Off the Rails: The Covid Aberration

As far as I’m concerned, there is only one thing to call the ongoing saga (circus?) of the corona virus. Well, actually two, because I’ve been calling it the Corona Monster for some time. Lately, though, I’ve started labeling it the Covid Aberration, which sounds much more professional and scientific, in addition to which really is quite accurate, considering how aberration is defined.

1. The act of departing from the right, normal, or usual course.

2. The act of deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type.

3. Deviation from truth or moral rectitude.

4. Mental irregularity or disorder, especially of a minor or temporary nature; lapse from a sound mental state.

Who can deny that the last nine months have been abnormal and unusual? Who can claim that the medical establishment has never deviated from the truth, always giving us the plain facts without attempting to twist and obfuscate them to achieve an agenda? Who can say that politicians, bureaucrats, and health “officials” have always taken the right course in destroying the livelihoods of so many people who trusted them? Who can assert that large numbers of good people have not been deluded into believing that wearing a scrap of cloth over one’s face will protect them or that standing six feet apart is effective? Or even that shaking hands is tantamount to a death sentence?

Abnormal? Unusual? Deviant? Insane? Yes, all of these, and more. In short, aberrant. Call it what it is: The Covid Aberration.

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.” ~ Charles Mackay

“Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

We have seen the whole world go mad as one, in a herd-like manner, within the space of a few months. The question which remains to be answered is how long it will take to recover its senses, slowly, one person at a time. What will it take before people realize the truth about the whole thing, that as a world-wide society, we have willingly plunged into something very strange indeed?

Aberrations, though, are always temporary. They never become permanent. As such, this one will pass as well and those who manage to make it through to the end will look back wondering how so many people were so easily duped. Of course, this assurance doesn’t make it any easier to bear right now nor does it mean that there will not be dark days ahead. However, those who recognize the truth can move forward confidently, knowing that sooner or later we will emerge into the full light of day and put this mental, emotional, and spiritual derangement behind us.

When that will happen is anybody’s guess.

Action and Reaction: The Consequences to Come, Part 2

To mask or not to mask? That is the question of the day. My apologies to William Shakespeare.

On May 26, 2020, I posted a Letter to the Editor in the Bitterroot Star (https://bitterrootstar.com/2020/05/action-and-reaction-the-consequences-to-come/ ), in which I asked some questions about what was going to happen as a result of the reaction, both official and unofficial, to the corona virus pandemic.

We are beginning to find out and it’s not looking good.

When 2Q GDP numbers came out recently, we learned that the American economy had contracted 32.9% annualized from the same period in 2019. This was the largest and steepest drop in history, far eclipsing even the worst of the Great Depression of the 1930’s. This came on the heels of the 1Q GDP contraction of 6.9% from the 1Q 2019. What is interesting is that the economy in early March was still registering a slight amount of growth, but essentially collapsed in the last half of the month, coinciding neatly with the extreme lockdown of the country.

Wile E. Coyote, anyone?

Projections and predictions are that the 3Q GDP figures will show up to a 15% increase over 2Q, but this is still a precipitous drop from 2019. Of course, it should be noted that projections and predictions are just that—guesses and estimates at best. It is entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that the economic losses will accelerate in the 3Q, due in large part to the zealousness of “officials” to destroy the economy based on what appears in hindsight to be nothing more serious than a “bad flu season.”

In the meantime, we fight with each other over bits of cloth covering our faces.

Let me put it in plain English so that everyone can understand it. It is the destruction of the economy and the accompanying societal breakdowns which are the existential threats to our way of life. Compared to what is coming, Covid-19 is a sideshow.

Where we go from here is not certain, but my guess (projection, prediction) is that it is going to be a rough, wild ride.

