Masque Of The Red Death Version Two!

By Donald A. Collins | 6 February 2023
Church and State


As a child I read Edgar Allan Poe’s famous story of the premature celebration by a group of European aristocrats who thought they had escaped the great Middle Age plagues by fleeing away from diseased places to their safe castle only to be overtaken by death in a red spectral costume!

This is an editor’s summary of its final episode:

At the chiming of midnight, the revelers and Prospero notice a figure in a dark, blood-splattered robe resembling a funeral shroud. The figure’s mask resembles the rigid face of a corpse and exhibits the traits of the Red Death. Gravely insulted, Prospero demands to know the identity of the mysterious guest so they can hang him. The guests, too afraid to approach the figure, instead let him pass through the six chambers. The Prince pursues him with a drawn dagger and corners the guest in the seventh room. When the figure turns to face him, the Prince lets out a sharp cry and falls dead. The enraged and terrified revelers surge into the black room and forcibly remove the mask and robe, only to find to their horror that there is nothing underneath. Only then do they realize the costume was empty and all of the guests contract and succumb to the disease. The final line of the story sums up, “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”

Read Poe’s full story here.

Earlier great plagues many experts predict will seem minor are we go forward. Here an account of history on one plague in the 14th century.

If you are concerned with the unsustainable growth of homo sapiens, you may have read my Op Ed pieces which talk about the 6th Extinction as closer than most of us realize. CBS’s TV program 60 Minutes recently featured this argument.

Extinction has been defined as a 75% loss of earthly life and many scientists believe such extinction now seems very possible.

Various humane ways of reducing human numbers over time have consistently been ignored, just as many skipped getting vaccinated for COVID even now as 500 Americans die daily in the US.

Now another dangerous possibility looms as the below 2/3/23 NY Times article tells us about bird flu migrating to humans resulting in more massive deaths than so far from other pandemics!

Like leading politicians,

The public, of course, doesn’t want to hear about another virus, and Congress isn’t even willing to keep funding efforts against the current one.

We could get lucky — we’ve had bird flu outbreaks before without human spread. But it seems foolish to count on that. A pandemic strain may have a much lower fatality rate than the 56 percent of known human cases so far, but it still could be much more deadly than the coronavirus, which is estimated to have killed 1 percent to 2 percent of those infected before vaccines or treatments were available.

Deadly influenza pandemics occur regularly in human history, and they don’t wait until people recover from an earlier outbreak, no matter how weary we may all feel.

This time, we have not just the warning, but also many of the tools we need to fend a pandemic off. We should not wait until it’s too late.

So, the global leadership’s indifference to Greta Thunberg’s message on climate and Paul Ehrlich’s certainty about our future collapse on a path to vast human extinction, the most extreme but effective birth limitation may be a series of pandemics.

The best method of family planning as I am arguing here may well be a series of really devastating pandemics, adverse weather conditions, more Ukraine type non-nuclear wars, continuing massive water shortage, earthquakes, widespread coastal sea risings as a high percent of humans live on coastlines etc.

We could still try a gentler ways to reduce human numbers, but we won’t, as the powerful agents favoring endless growth on a finite planet are increasingly abetted by religious zealots with the political and ideological power to weld together fantasies for masses to adherents which will insure for disastrous future.

Giving women ever increasing control of world governments would be a major start to a potential effective antidote for the growth of unsustainable human numbers, but such sufficient overdue progress is not likely to arrive in time.

And nuclear war is not unthinkable, so we move forward like the fictional Poe aristocrats, only this time it’s not fantasy.

Recall what Einstein said about the next world war.

Maybe in my own life I should stop vigorously advocating abortion choice and effective birth controls and go work on my golf game.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?” and “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”.

What Biden’s plans to end the COVID-19 public health emergency will mean

Battling the avian flu epidemic | FT Food Revolution

Earth currently experiencing a sixth mass extinction, according to scientists | 60 Minutes

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