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Does liberalism have a future? (1996) | THINK TANK


Ben Wattenberg: Hello, I’m Ben Wattenberg.
As we head into the 1996 presidential election, some issues already seem to have been settled,
at least rhetorically. It’s not whether to balance the budget; it’s how soon. It’s
not whether the government should be shrunk; it’s how much it should be shrunk. It’s
not whether welfare should be reformed; it’s how. Now, these are conservative ideas in the saddle.
Is liberalism in retreat? Joining us to sort through the conflict and
consensus are E. J. Dionne, author of “They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate
the Next Political Era”; Ronald Walters, chairman of the political science department
at Howard University and author of “Black Presidential Politics in America”; Todd
Gitlin, professor of sociology at New York University and author of “The Twilight of
Common Dreams”; and Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute. A few weeks ago on this program, we looked
at the future of conservativism. The question before this house: Does liberalism have a
future? This week on “Think Tank.” Ben Wattenberg: This is not the first time
that liberalism has been declared dead. Listen to this. Quotes: “Liberals meet in Washington
these days, if they can endure to meet at all, to discuss the tragic outlook for all
liberal proposals, the collapse of all liberal leadership, and the inevitable defeat of all
liberal aims.” End quotes. Does that sound like 1995 or 1996? Archibald
MacLeish wrote those words in 1944. Well, so where is liberalism today? Since
World War II, a central idea of liberalism was to strengthen the role of the federal
government. But here is what President Bill Clinton, a Democrat and often described as
a liberal, has to say about that. President Bill Clinton [from videotape]: The
era of big government is over. [Applause.] Ben Wattenberg: Affirmative action, another
hallmark of recent liberalism, is unpopular and under attack. In California, a statewide
referendum seeks to ban it entirely. And critics, like our panelist Todd Gitlin, argue that
some liberals are so hung up over issues of race, ethnicity, and sex, the so-called identity
politics, that the broader liberal coalition has been fractured. And finally, economics. Liberalism promised
that government intervention would result in growth and job security. But in an era
of global competition, high technology, and downsizing, economic problems seem immune
to liberal remedies. Union membership, for example, is sinking. Economic insecurity is
rising. The government seems paralyzed. Well, that’s a nice picture. Let us go around
the room once, starting with you, E. J. Dionne. Is liberalism dead, or does it only look dead,
which is almost the title of your book? E. J. Dionne: I think liberalism is coming
back to life, almost precisely for the reasons you said: that when people are going through
a period of economic insecurity and uncertainty, they look for some new rules and they look
for some help to seize the opportunities of a new era. In the past, that’s when they’ve
turned to liberal progressive politicians, and I think they’re going to do so again. Ben Wattenberg: Okay. Will Marshall. Alive,
dead, moribund? Will Marshall: Well, a certain kind of liberalism,
New Deal liberalism, interest group liberalism, I think is moribund, or at least we should
regard it as being in an honorable retirement. The question then is: How does liberalism
adapt itself to a whole new set of national challenges? And the good news for liberalism
is that the alternative today, anti-liberalism, doesn’t address those challenges, either. Ben Wattenberg: Ron Walters. Alive, dead? Ronald Walters: Well, I think that it can’t
die. I think also it depends on how you actually define it. You can’t have a liberalism which
is dead with respect to interest group politics because this country is multicultural-izing,
so is the globe, and so you really do have to have a philosophy which looks for the expansion
not only of government, but for the expansion of opportunity. Ben Wattenberg: Okay. Todd Gitlin. Todd Gitlin: I think liberalism has hopes.
