My deceased mother-in-law, not a pious person but one of utterly conventional morals, used to say when someone over 70 —she died of heart failure somewhere in the mid-70s after our divorce—was diagnosed with some serious illness, “well at least they can’t die young.” I say she was conventional because she certainly had all the usual ideas about what to do and say among polite people. Maybe having lived through the Second World War—on the losing side—and knowing enough people who did die young just gave her a certain sobriety in matters of life and death. I mention this because in our age of exhibitionism and euphemism it is very difficult to conduct a sober, let alone rational discussion about the circumstances by which individual human beings die.
I might add that I am twice as old as my father was when he died and six years older than my mother was. They did die young from what were most certainly occupationally induced illnesses. But it is not the age of the decedents that concerns me here. Rather it is one of my personal intellectual and spiritual addictions: a sense of proportionality and comparability in the assessment of the world in which I live. My mentor at university wrote repeatedly that the only way we can know or examine something is by analogy. If that is true—in the sense of being a reasonable assertion and intellectually as well as sociologically plausible—then what we know about anything and what we learn depends on the quality of the analogies we draw.
In an earlier piece I speculated by analogy and subsequent analysis as to the character of what has been called the “novel coronavirus” and its detection in China with all the attendant consequences. Since then those in Italy have seen their police isolate towns in Lombardy and Veneto. Outside the EU, Britain now reports its exited cases. After weeks of waiting by journalists in Portugal it is finally possible to report positive instead of negative tests. Here I might note that during the same waiting period the mother of a friend of mine died in hospital from sepsis after a routine operation. Masks and HAZMAT clothing were apparently not available to prevent that premature death.
After 30 years of being told by the pharmaceutical industry, the private hospital and medical technology sectors and the gangsters in and out of government commonly called bankers and economists that there is no money for physicians and nurses salaries, no money for plant maintenance, no money for affordable medication (drug subsidies dropped while manufacturers prices rose) and that everyone would just have to spend more of their decreasing wages on ever more expensive private health insurance—after all that, all that for 30 plus years in Europe, never mind the abysmal state of US “healthcare”—the US Congress can suddenly approve over USD 8 billion for coronavirus work!
China was clearly confronted with an unpleasant surprise, to put it mildly. The details and origin need not be of concern here. The fact is that the government of China acted in a manner consistent with their overall social and public health policies—not just since December 2019. The result has been impressive and by analogy indicates that China has something which one used to call a civil society (as opposed to the empty slogan propagated by Messrs Soros et al.)
What does the coronavirus, historically a mild and inoffensive complaint known to cause digestive problems in dogs, now mean in the Western peninsula of Eurasia? What is the significance of this now obsessive daily bean counting? Yes, bean counting. It is as if the accounting departments of all the EU health departments and the most certainly privately-partnered bean counters of Great BoJoland, had entered a primary school competition for the largest number of fingernail clippings collected.
I can already hear some readers saying—but people have died or are at risk of dying. This is no laughing matter or time for sarcasm.
On this point I disagree emphatically. Let me return to my opening argument—we learn by analogy and the quality of our analogies is crucial to any judgement as to the validity of our lessons.
I do not compare the seriously ill or the dead with anything or anyone except other seriously ill or other dead. However I refuse to compare the fanaticism with which we are flogged by all public media and the forces of crime and disorder (certain agencies of the State) to persuade us that the coronavirus is the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages (against which even the pope in Avignon successfully protected himself behind the walls of his palace).
What needs serious comparison here are not only the actual epidemiological statistics but also the proportionality of the entire situation. Although the statistical mortality figures published and broadcast at regular intervals suggest an illness not even as harmful as the common influenza that kills tens of thousands in the US alone—every year—the occurrence of deaths in double digits are treated as earth-shaking. I am not convinced nor should any other sober observer be.
As to proportionality, if the current hospitals operating with rubber bands and shoestrings thanks to the masters of our financial services industry are unable to prevent simple septic infections from killing, e.g., 80,000 a year in the US alone, how are we to take seriously the song and dance of hazmat suits and science fiction sterility (Sci-Fi, because it does not exist anywhere in real life, let alone in Western hospitals)?
If we were, just if, to accept the premise that this “novel coronavirus” is a dangerous disease—and more dangerous than any disease we are presently unwilling to prevent—then there is no reason to believe that anything that is being advertised in the Western media and propagated by the fanatical and fascist class that has decided to use the virus as a casus bellum against “John Doe” (or perhaps “J Doe” is safer in our transgender era) will be either proportional or appropriate, let alone effective for dealing with the latest news cycle “crisis”.
For 30 years, actually in Germany at least this process started when the arch-pharmaceutical lobbyist Helmut Kohl was made chancellor for the first time at the beginning of the 80s, the ordinary inhabitants of the West have been subjected to what could be called a latent form of ABC warfare.
ABC is the abbreviation for atomic, biological and chemical—the weapons of choice in NATO, but of course only on paper. Atomic warfare was the deployment of the Pershing II missiles against massive popular opposition and the trade in atomic waste. Biological warfare comprised the steady campaign to tell the population that their illnesses were fake, that they were abusing the public health insurance system and this had to be stopped by cutting benefits and raising fees. The chemical aspect was more insidious because on one hand reporting of pollution simply stopped. On the other hand the IG Farben successors (the chemical/ pharmaceutical cartel that was restored in another framework by the US occupying forces) were given free rein to charge as much as they wanted for medicine, while patients were blamed for the resulting cost increases in health care. This was all marketed as “healthcare reform”.
Healthcare reform is nothing more than a euphemism for a combined arms strategy to turn basic public health into profit streams for the usual suspects. In 1989 when the defeat of the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union and the entire Eastern European social welfare system became immanent, the last Kohl regime detonated the social equivalent of a neutron bomb. Worse than Chernobyl the blast created seismic ruptures throughout Western Europe’s never bombproof public healthcare systems.
Since then one can safely say—by analogy—that the rudimentary system which had functioned fairly well from Cork to Corinth has been so heavily irradiated that what we now see is the advanced stage of a social cancer.
This brings me to the question what does all this fanatical anti-corona activity really mean? From a policy standpoint the short-term will certainly be a massive diversion of already scarce resources for this new “crisis.” When the US Congress approves USD 8 billion for novel corona one should think about a few other figures: a single F-35 fighter aircraft costs USD 94 million, so the USG has bought 85 fighters to do something against novel coronavirus. George Carlin once said that the US is very good at bombing people, especially if they are brown (or yellow).
Given that weapons and “defence” enjoy unquestioned priority in the West, maybe this is the strategy no one will admit. Perhaps that is what underlies the analogies, the HAZMAT clothes, the police cordons, the hysterical reporting and competition to prove who has the more dead to show. The Western pontificates are preaching a new crusade. We have the crusade to save the climate. We have the crusade to abolish gender and biological reproduction. We have the crusade against the East in all its manifestations. Now we have the crusade against a virus—probably created for the purpose—which will make us all willing to live behind walls or in bomb shelters—all with imbued with the millennialism that has contributed so much to the homicidal character of Western culture.
But maybe, just maybe, it is just a fashionable new version of the perennial flu. And unless we are the victims of the military, the police or some miserable motorist—we won’t die young.
Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa (Maisonneuve Press, 2003).