out the workers would be the virus most likely to destroy the world. As a second-tier goal, I would engineer the virus so that it didn’t affect Han people, who are the preferred ethnicity in China.
Once the virus had run its course, China would be the last nation standing, just as America was after World War II. China would have effectively won a world war without firing a shot. The Chinese era would begin, with the Han dominant in China. That’s what I would do.
Instead, though, if China did indeed engineer a virus, it engineered a virus that takes down the old and sick. That’s not a great weapon. It’s a terrible bioweapon.
However, a disease that specifically targets old and sick people is a useful tool for a socialist country that has a surfeit of old and sick people burdening the medical and welfare systems. We already know that countries such as England routinely deny treatment to the very old or the very sick. They do this because they’re no longer contributing to the system. For that reason, they’re viewed as deadweight, and not worth saving.
Remember, in socialist societies, an individual’s worth is measured, not by being a unique person made in the image of God, but by that person’s utility to the state. If you’re no longer useful and, worse, if are an economic drain on society, you’ve got to go.
So here’s my crazy theory: I think China may have engineered a virus to clean out the dead weight (i.e., old and sick people) from its population. Once having engineered the virus, though, it realized that it could get a secondary benefit from the resulting sickness. It could use scary PR about the virus — a virus that, unlike the Black Death or Spanish Influenza, will not destroy the world — to panic the rest of the world into destroying itself.
The Wuhan virus has sped up existing processes, such as hastening inevitable deaths, changing the business world, and exposing the left.
You’ve probably read that 94% of Wuhan virus deaths happened to people who already had compromised health, whether from extreme age or diseases that were already putting stress on their bodies. Statistically, the members of that 94% cohort were more likely to precede the rest of us in death, even without the virus. What the virus did was to grossly, and tragically accelerate the process.
Learning the above data made me realize that the Wuhan virus has been an accelerant in many areas of American life. That is, it’s presence in America resulted in existing trends suddenly exploding into warp speed. Or for those of us who still remember long-playing records, the Wuhan virus took trends that were proceeding at 33 1/3 RPMs and ramped them up to 78 RPMs.
First, as noted above, the virus struck people who were fragile because of advanced age or ongoing health conditions, but weren’t facing imminent death, and killed them.
Second, the virus speeded up the move to telecommuting. I’ve been telecommuting since the early 1990s. The technology then was already good enough for me to do my legal research online and email my word product to my clients (all of which were law firms).
Over the years, it’s gotten even better. Back then, I had to get my court filings to the clients at least 24 hours in advance so that my clients could create the multiple hard copies needed for filing with the court and sending to opposing counsel. Now, the briefs never even become hard copies, while all the evidentiary documents are instantly scanned. Many courts don’t want paper filings. The valiant bike messengers who used to keep San Francisco legal practices afloat by whizzing through traffic to get last-minute filings to the courthouses became unnecessary.
I’ve just given you one anecdote about one field. However, the Wuhan virus suddenly turned the white-collar world into a telecommuting world. Take this story about Pinterest, one of the many entirely online businesses that realized that office space is an unnecessary expense:
Pinterest, a social-sharing site popular for pinning recipes, home inspiration and more, has canceled its large San Francisco office lease.
The lease was for 88 Bluxome, a high-rise complex to-be-constructed near Pinterest’s existing San Francisco headquarters. The company cited a shift to work-from-home due to the coronavirus pandemic in its decision. Pinterest will keep its current city offices, however.
“As we analyze how our workplace will change in a post-COVID world, we are specifically rethinking where future employees could be based,” Pinterest Chief Financial Officer Todd Morgenfeld said in a statement Friday. “A more distributed workforce will give us the opportunity to hire people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences.”
The termination fee for the 490,000-square-foot office space is $89.5 million, Bloomberg reports
In New York, it’s currently a big question whether the highrises that have stood vacant for months will ever fill again. This article notes that New York office towers emptied before — after the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic and after 9/11 — only to fill up again. Back then, though, telecommuting was not an option. (Even in 9/11, the technology wasn’t the same as it is today.) Also, back then, big-city mayors (at least, Democrat big-city mayors) hadn’t welcomed crime and intentionally driven out the middle and the monied classes.
