With the media hyping and perhaps overhyping the coronavirus epidemic that has broken out in China, I decided to check in with someone on the scene: Spencer Case. Spencer is a young philosopher currently on a postdoc fellowship at Wuhan University, observing the eerie scene from his 17th floor apartment building. He was out to a busy local market yesterday, where he snapped the picture below, noting that people seemed to be buying produce and concluding that everyone must have ample stocks of rice and beans on hand. But the streets are empty and the town is rife with rumors.

Spencer brings an unusual background to this story as well as academic philosophy. He served in the army and did tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan before entering the Ph.D program in philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which is where I met him during my time there several years back. He’s also a serious swing dancer. He writes frequently for Quillette and belongs to Heterodox Academy. Our conversation here ranges beyond just the corona virus to talk about his experience in the Middle East and his work on “moral realism” in philosophy. (You can check out one of his papers on the self-defeat of normative error theorists here.)

A market in Wuhan yesterday.

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  1. Ontheleftcoast Inactive

    Vlad Tepes had this video from a guy who says he’s in Wuhan. The subtitles are in the closed captioning. CoC violations in subtitles.


    The Beeb is reporting that, unlike SARS, it’s contagious during the “1-14 day” incubation period.



    Aesop at raconteurreport.blogspot.com is the guy I follow for Ebola updates and now <a href=”https://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2020/01/in-case-you-missed-it-earlier.html“> Corona virus updates.</a> Also for not just CoC alert but NSFW rants (though NSFW also describes many of the public health updates.)

    His short version:

    1) Its family includes SARS.
    2) Treat it like FluBola and you’ll do fine.
    3) It’s got about a 5% fatality rate (compared to 66-80% for Ebola virus).
    4) It’s about ten times easier to catch than Ebola.
    5) Wash your hands, and if it gets nearby, disposable gloves and a N95 mask should suffice.
    6) If it becomes a transplanted epidemic, stay home if you can, and minimize contact if you can’t.
    7) Wash your hands before you eat or drink, and don’t touch your face.
    8) Wash your hands.

    That concludes your coronavirus briefing.


    Rules to remember:
    1) China lies abut everything to everyone, including themselves. (If this turns out to be something far worse than just corona virus, it’ll be because the Chinese lied to everyone. Like they do.)
    2) The CDC needs help finding their own [expletive] with both hands and a map.
    3) “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” are still the most frightening words on the planet.
    4) You take care of you.
    5) Canned food lasts quite a while, and you have should that, water, other supplies, and an emergency cash stash for a minimum of between 3-6 months of living and expenses. Period.


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  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens



    Pieced together form various sources – also this meshes with a number of independent sources regarding China’s weapon’s program and their MO for infiltrating various tech and research hubs in the West.


    Canada’s only Level 4 research facility that was dedicated in no small part to studying coronaviruses.


    The odds that this happened in Wuhan, what is publicly a bio research facility that the West believes is also the hub of their weapons program is probably more a coincidence than the Russian anthrax outbreak.

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  3. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton

    Great conversation. However, it’s no great consolation to this person who is almost eligible for Medicare to hear that younger people aren’t much at risk. I’m 64, that’s not old.  https://youtu.be/-8bqQ-C1PSE

    In the 1990s, I talked at several meetings with Dennis Showalter. He was a well respected military historian and a token conservative in academia. We asked him how many conservatives there were in the faculty of his college. Well, there’s one guy in the English Department…

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  4. colleenb Member

    I’d be interested in a follow up with Spencer Case. I would like to know how he ended up choosing China to study philosophy. I know Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, did a seminar in China with graduate philosophy students a few years back. He said they were all incredibly bright. But…. I still can’t get over the Communism and how that affects studies and free thinking. Would love to hear his thoughts on this – when he’s left China of course.

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  5. colleenb Member

    PS – Thanks Professor Hayward and all the Powerline guys for their links to Ricochet articles. If I ever get around to actually posting a whole article I would be thrilled to be linked. 

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  6. RufusRJones Member

    If you enjoy being paranoid, Steve Bannon’s war room impeachment is doing extra whole shows on the pandemic. lol Just to be clear all of the guests are pretty serious people.

    I’d love to know how this is affecting the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy. They have to worry about this “mandate from heaven” issue they have over there. Twitter  makes it look like a disaster. Supposedly the very top guys are washing their hands of it and they are just going to give the guillotine to the lower guys after they screw it up.

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  7. RufusRJones Member




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