I don’t know what people a hundred years will say about COVID-19. People only talk about the death tolls of the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago. But in the middle of this, I see life coming into focus as a society like never before. We’re rationing our attention onto important things. individuals, businesses, and the government are actually working together to get us through so much of the economy being on pause.
Sure there is the usual din of unhelpful banter — conspiracy theories, politicization, and bumper-sticker wisdom either fear-mongering or dismissing concern as fear, But for once it seems outweighed — not by people towing party lines and parroting headlines — but by thoughtful considerations. Just at a moment where I’ve questioned mankind’s ability to transcend selfish nature as a whole, the masses surprise me. People, for the most part, are staying home out of concern for others. A disinterested minority are ignoring sense and respect for neighbors. And we can tell the sheep from the goats now. But time will tell if things get rough just what that balance is.
But I prefer the silver lining. I really think a LOT of good is already coming out of this — people are realizing there are ways to work from home, count on delivery services, and transact all sorts of business online. We’re finally doing some of the things other countries have been doing for a decade or more. Organizations are actually reaching out to non-attending members for wellness checks, perhaps for the first time, and doing video meetings with better attendance than they usually have. We just have to hope these become habits rather than emergency measures in the future.
The most amazing thing I’m learning about myself in all this is that I need to rethink my anarchist predilections. I am typically anti-authority, anti-government, and don’t follow the mainstream media except at arm’s length to be aware of what and how things are being reported from various sides.
If I thought there was even the slightest chance this was an illegitimate effort to make people subservient, or the government at any level was being heavy-handed, I would raise the flag first and higher than anyone else.
The fact other people are doing so tells me there is a deficiency or incapacity or other unexplainable refusal to process common sense, widespread to the point that maybe the government SHOULD enforce things. I shudder at the very idea. But it’s the protesters that drive me to such thoughts, not what the government is doing.
But I get it. There’s a lot of pain for people economically. Somehow this is the government’s fault, when we should all be doing these things like in any other time and place in history where we knew better. Epidemiology isn’t some voodoo the CDC invented in February.
And the rules are questionable about what is essential. There are plenty of “ifs”, none of which negate the need for some teamwork to have SOME guidelines. We don’t have perfect information about the virus. We know some measures only help a little or might not help at all.
But we do know how handling this works in general. By preventing huge death tolls over a short span, we will make the lockdown go away sooner. This is a fact, not a guess. This is what some countries did far better than we did, mostly because they took action far earlier and people has the sense to “obey” reasonable measures.
But people who want to save the economy from some conspiracy are going to cause it to crash if we don’t flatten the curve or have a major second wave. This isn’t some dogma handed us by our overlords. It’s common-freaking sense.
There’s no fear here, just anger at people who need to rethink their armchair economics or YouTube medical degrees. Most of those people are smarter than this, but the easiest way to get people to follow nonsense is to convince them the rest of us are the stupid, unthinking ones. Tell someone they are being controlled, and you can make them do or believe anything. But all the derisive comments about people who are actually making a difference are nothing short of insults, and I’m tired of keeping the gloves on about this.