And what is going to make the difference in terms of whether it converts its hopes into
actuality is whether it convinces enough people that if they don’t get serious about finding
some common dream, that they will just lapse into the arms of big business and all of the
reasons why big government came into existence in the first place. Ben Wattenberg: Your common dreams, as I understood
what Ron Walters said, are not Ron Walters’ common dreams. Todd Gitlin: We have to have a discussion
about what common dreams are. I mean, I think there will be a debate. Republicans will say
the common dream is that everybody gets to be an entrepreneur. I think that’s ridiculous,
but that is an idea about what people have in common. My idea and many other people’s idea is
that what people have in common is that they have certain obligations to the maintenance
of a society that’s whole and certain needs, which include life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness, but also a right to a decent livelihood, a right to security of person,
a right to public institutions, like schools and public transportation, that people need
to live. I don’t know if we disagree on that, but
I think a lot of people do agree on what’s happened in the recent years. Ben Wattenberg: Ron goes beyond that. Is that
correct? Ronald Walters: I would certainly go beyond
that. I think he’s right in terms of the dream, but I think the difference is between
the dream and the reality. When you look at the reality — we share the dream, but the
reality is that some people are much closer to the dream than others, and therein lies
the problem. Are you going to have a definition of liberalism which only gives us sort of
an intellectual vision of that dream, or are you going to have a definition of liberalism
which is functional? And if you do, you’ve got to run up against the ability of government
to provide expanding opportunity. Ben Wattenberg: Yeah, but you are saying,
on a race-specific or gender-specific or ethnically specific grounds, is as a way to measure? Ronald Walters: I would say yes. Otherwise,
you really don’t have a measuring rod. You can’t define it, I think, only by economic
opportunity. You’ve got to look at these groups that are coming into society, immigrants
included, and say to yourself, if the demographics are right, by the year 2050, only 52 percent
of this country is going to be white. So there is a tremendous continuing discussion about
the nature of America, about the changes that are going to go on, and therefore the basis
of liberalism. Todd Gitlin: Excuse me, but those demographics
aren’t right. There’s no way to predict how people are going to feel about who they
are two or three generations hence. What will it mean to be white? What will it mean to
be Hispanic? There is a tremendous amount of intermarriage already. The confidence with
which these claims are made by the Census Bureau I think is scientifically invalid. E. J. Dionne: What I’d like to say is if
you go back to — Ben Wattenberg: I think you’re right. E. J. Dionne: If you go back to sort of what
the liberal idea has been on these subjects, the issue is not: Are we going to be an all-quota
society or a color-blind society where we pretend there’s no such thing as racism?
Liberals have always asserted that cultural pluralism is a good thing, recognizing the
enormous contributions of all groups to this country, that that’s a good thing, that
racism is a particular problem that we continue to have. That’s very different from saying that we
want to racialize every question, that every issue, whether it’s public schools or public
transportation or how you’re going to get a job, that these are all racial questions.
Most African Americans don’t think that way. Most white people don’t think that
way. Most Hispanics don’t think that way. Now, I think liberals have always asserted
that we respect the fact that we’ve got to do something about racism, which is a particular
problem. We also respect the fact that we are one country that has always had a common
dream, as Todd has said. Will Marshall: I agree that that’s a traditional
view of liberalism and one we desperately need to get back to, but it’s not the current
view. Liberalism today is bound up with the notion of biology is destiny and the politicization
of all issues around this corralling of people into racial, ethnic, and gender categories. And I think that’s a tremendous liability
to contemporary liberalism because what it does is it prevents us from having the kind
of civic empathy that we need to have, prevents us from looking beyond our group identity
toward some broader community. And I think before we get back to that, it’s going to
be impossible for Democrats and liberals to reconnect to the economic anxieties and aspirations
of the middle class. And that, after all, is the big political challenge we’re facing. Ronald Walters: But you know, I think that
will only happen when you really do address the issue of groups. You can’t leap over
groups because groups were the basis of a certain sense of subordination in this country.
Slavery was based upon groups. At the time of the manumission of slaves in 1865, 90 percent
of all blacks were in slavery. There was a group basis of that subordination. And so if you look even down as far as 1960
and ask how many blacks made the average family income, it was only 5 percent. Ninety-five
percent, as the basis of subordination of blacks, didn’t make even the average family
income. So you can’t then leap over, 30 years later, to start talking about individuals
unless you deal with that basis of group subordination, which is part of the legacy of this country. Ben Wattenberg: Let me just go back to what
we said in the setup piece and just see if we are in agreement on that, that the current
consensus in the country is that we do want a balanced budget, that we do want to reduce
the size of government, that we do want serious welfare reform, and that in fact those ideas
and many others that we could all list are in fact — have their roots in the conservative
ideology, and that seems to be the way the country is going. E. J. Dionne: Yes, Americans in principle
think we shouldn’t run a big deficit. But we just had a controlled experiment in 1995.
