The last time AOC ventured into environmental politics she came up with the Green New Deal, a crypto-socialist “development” plan so extreme even most of her own party backed away from it. Now she’s had another idea on how she can leverage the climate to push socialist policies on us. This time she’s raising the specter of us all being wiped out by ancient diseases if too much ice melts.
Recently, outspoken congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told her fans via live stream that if climate change makes glaciers melt, diseases from tens of thousands of years ago could be released.
- AOC seems worried about the fact we could be exposed to diseases we’re not prepared for, with “vectors we’ve never seen.” These sound like alarming threats, but in fact, they mostly show that just like when she starts on economics, AOC doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
- Disease vectors are usually animals, like ticks, insects or sometimes even mammals, that transmit diseases to humans. For example, the main rabies vectors in the US are bats and skunks. It’s possible an ancient disease could be carried by a modern vector — but we already have advanced methods to control those.
- What isn’t possible is that we could face AOC’s “vectors we’ve never seen.” A virus or even bacteria might survive being frozen in a glacier for thousands of years — but there’s zero chance any potential vector could. We’re not going to be overwhelmed by plague-bearing Neolithic insects.
- It’s theoretically possible we could be at risk from diseases we’re not prepared for. If a disease hasn’t been loose on the planet for tens of thousands of years, there’s a chance our immune systems have lost the ability to cope with it. In that case, we could be decimated the same way as Native Americans were when they faced European diseases.
- On the other hand, it’s just as possible our bodies have evolved enough that an ancient disease wouldn’t affect us — or that some other plague in the meantime has primed our immune systems to cope with it. Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia, has the lowest HIV infection rates in the world. Scientists think that’s because the survivors of the Black Death were also, coincidentally, more resistant to HIV — even though it didn’t exist yet.
- Finally, AOC seems confused about how glaciers actually melt. If there are disease organisms frozen into glaciers they’ll have been escaping all along anyway. Even a growing glacier pours out meltwater. Surface ice melts when the sun is out; heat from friction can melt tons of ice deep inside the glacier. It’s possible that unknown ancient diseases lurk in the ice, but it isn’t very likely.
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