Coronavirus and Covid-19: Nothing will be the same after this | Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen

Norwegian author and YouTuber Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen has some interesting thoughts on the long-term, cultural significance of coronavirus (COVID-19 / SARS-COV-2). The existence of this virus will definitely have effects on how we think about things, how we act, where we go, who we interact with:

“We’re going to see people understanding the value of family, we’re going to see people returning to the local communities; people will travel less, people will have a lot more skepticism toward foreigners, towards foreign cultures. I’m sure there will be a lot of push-back toward this, that people will call you a lot of names if you have that kind of skepticism” – but, he strongly implies, it’s going to happen, whether some folks like it or not.

This is starting to hit home to me. I have just learned that because Maryland has decided to cancel all school classes and programs for two weeks, starting on Monday, I am going to be taking some serious hits professionally and financially. I may lose two weeks of pay. At least. Maybe more, if things continue.

It’s definitely making me think. I am vulnerable, here. I’m vulnerable economically, since I’m dependent very much on what others do for my employment. We all are, to some degree. But I’m acutely so, by the nature of my job. I’m vulnerable health-wise, again due to the nature of my employment.

And I am vulnerable, too, in that I am living a) close to a very large and fairly unstable city – Baltimore – which has a history of rioting, and which could become very unpleasant very quickly if things get bad; and b) in a context in which it is very difficult for me to “prep” – to stockpile food and supplies, and to operate “off the grid,” if necessary. Not just difficult, but nearly impossible, at present.

I have been resisting the thought of moving – even as I have also been pondering the prospect – partly because I was “once burned, twice shy” by my 2013-14 relocation to Maine; and partly because it is simply a daunting concept. Where will I go? What will I do to make money, to support myself? I have no easy answers. But this coronavirus outbreak is definitely making me think more deeply about the questions.

Another way in which this has touched me: I stopped at the local supermarket on my way home from work today. Thought nothing of it, there were just a few things I wanted to get, some for supper, some for later. I walked into a “panic buying” situation, as the school closings had caused local people to make a run on the store. In this one incident, I now have more of a sense of what it must have been like to have lived in the Soviet Union, at least as regards empty shelves in the stores.

I ended up getting more than I had intended, just because I wasn’t sure it’d be there the next time! And this was because there has been a single “community-transmitted” case of coronavirus detected in the State of Maryland: that is to say, an individual who had no known exposure to coronavirus through travel or an infected individual, meaning the precise source was unknown.

While I am not saying that an abundance of caution is inappropriate in this case, it does make me wonder what would happen in a more dramatic emergency. And yes, this certainly does cause one – at least, this one – to hope that our contemporary reliance on global supply chains, porous borders, and “just in time” delivery models are overdue for a rethink.

Understanding the value of family, returning to the local communities, less-frequent or at least more thoughtful and less-casual travel, and more skepticism toward foreigners, all sound like pretty good ideas to me, at this point.

Bull-Hansen has more to say, too, than what I have quoted and reacted to. Definitely worth a watch, and worth considering his comments. “Stay strong,” he concludes. “We will get through this. We will all get through this.”

May God grant it.


Border situation between Turkey and Greece remains highly tense

The very tense situation at the border between Greece and Turkey continues; but Austria and the Visegrad group are among those helping to reinforce the Greeks.

See also: Turkey weaponizes refugees against Europe | The Hill

Turkey, as many will known, is attempting to send large numbers – maybe tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands – of migrants (“refugees” is a euphemism for a group most of whom are young, strong, military-aged men, in good health) from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa into Europe via Greece. Greece, needless to say, has no desire to allow this to occur. Nor, for that matter, does Europe, which has apparently (if somewhat belatedly) learned a lesson from the “refugee” crisis of 2015.

Indeed, the President of the European Commission (of the EU, of all things!), Ursula von der Leyen, has called Greece the ασπίδα (aspida, meaning “shield”) of Europe. And several countries, including Poland and Austria, have sent police and border guards to reinforce the border between Greece – indeed, Europe – and Turkey: formerly Anatolia, sometimes also known as Asia Minor, and through much of ancient and medieval history reckoned as part of Europe, but since the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, firmly in the Eastern (and Islamic) camp.

The players in this are interesting: on the one hand, we have Turkey, home of the Ottoman Turks who not only captured Constantinople, last – save Rome! – of the Five Patriarchates of ancient Christianity, four of which were in the East, and all of which fell to Islam, but also invaded Europe on multiple occasions, the last significant attempt of which was defeated before the Gates of Vienna in 1683 by the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire (the Habsburgs, with their seat in Imperial Vienna) and the Holy League, lead by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland, whose Winged Hussars led the massive cavalry charge that finally and definitively broke the siege.

On the other, we have Poland, whose leadership of the armies of the Holy League I just mentioned; Austria, spiritual and ancestral heirs to the former Holy Roman Empire; and of course Greek herself, who was not only forced back across the Bosporus when Constantinople (capital of the Eastern, or Greek, half of the former Roman Empire) fell to the Muslim Ottoman Turks, but who (with the later Rome) was one of the fountainheads of Western / European civilization in the first place, and her defender against another menace from the East, the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

Watching what is going on at present, one thinks both of the Gates of Vienna, but also of the Pass of Thermopylae, in which the Spartans, with allies from other Greek city-states, held back the massed armies of the Persian Emperor, Xerxes the Great. It is not hard to believe that we are watching history in the making, and which was the battle will turn is still in some doubt. However, the fact that Europe as a whole seems (with some vocal exceptions) to be taking Greece’s side in this is encouraging.

Indeed, we seem to be seeing the beginnings of a swing away from globalism, open borders, free passage of any and all for whatever reason, etc., and back toward a more robust defense of national sovereignty and both territorial and cultural integrity. This is all to the good, in my opinion, and I hope it continues and increases!

Marcus Follin, the Swedish YouTuber known (with what I think is intentionally ironic hubris!) as “The Golden One,” points to this, commenting that the globalist lifestyle is losing its lustre; that people are beginning to decide that “maybe it’s better to create a local community, with people you trust and you like, create a family, etc.,” as “a natural response to a tougher societal climate” – both due to issues like the Turkey-vs-Greece situation mentioned above, and also the cononavirus pandemic (as it has now been officially dubbed by the World Health Organization).

Perhaps it can be said of Europeans as the quote frequently, but perhaps apocryphally, attributed to Winston Churchill said of Americans: that “they can be counted upon to do the right thing – once they have exhausted all other possibilities.”