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Is Coronavirus the Wrath of God?

John Martin, The Great Day of His Wrath, 1853.

2,901 words

The epidemic began in Australia and spread from there to other countries.

I am referring to the panic buying of toilet paper.

Aussies were even brawling over it [1]. Don’t bother to ask why, at least not if you are looking for a rational explanation. The virus doesn’t eat through Charmin. A clinical psychologist quoted by CNN [2] states that people take extreme and sometimes irrational action when facing threats that are largely unknown, or when they hear “conflicting messages.” And the messages here certainly are conflicting.

President Trump has imposed a month-long ban on travel to and from Europe. The entire country of Italy is now basically quarantined. In Paris, the Louvre is shuttered. Universities around the US are closing for the foreseeable future. Airports are half empty. Conferences and concerts throughout the world have been canceled. Panic buying has emptied grocery store shelves. Pharmacies are completely out of hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol. Surgical masks are nowhere to be found. New York City is reportedly ready to put convicts to work digging mass graves. There have been calls to cancel the Tokyo Olympics. And, just the other week, the stock market took its biggest hit in the last thirty years — bigger than 2008.

At the same time, we are being told the whole thing may just be overblown. A few days ago President Trump tweeted “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” New York Magazine called this a “terrifyingly ignorant” message [3]. But is it? Conservative journalists have followed Trump’s lead. Steve Hilton of Fox News quoted a public health official [4] as saying “Most people — more than 85% — will have mild or no symptoms.” Hilton advised against panic. Rush Limbaugh claimed that Coronavirus is being “weaponized” to “bring down Trump,” [5] and compared it to the common cold.

So who’s right? It’s really hard to say.

All I know for certain is that the liberal media really is corrupt enough to deliberately exaggerate the danger of Coronavirus just to try to damage Trump in an election year. The primary objective would be to create economic chaos, which seems to already be happening. Trump seems to have decided to run for re-election almost entirely on economic good news, so the best way to hit him would be for the economy to tank prior to November. And we must also note the familiar pattern: the media and liberals simply oppose whatever Trump says and does. Because Trump has suggested that the threat of the virus may be overblown, naturally the Left must take the position that the virus is a huge threat and that Trump is dangerously irresponsible for downplaying it. As Paul Joseph Watson has pointed out [6], if Trump had hyped the danger of Corona, the media would call his response hysterical, and accuse him of planning to cancel the November election.

And we already know that the media is actively telling lies about Trump’s response to Corona. More than a week ago, several liberal news outlets reported that Trump had called Coronavirus “a hoax” at one of his rallies. In fact, Trump had labeled the Democrats’ attempts to politicize the virus a “hoax.” Despite the fact that this blatant lie was swiftly denounced, the Biden campaign created an entire TV ad out of it. The ad deceptively edits Trump’s remarks in such a fashion that he seems to say “Coronavirus . . . this is is their new hoax.” The Washington Post’s fact-checker column awarded the Biden campaign four Pinocchios for this ad [7], calling it “a false narrative that does not reflect the event as it occurred.” No kidding, the Washington Post said this. The Biden camp responded with an ad hominem attack against the President.

You can buy Jef Costello’s The Importance of James Bond here [8].

We have reached a point where our politicians, our institutions, and our media now have zero credibility. It’s no wonder that some fanatical Trump supporters really do believe the whole epidemic is a hoax, designed to undermine their leader. Can anyone really blame them? No one trusts anything anymore. This is pretty problematic when your life is at stake and you desperately need to get the facts. But please don’t misunderstand me; I’m not just going after the liberals and the “liberal media.” We can’t really trust the “conservatives” and the handful of conservative news sources either. They perceive the threat to their President, and it is in their interest to downplay it.

For those of us on the Right (the real Right) I want to suggest that, unless you are over 70, this is a win-win situation for us.

Reports indicate that Corona has already peaked in China — over a month ago. China has just closed the last of sixteen makeshift hospitals erected in Wuhan to deal with the outbreak. The virus continues to be most dangerous for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. By contrast, there have been zero deaths among children nine years old and younger. Further, spring is now arriving in the northern hemisphere and warm weather may bring an end to the epidemic. As the New York Post put it [9], “Almost all respiratory viruses hate warm and moist weather. That’s why flu dies out in America every year by May at the latest and probably why Latin America has reported only 25 coronavirus cases.”

In short, all this might well end not with a bang but with a whimper. As the realization sets in that we have overreacted, markets will recover, and life will go back to normal. But what will be the long-term effects?

