By Dr. Jim Ferguson
I’m fascinated by the ever-changing English lexicon, defined as the vocabulary or corpus of a language. I’ve written about words, our tools of expression. I’ve described being “woke,” exercising “intersectionality” and the definition of “leftism.” And now a new term, social-distancing, is being used by everyone. This is a “tosspot” term, a word derived by combining a verb and a noun.
You may have limited interest in words, but I maintain there are few in the world who are not interested in COVID-19, the scientific name for scourge that entered our world and lexicon in January 2020.
Some consider it xenophobic or racist to call this new agent the Chinese virus because it originated in Wuhan, China. The Chinese people are not at fault. Like the rest of the world they are victims of the communist Chinese government that suppressed information about the novel coronavirus which has now infected the world. If the danger had been known, the now infamous YouTube video depicting an Asian man proclaiming “I’m not a virus, kiss me” would not have occurred. Tragically, progressive virtue signaling carried the day and many did hug and kiss him, contributing to this modern plague now savaging Italy.
Though you may find it strange, I’m a history buff. In my defense, The founders of our country ascribed to the 2500-year old perspective that history should be studied so we can learn from its lessons. The 20th century philosopher George Santayana famously observed, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.”
We moderns discount the lessons of history, and think that the present moment is what matters. We also ascribe to relativism, where everyone’s reality is equal to all others. This may work for physics, but not in other areas of thought. A consequence of relativism is there are no absolute standards of right or wrong. And taken to the extreme, sawing off someone’s head is morally OK because the jihadist’s morality is equivalent to Christ’s.
As Becky and I follow President Trump’s guidelines and adapt to life in the mitigation phase of the coronavirus war, I’ve been thinking of historical plagues and what can be learned from history. Mr. Webster defines a plague as an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality. The pandemic Spanish flu (racist?) of 1919 killed more than died in the trenches of WWI. Tragically, young adults were especially affected by this flu which took the fictional Mr. Gower’s son in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. On the other hand, H1N1 swine flu of 2009, which originated in Mexico, was especially deadly for children. And now, COVID-19 is especially deadly for seasoned citizens.
Most people are unaware of the horrible plague which struck Athens in the second year of the Peloponnesian War. There weren’t epidemiologists in antiquity, but modern science has deduced the epidemic was due to typhoid fever, a salmonella infection which killed 25% of the population of ancient Athens and their leader, Pericles. A half millennium later, the Antonine plague in second century Rome, was due to smallpox or measles. The viral epidemic killed five million along with two emperors.
More commonly, people associate the term plague with the Black Death of 1350-1400 AD, which killed 30-50% of Europe’s population. This pestilence was bacterial bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis) carried by fleas on rats. Perhaps traders brought the plague to Europe, but historian Martin Armstrong speculates the plague in Asia was carried by a Mongol army besieging a Genoese trading post in Crimea (southern Russia). The first example of germ warfare occurred as the Mongols catapulted plague-infested corpses over the walls into the trading post. The disease spread quickly and the Genoese abandoned the outpost, bringing the plague back to Europe with them.
It may trigger some snowflakes, but I am struck with the epidemiological similarity of the Black Death from Asia and our modern-day Chinese plague which is causing disease, destruction and death. I don’t care that the media-mob says Trump is a racist for calling the Wuhan virus the Chinese virus. I’ll go even further. I’m mad as hell at the communist Chinese government and their coverup of the epidemic and then trying to blame America for their mess. The world is suffering because of the Chinese communist overlords.
During a war it is hard to see any light in the darkness. And with social distancing, we’re catching up on movies. We just watched The Darkest Hour depicting Winston Churchill’s election to prime minister of England and his dogged resistance of the Nazis. Historians debate whether leaders arise and then shape history or events promote the rise of leaders. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Abraham Lincoln arose to lead our country through a horrible civil war. Churchill was a born leader and his tenacity saved England and Europe, with our help.
Light can shine from the darkness of this pandemic. Charlie Daniels said, “If we use it here, we should produce it here.” Bingo! Humans are too tribal. We are not ready for globalism which is now hopefully dead. Our borders may finally be secured and illegal immigration stopped. Progressive socialism will hopefully die on the ash heap of history and America will reject a candidate who unfortunately has had two brain aneurysm operations and suffers with accelerated aging of the brain.
Our president is a leader of men in this time of crisis. To think otherwise is delusional or driven by the idolatrous pursuits of power and hatred. Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China early during the coronavirus epidemic was prescient, though he was savaged by Democrats, leftists and the corrupt media. Likewise, he was criticized for closing travel to Europe, though the European Union has now closed its borders. And his promotion of a government-private industry partnership is providential.
Our “salty sailor” of a president does not countenance fools like CNN’s Jim Acosta nor does he mince his words with communists, jihads or leftist AOC types. Walt Whitman in his famous poem, “O Captain My Captain,” celebrated his president Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Civil War.
I celebrate our Captain who is leading us to America’s ultimate victory.