A quick and hopefully short take on the 5 strangest months in human history

It is certainly not for a lack of subject matter that I have not posted anything for nearly 5 months. Nor have I at any time fallen even remotely ill during this period. In fact, I have not even had the slightest of colds. If anything, there has been too much to write and it has been difficult to know where to begin.

Tomorrow marks the resumption of work for me, and I am one of the lucky ones as many around the world have lost their jobs. I hope mine stays in my possession for a while yet but things have been changing so rapidly that nothing is certain. The plan was to write a number of posts during my 2 weeks of vacation, especially since I was confined to my residence this time around, but that never happened. Ordinarily I try to avoid using the computer entirely during my holidays, and I am glad to report that I used mine less, though not nearly as rarely as I would have had I been allowed what has become my ordinary vacation spot.

I did take in some reading, which I try to do during vacation, but not as much as I would when away either. In other words, I have not done particularly much, but perhaps that is the entire point of a vacation - taking leave of one's normal routines and relaxing a bit. Anyway, here goes...Hopefully for once I can keep it short.

Because I subscribe to quite a lot of feeds and get my information from a multitude of sources, I am generally much-earlier informed of current trends than most, and oftentimes I'll track a story for a while before it makes big news. As for what came to be known as Covid-19, I became aware of it sometime in December and  began tracking it probably in the first week of January.

I thought it a serious thing, for a very simple reason: The Chinese communist party provably does not give a fig leaf about human life, but they were ready to shut one of their most productive cities off to stop the spread of a virus. "They can't have been doing it to save humans", I thought, so surely they must be facing something entirely devastating which if left unchecked can destroy their entire economy. "Whatever it is, it must be a whopper". By the way, I had never even heard of Wuhan before this debacle, not that I can remember anyway, which just shows how little we, or at least I, know about even large metropolises in China and other non-Western areas.

Now, on my website - which doesn't have as much original content as I would like, granted - you can find me finding positive points in virtually everything, and admiration without necessarily approval of even the most vile ideologies. You will not find, I am certain, any good word ever on communism, or even of its better-PR-handled ugly sister socialism. In other words, I cannot be assumed of having a deferential treatment to anything the communists do in any country, which is not to say that I support every anti-Chinese or anti-Cuban or even anti-Soviet propaganda piece, but that simply on sentiment, I dislike communism and socialism in their ends as well as their intentions.

So, the 'communist Chinese' - actually, more capitalists in business system but communist in social and political structures - clamped down hard on this thing. By the 17th of March, the date of my previous article, this 'disease' had spread to much of the world, which was in 'lockdown', as it came to be known, with the exception of Sweden and a few select others (I knew only of Sweden at the time, if memory serves me right). I am glad to report that Sweden did not shut down any more than it had on the 17th of March, for reasons which I cannot get into here, but to which I may well return to elucidate. 

Much of the rest of the world, did shut down however, and remarkably, remains shut down. That I had not expected. So then the question becomes: If more or less the whole world has shut down, it must mean we have been facing an extremely serious illness. Well, you would think so, wouldn't you, and ordinarily you would be correct. However, this period has been as far from ordinary as anything anyone has ever experienced save for the Incarnation.

I did write this in my last post:

Another consideration is worth pondering: If the faithful can go without Mass for a month, and manage to occupy themselves with other pursuits, what is to bring them back to Church after that month? 

Would that it would have been only a month! It lasted for months and is still going on, largely.  In fact, many of the re-openings of NOChurch have been more scandalous than the Mass cancellations and church closings were in the first place! NOChurch has been in full suicide-mode. This is not a post on NOChurch, however, which deserves its own separate treatment. Suffice to write that the good in this is that Bergoglio has been speaking less and travelling not at all, so we have been spared of many of his overhead bombing raids.

When last I wrote, I could still write something like the following

Covid-19 Chinese coronavirus, which has spread like wildfire in Italy and has by now shut down much of the country

without wanting to put scare quotes on the words 'coronavirus' or 'spread'. Now, I am inclined to do this every time I write these words, but I would rather avoid having to type them so you will simply have to add them in as you read. I would hesitatingly have written "has by now shut down much of the country" while referring to the virus (read 'virus') but now I would avoid that kind of language entirely and write something akin...