I have seen the US face a few crises in my fifty years of life: Watergate, the Iran Hostage Crisis, several wars (I’ve lost count at this point), various hurricanes, floods, droughts, blizzards, and, of course, 9/11. But I have never seen anything like the hysteria that’s been generated by Corona.

People are truly terrified. If I am correct that this will not be the calamity it’s been hyped as, Americans are going to be angry. Corona hysteria will deepen the public’s distrust of the media, which is already at a historic low point. Perceptive Americans have already recognized that the media’s sensationalism is the root cause of panic buying, and they are getting angry [10].

It is also going to become crystal clear — perhaps even to “low-information voters” — how the Left has exploited this crisis as a means to undermine Trump in the runup to November. On March 10th, a CNN panel enthusiastically discussed the possibility that Corona hysteria could turn Americans against Trump and send them rushing back into the arms of the Establishment [11]. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was on hand to state that “nothing makes you appreciate a functional government like a global pandemic.” He continued, “And we all know when Joe becomes our president, he’s going to bring back many of the Obama alums who are really, really competent and technocratic.”

This is the first time I have ever heard “technocratic” used in a non-pejorative sense.

On March 13th the Atlantic magazine proclaimed that “The Trump Presidency is Over” [10]. (One wonders how many times they have already used this headline.) States Atlantic staff writer Peter Wehner:

Donald Trump is shrinking before our eyes. The coronavirus is quite likely to be the Trump presidency’s inflection point, when everything changed, when the bluster and ignorance and shallowness of America’s 45th president became undeniable, an empirical reality, as indisputable as the laws of science or a mathematical equation.

Wow. This guy has obviously been to college.

Elsewhere, liberals have openly celebrated the economic chaos brought on by Corona panic, despite the fact that millions of ordinary Americans have seen their retirement money nearly wiped out. This should not surprise us, as Leftists have been calling for a recession for some time now, as an effective way to damage Trump. Just a few months ago smug HBO host Bill Maher stated [12], “One way you get rid of Trump is by crashing the economy. So please, bring on the recession.” He went on to insist that he was not kidding, adding “it would be worth it.”

I predict, therefore, that when the panic subsides there will be a backlash against the media and the Left. This will be nothing new, just a deepening, as I have already said, of the resentment and distrust that has been festering for years. Trump will probably come out of the whole thing smelling like a rose, as he always does. Certainly, if the virus has run its course by May, as many medical experts are predicting, it will not be an issue in November. But I also foresee more profound and long-lasting consequences of the current panic.

There is something rather biblical about the whole thing, isn’t there? Throughout history, people have interpreted plagues as divine punishment. Almost always, they have been seen as brought on by moral or religious failings of the culture. We may laugh at the preachers and religious fanatics who think that Corona is punishment for gay marriage [13], but it’s actually good that people think this.

And I don’t believe you have to be particularly religious to have such feelings; there is something deeply hard-wired about this response. “What have we done? Why is this happening to us?” It’s not a rational response, but then again, 99% of human responses aren’t rational. I myself have been struggling in the last several weeks against a generalized anxiety, made acute by Corona, that seems to say “everything is collapsing; everything is falling down around my ears; the walls are closing in.”

There is, of course, no real connection between Corona and gay marriage or the transgender madness or the possibility that a man with dementia might be elected President of the United States. But it sure as hell feels like the chickens have come home to roost and God has decided to zap us, as he did with Sodom and Gomorrah and Egypt.

I would thus diagnose the intensity of the current panic as a direct result of the average American’s gnawing sense that the culture has gone off the rails and deserves to be wiped out by a plague. All those fat people fighting over toilet paper in Walmart are just so many guilty consciences, cowering on their commodes before an angry God.

Of course, in another, demonstrably rational sense, the chickens really have come home to roost. The speed at which Corona has spread all over the world is a direct result of globalism, open borders, and multiculturalism. Figuratively speaking, yes, we are being punished for all that bullshit. I predict that one of the immediate and long-lasting consequences of Corona will be that people all over the world will “hunker down.” As I have said, people have been genuinely terrified by this epidemic, and the memory of this will not easily fade. The globalist, multiculturalist policies that made it so easy for the virus to spread are going to be met with increased skepticism.

We are hardwired to be wary of those who are different from us, especially those who are ethnically different, which is the reason why multiculturalism destroys communities and trust. Expect these feelings of wariness and distrust to intensify. Expect also that the “social distancing” being encouraged by experts may have implications for foreign policy, and may translate into populist isolationism. The Corona panic will thus have the positive effect of strengthening nationalism and populism, and weakening Leftist globo-homo, multi-culti hegemony.

