“Closing the border is racist!” The same experts a few weeks later, “opening the border is dangerous!”
“You can go to the beach. But stay on the dry sand, avoid the wet sand!”
“Sitting alone in your car at the local drive-in theatre is far too risky! But yes, you can go down the road and join the mob at the local Wal-Mart.”
“The virus is far less deadly than we thought!” Later that day,” The virus is more dangerous than we ever imagined!”
Ladies and gentlemen, the words of the experts. There are many more examples that could be shared but you know them as well as I do.
Another graph that is circulating on social media is a graph showing an infection rate from 1918 with the rate spiking in the fall and an arrow pointing to spring, saying “you are here.” The graph is true but it fails to show the underlying issue of 1918.
World War 1.
Millions of men were living in close quarters in the filth and squalor of the Western Front and all over the world really. As it turns out, living in close quarters in filth and squalor is a great way to spread disease.
Maybe that’s why they called it the Great War! (*Note for the literalists among us, that’s not why they called it the Great War.)
Another thing that running a worldwide war requires is having men moving all over the world. Holding big rallies and so on. Which happens to be another great way to spread disease. Now, with this little tidbit in mind, what happened in the fall of 1918?
World War 1 started winding down and service people started coming home to cheering crowds. Could this have helped spread the influenza outbreak of the time?
I have a funny feeling that it did. (*We all know that we should let our feelings be our guide on important matters like these.)
But seriously, most experts agree that these factors played a big part in the outbreak of the time. Not to mention the factors of poor nutrition that results from being on rations, the weakened immune system that comes from living under constant stress, and so on.
My point? The graph showing the progression of disease in 1918 is technically correct but it does not show the full story of 1918. This chart also implies that we are dealing with the same situation as they did in 1918, which we are not. (Don’t believe that we aren’t in 1918? Check your calendar.)
I would suggest that our conditions may be more similar to those in 1914 than in 1918. Now, why would I say that?
Let’s take a look at the things going on in 1914.
Worldwide fear and hysteria.
A confusing mass of political and fear-driven propaganda.
Incompetent leadership by arrogant little men mindlessly fixated on out of date methods and tactics.
A genuinely serious situation that could have been solved with level-headed thinking and planning was enflamed into the outbreak of World War 1. A struggle that carried on for years, creating suffering for millions and accomplishing nothing except encouraging the rise of dictators like Adolf Hitler.
Now, take a look again at the statements at the beginning of this little study. Does that fit the conditions of 1914? I would suggest that they do.
We can learn from the past and hopefully, we do. One lesson we should learn is that we can’t fight the last war and win. We need to fight the current war with current methods and dealing with current realities.
The best thing we can learn from the past is about human nature. Viruses vary with conditions and can mutate rapidly. Despite what the movies say, most mutations are to make a virus less lethal, not more. Not always, but many times. Ahem.
Speaking of human nature, another thing we should learn from the past is that incompetent little men have created misery throughout the ages, but only because they are allowed too.
Veterans of past wars have fought tyrants of all shapes and stripes for us to have the right to be free from the heavy hand of the government. Will we throw away their sacrifices as soon as things get a little tough?
If we let ourselves get carried away by political propaganda, the politicians win power. The common people lose. Think. Is every person really a caricature of total evil or complete good? Only in propaganda. Another thing that we miss by listening to propaganda is the big picture. Propaganda tends to focus on one thing at the exclusion of others…little facts that are necessary to get to the whole truth of a situation.
Can you blame people for being confused after listening to statements like those at the beginning of this article?
Can you blame people for being angry after watching experts proclaiming things like the statements above in the name of science?
Can you blame people for refusing to take medicine from experts who would say things like that?
But they should be able to trust the government, you say. You know, I agree with you. People should be able to trust the government, but let’s be honest. Members of the government have been clearly shown to lie many times. No matter what party you belong to, you can find evidence of lies. When you lie, you lose the trust of people. That’s just how it is. Now we will pay for the price for all these lies.
Enough of dwelling on the past. How can we move forward?
No matter what party you subscribe to…I would suggest that if we really want to move forward in a constructive way, we need to make the following commitments.
Make a commitment to resist the temptation to believe the propaganda.
*Bill Gates has done some good things. He has also created some very bad things. Don’t believe me? Try using some early versions of Microsoft products. What are his qualifications for dealing with a pandemic like we have now? That is the question.
Make a commitment to tell the truth no matter what it costs.
*But then the other side will win! Maybe so, but we’re talking about saving civilization here, not about saving one political party over another.
Make a commitment to resist mindless compliance with out-dated policies and rules.
Make a commitment to resist the temptation of tyranny for the common good. Dictators often rise to power by promising salvation, but instead, the people under their thumbs get corruption and damnation. There’s loads of evidence in history of this truth.
Make a commitment to de-escalate the tension. If you are a leader, is now a great time to introduce that new program? Would people give it fairer consideration if you introduced it another time?
Make a commitment to shuffle the incompetent, power-hungry little men out of leadership in whatever political party we may choose.
Make a commitment to respect the views of people we disagree with. Being civil is the foundation of civilization.
Make a commitment to democracy, where all people are free to share these views, no matter what they are. Sure we won’t like some of these ideas, however, it is far worse if the government decides which ideas are acceptable.
*Don’t like their ideas? Don’t go over to their house. This method works as well and doesn’t require government intervention.
Make a commitment to seek out new, innovative ways to make the process work.
For example, the drive-in concept is being used successfully in Europe. Why not pursue that for concerts, Church services, ect. here in North America?
Mindless adherence to inconsistent rules and regulations only encourages people to lose respect for the law.
Another example: people are having bush parties right now, which are certainly not safe. Instead of driving people to break the law and do dangerous things, why not think of ways that they can get together in a safer way?
The old saying is that crime doesn’t pay, but at the moment I would suggest that we have a situation where crime does pay. The people who don’t care about the law are doing just fine.
Can we agree that we all want basic rule of law to be respected? If so, I would suggest that we need to make sure the honest people are rewarded for their efforts.
We need to stop having the government sending people to huge corporations at the expense of local businesses. If it is about science, wouldn’t the chance of infection be lower in a smaller, less-crowded, business?
A place where people actually take pride in their work and livelihood?
*Note: Good people work at big box stores, however, trying to deal with hordes of people who don’t make your life easy is tough. I get it. A medal of valor to you for doing what it takes to try and feed your family. These comments are targeted against the system, not against you as a person.
Anyway, I suggested earlier that we may be more similar to 1914 to 1918. If so, we too have a serious problem, but a solvable one. However, we can still change the ending. We don’t have to have years of what will be proved by history to be a futile struggle. We can work together to fix a broken system. Even if I’m wrong, I would suggest that making the commitments above will still help us all find healing and hope as a people.
The people of history worked hard to give us these opportunities, let’s not let them down.