Lessons Unlearned That Have Come Back to Haunt Us
A pandemic reveals the collectivist enemy.
As I write this, there are over a quarter of a million recorded deaths from the corona virus and many many more to come. We know now that the virus originated in Wuhan China, probably in its virology lab, and that the Chinese concealed the fact that it was contagious between humans and deadly for weeks. They allowed a Lunar New Year celebration in Wuhan that involved tens of thousands of people, and also permitted 5 million inhabitants of Wuhan to leave the city and spread the virus. Moreover, they permitted hundreds of thousands of Chinese to travel abroad to celebrate the Lunar New Year and infect people in more than 200 countries across the globe.
Whatever one may say about the origin of the virus – it could have been the result of an accident – what cannot be denied is that the cover-up by the Chinese Communist dictatorship was deliberate and calculated, as most likely was its failure to close its borders until the virus was contained. In other words, this was a hostile attack on an innocent world, justified most probably as an effort to protect the Chinese Communist regime. So ferocious is this self-preservation imperative that the regime has launched a global campaign accusing the United States military of creating the virus, a lie so monstrous it is reminiscent of the lies promulgated by the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.
For almost twenty years since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the Chinese regime has been mistakenly regarded by western leaders as a worthy member of the international community of nations. American leaders have regarded it as worthy of being entrusted with the supply lines of medicines and other health supports vital for survival during a pandemic like this one. Prior to 2001, China was treated as a pariah state, a policy that took root when the Communist Party seized power in Beijing in 1949, and proceeded to murder more than 100 million Chinese in the process of transforming China into a socialist state. China’s 1950 decision to go to war with the United States and prop up another totalitarian regime in North Korea was also a warning to the West to treat China as the hostile power it most self-evidently still is.
Over the next fifty years, however, despite the monstrous casualties of China’s socialist transformation, attitudes in the West began to change. This was encouraged by the passing of the dictator MaoZedong and his successor’s introduction of market features into the Chinese economy. Responding to these developments, Western leaders adopted a kind of inverted Marxist view of the power of economics to shape society. Eventually, they came to believe that if the Chinese Communists adopted the economic reforms the World Trade Organization demanded as the price of admission, economic forces would transform the Communist system and make China a worthy partner in the community of nations. A quarter of a million unnecessary deaths and counting should be sufficient to put that illusion to rest.
China is still a Communist society and that means it is governed by a collectivist ideology in which individuals – like the Wuhan doctors who tried to warn the world of the danger and were “disappeared” for their efforts – count for nothing. Collectivist societies like Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, China, North Korea, and the late Islamic State embody social attitudes that share common features with sociopathic personalities, beginning with the absence of a conscience when it comes to eliminating individuals for the sake of the collective. This lack of conscience is manifest in the failure to share information that could save millions of lives because it might embarrass or threaten the collective. Pathological lying and a “grandiose sense of self” that justifies their lies is also a characteristic of sociopathic behavior. It is second nature to self-righteous ideologues who think they are saving the world. The lack of remorse stems (to quote a technical text) from “a deep seated rage … at their core.” They “[do] not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way."
A limited but ominous instance of this pathology in which an ally winds up as a victim is the censure of Karen Whitsett, an African American Democrat legislator in Michigan. Whitsett is a former Covid19 sufferer who felt her life was saved when she learned from a presidential press conference of the possible beneficial effects of a hydrochloroquine-zythromax cocktail, and took the remedy and was cured. For the sin of saying this publicly and expressing gratitude to the president she was unanimously censured by her Democrat colleagues. She said, “I did not know that saying thank you had a political line…I thought just saying thank you meant ‘thank you.’”
When the collective feels threatened, the individual means nothing. And of course behind this sense of threat felt by the Michigan Democrats is their deranged rage against President Trump, a hatred that began with the 2016 election, and has exploded during the coronavirus crisis.
Collectivism – under the banner of Identity Politics - is now the dominant ideology of the Democrat Party. That’s why we are told in advance that if a white male is the presidential candidate of the Party, the Vice President must be a woman “of color” – regardless of merit. The collectivity is what counts, not the individual.
This is the antithesis of the individualism that is at the core of the constitutional framework America’s founders created. This is the death of Martin Luther King’s American vision that individuals should be judged on their character and not their membership in a collectivity based on race, class or gender. This is why the Left instinctively identifies and sympathizes with America’s collectivist enemies whether they are Iranian mullahs, Cuban Communists, or Palestinian terrorists.