Courage in the face of Corona

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”–(Mark 8:36, NIV)

Generally, this verse in the New Testament book of Mark is interpreted as a person so focused on gaining wealth that he (or she) loses sight of what is really important—their relationship to God and other people. What benefit is there really in being like Silas Marner, Ebenezer Scrooge, or Uncle Scrooge McDuck? Or, as the pop band ABBA puts it, “…money, money, money…”

In the context of the time we are now living, however, there is at least one other way in which we can lose our soul while attempting to become rich. Consider the corona virus pandemic which is sweeping the world and our insane reaction to it. It (the reaction, not the virus) has caused unbelievable chaos and havoc in our modern, ordinary, everyday life. In order to save the lives of a few people, we have managed to destroy our economies, our freedoms, and our social connections. We have, in short, become afraid—a world of wimps.

Why? Disease and epidemics used to be a regular part of life, ushering countless millions into the arms of the Grim Reaper. Death used to be understood as part of life. We are born, we live, we die used to be a concept which everyone knew and accepted as normal. Today, however, we are obsessed with the idea that life must be prolonged as long as absolutely possible, even using extraordinary measures to keep someone “alive.” We refuse to allow someone to simply die, even though everyone will go through the experience. We are, in short, afraid of death. We are afraid to die and anything which comes along to remind us of that certainty, such as a corona virus, just throws us into a fit of madness, denial, and hysteria.

The world has become accustomed to getting richer. The good life has become an end in itself. People seek out and live for prosperity, comfort, and ease, but cannot handle the current situation in which we find ourselves. What good, indeed, does it do a world of men if we all become rich, but lose our courage, strength, and common sense in the process? What benefit is there in becoming wealthy if we lose our freedoms in a mindless fantasy that we must be “safe” at all times from one of the vagaries of life?

Tough times make tough men. What we are just starting to go through will do one of two things:

1. It will cause us to be fearful and cowardly, amplifying the message that the sky is falling and that we are all going to die.

2. It will cause us to be strong and unafraid of what life can throw at us, knowing that we are here for only a short while, but able to live life to the fullest, no matter what.

Our focus needs to be, not on what might kill us, but on how we can survive AND prosper in spite of it. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Those words have never been more true and appropriate than right now. We do not have to give in to the panic and hysteria, neither do we have to be stupid and blind. With our eyes wide open, we should recognize that this situation IS serious, but there is no good reason to be so afraid of it that we rush blindly into the soul-crushing embrace of absolute safety, which is promised to us by those whose only desire is to control us completely.

“For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power, and of love, and of self-control.”–(2 Timothy 1:7, Berean Literal Bible)

Yeah, I like it.

Trying to make Sense of it all.

I had my truck radio tuned into my local rock station this afternoon on the drive home from work. During a commercial break, an announcement was made concerning the latest statistics in the US about the corona virus outbreak. I’m not sure how accurate these numbers are. This is only what I heard in the report.

In the US, as of today, there are over 347, 000 persons who have been confirmed to be infected with the virus. Also, as of today, more than 10, 000 of those persons have died. Of course, the announcement stated quite emphatically that these people died from the corona virus, but then this can be taken with a grain of salt, since many people who have died may have had the disease, but didn’t necessarily die from it.

Regardless, whether they died from corona or only were infected but died from another cause doesn’t really matter here. What I want to bring out is that there are 340 million people in the US, while only 347, 000 of those are infected. To anyone who can do basic math, this means that only one person in a thousand has been confirmed to be infected. Get that! One person in a thousand is known to be infected and out of that number, only one in 34 (10, 000 out of 347, 000) is likely to die after confirmation. Combine these two statistics and you get the startling conclusion that in the US, only 1 out of 34, 000 persons has died after infection.

There is also the near certainty that many, many other people contracted the disease and either showed no symptoms or developed what can only be described as a minor cold. The chances are quite good that I have been infected or that you have, perhaps without even knowing it. These have never been counted nor included in the official statistics. If they had been, the percentages associated with the virus would have dropped significantly.

