The View From Olympus: A Chink in Our Armor

I have warned for decades that the future weapon of mass destruction is not the nuclear weapon but the genetically engineered plague.  The world now stands on the brink of its first experience with that new weapon.

Whether the coronavirus now racing from China across the globe was created by intention or accident is not yet known.  The Chinese government claims the latter, but that government is well known for concealing facts it finds inconvenient.  My information, which may not be accurate, is that it escaped from a Chinese biowarfare lab in Wuhan that was attempting to cross it with HIV to create an AIDS that would spread like the flu.  We now know how to treat AIDs, but the drugs are very expensive. If the objective were to inflict an economic catastrophe on another country, such a bioweapon would do the trick. So far, it does not appear that the version that got out–its escape would be typical Chinese sloppiness–has the cross; only the carrier escaped the lab.  If that proves true, we can all be thankful.

But either way, the coronavirus pandemic points to what is certain to come.  In genetic engineering, we have created a monster that very well may devour the whole human race.  When man seeks to play God, the results tend to be unhappy. New plagues will be generated both intentionally and unintentionally.  Unlike nuclear weapons, genetically engineered diseases do not require vast facilities that cost billions. They are knowledge-based, and the knowledge is already widespread.  That makes them ideal WMDs for non-state, Fourth Generation forces. WMDs in the hands of states are generally stabilizing. In the hands of non-state entities, the opposite is true. 

We would do so well to remember that the Medieval world, which, contrary to what kids are taught in school, was highly successful, was brought down by the plague, the Black Death.  When you lose a third, half, or even two-thirds of your population in six weeks, everything falls apart.

So what do we do about it?  We have to face the fact that in the face of new plagues, Globalism is suicide.  The only thing that works is quarantine. In the Middle Ages, some Italian towns saved themselves from the plague by a policy of immurement: any house where plague appeared was bricked up, with the people inside.

The equivalent for us now is to shut down all international travel.  No one may enter the United States without going through a period of quarantine.  The current wisdom is that a two-week quarantine is sufficient. That may change. With future genetically engineered plagues, the quarantine may have to be longer.  In Thomas Hobbes’ novel Victoria, entry into Europe requires a three-month quarantine on Heligoland Island.  Of course, anyone illegally attempting to enter the country and thereby avoiding quarantine must be shot dead.

In future cases, it may also be necessary to prohibit all imported goods.  It should not be too difficult to create plagues that are transmitted by things: by food imports, by cars or car parts, by anything that an American might end up handling.  The toxins would be designed, at least initially, to come through the skin. With genetic engineering, there is almost no limit on hideous characteristics a disease can be given.  Modernity, meet your Frankenstein.

The United States is fortunate to have, in Donald Trump, a President who is likely to act and close our borders if that proves necessary in the case of the coronavirus (if it isn’t already).  Can anyone imagine any of the Democrats doing that? They would show endless pictures of crying urchins, denouncing as heartless anyone who would deny them entry. The Democrats’ weakness could well do us all in.  Establishment Republicans would be no better as Wall Street howled that its profits depend on Globalism, on open borders for people and goods. If America once again made all it needed in American factories, ordinary Americans would benefit.  But establishment Republicans don’t care about them; Mr. Trump does.

This is the future, folks; not “one world”, but many moats and drawbridges.  Globalism is the chink in our armor, or perhaps going into a tournament without hauberk or cuirass.  We will either armor up or listen to the cry in our streets, “Bring out your dead.”