Pandemic: Open Thread

Bruce Charlton has rightly argued in an email that the lack of commentary at The Orthosphere on the corona-virus pandemic, the implications of which are epochal, is intellectually and morally impugnable. For what it is worth — I cannot get rid of the suspicion that it is a deliberate attack. Its occurrence and effects are far too convenient for the forces of the Left for it to be a coincidence. I can offer no evidence except the event itself. I invite comments.

25 thoughts on “Pandemic: Open Thread

  1. Here’s Scoot’s Hot TakeTM

    1- I don’t think it’s impugnable that Orthosphere hasn’t commented on the virus (save for Kristor, who has). Right now, I think the top priority is weathering the storm, whatever it is. When it’s over, I think Orthosphere will have a lot to say on the After-Action reporting. Once we have the full data set, we can analyze it. It doesn’t make sense to try to perform surgery on a man who is being shot. Lets wait until he’s finished acquiring his wounds then assess the damage.

    2- The consequences of this virus are manifold and not by any means trivial. I can offer some things that I have seen and heard so far.

    a) My diocese cancelled public masses. The capitulation of the Church to the state in this way is troubling–at least, at first glance it seems that way. Is this a case of independent invention or willful subordination?
    b) I’ve commented before about this seeming like a blank check for nations to test their Tyranny protocols. The ongoing developments of governments restraining their populace or using it as an excuse to push through their wish-list of reforms is extremely concerning. NB: WMBriggs has had an extremely insightful string of commentaries on the virus. In a recent one, he says that (I paraphrase) the only way to prevent all illness and woe is absolute and permanent social quarantine. I agree, and this seems like an overreaction by lawyers to avoid lawsuits.
    c) Scott Adams of Dilbert fame and persuasion blogging has had an interesting string of commentaries about how the virus has outpaced human ingenuity so far but ingenuity is catching up. In essence: Necessity is the mother of invention and we are about to see many useful inventions.
    d) Canada closed their borders, revealing that open-borders globalism can’t survive a pandemic. My friend whom I refer to here and on my blog as “Hambone” has said that “Globalism will not survive the virus”. It single handedly revealed the structural weakness of interdependent supply chains. If every country divests of China, China will have nothing. It makes war seem inevitable as China weakens.

    3- I’ve maintained from the beginning that the Virus is the least dangerous part of this whole thing. Social contagion, panic, and what Gustave le Bon cautioned about the Mob is the most chilling thing. I am ill prepared for a long siege but certainly resolve to make myself more prepared as soon as one can buy toilet paper again. The media is complicit in the panic.

    4- Hambone also noted that this is likely a proxy war between China and the US. China is under intense pressure due to our Tariff regime, and they have begun blaming the USA and expelling journalists. Whether Coronavirus is a convenient act of God or a lab-contrived Frankenstein’s Virus, China is utilizing it to maximum political advantage. On this point, I think only a clear-eyed retrospective will tell us. It’s hard to see through the fog of war at the moment.

    My personal policy is to reject panic and act as a counterpoint to the panic around us. It probably makes me seem naiive but I just hate panic. It’s been insane to witness.

    • Regarding Point No. 3: This is what worries me more than anything else. And not only that mobs will mobilize themselves, but that wicked manipulators will program their violence. The panic itself is a second virus — even more contagious than the first.

      • A colleague around here has been asked if he’s stocking up for the virus. “Only on bullets. If I need food I’ll get it from one of you!” It’s tongue in cheek but hits on a scary point.

        Own a gun, know how to use it, and panic contagion is less worrisome. At best, you have peace of mind. At worst, you have a means of defense. Living in a metropolitan area, my Number 1 priority is planning an escape route and identifying when I need to use it.

      • My wife has a cousin who once made a comment like that – something to the effect that he doesn’t need to buy beans because he has a 45. He earned himself a place on my “do not trust” list with that comment. I expect someone who jokes like that to become a predator once the pressure has reached some critical, and unfortunately uknown level. Nearly everyone is capable of it, I think, but I expect folks who joke about stealing food from the prepared when nothing is going wrong will turn feral sooner than those who prepare for disaster by buying today the food that they’ll eat tomorrow.

  2. Let me be a little controversial.

    “the implications of which are [zero]” – fixed that for you.

    Why? Because it’s a collective issue. You are an individual. God has given you and your Guardian Angel a task – your calling, your fulfillment – and you’re to follow it as good as you can. What happens around you is just the terrain, which you always had to pay attention to, so nothing new here.

    What changed? You care for those you love and for yourself, you follow your calling (what Crowley calls the True Will) and you ignore all the hostile influences, be they the government, media or hostile egregores/demons (not all of those are hostile, obviously). Business as usual. You’re In Love and At War.

