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La Peste

2,560 words

“But what does it mean, the plague? It’s life, that’s all.”
–  Albert Camus, The Plague (1947)

The Coronavirus pandemic has rather put me in mind of Albert Camus’s classic allegorical book about the pestilence that struck the “ugly and smug little port town” of his native Oran in the 1940s. The plague is a metaphor that Camus rather unsubtly intended to represent the growth of National Socialism and all its philosophical variants both prior to and during the calamitous years of the Second World War.

Camus describes a community ripe for infection, just like our own today:

Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is in commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, “doing business.” Naturally they don’t eschew such simpler pleasures as love-making, sea-bathing, going to the pictures. But, very sensibly, they reserve these pastimes for Saturday afternoons and Sundays and employ the rest of the week in making money, as much as possible.

It will be easily understood that our fellow citizens had not the faintest reason to apprehend the incidents that took place in the spring of the year in question.

The artful story is told in the form a journal kept by protagonist Dr. Rieux, commencing with oblique references to a noticeable increase in the town population’s encounters with that most iconic of super-spreaders of the Medieval Black Death, rats:

When leaving his surgery on the morning of April 16, Dr. Bernard Rieux felt something soft under his foot. It was a dead rat lying in the middle of the landing. . . That evening, when Dr. Rieux was standing in the entrance, feeling for the latchkey in his pocket before starting up the stairs to his apartment, he saw a big rat coming toward him from the dark end of the passage. It moved uncertainly, and its fur was sopping wet. The animal stopped and seemed to be trying to get its balance, moved forward again toward the doctor, halted again, then spun round on itself with a little squeal and fell on its side. Its mouth was slightly open and blood was spurting from it.

Far from being the result of an evil, outmoded, and discredited anti-human ideology from the past — as foreshadowed by Camus’s metaphor of the rats — the very real COVID-19 virus we battle today is being spread with such dreadful rapidity as a direct consequence of our now globalized infrastructure. A worldwide network has, under the auspices of supranational organizations, interconnected migration, affordable tourism, mass production and distribution, economic interdependence, and world trade, acted as a catalyst for and an accelerator of the killer infection.

All of this has been exacerbated by the obsessive open-borders ideology and the additional pressures of The Great Replacement, stretching our health care systems to the breaking point, causing the deaths of thousands of citizens and condemning millions more to months of uncertainty. It’s also facilitating credible threats against White nations by means of political and economic blackmail from a Sino-supremacist totalitarian state, allowing crashing stock markets to provide cover for hawkish hedge fund manipulators to raid the meager retirement savings of the middle-class, and locking down cities, towns and villages — often filled with competing ethnic communities — with insufficient resources to maintain law and order.

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It’s a perfect recipe for civil unrest to break out all over the developed world: Weeks of unrestricted and irresponsible panic buying, scarcity of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, spiraling levels of fear nurtured by panic-mongering press articles, and the endemic suspicion already festering between incompatible racial and religious groups forced to live together, regardless of their desire for segregation.

Camus symbolically represents the rapidly deteriorating situation in everyday dialogue that captures the confusion and uncertainty of the times:

The stairway from the cellar to the attics was strewn with dead rats, ten or a dozen of them.  The garbage cans of all the houses in the street were full of rats. . . Yes, Mercier knew all about it; in fact, fifty rats had been found in his offices, which were near the wharves.

It was about this time that our townsfolk began to show signs of uneasiness. . . quantities of dead or dying rats were found in factories and warehouses. . . in every thoroughfare, rats were piled up in garbage cans or lying in long lines in the gutters.

This pattern of behavior is replicated in the present crisis. Panicking Spanish care workers are abandoning old people with the virus, leaving them to die in their beds. Incoherent and uncoordinated decision-making by governments has become the rule. The media is endlessly virtue-signaling with Sino-sympathetic clichés. Airport closures are trapping intercontinental travelers in densely crowded spaces. Cruise liners have turned into floating prison ships off the coast of Mexico. Armed forces in several countries are being deployed to patrol the streets of our cities, only further inflaming the situation. More from La Peste:

Things went so far that the Ransdoc Information Bureau (inquiries on all subjects promptly and accurately answered), which ran a free-information talk on the radio, by way of publicity, began its talk by announcing that no less than 6,231 rats had been collected and burned in a single day. . . A wave of something like panic swept the town.  There was a demand for drastic measures, the authorities were accused of slackness, and people who had houses on the coast spoke of moving there.

