Perspective: Life, Corona Virus, National Interest, and America/Western Civilization

From C.S. Lewis:

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

This doesn’t mean “be stupid” or not take precautions, but… you’re not getting off this world alive.  Be assured of that.

Also, put things into perspective – something I tell my kids from time to time – especially as the young one screams bloody murder about I hate my life! and I had the worst day ever! as I hard-limit video / game time on the phone.  I occasionally ask them…

Do you have new, clean clothes on you?  Do you have a warm house with electricity and clean running water?  Flush toilets?  Hot water for daily showers?  Do you have cars that your parents can drive you to sports and school rather than to a grubby child-labor job?  Do you have the internet?  Do you have medications and hospitals and doctors who are more than guessing in the dark about what’s going on?  Do you have a married mother and father who actively dote on and care for you?  Do you have food in the house?  Do you have to worry about being shot at when you go out the door?  Can you practice your faith openly?

Then you are better off then, at a guess, 80% of the people alive today… and without doubt 99%+ of the people who have ever lived.

This is not a renewed Yersinia Pestis world tour.  This is not a global outbreak of Ebola which, as blogger Peter Grant has said would mean Hell’s coming for breakfast!  But the rapid global spread of Corona virus (like other viruses) was foreseen:

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

As were the consequences of becoming dependent on other nations for critical goods (like antibiotics and other medicines, let alone medical equipment in general) – foreseen by yours truly among others:

Offshoring: To Insanity… and Beyond (Long)

It’s not just military materials. In the venerable New York Times there’s a critical sentence in this article: Medicines Made in India Set Off Safety Worries: “The crucial ingredients for nearly all antibiotics, steroids and many other lifesaving drugs are now made exclusively in China.” – above and beyond the baseline theme of the article about concerns over medicine and other products from outside the US in general. I’m not a chemical engineer, but I can’t imagine that ramping up human-grade production of these materials in the US would be quick.

“This too shall pass.”  And lessons should be learned: free trade has its place and is overall a good thing.  But a true borderless world, whether for goods or people moving, is folly – for nations don’t have friends, nations have interests.  Nor are all cultures the same.  Western Civilization is better.

Civilization: The West and the Rest

And America is the exceptional nation.  Borders, language and culture make a nation.

The Savage Nation: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Borders, Language and Culture

Taking pride in your nation is not a bad thing, and working towards its benefit – not the “greatest economic good” or world opinion or shareholder value or the C-Suite bonuses – is a good thing.

The Virtue of Nationalism

The Case for Nationalism: How It Made Us Powerful, United, and Free

Understand your history; take pride in the great things the West, and America, have done – not just succumb to Marxist “Critical Theory” attacks.

Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story

Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America

Lastly, watch this excellent video by Bill Whittle.  It’s almost two hours and worth every minute.