(I have posted less these last few weeks than normal. When confronted with major new phenomena, I like to examine and ponder minutely. It is perhaps a bit of vanity that I want what I write to hold up over time, so knowing that I will get some things wrong, I try hard to get it as close to right as I possibly can so I have a firm foundation to build on. When many people whose judgment I respect have significantly different takes than I do, I examine them carefully – not for fear of offending them, but for fear of missing something significant. Since I have made it my firm policy since my early 20’s to candidly admit to error as soon as I recognize it, I take great pains to avoid it when I can, without giving in to fearful silence that risks nothing. I expect to be back to a more normal schedule this week – as I have worried this subject to death, contemplating the religious, social and political consequences of all that has beset us – while charting a nascent course through hope and normalcy under God. -CJ)
By Charlie Johnston
The Republic is dead; Long live the Republic
The most troubling thing about this Covid business is that none of it adds up. Draconian measures were adopted shutting down much of the world because, we were assured, this was the Godzilla of viruses set to rampage across the globe, spreading death and destruction everywhere. The estimates and models have continually been revised as the emergence of the virus actually bore more resemblance to the little green Geico gecko, sans the charming British accent and with a mildly venomous bite.
It is not just that all the projections and models have been wildly wrong (though they have), but that there has been large-scale intentional bowdlerization of the numbers that we do have. Deaths from other causes are being attributed to Covid – and it is not even being hidden. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encouraged medical personnel to attribute otherwise undistributed deaths due to flu, pulmonary, respiratory and heart diseases to Covid. I don’t understand why. I have gone through all manner of reverse engineering scenarios and still can’t quite get to the heart of all this.
Some folks at the top were genuinely frightened out of their minds early on about this. Who and why? It wasn’t the left – though they jumped in enthusiastically once they realized how they could leverage it to assert power over ordinary people who had become largely immune to all their threats and insults. The fact is, though, that in the early days of this developing, the left was universally dismissing the seriousness of it. (It is only since the projected numbers have shown to be magnified by at least a factor of 10 that the left became vested in making it seem to be far more than meets the eye rather than far less.) It was the experts themselves who were scared witless early on. Again, the question is why. It can’t just be because this is a new virus. All viruses mutate. We get a new one when two or more combine, producing an entirely new strain. It is a normal process that happens about every five to 10 years. So why the raw terror over this one? The H1N1 of a decade ago infected a lot more people than it looks like this one will.
A lot of top medical professionals have argued that, however justified the original reasons for the initial unprecedented panic, those fears have proven false. As one wit put it, it turns out that “this is a virus, not the zombie apocalypse.” However spooked ordinary doctors were at the beginning, a growing number have had enough of getting bad information from official sources. The thing is, those who say this has been a case of unjustified panic have cited statistics and their clinical observations from real patients to justify their conclusions. Those who further the panic have tended to use raw emotion to try to keep the fear level high. I have seen several argue that if you have not worked the sickrooms or seen people struggle for breath or die in your arms, you have nothing to say about this. What utter balderdash! If you promise to deliver me 400 lbs. of acceptable grade pork and instead deliver 400 lbs. of fat and gristle, I do not need to have raised the hogs and toted the feed to know I have been sold a pig in a poke. Give a plausible answer to the question of why all your statements have been so horribly wrong and hold the maudlin histrionics. It’s a dodge, not an answer. And yet, with all this, there is still the question of why there was such panic among governmental medical officials in the first place.
It could be that this was that blackest of swans, a spontaneous mass hysteria that gripped all the top policy makers at the same time. It is rare, but such things have happened in great societies before (if never before globally). But what if those experts knew something they are NOT telling us that justified their terror?
All viruses mutate. Most just have superficial annual rearrangements of surface proteins, called antigen drift, that can give us the sniffles before our immune system recognizes it as fundamentally something we have had before and fights it off. Approximately every five to 10 years, we get a genuinely new virus – which arises when two or more different strains combine to form something novel. This is called antigen shift – and it is from these new strains that all pandemics arise – because our immune systems are not trained at all to deal with them. Until our immune systems have developed that training, the new virus can affect many more people than it will be able to after the normal adjustment of our immune systems. Most of the time, these new viruses are annoying rather than particularly deadly. Every hundred years or so we get one that requires serious action. It has been a hundred years since the last really serious, highly infectious new virus made landing – the Spanish Flu that swept the world from 1917 to 1921. Even so, that does not justify the raw panic that caused us to collapse the global economy as a measure of fighting this latest novel virus.
