Coronavirus is the Real World, and It Came Knocking

New York City has turned in a disaster area for Coronavirus. It is overwhelmed with cases and hospitalizations – and it is overwhelmed because it simply wasn’t prepared. Let us pause for a moment and review some salient facts:

The 2020 fiscal year budget for New York City is $92.5 billion. That’s about $11,500.00 in government spending for each person in the city. That is quite a lot of money, don’t you think?

Prior to the crisis, an N95 mask could cost less than one dollar. One dollar. So, for 8 million dollars out of the 2020 budget, NYC could have provided a mask for every man, woman and child in the city. After spending that 8 million dollars, NYC would still have $92,492,000,000.00 left over. If you want to have your eyes glaze over, you can read the entire NYC budget – I went through it a bit and found millions of dollars being allocated for such crucial things as replacing the skylights in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and providing illegal immigrants funds to defend themselves against deportation.

In addition to that, the directory of New York City is handy for you to see what the city is up to – among many, many other things, they have:

NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate Policy and Programs
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Four different listings for housing departments
New York City Commission on Human Rights
New York City Loft Board
New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

And on and on like that – and, rely on it, these things are staffed to the gills with people who make high salaries and get excellent health and retirement benefits. None of these things, though, provide a mask for a nurse working a Coronavirus ward. What is a city government supposed to do? Easy:

Water supply.
Police protection.
Fire protection.
Waste disposal.
Maintain public thoroughfares.
Non-Police/Fire Emergency services.

That’s pretty much it. Anything beyond that isn’t necessary for the city to function. That you might want to have it do other things is all well and good, but the purpose of the city is those six things – and only after those six things are completely done do you have anything left over for additional wants. New York City – like most governments – has got this all backwards. They act as if their primary function is to provide economic opportunity, to end bigotry, to make art – to do just about anything but what the government is supposed to do. The city has been living in a world of make-believe – a world in which the bad things simply won’t happen and so the crucial things can be slighted in favor of fashionable vanities.

Coronavirus has changed that. The real world does, indeed, exist and it is very insistent that we deal with it.

I’m not here just to knock New York City – as worthwhile as that exercise is – but the whole attitude of a world which has been whistling past the graveyard. It isn’t, after all, New York City’s fault that it can’t just make masks in the city. New York used to be a manufacturing powerhouse…but various taxes, regulations and trade policies over the years moved that capacity out of New York. And out of the United States, of course.

What Coronavirus is teaching us is that we have to act like adults and do the important things – and only after the important things are done can we spare any thought or effort to other desires. We have to build back our manufacturing capacity. We must stockpile the necessary equipment for emergencies. We have to make sure our transportation system is durable. That our water supplies are secure. That, at need, we can live for an extended period of time without one thing coming in from outside the United States. In other words, we have to start being adults, again. Cruel as that might seem.

One of the crucial parts of getting back to reality is to directly ask the people in charge just what the heck did they think they were doing? DeBlasio can be raked over the coals – and should be – but he’s not the only one out there spending money trying to keep immigration laws from being enforced. He and a host of others – including many Republicans – have prioritized all sorts of useless garbage over the necessities of American survival. To put it as bluntly as I can: because our leaders have had us spending on trivialities, Americans are dead of the Coronavirus. It is that one for one here, guys: because if we had been as prepared as possible for this – and had acted like adults at the first sign of trouble – many people now dead would still be alive. And many who are going to die wouldn’t. The vanity project of having a green new deal in your home town might have produced a glowing editorial, but it also produced a corpse. Or dozen.

And we had better get serious about this soon – because Coronavirus, by all historical standards, is mild. This is the alarm in the middle of the night waking us up to the threat…and if we don’t take it seriously, then we will pay a very high price in blood.

