2020 May 23

     Everybody's talking about Corona virus, otherwise known as COVID-19.



1. Based on the values that make us Americans what we are, taking life, liberty, livelihood, and property by force from one group of people to help another is wrong. We make it work with voluntary exchange and donations or we accept the pain. One person's misfortune or choice does not lay claim on other people. The alternative is a slippery slope that has led to horror we don't ever want to risk here.

2. Disease forecasts have always been tentative and they have always started high and come down to reasonable numbers. If the weatherman predicts a blizzard every single morning and most of the days are pleasant and sunny, then we learn not to panic from the scary forecast. We should learn the same in disease forecasts.

3. On top of that, the partisan politics should be an obvious warning about COVID-19. (In various fora and media Democrats have said it's important to bring our economy down to pre-Trump levels so he will lose in 2020.) The folks that brought us political pseudo-science panic about eugenics, an impending ice age, acid rain, mercury poisoning, the ozone layer, global warming, and climate change with experts like Margaret Sanger, Al Gore, Bill Nye, and Greta Thunberg are now telling us to be afraid of Corona virus. Isn't it strange that every liberal Democrat you know believes in the absolute threat of COVID-19 and the urgency of forced lock-down while every conservative Republican you know says its risk should be a matter of personal choice? (Isn't Greta Thunberg presented as an expert enough to make it obvious this pandemic is political?)

4. We should always start with skepticism and back into belief. When we react to every observed change or concern as a crisis, then we make terrible mistakes. History is full of examples.

5. The open dishonesty of our news media should make us even more skeptical. There have been poignant word pictures of people suffering from Corona virus, dying agonized deaths as hospitals are pictured with long lines so they are unable to offer healthcare services. When people I knew, and some I didn't know, visited those same hospitals, they found empty emergency rooms with personnel being furloughed for lack of work to do.

6. The bias from hospitals is extreme. Not only were they deprived of their usual revenue from sick people with something other than Corona virus, they were given significant incentive to report COVID-19 and significantly more if they intubated COVID-19 patients. I know people who fought to have COVID-19 not reported on death certificates for people who clearly died of something else.

7. Finally, look at our own personal experience. I've talked to a lot of people who have looked for this disease. For a disease alleged to be so prevalent it's sure hard to find. Nobody I know has it, nobody I know and trust knows anybody who has it, and I've talked to medical people who can't find it. The only evidence I've seen for even the existence of COVID-19 came from a pulmonologist who has hospital privileges. (I first met her when I was a lung patient there.) I'm not suggesting anecdote trump science, but when the rest of the Corona story is already flaky, when reports from news and other media are obviously false, I rely on what I can see for myself.

8. Back to the disease. I'm told it's a "dry" virus so a mask that lets air through likely will let Corona virus through as well. Flu travels in droplets of water, so a mask helps prevent spread of flu, but not COVID-19. I'm told it doesn't live long on surfaces or in the air, so a closed door and clean hands are enough to stay safe.

9. So how much risk is this disease? It might be as bad as the flu, maybe a little worse. The numbers taken at face value suggest that, but if we figure in the bullshit factor, a count of 100 thousand dead becomes something quite less, maybe ten thousand, maybe less. In the shadow of the death rate from all kinds of ailments we face as mortal beings, this disease is just a small increment. Hong Kong flu was much worse in 1969, we didn't call it "social distancing" back then, we called it "Woodstock" instead. The Asian flu of 1957 was even worse. Neither provoked this kind of political stupidity, but neither was in an election year where Donald Trump was likely to be re-elected.

10. Lock-down policies in the United States have wreaked havoc in terrible ways. The direct picture is loss of liberty for 328 million, loss of livelihood for 38 million or more, and resulting loss of life for some fraction of those. My poignant pictures are not the few patients suffering from Corona virus, or even the far fewer not alreadly dying of something else claimed to be suffering from Corona virus. Instead I see tens of millions of young people just starting out, still living paycheque to paycheque, counting on their lives being free of ripples and change for just a few more years while they get on their financial feet. They're now unable to pay their rent or their medical and dental bills. I see families burdened by taxes paying for schools and trying to take care of their children forced to stay at home. I see victims of domestic abuse with no place to go and getting the shit kicked out of them. I heard firsthand about children with disabilities denied access to the equipment they need at schools with their parents who worked at Denny's until restaurants closed. I know people with small businesses who are hanging on mightily through the lock-down and who are unable to pay their employees or even their rent. The local strip mall has a row of empty units where stores used to be just two months ago. Unlike the thought experiment of a pandemic that hasn't happened and is highly unlikely ever to happen, this suffering is real, right in our faces. Economically speaking, we're almost as badly off as we were in 2016 when Trump was elected. It's that bad.

10. Once given the power to make choices about a scary sickness, will government make good choices? Really? What were you thinking? And what on earth makes you think this panic-pandemic is going to be any different than all the other government fuck-ups?

