Conceit and Contagion: How the Virus Shocked Europe, by Bruno Maçães.
In an interview published yesterday, the director of a hospital in Madrid was unusually forthcoming. Still traumatized by the images of the emergency care unit where he works, Santiago Moreno confessed that “we have sinned from too much confidence.”
As he explained it, everyone in Spain thought an epidemic such as the novel coronavirus could spread in a place like China, but not “in a country like ours.” It is simple, really. People in Europe still think of China as a developing country. When news started to arrive of the outbreak in Wuhan, they imagined filthy Chinese markets and hospitals, they thought of the spitting and the lack of doctors, and they trembled. They feared for the Chinese people, not for themselves.
This perception explains why, as mainstream opinion lambasted China for mismanaging the outbreak, there was remarkably little concern that the mismanagement could have consequences for Europe and other parts of the developed world. There was effectively no planning or preparation.
I should note here that the very limited number of people who have been publicly alert to the great danger facing the world [cough cough] — and who grew increasingly angry at the lack of seriousness in Europe or America — were almost invariably those with some knowledge of contemporary China.
If you know what progress China has made and how the country is now ahead of the West on many dimensions of what constitutes a modern society, you are very unlikely to shrug with indifference when Chinese authorities lock down a major megapolis.
It was serious, but no one in Europe took it seriously. The unbearable lightness of being. A week ago, the Spanish government actively encouraged all Spaniards to go to the streets and join dozens of very large marches for gender equality. When asked about the infection hazard, one minister publicly laughed. The images of those marches have acquired a tangible, pungent horror. You see them against the backdrop of the hundreds of dead since and the laughter, the hugs and the claps from the marches stand as a lasting monument to human folly.
Spain was not alone in this. Also a week ago, a French municipality organized a large convention of Smurfs …
The problem, of course, is that it probably explains why Europe and not Asia is now the epicentre of epidemic. And it carries a dark foreboding for the future of a continent which seems to be poorly prepared for a world beyond normal times. …
In Europe the general psychology too often reflects the ideology of development, the idea that the most serious threats to individual happiness have been definitively conquered. Why worry about an epidemic if you have excellent public hospitals available more or less for free?
Europe is run ideologically by a class of people who have only a tenuous grasp on reality. They make poor decisions.
We are seeing this in area after area: virus, immigration, managing money and interest rates, climate, transgender, reversing democracy in favor of rule by bureaucrat, reversing the Enlightenment in favor of bureaucratically funded and directed “science”, denial that groups of humans have different statistical characteristics, 3rd and 4th wave feminism, more socialism and less personal responsibility, postmodernism, God is dead, rolling back morality to pre-Christian times, families are so old fashioned because the state is the new daddy, …
Hey, wasn’t Europe where cultural Marxism started (the Frankfurt school)? And Marxism too? Sounds like they had German origins — how’s poor dumb Germany doing now? How long before Germany adopts Arabic as a second official language?