You Have the Right to Remain Stupid

The vicious contagion presents perhaps the most significant personal opportunity for change in our lifetimes.  That’s because the bustle has broken down.  The pursuit of money, sex, power, and other magnets are all on hold. We are now apart from the daily machine that can grind us into unthinking, callous people.  At least most of us are.
So, how about some introspection?  Some inward evaluation.  An honest appraisal of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Maybe we start with the country and then we’ll get to what’s really important – our own selves – as the country singers might say.
An essential question for me is: how did this country get so hateful?  

If you are following the contagion news, you know the blame game has kicked in.  It’s the ‘Trump virus,’ according to a New York Times columnist. Another far left writer in that liberal journal (it no longer meets the standards of a newspaper) says the virus is enabled by ultra-religious Christians who ‘deny science.’  Of course, she ties that into the climate change debate as well as President Trump.

On the right, some loons accuse China of weaponizing the contagion without a shred of evidence to back up the claim.
With so much craziness available on the net, often disseminated by corporate media, the divisive atmosphere has fueled a unique kind of American loathing.  Many of us actively despise those with whom we disagree.
Thus, in our newfound downtime, we might think about whether we are a part of the loathing movement and if we are, whether that is enhancing our individual lives.
And then there is ‘what your country can do for you.’ President Kennedy rejected that sentiment, but today the concept is warmly embraced by millions of Americans who firmly believe in the Bernie Sanders doctrine: that the government should provide.  No need for self-reliance, that’s for fools.  A vast central power structure will dictate what Americans can and cannot have.  We the people are not the deciders.  Bernie and his comrades would be.
It is simply incredible to me, a son of the Cold War, that socialism is on the rise in America.  Perhaps during the contagion we can think hard about our individual freedoms which are under assault from the virus.  Do you like being told how to live and where you can go?  How about you, Democratic Party, are you embracing the restrictions we are seeing?  They are obviously necessary.  But they are also a vivid message. This is what can happen all the time when big government totalitarians rule.
On the social front, are you a due process denier?  Do you condemn neighbors based on gossip?  Are you supportive of the trend that all allegations are convictions?  When Brett Kavanaugh was almost destroyed, it was an accusation, not hard facts, that brought him to the brink.  One brave woman, Senator Susan Collins, saved him.  Hundreds of our elected officials embraced the noose.
Finally, what about you?  Do you fear the virus?  Why?  Are you afraid to die?  Do you fear giving the contagion to people you love? Are strangers part of the equation?  Do you feel for the suffering and dying?  Do you pray for them?  Do you pray at all?
All throughout history the world has suffered as it is suffering now.  Those who see the big picture understand that dreadful plagues, wars, natural disasters, and human atrocities are all part of earthly existence.  
People who accept that and learn from the viral calamity, are likely to prosper in the aftermath.
People who see themselves as victims and who lament the loss of individual pursuits, will stay in place.  And, in America, we still have that right – to remain selfish and even more harshly – to remain stupid.

The Contagion Chronicles

Terrorists all over the world are watching the world panic closely.  Biological warfare has been a reality for decades.  You may remember that Saddam Hussein expelled weapons inspectors from the United Nations after the 9/11 terror attack, which led to the Iraq war.  Saddam’s terror thugs, the Mukhabarat, had indeed developed biological agents but secretly destroyed the program before the fighting began – completely fooling allied intelligence services.
Today, many nations have developed virus weaponry and terrorists would love to acquire the lethal bugs.  COVID from China (sorry race-baiters) has succeeded in severely damaging the worldwide economy and will eventually kill more than one million people. There will, I believe, be a vaccine soon that will ease the disaster, but more viruses are coming.
Some have speculated that Chinese researchers actually spread the virus after it escaped from a lab near Wuhan.  But my investigation says that is false.
In October, 2007, clinical micro-biologists at the University of Hong Kong released a report entitled “SARS-CoV as an agent of Emerging/Re-emerging Infection.”  The paper clearly states the danger:
“Coronaviruses are well known to undergo genetic recombination, which may lead to new genotypes and outbreaks.  The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb … therefore the need for preparedness should not be ignored.”
But that warning was ignored.  Because governments are rarely proactive.  Most countries owe enormous amounts of money and the USA leads the league.  Once we get out of this plague, America will owe close to $25 trillion dollars.  Few countries spend money on medical theories because they simply can’t afford it.
So respirators and virus test kits were not stockpiled. Disease threats from the backwaters of China went largely unknown. And now the contagion rages.
Corona will change many things in America, here are just a few.