And the Republicans said, okay, we want to cut back the growth in Medicare, Medicaid,
education spending. We want to cut back on environmental regulations. And the electorate
quite clearly said, wait a minute, that’s not what we think we voted for in 1994. So
the public — sure, the public wants fiscal sanity, but it also believes that a lot of
these things, including things you helped fight for when you worked for LBJ, have been
successful programs that they want to save. Todd Gitlin: The thing about it is Americans
want everything at once. They want all these things. They want apple pie, but they also
want — they want pie à la mode. They also want health care. They also want raising of
the minimum wage. They also want a lot of things that they think they’re entitled
to get. Will Marshall: It’s so important that we
don’t let this notion that any attack on bureaucratic liberal programs is a conservative
one. Take welfare, for example. Fundamental welfare reform is something that 80–90 percent
of the people of this country are for. It cuts across all racial and class lines, and
it doesn’t — you don’t have to be conservative to want to reform the welfare system. Daniel
Patrick Moynihan and other notable liberals have been trying to do it for decades. Ben Wattenberg: Yeah, but the notable liberals
who ran the Congress in 1993 and 1994 were not anxious to reform welfare. You know that
better than anyone. Will Marshall: I do. E. J. Dionne: They didn’t pass health care
reform, either. They failed in Congress. Will Marshall: I’m not saying that liberals
are not defending failed bureaucratic programs. They are, and that’s one of their principal
— or another liability. My point is that the alternative all too often is simply kind
of a mirror image agenda on the right that says let’s tear down the liberal achievement
edifice that they built over the last 60 years, but they don’t have any idea about what
they’re going to replace it with. And that’s where they keep failing. It’s a dismantling
agenda, not an agenda that replaces programs that aren’t working with approaches that
hold out more promise. Ben Wattenberg: Let me ask a tactical question.
As we have this discussion in mid-April, for all the moaning about how poorly liberalism
is doing, Bill Clinton is beating Bob Dole in the polls by about 12 to 15 points. Is
Clinton riding high because there is a resurgence of liberalism or because he has, at least
cosmetically, made a U-turn? E. J. Dionne: How about neither? I mean, I
think in one sense, Bill Clinton defined himself first with a — he had a fight with the Republican
Congress, and he said, “Look, I stand for this, this, this, and this. I disagree with
them on that.” Wherever you stood on the issues, I think that helped give him a presence
in this country. It was something people respected. He could define himself against the Republicans. I think secondly, a lot of these things he’s
talking about — for example, throwing criminals out of housing projects, talking about the
family — he’s done that since 1992. Ben Wattenberg: You don’t feel that in 1993
and 1994, when you had a Democratic president, Clinton, and an all Democratic Congress, that
he went substantially to the left of what he ran on? Because he believes that. E. J. Dionne: See, I don’t think the voters
— if you look at Clinton’s first two years, I think a lot of voters did not say he went
too far to the left or too far to the right. They say, “Gee, the Democrats failed. They
said they’d give us health care reform, and it failed. They said they’d give us
welfare reform, and it failed. They said they’d give us political reform, and it failed. They
said they’d help give us job training and education, and that kind of got shrunk in
the budget.” So I think a lot of voters pull back not because of the ideological stuff,
but because they sense, “Gee, we expected more from these guys.” Ronald Walters: Let me just say, these were
the seeds of 1994, too. That accounts for the election of 1994. But in seizing a conservative
mandate as a reaction to that, what happened is I think that the Newt Gingrich politics
hit a wall. And I think that’s what the American people are responding to. Will Marshall: What the polling shows now,
interestingly, is that Republicans are down. There’s no question about it. Something
in their rush at the budget and this array of programs, many of which are still popular,
scared a lot of folks, and they are down. But Democrats have not gone up correspondingly.
I mean, that’s the era we’re in now. We’re in a three — you know, it’s a three-way
split now. There’s a huge group of unaffiliated, nonaligned voters who hold the balance of
American politics. That’s why I would be most unconfident if I were a Democratic strategist
now about this temporary uptick in Bill Clinton’s popularity ratings. But let me go back to the point E. J. made.
