COVID-19 Shutdown: When The Cure Becomes Worse Than The Disease

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I can’t sleep. At all. I’ve never had a consistent sleep cycle, because I’ve rarely ever had a consistent work schedule. In my career, every new week’s scheduling is different from the last. The only real consistency has been that I’ve lived a large amount of my life on this side of midnight. (It’s now well after 3 .am., as I begin writing.)

Tonight is somewhat different, though. My mind is racing. I’ve spent most of the day and night reading and watching everything I can put my eyes on related to #CommieVirus2020. Mainstream media reporting, conservative punditry, libertarian analysis, medical research, scientific modeling, and political posturing — and some of each from sources around the globe. (Though I am avoiding the fringe and conspiracy sites, like the . . . uh . . . plague.)

I am intellectually convinced of far less than I should be — by virtue of the sheer volume of information I’ve absorbed — than I have been at any time since the genesis of this crisis. So contradictory is much of the information being put forth by what I might consider to be even the most credible of sources.

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While maybe not convinced about anything, I am fully conscious of my own inherent instincts as I process the following:

1 – People are dying from this disease, and social distancing will certainly save lives. Yet, there is a major divide between imminently qualified scientists. One side is calling for a much longer period of social distancing — by way of mandatory business closures and more severely enforced stay-at-home orders. The other says we cannot allow fear of “death tolls” to prevent us from facing the hard task of building the “herd immunity” necessary for preventing this from becoming a seasonally recurring crisis — over and over again.

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2 – Regardless, people’s livelihoods are being, and will be destroyed by this current course of action. The notion of, “If we save but one life, then the shutdowns are worth it,” is patently bullshit of the highest order. If that were our guiding philosophy of how we govern all human activity, we’d have long ago demanded the prohibition of automobiles, alcohol, tobacco, and sugar — with extreme jackbooted prejudice — as the individual and combined annual death tolls caused by just those four items dwarf anything COVID-19 has in store.

3 - Government cannot make it all better, and to expect so is the height of ignorance and naïveté. Government may put a $1200 bandaid on the wound, but that bandaid is itself infected with a Trojan horse bacteria that has historically destroyed currencies and economies, bringing nations to its knees.

4 - Party tribalism and blame-gaming is tearing us apart. War typically unites us against a commonly identified enemy. The "war" on COVID-19 is having the opposite effect — because rather than identifying the virus as that common enemy, equal numbers of Americans have decided whoever is on the ‘other side’ of the Trump divide to be the greater long term threat. (I can hardly believe some of the virulent hostility I’m seeing on my social media feeds.)

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5 - According to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, published on April 2, 45 percent of adults, (53 percent of women and 37 percent of men), say the pandemic has affected their mental health, and 19 percent say it has had a “major impact.” We’re not even close to the cessation of all the things creating this mounting, parallel mental health crisis, as crack-ups and breakdowns are already happening and getting headlines.

6 - Make no mistake about it: while governments may be making sincere efforts to ameliorate the health and economic damage wrought by this pandemic, there are factions within each, salivating over how best “not to waste this crisis.” The ends of which are to push through solutions that will grant them evermore centralized control over every aspect of our individual lives, businesses, property, and even our children. All in the name of safety and security, as untold millions willingly surrender their rights — (and those of their neighbors, via the ballot box) — to those false and impossible promises. And they’ll do so without question.

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I hate coming across so pessimistic and fearful, but every one of my liberty-oriented nerve-endings and each strand of my libertarian DNA is on high-alert right now. Being acquiescent to common sense social distancing recommendations, and knowing we cannot sustain this for more than just a few more days — before inflicting far greater damage than the virus will do on its own — are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Something’s got to give, soon — no matter how painful in the short term — to salvage both our freedoms and our prosperity.

It’s just what I feel. Just my instincts. All the contradictory models and mortality rates be damned.

Take it for what you will.

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