Saturday, April 4, 2020

Will Coronavirus Change the World?

Roll out the great minds. Our elite intellectuals are having a moment. They are training their sights on the future, predicting the ways that the coronavirus will change the world. After all, they love to think about what isn’t, and they are waxing prophetic about how our world will never be the same again.

From philosopher John Gray to Henry Kissinger himself, they all agree that the 2020 pandemic will mark a decisive turning point in human history. For those who possess a healthy cynicism this means that very little will change.

After all, the American Democratic Party, sustained by our greatest media intellectuals, have been working the virus for political advantage. They have done everything in their power to blame it on Trump, no matter what happens. Now they want to investigate the Trump administration. Because the best way to help the administration deal with the virus is to tie it down with subpoenas. 

Naturally, the media is the worst. Not one of them can even feign any interest in eliciting factual information. Their goal in life is to undermine Trump’s authority, in a practice that continues to feel like sedition. The free press, exercising its constitutional rights, has become a propaganda organ, its sole purpose being to score points against the president.

Kurt Schlicter describes these great minds (via Maggie’s Farm):

We Americans are truly blessed by having a mainstream media full of brilliant renaissance men, women, and gender non-specific entities who are masters of so many varied and intermittently useful skills and who are eager to share their knowledge with us benighted souls. The pandemic has revealed that every urban Twitter blue check scribbler, MSNBCNN panelist, NYT/WaPo doofus, and barely legal “senior editor” of a website you never heard of, is a Nobel Prize-winning epidemiologist, a master logistician, and a diversity consultant too boot.

They may all be lousy journalists, but damn it, they are also lousy at other jobs that they didn’t even pretend to train to do.

It’s awesome to see people with zero life experience in any relevant field weighing in as if we shouldn’t just laugh in their pimply faces. 

And then there are the labor unions. It is worth noting that unions are now doing their best to try to extract concessions from their employers… because that’s what unions do. Witness what is happening in New York State. Victoria Taft describes the situation at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York:

And the middle of a national emergency, in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a time when everyone is making sacrifices, union members are threatening Amazon: Do what I say. Or Else.

New York's far-left collection of socialists, unionistas, and lawmakers have sent letters to Bezos and his top executives to dictate to them how they should run the warehouse that is bringing food and other necessities to Americans who can't go out and get them.

To be clear, they're not just threatening Amazon, the unions have threatened everyone who has come to rely on the ubiquitous company.

As PJ Media's Tyler O'Neil reports, it all started with a warehouse worker who was fired when he declared the Amazon warehouse unsafe for the employees during the COVID-19 outbreak and decided to organize a strike. Well, that's how the unions tell it. 

The backstory is a bit more, ah, interesting than that. It turns out that the wannabe unionist was under orders not to come to work because he'd been exposed to COVID-19 and was on fully PAID medically-ordered quarantine. He came to his strike anyway and potentially exposed other people to the virus. That's why he was fired. He broke the company's COVID-19 protocols.

Be that as it may, the imbeciles who we have elected to govern New York State have decided to threaten the jobs of Amazon employees in Staten Island. After all, led by a certifiable imbecile named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they already persuaded Amazon to change its mind about its Queens hub. Will the Staten Island warehouse be the next to go?

If you like, while we inveigh against the Chinese Communist Party and their own influence on factory unions, we should all watch the Oscar winning documentary, American Factory. There we learn that American labor unions, along with excessive red tape, are far more intrusive and obstructive than is the Chinese Communist Party. It is not an accident that only 6% of the private sector workforce is now unionized. 

Anyway, it’s one thing to say we want other countries to practice free enterprise and democratic governance, if we expect other countries to adopt our political system we should at least make it work over here. We do not make it work if we have a seditious press and labor unions who would rather shut down a factory than to work for the common good. And if we have government officials who place their party good ahead of the national good.

A threat like the corona virus ought to unite the country. It ought to bring us all together in a common purpose, toward a common end. It’s one thing to say that we need vigorous public debate. It’s quite another to say that we should undermine the authority of the executive in the midst of a war.

Of course, some of those who see a brave new world emerging from the pandemic are more interesting and intelligent. Consider the case of philosopher John Gray, writing in the New Statesman. Gray is a notably pessimistic soul, but an uncommonly intelligent one too.