Third, the virus speeded up the left’s antics. Antifa is nothing new. When Trump was elected, Antifa mobs started flexing their muscles in Berkeley and Oakland. Those were warm-ups. The dislocations of the Wuhan virus was like the starting gun for the Antifa mob. They were warmed up and waiting on the starting blocks for the signal. I’m willing to bet that what’s helped their virulence is the fact that a lot of people who previously had jobs are now getting money for free. This is especially true for teachers and criminals, both of whom have seen a diminution in their work thanks to the Wuhan virus:
Apparently we can’t open schools because doing so would severely deplete the number of available rioters and anarchists… https://t.co/tikzWL6aMA
Fourth, alternatives to disastrous public schooling have gotten a giant kickstart. Parents have been unhappy with public schooling for a long time, but it was always easier to keep the kids in the schools while hoping for the best. With schools refusing to teach, parents are opting for pods, tutors, and homeschooling. Many are discovering that their students are doing very well when they’re removed from the pathologies of public school. The ones who were beginning to run with a bad crowd aren’t, because there are no more crowds, let alone bad ones. Parents who were dismayed by leftist indoctrination are enjoying its absence.
Fifth, Americans got a really swift look at the Democrats’ dark heart thanks to its Zoom convention. If it hadn’t been for the virus, the convention as televised would have looked like an energetic, ebullient affair. We would have had endless crowd shots of visually diverse people happily screaming their support for Kamala and Biden. There would have been speeches complete with applause and balloons and all sorts of happy stuff.
For their convention, though, the Democrats opted for grim settings, dark colors, and small spaces. Not only was the convention visually terribly depressing, but the depressing speeches without applause lines became even grimmer. And then there was the fact that, without a visually diverse audience that the TV cameras could pan (Look at all the black people! Look at all the Hispanic people! Look at all the people with rainbow flags!), it became very obvious that the people leading the Democrat party are mostly old and white.
As the Republican convention showed, it didn’t have to be that way. Republicans opted for visuals that were expansive, bright, and uplifting. In addition, they chose diverse speakers, rather than the Democrats’ tried-and-true reliance on diverse spectators. Americans were treated to people white people, black people, Native American people, Hispanic people, handicapped people, and more, no longer on the floor cheering, but on stage speaking. And they didn’t speak about misery and hate. They spoke about an American unity premised on values and hard work.
I don’t think those fundamental differences in vision would have been so obvious with traditional conventions. That was something else useful that the Wuhan virus accelerant exposed.
Sixth, the Wuhan virus is speeding up the inevitable, and much to be desired, demise of American colleges and universities. These institutions have been ground zero of the leftist takeover of America. If you’re wondering why corporations not only paid obeisance to Black Lives Matter, but also paid millions in hard cash, it’s because their managerial ranks are filled with graduates of those colleges. All of the worst ideas in society today were incubated in American colleges. Readers know that I’ve been complaining for years about how much they cost, how little they teach, and how completely they indoctrinate.
Thanks to the virus, though, the colleges are afraid to re-open. They’re holding online classes, but refusing to give tuition refunds for all the social, hands-on, in-person experiences the kids aren’t getting. The refunds should also cover all the infrastructure costs the colleges and universities aren’t incurring.
Parents who see what their kids are learning are going to realize that they’re paying for nothing or for worse than nothing. Instead of encouraging kids to go to college, parents will start urging kids to get a job or learn a trade. They’ll realize that the knowledge colleges once had something of a monopoly on is freely available online.
The parents of boys will be grateful that their sons are no longer constantly at risk of being accused without due process of sexual assault. And all those parents who mindlessly believed that fake statistic that 1 out of every 4 college women will be sexually assaulted will no doubt be happy to have their daughters safely at home.
That’s six things that got sped up thanks to the Wuhan virus, and they’re all fundamentally important. Do you have more ideas?
Thoughts about the Wuhan virus, the government’s role in it all, and the Biden-Harris ticket (including debates and conservative panderers).
