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The Republican Party is the party of civil rights and the four F’s: faith, family, freedom and fairness.
The Democratic Party is the party of the four S’s: slavery, secession, segregation and socialism (Quote By Author Michael Scheuer).
Monday, April 27, 2020
Our Virus Is a Violent Teacher
By Victor Davis Hanson | American Greatness
“War is a violent teacher.”—Thucydides
Before this virus has passed, those of the New York
Symphony, like the defeated Redcoats at proverbial Yorktown, will be playing
the real “The World Turned Upside Down”:
And then strange motions will abound.
Yet let’s be content, and the times lament,
you see the world turn’d upside down.
Before the virus, apparently we were prepping for our brave
new progressive, centrally planned dystopia.
During the Barack Obama years, government agencies had
begun to chart a new inclusive future for hoi polloi Americans. We were
lectured frequently that the Obama arc of the moral universe was long, but it always
bent toward his sense of justice. Translated that meant, like it or not, we
Americans had a preordained moral rendezvous with a progressive destiny.
Suburban lifestyles, yards, grass, rural living, and
commute driving were to be phased out. High rises, government run-buses, and
high-speed rail were in: more people in less space, with less energy consumed,
meant less trouble. Granny was better off in a green rest home, not the back
Ohio was over; the EU was our future. Clean coal was a
20th-century embarrassment; the next and future Solyndra would be cutting-edge.
The idea that the United States ought to be self-sufficient in energy and food
seemed worthy of yawns.
Instead of the backyard barbeque and a lawn, apartment
dwellers would enjoy shared green belts around their communal towers—albeit not
as large as the Martha’s Vineyard estate of Barack Obama or the palazzo of
Universities were to speak truth to power in new
race/class/gender missions and diversity/inclusion/equality agendas. The old
boring curriculum of math, science, engineering, literature, language, history,
and Western Civ were sputtering out, or recalibrated to include social activist
After all, China and India would supply the world’s next
boring generation of rote engineers. But they could not invent, compute, or
formulate without our brilliant peace studies and ethnic studies geniuses to
give them moral instruction.
“Knowledge” became a relative construct, not an absolute
that could be roughly calibrated. Students needed to appreciate that
traditional curricula and grades were merely models of leveraging power by
arbitrarily setting “standards”—pathologies that could only be understood by
appreciating how the marginalized “Other” was victimized by them.
Being “woke” meant fathoming how unmet personal
expectations ought always to be attributed to the fault of someone else—and,
even worse, that “someone else” might be dead or alive. The Squad just told us
so. Now Chairman Xi agrees.
Billions of dollars of university capital and budgets
were diverted to new administration and faculty investments that might focus on
how young people thought of themselves rather than what they actually knew.
Everyone understood the job of vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion
might easily disappear in a nanosecond and never be missed. No one dared to
hint at the suggestion.
All were cynically aware that the vice president for
diversity, equity, and inclusion made enough money to avoid living in a
“diverse” neighborhood, put his own kids in a school where all were equally not
poor, and wanted to be included among the elite.
There were new winners and losers in a transnational
United States, and such university administrators were among the winners.
Globalization was to be seen as some sort of ultimate
talent meter that finally told us not only who was talented but, more
important, who was worthy. The dumb un-globalized losers could not
figure out how to code, or lacked a communications major or international
relations degree, or had not spent a semester abroad in China, or did not
understand global investment. They clung to some ancient shibboleth—“Made in
America”—as if producing stuff here really mattered.
So the deplorables and Lysol drinkers more or less
deserved the hollowed-out manufacturing landscape, closed assembly plants, and
industrial wasteland of the nation’s interior that anachronistically and
foolishly had bet that muscular labor still had a place in the postmodern
Dummies! Fitness comes from the Peloton, not mastery of
masonry or welding. Drones, artificial intelligence, and robots could easily
crawl under the house and fix the drainpipe, or shimmy into the attic to wire a
new kitchen. No more need for plumbers or electricians.
In the minds of the new citizens of the world, the
ossified working classes, when they were not smelling up Walmart or hiding
their missing teeth with corny smiles, were written off as a basket full of
deplorables and irredeemables, or the dregs of the earth, or the clingers who
always retreat to their guns and religion—the worst nightmare of Robert
Mueller’s dream team and all-stars.
The more refined and bigger winners in the global
crapshoot were unafraid to tell us that our fates really had been predetermined
by “grey matter” (as in lots of theirs) that adjudicated who did
“anybody-can-do-them” rote things like dropping seeds in the ground—or, in
contrast, who excelled in capitalizing Chinese Communist companies.
The ancient principles of autarchy and autonomy—economic
self-sufficiency and political independence—became passé. Borders, fair trade,
and the U.S. Constitution paled in comparison to models like the Schengen Agreement,
outsourcing and offshoring, and transnational organizations.
