If the pandemic had occurred at the beginning of the century, I am pretty sure that I would not have needed to write this article. But now, nearly a quarter of the way through the century, it has become ever clearer that the West has been corrupted in a way best described by a Biblical maxim I’ve discussed before:
That love of money is at the root of all evil.
This wasn’t a joyous piece to research, and some of my findings and the implications have been wrenching to accept. I find myself hoping that I’ve missed something, and that’s always possible. Still, when the findings related to Covid are considered in the context of the Ukraine war — a disaster on so many levels, and an event that will likely go down as a point of inflection in how global geopolitics were transformed — they are hard to dismiss. Our Covid policies also have to be considered as part and parcel of a West that has gone astray in other ways, including, for example, our apotheosis of green technologies to the serious detriment of developing a sustainable circular economy.
I tend to turn to Biblical sayings because they have stood the test of time, proving their worth over hundreds of cultures and religions. That’s certainly true of the Ten Commandments. From their first appearance in the Old Testament, they have been interpreted broadly in virtually all cultures and religions. When it comes to defining Jeffersonian democracy, and Jefferson’s concepts of equality, which as practiced here for nearly two centuries allowed the U.S. to reach such great heights, another particularly apt Commandment is:
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”
It can be interpreted broadly and applied to any sacred belief. For Jefferson, equality could only be truly defined by the nonmaterial. The nonmaterial sacred is the only thing that can make us unique and imbue us with the willingness to say no to a narrative with which we do not agree. If the image of money is what is most indelibly engraved in your mind’s eye, you’ve not only forsaken equality, you’ve become a rootless cog that can be defined in terms of simple objects.
For Jefferson the greatest freedom — even greater than freedom of speech — was freedom of thought. No other freedom could ensure human progress and ensure that other more basic material freedoms exist. In the words of Dumas Malone, the author of a six-volume Pulitzer winning biography of Jefferson:
“If he was ever drawn into an attack on any Church, it was not because it was a religious organization but because it had assumed a political character, or because it limited in one way or another, the freedom of the mind — on which, as he never ceased to believe, the progress of the human species toward happiness depends.”
The past 50 years have clearly shown the severe price paid by forsaking Jeffersonian democracy. This article concerns a probable catastrophic miscue regarding what otherwise might come to be regarded — with further research — a major breakthrough in vaccine technology and human health. Not surprisingly, Nature magazine, widely regarded as one of the most prestigious and impactful scientific journals in the West, now, for the first time, has listed China as №1 in all-around scientific achievement. Following a detailed model in which all scientific publications are ranked in terms of citations and impact, the journal ranks countries and research organizations, which includes universities, in terms of their contribution to science. Nature began this ranking in the middle of the last decade.
This year is the first in which the U.S. has not ranked first. Moreover, of the top 10 research organizations, China occupies five, including being №1 by a very large margin over №2. China’s ascent came both from Chinese gains and U.S. losses, which was a concomitant result of far fewer papers being published with authors from both countries. Though the recent release of the Huawei smartphone was one admittedly very important data point against sanctions, the Nature rankings are based on likely millions. Let’s forget these sanctions, let’s get back to our sacred beliefs that Jefferson so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence, because the future of mankind likely depends on our doing so.