Paging Dr. Kevorkian. When it comes to the Wuhan virus, liberty, and economic well-being, blue state and blue city voters elected the political equivalent of an army of Dr. Kevorkians.
Government employees have the money and the guns. The real problem with the shutdown is that government employees haven’t been economically affected. And as long as the government has the guns to tax it, those employees will never be affected. I’m not sure, without a formal revolution, we can bring government employees down to the functional level of the people they govern.
Don’t grovel to those awful people. Don Surber has a great post up about the National Review and Never Trump crowd saying nasty things about Majorie Taylor Green, who won in Georgia. She’s a plain-speaking woman who happens to think that QAnon makes important points. This outlook is a lot less loopy than thinking that Biden makes sense or that Harris is “moderate,” “pragmatic,” or a “small ‘c’ conservative,” all of which have been said about a demented candidate and his hard-left, manipulative, unprincipled sidekick.
Those self-described conservatives who savage people on our side in the hopes of winning favor from the people on the left are fools. They’ll never get that favor. Moreover, there’s something pathetic about wanting to be liked by people you properly ought to despise.
Making the debates interesting. When Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge died, Dorothy Parker, famed for her acid tongue, was reputed to have said, “How can they tell?” Right now, the media is pretending that Biden is mentally competent, but people paying attention can easily say, “How can they tell us that?”
Given Biden’s mental state, everyone knows that there’s no way he’s showing up for the debates. Since Kamala is his sidekick — and everyone knows that she’ll be president during Biden’s inevitably foreshortened term, maybe she should debate in Biden’s stead. I think that Trump would handle a debate with Kamala Harris very well. Also, voters deserve to see her in action because she’s the one for whom they’re really voting.
Do you have random thoughts on issues? You’re welcome to state them in the comments, as long as you all play nicely with each other.
Image:U.S. Government work (cropped) that shows Obama and Biden the way I like seeing them best: Going away.
There are silver linings to Wuhan virus madness. The past seven months have brought a great deal of useful clarity that we should celebrate.
The other day, I wrote about the fact that Trump’s candidacy promises a return to normalcy. Under the slogan Make America Normal Again, we could have
a country in which all races and creeds come together under one flag instead of breaking into tribal units;
a place in which borders have meaning and immigration is done in a safe, orderly fashion that his beneficial to all concerned;
a land in which we dump the entire concept of microaggressions, recognizing that they’re a Marxist effort to create a racist mountain out of the fact that we are the least racist country in the world;
a United States that doesn’t feel obligated to shed its blood for nations that hate us, but that will speak out against tyrants (China! Russia! Iran! North Korea! I’m talking to you) and will provide constant and reasonable support for its friends;
an America in which we support our law enforcement agencies, which means helping the 99% who keep America safe and helping the agencies root out the 1% of LEOs who are bad apples;
a nation in which, except for the few people born with tangled DNA, boys are boys and girls are girls and, moreover, while we are kind to those whose mental illness leaves them confused, they are not allowed to assert that their mental illness should be our reality; and, most importantly,
an America in which the Bill of Rights is accorded the highest place of honor in the laws of our land, with complete respect for all the rights inherent in the American people.
That’s a normal America. That’s a nice America. That’s a civil America. That’s a functional, effective, wealth-generating, clean-air-creating America. That’s Making America Normal Again.
Keep that in mind as election day nears.
Meanwhile, let’s think about the good that’s come out of the last seven difficult months:
The Democrats’ insane impeachment failed.
Americans got a preview of what life in America will look like if the Democrats gain control and, thankfully, many of them, including Democrats, don’t seem to like it. They’ve decided that living in a police state, trapped in their homes or forced to cover their faces in public. And normal Americans, not rabid leftists, are appalled that they’re watching everything they’ve worked for over the years go down the drain — and this isn’t because of events beyond America’s control; it’s because their own government is doing this to them. They don’t like seeing riots destroying their cities and they don’t like seeing police attacked and destroyed along with the cities. They don’t like seeing rabid mobs destroy their cultural heritage, which it’s good culture or bad. And speaking of culture, they really hate “cancel culture.” They understand that cancel culture is not just a variation on the marketplace of ideas; it’s the gulag of ideas and too many of them are being marched off to labor in the mines.
