Well friends and neighbors, 2020 is almost over. As I type this, there are a little more than seven hours left of it. By the time you read this, it will be gone.
I know a lot of people are saying this, but man, what a year.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned in 2020, it’s that W.B. Yeats was right when he wrote “The Second Coming:”
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart;
The center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
We were all going about our lives until the middle of March, and then COVID-19 came.
And now, here we are.
It is easy to forget just how fragile all this is. We don’t like to think about it, but it’s the truth. In a matter of weeks, the world can grind to a halt. We watched it happen.
I recently watched the 90’s rendition of Stephen King’s “The Stand”, and will watch the new one on Hulu here pretty soon. In that book, 99% of the human population dies of an apocalyptically virulent strain of the flu, popularly called “Captain Trips,” in a matter of about two or three weeks.
COVID-19 ain’t Captain Trips thankfully, but the story makes the same point.
Many people believe that the pandemic was planned, that what we are living now is the result of a nefarious plot. I don’t think that’s true, but I can certainly understand why people would want that to be true. That probably sounds strange to you, Faithful Reader, and I can understand that too. Let me explain.
If this thing was planned by wicked conspiracists, it means that someone like us is at least in charge of it. It means it was theorized, planned and executed by human agency. That means that somewhere, somehow, there is human control, even malevolent human control.
And as frightening as that is, consider the alternative: That there was a bat in a marketplace in China and it was infected with a virus, and one thing led to another and because of that someone you know, half a world away, got sick and maybe even died. And there was probably nothing you could do to stop it.
Given the choice between sinister globalist overlords and crawling chaos, I can see why people choose to believe in sinister globalist overlords. As scary as they are, crawling chaos is far more frightening.
And that, Faithful Reader, is what I mean when I say that I can understand why some people would be comforted by the idea that some big bad guys planned the pandemic and why that notion is so popular with so many. It is a grasp at the illusion of knowledge and the illusion of at least some measure of understanding and control.
“The Second Coming” has been on my mind lately. I need to go read it again.
Anyway, Happy New Year, Faithful Reader. We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for days of auld lang syne. Just don’t drink after anyone else.
Caleb Baumgardner is a local attorney. He can be reached at [email protected]