Cause and Infect: China's Legacy of Lies
Some people won’t know the name Li Wenliang. Nor will they have a chance to thank him. He died in China on February 7th of the plague he warned was coming. The Wuhan ophthalmologist was just 34 when his heart stopped, a husband and father — with another baby on the way. “He wasn’t an idealistic whistleblower. He was not a dissident. He wasn’t even political,” one reporter mourned. “He was simply a doctor doing his job.” And for that, China silenced him. Permanently.
Dr. Wenliang was treating patients when Chinese officials arrested him. Furious that he’d sounded the alarm over the mysterious virus exploding through the region, they made him sign a statement to keep quiet. “We solemnly warn you: If you keep being stubborn, with such impertinence, and continue this illegal activity, you will be brought to justice — is that understood?” It was the beginning of a massive, regime-wide cover-up that’s claimed 19,000 lives and sent the global economy spiraling out of control.
Now, with the world in utter chaos and people dying faster than countries can bury them, the fury over China’s deadly conspiracy is white hot. Leaders like Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who are watching with horror as the infections ravage America, are determined to hold the Chinese Communist Party responsible. “Since day one, [they] intentionally lied to the world about the origin of this pandemic.” He talked about the orders for laboratories to destroy samples and the persecution of doctors like Li. “It is time for an international investigation," Hawley insisted. ”…The Chinese Communist Party must be held to account for what the world is now suffering.“
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose agency is getting frantic calls from Americans trying to get home, understands better than anyone the human toll of China’s actions. "Every day, every week matters in terms of how this information is transmitted around the world. That is, when you share this information, the best scientists around the world can begin to work on it. You can start all the processes, not only vaccines and things that mitigate, but you can begin to put in place the things that will cause the spread to be decreased. And it’s multiplicative — so every day that the Chinese Communist Party sat on this information and didn’t do the right thing… [they] increased the number of people who would be exposed, and thereby put all of us all around the world — the Chinese people as well — at unnecessary risk.”
Even now, he said on “Washington Watch” Tuesday, the disinformation campaign continues — not just in China but in Russia and Iran as well. “They’re talking about it coming from the U.S. Army, and they’re saying maybe it began in Italy — all things to deflect responsibility.” And yes, countries have more urgent problems on their hands right now, but “the world needs to understand what’s really going on,” the secretary insisted, “because it’s still important.”
If nothing is done, this culture of lies will continue to cost the world innocent human lives. “It’s still important to have transparency even today. This is an ongoing global crisis, and we need to make sure that every country today is being transparent sharing what’s really going on, so that the global community, the global health care, infectious disease community can begin to work on this in a holistic way. My concern,” Mike said frankly, “is that this cover-up, this disinformation that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in, is still denying the world the information it needs so that we can prevent further cases or something like this from recurring again.”
In Iran, where the government ignored the virus to keep turnout high for the February elections, the casualties have been astronomical. Now, of course, they’re lying to their people and trying to turn them against America because they know their grip on their regime is very tentative. If they can shift their focus away from themselves, the Iranians can hide what they knew and when they knew it. But, as Secretary Pompeo points out, “the people most harmed by the absence of transparency and good governance are the people of their own country.” And as much as Iran and China try to deceive them, the people know it.
So maybe, the secretary said, one of the best outcomes we can hope for in this catastrophe is that they see a country like America treating people with dignity and respect. “Those are the things that fundamentally separate us from regimes like… Iran and the Chinese Communist Party. And it’s why, when we move our way through this… as I know we will, the people all around the world will see that is our system — a republic where we have freedom and liberty and we know that our rights come from our Creator — these are the systems that will ultimately prove to be most effective at delivering good outcomes for every human being.”
Originally published here.
The Economy: Do or Die
There may be people vying for President Trump’s job, but right now, no one can envy it. It’s not easy leading a country in the best of times. But now — when the entire nation is at the mercy of a virus no one can predict? That’s as difficult as it gets. As prepared as America was — and no country was more so — we’re fighting a two-front war: one for the economy and one for American lives. Which battle should carry more weight? Right now, some people aren’t so sure.
Watching the economy crash hasn’t been an easy thing for the administration that, over the last three years, brought it to some of its best moments. So it was somewhat understandable, a week and a half into his “slow the spread” guidance, that President Trump was getting antsy. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” he said on Monday, sparking a coast-to-coast debate on whether we should sacrifice people’s safety to stop the financial collapse. Although his “nationwide reopening” sights have been set on Easter, President Trump reassured the country after some outcry that he would continue to consult with medical experts before any decisions were made.
