Is Our Response too Draconian?

 

What have we done?  I live near Charleston, South Carolina.  It is a beautiful tourist destination. The biggest industry here is tourism — hotels, restaurants, carriage tours, walking tours, shopping, cabs, and rickshaws. My wife and I went downtown tonight to walk. It was an absolute ghost town. Nearly deserted.

I am not questioning the motives of government officials. No one wants lots of people to get sick or die. But this seems like madness to me. How are people going to pay for groceries, rent, mortgages, car payments, water and electric bills?  Will mailing checks to people save us? Where will that money come from?

It seems to me that we have to weigh risks against costs. Heather Mac Donald wrote an article recently reminding us that no one would drive if we looked at driving the way we are looking at the Coronavirus.

What if there is another virus right after this? What then?

What are we afraid of? Couldn’t we quarantine the most at-risk people and get on with life? What we are doing seems unwise to me.

I’ve heard both sides of this. Again, I don’t want to impugn the motives of those who are cheering on this policy — but I have, I think, noticed something.  Those who can work at home or who don’t have pressing financial need seem to be very much in favor of draconian “distancing” policies. I wonder what the people who have lost their jobs or been laid-off think of it.

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  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    There will be more proponents of Universal Basic Income — and socialism generally — after this. It might be enough to unseat Trump. Then Democrats would compound the economic problems. 

    • #1
  2. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    I watched this video of an Italian E.R. 

    I think “flattening the curve” is worth preventing this sort of scene taking place in Charleston. Or Boston. Or Poughkeepsie. Or Des Moines. 

    I know it seems crazy, but there are towns in Italy that are running out of coffins. Army trucks are hauling bodies away for burial. 

    As with so many other ways of dying that are so often compared with traffic accidents, Wuhan Flu (which the Italian doctors says is really pneumonia, and not “just flu”) is not something you have control over. You can decide not to drive drunk. You can obey the speed limit. For that matter, you can foreswear driving altogether. 

    Nobody who has died of this virus went out and asked for it. They didn’t get drunk and do something stupid (well, except for those nitwits on Spring Break in Florida) or cease paying attention while texting.  They didn’t think “oh, what the heck” and dispense with the condom. 

    They just had the misfortune of being within infectable space of someone who had the virus. I don’t want to be that someone.

     By the way, I’m a huge fan of Heather MacDonald, and I hope she’s right and we’ll all look back on this and wonder why we were so freaked out.  

     

    • #2
  3. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    The age group most likely to be vulnerable to the virus are least likely to be economically vulnerable and vice versa. Those over 60 on retirement can stay home without economic damage much easier (retirees) than making working age people, who are not as vulnerable, stay home without income. A one time payment is not income.  The detroit news has reported a 550% increase in unemployment claims as of the 18th.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #3
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    There should be government guidelines and requests that people work at home when they can, and that bosses should be flexible in allowing people to work at home and to run the offices 1-2 days a week on a skeleton crew. That sort of thing.

    There should be few or no government mandates to shut down business altogether.

    • #4
  5. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Washington78: Where will that money come from?

    Hot off the presses.

    • #5
  6. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    There will be more proponents of Universal Basic Income — and socialism generally — after this. It might be enough to unseat Trump. Then Democrats would compound the economic problems.

    That’s where we see it headed. It’s a clear theme in the legislation on the table. Get rid of Trump. 

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Washington78: I am not questioning the motives of government officials.

    I am questioning the motives of government officials.  “Better safe than sorry” is an excuse that can be used to shut down any business at any time for any reason.  Decades of scare tactics about “global warming” didn’t cause a general panic.  But this virus with help from the MSM has, so watch for this tactic to be used against Republicans this November:

    “The Republican Party, led by Donald Trump, is responsible for the deaths of XYZ Americans.  Had they implemented the laws and policies offered by the Democrats, many would still be alive.”

    • #7
  8. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I live in Mt Pleasant just North of Charleston. Lots of activity here, however they did close the beaches. Jack the dog is very upset.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in Mt Pleasant just North of Charleston. Lots of activity here, however they did close the beaches. Jack the dog is very upset.

    Shoot, we outght to have a Meetup in Mt. Pleasant then (post virus, of course).  My wife and I go to Charleston or Mt. Pleasant periodically ( always visit Patriot’s Point when I go).

    • #9
  10. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl…
    @DrewInWisconsin

    “Is Our Response too Draconian?”

    Yes.

    • #10
  11. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    I worry about the permanent changes that come with these kind of eruptions.  Government rarely gives back power it take

    • #11
  12. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Stad (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in Mt Pleasant just North of Charleston. Lots of activity here, however they did close the beaches. Jack the dog is very upset.

    Shoot, we outght to have a Meetup in Mt. Pleasant then (post virus, of course). My wife and I go to Charleston or Mt. Pleasant periodically ( always visit Patriot’s Point when I go).

    As do we!