The Ballad of God-Makers

Could get a little dull what with no sports and the stores all out of toilet paper, so we’ll have to entertain ourselves. Here’s a good, Lenten poem

By G. K. Chesterton

A bird flew out at the break of day
From the nest where it had curled,
And ere the eve the bird had set
Fear on the kings of the world.

The first tree it lit upon
Was green with leaves unshed;
The second tree it lit upon
Was red with apples red;

The third tree it lit upon
Was barren and was brown,
Save for a dead man nailed thereon
On a hill above a town.

That night the kings of the earth were gay
And filled the cup and can;
Last night the kings of the earth were chill
For dread of a naked man.

‘If he speak two more words,’ they said,
‘The slave is more than the free;
If he speak three more words,’ they said,
‘The stars are under the sea.’

Said the King of the East to the King of the West,
I wot his frown was set,
‘Lo, let us slay him and make him as dung,
It is well that the world forget.’

Said the King of the West to the King of the East,
I wot his smile was dread,
‘Nay, let us slay him and make him a god,
It is well that our god be dead.’

They set the young man on a hill,
They nailed him to a rod;
And there in darkness and in blood
They made themselves a god.

And the mightiest word was left unsaid,
And the world had never a mark,
And the strongest man of the sons of men
Went dumb into the dark.

Then hymns and harps of praise they brought,
Incense and gold and myrrh,
And they thronged above the seraphim,
The poor dead carpenter.

‘Thou art the prince of all,’ they sang,
‘Ocean and earth and air.’
Then the bird flew on to the cruel cross,
And hid in the dead man’s hair.

‘Thou art the son of the world.’ they cried, `
‘Speak if our prayers be heard.’
And the brown bird stirred in the dead man’s hair
And it seemed that the dead man stirred.

Then a shriek went up like the world’s last cry
From all nations under heaven,
And a master fell before a slave
And begged to be forgiven.

They cowered, for dread in his wakened eyes
The ancient wrath to see;
And a bird flew out of the dead Christ’s hair,
And lit on a lemon tree.

Open Thread

Remember Valerie Plame? Well, after her 15 minutes were up, she seems to have gone down the road of anti-Semitism…which may now make her a prime Democrat House candidate.

People are making fun of AOC’s latest brainstorm: a non-profit banking system run through the US postal service. Don’t make fun of it. You must view AOC as a junior-league Lenin. A Stalin-wannabe. She’s a tyrant in the making. Given this, of course she’d want to get banking into government hands…and then make the dispensing of loans based upon political rather than financial calculations. The perfect Leftist system is where everything you do is controlled by government and you can only do things (ie, live) if you are approved by the government.

I’m kinda hoping the Cubs go another 108 years without a championship.

Bio-pic about Tolkien’s early life – looks pretty good; understandable complaint about them excising Tolkien’s vigorous Catholic faith…but, that’s just Hollywood playing to a mostly non-Catholic audience.

Don Surber points out that China is likely thinking at the moment they can outlast Trump…just wait until another Democrat or GOP squish gets in there. I think the Chinese will find they miscalculated.

Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.

John 20:1-9

Notre Dame and Civilization

NOTRE DAME is not a myth. Notre Dame is not a theory. Its interest does not spring from ignorance but from knowledge; from a culture complicated with a hundred controversies and revolutions. It is not featureless, but carved into an incredible forest and labyrinth of fascinating features, any one of which we could talk about for days. It is not great because there is little of it, but great because there is a great deal of it. . . . Notre Dame, on its merely human side, is mediaeval civilization.

~G.K. Chesterton: in “Fancies Versus Fads” (1923)

That last word is important: civilization. These days, no one really knows what the Middle Ages were like. They are scorned as a time of ignorance, poverty and oppression. It wasn’t like that, at all. It was a very high civilization – better than any contemporary and better than all that had come before it.

