As the world comes to a whimpering halt, some of us increasingly believe that the effects of the coronavirus crisis will be far-reaching and perhaps even permanent. There will be both positive and negative effects, to be sure, but, tragically, I’m afraid the negatives may far outweigh the positives. I have never more fervently wished to be wrong. I shall endeavor to list some of each to follow.
First, on the bright side, people may continue to practice better hygiene and be more diligent about cleanliness. Those in the mainstream media have again been shown to be amoral, fear-mongering hypocrites who couldn’t care less about non-elites…or the truth. Their credibility will be gone, their approval ratings at an all-time low. Maybe, just maybe, a few aspiring journalists may learn from this. With university classes going online only, many professors have already stated they are nervous about having everything they say, teach and promulgate be recorded for posterity. Roaches don’t like exposure to sunlight and fresh air. The most radical and dangerous of these instructors will have nowhere to hide. Colleges will likely be seen as unnecessary in their current guise and shown to be outrageously and needlessly expensive. When people realize they can get much the same education online, it will be much harder for the schools to justify their staggering administrative and social-justice compliance expenditures, as well as their profligate spending on physical fixtures and amenities. Moreover, there will be a concurrent rise in home schooling and a greater respect for those so educated. This will help loosen the grip the government has on indoctrination…I mean education.
Hopefully, American (and other free market capitalist nation’s) businesses will be recognized as the most responsive, creative, efficient, productive and successful in fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and creating vaccines to prevent its continued spread. At the same time, perhaps the Iranian mullahs will be further weakened, and China recognized as the problem it is on many levels. Could the Chinese Communist government also lose any credibility it somehow heretofore possessed?
Now for the negatives, which are many and pernicious. Many small businesses will likely be unable to reopen. We will be saddled with massive, potentially world-economy destroying debt. Unemployment rates will likely stay higher than before the crisis, as not working is being incentivized and subsidized while businesses, employment, productivity, and success are being disincentivized or outright punished. There will be a concurrent increase in dependence and loss of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. There has already been increased acceptance of government control of every aspect of our lives: when and if we can work, where we are “allowed” to go and who we can see among them. America was already flirting with Socialism. It may be ready to consummate the relationship…and make it permanent. There have been calls for a one-world government to most effectively deal with pandemics such as this. Those calls will only grow louder and more frequent. (If you think this is a good idea, reflect on how effective the U.N. is at solving the world’s woes.)
One aftereffect I haven’t heard mentioned is the likelihood that large scale or even global shutdowns and lockdowns will become more frequent, and for ever-less dire threats. Look at how this crisis was handled by world governing bodies as opposed to SARS, H1N1 (Swine Flu) and other previous viral outbreaks.
Then there are the social repercussions. Already articles have pointed out that there is less pollution because of the lack of manufacturing and business activity. Animals are comparatively thriving. Why, the planet is better off! This idea that humans are bad for the Earth will gain more traction. Then, there is likely to be continued social avoidance, a lingering leeriness to human interaction of every kind. You may see a diminution of handshakes, hugging, kissing and person-to-person affection in general. There may even be less human intercourse and a falling birth rate. Sex-bots and dolls will increasingly replace real humans as preferred—and safer—partners for intimacy, though whatever transpires between a human and a robot cannot truly be “intimate.” Some experts say that a measurable percentage of the population may “marry” these advanced, fleshy robots. Sexting and internet porn have gotten even more prevalent and will probably continue to do so. Masturbation will become the main form of human sexual expression.
Finally, there will be ever more reliance on artificial intelligence (A.I.) in all things. And people will have real difficulty in discerning between virtual reality and…reality.
Ironically, though the Chinese Communist government has threatened to cast the U.S. “into the mighty Sea of Coronavirus,” we are, in reality, being rapidly carried down the River of Doubt, past Cape Fear, and are about to be deposited into the Dirty Delta of Socialism.