The Second Amendment will be strengthened as self-protection rises.

Socialism in America will be crippled as the vital virus vaccine will likely emerge from private drug companies, the ones demonized by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
America’s partisan media will lose even more credibility over foolish and distorted reporting designed not to inform the public, but to engender panic and disillusionment in order to harm the powers that be in Washington.
Trust in the financial markets will plummet. Folks will not only hoard paper supplies, they’ll lockbox cash.
Summing up: many people will suffer in many ways because primitive fools ate infected bats in China.  The damage is severe with evil people taking measure.

It’s Sick

It is the speed of the contagion that has folks spooked.  That and the media play-by-play.  There’s a virus coming to your house. Just like that Stephen King book.

Just three weeks ago, life in America was pretty standard.  Now everything is shut down and Tom Hanks has Corona.  What happened?

Disease happened.  Global travel happened. Worldwide government bureaucracies initially failed as they usually do.  We have a list in this country: Al Qaeda, Katrina, Maria, Vietnam, Iraq.  On and on.

The committed left media is hyping and using the illness to try to drive President Trump from office.  Here’s Trump-hater Gail Collins in The New York Times: “Let’s call it TrumpVirus.  If you’re feeling awful, you know who to blame.”

Really astute analysis from Ms. Collins.  I don’t know how she does it.

More brilliance from Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.  She puts forth that telling people NOT to panic, as the federal government is doing, is a bad strategy.  Ms. Noonan apparently believes panic is okay.

If you look up the word “panic” in the dictionary, you’ll see this: “Sudden uncontrollable fear and anxiety, often causing unthinking behavior.”

Could it be that Peggy Noonan wrote her column in a panic?  Just asking.

Clear-thinking people are right to fear the Coronavirus because it spreads quickly from even casual human contact.  It’s an “airborne” contagion, unlike AIDS or Ebola.  That’s scary even if you tend to be brave.

So caution is a good protection.  Panic is not.  And blaming the virus on Donald Trump is stupid and loathsome.  No national leader could stop the illness and the USA is certainly trying to contain the infection.

Of course mistakes will be made.  This is a sudden plague upon the land.  Some things will work, some will not.

President Trump told the nation that “we are all in this together.”  But I don’t believe that at all.  Richer folks are better protected than the poor.  Country people have a stronger chance to avoid infection than citizens packed into the cities.  We are not together in America, we are badly divided politically, residentially, and culturally.

Finally, there will be people who attempt to exploit the virus for political and/or financial gain. They will try to use human suffering to advance their own interests.

I am watching these people.  And I will report back.  Because it’s sick.

