Think About What Is Being Said Here

Hot Air posted an article today that included a recent quote from a Washington Post article:

Hot Air reports:

Over at the Washington Post, Keith Humphreys ended the week on a pessimistic note, opining that no matter how much testing and contact tracing is required to get us fully past this pandemic, America will never do as well as several other countries that seem to be taming the virus more quickly. The reason? Because Americans love their “freedom” too much. (Please note for the record that it was Humphreys who put the word freedom in scare quotes, not me.)

We love our “freedom” too much?! You mean that same freedom that men died for in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1912, World War I and World War II? You mean that same freedom that men and women today serve in our military to defend? You mean that same freedom that men and women spend months away from their families to protect? You mean that same freedom that allows you to post really dumb things in your newspaper?

The article continues:

He begins by quoting medical professionals who insist that the only path toward the new normal relies on our ability to “test, isolate, contact trace and quarantine.” He then lists a few examples of countries where those practices appear to be helping them tame the virus, including Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. But, the author argues, we may never succeed in the same fashion because such programs would require not only a willingness to surrender considerable privacy rights and freedoms, but also a general attitude of trust towards the government which doesn’t exist in the United States today.

The article concludes:

I suppose we should examine this analysis with two questions in mind. First, is Humphreys correct? And second, even if we assume that he is, should we really be envious of people living under harsher authoritarian rule and emulate their behavior if it gets us past the pandemic faster?

As to the first question, I have no argument to offer. The author is absolutely correct. Americans are probably just about the orneriest group of curmudgeons on the planet when it comes to bending to the will of the government. That’s because we are arguably the freest people on Earth. We were born of generations of people who had experienced life under the rule of a monarch without any serious assurances of God-given rights. And they wound up telling that monarch to go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. We’re not all that different today.

…In the end, we’re probably doing the best we can do in our fight against the novel coronavirus. Every nation has to come up with their own solution and ours will wind up being uniquely American, framed around both our scientific capabilities and our values. If that means that we can’t get our virus numbers down to nearly zero as fast as some other nations, so be it. Heck, we still don’t know with 100% certainty if this virus can ever be eliminated or if we’ll ever have a vaccine. But if not, we’ll at least go down swinging.

I wish we still taught civics in school. If we did, Keith Humphreys might realize that America was founded by people who had just fought a war against a tyrannical government. They set laws in place to protect what they referred to as ‘God-given rights.” The laws were to limit the government–not to limit people’s freedom. Anyone who wants to live under a more tyrannical system is free to move to another country–there are many out there that fit that description. Meanwhile, Americans like their freedom and are generally willing to protect it.

It’s Time To Reward Good Behavior

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about Taiwan. As you know, Taiwan has been shunned by the World Heath Organization (WHO) and other international bodies because of the influence exerted by China.

The article reports:

China’s behavior during the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has been disgraceful — marked by deceit and an unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of the world until it was too late. In addition, there’s reason to believe that the virus originated in a Chinese lab that did not meet safety standards.

By contrast, Taiwan’s behavior has been exemplary. According to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., Taiwan has donated more than two million Taiwan-made masks to the U.S. and more than five million to the EU. It plans to donate another five million globally.

Moreover, according to our friend Michael Auslin, Taipei tried early on to warn the World Health Organization that the coronavirus might be transmitted between humans. That body, which is heavily influenced by China, refused to act on these warnings. (To appease China, the WHO refuses membership to Taiwan.) “If the WHO and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus had acted responsibly, the COVID crisis could have been significantly contained, even in the face of Beijing’s misleading the world about the nature of the virus and the numbers of infections and deaths in China,” says Auslin.

Indeed, Taiwan’s understanding of the virus, along with its experience with the SARS outbreak, enabled Taipei to respond to the outbreak in a highly effective manner and without a lockdown.

…The numbers (from Worldometer) demonstrate the effectiveness of the response. Taiwan has had 427 total cases (184 of them now active) and 6 total deaths.

The article concludes:

Moreover, Taiwan will be a key player if the U.S. diminishes, as we must, our reliance on China for supplies:

For decades, Taiwan has been a leader in the high-tech economy, and will become increasingly important as global supply chains shift away from China, due to China’s maturing economy, President Trump’s trade war and now the coronavirus. It has long been one of the world’s leading producers of advanced semiconductor chips, while Foxconn, one of the major suppliers to the iPhone, has already urged Apple to move its production out of China. As the competition between China and the United States heats up over semiconductors, 5G and artificial intelligence, a closer tech relationship between American and Taiwanese firms should be a priority.

I agree with Auslin that the U.S. should use its budgetary power to get Taiwan full membership in international groups such as Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization. We should also the leverage our $400 million contribution to the WHO, the world’s largest, to force WHO’s member states to invite Taiwan into the organization.

Taiwan never should have been exiled from the world. As Auslin concludes, “it’s long past time to bring Taiwan in from the cold.”

Taiwan is a successful democracy. The only reason they are blocked from joining various international organizations is the influence of China. China does not acknowledge their existence as a separate country and at some point in the not-to-distant future will attempt to take them over. China wants to take freedom away from Taiwan just as it took freedom away from Hong Kong (after promising not to). It is time to show Taiwan the respect and acceptance into the world body of nations that it deserves.

Be Careful Out There (Or Better Yet, Stay Home)

It’s hard to fight an enemy you can’t see, yet that is what Americans are being asked to do. We can debate the seriousness of the coronavirus if we choose, but we can’t debate that it is here and that it is killing people.

MSN posted an article yesterday about the death of two people in Washington state. I realize that compared to the growing number of coronavirus deaths in America, two people may seem insignificant (not to their families), but their story is significant.

