I have given up on myself. Since everyone I know accepts that my views are to the right of Gengis Khan, I no longer have to make the pretense of drinking soy milk or eating tofu and pretending to enjoy it. I am what I am and happy to be that way, even if my children’s faces go red when I open my mouth in polite company. They look pleadingly at others present, trying telepathically, I think, to transmit the thought that every family has its own dotty uncle who, in their case, happens to be their own, beloved and sometimes moderately useful, but very barmy, two-cans-short-of-a six-pack dad.
I know that look of theirs very well indeed. It says, ‘What do you expect? Dad remembers those weird days when steam engines were used to pull trains, people were paid only for working, kids ran around playgrounds largely unsupervised, and men could grow older, and little more portly, without attracting universal ostracism.
Well, being portly and dotty has its compensations, let me tell you. Nobody is surprised when you ask stupid questions or say things that are sooo politically incorrect they would be beyond the pale for everyone except yours truly. This is fun – looking at the same pictures on the TV screen as everyone else and seeing things differently.
Here’s an example of how liberating it can be to embrace dottiness. Take as a given that a considerable body of ill-informed opinion regards President Obama as just the world’s most wonderful leader. But what I see is a middle aged man who seems tired, careworn, prematurely grey and, quite often these days, somewhat unsettled. To my eyes the revered Mr President brings to mind a precocious kid who has bitten off more than he can chew, created an awful mess and is now scared to tell his parents about it.
For example, Obama thinks the ebola epidemic is the ultimate danger the world is facing right now.
Really? Dangerous? Who for?
The ebola virus, always present in Africa, was discovered in 1976 and threatens only those who live in conditions of extreme squalor, where hands are washed less often than they might be and cultural practices help to spread the pestilence. Unless it has recently mutated (and that genetic change has gone unnoticed), ebola is not transmitted via, say, sneeze-driven aerosol clouds of tiny droplets, only by direct contact with body fluids of its victims, meaning puke, poo and blood. Like cholera, it kills by dehydration and the loss of important salts and minerals called electrolytes. Rehydrate a patient, replace those lost electrolytes and recovery is very likely. Should we in the West be afraid of cholera epidemics? The answer is no, we really should not.
The reason why is because we have working toilets and wash our hands after using them. Nor do we use dirty syringes or allow domesticated animals to spread infections. We have functioning waste disposal systems and, most important, we know that filth is bad for public health, so we shower and mop our floors. Also, we do not eat monkeys. Yes, you read that correctly – butchering and eating chimpanzees, part of the “bushmeat” trade, is one of the vectors of ebola’s spread. Incidentally, a chimpanzee has an intellect comparable to that of a four-year-old child.
Nevertheless, Mr Obama is convinced that ebola is the greatest threat to all humanity. That belief is clearly not true, especially in the case of advanced nations with functioning public health systems. Failed states do have a problem, no doubt about it. But should we feel morally responsible for failed states and their, well, failure to endorse and promote adequate health and hygiene. Concerned, yes, and sympathetic too, but responsible? Not at all.
Nor is it true that there is no treatment for this virus – there are at least three developed medications: ZMapp, TKM-Ebola and Favipiravir. These medications are not approved by the international bureaucracy, which instead of working to approve and distribute them, instead spreads panic and media hysteria about a treatable and containable disease. Next comes a carpet bombing of the emotions with hysterical demands for more money to prevent the spread of a disease that shouldn’t exist in the first place, considering the amount of aid international do-gooders receive. A vaccine available to be used against ebola was developed by SmithGlaxoKlein, which offered this medication to WHO only to be knocked back. Go figure.
We are told that the mortality from such disease reaches 90% of those infected. Well, it could go that high, but only if the unfortunates who have been infected are not treated properly. When adequate medical care is available and provided early in the course of infection, mortality is not nearly so extreme. Since 1976 there have been 13 ebola epidemics in Africa, nowhere else. The current outbreak, the biggest so far, is estimated to have claimed the lives of some 4500 people out of 9000 believed to have been infected.
Those numbers are deeply unsettling but need to be put in perspective. Every year flu kills between 250,000 people and 500,000, according to the hysterical WHO. Yes, ebola cases have been confirmed in the US and a panic is rippling through Europe and Asia. But a world pandemic? Purleesee!
The disease caused by the Ebola virus, however difficult and dangerous, cannot be accorded the status of the world’s pre-eminent threat, as Obama would have everyone believe. Then again, perhaps this worried, out-of-his-depth community organiser is happy to see the ebola panic push reports of how the Internal Revenue Service was used against the Democrats’ enemies off the front page.
If Obama was a serious and adult leader he would be railing against the failed and corrupt African states, where graft and corruption line leaders’ pockets and far more money is spent on weapons to oppress opponents, dissidents and the population in general than the pittance devoted to public health and sanitary hospitals.
Obama says he regards ebola as the world’s greatest danger. Is he so short of problems he has to invent one?
Dotty, politically incorrect dads sometimes say the darndest things.
Dr Michael Galak and his family came to Australia as refugees from the Soviet Union in 1978