First and foremost, we must remember what it came out of – the destruction of the Roman Empire was a cataclysm such as the world had never seen before. Indian and Chinese civilization had suffered, many times, invasion and conquest. But the barbarians were easily absorbed into the Chinese and Indian civilizations and though there might have been some alterations in how things were done, the basics of each civilization endured. Indeed, were almost entirely unchanged. That is the real oddity of both Chinese and Indian civilization – for 2,000 years or more, there was no real change in how they worked. The underlying ideas behind them just kept going…in a rather sterile manner, but going. When Rome fell, the entire civilization which underlay it went with it.

Some of the barbarian invaders wanted what Rome had, but especially the latter barbarians who finally overthrew Rome were uninterested in any civilization. They were barbarians in the purest sense – only wanting wealth and adventure with no thought for the morrow. When there work was done (say, by about 700 AD) there was very little left. Books were rare as most libraries had been destroyed. Most of the Roman infrastructure (roads, bridges, aqueducts) were in ruins. War and disease and dropped the population to a fraction of what it had been during Rome’s height. And then, schooled by the Church, people got back to work – slowly building an entirely new civilization on the ruins of the old.

Notre Dame was not built by barbarians, but by people of a highly sophisticated civilization. The church, itself, attests to the technical skill of the civilization as well as to it’s artistic excellence. But beyond that, Europe was already filled with scholars expanding the frontiers of human knowledge – and unlike the sterile, nearly unchanging civilizations of the East, the Europeans were rapidly absorbing and adapting every good thing they could come across from other civilizations. These people were eager for knowledge and improvement and were willing to dare greatly. Not for these Europeans was any sort of stand-pat attitude. And Europeans were already greatly curious about the non-European world (Marco Polo made his journey to China in the 13th century, shortly after Notre Dame was completed). And as Chesterton pointed out, Notre Dame was an excellent, enduring symbol of what these highly civilized people were about.

And now its burned down – and the pity is that the civilized people who built it are long gone and replaced by barbarians, who despise Notre Dame because they both can’t understand it as well as being incapable of building something like it. They are very much like the Visigoths and Vandals who threw down Roman civilization in the 5th century. It is sad, I think, what is going to happen: a bunch of people who have no idea of anything are going to place themselves in charge of rebuilding Notre Dame and they are likely to create a savage monstrosity in it’s place. We can only hope that in some future year, civilized people will knock down what they are about to do, and replace the crude, barbaric result with something remotely as civilized as Notre Dame.

Open Thread

The 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, is an excellent film. It is, of course, almost complete nonsense as far as depicting what Bonnie and Clyde were like; the film treats them as cool, misguided kids in love and trying to have fun. They actually were, of course, psychotic killers who murdered people for no reason whatsoever. Now, to be sure, Clyde had his issues – he appears to have been horribly brutalized as a youth in prison. On the other hand, he landed in prison as a youth because he decided to become a crook at a young age. There’s no real explanation for why Bonnie decided to become a killer, other than general insanity. Netflix has a new production called The Highwaymen covering the pair from the other side: how law enforcement dealt with two people who killed in cold blood nine police officers. There has been controversy about it I never understood: some people taking issue with the likely chance that the cops, in the end, just ambushed the pair and blew them to heck and gone without a warning. My view: when you’re dealing with psychotic killers who have already demonstrated they’ll even kill cops without blinking, you don’t give them a chance to return fire.

New York is now going to tax the street if you go for a drive. Wasn’t there once a song about this?

The concept of time is now racist.

Multiculturalism is good, as long as it isn’t an American culture. Some are trying to change that.

Related: moves to ban Thomas Jefferson. One of the defining marks of the left is hatred – most especially hatred of Western Civilization in general and the United States in particular.

Democrats want to interrogate Fox News over their programming decisions. The Democrats are fascists at heart.

Joe Biden says he’ll keep his hands to himself from now on. If the Democrats wanted him to be their nominee, he’d be allowed to get out of this jam just as the Virginia Democrats were allowed to skate…but if the Democrats want Joe gone, this won’t do a darn thing to save him.