I mean, E. J.’s right about the failure of Clinton and the Democratic Congress to
deliver, but the problem is much more fundamental than that. The Democratic Party and contemporary
liberalism is defending a regime that’s dying. It’s defending an old top-down, bureaucratic
way of solving problems that people simply lack confidence in. It’s the same problem,
I think, of parties of the democratic left in Europe, which is why many of them have
been out of power for a long time. We’ve got to think through what governance
means in a new era and find new ways of solving problems. That’s what the public’s looking
for. That’s the kind of — [Cross talk.] Ben Wattenberg: Wait. Hold on a minute. Todd Gitlin: Parts of the government work
well. You know, you call Social Security for advice, you are going to get it much faster
than if you call a lot of private corporations. People want the government to be active. They
want the government to get results. They’re pragmatic about where the results come from. I think that what liberalism has to make sure
it doesn’t do is to sacrifice its soul, and its soul has rested on a matter that we
haven’t really talked about yet, which is a real conviction about equality, equality
of persons, equality in access to opportunity, equality in an absolute rejection of discrimination.
And I think it’s extremely important, whether Bill Clinton wins or not, that that side of
the liberal vision not be sacrificed. Will Marshall: That’s very true, and I agree
entirely, but I want to make a distinction between ends and means. You’re exactly right
about equality. That’s the soul. That’s — we have to maintain that commitment. But
it doesn’t follow that there’s one monochromatic way of going about that. Todd Gitlin: Right, but let’s say we want
to make sure that it’s absolutely intolerable to discriminate in employment or housing or
lending. How are you going to do that without calling a government agency in to enforce
the law? Will Marshall: Well, of course no one’s
saying repeal antidiscrimination laws. That’s not what I’m — Todd Gitlin: No, we have laws, but they’re
not enforced. We need enforcement. Will Marshall: They should be enforced. I
agree with stepped-up enforcement. But my point is there are lots of things that we’re
trying to do in government, some of them under the rubric of equality. Let’s take our social welfare policies,
which we know now — the evidence is overwhelming — that they’ve been failing. They’ve
become dysfunctional. They’ve begun to underwrite problems in inner-city communities. And yet
we’ve been unable to come to grips with those problems and reimagine the way we try
to lift people out of poverty. Todd Gitlin: See, that — Ben Wattenberg: Let me just interrupt here
for a moment. You know, there’s an old saying, “If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be
a bus,” okay, “but she doesn’t have wheels.” You guys, particularly you, Will,
but many of you, certainly you, E. J., just now, are saying, oh, if liberalism would just
change this and just change that and just recognize that you really have to do welfare
reform and you have to do this and you have to do that, then they would be back — but
that’s not what liberals have been doing for 30 years. They’ve been going bananas
by my light. Yes? E. J. Dionne: But we’re not talking about
years. We’re talking about, I think — Ben Wattenberg: They wouldn’t be liberals. E. J. Dionne: — a real reform in the way
— look at Todd’s book, for example. Take Todd’s book, “The Twilight of Common Dreams.”
Todd wrote a very good critique of a certain style of multiculturalism. And it was a critique
from the left because he said, “The problem with this is not just the things the conservatives
say about it. The problem with this is that in fact it takes our eye off the ball of a
genuinely fair and equal society.” That’s — Todd’s book is an example of this. I think some of Will’s ideas have been accepted
by large numbers of liberals about the need to — I mean, for example, all the stuff
Will has written about civic life and the importance of strengthening our civic sense
and third sectors in society. Some of those ideas started on the right. They didn’t
all come from the right. Actually, some of them came from the new left, but this notion
that you need a strong civic life, that’s popular, too. Ronald Walters: But you know, you’ve got
an intellectualism of both the left and the right here, which I think is wrong, because
so much of this really is spinning without the people who are really affected. When you
come to assess things like poverty, yes, you’re right, Will, a lot of people want changes
in the welfare system. But the fact is you cannot say that it didn’t do what it was
designed to do. The fact that people want to change it now is quite another discussion
altogether. They want to turn it into a jobs program. Now, we had a jobs program, and Reagan
killed it, so that now they want to turn the welfare program into a jobs program. That’s
fine. But we really have to be honest about the
ideological currents which come through and change things. We can’t say that everything
failed because these things haven’t. We have to talk to the people who came through
welfare and who made an honest living today out of a welfare system that worked for what
it was designed to do. Ben Wattenberg: If Sen. Dole wins the election