11. What were the reasons for lock-down? The disease was virulent, masks wouldn't help, the disease was highly contageous, and its mortality was high. The argument for lock-down is one of ratios. The disease is big and scary and exponential. If the death are doubling every week without restraint, as the early models always seem to assume, then millions will die in May and billions will die in June and who knows what horror July will bring. How bad can a few tens of millions of people plunged into pitiful poverty be compared to that terror?

12. If we are comparing lives to lives, trying to trade off Lives From Column A against Lives From Column B, then remember the people at risk from lock-down are young people with life expentancies in the sixty-year range while those who actually get COVID-19 are typically old, sick people with life expentances of about five years. (If somebody is going to create a disease hoax, or to over-amplify an existing new disease, isn't it easiest to blame it for deaths that are already going to happen?) So when we do the total-lives-vs.-total-lives comparison, let's not forget to count that part, too.

13. But here's the thing that bothers me the most. Is trading certain suffering now against possible pain later the sort of game we should be playing? That was the argument used for all kinds of horrors by terrible leaders like Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Pol Pot, Mao, and Mugabe. Is it really right to take two kidneys from somebody we don't like to save two renal patients we like? This sort of tradeoff goes to horrible places and I'm sure I don't want to go there.

14. The massive lock-down forced sacrifice of liberty, livelihood, and lives potentially to save a million lives is wrong. If it's worth doing, then it's worth doing voluntarily. We can get there, we can make it happen. It won't make the politicians happy, expecially the liberals who brought us all the other pseudo-science that has caused so much pain in the past 150 years, but we can do it.

15. Of course, the irony is that maybe a few hundred lives were at risk to be saved by forced lock-down. If the disease is dangerous and we're told it's dangerous, then only risk to those who stay home, wash their hands, disinfect their surfaces, and avoid sex with strangers should count in the tradeoff. Given what we now know, how many lives could that be?

16. I learned how evil many of my friends can be. We did great harm to a lot of young people to save a few lives most of which are going to end soon anyway. They are willing to do harm here and now to further a possibly-greater good later and elsewhere. Like in that episode "The Shelter" of The Twilight Zone, we found out what horrible things our political neighbors will happily do to us just to avoid getting sick or, even worse, just to pander to the fear of getting sick. At the time they favored lock-downs we had a few hundred reported fatalities and fearsome forecasts. On a scale where zero is following the moral mandate in point (1) above and one hundred is being comfortable with Stalin and Hitler lining up people at mass graves and killing them all for the greater good of their empires, being in favor of lock-down for a pandemic that has only few fatalities so far is about seventy-five. I consider the actual death toll of Corona virus a minor player in moral ethics here.

17. I also learned how muddled the perceptions of people of progressive political persuasion can be. They mix up Consititution values and property rights with voluntary risk and forcing harm upon people and say their silly slogans with such sickening sanctimony on Facebook. Of course a store can require masks, whether they work or not, and, equally of course, I don't have to shop there. Duh! I realize I'm smarter than most people, even smarter than most people of my credentials (I never said I was modest), but there's a certainly level of cognition even relatively-average people should be able to attain. At the very least, those who can't figure out the difference between requiring a mask and forcing a business to close probably should keep quiet about it.

18. In the end, with all the damage lock-down has done, with whatever damage this virus may have done, the biggest damage may be that of letting our government restrain our rights to assembly and commerce by force. Just as historians looking back to pick the dates of the beginnings of enemy empires, they may pick sometime in 2020 March as the final ending date of the vision that grew from 1215 to 1789 and culminated in the Constitution of the United States of America.

19. I reject the "New Normal." The Old Normal had a world economy feeding most of its people for the first time in human history. In the United States the past three years of the Old Normal brought us from an economic state about where we are now to a place where just about everybody could get a job. (In 1969, between waves of the Hong Kong flu the Old Normal didn't give us "social distancing." Instead it gave us Woodstock.) Our air and water are cleaner than fifty years ago, we debunked the connection between CO2 rise and warming, and now, thanks to COVID-19, we debunked the connection between human burning of fossil fuels and CO2 rise. The Old Normal had us building new factories and restoring old factories here in the United States and was restoring pride in our country. Many of our social problems were receding as well.

20. I have one solution to offer. Our left-wing friends are comfortable invading our privacy using our cell phones to track our movements, supposedly to control the spread of disease. Once we're willing to invade privacy that far, why not use our spying technology to identify all those who supported the lock-down in email or social medium and have specifically those people be forced by soldiers with guns to pay for it. Let's tax every pro-lock-down person $5000 per month until five trillion dollars is raised to help those harmed by the forced lock-down. It's consistent with left-wing attitudes, it's fair, and it's just.


Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.



Here is some early stuff I wrote and some other stuff on Corona virus:
2020 May 3, Corona virus science, politics, values, summary, and weblog





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