Hope and Change

(Baltimore)  Cruising around the poor neighborhoods of this troubled city it is easy to see why millions of Americans want to destroy free enterprise and allow a giant federal government to take care of them. The false promise of Bernie Sanders is just another in a long line of political deception. The truth is simply too difficult for some Americans to hear.
Thousands of Baltimoreans live in hovels, surrounded by degenerate criminals selling narcotics and threatening lethal violence at any time.  Liberal authorities now demand sympathy for these brutal poison pushers and the result is that millions of honest poor people all over the country are trapped in their dire circumstance. 
They can’t flee because they have no money.  Their lack of resources almost always correlates to a poor education. Simply put, these Americans cannot compete for a decent salary.  And so they are prisoners, dependent on government subsidies to survive and subject to the daily indignities of danger and decay.
President Barack Obama promised impoverished folks and all Americans “hope and change.” But little changed during his eight years in office except more hopelessness.  That feeling often leads to addiction, making poverty and crime even worse. Baltimore is the poster city for that.
Mr. Obama tried to improve the lives of the poor but, again, did not succeed.  His “income redistribution” economic polices caused corporations and small businesses to freeze.  Hiring was scant and salaries stagnant.  Capitalism works best when the marketplace expands and workers are needed to increase profits.  That did not happen under President Obama.
Donald Trump has done better in the economic area but he is not going to improve the ghettos of Baltimore.  That’s because no government can do that.  If an American cannot perform a job effectively, he or she will face deprivation no matter what promises charlatans like Sanders and Warren make.
The solution to poverty is education but the cold truth is that honesty does not exist in the public school system because if you do tell the truth, you will be branded a racist.
So here is the unvarnished truth: children from chaotic homes with irresponsible parents need the confidence that comes with individual achievement. And in order to achieve you need discipline and motivation. All students must respect the boundaries imposed by the educational process or they will fail in life.  Got it, Bernie?
Therefore, every public school student in this country should be required to wear a uniform provided by the state. That will send a message to the child that they are involved in a serious enterprise that will require cooperation from each of them.
Students should learn at a reasonable pace, and be taught the essentials of life in the United States.  Not be given a curriculum of victimhood and failure.  Social promotion should be banished.
But the left in America opposes those things and provides a constant drumbeat that it’s impossible for non-affluent citizens to succeed.  The kids hear that.
Public schools must repudiate that terrible lie.
Those students who refuse to cooperate, should be placed in therapeutic schools, where they can get personalized support – not be allowed to disrupt other students who want to succeed on society’s terms.
It is my belief that committed leftists like Bernie Sanders really don’t care about elevating poor Americans because self-reliance and disciplined learning is the key to fighting poverty – not a giant state apparatus which the socialists adore.
Bernie’s bro Fidel Castro used his power to insure most Cubans stay poor.  That’s what happens when the state runs things.
Back in the USA, hope becomes sparse when a child has derelict parents and lives in a violent neighborhood. The only chance is to educate that child well and tell the kids the truth: learning, hard work, and honesty is your ticket to success in life.
Sadly, that is not even close to happening in today’s America.

The Tribal States of America

As America emerged victorious after World War II, an era of unity swept the country. Then television arrived, causing a cultural unification of the American people. Everybody knew who Ed Sullivan was. The Bonanza boys, Mary Tyler Moore, the Fonz, all had national recognition beyond anything ever seen.

On the radio, the same pop music was played on AM stations all across the land and with the arrival of Motown, African-American entertainment finally went mainstream. In addition, black sports figures like Willie Mays and Bill Russell were admired from coast to coast. The word “united” really was appropriate in the culture and, to a lesser extent, in the accepted view of how the country should be run.

Now that is gone.

America is no longer a united assortment of states. We have devolved into tribalism because of technology. Our devices allow us to think small, to pursue our self-interest constantly with others who like what we like.

Stamp collecting, hunting, fitness, finance, sports, religion, if you want to lose yourself in a specific world, you can easily do it. And you don’t even have to leave the house.

Thus, our common culture is vanishing, no longer does entertainment or education or even faith bind us together. Today, it is every person for him, her or, insert your own pronoun, self.

So the question becomes how can a nation made up of millions of self-absorbed tribes govern itself? There is little prevailing national interest anymore. “We’re all in this together” has vanished.

It has been replaced by “where’s what I want?”

Tribalism extends to politics, of course, and we are vividly seeing that in the struggles of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders could not have happened ten years ago. Democrats were very happy with their liberal but conventional leader Barack Obama, a man who won the presidency while opposing gay marriage and espousing other traditional beliefs. Today, you cannot even run as a democrat if you don’t embrace gay nuptials or support late-term abortion.

But some “moderate” democrats do remain. However, they are being eclipsed by traditional liberals, far-left progressives, and the socialist/communist element. The democrats are now divided into tribes. Some love Bernie, others support Bloomberg, South Carolina dems rallied for Biden. But these men share little common ground and are propelled by the tribes that support them, not a central party.

The result, as we are seeing, is chaos. Senator Sanders leads the primary pack, but the democrat establishment does not want him to run against President Trump because the poobahs think he’ll lose. It is a becoming bitter situation.

In the past, political winds have shifted every few years in America and that might happen again if the Democratic Party gets destroyed in November.

But what will never happen again is a spirit of “E Pluribus Unum.” Out of many, one.

High technology has rendered that motto obsolete so we need a new slogan. Perhaps something like: “In tribes we trust.”