Every crisis creates its own lessons; stone buildings after the great fire of London, Victorian sewers after the Thames became polluted, gas fires after choking London fogs. Politically, the League of Nations after WWI, the United Nations after WWII, along with the European Union, the GATT and the World Bank. In shipping, enough lifeboats for passengers after the sinking of the Titanic.
So what are the lessons we’re learning from the Wuhan Flu, or the Chinese Corona Virus, or if you must, Covid-19?
The first, and most important lesson, is that humanity has broken all the natural firewalls between societies with international air travel, meaning a bacterial or viral plague, formerly limited by geography, is now able to leap oceans and continents in a few hours. It’s as if we’d poured a trail of gasoline from the front door to every room in the house. One spark, in one place, leads to a total conflagration.
Humanity has also sharply increased human concentrations in cities. As little as 120 years ago, most Canadians, most people in the world, lived in the country. Now we all live in cities, crammed into 600 and 800 square foot condominium apartment buildings with thousands of others. If you’re going to have a fire, or an epidemic, there’s nothing like an apartment tower, or an old folks home, to start things off with a bang.
In the past, ocean trips, that lasted weeks, left many diseases to perish on the waves, or on quarantined ships, or quarantine islands. Not now. Now we have stricken travelers greeted with requests to “self-isolate” or to practice “social-distancing.” How much social distancing do you think there is in an apartment elevator for a major building?
Which brings up the question of where those buildings are located; in cities. The purpose of cities, which most people have forgotten, was to speed the interaction between buyers and sellers. If they could all walk to each other’s offices or businesses, interactions could be done in minutes rather than the days it would take if people lived in the country. Now we have the Internet where everyone is connected instantly. There is no need for cities, and every reason to start to empty them, but instead of growing smaller, they increase every year.
So, to review those two facts, speed of transportation and increasing population density, we see that the one speeds the transmission of infection around the world, and the other speeds it around population centres. The solution is to do away with the former and disperse the latter. These are the two major lessons of the Coronavirus.
There are more. First among the political lessons is that the nation state is revealed, once again, as the bastion of security for any population. International organizations are incompetent at handling international problems requiring barriers because their whole ethos is to knock down barriers, not create new ones. It’s a curious fact that they have forgotten the reason the Internet was created. It was designed to be able to resist an atomic attack by not being centralized. And yet, governments are pursuing policies which are centralizing, not decentralizing.
The Wuhan Coronavirus is showing us how short-sighted globalism and open borders are in practice. What we need, indeed, what we are resorting to out of desperation, is closed borders and national regimes; the exact opposite of what world leaders have been working toward.
Let’s not forget the environmental movement which has advocated public transportation for the last sixty years. More efficient, they used to say, than private transportation. Yes, more efficient at spreading lethal diseases. The environmental crazies also had us stop using higenic paper or plastic bags, and start using unhygienic reusable bags. They were also big on fresh vegetables, and opposed to vegitables that had been canned, killing pathogens. And farm animals in backyards, just like China, another crazed environmental idea.
Indeed, if you add up all the environmental ideas of the last 50 years, from wind energy, to sealed homes, to public transportation, to Agenda 21, what you get is a prescription for world depopulation. The death of mankind. Indeed, the more honest of these freaks, freely admit they’d like to see three or four Billion fewer humans on planet Earth.
So would some very rich people who find the surging crowds in our cities a crisis that must be dealt with.
It makes one wonder if the Wuhan flu is a solution in some minds, rather than a problem. Indeed, to environmentalists, and the wealthy alike, we are the problem. That is the real lesson of the Wuhan flu.