By now, it is obvious to those who follow the news even in the smallest regard, that the Coronavirus Pandemic is a major international crisis. As of writing this, over 500,000 people have been infected worldwide, and there have been over 25,000 fatalities – with Italy suffering over 600 deaths a day. Those of us in the Dissident Right who followed this from the beginning predicted what could happen if China was not sealed off – and we have been proved right to a large degree. It is remarkable that anonymous online accounts correctly sensed the danger that was looming, and even more remarkable that most governments and international organisations did not.
Despite having access to classified intelligence reports and other sources of information, most countries sat on their hands for weeks and maintained air travel with China, and simply watched the horror show unfold in Wuhan. Italy, Spain and Iran are now paying the price for that complacency, and it seems the rest of the West will follow their fate. The reports from various news agencies, which alleged that Tucker Carlson had to persuade President Trump to take the crisis seriously, really do sum up the caliber of the West’s politicians. Meanwhile the mainstream media, who for weeks claimed that travel bans would not stop the virus and were racist, are now currently complaining that politicians aren’t implementing travel bans fast enough. Indeed, journalists in Britain are (rightly) now trying to lobby the government to stop air passenger traffic coming into the country, yet just two weeks ago they were calling anybody who wanted a ban on travel from Italy bigots.
On top of that, journalists are claiming that face masks don’t work when the public use them; which is obviously propaganda, designed to run cover for the public sector who are desperately buying them up in bulk. Considering that face masks have been used by commuters in east Asia for decades, I think it is safe to assume they work at least to some degree. And on the subject of equipment needed to stop or at least slow down the spread of Coronavirus, I find it rather bizarre that no country in the world seems to have ventilators in reserve for any emergency situation. Considering how easy they are to make (as demonstrated by innovative-minded people in recent days), it seems reckless that no country bothered to prepare for any possible pandemic in the future.
It is amazing, perhaps infuriating, that despite the Ebola outbreak of 2013-16, where hawkish Western-led efforts stopped the disease establishing itself outside of Africa, the same approach was not taken this time. Indeed, the World Health Organisation’s official statement from February 4th on Coronavirus, which was beyond parody, not only demonstrated incompetence, but also showed the rise of Chinese influence in international institutions: ‘We reiterate our call to all countries not to impose restrictions that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit’.
The Coronavirus has now managed to spread across the world and establish itself on every continent apart from Antarctica, and has put the world’s economy in bailout territory. The ramifications of our current predicament, (whether it’s 3 month lockdowns, universal basic income, mass unemployment or civil unrest), are consequences that could have been easily avoided if the response to Ebola had been replicated. Of course this was largely impossible, because China did not allow international assistance during the height of its pandemic in Wuhan. However, Western governments did not follow the isolating procedures on international flights from China, in the same way that they did from international flights from certain West African countries during the Ebola outbreak.
While it is easy to compare the relative might of Chinese import to the interconnected world to dysfunctional West Africa, there is an ideological issue at play. This shows just how strongly the anti-racism narrative has ramped up in the last 6 years, and how politicians fear it – even in major life threatening events. After all, was it not the fear of causing ‘anti-Chinese’ feeling which took precedent until just recently?! Having said that, even non-Western countries in the Middle East and Africa didn’t close their borders until it was too late, so globalized incompetence is indeed an observable reality.
In regards to the internet, the absurd narratives which have developed online which play down – or outright deny – what is going on is simply astonishing. The first group has been the China apologists, who insist that the Chinese Government had led a heroic response to the virus, despite the reality that the Chinese government actually covered up the virus for 3 weeks by censoring Doctors – one of whom famously died. This apologist narrative has recently gone even further, with some twitter accounts defending the eating of dogs, bats and live mice in a self-defeating attempt to bolster their argument.
However, by far the largest group in denial – even when Italy is experiencing 600 deaths a day from the virus – has been centre-right conservative libertarians. Some of these are online personalities, others have huge influence in the real world, yet they all descended into ‘cope mode’ as soon as things got bad. The reason for this I suspect is that their entire political philosophy and political loyalty is based around the free market and economic growth – both of which are being brought to their knees by the pandemic. Considering that Goldman Sachs has predicted a 24% (temporary) contraction of GDP in America, they’re not going to feel better anytime soon.
One of their ‘cope’ arguments is to point out the low death rate in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and use it to persuade people that no major response to the virus is needed. Of course, what they conveniently don’t mention, or are unaware of, is that these 3 countries have been partially shut down for two months, and they also acted immediately after the crisis in Wuhan was revealed. This is why the different death rates in South Korea and Italy are so stark – the latter foolishly hesitated and has paid the price. However to Conservatives, especially Republicans in America and Libertarians in Britain, this reality does not seem to shift their judgement. People on this side of the internet have often made fun of the centre-right’s loyalty to the stock market, yet few of us probably thought it would extend to allowing a pandemic to sweep across the West rather than see the Big Line on a screen going down.
Wider society has also been interesting to observe over the last few months, and it’s fair to say that suspicions among reactionaries, right-wing groups and ‘preppers’ have been at least partially confirmed. The low information population, which were highly complacent about the virus from late January to early-March, suddenly flipped into panic buying mode the moment their 9-5 routines came under threat. In many ways, the mainstream media’s downplaying of the effectiveness of travel bans, which in turn gave the impression that the virus wasn’t that bad, is partly responsible for the public’s sudden change in behavior. In just a few days, the public’s perception of the virus went from ‘It’s just the flu’ to ‘Oh my goodness look at Italy’ – the inevitable result is low level chaos.
The group-think behavior displayed in Britain though, where millions of people now gather every Thursday outside their houses and clap, (to say thank you to healthcare workers), has revealed just how malleable most people are. There is something absolutely bizarre about this kind of behavior, and it’s not just caused by virtue signalling either. Remarkably, this weekly ‘clapping event’ was only organised through Facebook in the space of just 12 hours, yet a weird social pressure accompanied it despite its sudden occurrence – to such an extent that the Prime Minister, Chancellor and the Royal Family joined in. ‘Oh you didn’t stand outside your front door and clap up at the sky to say thank you? Why not?!’ Even during the Blitz, when 40,000 civilians died, there was no mass clapping event. People just did the jobs they were expected to do and got on with it – somebody saying ‘thank you’ now and again was deemed enough praise.
None of us of course are perfect, and it’s impossible to predict how everyone will react in dark times until they happen – although I suspect we have quite a good idea. The last few months though have been very revealing, and some people who I regarded as wise in real life and online have disappointed me in their response to what is going on. On top of that, a mixture of incompetence, denial and u-turns by the liberal order has revealed that even the staunchest open borders advocates will flip their beliefs the moment their own lives are put in danger. Did they call you racist a few months ago? Of course they did. Are they now adopting your sensible policies? Of course they are. Do they care about their own stupidity? No.
This certainly won’t be the last crisis that humanity faces, and indeed, it certainly won’t be the last crisis where lessons aren’t learned.