Martial Arts as War (MAW) and Martial Arts as Sport (MAS)—these are the two paradigms that, by and large, define the contemporary universe of the martial arts. Or so I have argued in previous essays. Now, it’s true, of course, that—as my own Master-Instructor observed to me in one of our countless conversations over this […]
As if exploding from the womb of “The Coronavirus Pandemic,” which should more appropriately be referred to as “The Great Panic of 2020,” is a thing vastly more ominous than the virus in whose name it is has spread like wildfire.
Even the sainted Anthony Fauci, on whose every word Americans across the board now cling, himself conceded in a recent essay published in The New England Journal of Medicine (an essay that he co-authored with Dr. H. Clifford Lane and none other than Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) that the real mortality rate of COVID-19 is almost certainly comparable to that of a seasonal flu.
The real mortality rate of The Virus, that is, could very well be comparable to .1%
Furthermore, The Virus has a lifespan. It will almost certainly be gone within the relatively near future.
Though not something to be taken lightly (as no infectious virus should be taken lightly), the Virus is not remotely as big a threat as…the Flat-Curve Society.
The Flat-Curvers—the Social Distancers in Big Government, Big Media, and throughout the whole country (and beyond) who insist on the need to “Flatten the Curve!”—are far more ubiquitous in presence and power than any virus.
The Flat-Curvers in Big Government and Big Media, those who clearly have everything to gain from convincing Americans that they are encountering nothing less than the most dire and unprecedented of existential crises, I have addressed in previous installments of this series.
Here, however, I’d like to address the Flat-Curvers, i.e. the vast majority of American citizens, the public, who have not only eagerly acquiesced in the abrupt and radical transformation of their country, but who have, in truth, demanded it. If not for their willingness to exchange the Republic (or what was left of it) for which their ancestors bled and died for the Flat-Curve Society, their elected representatives could never have gotten away with violating their oath to uphold the Constitution and, which is even worse, be lionized for doing so.
If not for the millions of Flat-Curvers who are glued to their television sets while “Sheltering-In-Place” (Newspeak for cowering in their homes), the fear porn industry of which Big Media (along with Big Government) is the greatest purveyor would have imploded, if it ever could’ve gotten off of the ground at all.
A friend of mine, a good person who happens to find herself squarely located on the political left, remarked to me that she believes all of the measures that are being taken to stop the spread of The Virus—to “Flatten the Curve!”—are ultimately worth it.
The ends justify the means.
While it’s becoming increasingly clear that a person’s political orientation (which implicates a whole worldview) is an indicator of his or her response to The Virus, the view of my friend transcends partisanship: Self-identified conservatives and rightists, at least up until this time, also appear to endorse her position.
The Flat-Curve Society seems to be open to Democrats, Republicans, and anyone and everyone—as long as they subscribe to the following tenets:
(1)We are indeed at war. Let’s call it, “The War on The Coronavirus” or, if we are going to be a bit more creative, “The Corona War of 2020.”
(2)The end of prevailing over The Enemy justifies any and all measures (that Flat-Curvers are noticeably selective as to the measures that they deem necessary, or “essential,” and that there are at times glaring contradictions between their prescriptions and their proscriptions we can put to one side for the moment).
(3)All Constitutional liberties, rights, prerogatives, and obligations must be indefinitely suspended—meaning, for practical purposes, indefinitely revoked—until the War on The Coronavirus is won.
In other words, the Constitution, that which distinguishes America as the unique country that it is and for the sake of which generations of Americans have fought, suffered, and died, the document affirming their standing as free men and women that untold numbers of our compatriots from yesteryear embodied in their daily lives—this United States Constitution must be shelved until as such time as Dr. Fauci determines that we are safe from The Virus.
This tenet implies some others:
(4)The country considered as a civil association must be relegated to the backburner until the War is won. All citizens must rally to the war effort—and if they don’t do so voluntarily, then their resources in time, energy, mental and emotional health, spiritual well-being, property, comprehensively, their very persons, must be conscripted into the service of winning the Corona War.
(5)Elected Representatives and the bureaucrats who they’ve appointed are not, as liberty-loving peoples of the past understood, custodians of law but, rather, leaders, and they are leading the rest of us to Victory over The Virus.
But if those occupying offices of authority in government are Leaders, then:
(6) American citizens are followers.
Admittedly, Flat-Curvers will never explicitly refer to themselves as followers. They probably don’t concede this even to themselves. But if politicians are Leaders, this can only mean that the people who they purportedly represent are their followers.
And since it is for the sake of prevailing in the War on The Virus that we are to follow our Leaders, like all good soldiers, citizens must obey.
