The best defense against corruption in the halls of power of any people are moral and competent officials who seek the best interest of the people they presume to represent, serve and govern.
The second best defense is a people, or in the case of America today, let’s say an electorate, who are themselves moral and competent.
That is, they are ruled by self-restraint, guided by a sense of selfless patriotism, and are by and large informed.
Such a people are not easily or for long led astray by demagogues in government, or deceived by dishonest opinion-shapers, whatever form they may take.
Considering the fallibility and corruptibility of man, power’s corrupting influence and the attraction of the corrupt to power, any people, including “We, the People,” are wise at all times to view those in power, and their decrees and opinions, with a healthy dose of skepticism and suspicion.
The crisis brought on by the coronavirus is certainly no exception.
The governments of the world, in order to combat the spread and effect of the coronavirus, have elected to severely limit human interaction and, as a result, have seriously depressed the economy.
This has dramatically impacted the richest among us, the working poor and everyone in between — and may do so for some time to come.
My questions are as follows: Are the governments of the world reacting wisely? If not, are they overreacting? And if so, why? Is it panic, ignorance, incompetence or corruption? Or what degree and combination of the four?
My opinion is that governments around the globe are overreacting to a serious problem and that, while a degree of panic, ignorance and incompetence must play a part, the driving force is corruption, or to put it more mildly, dishonesty.
Let us agree that governments, composed of fallible man, have throughout all of history used or fabricated crises in order to distract or upset their people (whose collective will is irresistable) in order that they may convince them to accept this or that which they were otherwise disinclined to accept, or lead them in this or that direction in which they were otherwise disinclined to go. This is Government 101.
As far as the current crisis goes, I posit that the numbers just don’t add up. When you consider the number of infected, recovered and dead, and look at the arc of the progress of the disease in those countries most affected, and lastly compare it to our recent reaction to past pandemics, as well as the death toll of others, it would appear to me that our reaction has been excessive.
For example, the CDC estimates that between Oct. 1 and March 14, 23,000 to 59,000 Americans died of the flu.
Upwards of 675,000 Americans died in the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 out of a population of a little more than 100,000,000, or less than one-third of our population today.
Thus far, the coronavirus has taken something under 1,000 of us. Yes, this number will grow.
In China, where the coronavirus originated and where by most accounts the Chinese government gravely mismanaged it from the beginning, deaths have held steady in the low 3,000s and the majority of those diagnosed have recovered — if the Chinese government is to be believed!
Just comparing numbers of fatalities, ebola and the swine flu are thus far similar to the coronavirus, but our reaction to them can hardly be compared.
If I am correct that corruption in one form or another is driving this, then why exactly, and by whom?
As this is a global pandemic and nations are sovereign, if governments are in fact reacting dishonestly, each one will have its own motives.
For example, the governments in both France and Iran are struggling with deep discontent amongst their respective populations that until very recently manifested itself in the form of major and sustained public protests.
In both countries, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the government’s attempt to squeeze more money out of the people.
Are they using the crisis to quell the protests via quarantines or to get their people to accept more taxation couched as “coronavirus relief”?
The government of Italy, where the virus has hit the hardest, has all but shut down the country.
I have an Italian friend who believes this has been an absurd over-reaction, pointing out the aging population of Italy and suspecting the hidden motivation is that the government wants the Italian taxpayer to loosen his purse strings and allow it to spend more on health care generally.
But in our country, I posit that the driving force behind our reaction has been a progressive left that is determined to defeat Trump in November at all cost.
I posit that the chief culprit is a leftist media that has intentionally tried to whip the coronavirus into a catastrophe for the express purpose of first making it Trump’s Katrina, and of intentionally damaging the economy in order to remove one of Trump’s greatest advantages in his bid for re-election.
I’m not saying the coronavirus is not a crisis. It is. But let’s step back and look at the bigger picture and be skeptical for a moment.
Trump has managed to create a broad, more or less conservative coalition that is anchored by the two great surviving parts of Old America that bludgeoned each other between 1861 and 1865.
These are namely the industrial Northerner and the small-government Southerner, two types further united by a common patriotism and Christian sentiment at least.
With these two great phalanxes united, Trump was almost unstoppable. With a grand coalition of disparate conservative groups and movements, a booming economy at his back and a radicalized opposition in disarray, he had more than enough reason to be optimistic about his chances in November.
Trump was not supposed to win in 2016, and after three years in office, he does now in fact represent an existential threat to the progress of the leftist order in this country, an order that began in earnest more than 100 years ago during the administration of Woodrow Wilson, and that has progressed almost unabated ever since.
From Day 1, the left has sought a silver bullet that might remove him from office in order to right things, eventually even resorting to impeachment, which failed spectacularly.
The damage he has done to the great liberal experiment and the threat he represents to it cannot be exaggerated, his reshaping of the federal courts being the greatest and best known example.
In the liberal mind, he cannot be allowed to win again.
Thus, I believe the liberal media in this country has, in a time of general prosperity, with forethought and intent, panicked both “We, the People,” as well as our local, state and federal governments, attempting to turn a grave problem that needed to be dealt with aggressively into a full-scale economic disaster — all to get Trump.
Diseases and pestilence have plagued mankind since the beginning of time and always will, and we should do what we can to combat them.
But we must consider both the obvious and hidden costs of an overreaction. The supposed cure could be worse than the disease. Time will tell.
More importantly, “We, the People,” need to be aware that we could be being played:
First, that this massive stimulus package could be more central than we imagine. We certainly would not have accepted it except for this crisis, and what is in fact in it?
Second, that the powers-that-be could be testing the limits of what restrictions on our future liberties we might be willing to accept.
And last, how might this new collective memory be used to manipulate us in the future.
We would be wise to remain skeptical and suspicious of power.
By the end of summer, the virus will presumably have run its course for the season, and there will be the sober counting of the dead and equally important assessment of the damage to our economy.
Likewise, our medical authorities are likely to have a much better handle on what the coronavirus is exactly and how it is to be combated in the future.
But if in hindsight it turns out that an increasingly radicalized ideological left-wing media intentionally created a panic in order to nosedive the economy, then this is beyond Fake News.
This is media-terrorism. ISIS would have broken its bank and sacrificed 10,000 Jihadists to cause half so much damage to our country.
Death is not the only human sadness, agony or tragedy.
The coronavirus is a very serious disease, but so is an economic meltdown with its rippling, domino-ing, crescendo-ing avalanche of disrupted income, payments, transactions and business at all levels, and the uncountable cost in human distress and suffering this has caused to virtually all 300,000,000 of us.
If, when the dust settles, it is apparent that the liberal media and its allies did, in fact, for political ends, pour gasoline on a fire, turning an evacuation into a stampede, then Trump needs to come unglued — as do “We, the People.”