A Small Medium @ Large

By Galen Chadwick

Feb. 28 –  I don’t know why I love you but I do.

Well, let’s see here. Did you hear where they’ve updated the list of “Terrifying Species Survival Strategies?” An embedded source tells me “Turns out we have been immersed in a pandemic of viral ignorance and apathy for decades on end.”

It’s suspected that a corona-type virus lives on our paper money. After a certain point it mutates- just turns into a tiny cloud- then wafts directly from the cash register and into our brains. Immediately thereafter, complete strangers will agree on the spot to do almost anything, for a price.

“Science has discovered this kind of transmission over and over again, of course, but the side effects include forgetting what it was we’re looking for- like Roswell and Hillary’s emails. Now everybody’s infected.” A wiki-search confirms that the perennial quest to cure human stupidity continues to be vastly underfunded.

So I figure I might as well submit my own list: ​(A) Humans are the most curious of all species. (B) No animal is more easily tempted. (C) This never turns out well. Laugh, if you will, at my break-through insights as “unscientific” and “unsupported by peer review.” But to claim I’m significantly more “focused on stupidity” than finding the best foundation for dry skin, say, is just plain wrong.

Way back in 1943 Abraham Maslow proposed “A Theory of Human Motivation” in ​Psychological Review​. His five-tier model is shaped like a pyramid with physiological needs put on the bottom. Then builds upwards through safety, love, belonging, esteem and self-actualization goes on the top. In Maslow’s humanistic psychology theory, self-actualization represents growth of an individual towards fulfillment and for meaning in life, in particular.

But a transpersonal model extends this schema of self-actualization into two other paradigms of relationship, that of the human social organism (community), and to the entire web of living things (cosmos). To maintain harmony- let’s just call it sanity for short- in these relationships, requires discovering that consciousness is nonlocal and that egotism, anger and greed are communicable diseases.

Who can demonstrate a life of harmony? Oligarch Mike Bloomberg? His hostile takeover of the Democrat Party’s a teachable moment for voters everywhere. Says Mighty Mike: “I could teach anybody-even people in this room no offense intended- to be a farmer. It’s a [process]: you dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes corn.” Not said: “And I own all the corn.”

But Mike. It’s not about corn or gray matter. MuchA less is it a contest between good ‘ole smash-and-grab capitalism versus bad ‘ole smash-and-grab communism. It is about sustaining a truthful and trusting relationship with Mother Nature and holding fast to the skill sets and wisdom this requires. The coronavirus is a global intelligence test that’s coming to every community in America real soon.

The capacity to live independently of the administrative state, once the cardinal virtue of the live-and-let-live Ozarks, passed into history with the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. That 1,000 year drought ended democracy in America, Mike, but no offense, you couldn’t last a New York minute five steps from the pavement.

In ​The Atlantic ​ (2/16/20) Polly J. Price writes: “America’s defense against epidemics is divided among more than 2,000 individual public-health departments, which makes implementing a national strategy very difficult.”

In Wuhan city, with a population larger than New York City, transportation is shut down, highways are blocked, and residents and visitors alike are confined to quarters at gunpoint in an attempt to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. In just weeks, the measures have grown increasingly more drastic and “war time conditions” have been extended to include some 750 million people.

The Chinese government announced it was sending 60,000 tons of wheat to feed its beleaguered people. The US government, by contrast, has zero stockpiles of food and has no plans to feed its citizens. That prerogative of democratic rule ended with the corporatist take-over of our food system- all figures concerning grain production and storage are now “proprietary secrets” of the multinationals.

So even while Senator Richard Shelby thanks President Trump for “not sending any victims of the coronavirus to Anniston (Alabama)” CNN reports that people under all kinds of circumstances are being rounded up in foreign lands and “already recovered people are being forcibly returned to quarantine in Wuhan.”

The virus is not spreading in the U.S. as of this writing but it could hit us suddenly, like in South Korea and Italy. Now, the mortality rate in Iran may be close to 20%. It’s time to get ready, reprioritize your commitments, and keep smiling.

Alan Greenspan is “concerned” about how this will impact economic growth for the years 20/21. “We have never chased this before- presumably it’s under control.” And Peter Navarro, the White House trade advisor, says that Trump’s policy is to get supply chains back to North America. “In crises like this, we have no allies,” adding “China’s nationalized America’s (off-shored) face mask factory.”

For the sake of cheap labor, lax environmental laws and bank-driven trade policies a ruling class of plutocrats has auctioned off our national security. Thirty years of unbridled greed is why we’re short of protective gear, treatment facilities, and vaccine development. Point-of-care diagnostics are all but non-existent. Now they say we’ll need “unprecedented, powerful steps to combat the outbreak.”

The Missouri National Guard will enforce the same draconian measures as China if the pandemic cuts loose. The U.S. supreme Court has recognized seemingly unlimited power to the local enforcement of laws intended for the safety and the protection of the health of their inhabitants.

This includes preventing all travel, enforcing mandatory vaccinations (door-to-door compliance), mandatory submission to medical examinations and commandeering of private property even for those who are not sick.

 Who has the authority to enforce such public-health measures? America’s defense against epidemics is divided among 2,684 state, local and tribal public-health departments. Federal quarantine orders are implemented and enforced by state health department authorities, not federal officials. The weakness of the federalist system means states may choose to ignore federal quarantine guidelines, or they may decide that more drastic measures are required, such as a lockdown against a neighboring city or region.

During the 1917-18 global flu pandemic, groups of armed men stood at the city limits of midwest towns to prevent any ingress of strangers. Back then, of course, America’s rural towns were food independent and the citizen-circle held firm.

Our elected officials of today are good people, our neighbors and friends. But there is no hope of restoring civilian-ownership of the food supply as long as they remain impervious to permaculture, regenerative agriculture, watershed organization and economic decentralization.

We hope and pray things will return to normal, just like they did after the Ebola and Sars outbreaks. Until then, I’ll sign off with that old hymn: “People get ready, there’s a train a-comin’- pickin’ up passengers coast to coast. . . . Don’t need no ticket, just get on and board then, pickin’ up those who have loved the most.”