In other words, the Democrats overplayed their hands and that’s all to the good.
For years now, I’ve been complaining about American public schools and what a disaster they are. They fail to educate kids but they do a great job of indoctrinating them about racism and climate change. The problem is the unions, which are simply another branch of the Democrat party. Watching the activists among the teachers refuse to be as brave as a store clerk or truck driver has been illuminating for many Americans. Likewise, many parents have discovered that their children do a lot better being homeschooled than teachers’ union schooled.
I’m truly pleased to see that Scott Adams has finally grocked to this problem. He has a bigger platform than I do and he’s making the most of it:
Talking about dismantling Teachers Unions, Epstein files via Cernovich, pandemic scorecards, https://t.co/OYjrHCcBXo
This is all to the good. Remember, teachers’ unions do not care about educating students. They’re not even that interested in good working conditions and living wages for teachers. They’re all about advancing the hard-left progressive agenda. And that’s now coming through loud and clear.
The climate change agenda has relied for decades on so-called “experts.” The age of those “experts” may finally have ended. While the media is still running interference for Fauci, people are beginning to notice that he was wrong about everything. They also notice that, despite more and more evidence that Hydroxychloroquine is beneficial if administered early and correctly, Fauci refuses to acknowledge that.
When push came to shove, Democrats failed miserably at governance. The two-week lockdown turned into a seven-month lockdown that’s been disastrous wherever tried. It hasn’t slowed the Wuhan virus (which is proving to be a really bad flu rather than the Black Death), but it has destroyed economies and ruined lives. Democrats were also shown to be revolting hypocrites, cheering on mass riots while arresting people for opening hair salons. And let’s not even talk about the older people who died unnecessarily. And I really mean let’s not. It’ll just make me impotently angry and sad.
*** WARNING — GROSS ANALOGY AHEAD ***
For a graphic analogy, Democrats were the slowly growing boil on America’s butt. With every passing day of Trump’s administration, that boil got hotter, redder, and angrier. With the Wuhan virus, it came to a head and ruptured — and we all know that, when a boil ruptures, you finally get to see the hideously ugly, smelly, destructive putrefaction that was rotting within in.
But here’s the good news: If a boil doesn’t rupture but, instead, turns inwards, the host body goes septic and dies. If it ruptures, and the patient debrides and disinfects the wound, that nasty, deadly infection goes away. If someone got very sick from the infection, recovery may take a while, but it will happen.
*** GROSS ANALOGY ENDED. YOU MAY RESUME YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED READING ***
Watching the disaster that is Democrat governance, and the way it bows to the mob, people have been on an unparalleled gun-buying binge. Every one of those buyers is a convert to the Second Amendment. They suddenly understand that our right to possess arms protects us from both the mob and the government behind the mob. While the gun buyers may not have been anti-gun people before, instead being neutral, you can bet that right now, they’re all pro-gun. (And I wonder how much money the NRA will raise thanks to the New York Attorney General’s suit to “dissolve” the NRA.)
I’ve got to get to work, but I’m betting that all of you can add to my list of clarifying things that have happened because of Wuhan madness. Yes, America has suffered terribly, but the whole thing has also been a bright light showing the rot and the rats on one side and highlighting the virtue of classic American, constitutional values on the other side.
I have got the most ginormous list of news that interests me. Let’s see how much I can share, along with my opinions, before I wear you and myself out.
The sins of the fathers. The Bible is clear about visiting the sins of the fathers on the children:
Deuteronomy 24:16 — The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
I’ve believed in that principle for decades. Long before America went crazy, I said it was a tremendous mistake for Germany and the rest of the world to make the children of the Nazi generation feel perpetually guilty about and responsible for their forebearers’ acts. It would, I said, warp them. Looking at Germany today — a country that commits cultural suicide with Muslim immigration while continuing to hate the Jews whom they blame for Auschwitz — I feel I was correct.
