As I wrote in my previous piece, the upending reverberations of the Chinese-spawned novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been felt throughout all avenues of American society. Entire school systems have been closed, some until the fall; travel to large swaths of the world has been barred; hospice care has been experiencing unprecedented constraints, propelling many hospitals to use makeshift equipment and curtail nonessential procedures like elective surgery; and a new earth-shattering crisis has consumed the attention of the virtuous members of the commentariat concerning President Trump’s objectively accurate description of COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.”
Yet in the midst of these perpetually new developments, a series of illuminating truths about the very system we live in has been revealed by the unexpected force of disease. It may make perfect sense why we could learn so much about our nation in the next few months: calamities extricate the fundamental nature of mankind from the artificial superficiality that envelopes society. It is in times like this when concerns about how “progressive” or “diverse” we are are thrown out the window, and the very issues that matter the most — family, self-preservation, stability, order — emerge innately primal.
With this in mind, here are four truths about our society and politics that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, to the dismay of many:
1. Public schools are not just institutions of education — they are taxpayer-funded daycares.
As the past week has demonstrated, the necessity of public schooling for the American youth extends far beyond teaching them about multiplication and the Revolutionary War. Instead, public schools today serve the role that parents traditionally served in the past, providing thousands of students with free food, preventing potentially delinquent children from otherwise pursuing a life of criminality and mayhem, and granting ultimately structureless teenagers a sense of purpose and order.
In the past few days, the dependence that many children have on public schools to not just simply provide educational instruction but to secure their basic needs has been illuminated on a national scale. And because working Americans perpetually fund public schooling, future parents will increasingly have less of a reason to shoulder the burden that parenthood requires, allocating that moral obligation instead to public schools, and by extension, the state.
2. Nationalist policies are not “racist” or “evil.” Rather, they are incredibly effective policies that aim to care for the very people that a government has an obligation to protect.
According to the mainstream media, nationalism is synonymous with Nazism, racism, and virtually any other derogatory epithet that can infect one’s reputation with the mere utterance of it. Yet in the past week, nationalist policies have been the most effective and moral way for a leader to signal to their constituents — the very people a leader should care most for — that they will protect them from the horrors that threaten the rest of the world. This should always be the first priority of any leader, but it took a mysterious microbe from a prominent Chinese city to finally ostensibly awaken the same presidents and prime ministers who were decrying any effort to protect a nation’s borders as “racist” just months ago.
Whether it be America’s restrictions on travel from Europe or Canada’s closure of the United States-Canada border, COVID-19 has shown that immigration is not as pure and bliss as the most “progressive” leaders of the world — who, mind you, are currently closing their countries’ borders at a rapid pace — passionately claimed in the past. Immigration, especially on a mass scale, brings with it inevitable disease, crime, and cultures that are not aligned with the principles of Western civilization.
According to researcher Trevor Bedford, scientific evidence indicates that ninety percent of all novel coronavirus infections in Seattle originated from a single Chinese immigrant. In Iran, officials traced the origins of COVID-19 cases to a number of infrastructural projects that primarily employed workers and technicians from China on a large scale. Italy, where companies employ a large number of Chinese workers due to their inexpensive labor costs, has linked its exponentially growing outbreak to just two Chinese tourists.
To put it simply, it is the very anti-nationalist and open borders mentality that the most powerful leaders of the world once cherished that is significantly responsible for the global pandemic that is impacting untold numbers of people.
3. Hollywood enjoys top-of-the-line living standards and privileges while ordinary Americans experience anything but. Hollywood’s leaders then remind us of how virtuous they are and how privileged we are.
This is self-explanatory, but the unbridled hypocrisy of Hollywood has been showcased enormously in such a short amount of time that it is worth noting. Whether it be Kevin Durant, Tom Hanks, or Idris Elba, testing for the novel coronavirus — despite being in woefully short supply for anyone living outside of the confines of elitism — appears to be wholly abundant for the ruling class. Some, such as Elba, received testing despite not exhibiting any of the symptoms of the virus — a clear testament to the imprescriptible privileges Hollywood’s exclusive members enjoy.
