We’re beating it. We’re beating the Coronavirus.
On second thought, let’s call it the Chinese Virus after the place it originated and the communists whose stupidity and mendacity inflicted it upon the world. If the Spanish deserve credit for a virus that didn’t even start in their country, then the Chinese surely deserve credit for one that did.
The virus is well past its peak in Europe, especially in hard-hit Italy and Spain. America is a week or two behind the European infection and death curves due to President Trump’s prescience and courage in imposing travel bans which were widely mocked at the time by TDS sufferers, some of whom later became Chinese Virus sufferers. But in America, too, it’s leveling off and will soon decline.
And now, early results of treatment with a bioengineered drug are very promising. The drug is inconspicuously named Remdesivir and was invented and made by a biotech company improbably named Gilead.
Gilead is a quintessential American tech company. It was founded by a graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard Business School who teamed up with other brilliant docs from Caltech, Harvard and elsewhere. Its scientific advisors have included an American Nobel Prize winner and its board included Donald Rumsfeld and George Shultz.
They named their company in honor of a place referenced in the bible and other ancient texts as the source of a medicinal “balm of Gilead.”
Early private funding was by a Silicon Valley venture capital company. Gilead soon went public in 1992. Since then, its shares have soared over 10,000%, and the company is now worth over $100 billion.
It’s only 33 years old but its work and innovation have already propelled it into the ranks of Big Pharma, an industry that people love to hate until they need a new life-saving medicine.
We’re beating the Chinese Virus in the nick of time. Projections that up to two million Americans would die drove us to lock down the country. As a result, we’ll permanently lose tens of thousands of small businesses. Retirement savings are devastated.
People who seek and obtain authority can be counted on to wield it arbitrarily and tyrannically when given the opportunity. And so petty tyrants are spreading like contagion.
A father is arrested for playing catch with his daughter in an empty park. Police try to apprehend a jogger on an empty beach. Drive-in Easter services are declared illegal and worshippers are ticketed.
While the Chinese puzzle how to become more like America without giving up the iron-fists of their police state, certain American politicians puzzle how to become more like the iron-fisted Chinese. They delight in the lock down, and relish their authority in enforcing it.
Or maybe they think an America in pain is an America that will vote against the incumbent president this fall.
That incumbent is President Trump. Defying the lock-downers, this week he announced a plan to reopen America. The reopening happens in phases in different locales depending on the local circumstances. The feds will supply data, but the decisions and implementation are up to state governors and local mayors.
Decisions will thus be made by decision-makers close to the people. The Founders called this “federalism” and it used to work well.
In a classic Trump move, he picked a fight with Democrat governors beforehand over who had the authority to dictate the openings. With his usual bluster, Trump insisted that he did. Suddenly discovering federalism, the governors insisted that they did.
In the end, Trump gave the governors the authority they demanded, though the Feds will still supply the data and the non-binding guidelines. That was the outcome Trump desired all along, I suspect, and his fight with the governors was only to bait them into the position he wanted.
Or Trump might have picked the fight because he just enjoys fighting. You never know with Trump, and that’s the way he likes it.
Imagine the Chinese politburo: “Trump inscrutable!”
But what’s even more inscrutable to the Chinese is the economic engine, technological innovation and pluralistic, entrepreneurial culture of America. China has over a billion hard-working, underpaid people but is smothered under a stultifying authoritarian regime and monolithic culture.
Until that changes, China will be good only at copying and manufacturing American products because they have dirt cheap labor. But they will never produce real innovation, brilliant physicians, creative companies or risk-taking investors. They will never produce a Gilead.
And so yet again, for at least the third time in modern history, it will be America that will save the world from murderous authoritarians. It’s what we do.
It will entail the help of Gilead and other American companies that create, innovate, problem-solve, risk-take and (gasp!) profit. The Chinese unleashed a plague – the Chinese Virus compounded by a coverup. But Trump is unleashing something more powerful – American dynamism.
We’ll win. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.