At its recent Davos annual meeting, the WEF focused much of its attention on how to respond to the fictional “Disease X.” This alarmist concern about an imaginary threat follows hard on the heels of the still-unfolding worldwide devastation wrought by extreme “solutions” to a grossly exaggerated disease threat.
Over the last two centuries, world history shows a marked tendency to take elaborate steps to deal with imaginary or minor problems. In trying to solve them, people have often created, exacerbated, or neglected real problems afflicting many people.
For instance, the 20th century witnessed massive death and devastation produced by the Nazi attempt to solve an imaginary problem. At least as early as the 19th century, this “problem” was called “the Jewish question” among a number of European–especially German–intellectuals.
One was the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who believed that cruelty to animals and environmental harm were rooted in the Jewish view of nature, based on the Bible. He proclaimed, “It is obviously high time in Europe that Jewish views on nature were brought to an end.”
Similarly, German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, a forerunner of the Green movement in Germany, believed that environmental destruction in Europe resulted from the Jewish view of nature. In his worldview, the only solution to the problem was for the Jews to cease to exist as a distinct group. One can easily see how such thinking could eventually lead to the Holocaust.
Overpopulation turned out to be another imaginary threat. Science fiction novels such as Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room!, which inspired the 1973 movie Soylent Green, convinced many of us that in the near future we would all probably be eating each other because of food shortages and living in terribly overcrowded, miserable conditions.
Scientists like Paul Ehrlich, organizations like the Club of Rome (closely tied to the WEF), and prominent individuals like Bill Gates have strongly promoted this vision of the future, warning that aggressive steps need to be taken to halt devastating population increase. Their predictions proved to be wrong, thanks to advances in agriculture, transportation, and storage technology, which increased food production and effective distribution.
Ironically, the world now confronts the opposite calamity. Even modelers at the Club of Rome itself are now admitting an eventual sharp population decline. This is no imaginary scenario: Japan, Korea, and even China are already struggling with the enormous problem of their aging populations and low birthrates, as are Canada and parts of Europe.
In part, China’s current crisis stems from the misguided “one-child policy” once meant to curb population growth. One tragic effect of that policy was the widespread abortion and infanticide of many girls. China’s experience still stands as a cautionary tale of how a policy cure can be far worse than the disease.
In Japan there are simply not enough people to take on many necessary jobs such as driving delivery trucks. Nor does Japan have enough working people to pay the taxes necessary to support Japan’s bloated welfare state and bureaucracy.
Despite being hotly disputed by many highly credible scientific critics, climate change/global warming alarmism has established itself as an entrenched dogma in many circles. Furthermore, in 2009 and 2011, leaked emails revealed that prominent institutions and individual scientists promoting the warming narrative were complicit in fraud and corruption.
Yet even America’s military leaders are now convinced that they need to combat the phantasm of global warming rather than prioritizing real threats by weapon-wielding hostile entities. On top of that, the solutions proposed to remedy this “problem” are clearly harmful. They involve eliminating cheap, reliable sources of energy and replacing them with expensive, unreliable ones. That will doubtless lead to significant suffering for people of limited means, especially the poor of the developing world and many of the elderly.
Finally, we have a history of destructive overreactions to minor disease problems such as the swine flu, SARS (the 2003 version), and BSE, which preceded the Covid panic. I touched on some of that history in a previous Brownstone article.
Rather than imaginary and minor threats, many immediate, major problems demand serious efforts to remedy. As just one example among many, Japanese have to deal with the continual threat of major earthquakes in heavily populated areas. Japan residents still pay a special income tax for expenses resulting from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.
Therefore, Japan did not have money to waste on useless or destructive Covid measures, such as the purchase of 882 million doses of mRNA injections in 2020 and 2021 for a population of less than 123 million. The same holds true for other nations, which confront numerous concrete challenges.
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