On looking out for one's country's best interests

Virtually all countries have something good about them. In fact, name a country, and if I know anything worthwhile about it I shall probably be able to name one good thing about them.

The U.S., for instance, has a laudable tradition for innovation, self-sufficiency and even freedom of speech  - real or perceived. There is also a spirit of innovation in the U.S. that is nothing short of admirable. What I admire most about the U.S. currently, however, is the absolutely stunning growth of authentic Catholicism in the country - often referred to as traditionalism due to the diabolically disoriented times in which we find ourselves. I have met many American traditionalists and I am often humbled by the joy they display and the hope the inspire, and to think we have communities of them sprouting up all over the country gives me some hope that maybe not all is lost over there.

Sweden, for its part, has a population which is very superficially friendly, so a visitor coming to Sweden will meet pretty much only friendly folks - those that engage in conversation anyway. People in this country allow emotions to drive the debate, instead of reason, which of course has its downsides, but one of its few upsides is that for instance, we do not (yet) have euthanasia. However, when it does come to Sweden I fear it will be in a vastly more aggressive form than we have in other countries for the aforementioned reason. Then we have the 'allemansrätt' laws, which allow people to access private lands so long as they do not disturb the landowners, such that the whole population can enjoy much of the beautiful nature that we have in this country. It's what they had in England pre-protestant revolt, if my historical understanding serves me well.

There is too much good about Italy for me to even begin narrowing it down. China, for its part, has pride in its own culture and history - real or perceived - and we have to admit that no matter how ruthless the Chinese have been, they have managed to get more people out of poverty than could have been envisioned 3 generations ago. Of course, it is not worth destroying churches and killing hundreds of millions of unborn and infants, but we cannot argue that at least they have found an economic model which seems to ensure that the economic initiative of the globe will be Eastwards for some time to come. There also seems to be a genuinely-accepted principle in China that interfering in other countries' internal affairs is a bad thing, and this is a principle they actually seem to honour, as opposed to the Western countries which speak of human rights and freedom, but merely as weapons with which to bludgeon countries they propagate against more than principles they accept or encourage.

"What does this have to do with looking out for one's contry's best interests?", you might well be asking. Well, it has to do with Mother Russia.

You see, it too has much to admire and perhaps most admirable is how much value-for-money Russia seems to get out of its technicians and engineers. Another thing no less admirable is the Russia insistence on self-reliance and independence. In fact, Vladimir Putin has labeled Russia's independence "axiomatic": Russia would cease to be Russia were it not an independent and autonomous country. This is integral to Russia's 'goodness'.

Sadly, most of Europe does not seem to share this kind of view. For instance, we see much of Eastern Europe shaking off the chains of the Sovient Union only to shackle itself first to the E.U.'s chains, and then to be lackey's of the U.S. whatever threat this poses to their own security or economic interests. Western Europe, on the other hand, is occupied territory and has been such since World War II, though it seems to be something not to be mentioned in polite company, and seems to revel in this occupation.

Anyway...It may seem somewhat enigmatic that pretty much the closest thing we have to a Christian nation today - Russia (although that says more about the sad state of former Christendom than it does about Russia's virtues) - would choose to forge an alliance with communist China which has outlawed Christianity. Russia has built over 10,000 churches since the collapse of communism; China demolishes churches, frequently and gleefully, as often as they can.

It is probably not until we consider that Russia attempted to make peace and friendship with the West, and was brutally shunned, humiliated and ransacked that we begin to see why Russia felt that the only way to turn was Eastwards. It is not for a lack of trying that Russia is not on good terms with the West; there is simply too much at stake for the political elite in Europe to drive the narrative that Russia is an enemy. Russia, for its part, tired of trying, and decided to take its economic interests elsewhere, and it is turning out well for them.

This topic is the debale on "Bear & Dragon", an episode of the best show on TV - Russia Today's "Crosstalk" programme hosted by Peter Lavelle. It often has very engaging discussions and most of the time one can learn something worthwhile.

For anybody wanting to learn why Russia has drifted closer to China, and why it has drifted away from the West - through no initiative of its own, one hastens to add - this episode might well prove to be an eye-opener.

What one has to remember as well is that with Russia now attempting to integrate itself more with the East and the South, the barrier of the West towards both Russia and China, as well as their trade partners increases. Trade creates partnerships and relationships, and done well and with respect - which both Russia and China do much better than the West which tries to...


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