The left, unfortunately, likes visiting the sins of the father on the children, yet another way it roundly rejects the Bible’s universal wisdom. The whole point of the Black Lives Matter movement is to make people feel so guilty about the Civil War (over in 1865) and Jim Crow (confined to the South and over by 1964 at the latest), that they will willingly cede the country to Marxist radicals.
For that reason, I think Alinksy’s Rule 4 currently trumps even Deuteronomy. Rule #4, as you may recall, is “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” And in that spirit, I’d like to direct you to two stories:
1. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who is white and who supports the historically inaccurate, America-hating 1619 Project, is running against black Republican John James (who is awesome). Normally, it wouldn’t be relevant what Peters’ ancestors did in 1865, but this year, the left has said that we are responsible for our forefathers.
That’s why it matters that Peters comes from a slave-owning family that sheltered John Wilkes Booth. I strongly feel that Peters needs to drop out of the race and give the seat to James, as a form of reparations.
2. And it super-duper matters that the uber-woke New York Times, the one that’s abandoned any pretense of reporting the news and is simply engaged in shilling for Black Lives Matter and Biden — all while making a profit — is built upon slavery. Yup. The money that got the Times started is slavery money.
It’s time for the Sulzberger’s (who refused to report about Hitler’s concentration camps and genocide) to walk away from the Times, from their bank accounts, and from their mansions. They need to give it all to Black Lives Matter and retreat to think about their inherited sins.
Conservatives fighting back. Charlie Kirk is pushing an initiative called DivestU. It’s actually what I’ve been saying for years, only Kirk has a bigger platform, more courage, and more panache. The idea here is that conservatives need to stop giving money to their Marxist alma maters. You’d think they’d have figured out that America’s colleges and universities are the birthplaces of the violence and insanity that’s playing out in America today. Defund the colleges!
Meanwhile, Antonio Sabato, Jr., who was a popular (and very handsome) working actor right up until he revealed he’s conservative, at which point he was forced to do construction work, wants to build a conservative Hollywood studio. Others have tried but maybe Sabato will succeed. I wish him luck because we need to fight back at the culture level.
Biden and China. A few random points about China:
A woman who escaped describes what’s going on in China’s Uighur gulags and it’s really bad, with everything from torture to systematic rape to brainwashing.
China is engaged in organ harvesting, which is an appalling form of slavery. Nevertheless, the American media and American businesses, all of which talk non-stop about how racist America is for slavery that ended more than 150 years ago, are ignoring the camps. Money talks and they’re tied to China’s money, not America’s.
Attorney General William Barr gave a great speech about China’s rapacious, dishonest, and dangerous policies regarding trade and intellectual property. China’s practices endanger the free world — and were made possible by our government turning a blind eye for decades. Thankfully, Trump is fighting back, not just with trade policies, but by shutting down the spying apparatus (see, e.g, Trump closed the Houston consulate today, which immediately went on a document-burning binge).
China’s economy is potentially on the verge of a serious economic collapse thanks to a property bubble that is (as Trump would say) yuuuuge. The faster we disentangle ourselves from China, the better for us. If they go down, we don’t want to go down with them.
And now, about Biden. Biden went on an insane rant, calling Trump “the first racist president.” His reasoning is that Trump calls a virus that originated in China and that spread because China lied about it, the “China virus.”
Trump and sane Americans understand what’s going on here. The Chinese people are not our enemies, nor is the Asian race our enemy. China, the country, though, is not our friend and is, in many ways, a serious enemy, whether we’re looking at geopolitics in the Far East, germ warfare, or economic warfare.
Biden, however, is entirely beholden to China, which has poured billions into his family via son Baker (Cobbler? Grifter? I forget his name). It may also be behind much of the unrest on America’s streets because China badly needs Trump out of the White House. Trump and the Democrats are aligned in believing that civil unrest, combined with a self-inflicted recession, will do the trick.
Second, is Biden really calling Trump the “first” racist president? First, Trump is not racist.