To remind us of how avaricious we are and how benevolent they are, Hollywood’s figureheads recently assembled together to reprise John Lennon’s “Imagine,” lecturing Middle America about how much better the world would be without sovereign nations and material possessions. These are the same people who live in multimillion-dollar mansions and hire immigrants from South America to wash their dishes.
Upon being asked about this grotesque dichotomy by a reporter, President Trump responded in a brutally honest fashion, remarking that it has “been the story of life.”
Knowing this, popular conservatives shouldn’t be shocked when socialist movements, such as Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, garner incredible momentum. Free market capitalism, despite being the greatest economic system to date, does not abolish the unjust privileges that members of the elite class enjoy solely because of where they live and who they know and pledge loyalty to.
4. America’s economic reliance on China is grotesquely wrong.
Ask anyone you know about their view on America’s trade relationship with China and the responses will probably be pretty similar. You’ll hear a plethora of comments about how essentially all of our plastic technology, from cellphones to televisions, originate from Chinese manufacturing. You might hear a great deal of criticism from those who view American companies outsourcing to China as a betrayal and a disservice to the American people.
Despite these all being valid critiques, you probably won’t hear much about one of the most damning facts about our economic reliance on China: virtually all of our medical supplies — hospital equipment, medicine ingredients, antibiotics — are monopolized by the Chinese Communist Party. China has the economic power to devastate the livelihood of tens of millions of Americans in a short span of time if it so desired. The CEOs of Fortunate 500 companies who get high off the financial benefits of employing Chinese labor don’t want you to know that.
For perspective, Chinese pharmaceutical firms control ninety-seven percent of American antibiotics and ninety-five percent of ibuprofen imported into the United States. In findings by the Associated Press, the recent shortage of crucial media equipment domestically “can be tied to a sudden drop in imports, mostly from China.” Hand sanitizer and swab imports, the AP found, “dropped by 40%” in the past month, and medical masks “were down 55%.” The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China doesn’t just affect the lives of Chinese nationals — it may result in the avoidable deaths of Americans due to our reliance on a nation that now blames America as the source of the disease.
Would any reasonable person believe this unfathomable level of dependence on any foreign nation to be a particularly good idea? The answer to that is an obvious no. A college degree in macroeconomics from Princeton isn’t required to realize the incongruous relationship America is currently in.
Libertarians and self-righteous “free market” conservatives will instead blame America’s medical supply shortage on the tariffs currently levied on Chinese goods, devoutly believing our reliance on China to be economically noble due to the low prices of goods imported from China and the efficiency of Chinese manufacturing. They’ll conveniently ignore the millions of Americans that have lost their jobs due to the interests of transnational companies being transfixed on profit rather than the lives of ordinary people. They’ll also ignore the overlooked fact that a foreign Asian regime that kills its own citizens at will can sincerely affect the well-being of millions of Americans by simply cutting off its antibiotic imports to America. To these individuals who claim their hearts are with the middle class, economic metrics like GDP are far more important than actual measurements of human happiness and livelihood, such as the average life expectancy and the suicide rate.
To conclude, what do all four of these realities tell us about the society we live in and the politics we practice?
For starters, they display the great amount of reliance we place on external institutions, such as foreign nations and public schools, and the lack of dependence we place on the people and establishments closest to us. That’s certainly not good for the societal health of a nation.
They also demonstrate that our primordial human instincts of self-preservation and nationhood could care less about “xenophobia” or “tolerance,” and that nationalist policies embody a government’s most basic obligation to its citizens: to protect and care for them.
Finally, on a more humorous yet ultimately profound note, the past week has displayed the blatant uselessness of Hollywood’s nobility and the essential nature of middle-class truck drivers, grocery store workers, farmers, and police officers — the very people that Hollywood looks down upon in contempt on a daily basis.
Daniel Schmidt is a 16-year-old political commentator and opinion writer. In his freshman year of high school, he founded The Young Pundit, a hard-hitting news commentary outlet featuring young, incisive, and unbought conservative voices. To read more about Daniel, click here.