Covidus Interruptus, Part Two
by Ilana Mercer
The managerial elites find themselves in a pickle. The coronavirus pandemic is a serious event. Members of a serious society treat it as such; they look out for one another—and they don’t flee into conspiracy and denial in order to cope with the incongruity of it all. Alas, courtesy of its globalist elites, America is no longer a society; much less a serious one. In the absence of solidarity between citizens, social capital—”goodwill, fellowship, sympathy”—is scarce. Hence the struggle to mount a coherent response to the pandemic.
Centrally Planned Diversity Begets Disunity
Coherence is certainly not a thing immigration policy has supplied. If anything, policy makers have cheapened citizenship. The populations from which chosen, future citizens are drawn come to America not in search of constitution and community. Rather, the corporate state’s preferred immigrants bring their own community with them and hyphenate its members. On arrival, immigrants are encouraged to cling to a militant distinctiveness. The only tacit agreement shared by a majority of Americans, native and newcomer, is that America’s exceptionalism obligates it to both control the world through military and moral crusades and welcome it to America.
The extent to which Americans have, nevertheless, managed to galvanize logistically against COVID-19 is a testament to just how energetic a people we are. Still, the credentialed, cognitive elites who’ve turned the country into this multicultural, money-focused, Tower of Babel, now find that many Americans—united by commerce, not creed—don’t want to go the extra mile for the strangers who make up their country.
Contrast the U.S., vis-à-vis COVID, with a more homogeneous nation like Japan (or Singapore, or Taiwan or South Korea). Thirteen minutes and 35 seconds into this interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum quizzes him about Japan. The country, 127-million strong, has had only 846 COVID deaths and according to Ms. MacCallum, has not implemented the social mitigation strategies seen in the U.S. and Europe. Adjusted for population size, this is as though the U.S had suffered only 2,198 COVID deaths! For Japan to “live up” to America’s COVID cull-rate, 38,484 Japanese would have to have perished from the coronavirus.
Other than that its people sport a culture of fastidious cleanliness and have long-since adopted the etiquette of masking—you and I sense what else is afoot in Japan. So does Dr. Fauci. Certain counties, conceded the good doctor, have “different sizes and different borders, and different infusions from outside.” Put differently, Japan is almost completely homogeneous, with little immigration, and, consequently, a strong sense of unity. Citizens are more inclined to pull together in common purpose when there is a fellow feeling to bind them. “The measures that most successfully contain the virus … all depend on how engaged and invested the population is,” explains Ed Young, a science reporter. All the testing, tracing and isolating are for naught if there is an “antagonistic relationship” with and between the people involved in the effort.
And America, it’s fair to say, is no longer a people in any meaningful way; it is “Walmart with missiles”, to quote Leslie Jones, where we direct the fusillades at one another. [Editorial note; see “Walmart, with Missiles”, QR, May 2nd 2020]
Private Property in a Pandemic
In our irreparably fractious and fragmented country, polite requests by private property proprietors for customers to cover their mugs and conduct themselves considerately on private places of commerce have caused Antifa-like anger and deadly violence to erupt. Some of our countrymen have even killed or injured innocent others for such requests.
The violent urges to violate the personal space of others aren’t surprising.; they’re a symptom of a society that has lost all social bonds. “You are in violation of my f—ing constitutional rights and my civil rights,” hollered a man when he was stopped from shopping at a Miami Beach Publix for not wearing a mask. Such people are barking mad—and clueless (and certainly not Barry Goldwater conservatives).
Whatever laws have arisen to govern how private property must behave—civil rights law, in particular—these have constituted an assault on that sacred sphere, launched with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and valiantly opposed by the aforementioned Republican). If you support the right of the baker to choose the clients for whom he bakes cakes—you will similarly uphold the right of private property to protect customers and employees from a deadly contagious disease by dictating the terms of commerce on said property.
Given that there’s more spite than sense in the displays against responsible private-property enforcement of social distancing and masking—the idea that protest comes from a place of individualism doesn’t quite wash. Private property is boss: it decides who comes and goes. It’s the way a free people should want it.
Private Property Is Choice, Not Force
It is the absolute prerogative of private property to compel social distancing and masking on its premises, or, to refuse it. The operative verbs that informed part one of this column were: “asked to,” “requested,” “make an effort to.” In the context of social distancing and masking, these words imply good will, not force. Good will, in the context of COVID, is a commodity that issues not from government, whose edicts are backed by police powers, but from private property. In an ideal libertarian world, social distancing and mitigation would be voluntary, not mandatory.
Some—hopefully most—commercial establishments will choose to protect their clients, colleagues and associates by sanitizing, suiting-up and spacing consumers and employees; others, sadly, will opt not to. Choice, or voluntarism, is the libertarian way.
It is also true that private property is delimited by its boundaries; by its borders. It is supposed to be clearly bounded and demarcated. I can do what I like on my property and you on yours. More crucially, my actions do not affect you and yours do not affect me, because each respects the boundaries and rules of private property. Here’s the rub: A highly contagious virus that jumps from host to host and from house to house makes a mockery of the choice and voluntarism associated with private property. Nevertheless, in a free society, the protective borders of private property are better than the State’s boot on our necks. That is, if we want to breathe.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She’s the author of Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa(2011) & The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook & Gab. Latest on YouTube