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

Wednesday, April 08, 2020


Many of the local, state, and federal policies currently promoted to "flatten the curve" are worthwhile: banning international flights; limiting domestic flights into and out of hot zones; cancellation of large group events in tightly constrained areas (e.g, concerts, sporting events); social distancing on an individual level, hand washing by all, and the use of masks in crowded environments are all effective. And the more extreme measures—all resulting in a partial shutdown of the local, state and national economies will undoubtedly flatten the curve, but at what cost? As important, how long should these extreme measures remain in place?

"Catastrophists" currently hold sway when answers to these questions are discussed. Here's my definition of that term:
"Catastrophist"—A person or group that always considers the worst possible outcome, rejecting any context or argument that might question the probability of that outcome. A catastrophist recommends or initiates policies that are extreme and potentially damaging, claiming that they are driven by "an abundance of caution" in order to "save lives."
If you listen to COVID-19 catastrophists, extreme measures—including a shutdown of a significant percentage of the economy—should remain in place for many months. After all, what if COVID-19 returns if we open up? What if more people die? When catastrophists overlay virtue signaling that implores us to save every life at any cost ... it's politically difficult to suggest an alternative approach. After all, fear is in the air, and no one wants to be the next COVID-19 victim or the political leader accused of "murder" because people died after extreme measures were relaxed.

Ultimately, the critical decision to re-open the country boils down to politics. The four constituencies (people who are often referred to as the "ruling class" or the "elites") will resist re-opening, because the current state of governance gives them enormous power. Angelo Codevilla discusses this when he writes:
Regardless of when Trump acts to reopen the country [and gives at least some governors cover for re-opening their states], [the ruling class] will do whatever is in their power to prevent him from exiting the path to political perdition which he has entered. They won’t give him a pass out of it, no matter what. Nothing that happens in April, or in May, June, or whenever, nothing that any curve does, will induce any of the ruling class to say, “OK, let’s all wash our hands, take precautions to protect the old and the obese, and get back to normal.”

[Dr. Anthony] Fauci has warned that perhaps this virus will return with every flu season. This is more than enough for such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo—who has already said that the country will never be allowed back to normal and is echoed in that by the media—to greet any suggestion to move toward normalcy with the charge that it makes one responsible for deaths. “Blood is on your hands!” will be their rallying cry.

That, in turn, means anyone who may wish to lead America out of the quandary into which it has slipped because of our health officials’ incompetence and of President Trump’s apparent neglect of Politics 101 (who is on whose side?) will have to return to its fundamentals.

To wit: Start from the fact that the ruling class is discredited. Separate yourself from it.

Lose no opportunity to add to the discredit. Stress your own responsibility. Act on it. When they damn you, double damn them. Politics 101.
Ugly ... yes. But far more accurate than the epidemiological models that have been used to force the country into economic collapse.