in November of 1996, you will have for the first time in at least 70 years a Republican
conservative — mainstream conservative president, a Republican conservative Senate, House, sympathetic
Supreme Court, control of the governorships, and probable control of the state legislatures
and state legislators, as well as the mayors of Los Angeles and New York. This is unheard
of in contemporary American politics, unheard of. If that happens — and that’s just
on the election of Dole — is liberalism really in the ditch for a long time to come,
because won’t the other guys really get their shot? E. J. Dionne: Well, first of all, that’s
like, “If my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a bus.” I mean, you are positive — Ben Wattenberg: Oh, no. That’s just one
election. That’s who’s going to win the election. Todd Gitlin: If one of her wheels falls off,
she’ll be in a ditch. E. J. Dionne: No, but two things. One, that
scenario you just described is actually Clinton’s ace in the hole, because what all the polls
show is the country really is uncomfortable with the prospect of this kind of unified
conservative government because they think they’ll go too far. To go back to your history, you worked for
LBJ. A lot of the stuff you guys did worked for the country. Medicare worked, food stamps
worked, civil rights worked, voting rights worked. This is a good legacy. Ben Wattenberg: I agree with that. E. J. Dionne: There’s nothing to be ashamed
of in this legacy. Ben Wattenberg: I agree with that. Don’t
you think that many of those programs were carried by liberals over the edge too far? E. J. Dionne: Well, how too far? I mean, has
Medicare gone too far? Is it too expensive? Sure, all — the whole health system is.
Has it gone too far? I don’t think so. Todd Gitlin: These programs were popular at
a time when the country felt rich, the country was unrivalled, and Americans felt, “Well,
let’s do more of the same. There’s no bad price for it.” Today people feel you
can’t have everything at once, but this doesn’t mean that these were not great achievements.
It also means that they have to be reformed. But nobody’s willing to get rid of them. Ronald Walters: That’s what I mean by change
in the intellectual mood, and I think we have to look at the forces that were responsible
for that. I mean, you had — in two or three decades, you had a downturn in the economy.
You’ve got people now who are very afraid, and I think that when people get afraid, they
start changing their evaluation. It’s not that the programs changed; it’s that the
evaluation has changed. Ben Wattenberg: What would you — if you
had to — if you had a paragraph to tell liberals how to govern and recapture the mainstream
of American thought and action, what would you tell them to do? E. J. Dionne: I think the main concerns for
Americans right now are both economic and moral. The economic is a sense of economic
insecurity and worry, as President Clinton said, that people who work hard and play by
the rules aren’t going to be rewarded. That in turn is a moral question. Now, I think liberals have to be unabashed
about saying that economics and morality are linked and that if we want liberalism to revive,
it’s going to have to do what it did for about a hundred years in our country, which
is tell people to use government not to make people dependent, but to enhance people’s
opportunities, to let them seize the chances in this new era, and to create a sense that
the rules are fair that they’re competing under. Ben Wattenberg: Okay. Todd. Todd Gitlin: I would say liberalism has to
support the fiber of the country. It has to be committed to those institutions which increase
the access of all people to their common human heritage, and that includes reinvented government,
government that works, and it also includes unions and it includes public schools and
it includes metropolitan government and all of those forces that enable Americans to live
in a world with each other. Ben Wattenberg: Ron Walters. Ronald Walters: You’ve got to show people
a vision of the future. You’ve got to show them that this country is becoming more diverse.
I don’t think you can roll that back. I don’t think we need to be frightened of
it. I think we need to have a rational vision of what this country is going to be like,
and I think that we have to locate somewhere the source of our economic fears, I think,
because you can say that the white males are leading a conservative revolution, but at
the end of the day, someone has to explain to them in nonracial terms, nonimmigrant terms,
what is happening to them. And I think that once we get some of these explanations right,
I think then liberalism can show the path to leadership, and government has to play
a role. Ben Wattenberg: Will Marshall, you’re batting
cleanup. Will Marshall: I think liberalism has to adapt.
It’s got to identify itself once again as the party of innovation and new thinking.
For about the last 20 years, we’ve been in rearguard positions, defending the old
achievements, unwilling to admit criticism of them, and unwilling to offer something
better. Until we get into the arena and fight, you know, the battle of persuasion with the
American people that we have better ideas that are updated to new circumstances, we’re
not going to be competitive electorally. Ben Wattenberg: If it had wheels, it would
be a bus. Thank you very much, E. J. Dionne, Will Marshall, Todd Gitlin, and Ron Walters.
