The Ebola epidemic, which I personally have been tracking for quite a while, has begun reaching scary-to-the-masses proportions. Indeed, it’s probably only a matter of time before it goes airborne, makes its way to a major airport hub, and gets to the US or wherever you happen to live. It will be a disaster the likes of which has probably not been seen since (and may well be worse than) the bubonic plague. It is a true black swan event, in progress, and the unpredictability will not scale linearly.
When this occurs, you can bet on one thing:
Government response will be massive and overreaching, disrupting the lives of millions.
Needlessly or not, there will be travel controls and restrictions; public advisories and ordinances resulting in involuntary confinement; public appropriation/confiscation of private property; and perhaps most scary of all, the justification for martial law and an incredible, far-reaching and irreversible (although ostensibly “emergency only”) expansion of the already formidable (some would say all-encroaching and inescapable) surveillance state apparatus, in the name — of course–of the “public good.”
To be sure, there may be some definite public good involved. Nobody wants a 50-70% mortality airborne contagious virus on the loose, particularly when combined with a 20+ day incubation period and idiots who don’t follow directions. This could well lead to months and months of continuing outbreaks of a disease; mass panic; economic recession or depression (remember the flight industry after 9/11? This would be an order of magnitude worse); breakdown of civil order; y’know, all that stuff.
But that is temporary. Reasonable confinement of the disease and public awareness will lead to a shortened epidemic curve. After which, and a few more flare-ups along with some technological solutions, we will be left with whatever legal structure (or lack thereof) the government has seen fit to erect during the crisis period. And the government is a ratchet – it giveth plenty, but rarely takes away. So in the fit of public panic and media-fanned opinionate flames, if there are martial controls; if there are more taxes; if there are expansions of the NSA’s already somewhat hazy borders of propriety; or any of a number of other unforeseen things (I’m not too creative, so my range here is limited); those things will stay after the Stand-ish viral outbreak.
I don’t have an answer to this; it’ll be governed by the tide of public opinion, opportunistic yet hopefully opposed politicians, and media machinery. But it could well be the trigger for a ‘historical transformation’ of the US of A.
Paranoid? Maybe. Almost certainly so. But, being a fan of Bayesian logic, I’m inclined to think the worst of our Fearless Leaders, and this would certainly lead to the type of public outcry and justification for action that would be ripe for easy exploitation by… well, our current leadership, for example. In a rational world, the administration (read: President) would have been helping contain this instead of golfing, or, frankly, even in place of his half-assed belated response to ISIS, because this could well be – even at a few percent of probability – an existential threat to the US.
What can you do? Say something. Blog about it when you see it happening. Perceived isolation is one of the biggest causes of silence; be assured other people are seeing the same thing happen, and they probably don’t like it. Let your congressional reps know that they need a plan before the SHTF, or else panic mode will take over.
In the meantime, make sure you have enough to live more-or-less isolated for at least a few weeks, or preferably months:
o Something to charge your phone with
o Extra water, nonperishable food, some basic medicines, batteries, nonperishable supplies (toilet paper, looking at you)
o Some good books
o Glock & ammo
o Mostly, just a list of disaster prep stuff.