Jonathan Last at the Weekly Standard puts his finger on it in an article titled “6 Reasons to Panic.”
Frieden’s entire argument is so strange—and so at odds with what other epidemiologists prescribe—that it can only be explained by one of two causes: catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment. The latter, in this case, might well be the larger issue of immigration.
Frieden’s argument prompted me to assert that we are effectively on our own. I also called attention to the obvious casualty of a travel ban: the question naturally surfaces… “What about the tens of thousands of people flooding over our southern border?” We already detect the treasonous indifference by the leadership to the possibility that any one of these illegal aliens might carry an infectious disease, but it was easier for the American public to let that slide because–theoretically–those diseases are not likely to be fatal, because our expertise in health care can manage most of those risks. Nobody except the truly ideologically deranged believes that about Ebola.
But what is the ‘prior ideological commitment’? It may very well be, as Last asserts, that it has been decided by the elites that the cost of retaining our irresponsible border policy is some dead Americans. The truth is, however, that this calculation has already been made. One illustration of this is the recent report that some 167,000 illegal aliens that have been convicted in American courts remain at large.
The convictions include assaults, theft, murder, identity theft, domestic battery and obstruction of justice. The convictions usually do not include reckless driving and other driving-related offenses, unless a state’s courts treat them as serious crimes.
And who can forget Obama’s release of some 36,000 incarcerated convicted illegal aliens as a brute political ploy meant to undermine Republican ‘efforts’ to balance the budget?
The law of averages alone is enough to tell us that in a population of known violent offenders, a fair number of them are going to repeat their crimes. Especially if they’ve already been convicted and released anyway! And if you pay attention, you can indeed find numerous reports of precisely this happening, albeit only on local news sites and whatnot. The compliant media also seems to have a ‘prior ideological commitment’ and also cannot be trusted to tell us what is really going on.
It should already have been apparently, therefore, that advocates for amnesty had decided that the death of (who knows how many) Americans was a price worth paying to achieve their aim. To grasp the implications of this more clearly, consider Last’s statement quoted above: our two basic choices are either “catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment.” These actions stem directly from the decisions of one man, Barack Hussein Obama. Now, you can choose to believe that all of these convicted illegal aliens is the result of some catastrophic miscalculation by the smartest president we’ve ever had, or you can conclude that BHO has actually said to himself, “Americans will die if I do this, but that is the price to pay for the cause”, but on either view, the conclusion is that we are on our own.
For Obama does not act on his own. Our Federal government, tasked to protect American interests first and foremost, is packed chock full of people with an entirely different viewpoint. We are not talking about a mere difference of opinion on policies. We are talking about people in our Federal government that have decided that the death of Americans is an acceptable price to pay to achieve XYZ. (There is no particular reason to think that this calculation is restricted to illegal immigration). Thus, we are on our own. It falls to each individual American to think about how best to preserve their interests, and even, sadly, their very lives.
This has short-term implications as it relates to the Ebola crisis, but we are foolish indeed if we do not think about how to correct this in the long-term. It would obviously be helpful, knowing nothing else, if every Democrat, liberal, and progressive was completely purged from positions of power. This, I am afraid, would be only a short term victory, because, sad to say, there are many, many Republicans that share some of the same guiding principles that we see driving liberalism.
One of these guiding principles is the utilitarian outlook itself, as I argue in this post here. But the utilitarian outlook is itself rooted in a particular belief system. Utilitarianism is essentially all that you are left with when transcendental moral principles are ruled out of order… or, at least ruled unfit for the public square. (This last I touched on here, regarding the Houston pastors getting in hot water). What I am saying is that there needs to be an ideological overhaul of the entire system, right down to the very question of just what the purpose of government is, who is allowed to be involved, and what principles they are allowed to act on. It is not uncommon to see Republicans also framing their proposals as being for the ‘common good’ even though what they must really mean, “the most good for the most people.” The latter clearly implies the necessity that some people will not see a good result, and they’re ‘ok’ with that. Do we really want people in power sitting around deciding who is going to ‘win’ or ‘lose’? Especially when the same logic allows someone to justify tolerating the deaths of the very people those people were elected to protect? I think not.
I also don’t think it is very likely that we will see an ‘ideological overhaul’ in either the short or long term. I think America is going to have to hit rock bottom before it collectively recognizes the trouble it is in. I am writing this in the hopes that somewhere along the line, the true roots of the problem will be grasped. Utilitarianism itself is not the root, but the stem. We must get to the roots.
Is there ever a time when “the most good for the most people” is a valid moral principle? As I argued in an already linked article, this ethical principle is really one of last resort, suitable only in cases where there are no good, moral choices. Warfare comes to mind–which probably explains why certain ideologues are constantly declaring ‘war’ on everything… poverty, obesity, etc. Casualties are always expected in a war, you see. Except in this narrow situation (a legitimate war, not a fabricated one used to justify government intrusion), individuals themselves should be making the moral choices, and suffering the moral consequences, and the actions of the government should be bound by the same kinds of moral considerations, not an amoral principle such as utilitarianism.
If I am right in my analysis, the only thing you can do is tuck this away for the future in the hopes that it may make some difference. In the meantime, look to your survival. In the Ebola situation, we may finally have arrived at a utilitarian calculation where it does not matter if it came because of “catastrophic incompetence or a prior ideological commitment.” Because we’ll be dead. Like, literally.
I read once how some towns took matters in their own hands during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1917 and quarantined themselves. Yes, it may very well come to that.
But maybe a little self-governance for a change would be just what the doctor ordered.