And thank you. And now we would like to announce part two
of our bumper sticker contest. In part one, we asked viewers to make up bumper sticker
slogans for or against President Clinton. For example, the anti-Clinton winning entry
was: “Clinton: 99 percent fact free.” A pro-Clinton entry was: “Clinton sax beats
Dole-drums.” This time we are looking for bumper stickers
for or against the Republican nominee, Bob Dole. So please send your entries plus any
other comments or questions to New River Media, 1150 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036.
We can be reached by email at [email protected] or on the World Wide Web at www.thinktank.com. For “Think Tank,” I’m Ben Wattenberg. Announcer: This has been a production of BJW
Inc., in association with New River Media, which are solely responsible for its content.

What It’s Actually Like To Have The Coronavirus (COVID-19)


It’s Christmas time, and instead of spending
time with friends and family, you decide that you’re overdue for some travel. Instead of visiting grandma, or going home
for Christmas dinner just so you can get into political fights with your drunk libertarian
uncle- you decide that this year, you’re taking a ‘me-holiday’, and book yourself a plane
ticket to the heart of China. On your way there you end up missing the heart
by a few thousand kilometers and instead end up in Wuhan, but hey, it’s a new place, a
foreign culture, and it’s all very exciting anyways. Eager to dive into the local Chinese culture,
you hop out of your plane and head to the first place you’ve read about- the Seafood
Wholesale Market. Upon arriving you notice two things: the place
sells a whole lot of land animals for it to be called a “Seafood” market, and most
of those animals are very much alive. In fact, the entire thing is rather macabre
and definitely depressing, you find everything from porcupines to bats to even wolves just
sitting in cages next to freshly skinned corpses of what you can only assume were their former
compatriots. You very quickly decide to end your visit,
realizing you’ve walked head-on into an animal cruelty nightmare, and as you quickly leave
the market you decide that you really need to think your sightseeing through a little
bit more. China is one of the earliest human civilizations,
there’s plenty of cultural wonders to see elsewhere! On the way out of the market though, that’s
when you spot it- a snake slithering along the ground. Except it doesn’t quite look right. Suddenly the snake stops, and starts hacking
and coughing, and you realize- omg (say the letters), that snake is choking! A crowd gathers around the poor, choking snake,
nobody knowing what to do. Lucky for you though, you just got your CPR
certification for your new, totally not depressing job as a mall guard! You’re Johnny-on-the-spot, and leap to the
snake’s help. “Out of the way!”, you cry out, showing
your CPR credentials, as you shove the crowd aside. The snake is gasping now, it’s almost over. You flip the snake on its belly though and
start doing compressions, humming to yourself the tune to “Staying Alive” by the Bee
Gees, exactly as you’ve been trained. This is it, this is your moment. You check the airway and realize there’s no
obstruction, this snake isn’t choking, it’s dying! Not on your watch. You didn’t take a 12 hour public safety course
to earn the coveted mall guard badge in your pocket for nothing. You pry open that snake’s mouth and start
giving it breaths, quickly followed by more compressions. You continue this cycle of breaths and compressions,
working up a fierce sweat. “Live, you snake bastard, live!”, you
cry out. Suddenly, the snake coughs, sputters, and
opens its eyes. It’s alive! Tears of joy flood down your cheeks. The crowd cheers. A pretty lady feints. You’ve done it, you saved this snake’s life. With deep gratitude in its eyes, the snake
looks up at you and whispers, just faintly enough that only you can hear it, “One day,
when you need me the most, I promise I’ll be there.” You leave that market a hero, and hey, you’ve
made a snake friend for life now. Thinking back on that poor snake, you wish
him well and go on about your trip, this time heading to some proper tourist destinations
and having a blast in China. The whole time though, something is seriously
wrong with you and you don’t have even the slightest clue. Deep in the cells of your body, an invader
has taken root. Unknown to you, as you were saving that snake’s
life, it was passing on to you a deadly coronavirus, one of the few that are transmissible between
man and animal. Even worse for you though is this is a brand
new strain of virus, and one that the world is completely unprepared for. The virus inside you is a stealth assassin. It has one job in its short life: to make
as many of itself as possible and then spread its brethren to other hosts. But it can’t get caught, so it’s learned to
remain undetected. You show no symptoms, you feel perfectly fine-
you’re a snake hero after all! But the entire time the deadly virus within