He begins by saying that the pandemic has put an end to globalization. It has told us that we should not be reliant on other nations for essential goods. It has exposed a crack in the free trade foundation.

Naturally, now that we know how much we rely on China for medication and for techno gadgets, our great thinkers have decided to declare rhetorical warfare against China… the better to persuade Chinese companies to cease relying on America. And besides, everyone ought to know that China counterpunches. If you threaten it, it will threaten back. Hopefully, those who are beating the war drums against China have a way of countering any counterpunch… with something other than empty rhetoric.

Gray writes about the end of globalization and the end of wistful hopes for international community:

The era of peak globalisation is over. An economic system that relied on worldwide production and long supply chains is morphing into one that will be less interconnected. A way of life driven by unceasing mobility is shuddering to a stop. Our lives are going to be more physically constrained and more virtual than they were. A more fragmented world is coming into being that in some ways may be more resilient. 

Universalism is giving way to nationalism. Suddenly, we have discovered the virtue of borders and boundaries. 

But, Gray suggests that we are not going back to mercantilist policies, to a world where everything is produced locally. It is nice to say that we are going to bring manufacturing back home, but whatever makes anyone think that American factories can produce the same quality products at a feasible price point.

It’s the end of Davos. In Gray’s terms:

Human numbers are too large for local self-sufficiency to be viable, and most of humankind is not willing to return to the small, closed communities of a more distant past. But the hyperglobalisation of the last few decades is not coming back either. The virus has exposed fatal weaknesses in the economic system that was patched up after the 2008 financial crisis. Liberal capitalism is bust. 

He continues:

With all its talk of freedom and choice, liberalism was in practice the experiment of dissolving traditional sources of social cohesion and political legitimacy and replacing them with the promise of rising material living standards. This experiment has now run its course. Suppressing the virus necessitates an economic shutdown that can only be temporary, but when the economy restarts, it will be in a world where governments act to curb the global market.

Surely, America is suffering from a lack of social cohesion. You might believe, as I do, that America’s progressive left, what with its disdain for patriotism, has effectively sabotaged America’s sense of national purpose. For that we must give credit to the Obama administration. 

Surely, Gray makes an interesting point when he suggests that liberalism has recommended that we replace social cohesion with rising living standards. If you watch American Factory or observe how nations in Asia are dealing with the coronavirus, you will have noticed that they extol the value of company and national loyalty. These civic virtues are on life support in today’s America.

While America’s liberal journalists bemoan the end of their liberal order, Gray points out sagely that there is no global authority that can manage the crisis:

There is no world authority to enforce an end to growth, just as there is none to fight the virus. Contrary to the progressive mantra, recently repeated by Gordon Brown, global problems do not always have global solutions. Geopolitical divisions preclude anything like world government. If one existed, existing states would compete to control it. The belief that this crisis can be solved by an unprecedented outbreak of international cooperation is magical thinking in its purest form.

A nice note to end the post. 


Leo G said...

European union anyone?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Leftism is based on magical thinking — dogmas and articles of faith with no basis in reality.

But it all sounds so nifty, doesn’t it?

They’re children.

And it’s no wonder they hate religions. Those religions are categorical competitors.

Reminds me of that Robert Fulghum book, “All I Ever Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Sentimental rubbish.Silly. Foolish. Tripe.

trigger warning said...

You just don't know what color your parachute is, IAC.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Indeed, I do not. But I do know Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. So there.

Seriously, coronavirus has changed the world in many ways. Many ways for the better, methinks.

Nations matter.

Borders matter.

Domestic production of critical goods matters.

Infrastructure matters.

The “International Community” (whatever that is) is disgusted with China now. And should be.

Public health matters.

Immigration controls matter.

Citizenship matters.

It is clear the Big Enemedia is a disgraceful, unserious rabble of lunatic activists.

The list could go on and on.

I’m just glad Trump is president, and not Obama, Hillary or Biden. Although the words would be more soaring/soothing, and the sycophantic press coverage would be more calming to watch.

The Globalist crusade/experiment has been unmasked, for all to see.

I am optimistic.

UbuMaccabee said...

IAC, me, too