There’s sure a lot to say about the novel coronavirus and about our healthcare system and the response and epidemiology and education and sports and politics and cultural views on food and medicine. I’d planned to write about most of those, and maybe I still will.
But I’ve been thinking about the corner we’re painted into, socially.
Unscrupulous politicians have discouraged confidence in our governmental institutions, the media, and science. They’ve modeled a narcissistic, proud-ignorance philosophy:
- Don’t believe things you don’t personally observe
- Always believe things from “my” mouth
- If it doesn’t directly affect you, don’t worry about it. Every man for himself.
- Deny mistakes and attack critics
- Might makes right and the ends justify the means
- All things can be framed as us vs. them. Go Team!
At the same time, we’ve already seen politicians trying to scapegoat this pandemic (referring to it as “from another land” or calling it the “Chinese (or Wuhan) virus”
We’ve seen no Federal leadership, and contradictory messaging being delivered by different states.
We’ve seen con-artists trying to leverage this for profit.
And here’s where I worry this is going:
- Ethnically-Chinese people in the US (and those who could be confused for Chinese by dimwitted bigots—essentially all Asians) are going to be subject to scapegoating in increasing numbers
- Charlatans will make a fortune, exploiting the fears and desperation of people conditioned to be exploited
- Small groups will form for “protection”….the “Real Americans” or some such. And inevitably, they will evolve to protection and, from there, crime.
- When the struggles of the service industries lead to economic downturn, banks will be blamed.
- Once banks are blamed, wealthy people will also be blamed.
- (And eventually, Jews.)
Essentially, I expect that the historical erosion of trust in government and media, and the pain and fear and struggles of many, will lead to scapegoating and civil unrest.
And economic depression and hardship for many.
Please, please, please….prove me wrong.