Second, we have had a few other racists in office:
Buchanan, a Democrat;
Lincoln, a Republican who didn’t think much of blacks but put his life and the life of our nation on the line to secure their liberty;
Johnson, a Democrat;
Wilson, a Democrat;
Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat;
Harry Truman, a Democrat who nevertheless put principle over prejudice to integrate the U.S. military;
Johnson, a Democrat; and
Obama, a Democrat (whose grandmother was a “typical white person” and whose son could have been the thug Trayvon Martin).
A few random thoughts about the Wuhan virus. Has it ever occurred to anyone that the Democrat governors’ decision to infect old age homes wasn’t stupidity or incompetence? All of them have states that have been overspending. Old people are expensive because they’re using resources for medical care and getting other benefits even though they’re no longer paying into the system. What better way to fix state budgets that have damaged by gross irresponsibility and really evil lockdowns than to trim the aged fat?
I have no proof for this theory. I’m just sayin’…
There was a vile article in Yahoo saying that pro-life states are hypocrites because their Wuhan virus policies are killing people. The article is short on data and long on invective. The article’s trigger was a report saying that more people are getting sick in the Southeast and West.
The problem, of course, is that the numbers show that these states will have to work hard, really hard, to catch up to the virus massacre in Democrat-run, pro-abortion states (you can see a better image here):
Second, California, a vehemently pro-abortion state, is currently taking the lead in new cases.
Third, the linear thinking about virus numbers fails to acknowledge the lives destroyed because of panic, hysteria, and lockdowns. There’s a balance in everything. We could save people’s lives by banning cars, thereby ending car accidents, but then we’d have a lot of deaths from starvation, lost opportunities for medical treatment, abuse from isolation, etc. Everything is a tradeoff. At the end of the day, in my southern state, we have these signs:
That “now hiring” sign is as much a pro-life sign as the “Baby Lives Matter” signs popping up.
Fourth, one Oxford epidemiologist, whose been a whole lot more accurate than the awful Neil Ferguson (the adulterer from Imperial College London who started the whole panic), says she thinks there’s also going to be a pleasantly low threshold for herd immunity.
Oh, here’s a good fifth one: Fauci is not a very good guy, in addition to being a stone-cold political operative pretending to be a disinterested bureaucrat.
Two funny videos that are spot on the nose. This first video, from Ryan Long, a Canadian comic working in New York, captures perfectly how racist woke whites are. I mean, really, really racist.
This second video also captures something perfectly, this time the awfulness of both Democrat politicians and vapid and pretentious Hollywood actors:
I’ve got more stuff in the queue, but I’m running out of time to post tonight. I’ll try to add another Bookworm Beat tomorrow. It’s just a matter of being organized, efficient, responsible, and the opposite of a procrastinator. In other words, if I can change into a new person by tomorrow….
In the old days, when even a cold could be deadly, it was only polite to stay home. In a Wuhan virus time, we’re going to see a return to those manners.
When I was little, my mother often kept me home from school. Over the years, I’ve assumed this was because I was adept at manipulating her into thinking I was too sick to go to school, and she certainly did like having me home. In retrospect, though, I realize there was an additional factor involved.
My mother was older than my peers’ mothers, for she was almost 40 when I was born. She had grown up in a pre-antibiotic era, as well as surviving a concentration camp in the tropics. She’d had Diptheria as a child and tuberculosis in camp. She also got cave fever (whatever the heck that is) in Israel after the war and almost died.
The same was true for my dad, who was over 40 when I was born. He’d been born into the hell of post-WWI Berlin and, to make that more extreme, he’d spent his first five years in a slum before being placed in an orphanage. He’d had scarlet fever when he was little although thankfully it didn’t affect his heart. During the Israeli War of Independence, he almost died from some disease that no one at the time was able to identify. He died almost fifty years later without ever knowing what almost killed him.
For the first half of my parents’ lives before I was born, there was no such thing as a “little” illness. Every cold could become pneumonia. Every small cut was a pathway to sepsis.
When my friends’ American-born parents were sending them to school saying, “It’s just a little cold; you’ll be fine,” my mother was tucking me up in bed to recover safely. Moreover, she found it indescribably rude when other parents sent their sick children to school, which created the risk that I’d bring their germs home. All illness was dangerous.
