Pandemic Through the Eyes of a Globalist
Nearly 50 years ago, philosopher Thomas Nagel published a now-classic thought experiment on the nature of consciousness. “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” is an attempt to do what is ultimately impossible: to see the world through the eyes of another sentient being.
Whether Nagel succeeded is anyone’s guess. (The bat lobby has thus far refused to comment.) But bats have been in the news lately, although not for philosophical reasons. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic now afflicting us all was initially linked in many news outlets to the Chinese delicacy (?) known as “bat soup.” “What is it like to be a bat soup eater?” was a question that I found myself rhetorically asking, bringing Nagel’s essay to mind.
As the disease spread around Asia and then the world, however, the news focus gradually shifted, so that now many are questioning the wisdom of having so unthinkingly globalized everything and made so many industries—including the medical industry—dependent on a place like the People’s Republic of China. “What is it like to shoot oneself in the foot?” is yet another question that has been bubbling up uncomfortably these past few weeks.
Outsourcing the medical equipment and pharmaceutical supply chain to a hostile communist dictatorship with perhaps the worst public health record on the planet is the equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers’ having put the emergency generators for the storm pumps at the bottoms of the levees, where they would be the first to flood during a hurricane. But globalists, like government engineers, are incapable of learning from mistakes. In fact, in their minds, disasters serve perversely to confirm the advisability of their follies. Which leads normal people to wonder, “What is going on in the globalist’s mind?”
What, in other words, is it like to be a globalist? This is a question worth asking, because the answer will determine very much in the months and years ahead. Unless we can figure out how the globalist looks at the world, we will continue to be at his mercy, and will continue to face pandemics and crises that are the precipitate of his ideology. We have got to understand who these people are who have taken over our every doing, our every coming and going. Otherwise, we will keep getting done in by them.
The first thing that one notices when examining homo globalus—globalman—is his odd inability to fix experience to a specific place. Homo globalus hates place, one might even go so far as to assert. But not all places, it should be added—homo globalus hates in particular places that have been laggards in globalizing but which are now indispensable to the globalist scheme. Places, for example, such as China.
Indeed, any mention of the fact that the Wuhan coronavirus originated in Wuhan, or that Wuhan is a city in China, is enough to cause homo globalus to hurl accusations of racism. It is unacceptable for a virus to have originated in a particular place, the globalist appears to believe.
Demonstrably, the Wuhan coronavirus came from Wuhan. The only people disputing that are those whose heads will roll when this plain scientific fact is confirmed (namely, the communist dictator of China and his minions), as well as those who don’t like homo globalus for various other very good reasons. That includes certain people in Russia and Iran whom homo globalus has gleefully impoverished and humiliated and then mocked for their having dared to complain about it.
But homo globalus takes a different tack from these detractors, insisting not that the Wuhan virus did not come from Wuhan, but that it is racist to say so. Anyone who points out that the People’s Republic of China has disastrously failed to meet, well, global standards, or even the most basic level of hygiene, is a hateful racist. It doesn’t matter that the Wuhan virus came from Wuhan, or that a globalized economy was like dry grass before a prairie fire once it got underway. Globalism must be true, and so homo globalus doubles down, denouncing common sense and plainspokenness as the equivalent of incitement to riot.
This strange scenario reveals two other things about homo globalus that the average person finds difficult to understand. First, homo globalus does not like language very much, at least not words with meanings. Words indicate things, whether concrete physical objects or abstractions such as institutions or ideas, but the globalist does not live in a world where any of this makes any sense.
Languages come from places after all. Strikes one, two, and three against words for globalman. The very names we use for languages, indeed, indicate where that language was first encountered: English in England, French in France, Japanese in Japan, and so on. Or, worse yet, language names are synonymous with the names of a given people, or—gasp!—tribe, such as Mayan or Yoruba or Hopi. Homo globalus hates this most of all. He sends his owl-eyed anthropologists among them to investigate, and then soon after sends in the UN (the “un-,” the negating agency) to proselytize contraception, carbon reduction, and the Westphalian system.
Actually, homo globalus hates languages with place affiliations so much that he invented an entirely new language, Esperanto, to overcome the stubborn stickiness of language to place. Esperanto never caught on, of course, because there were already people in the world who spoke their own real languages and so had no need of a fake one. (Ever tried selling plastic houseplants in a rainforest?) But the tendency to erase place from language remains as strong as ever. One may not, therefore, under any circumstances, say that the Wuhan flu came from Wuhan.
(It is still okay to say that the Spanish flu came from Spain. It is also okay to eat Belgian waffles and hamburgers and Vienna sausages, and to play Russian roulette with one’s hedge funds, and to have French doors installed at the homo globalus retreat in Monaco. This is because Spain, Belgium, Hamburg, Vienna, Russia, and France do not have the stigma of late-globalization that a place like, say, Wuhan does. The fact that the globe did not really want to globalize, but instead had to be forced to do so at the barrel of a cannon or the point of a bayonet, riles homo globalus. It’s why he’s so touchy about the natives, so worried about learning what they really think about his exquisite sensitivities.)
The second thing about homo globalus that is striking to the man in the street is that homo globalus exists, apparently, outside of time, or at least in a hypertemporality in which time flows much faster than it does for the rest of us. As late as two weeks ago, for example, homo globalus was telling his friends on CNN that the Wuhan virus was from Wuhan. Then things got weird. Someone shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Isn’t this…racist? Immediately, the Wuhan flu became the Chinese coronavirus. That won’t do, either, though. China is a place, too! In swoops the World Health Organization (the aptly acronymed WHO?): it’s COVID-19 now.
This word, of course, exists in no language anywhere. Perfect. And whoever is not now using COVID-19 to describe the flu that came from Wuhan is a racist. Even better.
This is what the world looks like through globalist eyes. The world is not a place; it is a backdrop for an ideology. People may be dying, but the main thing is that the planet be transformed from a geographical to a geometric entity, a world to a sphere. There can be no place anywhere, only the ideology of globalism. The globalist lives in a mental environment utterly unlike the one in which the rest of humanity conducts its daily affairs. Anyone who disagrees is a racist, backwards, hopelessly out of touch.
Bats and globalists—we had best figure out quick, through thought experiments such as this one, what the world looks like through at least the eyes of the latter. Thomas Nagel pondered the consciousness of flying mammals. Let us make it our priority to investigate the consciousness of globalman.
Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.