~ Where the Sun Will Never Set on Our liberty ~
Which is worse, the coronavirus or the panic that has ensued as a result? According to some, like NIAID Director Dr. Fauci, it could kill hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Even though by all accounts the Covid-19 is only marginally worse than the seasonal flu, mainly because it’s a new strain which we currently don’t have a vaccine for. The mortality rate of Wuhan, China and Italy appear to be outliers rather than a true representation. For instance, onboard the closed environment of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 696 became inflected out of 3,711 passengers and crew, and of those 7 died. That is a mortality rate of 1%, and comparable with the common flu. Overall, death rates from Covid-19 are nowhere near that of the seasonal flu.
However, I don’t want to talk about the coronavirus so much as our reactions to it. To me, that is more extraordinary than the virus itself. Schools, events, restaurants are being shut down. Borders are being sealed off. There’s panic buying of toilet paper, bottled water, and other goods causing supply shortages. This is all very unprecedented. We didn’t have this kind of reaction during the 2002 SARS outbreak or the 2009 Bird Flu outbreak. Even in the aftermath of 9/11 cooler heads prevailed.
What has changed in society that has made us so afraid of our own shadows? I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising given the amount of fear-mongering in the past two decades alone. The climate change alarmists keep telling us the world is going to end if we don’t do something now. Robots are going to take over our jobs and make humans obsolete. When Trump was elected we were told the economy would crash. When Soleimani was killed we were told it would lead to world war 3. And on and on, one perpetual apocalypse after another. Is it no wonder we are all so paranoid?
Who is responsible for creating this culture of fear we now live in? Well, there are the usual suspects, most notably the media and politicians. The media has been hyping it up on a 24/7 basis. Fear is good for ratings after all. Then there are the mayors and governors stoking the fire by shutting down venues and restaurants, and banning groups of 250 people or more. I don’t know where that magical number came from or how they think they have the authority to override our constitutional rights to freedom of assembly.
This represents the most dangerous aspect of all this. In times of emergencies governing authorities are showing they will suspend our Constitutional rights, and the sheeple go along with it. The mayor of Illinois even used this as a pretext to ban alcohol, ammunition, and guns. A fearful population is easy to control, and they are milking the coronavirus for everything it’s worth. Politicians and the media have absolutely no regard for the economic repercussions of all this or the financial burdens it places on individuals, which has yet to be fully realized. The coronavirus may not do us in, but fear and panic just might.
During the Cold War people lived under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, but that didn’t stop people from living their lives and going about their business as usual. We seem to have lost something that previous generations had, namely courage. The truth is the world has always been a dangerous place to live, but that shouldn’t keep us from living it. I leave you with a slightly-modified quote from C.S. Lewis that sums up my sentiments about this perfectly:
“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the coronavirus was discovered: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the coronavirus has added one more chance of a painful and premature death to a world that already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”