WHO’s name games and other commentary

Semantics watch: WHO’s Name Games

“The World Health Organization has had another brainstorm,” grumbles the National Post’s Colby Cosh: an “expert group” to assign “names based on Greek letters for the prominent variants of” COVID-19, so as not to create “an unjust stigma” via the tradition of naming them after where they first popped up. It’s a “confession” that WHO’s efforts failed “at heading off anti-Chinese hostility and prejudice,” as news outlets just used both the technical names and terms like “the British variant.” But now they will just “feel obligated to cite all three names every time,” while “the geographic names will still be the ones everybody reverts to in actually thinking about and discussing the variants.” Better “to meet the English language halfway” — “to avoid national designators like ‘China virus,’ but to accept … names like ‘Wuhan virus.’ ”

Conservative: A Pandemic Climate Lesson

If “the deepest halt to human activity in modern history didn’t make a dent” in greenhouse gases, we will never slow their accumulation, concludes National Review’s Jim Geraghty. Scientists say the 5.8 percent drop in “global energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions” during the pandemic “amounts to a short-lived ‘blip.’  ” But if forcing “everyone to try giving up commuting and jobs and leaving their homes and going into restaurants” weren’t “enough to have a significant impact,” then “no change in human behavior” will. We are “going to have to innovate our way out” of the climate-change problem.

From the right: Ignore the Ivies

“A decade ago, I relished the opportunity to employ talented graduates” of “America’s elite universities,” recalls R.R. Reno at The Wall Street Journal. No longer: They have “been deformed by the toxic political correctness” dominant on such campuses. If “students can be traumatized by ­‘insensitivity’  ” at a “progressive hothouse,” they are unlikely to be “effective team members” who can “deal with everyday realities.” Unfortunately, “normal” students “keep their heads down,” which “can become a subtle but real habit of obeisance, a condition of moral and spiritual surrender.” Even a political-correctness rebel “brings liabilities,” like “a habit of ­aggressive counterpunching that is no more appealing in a young ­employee than the ruthless accusations of the woke.”

Iconoclast: France’s Fashionable Apocalypse

A group of retired French generals published a letter warning of civil war and state collapse — which prompted novelist Michel Houellebecq to wonder at UnHerd: “Why France?” No other European country is the constant locus of apocalyptic predictions. Yes, France faces a serious Islamist threat, but so do “Great Britain, Spain, Belgium and … Germany.” And yes, French fertility has ­declined to 1.8 children per woman — but many other states have much lower rates. The answer, then, lies in a kind of narcissism: “France sometimes reminds me of one of those hypochondriac old men who never stops complaining about their health,” who constantly say “this time they really do have one foot in the grave. People usually ­respond sarcastically: ‘You watch, he’ll end up burying all of us.’ ” The truly grim fact: If any ­entity is headed for “suicidal” decline, it’s the whole of the West — and “what is specifically, ­authentically French is the awareness of this suicide.”

Culture critics: Wokeness Will Destroy America

“The more ‘woke’ a culture, the less able it is” to appreciate satire, warn The New Criterion’s editors. That’s “a big deal,” because “barbaric ­viciousness often cohabits seamlessly with an absurdity” — as with wokeness — that “can seem too preposterous to take seriously” yet is “anything but comic.” And wokeness’ “semantic sleight of hand” (seeking “equity,” for instance, by imposing “inequitable treatment”) is “a staple in the armory of totalitarian enterprise, a sort of ‘gain-of-function’ intervention applied to the virus of political correctness.” It’s “another step on the road” toward America’s destruction. “Time and again, history has taught us that the hunger to impose equality from on high is among mankind’s most brutal passions.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

source: nypost.com