Once I left home, I finally accepted the mores of my American culture. As a young lawyer, I worked a 60-80 week no matter what. Once I had children, the rule in our household, for adults as well as children, was that, if you didn’t have a high fever and weren’t losing fluids in unpleasant ways, you were well enough to go to school or go to work. For large chunks of the year, someone in our house was always sick, and the same was true for every house in the neighborhood. We were proud of our stoicism.
We had an advantage, though, when it came to being stoic, for we knew that these sicknesses weren’t going to kill us. Even when my son’s cold turned into pneumonia, a short stay in the hospital with an antibiotic IV cured him. (And yes, I did find it upsetting and worrying but he was bright as a penny again within one day of leaving the hospital.) For almost forty years, the rule in my life has been that illness is unpleasant, not fatal, so if you’re sick, out you go.
The Wuhan virus has changed my mind, and I suspect I’m not the only one. When I went running errands, I realized that thanks to the virus, the modern American mindset that has governed me for so long is over. We’re back to my parents’ world view.
I did not wear a mask to Lowe’s today because there are no active cases in my community. Only about 20% of the customers people in the store were masked. and, while the employees all had masks on, most had them slung under their noses. I got the feeling that their mindset was “I’ve got to breathe but, if I sneeze, I won’t spray my germs.”
However, if an unmasked customer in a Lowe’s aisle had coughed in my direction, I would have skittered out of that aisle. While I’m willing to be out and about and proceed mostly in a normal fashion, I suddenly have developed my parents’ mindset: If you’re sick, stay home and don’t make other people sick. Even a little cough can be deadly.
I suspect I won’t be alone. Indeed, thanks to telecommuting, even those businesses that still maintain some office will encourage their employees to work from home if they’re the slightest bit symptomatic. Schools will probably be the same.
What happened yesterday at my hairstylist, though, was completely over the top. Thanks to state regulations and insurance requirements, I felt as if I was going into the cleanroom at some hi-tech manufacturer. I’ve already blogged about the hoops I had to jump through just to get there so I won’t repeat it here. Let me just say that, if you’re wearing a mask when you get your haircut, you end up with your mask filled with hair. It’s ugly.
Still, there is good news, which is that I may have just gotten the best haircut ever. This is a new stylist because my first attempt at getting a haircut here in South Carolina was not pretty. This new gal is a genius and I am ridiculously happy. The laughable hoops and the hair-filled mask were worth it. Even better, the cut cost 65% less than I would have paid in California. Can’t beat that!
In 1920, Warren G. Harding’s campaign slogan was “a return to normalcy.” He won. Perhaps that ought to be Trump’s new slogan: “Make America Normal Again.”
One of the ickiest phrases around lately is the “new normal.” We’re told by leftist politicos and a thousand commercials that we’re in the “new normal.” This “normal,” we’re told, will last until there is a vaccine for the Wuhan China Virus. Achieving a vaccination currently has the 12th of Never as its deadline for completion.
The new normal is that I stand outside of Walmart and Trader Joe’s, in 90-degree weather with 90 percent humidity, waiting for permission to enter.
The new normal is that, when I go to the dentist, the waiting room is off-limits. Instead, I stand in the doorway while the masked receptionist quizzes me about my health history, makes sure I have a mask, waves a wand at me to take my temperature, and then tells me to wait outside in my car (with the engine running, spewing pollutants, so I can have life-giving air-conditioning) until I’m called in. When my appointment is over and I sign the various forms, the same masked receptionist blithely hands me her tablet and pen, neither disinfected, so that I can sign.
The worst thing, though, is how this “new normal” affects my hair cut. I currently look like Albert Einstein’s lost love child. It’s not pretty.
Even though (thankfully) South Carolina is not a “stay-at-home” lockdown state, the state, while leaving big box stores open, closed all hairstyling establishments. On the day they opened, I called my stylist and was able to get an appointment two weeks out.
