According to the New York Daily News (10/27/14), The Obama administration has resisted efforts to order isolation or quarantine for people working in West Africa. Officials say they want decisions grounded “in science” and don’t want to discourage volunteer medical professionals from going to Africa to help fight Ebola, which has infected upward of 10,000 people and killed nearly half of them.
When translated into plain language, this means: The United States will err on the side of infecting the troops. If you don’t like that — well, tough.
If there’s any potential conflict between the well-being of American troops and the need to provide humanitarian aid to African nations, we will side with the humanitarian aid. Only “science” will change the Obama administration’s policy.
However, it’s not about science at all. It’s about ideology and philosophy. It’s a philosophy about which — to be fair — Obama has been quite explicit from day one. We are all each other’s keepers, and the central purpose of government is to enforce that code, according to Obama and the so-called progressive approach to government and ethics for which he stands.
Voters, a majority of whom elected Obama twice, are interesting. When they stand to benefit from that ideology with more health care benefits, more unemployment benefits and more food stamps or free cell phones, a lot of Americans cheerfully applaud and willingly vote for more of the same. One wonders how these same Americans now feel that the same ideology they applauded — when it stood to gain themselves personally — is now applied on a global scale, with additional risk of catching Ebola. I suspect that those paying attention are not so thrilled.
The New York Daily News story continues: Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday that Army leaders made the decision to have any soldiers returning from Africa isolated and monitored for the three-week time frame. It’s not clear who in the Army made the decision, and so far Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has not ordered similar action by the other military services that have troops in Africa.
So far only 12 soldiers are in isolation in Italy, but dozens more soldiers are expected to return to Italy in the coming days and they will also go to the isolation facility.
So far, the decision only affects the Army, but that could change. Warren said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution, and that none of the soldiers have shown any signs of Ebola infection. But Warren said the issue continues to be assessed. Warren said there was no exposure incident that triggered the decision, but the soldiers will be checked regularly for any Ebola symptoms.
In other words: We are exposing American soldiers to the risk of Ebola, even though the national security of the United States does not require it. It’s all for humanitarian reasons.
Of course, Obama’s ideology of self-sacrifice for the sake of humanitarianism implies that the United States can actually save these third world countries from Ebola. But if the United States cannot save itself from Ebola (assuming it becomes a major threat), then how can it be expected to save poor, economically worse off societies?
And if the United States will be OK, and these poor countries will not, then how will adding billions more to the billions and multiple decades of government aid be expected to change anything? The reason these countries are poor and impoverished is because they have not made the transition to an advanced society. Advancement refers to things like rule of law, separation of powers, private property and other individual rights. Until or unless these things take hold in poor or backward nations, billions more in government aid — which has the effect of propping up dictatorships in these poor countries more than anything else — will not change a thing. Neither will a soldier’s weapon.
In practice, we put our soldiers at risk on the premise that it’s humanitarian and therefore “the right thing to do.” But even if you think it’s morally right to sacrifice the safety of Americans for the safety of other nations, it won’t even do that.
And yet the proverbial band plays on. All so people who run the Obama administration, and other progressives like them, can feel like they’re morally sophisticated and doing the right thing.
One U.S. Congressman is calling this policy literally insane. And he’s right.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) blasted the Obama administration [see Newsmax.com 10/27/14] for an “insane” decision to send thousands of U.S. troops abroad to combat Ebola in western Africa — work he said is better done by volunteers and medical professionals.
Gohmert … questioned whether the U.S. military is the best option for constructing field hospitals and providing other logistical support to disease-containment efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “Military personnel, who are not trained medically other than a quick little seminar . . . they’re in a better position than trained medical personnel?” said the Texas Republican and vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s panel on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.
“It is just insane that we would be exposing our military” to Ebola, said Gohmert.
If these policies are insane, what’s the cause of the insanity? Psychiatry and psychology refer to a distinguishing feature of psychopathology as “grandiosity.”
Grandiosity (according to the American Psychiatric Association) refers to an unrealistic sense of superiority—a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior—as well as to a sense of (unearned) uniqueness: the belief that few others have anything in common with oneself and that one can only be understood by a few or very special people. Grandiosity is chiefly associated with narcissistic personality disorder, but also commonly features in manic or hypomanic episodes of bipolar disorder.
This helps explain why advocates of progressivism (and Obama is their poster child) are so impervious to reason, logic or even questioning or dissension. “You just don’t understand” is the basic rationalization of everything for the grandiose. And name-calling — the most common examples being “hater” or “racist” — are the only response they have to legitimate questions about such policies as sending troops into harm’s way for reasons other than — or in obvious opposition to — national security.
Grandiosity is the distinguishing psychological feature of the progressive ideology to government and ethics that Obama has championed, and that even his opponents seem unwilling to recognize or afraid to publicly challenge.
It truly doesn’t occur to people supporting these policies that the United States military cannot rid the world of Ebola. The root of their error is a quasi-religious, almost literally supernatural, faith in the use of force. They believe that if the right leader in Washington D.C. — only a hard-core progressive leader, like Obama — commands and wills something, then government can make it so.
Altogether ignored in this attitude are basic facts. One fact is that the military cannot properly pull off what only Western science and medicine, grounded in free markets and free minds, can produce. These are the only hope for salvation from any illness. If the United States had never made the transition from a wilderness-filled, third-world collection of colonies in the 18th century, there never would have been the modern medicine most of us take for granted, as an entitlement, today.
If poor nations have not developed the kind of free market and scientifically based cures for illnesses that places like the United States have, you cannot merely send in the troops to make it so. Seemingly good intentions and rational motives cannot be imposed by force. Private charity (untainted by government or politics) may help, to a point, but will never make poor cultures rich or backward nations rational. People (and their leaders) must ultimately do this for themselves. Just as a rich relative throwing money at a poor relative unable or unwilling to better himself won’t improve that person’s overall state, so too with entire countries.
Ironically, this grandiosity was the very kind of thing progressive leftists (Obama included) questioned about the Bush Administration’s approach to Iraq. They opposed that war, insisting that you cannot simply impose democracy and Western values on the rest of the world via force. But that’s precisely what they’re trying to do by containing the spread of Ebola in the third world, at the possible cost of sacrificing the United States in the process.
Does it really make objective, common or moral sense to expose troops to risks of Ebola not only to themselves, but also to civilians in the United States when these troops return?
It’s beyond insane. It’s a wild and grotesque illustration of how grandiosity — left unchallenged — leads to some of the most destructive things the world ever witnesses. Ultimately, in ethics, the root of this problem is the false (but widely claimed) belief that human beings must sacrifice for the common good, even to the point of self-destruction. Most proponents of this view in American politics don’t fully mean it; Obama apparently does.
The moral code of self-sacrifice teaches us that we have no choice but to sacrifice our military, and ourselves if necessary, so that victims of third world Ebola may survive. In practice, because of the grandiosity and breach with reality this mindset involves, we’ll only end up dying along with them. Thank you for that possibility, Obama.
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