As an investment advisor, I’ve been pretty tied up the last couple of weeks, for obvious reasons – although I will say that the reaction of our clientele so far to the corona virus crisis – or, is it a ‘crisis’? – seems to be, “Well, these things happen from time to time, best to just hunker down and wait; after all, that worked well the last 23 times this sort of thing happened.” Which is true. Now more even than usual, any investment decisions we might make in view of the present crisis are in the nature of things obsolete by the time they occur to us. And when the market plunges, pretty much the best thing looking forward is to own the market – because reversion to the mean. But their reaction is heartening, too, as a testament to their sanguine equanimity – which is to say, to their wisdom.
What is more, we are tied into a network of roughly 100 advisory firms such as my own, and that reaction seems to be pretty normal among all their clients, in their thousands upon thousands. Which is doubly heartening.
My recent real life busyness is one part of the reason I have not yet here much commented upon the present crisis. No scare quotes, notice: whether the corona virus is in fact a true crisis or not, the reaction to it certainly is, *even if (like almost everything they produce) it has been ginned up by the press from almost nothing.* The other and more important part of that reason is that *it is just too early to tell.* If it is too early to tell whether the virus itself is a true crisis, then a fortiori is it too early to tell whether the myriad reactions to it constitute anything more than noisome noise upon noise.
Those many reactions do almost certainly approximate to noisome noise, howsoever well and rightly intended they may be, and indeed howsoever prudent withal, and that really. Man is fallen, after all. Whether or not the depravation of our apprehensions is total – as a Catholic, and indeed as a realist, I incline to think not, quite (for else, there is a stop to all thought whatever) – it is, certes, pervasive, and dire. Given the limits of our lights, how could it be otherwise? So, caveat cognor; ergo, caveat actor. Or, in Good Old Anglo Saxon, mete thrice, cut once.
All that prefatory stuff duly noted – cave, cave! – herewith, my observations, in no particular order.
- The manufacture of the present crisis is almost all the work of the Left; of our adversaries, and of our Enemy. Is there a fog of war everywhere obscuring the true state of affairs? O yes. That fog is of our Enemy; is of the Enemy of Man, and of God. All noise is like that. It has therefore almost nothing to do with the true state of affairs. Ignore it. You know perfectly well what is news and what is noise. If you hear the words “could” or “might” or “is projected to,” or anything like them, then you know you are hearing bullshit. Ignore it, and just do what seems both right and reasonable, where and as you now live. What else is there, at last, ever? Be damned then to all speculation about what else there might be – of yours, or of mine, or of whosoever.
- Notwithstanding all that, there may in fact be a present crisis. Of course. Until we know for sure one way or another, it is prudent to behave as though there is in fact an epidemiological crisis. So, don’t be an idiot. Nuff said.
- Piercing through the prevalent sensational fog are here and there apparent a few rays of light and sanity, even among those who even a week or two ago counted themselves among our dire pitiable foes. To wit: Joe Scarborough (!) has said we must rally behind his quondam archenemy, President Trump. If the crisis is in any respect real, then we have really but little choice but to join together to attack it. As the scale of the crisis as reported in the press is ever more magnified, this becomes ever more evident. And that redounds to the discouragement of our Adversary, who wants to put us at odds with each other.
- Likewise, attempts by the Left to politicize the current crisis (even if it be they who have ginned it up) begin at last to seem obviously and compleatly stupid. Virii are apolitical. They are the next thing to an alien invasion. Before them, all ideologies pale to insignificance: the community must do what the community must do, by God, *right now,* and we’ll litigate what we’ve done when the leisure to do so eventuates, long after the crisis has abated.
