Because of her latest column about Christian missionaries in Africa and their role in bringing Ebola to the United States, Ann Coulter is being called “monstrous,” “sick,” a “detestable harpy” and a “bitter, vicious troll” – by the American Right. Coulter made the case that Dr. Kent Brantly and his nurse engaged in self-righteous moral preening for choosing to work in Africa. In response, a cavalcade of screeching conservatives began wailing at a level unheard since Tumblr heard that someone called Lena Dunham fat.
Coulter made the obvious point that by going to Africa, contracting Ebola, and necessitating a massively expensive effort to fly back to the United States for treatment, Dr. Brantly squandered millions of dollars that otherwise would have been used to save lives. In response, conservatives joined the Left to engage in a massive exercise in morally indignant wishful thinking. As Breeanne Howe, contributing editor at RedState put it, “He saved lives! You put a price on that?”
He probably did, though not in the way Howe means. By inadvertently sabotaging charitable efforts in Africa, he may have saved many more African and European lives in the long term. After all, he sabotaged stubborn Western efforts to keep African populations at levels they can’t sustain. This overpopulation leads to the famines, resource wars, and monetary costs that plague them and us each and every day. He also accidentally cut the demand for African immigration into the West, thus sparing us the vibrant rapes, murders, and social disorder it entails. European children yet unborn thank you Dr. Brantly! And while we’re at it, probably some Africans too.
Still, for the sake of argument, let’s accept Coulter’s premise. Dr. Brantly’s extravagance probably cost some lives in the short term at the monetary price of more than $2 million and counting, not including government expenditures. Conservatives used to understand that however much we may sympathize with Dr. Brantly and his colleague’s suffering, “good intentions” are no excuse for harmful results. It would be demonic to gloat at Dr. Brantly’s suffering, a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yet the cold reality is that Dr. Brantly increased the potential that far more will die in the admittedly unlikely but quite possible scenario that Ebola is not contained in the United States.
Besides the obvious cost/benefit argument, Coulter makes more substantial points that (not surprisingly) seem to have gone over the heads of American conservatives:
- In the long term, the fate of Christianity in Africa and the world will ultimately depend on its strength in the First World, what we once called Christendom. In Coulter’s apt phrase, “[A]ny good that one attempts downstream is quickly overtaken by what happens upstream.”
- To choose to work in Africa instead of America isn’t an act of courage – it’s the easy way out. As Coulter put it, “[I]f Brantly had evangelized in New York City or Los Angeles, The New York Times would get upset and accuse him of anti-Semitism, until he swore—as the pope did—that you don’t have to be a Christian to go to heaven. Evangelize in Liberia, and the Times’ Nicholas Kristof will be totally impressed.
- Finally, African charity is a cheap way to garner social praise. “There may be no reason for panic about the Ebola doctor, but there is reason for annoyance at Christian narcissism.”
Coulter’s understanding that Africa is ultimately a global cultural “follower” reflects a more sophisticated understanding of reality than American Christians who act as if Africa will redeem the West for Christ. Some “conservative” Episcopalians have aligned their ancient seats with the Church of Nigeria, “traditional marriage” campaigners place their hopes on Uganda, and Christian missionaries compensate for the death of the Faith in the West by carving out a new Kingdom of God in the Dark Continent. All of this reflects surrender, rather than a crusading spirit. It’s a way to be surrounded by helpless, dark skinned, agency-free mascots who, as a bonus, have never heard of Christopher Hitchens.
Read More at: http://www.radixjournal.com/journal/2014/8/7/christendom-christianity-and-coulter