In a new, blisteringly white-hot take called “Coronavirus can trigger a new industrial revolution,” a very super smart guy who knows better than us named Ed Conway explains how the coronavirus has an upside: “Unlike most other such diseases, it kills mostly the old who, let’s face it, are more likely to be climate sceptics. It spares the young. Most of all, it stymies the forces that have been generating greenhouse gases for decades.”
This is a shocking display of hubris, looking intense, life-ending natural disaster in the face, and saying “hey, maybe it’s not so bad.” To a certain extent, we’ve been waiting for this to happen. It was inevitable. After years of alarmism and dangerous fetishization, we’ve reached the moment in our current age of hysteria and panic where a major publication is publishing an ode to a potentially cataclysmic pathogen because the side effects will be a lowering of carbon emissions and the death of the type of people who don’t consider that a priority.
Quarantines due to the viral outbreak have put the breaks on manufacturing in Wuhan, China, the locus of the outbreak. Images released by NASA show a sharp decline in nitrogen dioxide levels as millions of people have gone into quarantine and assembly lines have ground to a halt. People aren’t working or engaging in life outside their homes. The result is a decline in pollution levels.
“On the one hand that spells enormous disruption and could make all our lives more expensive,” Conway writes of the coronavirus. “Yet there is also a silver lining which need not only appeal to Extinction Rebellion. What if this is the nudge we need to embrace a new model of globalisation?”
It’s obvious that a sharp decrease in manufacturing drops emissions. When human beings stop being their naturally industrious productive selves, the earth and its other forms of life fill in the gaps. Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg, and extreme climate activists are fond of letting us know just how terrible human beings are.
But is this really what we want? Wuhan has been a major player in Chinese manufacturing but is now barely recognizable.
The decline in manufacturing and disruption of supply chains gives progressive climate change extremists something of a proof of concept. Conway’s idea for what life will look like after the virus has had its way for us is even more depressing that high pollution levels.
“For the dirty secret about today’s economy is that it is actually a product of yesterday’s technologies: the foundation of just-in-time supply chains is software and internet connectivity. The ultimate energy source is fossil fuels, in ships and planes. Today’s new technologies — 3D printing, AI, robotics — could enable a very different form of globalization. Combine them and it is possible, as the economist Richard Baldwin says, to imagine hotel rooms in London being cleaned by robots controlled by cleaners in Poland, or lawns in Texas mowed by robots steered by gardeners in Mexico.”
What is being proposed here is that people become more isolated physically, more interconnected technologically, and further removed from each other and the world outside their locality than before. If we spent the 20th century getting together and learning each other’s customs in person, feeling the air and ground of new places, the idea now is that we spend the 21st century stuck behind a fence of fear in our own backyards.
It is true that the COVID 19 virus is most likely to kill the elderly and the sick. But to take that fact and flip it as a positive because those lives somehow mean less than others is depraved and disgusting.
“The chimneys which once belched smog into the skies of Beijing and Shenzhen are smoking no more … The coronavirus is one of those shocks that could force business to take the leaps they were hitherto too nervous to make.” Conway croons as he casually suggests that this outcome may be worth losing a large percentage of our most vulnerable loved ones.
The old and the sick are human beings. But in his article, Conway is suggesting it’s somehow worth losing them because they are more likely to be guilty of wrongthink. It’s as though he’s advocating for a kind of ideological eugenics based on the sick, woke views that he and his elite colleagues constantly try to enforce. If the non-conforming boomers can’t be made to see reason, is the idea, perhaps we’ll just get lucky and they’ll die off sooner than life expectancy would indicate.
Extreme activists would have us believe that the preservation of the world and the reversal of climate change is more important than anything else, from personal international travel to global trade, but when the effects are seen in action like this, it’s hard to argue that people matter less than the planet.
Saving the earth at the cost of the population is not a good goal, and those activists that decry humanity in the name of saving the world need to realize that human life and human progress are not negotiable. Humanity needs to innovate in service to the needs of human beings, not for some glorified fantasy of human isolation.
While the climate crisis needs to be dealt with, it isn’t through ramping down human activity that we will be successful, but in trusting human ingenuity and strength to figure out new energy sources that can provide greater power at less cost to humanity and the planet.
People matter. All people. The young, old, sick, healthy, woke and redpilled. The practically pathogenic dehumanization that Conway is practising must be rejected at all costs.