Nothing less than unqualified obedience is expected from all socially responsible human beings.
(7)If their Leaders order citizens to remain in their homes, isolated from friends, relatives, and the various communities to which they belong, then they must, to quote one of the mantras of choice of the Flat-Curve Society, “Stay at home!” in order to “Save lives!”
(8)If our Leaders determine that, to win the War on the Virus, tens of millions of Americans must abandon their businesses and their jobs—or at least those businesses and jobs that our Leaders determine are “non-essential”—then it is both lawless and immoral to do otherwise.
(9)If our Leaders in effect determine that the wartime effort requires legions of Americans to foreclose on their mortgages, lose their homes, and plunge into debt the likes from which they’ll never recover, then this is what must be done.
(10)If our Leaders determine that the war effort demands that houses of worship close and the Constitutional obligation of government to refrain from abridging the right and duty of believers to gather to pay homage to their Creator (or for whatever other reasons) be set aside, then houses of worship must shut their doors to the faithful until such time that Anthony Fauci and other Big Government Experts say so.
As even Redfield, director of the CDC, recently acknowledged on a local Philadelphia radio program, 98%-99% of people who contract The Virus will recover from it (what evidence we have thus far suggests that the real number is actually even higher than this). For the sake of accomplishing victory over a virus that may very well prove to be about as lethal as the seasonal flu, Flat-Curvers will spare no expense. (It is worth noting that as to what exactly victory is supposed to entail, the Flat-Curvers from the White House on down have been about as clear as was the Bush administration and its supporters clear to what they thought victory in “the War on Terror” was supposed to look like: Will victory consist in “stopping the spread” of the Virus, i.e. “Flattening the Curve?” Reducing the likely mortality rate from .1% to something even lower? Eradicating it completely from the face of the planet?).
To be clear, let’s consider again those costs that the Flat-Curvers maintain are worth it to prevail over The Virus:
(a)Constitutional liberties, the inheritance of every American bequeathed to them by generations of liberty-loving patriots who sacrificed their very lives for their posterity, revoked;
(b)Millions, undoubtedly tens of millions, of Americans forced into unemployment over night;
(c) The dreams, the American Dream, of men and women who, upon years of investing blood, sweat, tears (and, of course, no small amount of money) into building their small businesses that have now been forced by government fiat and, even though not directly, the whole of the Flat-Curve Society to shutter their doors shattered;
(d)Law-abiding citizens made into criminals and social outcasts for refusing to join ranks with the Flat-Curvers, for daring to leave their homes for “non-essential” purposes;
(e)Relationships strained, if not destroyed altogether, for through their dutiful observation of the imperative to engage in Social Distancing, Flat-Curvers have alienated, and alienated others, from all of those institutions that function as buffers between the naked individual and the State, those communities that shape people’s identities, enriching their sense of purpose, meaning, and belonging—what Burke called “the little platoons”: Familial relations, friendships, romantic relationships, church and other local communities—all have been weakened by the directives of the Flat-Curve Society.
(f)Along with the alienation, unemployment, fear, and uncertainty engendered by the Flat-Curvers, there’s the despondency, depression, and anxiety of millions whose lives have been upended by, not The Virus, but The Society of Flat-Curvers.
Are these costs really worth winning The Corona War of 2020?
“The Flat-Curve Society” is a name intended to sound like “The Flat Earth Society.” It’s tongue-in-cheek, meant to suggest that just as it is ridiculous to believe in a flat Earth, so too is it equally absurd to transform into a Categorical Imperative the fiction that flattening the curve of a flu must trump all other considerations, must come at all costs.
But in truth, the Flat-Curvers among the masses are no laughing matter. They are as scary, really, perhaps scarier, than their Leaders. The Flat-Curvers in Big Government and Big Media know that they are advancing a fiction designed to advance their own economic and political interests.
The Flat-Curvers throughout the country, though, those who are increasingly wearing masks; raiding grocery stores; hoarding goods; and shaming, blaming, and attacking those who they deem insufficiently observant of Social Distancing protocol—they are True Believers.
Yet they’re frightening because, as I noted above, the incalculable damage to the material, mental, emotional, and, yes, spiritual well-being of scores of millions of their fellow Americans, to say nothing of untold numbers of other human beings around the world who will inescapably be injured by this shutdown of America, couldn’t have happened without the zeal with which they’ve fallen into lockstep and followed their Leaders in Big Government and Big Media.
The rest of us, those relatively few of us who want no parts of the Flat-Curve Society, have every reason to believe that there is nothing that its members will not do to keep from getting sick.
In the next installment of this series, I will elaborate further on this ominous verdict.