Happening - Coronavirus

Fortune makes fools of us all.

The impeachment show that everybody thought would dominate the news indefinitely has taken a back seat to the rapidly developing story of the Chinese coronavirus outbreak.

Though nobody trusted the Chinese government's patently bogus infection numbers or the blue checks making vapid comparisons to the flu on Twitter, most assumed this epidemic would go the way of SARS. It would fizzle out, and there's be a South Park episode we'd all have a good laugh over.

The hopeful predictions of a non-event have already been thwarted as the infection has spread to a dozen countries despite China's quarantine of over fifty million people.

Meanwhile, the disease's infection and death rates are on pace to equal or overtake those of SARS.

Perhaps most overlooked and most troubling, the number of patients confirmed to have recovered from this coronavirus is significantly lower than the number who've succumbed to it.

Even worse, this virus is capable of asymptomatic infection.

That's not to say I'm predicting a civilization-ending pandemic. The vast majority of cases are still confined to mainland China, and most deaths have been among the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. This outbreak is already a tragedy, and it's on track to become a major one, but the worst disaster here is the catastrophic failure of leadership.

We don't know how or exactly where the outbreak started, and odds are we never will. Too many people in high places are invested in saving face. That's part of the problem, since serious people are considering the possibility that this is an escaped bioweapon.

Could the presence of not one, but two infectious disease research facilities within a short train ride of the first reported case be a huge coincidence? Sure, but Chinese officials' frustrating habit of keeping vital details close to the vest isn't helping to resolve the question.

This virus could just as easily be a freak product of the unsanitary preparation of bizarre foods as a black project cooked up to muzzle pesky Hong King protesters. The folks in charge aren't telling us. Even the World Health Organization was bafflingly slow in taking the outbreak seriously. Add in the possibility of cloak and dagger shenanigans involving the Canadians of all people, and the news starts to look like a dime spy novel.

That's the real cause for alarm. We knew the global ruling class was peopled with mediocrities going through the motions of operating machinery built by better men. Now they appear too dull-witted and effete to even pull the levers they long ago stopped understanding.

Corona-Chan probably isn't the harbinger of the apocalypse, but she has revealed that when the actual happening comes, our rulers will have no idea how to respond.

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  1. With so much chaos and uncertainty going on throughout the world, someone who could demonstrate that they would bring order and peace would be in a really, really strong position.

    And then we'd probably be at Revelation 6:1.

    1. Those are indeed the ingredients for the coming of the Man.

      In all seriousness, we're probably headed for a form of neo-Caesarism.

    2. "we're probably headed for a form of neo-Caesarism."

      The U.S. Senate's current behavior supports that. Chief Justice Roberts, presiding over the impeachment trial, admonished both sides last week and noted the Senate is the "world's greatest deliberative body." While not a new saying, one could argue that muhpeachmints was worth it just for that punchline from the Chief Justice.

      On a related note, I listened to the Talking Heads song "(Nothing But) Flowers" and one line stuck with me: "And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention."

      When I took a business trip recently, I was astonished at how *no one* involved in airport or ground operations really gave a crap. We'll see more and more planes fall out of the sky this decade due to shoddy flight systems and maintenance failures.

    3. @Brian - agree on the Neo-Caesarism. There is an echo of the waning days of the Roman Republic in today’s events and social mood. Rome has the benefit though of having some competent leaders around as the system collapsed. The West has what is called a Leadership Crisis but needs to also be called a Leadership Vacuum. There is so far, no sign of a competent, capable leader with vision, conviction and the iron determination anywhere in the West or her formerly grand institutions. I fear we will be waiting for The Man for some time.

      Will be interesting to see how said Man will be raised and nurtured. Leadership skills and capabilities strike me as a combo of genetics and training. If we have not genetically decayed to the point of producing zero leaders, than the hard times to come will hopefully lead to rich soil and bountiful harvest.

  2. Brian

    As I commented elsewhere this is the Chicom's Chernobyl moment.


  3. Athletic and WhitesplosiveJanuary 28, 2020 at 9:53 PM

    I'm gonna say my take is a little at odds with most in these circles. Do I trust the chinese government to give out accurate numbers? Not really. But do I trust the western globo-media to ever portray China positively, even if they've done a very competent job? Not at all.

    Malpractice or not, an eventual outbreak is inevitably going to happen somewhere, and I think they've taken very appropriate and impressive action in response. A quarantine of millions, that's not lightweight stuff. Could a country like America ever muster the political will for a decisive action like the quarantine of a major city before it was far, far too late? I seriously doubt it. The only confirmed cases where I live were because the government couldn't be fucking bothered to cancel flights out of a viral hot zone (but I'm sure all the people who shared that guy's flight have been tracked and appropriately screened... yeah right).

    As far as mature and responsible actions to address the problem:
    China >>>>>>> Every Western country still accepting flights from China (and we can't put any of that on them, not their job to stop us from getting infecred due to intractable foolishness).

    1. If it looked like I was bashing the Chinese oligarchs in favor of Western oligarchs, I gave the wrong impression.

      None of them is as dumb as all of them.

    2. I didn’t get that impression Brian. The Elite everywhere seem to have strong levels of incompetence within their generation(s). Reminds me of a Chinese proverb: “the first generation builds it, the second maintains it, the third generation squanders it.” The Wlites everywhere are many great nations “3rd” generation...can’t hold a candle to their grandparents level of competence. Wouldn’t be so bad except I think said grandparents were themselves a 2nd or 3rd Gen, not a first. So you have generationally stacked levels of incompetence.

      @Athletic - while the Chinese have done a decent effort, what is becoming more obvious is that Chinese leadership acts from a place of saving face and not from doing what is right. That’s an Achilles Heel. And their sluggish reaction - though likely faster than any Western nation right now - also casts some doubt on their beneficence and capability. It’s eerily similar to how Russian leadership reacted to Chernobyl. Maybe the Chinese peoples won’t take it as badly as the Russians did, time will tell, but Chernobyl definitely contributed to a change in how the people saw the Kremlin.

  4. Durandel

    I disagree with you. Under the surface is a lot of serious grievances. The handling of the epidemic merely underscores to the regular Chinese that the party doesn't care about tgem.
    The growth at all costs hasn't distributed equitably, there's 2 demographic crises: not enough females and and readily aging population. Also the Hong Kong protest have had some influence but right now it's impossible to gauge