I was wondering how long it was going to take before the Coronavirus epidemic got linked to Global Warming and Brexit. Not very long at all. Today’s Observer editorial:
From the spread of zoonotic viruses to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and the climate crisis, the most existential challenges we face are truly global. They make a mockery of outdated notions of national sovereignty; the idea that so long as we exert control within our tiny corner of the world, everything will be fine. Global challenges like these will test to destruction the ability of transnational institutions such as the WHO, the EU and the World Trade Organization to chivvy along global coordination. They serve as a grave warning to those who would bury their heads in isolationism.
Zoonotic means transferred from animals to humans. Not everybody believes that the Coronavirus outbreak started in a fish market.
Saying that ideas of one sort or other are “outdated” always strikes me as being empty of meaning, or equivalent to “unfashionable” or “old-fashioned”. I can’t for the life of me see that the notion of national sovereignty should become outdated. It’s been a constant throughout human history. What’s novel – and very scary – is the notion of a new, globalised world in which national sovereignty has vanished, and the peoples of the world are subjected to rules and regulations over which they have no control whatsoever. For aren’t the raft of smoking bans introduced all over the world in recent decades the result of the WHO “chivvying along global coordination” of the most divisive and socially destructive and draconian kind imaginable?
And is there a “climate crisis”? No, there manifestly is not. The world today is pretty much exactly the same as the world as it was 50 or 100 years ago. Of course there could be a climate crisis sometime in the not-too-distant future. But it hasn’t happened yet.
And I hope that the current Coronavirus epidemic will indeed “test to destruction transnational institutions such as the WHO, the EU and the World Trade Organization.” The World Health Organisation believes that there is a “tobacco epidemic“, and any organisation that believes such an absurdity is clearly in need of destruction. And it seems to unfortunately be the case that these supranational organisations regularly develop internal ideologies which are in conflict with the beliefs of ordinary people, probably because they usually develop in the absence of any mitigating common sense. So we have a “tobacco epidemic” and now a “climate crisis” that have been identified by self-styled “experts” of one sort or other. No doubt there will be more.