Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Europe, Before and During Coronavirus

European culture is undergoing a makeover. At the least, it should be. Writing in National Review Spanish journalist Itxu Diaz offers before and during pictures of European cultural concerns. What, he asks, did European intellectuals, media giants and even politicians think were important prior to the coronavirus pandemic? Has the virus held a mirror up to European culture, allowing its denizens to see themselves as the woke fools that they really are? We can always hope.

To be somewhat more charitable, we could say that coronavirus might be an occasion for Europe to come to its senses, to dispense with the woke stupidities it has been indulging and to take a tentative step toward reality.

Diaz explains:

A month ago, while the coronavirus was invading the Old Continent, we Europeans were busy with much more important matters than ‘a little flu.’ In early March, Spain’s Communist government was focused on passing its aberrant “sexual freedom law.” With a name like that, you might think that we Spaniards have been procreating by pollination for 2000 years. Meanwhile, the Swiss press, strangely enough, seemed intent on overthrowing the Spanish monarchy, as if we hadn’t had enough of church-burning and coldblooded murder at the hands of the Second Republic. And a few days earlier, on March 2nd, the big issue in Switzerland was a referendum to pass a law banning any comments or attitudes against gay-friendly policies. It brings to mind the warning that Gómez Dávila, Colombian intellectual, gave us towards the end of the 20th century: “Despite what they teach us today, easy sex isn’t the solution to all our problems.”

Fancy that, sexual freedom is not going to solve our problems. Diaz next takes a look around the rest of Europe. He finds that the media has been preoccupied with the rants of a seventeen-year old Swedish truant. Oh yes, the Dutch government was hard at work on a pro-euthanasia bill:

In Sweden, Germany, and half of Europe, the front-page news on March 7th was another issue: (again) Greta Thunberg’s statements about the need to impose measures that reward women over men. It was around those days that the Dutch government announced a bill that would allow the euthanasia of any elderly person “tired of living.” It comes as no surprise that the Netherlands doesn’t seem too concerned about this coronavirus business. The last we heard from Holland is that the official channels are telling people: “Don’t bring weak patients and old people to hospital.” Looks like they’re only interested in saving the lives of young people. I guess they’re more photogenic and look better on postcards of tulip fields.

And the European press was also debating another very, very important issue: whether and how transgender athletes could participate in the Olympics:

Also during the first week of March, almost the entire European press devoted rivers of ink to discussing whether two transgender athletes should compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as men or women. One of Europe’s many progressive newspapers began this momentous debate thus: “Well into the 21st century, there is still much to be done on issues like racism, sexism and religion. And even on sexual identity.” These are classic phrases for an unserious mind; they never fail. If you want to know if someone is a charlatan, just listen out for the expressions, “Well into the 21st century” and, “There is still much to be done.”

Diaz next surveys the scene is Germany and Scotland:

In Germany, at the beginning of March, the controversy that dominated the nation was whether to erect a huge statue of Lenin in a small North Rhineland town. Interesting. Perhaps it was to scare the virus off. But Scotland is definitely my favorite. As the pandemic began to spread dramatically, the main debate in Scotland was the imperative need for a new government law to provide free tampons and sanitary pads. The issue went beyond Scotland and was the subject of some very intellectually dense op-eds in the broader European press. It was clear that the festival of incompetence and unicorn politics was to go on right up until the last minute before cataclysm.

As the epidemic was becoming a pandemic, where was the United Nations? You guessed it, the UN was leading the fight against the climate.

Diaz writes:

On March 10, with 118,100 diagnosed and 4,262 dead from coronavirus in Europe, the U.N. held a press conference . . . to commit to the political and economic fight against the climate emergency!


Thus, secretary-general Antonio Guterres trumpeted a report at us, saying that climate change acceleration will trigger heat and dengue deaths in Africa, and cause drought and flash floods in countries such as Spain, without explaining how it’s possible to die from thirst and drown at the same time.

The pandemic has discredited many pet leftist causes. Will the woke legions of the left learn the lesson. Will they recognize the extent to which their preoccupations were merely symptoms of their cultural decadence? And will they see the extent to which they are out of touch with reality?