you is busy working. You’re slowly dying from the inside and don’t
even realize it at all. First the virus infects healthy cells, inserting
genetic code into the cell that forces it to start mass producing other copies of the
virus. This uses up all of the cell’s energy and
when it’s all spent up, masses of new viruses burst out of the shriveled up, spent cell
like xenomorphs bursting out of wayward space marine’s chests. Your body fights back, calling in white blood
cells- the heavy hitters of your immune system. The white blood cells are tough, but the virus
is even tougher, and unlucky for them, they’ve never seen anything like this virus before. Normally white blood cells would call for
help from antibodies, but your body has no idea what antibodies to even send. This new virus is like nothing it’s ever faced
before. Your white blood cells are helpless to stop
the infection from growing, and soon you are so filled with the virus that you’re infectious. Every time you wipe your snot, cough into
your hand, or lick a stranger’s plate you’re leaving behind deadly virus, and the worst
part is: you’re completely unaware. You show no symptoms whatsoever! No serious cough, no fever, no headache, no
fatigue- nothing. You continue your trip through China, not
washing your hands after digging for gold in your nose, licking every door knob you
come across- hey, you’re on vacation, anything goes! And the entire time you’re leaving behind
traces of the deadly virus in your veins. Two weeks later, you’re finally on your way
home. As you board the plane you feel a little bit
fatigued, but hey, you just spent your Christmas traveling through the exotic orient, you’re
probably just bushed. You look forward to a nice few days at home
before returning to the daily grind, and to pass the time on the long flight home, you
get into a coughing fight with the kid in front of you. You’re both having so much fun, that soon
the other passengers get in on it! Pretty quickly, the whole plane is laughing
and having a good time with an old fashioned cough fight, everyone doing their best to
cough as hard as they can in each other’s face. A few days later you’re showing up to your
first day at your exciting new mall guard job- but you don’t feel so well. You’ve got a headache and you’re developing
a nasty cough. Well, you did just travel internationally,
you probably picked up a small bug somewhere, it wouldn’t be completely unprecedented. You ignore your symptoms and take to your
duties as the first, last, and only line of mall defense against shoplifters and Karens
who complain about their expired coupons not being accepted. You’ve got a runny nose by now, but no big
deal- you make sure to wipe away the boogers every time you have to give CPR or shake someone’s
hand. You know you really should be washing your
hands frequently, especially since you’ve been coughing and sneezing into them a whole
lot lately, but hey, the life of a mall guard is a high-stakes, high-pressure gambit, and
mall crime doesn’t take any breaks so neither can you. At the end of your first week at your job
you definitely aren’t feeling well at all. Your cough has gotten pretty severe, so bad
it’s starting to hurt when you cough. You’ve got a full-blown fever and your uniform
sleeve is practically dripping with all the mucus you’ve wiped on it through the course
of your day. Plus people are starting to complain that
their CPR tastes like snot. You know you have to ask for some sick time
off, even though that’s really not a good look for someone who’s literally just started
their job. Your boss agrees, the CPR-snot complaints
have reached his desk. “Take some time off kid, you can’t fight
mall crime unless you’re at your best.”, your grizzled veteran of a boss says in between
bites of food court Panda Express orange chicken. As you get home though, your vision starts
to swim. Your fever is spiking, and you’re pretty sure
you could cook an egg on your forehead. You drag yourself to the hospital, and as
you walk into the emergency room you collapse in the lobby. When you wake up you’re laying in a hospital
bed with an IV in your arms, dripping fluids into your body. The virus has put your body into overdrive,
and you’re pretty dehydrated. You’ve been given various cough suppressants
and medications for your fever, but they’re barely doing anything. To your alarm, on the second day of your stay,
the doctor comes into your room wearing a full-body plastic suit that exposes only his
face, which is itself covered by a surgical mask. They wrap your bed in a plastic sheet as the
doctor informs you that you’ve been diagnosed with something strange- a coronavirus they’ve
never encountered before. Given your state, the doctors fear that you’ve
infected many of the medical staff, and so they have been quarantined as well in the
hospital’s other rooms. Your condition worsens by the day, the virus
is replicating completely out of control now- what started off as one little hitchhiker
has turned into billions upon billions of copies. A man enters your room in a full-body contamination