After all, who could ever imagine a time when you might
need a constitutionally protected gun? Even if one could ever conceive of the
unlikely act of letting prisoners out en masse, they were likely to
return to productive lives, proving they never belonged in jail in the first
And we were assured by experts and science that
the World Health Organization would warn us in plenty of time if a dangerous
flu-like bug popped up 7,000 miles away.
Inventories were old and in the way. Just-in-time supply
chains needed just enough Chinese products to arrive the day before they were
sold out in stores. Who wished to pay for useless stuff stacked sitting on
shelves for an excruciating 72 hours?
The idea that the United States might wish to be
self-sufficient in pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and rare earth minerals
was written off as an update of Bonaparte’s failed continental system.
For the global Right, the market would adjudicate borders
(when entry-level wages dropped below sustenance level, immigrants would wisely
For the Left the greater the number of the “Other” who
arrived illegally, and the poorer they were, the more fodder they’d have for
flipping those bad-people red states into good-people blue states.
If there ever was some sort of zombie apocalypse-like
collapse, the survivors in New York would show the doomed yokels in Texas the
consequences of being Texas and not New York.
No one was supposed to want his children to be a skilled
plumber, a master electrician, an effective teacher, or a heroic nurse. Better
it was instead to owe $100,000 in student loans to land an environmental
studies degree, branded by a supposedly hard-to-get-into college. Even our
Hollywood geniuses knew that—and were willing
to go to prison to prove it.
Slick, shiny modern living magazines advertised the
latest stone counters, metal refrigerators, and wood floors. Today’s in-brands
and tastes became, in a blink, tomorrow’s proof of mundanity. Rarely did our
elite wonder, much less care, from where the stone, the ores, and the timber
came—much less who were the miners, the smelters, and the ax-men who harvested
the stuff of their kitchens.
The Violent Teacher
Then the virus hit.
Panic ensued. Former madness was declared genius. More
were needed in overalls, fewer in yoga pants. A Chevy van was preferable to a
year’s pass on the metro. A first-class ticket to Milan was nothing but a trip
Roomy yards were again correct, nice elevators not so
much. The bigger and more “mine” the car, the better to get away from “them”
and “theirs” in the subway.
Driving wasn’t all that bad; flying apparently was. The
quaint country cabin three hours from Manhattan was now a brilliant last
redoubt. But living in Utah was even cooler than in Brooklyn Heights.
For some reason no one wished to vacation in Tuscany or
see the Great Wall; all dreamed of an isolated lake at 7,000 feet in the
Rockies, or the Sierras.
Vegas odds-makers, independent stock junkies, and the
expert toilet-paper finder were deemed savvier than Ph.D. modelers from the
Imperial College and the University of Washington. When the former’s numbers
were screwed up, they at least paid in real-time and money, when the latter’s
did, they sighed and screwed up again.
Toilet paper became bitcoins, hand sanitizer more
valuable than Chanel.
Bankers were stuck in apartments trying to figure out a
circuit breaker from a toilet baffle, and in Shakespearean fashion cried to
spouses, “A handyman, a handyman, My kingdom for a handyman!”
For this moment at least, a ventilator producer, a bleach
brewer, and a mask maker were our hoplites. The “I wouldn’t want to be him”
slob with a big belly and big arms was abruptly needed to drive all night to
get arugula and asparagus in Whole Foods by morning—and did.
Travel bans, the “wall,” and passport control were OK.
Not so politically correct caravans of thousands of foreigners crashing through
decrepit wire border fencing, nor those recently inaugurated direct flights
from Wuhan. Take-out from MacDonald’s, grease and all, was wiser and safer than
a choice reservation at Le Coucou.
Our best and brightest policymakers now said it would
have been nice to trust China less, and Western Pennsylvania more. Just havingAugmentin seemed wiser than
did the chance of paying less for it.
Some 360,000 Chinese children, mostly of Communist
elites, in American universities were no longer touted by universities as proof
of their diversity, but shamelessly lamented as a vanishing herd no longer to
be targeted and price-gouged.
Zoom, Skype, and online courses proved to be the little
boy who looked at the parading gaudy professors and asked why they went naked?
Was it all that bad to see just the professor’s videoed head without his strut?
There likely won’t be much of a “new normal.” Because
when all the data is in, all the panic ended, the antivirals appearing, all the
vaccinations working, the herd immunity growing, and the real lethality rate
dropping, most of us, despite the tough barroom talk of Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez and the dreams of governors Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom, will
go back to business as normal.
Yet we should hope notquite normal,
For a brief season in time, we glimpsed from the awful
epidemic what was wheat and what was chaff, what was mahogany beneath and what
a scrapped thin veneer above, who were the V8s and who the mere gaudy, tail
fins—and how America ultimately got by and how it almost didn’t.