by Victor Davis Hanson
Sometimes the truth is like mythical kryptonite. It radiates power and yet promises great destruction. And so reality is to be left alone, encased in lead, and kept at bay.
Take the Chinese genesis of the COVID-19 epidemic. We started in February with the usual Chinese deceptions about their role in the birth, transmission, and worldwide spread of the virus.
No one, apparently except Mike Bloomberg and Bill Gates, was surprised by the accustomed politically correct prevarications of the Chinese-purchased World Health Organization, whose transparent lies were passed off as truth – and led to tens of thousands of deaths.
On cue, our own obsequious media accepted Chinese and globalist myths – their shared antipathy for President Trump meant whatever he is for or says, they are against and deny.
But by late March the bits and pieces of the truth had emerged. All that gobbledygook talk of a Chinese wet market, of patient-zero bats, snakes, pangolins and such, were likely ruses to deflect attention from a conveniently nearby level-4 Chinese virology lab.
We are beginning to learn that Chinese scientists were conducting research on – surprise, surprise – coronaviruses in general, and in particular, methods to enhance their lethality, all for the ostensibly exalted humanitarian aim of discovering cures and vaccinations, although how that was to be so was never quite disclosed.
China’s patient zero almost weekly was backdated by communist party officials from late January to mid-November. When the lying is exhausted, we may well learn the virus was known to the Chinese even earlier.
In addition, we learned that China variously threatened to cut off medical supplies in transit to the United States. It stopped all flights in and out of Wuhan on January 23, but called America racist for waiting a week until January 31 to issue a travel ban on China – including, but not limited to, ending direct flights to the United States from Wuhan. Consider the Chinese communist logic: running-dog American capitalists mimicked Beijing in forbidding Chinese from flying – but only after a week-long interlude of bourgeoise debate and puerile reflection.
Were the Chinese embarrassed that they had accused Washington of being racist for belatedly doing exactly what they had done earlier? Of course not. In their eyes, weak decadent Westerners welcome such help in aiding their own self-abnegation and debasement.
Unbearable American Weakness in the Face of a Growing Chinese Lie
China went on to spin lies that the U.S. military deliberately had created the virus to harm the poor noble Chinese. They seemed intent on peddling to the Trump-hating leftist media the talking points that China as the victimized “other” served as a convenient object of racial hatred by the deplorables and clingers, who, of course, nurse their racism on “conspiracy theories” about viral labs.
China destroyed the original data concerning the discovery of the virus. Brave, gullible and naïve scientists who were willing early on to speak up about the existential danger of an epidemic ended up “disappeared” or were silenced. News censorship stopped critical early foreign knowledge of the Chinese epidemic. On various online metrics, China’s case numbers and fatalities from the virus calcified, as if the country with the most cases magically now had suffered among the least. If it was good to lie about the Wuhan virus’s birth, then all the better to lie about its adolescent spread and mature lethality.
China’s behavior follows years of patent and copyright theft, forced technological appropriation, dumping, currency manipulation, crackdowns on Hong Kong democracy, and sophisticated espionage within the United States. It now threatens sovereign nations in Asia and the Pacific, if they dare blame China for the pandemic. Its military embarks on more aggression in the South China Sea, as rumors swirl of its stealthy violations of nuclear proliferation agreements.
Americans began grumbling that China almost seemed to have made war against the United States, in a peremptory fashion that dwarfed Pearl Harbor. At least it seems so when tallying up the over 80,000 dead, the trillions in destroyed market equity and GDP, and, most importantly, the likely larger human toll from suicides, family and substance abuse, lapsed medical procedures and tests, and wrecked businesses and lives from the lockdown.
So that was an unbearable truth. But what to do?
Cancel U.S. debt held by China? That is likely a terrible idea that would undermine the world’s entire financial system.
Cut off all relations? Embargos, sanctions, social distancing on a transnational scale? Expel all Chinese students? Bring home every American business in China? Seems unlikely.
The truth is that Americans know that to restore deterrence they must do something. But that “something” is equally difficult in the case of a 1.4-billion-person nuclear nation, which has systematically leveraged and compromised many of America’s own corporate, entertainment, media, and academic elite.
The result is that everyone from Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates to the CNN/MSNBC crowd know the truth that China despises the United States, feels that America is a spent and increasingly toxic society, and is ever more emboldened to humiliate its rival. Yet Beijing wagers that we will not do much, even if we could. It sees that weakness as laxity to be exploited, not at all magnanimity to be appreciated, much less reciprocated. So, for a while longer we know the truth, but apparently it is unbearable and preferably should not be known and just go away. And it probably will.
The Unbearable Democrat Hypocrisy on #MeToo
Consider also Joe Biden. Most Democrats have long known that Biden was a blowhard, a plagiarist, and a serial fabricator. Take Bernie Sanders out of the race, and Biden would have offered little utility, and his candidacy likely would have sputtered to an end.
“Handsy” Joe Biden was also creepy. Most prudent associates in his social and business circles kept their wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters as far away from his breathing, probes, and squeezes as possible.
The truth is not that any complainant, such as Tara Reade, who makes a career-ending accusation – fraught with contradictions and well beyond any fair notion of a statute of limitations – should be believed automatically. She shouldn’t at all ruin a life without compelling evidence.
