15 Mar Coronavirus…Climate Change Hysteria on Steroids? UPDATED
UPDATE: We noted below “as ‘authorities’ everywhere declare emergency after emergency, and cancel school and concerts and sporting events and everything else, there may soon be an American spirit of rebellion and questioning arising.”
The Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee just encountered this American spirit…we wouldn’t be surprised if Governors DeWine in Ohio and Newsom in California soon have a similar experience.
As well-intentioned as governors are, they may be moving too far too fast, and their fears are triggering Americans to say “WTH?–who gave you the right to shut down my livelihood or my favorite restaurant or bar? We all care about our fellow Americans, and we don’t want anybody to be ill with the coronavirus, but you are messing with my and others freedom, and you had better have a damn good reason and a clear, short-time fuse on it, or we may just tell you to pound sand. And when you want to call on law enforcement or the National Guard to enforce your orders, you may find them telling you to pound sand, too.”
This is a helpful debate for Americans to have. America wasn’t built by the nanny state, and won’t survive if its society agrees that life’s purpose is to be nannied. As Jester the garbageman made clear, Americans pull together; they don’t roll over and wait for someone else to tell them what to do (or not do).
Too early to project exactly the right balance of wisdom, prudence and a healthy respect for the spirit of the American people, but these governors appear to have whiffed. We think President Trump retains the instincts to get it right, though he may be surrounded by a bunch of advisors who aren’t nearly as strong and get swept up in trying to duck or manage Beltway headlines. We’ll see.
Let’s start with a civilized stipulation: the coronavirus is not a good thing; nobody wants to see anybody ill, especially the most vulnerable among us; and by all means let’s act reasonably and wisely to slow the spread, then contain it, and ultimately remove it through a vaccine or other treatment. Let’s listen and give the benefit of the doubt to those charged with responsibility to help people get through this episode. And for an inspired battle cry for coronavirus as a unique enemy, see Victor Davis Hanson’s latest, “The Great Coronavirus War is Upon Us”.
But the parallels to climate change hysteria are hard to avoid, and also deserve attention.
Leftists have long seen climate change hysteria as the ultimate bipartisan ticket to manipulate the American people into giving up their freedom in exchange for the ‘benefits’ of necessary, centralized, expert control over the inputs and outputs that sophisticated computer models tell us control the climate of earth. With just enough panic introduced to the equation—how about ‘we only have 12 years left’?—the leftists’ hope is that Americans will roll over for the sake of survival. (Leftists’ stout refusal to entertain emissions-free nuclear power gives away their true intent as to the purpose of climate change agitation, but that’s’ a different post).
The ultimate bipartisan ticket has not, however, done the trick. Pesky Americans and others keep generating study after study that casts doubt on just about every postulate of climate change. Plus the American people have noticed, despite MSM determination not to address it, that virtually every major prediction generated by climate change experts via their sophisticated computer models have not come true.
For Americans paying attention, this level of failed predictions does not look like an indicator of ‘settled science’. It’s more like the age-old truism about all computer models: garbage in, garbage out. Or, to the more cynical: ‘show me (the programmer) the result you need to promote fear (and receive grant awards), and I’ll program the model to spit it out’.
So Americans have become justifiably skeptical of the climate change agenda; it just feels like politically-driven, over-hyped speculation that won’t stop to consider any resolution other than government takeover of everything that can be swept up under the label of having an impact on ‘climate’. Which is just about everything.
So what about the coronavirus? The kneejerk response of most Americans just a few weeks ago: ‘oh please, no one involved with this crisis would have any agenda other than resolving it, quickly and with as little harm to Americans as possible.’ But as computer models spit out more and more extreme predictions, and as ‘authorities’ everywhere declare emergency after emergency, and cancel school and concerts and sporting events and everything else, there may soon be an American spirit of rebellion and questioning arising.
For example, if I have a friend or neighbor whose son or daughter is on a team headed for the NCAA tournament, and I want to attend—why does someone have the authority to say I can’t? If I have a job selling concessions at a basketball arena, and need the income and am willing to do the work, why does someone have the authority to tell me that a disease that I probably won’t catch and won’t hurt me if I do still means I can’t go to work? I can read about the virus, decide I’m not a mortality risk, wash my hands, and decide for myself. Or can I?
The answer is: shush, you foolish American. This is serious; this is a pandemic. The World Health Organization says so. Who are you to question the WHO or CDC? The WHO doesn’t have time for you yahoos; they have a world to protect. Listen to the experts. Don’t think of them as the ruling class; think of them as ‘experts’. And obey accordingly and immediately. They will let you know when you can live normally again.
And further, you yahoos questioning the judgement of school administrators, sports leagues and others deciding to cancel or suspend everything, what do you think you’d do in their shoes if faced with the liability exposure our legal system would put on you if a bunch of people got sick at your facility or event?
These last two paragraphs are clearly winning the day for now. And there is a generation of American millennials and others who would read this post and be utterly aghast at the mere notion that anyone could be less than acutely afraid or less than fully willing and eager to embrace self-quarantining. They grew up with unconditional faith in experts, and the experts have spoken; there is nothing to do but wait for their permission to resume life. And if they don’t give that permission, then get your affairs in order.
Moreover, as and when the country and the world emerges out of this fear, the continuing drumbeat of leftists everywhere will be that the crisis never should have happened or would have happened had there been greater control by and expertise in the government for directing people’s decisions about where to travel and what social activities to engage in and with whom. Voila!…a totalitarian nanny state on the way to fruition via nationalized healthcare triggered by the coronavirus pandemic—and while they’re at it, they can move to control everything that might relate to climate change, too…all for the safety and health of the people.
So will coronavirus hysteria be the blitzkrieg version (Nazi war analogy intended) of climate change hysteria–accomplishing very quickly what climate change hysteria failed to accomplish in a couple of decades?
We doubt it. There remains in America a huge and active Judeo-Christian faith in the God of the Bible as the ultimate source of America itself and of the American ideal of freedom. The Bible that includes:
Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
“Do you question who or what I’m making?
Are you telling me what I can or cannot do?
I made earth,
and I created man and woman to live on it.
(Isa. 45:11, from The Message)
Rush Limbaugh has frequently addressed how his own Christian faith is at the core of his longstanding disbelief in man-controlled climate change. There are millions of Americans who share his faith perspective, whether or not they would articulate it in exactly the same words Rush uses. At bottom, there is a shared, innate confidence that there exists a loving Creator whose creation (us) is meant to live in liberty, and produce and multiply and overcome all manner of material limitation—not submit to them or be destroyed by them. That confidence ultimately manifests itself in a spirited refusal to submit to hysterical doom and gloom, no matter who or what is the apparent cause. And triumph begins with the refusal to submit.
Let’s look for that spirit to rise in America again, soon.