- In time of crisis, people generally pull together heroically, and wonderfully. Community even of the most attenuated sort is not dissolved, but magnified. When things look really bad, men love each other more, and instantly forget their petty quotidian grievances, for the sake of their basic mutual loyalty. Of such is society constituted in the first place, after all – or its little disagreements mediated, when times are flush (for, we cannot disagree except in respect to those things upon which we all basically agree). They give themselves to each other, then, so far as to sacrifice their very lives. This has been demonstrated in battle, a million million times. Men first love each other; only then might they hate each other, over this or that. So much then for the “state of nature, red in tooth and claw.” Man is shown to be, not a a fundamentally anfractuous species, but rather a coordinate. How not? We are social animals, no? When the going gets tough, we get even more social than usual. That is our strength – even if sociality right now entails maintaining distance from each other.
- Speaking of which: Borders, Language, Culture. HT, Michael Savage. No? Is it not *totally obvious,* to the meanest intellect, that it is but common sense to erect barriers to the propagation of vile evil destructive germs, genes, RNA, and of course memes? So the news that, in view of the corona virus, the Trump Administration will be returning all undocumented aliens to their points of origin is nowise even remarked. It just makes sense. Only an idiot would gainsay it. So few do; and so their idiocy is revealed. All good!
- So we come to the terminus ad quem of this post. The present crisis engenders in all hearts the desperate urge to care first for one’s own. That urge radically contravenes the Leftist utopian globalism and relativism of the last century, and as against them supports local particularity and objectivity. How odd is it, no? That a renewed emphasis on the importance of this or that particular family or town should mean an increased emphasis on the objectivity of the real, and of the knowledge of that real?
Herewith, then, a summation of what I see might perhaps be about to transpire: a phase change, a preference cascade, a reversal of figure and ground, in which of a sudden the approach to life formerly predominant in the West is utterly upended, and a new and more realistic vision takes its place. The old, globalist vision of our Leftist adversaries is strong, and remarkably compelling. It is beautiful! If we are to prevail, that specious beauty simply must be admitted. The chink in its armor is this: it is not tenable, epidemiologically. It is simply undoable. The present crisis renders this conclusion inescapable to all but the meanest of intellects among us. In that case, something new – or, should we more properly say, something quite old – must take its place.
Whatever then the turmoil and change that (as ever) lies before us, I look now for widespread apprehension of a new – or rather, a very old – vision of how things ought properly to be. From that apprehension, concrete rearrangements of how things actually are, and are usually done, should proceed in due course.
This is all very good news for the Right, and especially for the illiberal orthogonists among them, such as we. The modern paradigm is still very strong. It will not cease to fight us, ever. But with the corona virus, it has itself sounded the tocsin for glib utopian globalism. The corona virus is a crisis too far. It is the death also of “whatever.”
So at least it seems now not unreasonable to hope. In the obscure war now underway at the highest levels of our governments, may God bless those few of our allies.
Confusion to Bonaparte, and to his heirs!
A word, in closing, about the Church and her response to the corona virus. Christianity is not a suicide pact. It does not require that we slit our throats, on account of their natural concupiscence. On the contrary. It requires that we tend our throats justly, and well. Christ wants our bodies to prosper, and flourish. Thus however grievous the blow, and however distressing we rightly find it, it is no perversion of Christianity that this or that church might have suspended services for reasons of public health. To think so is to misconstrue the nature of sacraments, which are effected first transmundanely, and only latterly participated by us mundane creatures here or there, in this or that building.
The Wedding Feast of the Lamb proceeds eternally, and thus everlastingly; so it is happening right now, in you, wheresoever you might be, and no matter what you may feel yourself to be about. Your corporeal attendance at any of its public celebrations then is neither here nor there, when push comes to shove. All that matters is your spiritual attendance.
Your attendance at Mass publicly celebrated in this or that building by this or that priest is but a crutch to your spiritual communion with the Most High, that cannot by any means whatever be gainsayed, except by your own dilatory will.
So, get busy: attend! Be at communion with the Most High, right now! What is stopping you, forsooth? Only yourself. So, forget yourself, and attend to his Holy Sacrifice.
Without that spiritual attention, all the Masses you attend in body are but straw, fit for the refiner’s fire. Burn them, then, or by them be burnt.