    What changed is only that there’s more noise now. So you have to increase your Purity and your Passion, get closer to God’s Will. In short, get closer to your Guardian Angel, who is perfectly focused on you two’s True Will – God’s Will with regards to you. I’ll see that I take my own advice.

    I hope you Christians made a point to get to know your Guardian Angels personally by now. If not, now it’s more urgent than ever. You have a huge advantage – you know that they exist, unlike the poor materialists. Take it from me that they want to get close to you, but you have to let them. This way lies Fulfillment.

    “Love is the law, love under will.”
    – Crowley

  3. I’m a United Methodist. Our district has suspended all public gatherings until the end of March, at least. Our Sunday School unit right now is entitled ‘Wilderness’. We started our study with the Garden of Eden, then the Garden of Gethsemane, and the incident with the snakes and the bronze serpent. This week, we’ll be discussing Jesus’ trial in the Wilderness before ending with the Babylonian Exile. That all seems very appropriate during Lent. Now, with so many churches closed, and the very real possibility that they will remain closed through Palm Sunday and the Eastertide and perhaps even longer – to Pentecost and beyond – we all seem to be in the wilderness. The thought of not celebrating Easter in church is grievous to my wife and I. I have a feeling God is trying to get our attention. It is as if we, having made such poor use of our freedom to assemble publicly for worship and to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world, are being locked out of our churches until we are ready to go back into them with the right attitude.

    Whom God loves, He chastens.

      • The same is true in the Diocese off Galveston-Houston and the Diocese of Fort Worth. Galveston-Houston announced that a few days ago, while Fort Worth made that decision yesterday, I think. I am sorry that y’all can’t attend Mass right now. We take Holy Communion the first Sunday of every month. The thought of missing it next month, which would also be Palm Sunday, is distressing. I can only imagine how difficult and disappointing it is to be denied the ability to hear Mass when the Eucharist is the focal point of y’all’s services.

    • I heard one comment that it’s not a coincidence that we get this global pandemic after that disastrous Amazon synod.

      Here’s a prayer I found, and intend to start using frequently:

      Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, an answer to our hearty supplications; and, Thy wrath being appeased, turn away from us this pestilence, that the hearts of men may know that these scourges proceed from Thine anger, and cease by Thy mercy.

      In short: I agree, it’s no coincidence that all this cropped up during Lent.

  4. I haven’t put a lot of research into it but I agree with points 1,2 & 4 of Scoot’s Hot TakeTM. I don’t see any panic except from the always flighty stock market and people who care about that. I’m annoyed with those professional gamblers always blaming someone else for their failures. They used to call crashes what they are: Panics. The Market Industry is the least rational and most emotional business there is.

    The cause of bare shelves is Just In Time inventory. We learned during Hurricane stock ups that stores are not prepared for the whole population to do even regular shopping within the same week. If only twice as many people buy one extra of the basics, the shelves empty. Then the grasshoppers who failed or refused to shop in advance are mad and grumble about “hoarders”. Meanwhile, the industrious ants store up throughout the year and are not caught off guard. The Little Red Hen cooks at home, but now, people who usually eat out are buying fresh foods to make supper when they usually don’t. Thus, ground beef and chicken sell out one or two packs at a time.

    That is another reason smaller chains and rural stores are still well-stocked : because rural people tend to plan ahead, have a freezer, cook at home, and don’t all go shopping at once. Sundance at Conservative Treehouse has a good analysis of the logistics situation right now.

    Not only is there no panic around us, way too many people don’t take it seriously and are still going out every day. They believe it’s only the flu. We’ve known for a month we’d need to shelter at home. Yet, a local Walmart manager posted this morning that before 6 am there was already a long line of people waiting for them to open. People are not in line to “hoard” – they are in line because the store was out of stock a couple of days ago thanks to “Just In Time” Inventory. Schools are closed but hey they are still serving breakfast (!!!!) and lunch “drive through” – maybe we should just turn them into Kibutzes and be done with it.

    We are preppers, but I didn’t need to buy any paper products because I bought them at Big Lots’ last 20% off sale, enough to last about 8 months. I made one last walk through a store on the 10th when I picked up a 90 day prescription. Now, we’ve switched from half & half to powdered creamer. The dishwasher wouldn’t start yesterday, but I’ll wash by hand until this is over – calling in a repairman would be counter to principles of isolation. We don’t expect to need to leave the house until a dentist’s appointment at the end of the month – and we’ll see if the Dentist reschedules because of this.

    My hope is that there will be some good after effects, that it will help increase adoption of online at-home schooling, and that more companies will embrace telecommuting. I pray it cuts the chains of globalism and furthers The Trump Doctrine.

  5. Pingback: Pandemic: Open Thread | Reaction Times

  6. I can’t see it being on purpose. Perhaps it was a Chinese bio weapon that was added to their stockpile of strategic deterrents, where they would develop a vaccine first and then unleash it but this current release certainly feels unplanned or accidental.