To be sure, there are a lot of others who have been very sick and many of those might have died if prompt medical attention hadn’t been given to them, but the above numbers do not justify shutting down the entire economy. Neither do they give credence to the ‘official’ narrative about constant hand-washing, staying indoors in close quarters (probably the worst place to be if others around you are sick), face masks, 6 foot distancing, restricted shopping, and all the other ‘safety precautions’ foisted on and readily accepted by a gullible public.

When this is all over and some semblance of sanity returns to us, we are going to have to face the facts: Corona, while coming out of nowhere and extremely infectious, is not and never will be the existential enemy it has been promoted to be. We have been lied to, repeatedly and often, not only by politicians and health ‘experts’, but also by the media, which has done more to whip up 24/7 hysteria and panic than any other institution. Sensation sells and they have sold every bit of it they could for as long as they could. Maybe that will be some consolation to them when the general public wakes up, realizes that it has been greatly deceived, and demands that things be made right.

Or maybe this is all wishful thinking on my part.

The End of the World. I Feel Fine.

“Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn’t take one more step.” That line from Don McLean’s 1972 smash hit, American Pie, sums up the current world condition quite well.

Today, there is such an abundance of bad news—corona virus, stock market meltdown, layoffs, quarantines, lockdowns, threats of martial law, etc., that anyone could be forgiven if it seemed that another step was impossible. Yet, life goes on, in spite of everything which appears to be destroying our accustomed and familiar way of life.

How do we go on, then? What changes will we need to make or be made for us? How will we adapt to those changes? What will be different in the future? These are all valid questions for which answers are needed and which everyone must seriously consider. There are a lot of things which we don’t know and can not answer, but there are some which require nothing more than common sense to understand.

1. You are in control of yourself and the way you respond to the situation around you. Maintain that.

2. Don’t panic or give into the palpable fear. Keep a level head about you. Stay calm. This alone will allow you to maintain some semblance of normality in your day-to-day living.

3. Don’t believe everything you read or hear, especially about the corona virus. There are so many conflicting stories, reports, “expert” opinions, and official declarations readily available that it is difficult to determine what is true and what is false. Use your own good judgment about what is best for you. Corona may be an existential threat. It may be much ado about nothing. Or somewhere in between, which I suspect, but I do not know where to draw a conclusion.

4. It is not the end of the world, especially as concerns the stock market and the economy. Humanity has experienced financial collapses like this before and survived. Somehow, someway, we will work our way through the current one as well and another generation will be born to carry on.

5. Keep a positive attitude. While the situation may seem disastrous (and disaster is likely to happen), it is important that we maintain a positive outlook about the future. Depression, anxiety, and fear will drag you down. Don’t allow your circumstances to get the best of you. Remember, you are in control of yourself and the way you respond to your situation.

With all that said, it is important that we face some truth honestly. Our world has drastically changed within the last few months and, in spite of all the talk about a return to “normalcy” once the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, it is quite sure that many things we took for granted yesterday will not be in place tomorrow. Things will be different, some dramatically, some less so, but the equation has had another factor introduced into it and the implications of that are still to be seen and worked out.

Get used to the idea that the old system we are familiar with is being dismantled and another one will be erected in its place. There will be major changes along the way, both positive and negative. One positive change we can look forward to is the willingness to rely more on ourselves and our families, neighbors, friends, our faith, and our local community. If this actually happens (I believe it will), we will learn to depend less on distant, authoritarian governments, large faceless corporations, and bureaucratic institutions to provide for what we need in our daily lives. We will also learn what is really important and what is not.

All of us are going to participate in this, whether we like it or not. We have the opportunity to assist in shaping the economy and society which will rise out of the carnage and destruction happening around us. Everyone can participate in bringing this about, wherever we are, by changing our attitude from “Somebody ought to do something!” to one of “What can I do to help?” Look around you. There is plenty to do. Find a place where you can make a difference and get to it. Start close to home, branch out from there.

A better world awaits.