    • #12
  13. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I just hope I am still employed at the end of this. Not Dead would help also.   If I keep my job,  this will be a net economic benefit to me ( can’t spend money on the restaurants, bars, and other amusements I enjoy ).    

    • #13
  14. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    I just hope I am still employed at the end of this. Not Dead would help also. If I keep my job, this will be a net economic benefit to me ( can’t spend money on the restaurants, bars, and other amusements I enjoy ).

    I’m all set to spend upwards of a thousand bucks on a new computer, but don’t really want to commit the cash while future income is so uncertain.

    • #14
  15. KarenZiminski Coolidge
    KarenZiminski
    @KarenZiminski

    I’m 74 years old and it’s only a minor inconvenience for me to self quarantine. This two-week enforced shutdown is probably helpful to keep the medical system from being overwhelmed, but it makes no sense to ruin the economy by preventing low-risk people from going to work or school for a long time to enable people like me to live a few more years. I take responsibility for my own health.

    • #15
  16. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl…
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Washington78: How are people going to pay for groceries, rent, mortgages, car payments, water and electric bills? Will mailing checks to people save us? Where will that money come from?

    Us.

    We’ll be paying for the mistakes of our leaders for quite awhile.

    Well, you guys will be. I’ll be too broke to pay anything. Debtor’s Prison, here we come!

     

    • #16
  17. JuliaBach Coolidge
    JuliaBach
    @JuliaBach

    https://medium.com/six-four-six-nine/evidence-over-hysteria-covid-19-1b767def5894

    • #17
  18. JuliaBach Coolidge
    JuliaBach
    @JuliaBach

    The Medium article I just posted is a brilliant analysis of how we have been focused on the wrong statistics and taking data out of context like it was going out of style.  Many more data scientists are chiming in with similar conclusions.  Also, data modeling of the effect of staying home on GDP is coming out.  Not to mention how staying home from school deprives us of many critical healthcare staff and may even make transmissions worse because multigenerational families are cooped up together!

    • #18
  19. JuliaBach Coolidge
    JuliaBach
    @JuliaBach

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I watched this video of an Italian E.R.

    I think “flattening the curve” is worth preventing this sort of scene taking place in Charleston. Or Boston. Or Poughkeepsie. Or Des Moines.

    I know it seems crazy, but there are towns in Italy that are running out of coffins. Army trucks are hauling bodies away for burial.

    As with so many other ways of dying that are so often compared with traffic accidents, Wuhan Flu (which the Italian doctors says is really pneumonia, and not “just flu”) is not something you have control over. You can decide not to drive drunk. You can obey the speed limit. For that matter, you can foreswear driving altogether.

    Nobody who has died of this virus went out and asked for it. They didn’t get drunk and do something stupid (well, except for those nitwits on Spring Break in Florida) or cease paying attention while texting. They didn’t think “oh, what the heck” and dispense with the condom.

    They just had the misfortune of being within infectable space of someone who had the virus. I don’t want to be that someone.

    By the way, I’m a huge fan of Heather MacDonald, and I hope she’s right and we’ll all look back on this and wonder why we were so freaked out.

     

    Italy seems to be worse than the rest of the world.  I’d love to see analysis of that after this is over.  Video of an ER is anecdotal and should not be the basis for sweeping policy decisions.  Thanks for mentioning Heather—-I’ll go see what she is saying.

    • #19
  20. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Stad (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in Mt Pleasant just North of Charleston. Lots of activity here, however they did close the beaches. Jack the dog is very upset.

    Shoot, we outght to have a Meetup in Mt. Pleasant then (post virus, of course). My wife and I go to Charleston or Mt. Pleasant periodically ( always visit Patriot’s Point when I go).

    Is that where we were that time?

    • #20
  21. Cal Lawton Member
    Cal Lawton
    @CalLawton

    Yeah…something is starting to smell about this, and it’s not that we’ve all been indoors for a week.

    • #21
  22. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I watched this video of an Italian E.R.

    I think “flattening the curve” is worth preventing this sort of scene taking place in Charleston. Or Boston. Or Poughkeepsie. Or Des Moines.

    I know it seems crazy, but there are towns in Italy that are running out of coffins. Army trucks are hauling bodies away for burial.

    As with so many other ways of dying that are so often compared with traffic accidents, Wuhan Flu (which the Italian doctors says is really pneumonia, and not “just flu”) is not something you have control over. You can decide not to drive drunk. You can obey the speed limit. For that matter, you can foreswear driving altogether.

    Nobody who has died of this virus went out and asked for it. They didn’t get drunk and do something stupid (well, except for those nitwits on Spring Break in Florida) or cease paying attention while texting. They didn’t think “oh, what the heck” and dispense with the condom.

    They just had the misfortune of being within infectable space of someone who had the virus. I don’t want to be that someone.

    By the way, I’m a huge fan of Heather MacDonald, and I hope she’s right and we’ll all look back on this and wonder why we were so freaked out.

    I watched the video, and I don’t see what all the fuss is about.  It’s a bit overcrowded.  They’re handling it.

