Much of the coverage has centered on the epidemic in Liberia and Nigeria, because these countries are relatively accessible to English speaking journalists. But we have no idea what is happening in Sierra Leone or Guinea, which is one of the most corrupt countries on earth. Officials claim only about 1,000 people have died from Ebola in West Africa so far, ‘not many’ in such a vast region. But this completely underrates the real danger. The relevant population against which such casualties must be measured are the medical personnel. They are being wiped out. Africa has a very limited store of scientific, medical and technical human capital and once these irreplaceables are killed or intimidated then the man issuing the medical exit visas will be an illiterate with a rubber stamp.
And then anyone can get on a plane. Maybe anyone already can — providing he’s official.
Culture is the key to survival, not just in Africa but also in the West. The prosperity of the last 70 years has made us forget that exact knowledge matters, not for any reasons of social status, but for survival. Nature doesn’t care what you think. It doesn’t care about spin doctors say or what someone said in a speech. The virus is a physical information object, which given input, produces output. “Don’t touch the walls!” applies as much to presidents as to villagers.
This is the heart of it, and it is the deadly vulnerability of the progressive, politically correct West. Ebola is a disease arising out of Africa. It has so far primarily infected Africans. This makes it an obvious target of race baiters, who will try to “protect” Africans and, by extension, all blacks, against “racist accusations of being diseased.”
And if the disease does jump to the United States, it will likely first take hold in the poorest of the urban areas, which themselves surround cores indistinguishable from many third world countries. Democrat strongholds, in other words. And Democrats will try to protect those strongholds against the perception that they are incubating and spreading the disease.
But nature doesn’t care about all, or any of that. Political and/or cultural calculations don’t enter in to the mathematics of nature. There is a very famous SF short story called The Cold Equations, in which the choice must be made in which the “cold equations” of mass, fuel, and distance require that an innocent girl must die in order that many others may live. The author was honest – no happy ending. The equations were not altered at the last moment because the girl was innocent. Nature doesn’t care. The equations are what they are, and you can’t change them because they are politically incorrect, or unfair, or deadly. The girl died.
That’s what we’re looking at now. And I don’t think the west is culturally or politically ready to deal with our own cold equations.