The president delivered an address last night about the Wuhan flu, aka novel coronavirus, aka (if you want to sound scary/scientific ‘COVID-19’).
The speech was brief, but to the point. It outlined a number of practical steps that the administration has taken, and would be taking, to slow the spread of the disease, help those who contract it, and — just as important—rescue the market from the panic that has surrounded this malady.
The wretched Jim Acosta, court jester on CNN, complained about Trump calling the virus ‘foreign’ and his identifying the source of the virus as China. That was ‘smacking of xenophobia’ said the babbling head. I wonder if he feels the same about calling German measles ‘German measles’, worries that Ebola is named after a river in Africa, its source, or that Zika is named after some other God-forsaken place in the dark continent. How about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: is that racist about the Rocky Mountains, Jim?
No, the Wuhan Panic is a textbook case of the Rahm Emanuel principle that you never want a good crisis to go to waste. Emanuel helped Barack Obama weaponize the government against freedom in the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008. The Dems and their megaphones in the media are trying to do the same thing now in the face of the spread of the Wuhan Virus. In about three weeks, maybe four, it will all be over and many people will feel sheepish about their overreaction. In the meantime, everyone seems to be signing up to be an extra in The Seventh Seal.
Typical is Washington mayor Muriel Bowser who said that said the just-declared state of emergency in DC gave her ‘more authority to implement and fund the measures that we need to monitor and respond to COVID-19 in our community’. The key phrase is ‘more authority’, i.e., more power. Something similar is happening in New York an elsewhere around the country.
I believe that panic-stricken scenarios are not only wildly exaggerated but also irresponsible. Many commentators, including me, have noted that the common flu is 1) more contagious, 2) infects millions every years, and 3) kills many more people, especially young and otherwise healthy people than this latest Chinese import.
And speaking of Chinese imports and the racial blame game that people like Jim Acosta like to play, it is worth nothing that the Oscar Wilde principle of nature imitating art has special pertinence to the Wuhan Virus. In 1981, Dean Koontz published The Eyes of Darkness, a popular thriller whose MacGuffin was a bioweapon that came to be called ‘Wuhan-400’. (In the first edition, it was ‘Gorky -400’, but then the Soviet Union fell.) It was, a character called Dombey says, ‘the perfect weapon’.
The Wuhan Virus was probably not manufactured. But I’d say that it is a formidable bioweapon, not because of its lethality, which is modest, but because of its power as a propaganda weapon in the hands of power hungry politicians and bureaucrats who deploy it to undermine Trump and feed their own authoritarian impulses.