In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.

Of course, Diaz is reporting from Spain, now ruled by a Social Communist government. As you know, Spain counts among the nations that are leading the world in coronavirus deaths. How did the government help the virus to infect people? And, no, that sentence was not a mistake. Would you believe, the government told everyone to participate in a rally for feminism on March 8:

 But probably the most vile reaction has been that of the Social Communist government in Spain, which encouraged Spaniards to participate massively in the March 8 feminist rallies, the next day hiding reports that the coronavirus was already out of control in the country — something they may well have to answer for in court. Vice President Carmen Calvo said at the time that to attend the demonstrations was a moral obligation for all Spaniards: “what is at stake is the life” of many people.

The results should have been predictable:

She [Calvo] was referring to violence against women, I think. It goes to show that Sanchez’s government only tells the truth by accident. Yes, many people’s lives were at stake, as we have unfortunately found out. Now Calvo is recovering from coronavirus, as are most of the members of government who took part in the demonstrations. Of course, the Spanish do not seem to be worried about the government’s taking a few days holiday: It’s worse when they’re actually on the job. The government is currently returning 650,000 defective coronavirus tests bought a few days ago. The president appeared on TV to show them off last Saturday, saying: “These are approved tests and that is very important, very important.” They don’t work. They weren’t from an approved Chinese supplier. Spain has been ripped off. A joke going around here in Spain says: “I took the government’s coronavirus test and… it’s a girl!”

Diaz continues to note that France and Germany have been touting their ability to manage the crisis. And yet, it appears that both countries are lying about the number of cases of the virus. We are all appalled to know that China has been lying about the number of cases. We hear about it all the time in our media. But, France and Germany doing the same thing… who would have thought it:

Even so, until a few days ago, Germany and France both boasted about their good crisis management. However, the truth is that lying does not solve the problem: We now know that neither Germany nor France is counting the deaths from coronavirus that occur outside of hospitals, and that the Germans don’t call it “death from coronavirus” if the patient had a previous illness.

Apparently, Europe is not quite as great as it thinks. As Italy and Spain overtake China in coronavirus cases and in mortality, it could take a lesson from Diaz and remark that its jejune preoccupations, both cultural and political, signal nothing more than a failure to launch, a failure to grow up, a failure to function as adults. So, Europe is being offered the chance to see the absurdity of its past and to undertake a makeover.

Europe, whose nations had staked everything on an all-powerful state that could protect its citizens from all evil, has been cruelly disappointed. The future is uncertain. But what is certain is that death and poverty are two words that will stay with us for a long time. Europeans now miss having competent governments, cohesive civil societies, responsible economic administrations, and citizens capable of giving their lives for others — that is to say, citizens with values. The same values that were deliberately excluded in the European Constitution in order to please the extreme left-wing secularists.


Webutante said...

Good post, Stuart. A cousin of mi e and his wife living as missionaries in Madrid report they have both had mild cases of coronavirus and recovering nicely as of their last email. At least they and many others are on the backside so they can help others in a while.

Deana said...

This is the most amazing piece. What Diaz highlights is decadence. Utter decadence.

I had another painful discussion a week ago with a very progressive relative of mine. She assured me that what was happening in the US was all of Trump’s fault. I told her that what was going on in the US was the logical conclusion of over 30 years of terrible policies. For example, one hospital I know spent millions over the past two years to build and develop a world class center for transgender heath and procedures. Yes. Really. And now, with the benefit of hindsight and a hideous reality staring us all in the face, it becomes apparent that perhaps all that money, time and resources should have been spent . . . elsewhere.

But all of that was shrugged aside. It’s all Trump’s fault I was assured. When I told her that even if we had a Democrat president we would still be in the same boat because, again, the ground work for where we are now was laid so long ago and no one, not even a magic Democrat, can make ppe, vents, doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists overnight, she disagreed and assured me we would be in a much better position.

These people do not seem to grasp the difference between reality and fantasy, or make believe. They seem utterly incapable of sensing real danger. And they have an endless capacity to focus on things that are most frivolous and decadent in nature. God help us if they come into power again.