I think the main thing this mess has done is, if you’ll pardon my French, completely fuck every single dogma of American “progressivism”. As follows;
1. Globalism may make people feel good about how multiculturally “woke” they are, but when most of your raw materials come from overseas, in a fast-evolving crisis you can end up not having the resources you need to cope with it. Especially if the foreign country in question is not only on the other side of the world, but also not just potentially hostile but the source of the problem to begin with.
2. Pursuant to (1), outsourcing any vital industry to such a country is stupid for the same reason. Building Buicks in Shanghai for sale in St. Louie is not a viable option.
3. Speaking of cities, the progressive dream of crowding everybody into “mega cities” where they will live in huge “conapts” and be easily monitored (see The World Inside by Robert Silverberg) has been revealed for the dangerous dystopian fantasy it really always has been. (See Futuropolis by Robert Sheckley, Chapter 1, “Constructions of Hell”.) Such “rabbit warrens” are the perfect breeding ground for any epidemic, and always have been. If you’re lucky, you end up with the situation in Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room! aka Soylent Green (1970). If you’re unlucky, you end up with Mega-City One as in Judge Dredd, by Grud.
One reason cities in the early American colonies were fairly small and were mainly the trade centers for vast farming areas was that when they were established, there were still people living who remembered the last round of the Black Death in Europe (c.1620-70) and how it went through cities like London like a dose of croton oil. You may have noticed that rural areas aren’t getting hit as hard as super-urban areas, simply because “social distancing” is a lot easier with lower population densities. (Confession; Yes, I studied epidemiology in my misspent youth.) As the President keeps telling everybody, distance equals safety to a certain extent, especially with aerial transmission bioagents, and you can’t maintain it in the equivalent of a crowded elevator. Or a New York City street.
This means that major urban center areas are going to get hit hardest. Especially those that pride themselves on “openness” and foreign trade and tourism. Not to mention those with high homeless densities. The “progressive social justice Utopia” is a recipe for disaster. I expect the electorate to look very different when this is over- not just in the United States but in Europe, as well.
4. On the same subject, “mass transit” is now a dead duck. Progressives dream of abolishing the automobile and making everybody take the MTA or equivalent, so they can be “channeled”, not to mention watched to make sure they’re perusing something woke like the Utne Reader as opposed to, say, Guns & Ammo. This looks much less attractive in a bioagent transmission environment. Put simply, people will realize driving their own car is a lot safer from a medical standpoint.
5. Speaking of safety, the spike in gun sales that this occasioned has been due to a lot of “first time” buyers who concluded that in a situation where the police might not only show up late, but might not show up at all, they’d better have something to deal with the “problem” themselves. This most likely means that a lot of people who were sitting on the fence re the Second Amendment have concluded that they need what it protects- the right to self-defense.
Unlike John Ringo in The Last Centurion (aka Where We’d Be If Hillary Was President Right Now– no, seriously), I don’t think a lot of liberal “tofu-eaters” are becoming conservative fire-eaters- at least not yet. But they were a small faction to begin with, who just happened to have a large bullhorn thanks to the news media. It’s the “undecided” ones who have come down on the “You can take it from my cold, dead hands” side. And there are a lot more of them. And they vote.
6. Moving to energy, the upswing in POL production due to Trump rolling back Obama & Co.’s attempts to destroy the fossil fuel industry now looks to most people like the smart policy it actually was from the start. Outsourcing energy is as bad as outsourcing any other vital resource. You’d think somebody would have remembered how desperately short of rubber we were in the early days of WW2. Thank God Brazil was on our side, is
all I can say.
I also expect that the era of “No Nukes” is ending. If you want “carbon neutral” energy, your choices are nuclear and hydroelectric, period. Holy Wind and Holy Sun won’t cut it, and everybody outside of the left’s deep-eco/nihilist fanatic element knows it.
Yes, a major plague can change things like that; steam power became a thing in Europe after the last round of the Black Death mentioned above, simply because there were less people to do things by muscle power. The previous round in the 14th Century launched a major upsurge in the use of water power, i.e. waterwheels, for the same reason; but by the 1600s, pretty much every stream in Europe that could be dammed to create a millpond was already taken. Europeans had good cause to thank first Thomas Newcomen, and then James Watt. (See Connections and The Day The Universe Changed by James Burke.)
7. And oh yes, the “enlightened elite” have just gotten a sharp lesson in the fact that farmers and truckers, whom they despise, are a lot more vital to society than they, the elite’, are. Just by going to their favorite organic food outlet and looking at the bare shelves.
(“What do you mean there’s no wagyu beef or arugula? How can that be? I’M ENTITLED!!“
You may be “entitled”, Bunkie, but if it has to come from overseas, it ain’t coming. Logistics 101.)
As a side note, the whole modern “just in time delivery” method of retailing just took a round to the chest. Retail firms are going to be faced with the need- or even a Federal directive- to keep at least a 30 days’ supply of some vital materials and items on hand, in inventory, at all times; which was actually a Civil Defense directive here in Ohio back in the 1950s when we were worried about Russian bombers coming over the Pole.
8. Finally, the countries with “single-payer” health care have done the absolute worst job of coping with this, just as they would with any biological crisis. Because diagnosis and treatment is time-critical, and time-critical is anathema to their “wait in line, we’ll get to you if we feel like it” doctrines. Look at the stats on Real Clear Politics to see what a piss-poor job “socialized medicine” and “Medicare for All” type systems have done in this situation.
By comparison, the “outdated”, “unfair”, and “non-government” American system has done the overall best job of handling this; just look where we rank on fatalities as %
of total cases. The reason we now have more total cases than any other single country is that we have 375 million people between Long Island and Lompoc, which is only slightly less than half of the total population of Europe. (About 740 million- as far as they know, since they don’t count “migrants” and “refugees” these days.)
(NB; Red China is most likely lying about how many cases- and fatalities- they have, but that’s another matter entirely.)
In short, every single dogma of modern-day American/Western “progressivism” has failed miserably here. In fact, they have been revealed to be potentially lethal, not just to people as individuals but to civilization as a whole.
So yes, post-COVID-19 America will look a lot different, as has been said by several experts, with more distance learning, more telecommuting, and etc. (As one insightful person put it, driving an hour every morning to look at a computer screen identical to the one at home makes no sense.) But it will also look different because a lot of the arrogant pretensions of our “best and brightest” will stand revealed as the dangerous fantasies they were from the start.
Whoever said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” knew what he was talking about.
(Most sources credit it to George Santayana, but I suspect it was more likely Arnold
Toynbee who said it first.)
OK, I’m done.