Food Men Chew
COVID – Ilana fingers the Chinese people
China’s plague-delivery pedigree is solid. Courtesy of China, the West got the H2N2 virus in 1957 and the H3N2 virus in 1968. Granted, the Chinese viral supply chain was broken with H1N1 flu; it came from Mexico. But, with the bird flu, SARS and SARS-Cov-2, China has reestablished its disease-delivery credentials. But going by the COVID culpability theories advanced by conservatives, the steady stream of “China plagues,” in Trump’s words, has had nothing to do with the noble Chinese people. Blame the ignoble Chinese Community Party for all these lethal, little RNA strands unleashed on the world. Some have even taken to calling SARS-CoV-2 “the CCP virus.”
As this Disneyfied neoconservative narrative goes, the Chinese were just hanging, being the freedom-loving, civilized sorts that they are; going about the business of making the world a better place, when, lo and behold, their scheming, communistic government sprung the COVID on them—and the world. Without fail, American pundits and pols, conservatives, in particular, apply to China the same theories of culpability that have undergirded America’s invasions of the illiberal people of the Middle East. The bifurcation globalists love is that of the noble Chinese people against the ignoble Chinese government. It’s the Chinese government, not the people. Liberate the Chinese and they’ll show their Jeffersonian propensity for enlightened self-interest, not to mention a palate for a cuisine less cruel.
Yet what I wrote in 2006 about Iraqis applies in spades to the Chinese and their responsibility for COVID. I’ve substituted Iraq with China here: “The government of [China] doesn’t stand apart from the governed; it reflects them.” (Nov. 6, 2006) Look, the Chinese government is no good, but the people get the government they deserve. If anything, when it comes to COVID, the Chinese state here is likely covering for the people’s habits which caused previous epidemics and have heralded the coronavirus.
As a writer for The Agonist put it:
Rightists were happy making bat-eating jokes and mocking the ‘filthy’ Chinese back when Covid was an Asian problem. But now that it’s become an epochal event, only the grandest of explanations will suffice. Surely Covid was cooked up in a commie mad scientist’s lab, or perhaps in the lair of a genocidal James Bond villain like Ernst Blofeld or Hugo Drax.
Jane Goodall has warned us all about the brutal, barbaric manner in which animals, wild and domestic, are being husbanded. This creates the conditions and the opportunities for viruses to jump from animals across the species barrier to humans.
We’re alibiing the Chinese people. Accordingly, the Chinese Communist Party is supposedly responsible for COVID, rather than the millions of Chinese who capture and consume wild animals in ways that beggar belief. Culture counts. Deeply disturbing though our livestock husbandry may be, we in the West love animals. The West cares for animals and has codified that care in law, because of our humanity. Or, as a reader of the Economist put it, “Laws protecting animals are perfectly justifiable, not because animals have rights, but because we value their welfare and are repulsed by acts of cruelty against them. Upholding such laws does not require the cascade of nonsense that would ensue from pretending that animals have moral or legal standing.”
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) stated: “Since compassion for animals is so intimately associated with goodness of character, it may be confidently asserted that whoever is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.” By separating the Chinese and their culinary preferences from the zoonotic diseases these practices cause—conservatives are not just practicing multiculturalism but are exculpating the Chinese for atrocities against animals ongoing.
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 currently on Gab, YouTube, Twitter & LinkedIn, but has been banned by Facebook.