We know to near certainty that this virus came from the Wuhan Viral Laboratory that specializes in research on coronaviruses. A growing number of people with expertise in the field plausibly assert that this virus was engineered by man (like a hybrid animal or plant species). That does not mean it was engineered to be a bio-weapon, though that is one reason for such bio-engineering. One of the things most commonly suggested was that it was being developed in hopes of finding an effective vaccine for AIDs. As a simplified general rule, the more infectious a virus is, the less deadly it is. The more deadly it is, the harder it is to get infected by it. Ebola has a near 90% mortality rate, but it is very hard to be infected with it. AIDs is almost entirely transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. It is mercurial; sometimes symptoms never develop and at others they don’t develop for years – but if they do develop, the mortality rate is pretty much 100%. As anyone who has ever been involved with cross-breeding knows, it is a tricky business. You try to combine the best qualities, but the results are often unexpected and profoundly counter-intuitive. It makes sense to me that, if an experiment involving a cross with the AIDs Virus accidentally escaped, the top experts would be scared out of their minds. It could be totally inert, it could be deadly and infectious, but no one would know until we had direct experience. The idea that we might end up with a virus that was both terribly infectious AND deadly would, indeed, terrify the experts – and it was much more likely if it was engineered than if it developed naturally. What if some of our American experts were collaborators in this research and knew what was going on? Well, it turns out that the National Institute of Health (NIH) WAS helping facilitate the Wuhan Laboratory’s research with a $3.7 million grant. Don’t blame Barack Obama for that. Back in 2014 he permanently forbade NIH from giving any funding to Wuhan and several other suspect viral research laboratories. Turns out Dr. Anthony Fauci ignored Obama’s order. So, if some American bureaucratic medical authorities KNEW what was going on in Wuhan and were actually complicit in facilitating it, this has little to do with public health and a lot to do with covering those bureaucrats’ hind sides.
I have been flummoxed by how little most people know about the basics of virology – and by the lack of curiosity about it even in the midst of a crisis created by fear of a virus. Too many would just prefer to defer to the “experts” even when the experts’ assertions are visibly proven badly wrong on a weekly basis. All sorts of pompous poppycock has been spread in sepulchral tones to keep people fearful. A few examples:
- Herd immunity only works on viruses that don’t mutate. Wrong! All viruses mutate.
- There is no cure for this virus. Right, but utterly irrelevant. There is no cure for any virus. Viruses are not cured; they are stopped by developing enough of a herd immunity that they can no longer survive. That sometimes happens naturally, but in modern times we have helped the process along by immunizations. Vaccines are NOT a cure. Rather, they inject a person with weakened strains of the virus to trigger an immune response and the formation of antibodies.
- The second wave will be a killer. Could be, but usually isn’t. Once a virus is in the mix, it is there permanently every season unless the herd immunity grows so strong that the virus is effectively eradicated (this is how smallpox was ultimately destroyed). Almost always the second wave is weaker than the initial debut of a virus – simply because a partial herd immunity has been established and the surface mutations that make for succeeding waves are superficial. Every few hundred years, those surface restructurings somehow hit a formula that is MORE virulent than the original wave. That is what happened with the Spanish Flu from 1917-1921. That is one of the rarest of phenomena. Most lasting pandemics in older days got their staying power from mass ignorance of basic hygiene. This is why all the social distancing and masks and such make it MORE likely that the second wave will be bad, for we are impeding the development of a full herd immunity in order to mitigate the first wave. That strategy makes sense if the first wave is particularly virulent, but little sense if it is not. Sweden’s strategy, which refused to destroy its economy and isolate its population, will emerge as the clear winner come the late fall.
- Antibodies are useless against this virus and there is no immunity. If that is true, there is no hope. Efforts at developing a vaccine would be useless – for the purpose of vaccines is to trigger immune reactions and develop antibodies.
What most bothers me is that a lot of this stuff is being said by people who have actual knowledge about such things. Since I know they know better, I can only conclude they are intentionally gaslighting the public – and that supports my growing theory that they have screwed up hugely and are trying to cover it by intentionally fomenting chaos and confusion.
If this is a man-made hybrid that has the equivalent of a delayed fuse for its most serious consequences, we have a rough time ahead of us. All the precautions we are taking now will not change that a whit. If it is not and we concede that all these draconian rules were worthwhile, even after reality showed it was fairly innocuous, then it would be perfectly legitimate to enact these draconian rules on a regular basis for things that we deal with several times each decade without destroying the social compact.
We have shredded the Constitution and destroyed a lot of people’s lives and livelihoods for a virus that, unless it was engineered to have a delayed effect, is within the normal range of new viruses. Idiotically, our experts now claim that it is our response that stopped Godzilla rather than that Godzilla never existed in the first place in order to justify their abuses. If that were true, those areas that did NOT respond early or with draconian rules would be in the midst of a true disaster. But it has followed the same pattern regardless of a region’s approach. By continuing to submit to emergency measures that inhibit those rights given us by God, we give preemptive permission to the budding authoritarians who have emerged among our governors and mayors to shut us down and suspend our rights any time they choose by declaring ordinary events an “emergency.” If we lack the common sense and the gumption to demand better than this, I guess we deserve the permanent loss of liberty and joy that is now clearly in sight.
Five hundred years from now, this will be viewed much the same as Nero’s burning of Rome for his own pleasure and, ironically, to destroy Christians. Our Churches, our communities, our first responders – all of us have some critical decisions to make very soon. The anti-God left has tried and failed to use coercion, accusation, and shaming to impose authoritarian socialist rule on this country. It has found a shiny new toy – unjustified fear. If, because of fear of getting sick, we willingly forfeit our liberty, we will not enter into a brave new world of serene social justice; we will be governed by roving bands of rival warlords and everything, including mortality from infectious disease, will skyrocket. The near 250 years of the American experiment has been a holiday from the savagery, depravity, brutality and strife that is the constant norm in world history. To our credit in America, we exported that liberty and robust prosperity to much of the rest of the globe, as we considered our Christian duty. Now we have come to the crossroads and must soon choose or see that liberty and prosperity perish from the face of the earth, receding back into the barbarous quest for power that history has always been.