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, in order to not create “an unjust stigma” through the custom of naming them after the place they first popped up. It’s a “confession” that WHO’s efforts failed “at heading off anti-Chinese hostility and prejudice,” as information retailers simply used each the technical names and phrases like “the British variant.” But now they’ll simply “feel obligated to cite all three names every time,” whereas “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’ll by no means gradual their accumulation, concludes National Review’s Jim Geraghty. Scientists say the 5.8 % drop in “global energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions” in the course of 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 drawback.

From the best: 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’re unlikely to be “effective team members” who can “deal with everyday realities.” Unfortunately, “normal” college 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 insurgent “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 gaggle of retired French generals revealed a letter warning of civil struggle and state collapse — which prompted novelist Michel Houellebecq to wonder at UnHerd: “Why France?” No other European nation is the fixed locus of apocalyptic predictions. Yes, France faces a critical Islamist menace, however so do “Great Britain, Spain, Belgium and … Germany.” And sure, French fertility has ­declined to 1.8 kids per girl — however many other states have a lot decrease charges. The reply, then, lies in a sort of narcissism: “France sometimes reminds me of one of those hypochondriac old men who never stops complaining about their health,” who continually 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 really grim truth: If any ­entity is headed for “suicidal” decline, it’s the entire 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 understand satire, warn The New Criterion’s editors. That’s “a big deal,” as a result of “barbaric ­viciousness often cohabits seamlessly with an absurdity” — as with wokeness — that “can seem too preposterous to take seriously” but is “anything but comic.” And wokeness’ “semantic sleight of hand” (looking for “equity,” as an example, 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” towards 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

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