NOT A Bio-Weapon

So is Covid-19 a “bio-weapon”? Now as far as I have seen this has been labeled a conspiracy theory. However, I think it is still somewhat respectable to hold such a belief. It has circumstantial evidence; The chinese government might be testing bio-weapons in Wuhan. I have not seen anyone seriously say the theory has no merit. Does this prove anything or really matter? Well I am not going to argue for the truth of any theory. I am certainly uneducated on the matter of saying something is a bio-weapon. This kept me from speaking on Covid-19 for a while now. Recently, I have decided to entertain a strange possibility. What if the bio-weapon theory is the more optimistic theory?

Okay so here is a bit of rhetoric to try out as an exercise. If Covid-19 was a bio-weapon, wouldn’t it be worse? I mean sure it is fairly infectious and deadly, but any off the shelf lazily constructed bio-weapon could beat it. What self respecting bio-weapon lab would make such a shabby bio-weapon? Taking this rhetoric seriously would imply that the entire economy could be shut down and many people killed very quickly by basic bio-weapon technology. How easy is it to create a bio-weapon? If I am a terrorist and I have seen what has just happened, then how am I going to rationally respond to this crisis we are living through. At present time it is a good possibility that we are going to have the greatest economic crisis in almost 100 years. For the innovative terrorist entrepreneur, maybe this is a signal they have spent too little effort in creating new viruses. This is very concerning if our currrent crisis is a proof of concept for future terrorism. We are certainly not prepared.  

If we assume that Covid-19 was some high tech and rare bio-weapon, then we can make a few reasonable conclusions. The bio-weapon was made by a well funded state and can not be easily replicated. It is hard to control, thus states are likely to be harmed themselves by releasing it. As far as we know no other bio-weapon of this scale has ever been released. This means that this was a rare accident that could only occur among a few powerful actors. These actors have very little to gain and a lot to lose by having an accident. This means that the state actors are incentivized and probably practicing good safety. They might even have a lot to learn by their failure here. 

The release of this piece of bioengineering has caused mass devastation while not being necessarily extremely deadly or infectious. This is still a proof of concept for terrorism, but it might not actually be easily repeatable. Terrorists do not have massive tax collecting regimes and patriotic citizens to pull talent from. We should remember that the possibilities explored are certainly not exhaustive. We could easily have just weak bio-weapon potential, even from the big players. Meaning that this is much worse than any bio-weapon we could reasonably make even with massive national budgets. The one truth I feel that we need to cope with is that you don’t need some super mythological or futurist virus in order to shut down civilization. The question is the ability and incentive for malicious actors to release such a virus.

The true optimistic and civilization affirming answer would be to suggest that everything is fine and this is just a freak of nature. I mean about 100 years ago we had the glorious spanish flu which caused mass devastation on an entire generation. We are so much better at handling it even with the so called mismanagement. This is not to say that we have not failed, we probably have and we will need to see as the true consequences are realized. Still if this is a freak of nature that might come again sometime in a few generations, then does this really mandate massive changes in our behavior. We get the economy on track and back to full employment. We need not necessarily reform in the face of crisis, especially if we are prepared to deal with the consequences. Do you want to live in fear of a plague that will not arrive for another 100 years?

The liberal idea that civilization and liberal democracy afford a glorious standard of life is not wrong. Life is still pretty good with a bit of increased worrying about the future. Most bleeding heart worrying is based on an expectation of a certain standard of comfort and consumption. I am not much of a consoomer and am prepared to live on almost nothing. If the economy does not get sorted out, then the worst that will happen is that you will need to live on much less. The horror. I mean I joke, but this is a real horror for a lot of people.

I embrace the dangerous and mysterious nature of reality. This might seem reckless, but no risk no profit. If we are going to become a hyper safety obsessed society shouldn’t it be because we need to avoid a real and insane danger. I mean a bio-weapon sounds fucking scary. If we are at risk of terrorist bio-weapons, then I am open to new safety measures. The issue is that if this is a natural fluke that presents little danger once we get it under control, then I fear the coming safety regime will be draining the economy. The economy here being the potential and the realization of man’s values. Why restrain ourselves over a delusional safety obsession? Well this is the nature of government, people want new laws in reaction to crisis. Reasonably you can only react to crises; this is just a limitation on human understanding of the world. The hope is that this is more reasonable than superstitious. 

If we are getting new restrictions and heading into a new era, the best outcome would be for it to have more value than not. I should fear the capacity to deploy bio-weapons when it is a real danger to myself. The concern and strategy to make it less effective would have value. This is not to say that a bio-weapon’s capacity to destroy is actually good because our seemingly inevitable collectivist response will be more reasonable. That is obviously absurd. I think we should try to avoid authoritarian imposed opportunity primitivism: being stuck in an over regulated system that forgoes opportunity to maintain hyper health and safety. I think there is a lot of room to overreact here especially with our comfortable abundance of resources. 

Governments are now printing massive amounts of money and there is a massive supply shock. This event is a test of whether printing boat loads of money after a massive decline in GDP will save the economy. The last time we had such a shock, the great depression the exact opposite happened; There was less money in circulation. We are not really sure what is going to happen. I am sure this event could radically shape how we understand economics, especially if we actually get general inflation with the printing of this money. This is all scary and dangerous. We have no idea what is going to happen.

Are we going to localize our economies and forgo the gains that come with international trade? This is the only way to slow down movement of the primary delivery mechanism of the plague, people. Are we going to introduce more mass surveillance to better track the spread of the plague? People who enter Utah were getting text messages instructing them to declare their entry. Are we going to have ever ballooning public budgets to protect us from the plague? Let us see the CDC budget over the next few years. What a bunch of lucky fuckers.

How do you respond to innovation in terrorism? Do you accelerate the innovation of oppression? China has been having the problem that as they try to let up on their restrictions the number of new cases begins to go exponential again. The plague is ever present and ever deadly; It is the ultimate and most glorious terrorist. At some point do we just come to the conclusion that we are good people who do not want the plague and have nothing to do with it. Just surrender this natural terror, for our absolute government. Watching everyone at all times, our government is the only monster who can protect us from such an equal cthulhu. We must know that elaborate terrorists will exploit and crack every hole and carry out only the most brilliant conspiracies. We shelter in our homes and under the panopticon. Our jailers are cosmological warriors; We live in an intense perpetual warfare between these great warriors. We are forever excluded from participation and at the mercy of these forces. 

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