THE VIRUS THAT PLAGUES US
By: T. D. Duff
The medieval assault and horror of the Black Death had very long consequences. It was the start of anxious, insistent social controls, of policing lives, and the official suspicion of the poor, the workless, the people of color, and the unfortunate. Our nightmares didn't start with Covid in 1919, but with the nightmares of the 1340s.
The Black Death was perhaps the greatest natural catastrophe of the millennium. Only one in ten people were left alive. People fell ill one day and were dead three days later. People ran from the sickness and carried it with them. Nobody knew about the fleas that rats carried, and the sickness that the fleas carried, so the plague persisted.
Most stories agreed that the plague came from the seas, crept out the ship's cargoes like rats. The plague was democratic, it killed anyone. The sovereign remedy for the plague and its symptoms was a compound called theriac, a mixture which contained the flesh of vipers to build up immunity against snake bite.
The Black Death of 1348-9 followed the failed harvests of 1346-7 and the prospects of famine. The famine that arrived however was not at all democratic. Anyone with money could find supplies, buying their way out of looming death that surrounded them.
Plague, however, took anyone and everyone, a major shock to the elites who financed and fancied themselves protected by law, by strong walls, by money and other people's indebted obligations.
The death toll made labor scarce, and now made the peasant usually kept down by demeaning duties and charges, living with wretchedness and woe, would change if ever their circumstances changed, becoming productive and proud people.
The shortage of labor and demands of the relatively prosperous and leisurely peasantry brought about the order of law, established by the ruling elite. The Ordinance of Labourers and then the Statute of Labourers became law. Wages and prices were to be controlled, and labour contracts were to be long, public and unbreakable.
Plague, like the threat of terror, and by extension Covid 19 of today, was used as the reason for supervising people's lives, watching, examining, controlling and disciplining. The right to do so lay not with the Church that could preach against sin, but with the civil authorities who could take action. They could render a society merciless to the civic authorities' desires.
Plague changed the conditions of the movement of people around Europe. As the plague policed laws about where anyone could live or travel, what people were ordered to do for work and how much they would be paid. By English law in 1388, servants and labourers who felt free and had gone traveling were forced to return to their home villages, and work at whatever occupation they had formally undertaken. The old familiar world of limited human rights was being restored. Anyone who persisted in moving faced prison, and the branding on his forehead of the letter 'F' for 'Falsity.'
These laws were not just the answer to the emergency of the plague, they persisted through the ages of Elizabeth I, into the first years of the nineteenth century. Plague justified the rules of the elite that kept people in their place.
Five centuries ago plague became the reason, the expedient preemptive excuse, just like terrorism and Covid 19 in the 21st century today for social regulation, mandatory inoculation, forcing a maddening masked society in how to act, while deciding which of the poor were worthy of help in receiving the digital distribution of the pleaded-for alms of mercy.
The virus of the plague has enforced frontiers that had been wonderfully free and insecure in the past. The plague has made aspirations, our movements and travels conditional. The virus of the plague has made the state, and the world, a physical reality, and its inhabitants merely blots of oil, to be broken down within the elites' refinery mechanisms.
In the 1950s Nelson Rockefeller, the Under Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and a shadowy highly influential figure in the Eisenhower administration, invested in exploiting cheap, non-unionized labor of Puerto Ricans in the New York garment-center sweatshops, flying them into New York cheaply on the family's Eastern Airlines shuttle. He was also involved in setting up cheap labor-manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico, far away from the US health and industrial safety regulators, under a government program named Operation Bootstrap. The only straps were those used by the sweatshop owners in Puerto Rico to force higher levels of productivity from their enslaved workers.
While Nelson Rockefeller was running a slave operation in Puerto Rico, his brother John D. Rockefeller III and Chase Manhattan Bank were running human experiments in mass sterilization on the poor citizens of Puerto Rico. Through his newly founded Population Council, Rockefeller ran some of the first experiments in population reduction, which would later become global State Department policy under Henry Kissinger's NSSM 200, no different than the Nazi eugenics of inferior races used by Hitler and his killing death camps.
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