But this was only the calm before the storm. Camus, by means of some deft and understated descriptive paragraphs, immediately forms the link between the dying rats and the transmission of the virus to the inhabitants of Oran:

Rieux found his next patient leaning over the edge of the bed, one hand pressed to his belly and the other to his neck, vomiting pinkish bile into a slop-pail.  After retching for some moments, the man lay back again, gasping. His temperature was 103, the ganglia of his neck and limbs were swollen, and two black patches were developing on his thighs. He now complained of internal pains.  “It’s like fire,” he whimpered. “The bastard’s burning me inside.”

Dr. Rieux:

Reviewing that first phase in the light of subsequent events, our townsfolk realized that they had never dreamed it possible that our little town should be chosen out for the scene of such grotesque happenings.

A familiar sentiment.

Our societies are being tested to their absolute limits by the Chinese Coronavirus infection, and must now take — with some considerable effort — action today. Not just acting on the science that offers to resolve our present predicament, but to better comprehend how this has come about in the first place.

When one calmly assesses other factors, like the outsourcing of pharmaceutical manufacturing to rival ethnic groups, the unsustainable population growth of the eternally dysfunctional African continent, the never-ending waves of economic refugees moving north from the poverty-stricken Southern hemisphere, and the mind-numbing ecological tub-thumping by agents of the anti-white hating elite, it becomes quite clear that Camus’s apocryphal vision could be turned a full 180 degrees to more accurately reflect the very real threat posed by the globalist hierarchy and their willing collaborators to the long-term viability of Western civilization.

Camus’s darkly ominous descriptions of people coming to terms with the severity of their predicament now chime closely with our own slow but terror-stricken awakening today:

The word “plague” had just been uttered for the first time. . . He tried to recall what he had read about the disease. Figures floated across his memory, and he recalled that some thirty or so great plagues known to history had accounted for nearly a hundred million deaths. . . The doctor remembered the plague at Constantinople that, according to Procopius, caused ten thousand deaths in a single day. Seventy years ago, at Canton, forty thousand rats died of plague before the disease spread to the inhabitants. . . Athens, a charnel-house reeking to heaven and deserted even by the birds; Chinese towns cluttered up with victims silent in their agony; the convicts at Marseille piling rotting corpses into pits; the building of the Great Wall in Provence to fend off the furious plague-wind; the damp, putrefying pallets stuck to the mud floor at the Constantinople lazar-house, where the patients were hauled up from their beds with hooks; the carnival of masked doctors at the Black Death; men and women copulating in the cemeteries of Milan; cartloads of dead bodies rumbling through London’s ghoul-haunted darkness.

These are images that lurk in the back of our minds when we read the words of Giuseppe Natalini, head of the intensive care unit at the Fondazione Poliambulanza hospital in Brescia, saying: “The situation is catastrophic, unimaginable!” and the radio waves echo with the deep suonare a morto — death knell — across the whole of Lombardy.

Just like in Camus’s haunting fable, people are self-isolating, governments are locking down states like California, and a general climate of despair hovers above the streets of Paris, the wind-blown Piazzas of Rome and the vacated grand boulevards of Madrid:

The telegram ran: “Proclaim a state of plague stop close the town. . .” But once the town gates were shut, every one of us realized that all, the narrator included, were, so to speak, in the same boat, and each would have to adapt himself to the new conditions of life.”

