The Cloud of Great National Purpose

SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA — ‘What have we learned from this Coronavirus shutdown?’ asked a recent acquaintance, rhetorically.

Then came the answer: ‘The importance of a good wine cellar and a bidet.

Clandestine visit

We met our new friends clandestinely, at the only hotel in the area. They are French, a psychiatrist and her neurologist husband.

They arrived just as the country was shutting down and locking up. They were at the hotel when the stay-at-home order came down five weeks ago. They are still there.

The whole thing is unbelievable’, explained the shrink. ‘We were here on a visit. And then we couldn’t leave.’

At first, we were quarantined in our room for 14 days. We weren’t allowed to leave the room. Then, the hotel closed. Everybody left. The manager, the maids, everybody.

But we had nowhere to go, all the flights had been cancelled. So they just left us in the hotel. Fortunately, they left us the keys to the wine cellar and the kitchen.

As for the bidet, we realized how important that was when we ran out of toilet paper.

We visited for a few minutes. Like plague survivors, we huddled alone in the hotel’s courtyard…fearful of being discovered by zombies.

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Fortunately, or unfortunately, we have the internet’, the doctor continued. ‘I follow the news. I don’t know what is going on. It’s as if most of the world has gone crazy. Mon Dieu. It’s just a virus. It’s not The Plague.’

There are about a million people in this province, that is in a space about the size of Texas. But there are only three cases of the virus…all of them people who had just come from Spain. And none of them very serious.

And yet, they stop you from going to work…or even from going to restaurants or driving down the road to visit friends.

It’s crazy. A lot of these people are poor. They need to work to eat. And nobody’s life is going to be saved by these restrictions. Because there’s no virus here. It’s crazy.

But we’re okay. I’m used to working long hours in a hospital. Here, at least, I’m enjoying a rest.

And my wife’s been able to keep working. She gets together with her crazy patients via video conferencing… And her business is doing well.

Her patients are trapped in their houses and apartments…They’re getting crazier and crazier.

We could not visit for long. We arrived by a side entrance…and left the same way.

But ‘crazier and crazier’ seemed to sum up so much of what is going on today…

Great national purpose

As time goes by, it becomes clearer and clearer that the C-virus is just a virus. It kills old people. For young people, it is much less of a threat than suicide or auto accidents.

And yet, their world — their economy, their jobs, their social lives…all have been upended.

Of course, not everybody minds. Some people feel a certain jubilation in the fight against the virus, as if they were in a real war. It gives their lives fake meaning.

Gone are the real worries — about their jobs…about earning money…about getting along with sisters-in-law…settling their bar tabs…or moving their son out of the basement.

All their real cares and concerns suddenly disappear in a cloud of great national purpose.

Now, they spend their hours getting mad at politicians for clamping down…or easing up. Or, they argue about ‘flattening the curve’ or ‘herd immunity’.

Is Mr Trump doing a great job, as he says he is? Or is he the clueless clown that the liberal media describes?

There’s even a word for it: lachesism. It is based on the French word lâcher which, as a verb, means to ‘give up’ or ‘let go’. As a noun, it means ‘coward’ or ‘shirker’.

Now, with the virus all around us, many people have an excuse to lâcher and focus on something else entirely…something they have no control over.

Meanwhile, things get crazier and crazier…

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A sane person in a nuthouse

The US budget deficit, for example, is already headed to $4 trillion this year. And yet, here comes another budget-buster to ‘top up’ the aid package. Roll Call:

Congressional leaders and the White House have an agreement in principle on a nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief package and are now working through the final details, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday night.’

And here’s the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget on the Fed:

On net, we estimate these measures total $1.7 trillion in economic support so far —including $1.2 trillion from expanding its holdings of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. The total measures the Federal Reserve has announced it will allow itself to undertake could total as much as $9.2 trillion, or potentially more, if continued at current purchase limits through May 31. Federal Reserve actions have no direct impact on the federal budget deficit.

And just to make sure nobody gets in the way of their spending lollapalooza, the swamp denizens are out to eliminate the only member of Congress who stood in their way. The New York Times:

House Republicans Take Aim at Thomas Massie after Stimulus Vote  

Mr Massie dared to make the totally un-crazy suggestion that if the people’s representatives were going to spend the equivalent of 10% of GDP…money the Fed doesn’t have, by the way…at least they should go on record, yea or nay.

Gotta get rid of him immediately, say Republican fixers. The last thing you want in a nuthouse is a sane person. He makes the inmates feel…well…crazy.

Stay tuned…


Bill Bonner,
For The Rum Rebellion

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries.

A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities.

Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally.

With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance.

Bill has been a weekly contributor to The Rum Rebellion.

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