    As for helping the left, well not exactly. It helps existing hierarchies and incumbents as they will receive gratitude for organizing the response and overcoming the pandemic later this summer.

    Yes it reinforces the state but only at the primordial level, and coincidentally it also reinforces the extended family. It is a conservative event.

  7. One assumes fewer cash payments as isolated households do more online shopping.

    It’s been reported some stores are rejecting cash payments due to fears of physical money harbouring the virus.

    Is it conceivable that all digital transactions could be subject to some kind of centralised control or monitoring “to prevent hoarding or panic buying of scarce items”?

  8. Why is it intellectually and morally impugnable for The Orthosphere to have had lack of commentary on the corona-virus pandemic? I don’t see that there is a specifically traditionalist perspective to be had on it. I also don’t see how it is particularly convenient for the left; in some ways indeed it seems to have disrupted the advance of globo-homo. There are even some benefits: schools closing, as you mentioned, and more family time, as northernobserver noted, less opportunity for degeneracy (clubs closed). Maybe some sacrifice will be good for materialistic, instant-gratification Americans?

    Not having the requisite knowledge, I don’t have a strong opinion on whether these extreme measures are an appropriate response or a hysterical over-reaction, although I’ll admit my instinct with these latest round of measures is to lean toward the latter. I will note though that Greg Cochran thinks the pandemic is serious and that we should be taking such proactive measures. And he’s someone I would have a tendency to trust on this sort of topic.

    I am bothered by churches closing down though, especially before even being ordered to by the government. Groceries stay open because people need food. Well, people also need spiritual sustenance. Churches could have taken some measures to remain open while lowering the risk of spreading the virus: offer a lot more Sunday masses but streamline them so that they are much shorter and require less work from the priest and other church-workers (get rid of the sermon, hymns, music, OT reading, etc.). That way fewer people at each mass. You could try to group people in your parish so that the same people went to the same mass each Sunday, avoiding cross-contamination with other groups. (Though these measures maybe wouldn’t work as well with low-church Protestant churches where the focus is all on the 45 minute sermon.)

    The Catholic church across the street from me cancelled confessions, which seems even more remarkable than eliminating church services.

    • It is quite true that The Orthosphere has never been news-driven: It is Tradition-driven, Christianity-driven, and Philosophy-driven. In its social and cultural effects, however, the pandemic is more than a news story. It is a project, whether justified or not, in the shutting-down of whole societies. In my sixty-five years, I have seen nothing like it. You are right to be bothered about the cancellation of church-services.

      P.S. I did, in fact, once see something that made a similar impression of enormity on me. It was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when I accompanied my mother on a grocery-buying expedition to the local Ralph’s supermarket. It was a combination of pandemonium and bare shelves.

      • Until churches started cravenly locking their doors and shuttering their windows in the present crisis, I would have said I found the lockdown after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013 more troubling: it made America look cowardly, and likely gave aspiring terrorists more motivation: all they’ve got to do is set off a few pressure cooker bombs and they can get an entire metropolis cowering in fear in their homes with the doors locked and bolted! What glory for Allah!
        The Boston Marathon response manifested how we have ceded too much control to the government in the role of protection. It emasculates men by depriving them of their protector role, and so when the time comes, men no longer know how to react, and just wait for law enforcement to arrive. The other extreme is bad too, where patriarchs take care of all the protection, which results in feuds and vengeance killings, but we are too far to the former extreme.
        I don’t see the present crisis as having the same implications regarding patriarchal authority. Again though, the implications regarding religious authorities with the present crisis is a whole other matter.

  9. Everyone keeps talking about toilet paper to prevent thoughts of guns and bullets.
    As for the virus itself? There are a few conspiracy theories going around… Hard to tell which, if any are true. *shrug*

  10. The main danger is if Covid-19 mutates. Then it could be lethal. That’s why everything is in lockdown. It is a mystery all insoluble how stocking up on toilet roll is going to help, but people aren’t rational actors at the best of times.
    Stay safe.

  11. I see people spending time with their families, willingly sacrificing for others. Its worth remembering Screwtapes thoughts on the war.

  12. With all due respect to Mr. Charlton, I was actually appreciative that there was one place that wasn’t talking about it. This is especially true because most of the sites commenting have a decided whiff of nanny state. This is turning into a ‘sacrificing (a lot of) liberty, for a little (perceived) safety.’

    The one thing so few are discussing is the real hardship being caused in the guise of protection. Workers are being laid off in huge numbers from all of these forced closures and nary an eye is batted. There’s a local Cuban restaurant that’s been around over one hundred years closing their dining room and laying off waitstaff for the first time in their history. Some of their staff have worked there for their whole adult lives. All of this to prevent what might possibly could happen. There’s no getting around it: we’ve gone soft.

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