Friday, April 19, 2024
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The Lab Leak Chronicles


SUDDENLY it is respectable to believe that the Wuhan virus originated in a laboratory and not from diseased bats in a wet market. The much-praised Tony Fauci has gone from rabid lab leak denier to cautious lab leak believer to revealed lab leak enabler at something approaching mach speed.

On the face of it, it is a little baffling why the lab leak theory was given such short shrift, at least until a week or so ago. After all, we know that biological warfare and the research which underpins it are real and serious. We know that medical research into coronaviruses and much else besides is global and ongoing, post SARS 1. And we know that the Chinese Communist Party is generally up to no good in its relentless progress towards global domination. Pondering any or all of these things when considering the origins of Covid is not remotely controversial.

However on closer inspection the early dismissal of lab leak theory is obvious. 

There are four reasons why those who thought the Chinese did it were ignored or pilloried. First (of course), Trump articulated it. This was sufficient for many to dismiss the theory, whatever its merits. Second, there is a large constituency willing to give China a pass on just about anything, generally to think well of the Chinese regime. These people, Leftists (to be expected), Chinese assets in Western universities, ex-politicians of all persuasions on the Beijing payroll, and those who do well out of selling goods and services to the Chinese and don’t want to see the boat rocked over pesky issues like human rights, all benefit from dissing the lab leak theory. Third, there is massive overlap between those who favour totalitarian lockdowns and those who have affection for the Chinese regime. And fourth, believing that the Chinese either deliberately or accidentally let out a man-made virus smacks of ‘conspiracy theory’. This charge, along with ‘anti-vaxxer’ and ‘granny killer’, has been the default argument against lockdown opponents.

What do we make of all these claims, now that evidence has emerged that the idea wasn’t so far-fetched after all?

President Xi has famously said that China had a very good year in 2020.  The Year of the Rat, as it happened. A great Covid all round. The West on its knees, economically, psychologically, socially, governmentally.  China’s savage Wuhan response lauded, indeed copied globally. New opportunities for collaboration with the Davos cabal and the ‘great reset’. The creation of a major diversion whereby a wounded, pre-occupied West merely watches as the Chinese turn their attention to Taiwan and other annoyances. The creation of a giant money-spinning vaccine production line to ‘cure’ the virus that China itself propagated and dispersed. Best of all – Trump dispatched and the Beijing Bidens in the Big House. If anything, Xi was being modest.

The fact that there are two lab leak theories confuses matters. One is that the leak was accidental, the other that it was deliberate, malevolent and strategic. The latter especially exercised the conspiracy deniers, who were determined that the Chinese Communist Party be exonerated. There is no need to be drawn into highly plausible ‘conspiracy’ hypotheses about the massive benefits to China of the events of the past year and a half. Let us stick to known facts, and the most relevant is that there was massive ‘convergent opportunism’ exercised by all concerned. 

First there was the original leak. Then the virus’s transmission to thousands of Northern Italy-based Chinese garment workers who were  visiting the Wuhan area for Chinese New Year. Then the return of these same Chinese/Italians to a country with third world medical facilities and a Covid age profile begging to be decimated. Closely followed by the panicked reaction of the first domino, the Italian Government.  Then the subsequent panicked reactions of subsequent domino governments across Europe and beyond, who took their orders in relation to non-pharmaceutical interventions from the (conveniently) Beijing-controlled World Health Organisation. 

Later, there was the coming of a new class of bureaucrat with power never dreamt of. As the initially acclaimed Neil Ferguson – Professor Pantsdown himself – let slip, they never thought the people would let them get away with it. Then there were the PPE millionaires, the feted, re-elected politicians, the newly cashed-up businesses getting fat on taxpayer-funded jobkeeper lurks, the furloughed employees on 80 per cent pay and no travel expenses, the public servants resting from home and the rest. Not to mention the Democratic Party and assorted never-Trumpers, the biggest winners of all. Oh, and Big Tech, which has now the seemingly unassailable power to decide what and what does not get published about Covid. There was a massive shift in wealth and power from small business to big business. Crony capitalism 2.0. 

Oh yes, there was plenty of convergent opportunism to go around. Whatever was or wasn’t planned by the ruling class, those who have gained from the Covid State can be easily identified.

Future historians will have much to consider. Those who look back with insight and perspective on the events of the Year of Living Covidly might well be far more critical of the masses who blindly obeyed the patently flawed, self-serving and forever changing advice of public health tsars and modellers who duped them and stole their freedoms than of the sceptics.

Now that it is okay to bag China and to wonder aloud how a nation like ours has come to be half-owned by another (communist) nation, we should, perhaps, turn the tables and take a look at the credibility of those who don’t think the virus came from a lab. Bagging Trump is mighty fashionable but little more than that. It is intellectually lazy and will be shown in the fullness of time to have been foolhardy. Trump was right on blaming China, on closing borders very early, on non-mask wearing, on the importance of opening up the economy as soon as possible, on the early and urgent need to develop vaccines as one element of a comprehensive Covid response. He was also right on Covid cures, something that, as the prominent and wise Texan medical scholar Dr Peter McCullough has pointed out in TCW the obsessive lock-downers may reflect on in the future as their greatest (of many) failures.

As Trump derangement syndrome and reflexive China worship recede, those who were quick to dismiss lab leak theory might come to be seen as the real conspiracy theorists. Those of us prone to scepticism, an appreciation of realpolitik, a predisposition to real analysis and possessing the perspective that comes from observing history, might just come to be seen as perceptive and prescient. Bring on the debate.

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Paul Collits
Paul Collits
Paul Collits is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Quadrant Online

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