Like Trump, a lot of state leaders are anxious for life to return to normalcy. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) even told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that it was “time to get back to the land of the living.” “Let’s be smart about it,” he said, “And those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.” When Tucker pressed him, Dan pointed out the obvious, “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’” But, he went on, “If that’s the exchange, I’m all in.”
When the interview hit the wire, a lot of people were taken aback by Dan’s suggestion. Suddenly, across social media, the hashtag #NotDying4WallStreet started trending. Now, as someone who knows the lieutenant governor, I don’t think he was advocating the mass abandonment of senior citizens for financial gain. I understand his point that we shouldn’t be so bound up by fear that we’re afraid to work. But there has to be balance. And in this race to protect people’s lives, these are tough decisions that the president, administration, and state leaders all have to work through. Everyone is wondering who’s going to win, Arthur Brooks interjected. Will it be the economists? The public-health people? “And the answer is both and neither,” he said. “The ethical thing to do is how to think about the balance between these policy poles.” FRC’s David Closson agreed. “I appreciate the lieutenant governor’s candor,” he explained on “Washington Watch,” “and I think he has good intentions, but at least in that soundbite, he’s presenting us with a false dichotomy when he talks about [this] idea [that] we should be willing to sacrifice to health and safety of older Americans for the sake of younger Americans… I appreciate the position the president has taken. He tweeted this morning that we can do both of these things. We can care about the economy and we can care about those who are vulnerable.”
Meanwhile, the controversy did prompt some interesting responses from Democrats like Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.). “My mother is not expendable," he said with emotion Tuesday morning. "Your mother is not expendable. And our brothers and sisters are not expendable. We will not put a dollar figure on human life… No one should be talking about social Darwinism for the sake of the stock market.”
He’s absolutely right. We can’t put a price tag on life. But as much as we agree with Cuomo’s sentiment, we don’t agree with how he selectively applies it. This same man who stood in front of the cameras and says “no one is expendable" lit up the New York skyline to celebrate legal infanticide! Not only did he expand abortion up to the moment of birth, he’s forcing the people to pay for it. If every human life has value, then it's every life. Not just the ones Democrats deem worthy.
Being older or younger, born or unborn, shouldn’t mean you’re worth more or less. A person matters — not because of the value they bring to the rest of society, but because they have inherent value as a creation of God. As David pointed out, "A fundamental principle of Christian ethics is that all of us are made in God’s image.” Without that foundation, we’re in danger of slipping into a utilitarian view, where any action — even killing — is justified if it’s useful for the majority.
If the first order of business is to “save lives” then, Governor Cuomo, let’s work to save all of them.
Originally published here.
Flattening Abortion’s Curve
“We 100 percent plan to stay open,” one abortion center in Northeast Ohio vowed. Well, not if pro-lifers have anything to do with it. National leaders from FRC to SBA List and more are doing everything they can to stop groups like Planned Parenthood from profiting in a time of coronavirus — even if it means asking the Trump administration to intervene.
“While we are in a hectic race to save lives, Planned Parenthood and other powers in the abortion industry remain insistent on taking the lives of innocent unborn children,” a coalition of more than 50 pro-life leaders wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “While surgery centers postpone elective and diagnostic procedures, abortion centers are churning out surgical and chemical abortions and putting women, especially the poor, at risk. Their continued operation depletes sorely needed personal protective equipment and leads to complications that will further overwhelm already overextended emergency rooms.”
It’s time, we wrote, to stop the abortion industry from “compounding one crisis with another.” In states like Texas and Ohio, where governors have put the brakes on elective abortions, the message was clear: it’s time for everyone, including the Planned Parenthoods of America, to “cease operations and join healthcare providers in donating their [personal protective equipment] and other equipment to coronavirus response.”
Already, some parts of the industry have been putting women at risk by nudging them toward chemical abortions, which, as FRC’s Patrina Mosley warns, are almost as dangerous as back-alley abortions. The last thing we need is to tie up hospitals with life-threatening complications from drugs like mifepristone. If the Trump administration would agree to put abortions of every kind on hold, not only is the health industry spared, but mothers who — without a doubt — will need “follow-up care, including infection treatment and transfusions, from the nation’s emergency care centers and hospitals.”
It’s time to follow the lead of places like Mississippi, whose leaders insist: “We’ll take whatever action we need to protect not only the lives of unborn children but also the lives of anyone who may contract this particular virus.”
Originally published here.
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.