Ebola and You

I’ve developed an interest in Africa of late. A few books got me going and I find the place endlessly fascinating. The English have always had an obsession with Africa and I’m starting to appreciate why. It is a complex riddle. The Ebola outbreak has therefore caught my attention. An epidemic like this tests a lot of theories popular in population genetics. You get the hardcore HBD’ers jumping in, but also the more nuanced types looking for a way to stay between the lines of acceptable opinion.

The left-wing media outlets are largely oblivious to this growing underground. Instead, they stick with the old time religion and produce articles like this one in the New York Times. There’s nothing terribly wrong with it, but the headline makes people like me chuckle. The near total lack of self-awareness from these folks is amazing. I often wonder if they bother having mirrors in their homes. What would be the point?

More than 5,800 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone have contracted Ebola since March, according to the World Health Organization, making this the biggest outbreak on record. More than 2,800 people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that in a worst-case scenario, cases could reach 1.4 million in four months. The centers’ model is based on data from August and includes cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone, but not Guinea (where counts have been unreliable).

Estimates are in line with those made by other groups like the World Health Organization, though the C.D.C. has projected further into the future and offered ranges that account for underreporting of cases.

There are roughly 209 million people in the countries affected by this outbreak. Nigeria has a murder rate of 20 per 100,000. The other countries on the list have slightly lower rates, but those are guesses. Even assuming a much lower rate, about 20,000 people are murdered in these countries annually. That does not count warfare, which is a regular feature in places like Sierra Leone.

The point here is to put the numbers in perspective. The best case scenario makes the epidemic something close to a massive spike in violence. The worse case puts it on par with a bloody civil war. The difference is the inevitable refugee problem it brings, along with people carrying the disease to new areas. The people in those areas will most likely respond with force to keep them out. The neighboring countries probably lack the ability to do it peacefully so it will get very ugly.

Another difference is the domino effect. Millions of Africans are moving north in hopes of making their way into Europe. The nations of the Maghreb are being paid to block their path, but how long that lasts is anyone’s guess. It’s one thing to block people carrying their belongings. It is another to block people carrying a deadly virus. It’s not the zombie apocalypse that causes the mayhem; it is the fear of the zombie apocalypse.

Interestingly, no one bothers to ask why Ebola is an African problem. The reason for that is the answers don’t fit into the narrative. Everywhere on earth, except Africa, humans are an invasive species. There are a lot of things different about Africans beyond skin color. They evolved alongside their environment. Everyone else evolved outside their environment, for the most part. But, we are not allowed to think of these things so it is best not to ask.

What are the chances of the disease reaching the West? Unless we take up bat hunting, there’s little to no chance.

Ebola was discovered in 1976, and it was once thought to originate in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat. But scientists have since ruled out that theory, partly because apes that become infected are even more likely to die than humans.

Scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on, or by coming in contact with surfaces covered in infected bat droppings and then touching their eyes or mouths.

The current outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where bat hunting is common, according to Doctors Without Borders.

There’s an expression old Africa hands used to use. It is “AWA” and it means Africa Wins Again. The Europeans tried everything they could to turn their colonies into outposts of civilization, but they all failed. No matter what you do, Africa can’t stop being Africa and Africans cannot stop being African. That’s been the lesson in America since the Civil War. You’re not allowed to think that so we think other things.

3 thoughts on “Ebola and You

  1. I would normally agree with your assessment of Ebola. A hemorrhagic disease confined to the dark continent. But clearly something has changed. During this outbreak, many doctors and medical personnel have not only contracted the disease, but have died. This includes Western doctors and personnel. Has the virus mutated in some way? Or have people become complacent, assuming they cannot contract Ebola because they don’t eat bats? Is the vector changing in some way? No one knows the answer to these questions, at least not yet. I’m slightly alarmed that we are sending soldiers to assist with containment or support. Why? Is the situation so dire that they require the help of the US instead of from Europe?

    I am not convinced that Americans need to panic about Ebola, but the situation does raise many questions. I will be watching the evolving situation with great interest.

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  3. Alas, Kipling while long forgotten is still on the mark:


    The Gods of the Copybook Headings

    As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began: —
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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