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

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Where Your Fear Begins

I recently saw a tee shirt with the following imprint: "My freedom doesn't stop where your fear begins ..." That's worth pondering for a moment. 

Because Team Apocalypse and their media allies have worked tirelessly to encourage fear, uncertainty, and doubt among the populace, political leaders were forced to limit freedoms (e.g., the freedom to leave one's home,  to work) in an attempt to "mitigate" COVID-19. Instead of targeted attempts at mitigation that would have achieved the same reduction in hospitalizations and deaths (remember, that was the "only goal"), politicians were stampeded into a shotgun approach that shut down the entire country, and in the end, won't stop the virus over the long term.

All the while, Team Apocalypse kept telling the rest of us that they are "data driven" and guided by "the science." That their only concern is "safety" and that saving lives is paramount. 

If that truly was the case, members of the Team would have looked at early data and concluded that the most vulnerable populations were the elderly, particularly those in long-tern health care facilities—the easiest population to quarantine.* An aggressive effort protecting them from the virus could have been accomplished without shutting down the country for months and negatively affecting the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of people.

Members of the Team would have studied "the science" of past viral pandemics and concluded that such events, although scary and concerning, are a natural phenomenon, much like the wind. A viral pandemic blows through the population, sometimes with great force as it did in March and April. It ebbs and flows as it is doing now. It can increase without warning, as it is likely to do in coming months. We can shelter against it for a time, but doing so doesn't stop it. It will eventually have its way, blowing through the entire population until herd immunity (or the artificial immunity of a vaccine) causes a calm. And even then, it might re-emerge. It is, after all, like the wind. So ... we have to emerge from our shelters and live our lives.

That's what the country is trying to do, but the catastrophists are fighting back. Their approach is sort of like going into a storm shelter as a Tornado approaches. Once it passes, the catastrophists insist on staying in the shelter for weeks or months—at least until Tornado season ends. The rest of us want to emerge and begin to repair the damage. We refuse to allow their fear (if that's what this is really about) to limit our freedom.

But maybe the real objective of Team Apocalypse has become political. They've become a new kind of #Resistance—same overall goal, yet a very different narrative.

*  Multiple studies indicate that between 40 and 50 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths in the United States happened in nursing homes. 60 - 70 percent of the remaining deaths occurred among a population that was over 50 years old and had one or more underlying health conditions.

Maybe the catastrophist narrative will begin to change, now that the media is finally beginning to understand how their tireless efforts to encourage fear, uncertainty, and doubt, using a narrative that discourages context, reports edge cases as mainstream incidents, and ignores many, many, many important facts, has begun to effect the companies they work for.

I would never celebrate anyone's job loss, but it's really hard not to feel at least a little Schadenfreude as the trained hamsters finally begin to suffer the consequences of their own journalistic actions.