The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Lives and Livelihoods

A massive debate about re-opening the economy has already begun. Many believe that everything should remain shuttered—indefinitely—because COVID-19. The rest of us believe that we must work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, but do so without damaging the economy to such an extent that we initiate on long term economic calamity—a depression. "But why?" argue those who have allowed virus hysteria to dictate their world view. "After all, aren't lives more important than jobs, or money or ... well, anything?"

Yeah, all lives are important, especially the lives of those among us who are working so hard to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The lives of doctors and nurses and front-line emergency responders are critically important. Victor Davis Hansen comments on other lives:
... who now is more important than the trucker who drives 12-hours straight to deliver toilet paper to Costco? Or the mid-level manager of Target who calibrates supply and demand and is on the phone all day juggling deliveries before his store opens? Or the checker at the local supermarket who knows that the hundreds of customers inches away from her pose risks of infection, and yet she ensures that people walk out with food in their carts? The farmworker who is on the tractor all night to ensure that millions of carrots and lettuce don’t rot? The muddy frackers in West Texas who make it possible that natural gas reaches the home of the quarantined broker in Houston? The ER nurse on her fifth coronavirus of the day who matter-of-factly saves lives?

Do we really need to ask such questions of whether the presence of the czar for diversity and inclusion at Yale is missed as much as the often-caricatured cop on patrol at 2 a.m. in New Haven?

Do social justice student protestors who surround and heckle the politically suspicious now in ones and twos also scream in the faces of the incorrect plumber who unclogs their locked-down apartment drain?

... When your refrigerator goes out under quarantine and your supplies begin to rot, do you really need another rant from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)—or do you rather need a St. Michael Smith and St. Uriel Mendoza to appear out of nowhere as the archangels from Home Depot to wheel up and connect a new one?
If we inadvertently destroy the economy, every one of the people VDH describes, along with the many medical personnel who treat the sick, will all suffer in ways that are not always obvious or predictable.

So the self-described 'elite' trained hamsters of the media, along with hysterics who argue for a lock-down that could last for many more months, are perfectly willing to risk an economic shutdown—all in the name of "saving lives." Their moral preening is impressive, but in reality, they're suggesting that risking the lives and livelihood of tens of millions is somehow a lessor risk than risking the lives of a small, relatively well-defined cohort of the population who can be protected by other means. One group is willing to kick the can down the road, hoping against hope that we can resurrect an economy after months and months of lockdown. The other believes we can do two things at the same time, saving lives and livelihoods as we go.