Tuesday, April 14, 2020

coronavirus and life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Thomas Jefferson,
3rd American president,
author of
Declaration of Independence

From yesterday's Tuscaloosa News:

GARY COSBY JR.: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
I am becoming weary of all the people who are out there decrying the loss of liberty as restrictions are placed upon us …
Posted Apr 13, 2020 at 11:01 AM

I am becoming weary of all the people who are out there decrying the loss of liberty as restrictions are placed upon us during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Frankly, it is disgusting. No one has taken away anyone’s liberty. There has been a temporary suspension of many public activities in order to save lives. COVID-19 is highly contagious and social isolation is our best tool to fight the spread of the disease. If you are not around people, you can’t catch or transmit the disease.
I’m just going to be blunt. Are people so self-centered that they would place their rights above another person’s life? Let’s get real. Which one of your neighbors or coworkers would you choose to kill, so you get to keep on going to church or to the movie theater? What about family members? How many of them are you willing to sacrifice upon the altar of your freedom?
If you go back to the Declaration of Independence you will find those wonderful words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
There is purpose in the ordering of those words. Life is the preeminent right, and that is what governments around the world are working to preserve. Liberty is second, and the pursuit of happiness is third. If your personal order of those words does not agree with that declared order, I would submit that you are yourself out of order.
Ask yourself, please, what is a human life worth to you? What are thousands of human lives worth to you? The last time we had a truly global pandemic was a hundred years ago, and the world lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million people while simultaneously losing another 25 million to the Great War that was being waged in Europe. There were fewer than 2 billion people on the planet at that time.
We now have more than 7 billion people. I’m not good at math, but even I can deduce there are about five and a half billion more people alive today than a hundred years ago. The little bit of math that I can do shows me that if we do nothing today to prevent the spread of this novel coronavirus, we will lose many more lives now than we did then. What we are doing with the stay-at-home orders is not depriving anyone of liberty. It is saving lives.
No one knew much about epidemiology back in those days. We had not yet discovered penicillin and many men who were wounded in the Great War died in field hospitals from infections. Men survived their wounds but succumbed to a killer they could not see. Almost no countries issued lock-down orders during that flu pandemic, and there were only a few places in America that practiced social distancing. We lost at least 675,000 people in that flu pandemic.
Now we have almost every nation in the world issuing some form of shelter-in-place or lock-down order to their populations. And why? Are these governments attempting to deprive people of their liberty? Is there some deep-state conspiracy to yank away human rights from every person on the planet at the same time?
Further, does anyone really believe that politicians are willingly starving themselves of revenue, the actual lifeblood of politics, by issuing mandatory shut down notices to business that are the sources of their revenue? Is that really what people believe?
I saw one meme that was so far off base that it almost made me physically ill. Someone posted one that said, in effect, if they told everyone to board a rail car to be taken to an isolation camp, people would willingly go. The image in the meme was a Nazi death train at a concentration camp.
Let me be perfectly clear. There is no comparison between sheltering in place to save the lives of our friends and neighbors and being forced at gun point by Nazi SS thugs to board a death train. We live in a free society where the civil authorities are actually trying to save lives, not extinguish them.
I knew many people had lost any semblance of balance and reason. The panic buying of toilet paper showed us that. Nevertheless, even with the horrible political chaos that has swallowed us in the last few years, I didn’t think that people had become this calloused. I really didn’t. I have been proved wrong.
Gary Cosby Jr. is photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at gary.cosby@tuscaloosanews.com.

Text of my email to Mr. Cosby:

Fabulous response to self-centered people. Perhaps the coronavirus should cull them from the herd?

Maybe you saw this in yesterday's online news about what President Trump asked Dr. Fauci on March 14 this year?

Trump reportedly asked Dr. Anthony Fauci whether it was possible to allo...

I'm an Independent, who voted for Dr. Jill Stein in 2016. think President Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats need to get their own houses in order. 

However, I think President Trump defined the Rubicon: stay home and shut down much of the economy to try to save lives; or let the virus run its course, take the casualties, develop herd immunity - and try to prevent a 1929 crash, which could slide into Orwellian 1984. After being elected, President Trump floated the notion of being president for life.

I read online that the coronavirus has mutated at least twice, might mutate further. Some people who caught it and recovered, later were found to still have it. Infected people with no symptoms are contagious. Can a vaccine be developed against such a virus? If so, I'm reading a vaccine is at least a year off. A second wave of the virus is predicted before then.

American farmers in south Florida and California, who grow produce for institutional consumers (schools, restaurants, hotels, resorts, etc.), are burning or plowing under massive amounts of vegetables. American dairy farmers, who supply institutional consumers, are pouring milk down the drain. How will those farmers financially survive?

Millions of American businesses closed, laid off employees. Millions more businesses stay open, barely. State unemployment offices lack manpower to answer phone calls from people who want to file for unemployment. Unemployment applications backlog enormous. Millions of Americans not making mortgage or rent payments. National, state and local tax revenues falling, government workers laid off.

Congress can't afford its relief packages, nor the next relief package(s). Congress will raise taxes. The U.S. treasury will keep borrowing and printing money. Wall Street crapshoot. Hospitals overrun. Doctors and medical support staff tired, swamped, at risk to catching and transmitting the virus, don't have critical supplies, choose who to try to save, who to let die.

In 1929, Americans, in the main, respected their government. A 1984 scenario was unheard of. Today, the American government is not respected. Civil discourse is nearly extinct. Civil liberties have countless definitions. Armed radical factions, aided by the NRA and Republican Party and presidents, pervade America.

I'm 77 years old. My star has nearly run its course. I worry for my children and their spouses and children being ravaged by the virus, then suffering a 1929, then a 1984.

Sloan Bashinsky

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