The article reports:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

“I’m planning on being there this Tuesday March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too,” he wrote.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

…After 2 1/2 hours, the singers parted ways at 9 p.m.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The fact that the virus was transmitted at the rehearsal raises questions about the virus.

The article notes:

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, eight people who were at the rehearsal said that nobody there was coughing or sneezing or appeared ill.

Everybody came with their own sheet music and avoided direct physical contact. Some members helped set up or remove folding chairs. A few helped themselves to mandarins that had been put out on a table in back.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface.

But a study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not behaved well during this pandemic. There is a video of an official of the organization obviously avoiding a question about helping Taiwan. There are also indications that the WHO has made statements based on Chinese propaganda rather than actual facts (misinformation that has helped spread the virus).

At any rate–STAY HOME. Choir practice is fun, but when you sing, you may be projecting more than your voice. Normally that is not a problem–right now it is.

Stay safe.

What We Should Call The Coronavirus

Yesterday The Epoch Times posted an editorial giving their opinion on what to name the coronavirus. Their suggestion is a common-sense approach to placing responsibility where it belongs.

The editorial states:

The Epoch Times suggests a more accurate name is the “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus,” and calls upon others to join us in adopting this name.

The name holds the CCP accountable for its wanton disregard of human life and consequent spawning of a pandemic that has put untold numbers in countries around the world at risk, while creating widespread fear and devastating the economies of nations trying to cope with this disease.

After all, CCP officials knew in early December that the virus had appeared in Wuhan, but they sat on the information for six weeks. They arrested those who tried to warn of the danger, accusing them of spreading “rumors,” and employed the regime’s rigorous censorship to prevent media coverage and to delete any mentions of it from social media.

What might have been contained was allowed silently to spread, showing up in all of China. Individuals who might have protected themselves became victims, in numbers far greater than the CCP has admitted. By late January, there were reports that all of the crematoria in Wuhan were operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deal with the crush of dead bodies.

The editorial notes the price of getting too cozy with dictatorships:

In any case, as questions about the origin of the virus have gone unanswered, the CCP has begun throwing out wild charges that the United States is responsible. This will be met around the world with perplexity, if not ridicule. President Donald Trump has pushed back by referring to the “Chinese virus.”

But the CCP likely intends these charges of U.S. responsibility for its domestic audience. The CCP has victimized the Chinese people in its first denial of the virus and now seeks to victimize them again by shifting responsibility for its actions to others.

And this points out why the name “CCP virus” is needed, to distinguish the victims from the victimizer. The people of Wuhan and of China are the victims of the CCP’s arrogance and incompetence, expressed in this viral pandemic.

The name CCP virus also sounds a warning: Those nations and individuals close to the CCP are the ones suffering the worst effects from this virus, as is seen in the raging infections in the CCP’s close ally Iran and in Italy, the only G-7 nation to sign onto the Belt and Road Initiative. Taiwan and Hong Kong, which are highly skeptical of the CCP, have had relatively few infections.

The editorial concludes:

Finally, the CCP virus reminds the people of the world that the source of the virus is itself evil. This is a communist virus, and with the name CCP virus, The Epoch Times reminds the world of the cure: ending the CCP.

Does President Obama Have A Hard Time Telling America’s Friends From America’s Enemies?

On Friday The Daily Signal posted an article about some of the recent actions of the Obama Administration regarding China and Taiwan. Traditionally, America has pledged to protect Taiwan’s independence from China, but the actions of the Obama Administration do not appear to support that pledge.

The article reports:

Tsai (Tsai Ing-wen), head of the Democratic Progressive Party, had scored a major victory over the Kuomintang’s Eric Chu in elections this past January. As important, the Democratic Progressive Party won enough votes to also secure control of the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s legislature, reflecting broad public support.

While the Democratic Progressive Party has generally stood for Taiwan independence, Tsai has been very careful in her comments and remarks not to push for separation. Indeed, during the campaign, as well as prior visits to the United States, she has avoided raising the subject.

Nonetheless, Beijing has insisted that she must acknowledge the “one-China” principle, in effect rejecting the idea of Taiwan independence.

The article goes on to explain the American reaction:

For Beijing, however, it is “all or nothing.” Failure to meet its formulation would lead to the suspension of cross-Straits dialogue, a threat that Beijing has now fulfilled. Chinese officials tied the ending of talks directly to Tsai’s failure to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of China or otherwise formally reject any move toward independence.

Normally, this would draw an American response. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. has made clear that it supports stability in the Taiwan Straits; any effort at reunification must be peaceful and be supported by the population on both sides.

It is Beijing, not Taipei, that has refused to commit to a peaceful resolution. The People’s Republic of China has always reserved the right to forcibly reunify the two sides; the People’s Liberation Army is constantly preparing for a Taiwan contingency.

Instead, the U.S. has invited that same People’s Liberation Army Navy to attend the Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, 2016 exercises this year. This will be the second time the People’s Liberation Army Navy participates in the exercises, having also attended the previous Rim of the Pacific 2014.

The article concludes:

While the U.S. Navy dispatched only one ship to join the four People’s Liberation Army Navy ships attending the 2014 exercises, this time the U.S. Navy dispatched an entire carrier battlegroup, centered around the USS John Stennis. The battlegroup is apparently conducting joint maneuvering and training with the five Chinese ships Beijing is sending to Rim of the Pacific 2016. It is unknown whether the Chinese have also dispatched a spy ship, as they did to Rim of the Pacific 2014.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan navy remains on the sidelines. Unlike Beijing, Taipei has received no invitation from the Obama administration to attend Rim of the Pacific.

It’s getting harder to tell who is an adversary and who is a friend, based on how the U.S. government treats them.