April 13, 2020
Author: Harlan Edmonds
It may seem paradoxical, but conservatives tend to be natural pessimists in times of peace and prosperity, Churchillian optimists in times of war and tribulation. This is because conservatives understand the inherent limitations of things like human nature, government and technology, into which left-liberals naively like to invest their hopes and dreams. And when such conceits go awry as they are wont to do, especially all at once, conservatives are both vindicated and inspired by the possibilities of renewing our common social and political order around a renewed respect for those limitations.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is a grand illustration of what can go wrong in an increasingly left-liberal world order, and of how quickly the attitudes and priorities of the human race can be changed without premeditated design. A refreshingly conservative world order, in the form of more humble, humane, realistic, free and fulfilling ways of living, may await us, now that our ruling elites and our quarantined masses yearning to be free may be similarly receptive to the path not taken.
Perhaps the best way to rationalize such a renaissance is to note that no change is more overdue, or hitherto unimaginable, than the now unavoidable restructuring of our involvement with communist China. For this reason alone, although there are many others, the present pandemic is every bit as much a blessing as it is a curse. Although the price has been high, and we have yet to experience the full cost, we should realize that we may well have just avoided a much more costly shooting war as the price of checking Chinese ambitions for world domination.
In effect, we have just been handed a rare geopolitical mulligan, in which we can now respond to the ever rising Evil Empire of Chinese communism at least as effectively as we had once responded to the Soviets’ original version, but probably more effectively, as we now have the benefit of experience and hindsight.
But without the pandemic, this would not presently be an option. Until now, few Americans, much less other peoples of the West, cared that the Chinese made most of the things we bought. Not even toxic toys, poison dog food or carcinogenic medicines dampened our appetite for more. We bought it because it was cheap, and just lived with the fact we’d have to buy it again and again when it broke. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan used to also sell us poorly made goods, but it eventually became quality merchandise because those countries were capitalist and free.
And yet, we never demanded the same from communist China. We outsourced our pharmaceuticals, strategic resources, cybersecurity, military technology, and everything else necessary for the preservation of a free and independent nation. Not even the endless reports of human rights abuses—from political repression to concentration camps to church demolitions—gave us pause about bankrolling the rise of an atheist totalitarian regime hellbent on displacing the United States as the world’s leading superpower.
And that complacency is the greatest advantage of all that China had enjoyed. For some reason, we really were buying the proverbial nooses they would hang us with. Back when the Soviet Union tried to pull this, we weren’t remotely tempted. The American people were made of sterner stuff. There was no corner of the globe too remote for us to militarily counter their imperial ambitions. And there was no trading partnership; we embargoed one another as a matter of policy. We had the better of the deal and we knew it because, along with our free world trading partners, we could produce anything we needed.
In the end, we ground down the Soviet Empire by out-thinking, out-producing and out-competing them in every sphere. We can and must do the same with the ever-expanding Chinese Communist Empire. Not because we’ve somehow become racist or xenophobic, or desire revenge for the pandemic, but because it was always the right thing to do. And if it took the duplicity of the Chinese communists to remind us of this, regardless of their degree of complicity in creating or spreading a deadly new virus, we can count ourselves and our nation fortunate.
Government and technology and other tools of mankind are only as beneficial and right as the human masters who employ them. Compromising and cooperating with stupid and evil regimes never makes them more like us; it only makes us more like them, as we have now seen. The “neoconservatives” who took over the Republican Party and the “progressives” who took over the Democrat Party (after the stalwart Cold Warriors in the mold of JFK and Ronald Reagan were swept aside) have never been able to grasp this.
Like the Soviets then and the Chinese now, western liberals of every stripe are still blinded by their essentially Marxist vision of humans as purely material beings, enslaved and controlled by economic theory. It’s now time to restore America and the West to their original place as defenders and cultivators of moral and spiritual men, of free and responsible children of God.
(This article was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.)