These same conditions heralded social and economic collapse and talk of the greatest recession in over a century as New York, London, Paris, and Frankfurt look on helplessly as the spinning numbers on the Dow Jones, FTSE, CAC, and Deutsche Borse tumble further every minute:

One of the most striking consequences of the closing of the gates was, in fact, this sudden deprivation befalling people who were completely unprepared for it. . . all these people found themselves, without the least warning, hopelessly cut off, prevented from seeing one another again, or even communicating with one another.

Does that sound all too familiar? Well, if it does, so must this section of the sorry tale which pre-empts the crisis planning and the state of readiness of the British National Health Service (NHS):

We’re short of equipment. In all the armies of the world a shortage of equipment is usually compensated for by manpower. But we’re short of manpower, too.

All of which builds to a crescendo when:

As a result of the fighting at the gates, in the course of which the police had had to use their revolvers, a spirit of lawlessness was abroad. . . Discontent was on the increase and, fearing worse to come, the local officials debated lengthily on the measures to be taken if the populace, goaded to frenzy by the epidemic, got completely out of hand. The newspapers published new regulations reiterating the orders against attempting to leave the town and warning those who infringed them that they were liable to long terms of imprisonment.

The authorities had the idea of segregating certain particularly affected central areas and permitting only those whose services were indispensable to cross the cordon. Dwellers in these districts could not help regarding these regulations as a sort of taboo specially directed at themselves, and thus they came, by contrast, to envy residents in other areas their freedom. And the latter, to cheer themselves up in despondent moments, fell to picturing the lot of those others less free than themselves. “Anyhow, there are some worse off than I,” was a remark that voiced the only solace to be had in those days.

And the people in Bergamo in Italy at the present moment are certainly worse off than most; nurses are pushing gurneys carrying men and women clutching at their lungs, wired up to mobile respirators, and gasping for air in terrible distress, tubes pumping oxygen into their collapsing lungs. Camus:

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The pneumonic type of infection, cases of which had already been detected, was now spreading all over the town; one could almost believe that the high winds were kindling and fanning its flames in people’s chests. The victims of pneumonic plague succumbed much more quickly, after coughing up blood-stained sputum.

Meanwhile, the authorities faced the difficulty of maintaining the food supply. Profiteers were taking a hand and purveying at enormous prices essential foodstuffs not available in the shops. The result was that poor families were in great straits, while the rich went short of practically nothing. Thus, whereas plague by its impartial ministrations should have promoted equality among our townsfolk, it now had the opposite effect and, thanks to the habitual conflict of cupidities, exacerbated the sense of injustice rankling in men’s hearts.

Camus, fully immersed in the spectral propaganda used by the victorious Allies to justify their atrocious behavior against the Germans in the immediate post-war era, carefully conjures up a sort of holographic holocaust:

There were other camps of much the same kind in the town, but the narrator, for lack of firsthand information and in deference to veracity, has nothing to add about them. This much, however, he can say; the mere existence of these camps, the smell of crowded humanity coming from them, the baying of their loud-speakers in the dusk, the air of mystery that clung about them, and the dread these forbidden places inspired told seriously on our fellow citizens’ morale and added to the general nervousness and apprehension. Breaches of the peace and minor riots became more frequent.

We, who are being tormented by this unearthly visitation today, need to ask ourselves: how far we can be pushed, herded and corralled by a greedy and uncaring Elite into conforming to their will? At what point will full accountability for the collapse be attained, and at what cost to whom? Camus concludes in Dr. Rieux’s final remarks as the plague abates in La Peste:

He listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, remembering that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.

These are the hard lessons that need to be learned.

The COVID-19 pandemic is, after all, merely a symptom of a far greater disease that has been gnawing away at mankind’s immune system like an eager, lymphatic cancer for far longer than the span of this sudden outbreak. It requires a surgical response that many of us have been advocating for a very long time. Camus:

One of the signs that a return to the golden age of health was secretly awaited was that our fellow citizens, careful though they were not to voice their hope, now began to talk, in, it is true, a carefully detached tone, of the new order of life that would set in after the plague.

For that is exactly what we need to do: look with a keen eye to the future. What has gone before cannot be allowed to stand again. To quote Desiderius Erasmus: “Prevention is better than cure.”