It’s human nature to think that whatever we are going through right now is the worst, most extreme, most memorable event of its kind. Ever. Sometimes it is true. Our tendency to exaggerate notwithstanding, I am confident that future historians will look at the COVID pandemic as one of the seminal issues of our lifetimes. It is at least as important as 911 and Viet Nam.
In 2020 we set a new standard for how we would react to a serious health crisis. We made a collective decision – or more accurately a few dozen governors, scientists, and regulators made it for us – that it is worth trashing our entire economy, driving millions of businesses into bankruptcy, and putting non-Covid health matters at the back of the line in order to potentially save some lives. Previously, it had not occurred to us that we should just shut things down. The downside was too great. Now it is precedent.
If shutting down the economy killed the virus, it would be a different discussion. But it did not. And no good decision is ever made unless the positive and negative ramifications of it are both considered. The virus isn’t going away. Everyone will be exposed to it eventually, and those at highest risk may well die. We cannot wipe it out. It has to run its course. The lockdowns presumably dragged out the process, but one way or another the chickens will come home to roost.
If we get a vaccine soon – and it looks like we will – lives will be saved. The President pushed a combination of private and public organizations to develop a vaccine. He called it Project Warp Speed, and it appears to be working. If a vaccine is available by the end of 2020, as expected, it will be the quickest such a vaccine has ever been developed. By far.
It is the nature of most far left analyses to look at just one side of any issue. Yet public policy issues are like mathematical equations; there are always two sides. If an action has a presumably positive impact on the virus, for example, it might also have a tremendously negative impact on other aspects of our health or our lives.
It is notable the pandemic was managed largely through initiatives that are almost certainly unconstitutional. And it is almost exclusively the Democratic governors who put lockdowns in place. They ordered us to stay home, not go to church, wear masks, stay out of bars, and practice social distancing, unless, of course, you were rioting. That was generally o k. For those who can’t get enough, here is a state by state summary.
If we had said a year ago that one day, in America, governors would forbid you from going to church – with no statutory authority to do so, and recognizing it is a Constitutionally guaranteed right – no one would have believed it. We would have been laughed out of the room
And yet, here we are. All of those who claim that lovers of freedom overstate the threat need to be reminded of how quickly and easily Americans surrendered their rights this year. Many of our freedoms were taken from us, and they got away with it. So far, anyway.
No issue in memory reveals more clearly how differently two extremes of the political spectrum react to things. There are assumptions/generalizations made about conservatives who don’t like things like mask mandates. As is often the case, I don’t think our opposition understands us. If we oppose mask mandates, they say we don’t care; if we criticize Black Lives Matter, we must be racists; if we aren’t concerned about climate change, we are science deniers; then again, if we think that sex is determined by genetics, as science makes it clear, we are also criticized. And so on.
The Left is frequently critical of conservatives as we oppose their efforts to promote greater control of our economy and of your personal life. In our next message, we will look at some of the ways our views differ. Stay tuned.