During the appointment phone call, the receptionist told me that the stylist would be masked and gloved, that I must be masked, that I must check in from the parking lot via telephone, and that the receptionist will call me when I can enter, at which point she’ll wave an app at my to take my temperature. If I have one of my hot flashes, my temperature will be about 104 degrees. So much for the cheerful camaraderie of a hair salon.
That was bad enough. It got worse. With my appointment around the corner, I got an email with a form I have to complete to get my hair cut:
I don’t blame the hairstylist for this risible form. I know that it’s because she has to comply with the form, just as she has the new check-in rituals and mask and glove requirement, so that she can keep her insurance. However, I don’t want this to be the “new normal.”
The reality is that my county has had only 142 reported Wuhan China virus cases. The state of South Carolina estimates another 872 cases based upon an algorithm that says that, for every reported case, there might be another 6-8 cases that are so de minimus that they don’t merit a doctor’s visit.
Just to put that in perspective, my county has about 150,000 or more people. That means 0.09% of people in my county were diagnosed with the Wuhan China virus. I think 17 might have died, but I’m not sure. If that’s the case, then 0.01% of my county’s population will have succumbed to the virus. My county, incidentally, is over 25% black, which I note only because blacks have been more vulnerable to the virus.
The new normal is unacceptable. Where I live, 99.99% of all people are seemingly healthy. Why are we being treated as if this is the new bubonic plague? My objection to this “new normal” isn’t just me whining about the economic effects on a hairdressing establishment that can no longer have multiple customers or a restaurant that can only fill half its tables. This is also about the psychology of living as if we’re all dying.
If it weren’t for the insurance companies and the government, I think most people would snap back. While my Bay Area friends are busy virtue signaling like crazy about wearing masks, here in my little corner of South Carolina, masks are vanishing.
A month ago at the local Walmart, about 50% of the customers were wearing masks, especially black customers. A week ago at the local Walmart, maybe 10% of the customers were wearing masks. Staff members had masks, but many had just pulled them down to hang around their necks.
If my Bay Area friends were to see this, they’d start frothing about suicidal instincts and Trump poisoning people’s minds so that they clearly want to die. Frankly, I don’t think people here have a death wish; they have a normal wish.
I honestly believe that Trump would do well with a Make America Normal Again campaign. Combine that with what an Obama economist believes will be the biggest economic boom in American history, and you’ve got a winning combination.
In early April, Jason Furman, a top economist in the Obama administration and now a professor at Harvard, was speaking via Zoom to a large bipartisan group of top officials from both parties. The economy had just been shut down, unemployment was spiking and some policymakers were predicting an era worse than the Great Depression. The economic carnage seemed likely to doom President Donald Trump’s chances at reelection.
Furman, tapped to give the opening presentation, looked into his screen of poorly lit boxes of frightened wonks and made a startling claim.
“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” he said.
I believe that too. If we’re just allowed to be normal, we’ll explode into prosperity, especially because Trump is loosening job-killing regulations.
You know what else Politico has to say?
Furman’s counterintuitive pitch has caused some Democrats, especially Obama alumni, around Washington to panic. “This is my big worry,” said a former Obama White House official who is still close to the former president. Asked about the level of concern among top party officials, he said, “It’s high — high, high, high, high.”
And top policy officials on the Biden campaign are preparing for a fall economic debate that might look very different than the one predicted at the start of the pandemic in March. “They are very much aware of this,” said an informal adviser.
You read that right. Democrats desperately want a failing economy because they think that’s the only way they can knock Trump out of the White House. That’s why the pressure for the New Normal. If we restore the old normal and get back to the business of America, Democrats are done for, they’re cooked, and they can’t even justify the fraud of mail-in ballots. And that’s why they keep the panic going, so I have to fill out a 14 question form to get my hair cut.
A note on the featured image: “Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Lilly pays his respects to a fallen veteran May 28, 2013, at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Boulder City, Nevada. Lilly and other Airmen from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., volunteered their time to place flags over veterans’ cemetery plots for Memorial Day weekend. Lilly is a 57th Operations Group joint terminal air controller. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Daniel Hughes)”