Nor is the Democratic dilemma just that the progressive write-off of Tara Reade has essentially destroyed the #MeToo movement, and exposed left-wing feminism as a cynical method of obtaining power, unconcerned with gender justice for the oppressed.
The point instead is that Joe Biden’s accuser should be believed – but according to Joe Biden’s prior own standards, statements and sermonizing. Tara Reade, playing a stronger hand than Christine Blasey Ford, has lodged a sexual assault charge against a far more likely suspect offender than Brett Kavanaugh. Biden, in most other circumstances, would be cheering her on to pursue her charges and pursue her truth were it not against himself.
The Democrats know all this, but the truth too is unbearable. In other words, so what?
What is the remedy? Have a long inquiry in which women come out of the woodwork to describe Biden’s squeezing, sniffing, breathing, and whispering with dozens of victimized young and teenage girls? There are many.
Does the donor class abort Biden’s candidacy to avoid hypocrisy and save its feminist credentials – so buffeted by Harvey Weinstein and fallen liberal media superstars?
Or do they appoint investigators, as they did for months in the manner of the Mueller investigation, to examine and to leak to the media Reade’s accusations and supporting testimonies, as Joe Biden daily bleeds out, nicked by a thousand cuts as a sexual pariah?
So, the truth is again intolerable. The fact is that Reade could be privately believable, given what one knows of Joe Biden’s wayward hands and unbridled narcissism. But such a reality certainly is publicly unpalatable.
So watch as Tara Reade disappears into a media decompression chamber, designed to let her vent to mute walls, and thus be contained until she is recalibrated, exhausted and inert and the danger passes.
The Unbearable Truth of Biden’s Cognitive Impairment
There is another unendurable truth: Joe Biden himself is not cognitively able to run a presidential campaign. Even if successful, he is not prepared to serve as president.
Biden proved more exhausted in seclusion at home than in public on the campaign trail. He is neither seen nor heard much anymore.
His planned series of fireside snarky critiques of the president’s handling of the virus imploded when he could speak neither with or without notes, nor with or without the teleprompter, nor with or without friendly media prompts from his progressive interlocutors, nor with or without his wife’s encouragement at his side.
His party pros know that if turned loose on the campaign trail, Biden will give us another spooky squeeze, one more bizarre Corn Pop or hairy legs story, still more biographical myths and plagiarisms, and daily lying dog-faced pony soldier incoherence.
Names, dates, places, things?
They have become shapeless ripples in Biden’s mental river of Lethe, flowing by and changing shape, before finally disappearing in a nothing stream of forgetfulness.
The Democratic Party also knows that Biden cannot schedule a rendezvous with Dr. Bandy X. Lee and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test, given the result would terrify his handlers.
On any given day, at any given moment Biden can say something not just controversial in the manner of Donald Trump, but something that simply cannot be deciphered or translated into any known language.
So, what does one do with kryptonitic truth?
What would one instead suggest? Hand the nomination over to the runner-up and, in theory, most deserving candidate Bernie Sanders – and see the Democrats lose the presidency, the House, and the Supreme Court for a generation?
Or do they keep Joe in the basement, outsource his campaign to future cabinet picks, his vice-presidential candidate and his family? Do they cancel the debates, seek to postpone the election or do it all by mail – and thereby confirm the albatross around their necks?
Or still again, do they have a therapeutic “intervention” and tell Joe to take one for the team, stand aside and allow non-candidate free-riders like Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, or Michelle Obama to usurp his delegates? Do they simply shaft the runner-up, nutty socialist Bernie Sanders and his legions of true believers?
No, of course, not. The truth is simply too foreboding even to contemplate.
Instead, we will hear that Joe is fine, in the manner that FDR was in great shape in November 1944. He will run not against Trump and his record, but against a fantasy who, they will say, fiddled while an unfettered and non-quarantined America was consumed by viral fires, and yet somehow as Herbert Hoover incarnate also fiddled while America ossified in an amber lockdown.
When the legend of a hale Biden is belied by the fact of his impairment, print the legend—but first get the necessary holograms, photoshopping, and testimonials to get him across the November 3 finish line.
A Final Thought on Obama
Add up Michael Horowitz’s inspector general’s report. Review the wreckage of the Mueller investigation. Collate the evidence that Christopher Steele was an utter fraud and dupe. Remember that Hillary Clinton destroyed her hard drives and communication devices, that the FBI liquidated hundreds of text messages of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, and that Christopher Steele destroyed all his emails and data about “Russian sources.”
Compute in the new discoveries that all the principles who fueled the “collusion” hoax had long ago, when pressed in secret and under congressional oath, confessed they had no evidence for the lies they spread in the media. Recall the pseudo-summaries of Susan Rice to whitewash an Oval Office session. Then, finish off these revelations with the reality that Barack Obama was always privy at best, and at worst orchestrating the effort to destroy a presidential campaign and transition. And where does it all lead?
To the unendurable truth that a sitting president unleashed his intelligence agencies to warp an election, feigned ignorance of his central role, and yet finally was so furious about the winner that he sought to sabotage his successor’s transition and, by association, his presidency.
How could the media, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the bureaucratic state, academia, and entertainment ever process that reality: that a deity was likely the most corrupt president in a generation?
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Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California State University, Fresno, and is currently the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict was Fought and Won (Basic Books).