suit. He sits by your bed and identifies himself
as working for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is America’s frontline defense against
disease, even though they forgot to add the P from Prevention to their acronym. There’s no time for that, the man says as
you point out that fact. He has to know where you picked up this strange
virus, and who you may have been in contact with that could now be infected. Reluctantly, you start back at the beginning,
telling him about your impromptu trip to China’s Wuhan. You tell him about the seafood market that
definitely sold more land animals than seafood. You tell him about the dying snake and the
CPR you administered. You tell him about the giant cough fight you
started on the plane ride back. The man pats your hand, “That was a brave
thing you did, giving that snake CPR- but we’re afraid that you’ve been infected by
an animal-born coronavirus. The snake you saved, it passed it on to you.” Then the government man leaves you, scurrying
to track down every member of your flight back home from China. By now, the disease could be anywhere and
everywhere, and completely undetectable until its sufferers start showing symptoms. Over the course of the next few days, you
deteriorate even further. Breathing becomes more than painful, it becomes
difficult. Your parents come visit you, as does the rest
of your family- everyone knows that the end is near. Your siblings lean in and kiss you on the
cheek through the surgical masks they wear. Even your libertarian uncle shows up, tears
in his eyes. He leans in and gives you a kiss on the cheek
one last time, whispering reassuringly in your ear, “Taxes are just another form of
theft.” Your body can’t function properly anymore,
the virus has saturated all of its systems to the point that basic functions begin shutting
down. Much like an over-consuming humanity, viruses
have no sense of self-control, and once they infect a host they reproduce completely out
of control until the host dies from the burden of the virus within it. Like the earth, but with people. The light is fading now, and in your final
moments you think back to that snake you saved. You remember its parting words to you: “One
day, when you need me the most, I promise I’ll be there.”. Suddenly you hear a slight hiss, and hope
floods your body as you barely manage to lean up just slightly and look around your room-
but it’s just the hiss of your air conditioning unit winding down. As the light fades completely, you think to
yourself, “Man, that (bleeping censored sfx) snake lied to me.” At your funeral your supervisor shows up along
with several of your co-workers. Using Dicks Sporting Goods air rifles, you’re
given a twenty one gun salute. With somber purpose, your supervisor stands
at attention before your grieving mother, handing her a folded Spencer’s band T-shirt-
the official flag of mall security. We bet now you’re probably in the mood for
something a little bit happier, so why not click this video over here, or maybe you’d
rather enjoy this video here? Either way, click one now, because the only
viral content Infographics puts out is fun, awesome vids!

Surge in confirmed cases in S. Korea linked to ‘known, existing outbreaks’: WHO


with South Korea reporting its first
kovat 19 adesso and 53 new confirmed cases on Thursday alone the World Health
Organization says that while the number seems quite high but that doesn’t
decision the challenge the country faces her Eason Jay tells us more 53 newly confirmed
Cobin 19 cases were reported in South Korea on Thursday nearly doubling the
total number of confirmed patients to 104 South Korea also reported its first
death with a 63 old man dying of pneumonia on Wednesday however the w-h-o
says despite the surge and the number of confirmed cases they’re mostly linked to
known existing outbreaks the number of cases in South Korea reported today are
actually from several distinct clusters which the Korean authorities are
following very closely so though the number seems quite high they are mostly
linked to known existing outbreaks Morgan added that the latest outbreak
doesn’t signal a particular change in the global epidemiology but does signal
that the South Korean authorities are working closely to contain all the new
cases that have been identified so far the WH hos director-general says South
Korea should be able to contain the outbreak with the kind of measures it
has been taking with measures they can take which is proportional to the public
health risk they have I think the number of cases are really manageable and I
hope South Korea will do everything to contain this outbreak at you know at
this early stage the w-h-o chief also noted that the number of Kobe 19 cases
and the rest of the world is very low compared to mainland China but warned it
may not stay the same for very long meanwhile the w-h-o announced Thursday
that a team from Seoul national University’s medical school will be
joining the WH hos international team of health experts in China
a bid to contain the outbreak Eason J Arirang news