Post-Virus, When are We Going to Start Thinking?
My primary conceit, if I have one, is that I have actually read a book. In consequence, I believe, I can think about the world from more than one perspective.
Can we actually think about the Wu Flu yet?
‘Cos right now most everyone seems to be running on empty.
China? It is doing what lefty totalitarian dictatorships are good at: jailing its people and prompting its useful idiots abroad to broadcast its totalitarian propaganda.
Progressive activists? They got busy calling Trump a racist for stopping flights from China and then calling the American people racists for disdaining the elite-approved name for the disease coined by international bureaucrats.
Congerscritters? They got to work on a hand-out-the-loot stimulus bill, which only got held up for a week when the progressive activists got Nancy Pelosi to try to divert some of the loot to vital progressive activism.
Federal Reserve? It got right to work printing money.
Nancy Pelosi? She went on the Sunday talk shows to propose an investigation.
Truckers? They marched towards the sound of the guns and insisted on keeping roadside facilities open.
Media? They worked on finding five ways from Sunday to blame the whole thing on Trump.
Trump? He is trying to stay two days ahead of conventional wisdom so he looks like a leader.
Young people? They are acting as though they were immortal.
Second-tier Democratic governors? They are making sure that nobody tries the Trump-boosted hydroxychloroquine treatment.
“Very Conservatives?” They report being “calm.”
“Very Liberals?” They lead the nation in being “afraid” and “angry.”
Now, what Jordan B. Peterson writes, in 12 Rules, is that normal life is Order and anything that disturbs it is Chaos.
Our brains respond instantly when chaos appears with simple hyper-fast circuits maintained from the ancient days, when our ancestors dwelled in trees, and snakes struck in a flash. After that… comes the later evolving, more complex but slower responses of emotions — and after that, comes thinking, of the higher order, which can extend over seconds, minutes or years.
I think it is fair to say that not much thinking has occurred, not yet. But there is a real question about whether China’s response is instinct or emotion.
The difference between conservative and liberal response no doubt issues from the notion that liberals are all about “science is real” and conservatives are all about facts and logic.
But let us think about what happens when people start thinking.
Will China decide to come clean on the real number of cases and deaths from its Wuhan virus? Will it decide that its current propaganda offensive is beneath the dignity of the world biggest country?
Will our progressive activists slow down the hunt for far-right deplorables?
Will Nancy Pelosi decide not to do the obvious and blame President Trump for all the deaths? (Oh no, too late on that one.)
Nah. All the actors are going to try to keep doing things just like always.
The truth is that humans seldom step out of their assigned roles. That was emphasized for me yesterday when rereading Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky first published in 1951. A bunch of humans are living in the Ship. They have a rigid prophetic tradition and an oral Scripture handed down from Witness to apprentice. That is their universe. But then our hero finds out that the Ship is really a spacecraft, on a multi-generational journey from Earth to the star Far Centaurus, and it is nearing its starry destination. But do the Ship’s politicians change their plans and maneuver the Ship to a hospitable planet? Of course not. They want to continue to rule as before; and “change” would disrupt their authority.
But not to worry. Heinlein’s hero Hugh stays a step ahead of the politicians and bails out in one of the Ship’s boats. He lands on a hospitable planet and lives happily ever after. Just like the Pilgrims and their City on a Hill.
We should be so lucky.
Peterson is pretty clear. We humans like to live our lives in a nice predictable Order. We only deal with the Chaos of change when we are forced to. So really, what we are experiencing right now is everyone hoping that their current vision of Order continues unchanged, despite the threat of pandemic, death, and economic hurricane.
And given the gerontocracy of today’s America, with all the leaders in their 70s, good luck with any hope of change to adapt to the terrifying Chaos just around the corner.
Mind you, as a geezer in his 70s, I am bound to say that the younger generation just isn’t ready for leadership. What I would like to know is: when are they going to start thinking?