I once presumptuously thought I knew what “political science” was (Aristotle told me), and I even remembered Eric Voegelin’s New Science of Politics, but I was wrong—again.  Is there is p-p-pattern developing here?

Yes, there is a New Political Science that is a contemporary Zeitgeist, and I am talking about what happens when “science” is obscured by some mysterious force that is no mystery at all, but simply power politics in its inverted form.  George Orwell used to write about Doublethink—you remember where and when—and so the ground is quite well trodden.  There is a terrain we have slogged before, back in the days of National Socialist biology and Stalinist biology, and probably such phrases should be shrouded with shudder quotes.  When distorting ideology obscures reality and even passes as “science,” the door is open to big trouble, indeed.

I am referring, as so many are, to the Ebola epidemic that has caused much anxiety and death in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.  This phenomenon was declared to be an epidemic back in March of this year, though internationally little if anything was done to address it until August.  And since that time, hardly anything credible has been iterated about the threat of this virulent plague except from the group called Doctors Without Borders.  (If I may be pardoned for the digression, I must say that it is a rare opportunity to use that much-abused word virulent in a justifiable way.)  But to jump to the chase, there has emerged an abyss of incomprehension even as related to the word quarantine, its meaning, and its implications.

Before I address that issue or revealing failure, let us go on to say that the bizarre though familiar situation in West Africa has since then received much more attention, more mishandling, and a mounting tabloid treatment.  And as the misrepresentations in the news have multiplied, so has the exposure of the new politics of science; not the thing itself but its grotesque distortion by the “authorities”—authorities who have already been mocked.

There are two fallacies in the journalism associated with the Ebola threat, and both must be rejected, though one is harder than the other to understand.  The first and more strident is the attempt to exploit the situation by arousing fears.  Fear itself can be destructive, because it promotes selfishness, paranoia, and panic.  And I frankly hope that any citizen who senses that he or she has been coarsely and provocatively treated should avoid any such source of news in the future, because there will be a future.  And I will add that this country is in no condition to undergo a stern test of faith, courage, and sacrifice for the greater good, because such a crisis—if it comes—would come at the worst possible time in our history.

The second and more subtle abuse is the opposite one: the affirmation of complacency.  This is the dangerous cosmetics of deference to unjustified authority, and we have seen a lot of it.  But I hasten to add that the most difficult form this takes is the polarized attack on authority, which turns out to be, when you turn the stone over, an inverted celebration of unjustified authority.  Jon Stewart and his clone/spin-off Stephen Colbert earn a nice living doing this.  It is all they do, and they do it very well: It is the career of a lifetime for them, but no guide for us except an inverted one.  Even so, I have not suggested any solution to the larger mystery of President Obama’s passivity and confusion in the face of an obvious emergency.

But that does not mean that I am not going to suggest a solution to that mystery, because I am going to do just that.  To take the long way round, I will remind the astute readers of this journal that I have been an advocate of the President’s golfing, but nobody asked me why: because he botches whatever he does, so the less, the better!.  If you miss in golf, you go on to the next opportunity or challenge, but an epidemic is not golf, nor vice versa.  The President is entangled with Ebola (some already call it Obola) for several reasons.  One reason is that it happened on his watch—a point never fair and never deniable.  Another is the 3,000 soldiers to be deployed (where? why?), exposing them to the plague.  Yet another is his gratuitous pronouncement that the plague of Ebola was “unlikely” to come to these shores; the fact-check on this one didn’t take long.  Some unknown force held Obama back from engaging with reality here—he was the victim of his own delusion, yes, but what is the delusion?

I think this one delusion has two aspects, magnified by the intensity of the coverage of the position he sought and won.  Years ago, Barack Hussein Obama could not resist the odd news about Henry Louis Gates’s incident with the police, so he lost his temper and intervened.  It was only an understandable mistake about not much, but the magnification made it bigger than that.  Obama’s judgment and composure were challenged.  He repeated this kind of thing with the Trayvon Martin case, when you might have thought he had learned his lesson.  Things got even further out of hand with the Ferguson shooting and consequent “unrest” and looting opportunities, and this time Obama vented at the United Nations in an absurd speech after he had shared photo ops with the Rev. Al Sharpton.  The Unknown Force had struck again.

Obama’s demagogic need to pretend that there is no border was politically attuned to a constituency of illegal dreamers yet (though soon) to be entitled, but the issue won’t rest and is now associated with the Ebola threat and other public-health concerns.  Disregarding the rudeness of Eric Holder and Susan Rice and other Obama appointees, as well as the bizarre neglect of the Secret Service and other and larger malfunctions, we can nevertheless sense something of the Big Mystery.

So what is the problem?

The Ebola virus seems to have been unleashed by the attraction of “bush meat” in the form of fruit bats in remote West Africa—a source similar to that of the distinct HIV/AIDS.  The confounding association is also related to historic sources of, and refuges of, slaves, if not slavery.  These are the vertiginous associations that inhibit reason and action.  Everyone is terrified of saying the wrong thing—and these inhibitions have paralyzed minds in crisis.  The New Political Science is the new Jungle Fever, or Mumbo Jumbo.

In the sway of such a tribal regime of superstitions and overtones, something as simple as a quarantine is not a solution, however unpleasant, or a strategy, however severe, but an unacceptable affront to chips upon shoulders.  It is remarkable that in the applicable statutes, “isolation” and even “segregation” are referred to in parallel with “quarantine.”  Such treatment is warranted by the scale of the infectious threat, but in the present environment seems impossible.  It’s just too much to handle, not only to administer physically, but even to picture mentally.

The contemporary assumption that identity groups get to write the political and even scientific protocols of their special interests has come back to bite all of us.  Even the point that science, not religion, has determined when life begins was trumped by feminist belligerence.  Homosexuals got away with the argument that the national blood supply should not be screened by any “discrimination.”  So now an unspeakable or unmentionable Afrocentric consciousness is ready to insist that “quarantine” is—well, we know what it is.

And we know what it isn’t.  But look on the bright side: If there is no solution, there is no problem, though there might be a matter of spin control.  When the head of the CDC insists that there can be no restriction of flights or passengers, then we have passed from one realm, in which it seems that the government is trying to kill everybody, into another, in which seems has become a word to be withdrawn.  We may be assured that the apparatchiks and the nomenklatura and the clerisy will know how to smooth over any embarrassments without making everything worse by what they say, how they say it, and what they look like, on a daily basis.  But don’t worry about the brutality of any firings or the shame of any resignations or anything like that, during an ongoing national-security crisis.

And let’s not forget our sense of humor!  It’s so instructively comical to see our tax-funded institutions unable to function, as they fumble or destroy our vital interests.  The effect is organized; it is policy.  And we owe some thanks and even applause to Dr. Gil Mobley, who in a widely noted appearance wearing a hazmat suit blazoned “CDC is lying!” made a national impact by mocking the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Though labeled a “publicity hound,” Mobley has acted as a public servant.  The mockee, Dr. Tom Friedan, formerly of the Bloomberg administration in New York City, is a veteran practitioner of the New Political Science.

Sooner or later, the point will finally register in brains that would like to function now and in the future: Neither a golf ball nor a virus nor a quarantine cares what color you are.  If you want to help, ignore the unresponsive, blocked U.S. institutions and send money to the Doctors Without Borders.