April 8, 2020
Philip C. Johnson, Ph.D.
Radiation levels soared 17 times higher than normal in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone this week as forest fires raged. 17 times higher! This headline caught my attention as I was just in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone a couple of weeks ago to visit the site of the world’s biggest nuclear disaster. And I couldn’t help but reflect on the lasting effects of Chernobyl and the inevitable lingering effects of the Covid-19 virus – both byproducts of Communist mismanagement.
On April 26, 1986 nuclear reactor number 4 in Chernobyl (then a part of the Soviet Union) exploded due to a flawed Soviet-era reactor design and inexperienced staff.
The explosion lifted the 1000-metric-ton cover off the top of the reactor, ruptured 1660 pressure tubes and caused a 2nd explosion, exposing the reactor core to the environment. The fire burned for 10 days releasing large amounts of radiation into the atmosphere.
The aftermath of the original disaster was the death of somewhere between 4000 and 60,000 people, which indicates how difficult it was to get accurate information out of the Soviet Union. Still, according to the Soviet records, the death toll, in total, was only 31 people.
And while radiation levels skyrocketed in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone this week, the Chinese Corona Virus has been raging around the world. According to the Daily Mail, “A study claims that 95 per cent of all infections in mainland China could have been prevented if the country opted to implement restrictive measures such as social distancing and case isolation three weeks earlier.” But why admit you’ve got a crisis if you can try to hide it for a while?
And you’d be foolish to believe any of the numbers coming out of China regarding infections and deaths in Wuhan. Currently, China is propagandizing its “success” in handling the virus. But this is the same country that pretended that 10,000 people weren’t killed in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
While we are finally seeing evidence of a “flattening of the curve,” the effects of Covid-19 will linger and the world as we once knew it may not be the same. How will it change? There will be short-term changes such as how people interact in public spaces to deep dives into conspiracy theories. In the long-term, you’re looking at the possibility of a new balance of global power, new types of government control and tracking, questions on what models and information can be trusted and a looming fight over future vaccinations. For now, I leave you with four thoughts:
1.) Most importantly, never give up. Things might change, but God does not. We might need to be more creative in how we impact the world and live meaningful lives, but it can and will be done.
2.) There is a whole generation of young people who are growing up in a world that has lost its context and perspective. We need to prepare coming generations of young people to think deeply, wisely and prioritize their lives beyond momentary pleasures, the cost and benefits of freedom and ill-conceived perceptions of security.
3.) It is not uncaring to hold in your brain both the tragic loss of life due to the coronavirus and the importance of getting people back to work and saving our economy. (American and global) Lives must be protected, but a long-term view of what will keep our country free and families fed must be factored in – and factored in quickly.
4.) Communism is the gift that just keeps on giving – whether it’s a new pandemic or a 34-year-old nuclear disaster. And never forget, Socialism is just the slightly more attractive sister of Communism. I would encourage you to say no to both.