People are willing to put up with a lot of bullshit and even to parrot it, but things change when their lives and the lives of their loved ones are imperiled. Then they cry “Enough!” Expect that more and more ordinary people will become bolder about calling out the bullshit. And expect a Trump victory in November, since he is the only candidate who will be remotely in tune with the post-Corona nationalist-isolationist Zeitgeist.

The Left has seen all this coming, and in the last month they have issued repeated warnings against “Xenophobia” and even opined that the “real threat” of Corona is “racism.” China has even jumped on the bandwagon, intimating that perhaps the virus did not even originate in their country and that the idea that it did is “racism.” Now, Asians do not traffic in the language of “racism” at all; it is simply not a bugaboo for them, as they are solidly racist and see no problem with it. Thus, China’s use of this tactic is a clever and cynical way to try and exploit one of our greatest weaknesses — our obsession with avoiding “racism” at all costs.

You can buy Jef Costello’s Heidegger in Chicago here [14].

The World Health Organization, which ought to be devoted exclusively to saving our goddamn lives, has been busy for the last month calling on countries not to “profile” individuals as a result of concerns over the virus, as this could lead to certain people being “stigmatized.” But isn’t the primary way you arrest the spread of a contagion identifying (i.e., profiling) the people most likely to have it (e.g., visitors from China or Italy) and treating them differently? The EU has also announced that it will not institute any new border controls in response to the virus. Travelers arriving from Italy in other EU countries are apparently not even being screened.

In other words, it’s business as usual. In a recent column titled “Will the Coronavirus Kill the New World Order?” [15], Pat Buchanan asks “Would Merkel, today, invite a million Syrian refugees into Germany no matter the conditions under which they were living in Syria and Turkey?” And: “As for the ‘open borders’ crowd, do Democrats still believe that breaking into our country should no longer be a crime, and immigrants arriving illegally should be given free health care, a proposition to which all the Democratic debaters raised their hands?” The answer to both Buchanan’s questions is yes. These bastards would rather let millions die than abandon their ideology.

And we’ve seen that before somewhere, haven’t we? Of course, it’s not just a question of ideology: globalism has made an awful lot of people very rich and very powerful.

But the conclusion now seems inescapable that globalism is deadly. Things are so bad that Mexico is talking about closing its border with the US. This was something that liberals declared for years was “impossible.” But now it looks like it’s going to be done — not by the advanced, almighty, modern US, but by shithole Mexico itself. Secure borders = lives saved; open borders = death.

We saw this in the case of terrorism, but somehow it didn’t sink in. As London mayor Sadiq Kahn notoriously asserted, terrorism is “part and parcel” of living in a big city in the age of multiculturalism. Will they try the same answer with Corona? Are deadly outbreaks of killer viruses a small price to pay for the enrichment brought by diversity? Such outrageous claims went unchallenged in the past because no one wanted to seem like one of the bad people. After Corona, this garbage is going to be a much tougher sell.

Corona is also a wake-up call with respect to our reliance on foreign suppliers and manufacturers, especially the Chinese. It is absolute madness that we import more than 90% of our antibiotics from a hostile trading partner. And, in response to US criticism of how they have handled the epidemic, China has now threatened to cut off the supply of medicine [16] and cast us “into the mighty sea of Coronavirus.” Understandably, the Chinese are worried that the epidemic could threaten their status as a global manufacturing hub [17].

What is even crazier is that, as Buchanan points out, the US has allowed China to develop a near-monopoly on rare earth minerals vital to the production of weapons for our national defense. The protectionist and “isolationist” policies Buchanan has been championing for decades were once dismissed as outmoded, backward-thinking crankery. Now they seem sweetly reasonable — and without those policies, we have no future. Expect more calls to bring manufacturing home; to become an independent and self-reliant nation again. The globalist ideal is dead, and Coronavirus has killed it.

An added bonus in all of this is that the elderly are the ones most vulnerable to the virus. And while I have no desire to see old people dying like flies, Corona will likely take out a fair number of the Boomer elite that have been running this country into the ground now for decades. Maybe Corona will even take out Sleepy Joe.

A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that it always seems to be the events no one predicted that play a decisive, game-changing role in history. Like the fall of the Soviet Union (which none of the academic Sovietologists saw coming) or the advent of the internet (which science fiction never managed to predict). This virus is just such a game-changer. Out of nowhere it has come to drive a few more nails into the coffins of globalism, multiculturalism, and progressivism. The future is xenophobia, isolation, secure borders, and protectionism — all of those good things. Is Coronavirus really the wrath of God?

If so, God is clearly a nationalist.