Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Ebola terrorist! Chaos vs Human Rights.

The Ebola terrorist!  Hemorrhagic Death and chaos -- or global law enforcement of Human Rights?
Americans safe within our border need not fear the accidental importation of Ebola. As bad as some believe our ‘health care system’ is, it is well capable of stopping any Ebola outbreak here. Still, we have much to worry about.
It is now projected that the exponential spread of the virus could kill 100,000 Africans before it can be stopped. The bad news is that there are virtually no proposals now for responding appropriately to this entirely predictable crisis.
It was not the first Ebola outbreak and it won’t be the last pandemic emerging from the impoverished conditions spread throughout much of our unjust and ungoverned world.
What Americans and the rest of the world should fear are the entirely predictable catastrophic consequences of our collective failure to respond to this specific hemorrhagic fever.
What is certain to happen is the unprecedented breakdown of what marginal society, poor public health systems, governing infrastructure and political stability African nations how have. With this increasing chaos, groups like Boko Haram will increasingly gain advantage and be ignored by a world already overdrawn on to too many other trouble spots. Boko Haram already controls much of northeast Nigeria creating “a national emergency” even without the Ebola effect.
What is likely to happen as it did in the 1995 Ebola outbreak, is this mass murdering virus perking the interests of extremist individuals. Crazies who would like to use it in creating more terror in the hearts of the so called ‘civilized’ world, more over-political reaction and even more economic burden. Given today’s technological capacity for genetic re-engineering (which by itself is off the scale scary) the weaponization of this new Ebola strain is highly likely. Then there is always the possibility of an accidental release as was the case with yet another strain of Ebola in a Virginia laboratory just outside this nation’s capital that was detailed in the nonfiction book “The Hot Zone”. In the late 1990s US scientists were experimenting with gene segments from Ebola and HIV/AIDS to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Stuff happens.
The spread of Ebola is primarily a consequence of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, and inadequate health care systems at the local and national levels of government. What should worry us is the complete absence of any accountable government structures at the global level to stop diseases from spreading anywhere people can fly. WHO is not an emergency response structure. It’s not even funded sufficiently to monitor outbreaks let alone respond to them.
What is also likely to happen is economic consequences that will hit American’s directly but not hard and the African economy directly very hard. The consequences of increased poverty and chaos in Africa will have direct national economic and bio security consequences globally.
Unlikely, but possible is the mutation of this mass killer virus into a strain that is harder to detect, easier to spread and impossible to cure. Think of an airborne HIV/AIDS that kills in days or weeks instead of years.
Besides the complete absence of any effective global institution capable of reacting to such a crisis we have a global political paradigm that puts national sovereignty supreme to any global capacity for response or quarantine enforcement. International law has been virtually inoperable in stopping human inspired war, genocide or terrorism. It will prove worse at instituting an effective global emergency response effort and worse yet at resolving the underlying causes of almost all pandemics or other global threats to our freedom, security and sustainable prosperity.
In the face of national shortfalls of money, health care systems and emergency resources; and an abundance of public panic, conspiracy, ignorance, poverty and injustice – it is reasonably predictable that things are going to get worse before they get better.
Essentially, humanity lacks the political will to use science to determine best government policy at the local, state and national levels. It has virtually no political capacity at the global level to follow scientific findings. In the current ‘global governance system’ we have the protection of innocent lives (regardless of age, race, sex, nationality or religion) is at the whims of national leaders. The protection of inalienable human rights remains secondary to the protection of national sovereignty (the right of any nation, to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, to whom ever it wants). Those national governments with nuclear weapons appear immune to any global consensus or commitments.
Don’t believe for a moment that the death, disability, fear and suffering that this disease is causing in Africa will not have a host of other consequences that affect us all. From economic to environmental, criminal and even health and bio-security threats.
Infectious agents don’t make national distinctions. We do at our own peril. Pathogens do recognize the one thing we all have in common. The same body temperature.
If it mutates, if we mutate it, or if something worse comes a long our national militaries will be helpful. Most likely in controlling the chaos within each of our artificial borders with privacy gone and our freedom to travel or meet in large groups outlawed.
There is another way. But it will require facing our real enemies of ignorance, apathy, poverty, indifference and global injustice.
After the horrors of World War II America’s first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt led the effort to create a global document that if enforced, would prevent most of the underlying causes of almost all human sourced threats we face (war, genocide, hunger, most diseases…). And if the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were enforced globally, most of the other threats we face from nature or one another, threats that cannot be prevented, could be dealt with far faster and more effective.

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