    At 2:39 in the video, the narrator says: “But it’s the most hard-hit of all the hospitals in Italy.”

    So this video is totally unrepresentative, and even it is not a catastrophe.  People are getting oxygen.  I’m sure it’s a bit rough, but it’s not like a scene out of MASH.

    On the coffin question, Italy has had fewer than 5,000 reported deaths thus far, mostly over the past 2 weeks.  About 600,000 people die in Italy per year, which is about 1,700 per day.  We would have expected about 23,000 deaths in Italy over this period.

    It does seem to be concentrated in a few, relatively small towns, and they may be overloaded.  But this is not remotely representative of the country of Italy, let alone the world.

    GrannyDude, I’m not blaming you about this.  I’m pointing out that videos like this one, and the “running out of coffins” line, are precisely the way that a manipulative press would generate hysteria.  Not so much because they want hysteria for its own sake, but because it sells.

    Italy has fewer than 900 reported cases per million.  The US has about 80 reported cases per million.  

     

    • #22
  23. Bullwinkle Member
    Bullwinkle
    @Bullwinkle

    I have no idea what the right response is. However, I do think some skepticism is warranted. A friend asked me “Why would all the experts say the same thing, namely that we should shut down, if it wasn’t really the best advice?” My response: “Because the incentive structure is skewed. If we shut down, and the worst case doesn’t come to fruition, they can claim it’s because of the shutdown. If we shut down, and the worse case (God forbid) does occur, they can still claim ‘We tried our best’. However, if we don’t shutdown, people can always claim ‘We should have done something’.” Thus, the incentive structure argues for doing “something”, and the more drastic the better. 

    Given that setup, I am truly concerned that our setup is not objectively, the correct one. Makes me kinda depressed, and I pray that God will lead us through with strength and wisdom. Sigh.

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I’m pointing out that videos like this one, and the “running out of coffins” line, are precisely the way that a manipulative press would generate hysteria.

    With its history of fake news, I don’t believe anything I hear from the news media.  I even have my doubts about Fox . . .

    • #24
  25. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I watched this video of an Italian E.R.

    I think “flattening the curve” is worth preventing this sort of scene taking place in Charleston. Or Boston. Or Poughkeepsie. Or Des Moines.

    I know it seems crazy, but there are towns in Italy that are running out of coffins. Army trucks are hauling bodies away for burial.

    As with so many other ways of dying that are so often compared with traffic accidents, Wuhan Flu (which the Italian doctors says is really pneumonia, and not “just flu”) is not something you have control over. You can decide not to drive drunk. You can obey the speed limit. For that matter, you can foreswear driving altogether.

    Nobody who has died of this virus went out and asked for it. They didn’t get drunk and do something stupid (well, except for those nitwits on Spring Break in Florida) or cease paying attention while texting. They didn’t think “oh, what the heck” and dispense with the condom.

    They just had the misfortune of being within infectable space of someone who had the virus. I don’t want to be that someone.

    By the way, I’m a huge fan of Heather MacDonald, and I hope she’s right and we’ll all look back on this and wonder why we were so freaked out.

    I watched the video, and I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s a bit overcrowded. They’re handling it.

    At 2:39 in the video, the narrator says: “But it’s the most hard-hit of all the hospitals in Italy.”

    So this video is totally unrepresentative, and even it is not a catastrophe. People are getting oxygen. I’m sure it’s a bit rough, but it’s not like a scene out of MASH.

    On the coffin question, Italy has had fewer than 5,000 reported deaths thus far, mostly over the past 2 weeks. About 600,000 people die in Italy per year, which is about 1,700 per day. We would have expected about 23,000 deaths in Italy over this period.

    It does seem to be concentrated in a few, relatively small towns, and they may be overloaded. But this is not remotely representative of the country of Italy, let alone the world.

    GrannyDude, I’m not blaming you about this. I’m pointing out that videos like this one, and the “running out of coffins” line, are precisely the way that a manipulative press would generate hysteria. Not so much because they want hysteria for its own sake, but because it sells.

    Italy has fewer than 900 reported cases per million. The US has about 80 reported cases per million.

     

    I know this is going to sound strange—boy, would this blanche the hair and shrivel the glands of so many of my relatives—but I…trust Trump?

    • #25
  26. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Stad (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I live in Mt Pleasant just North of Charleston. Lots of activity here, however they did close the beaches. Jack the dog is very upset.

    Shoot, we outght to have a Meetup in Mt. Pleasant then (post virus, of course). My wife and I go to Charleston or Mt. Pleasant periodically ( always visit Patriot’s Point when I go).

    Sounds good, PM me when your coming to town.

    • #26
  27. Roosevelt Guck Inactive
    Roosevelt Guck
    @RooseveltGuck

    Good questions.

    • #27
  28. Roosevelt Guck Inactive
    Roosevelt Guck
    @RooseveltGuck

    Stad (View Comment):

    Washington78: I am not questioning the motives of government officials.

    I am questioning the motives of government officials. “Better safe than sorry” is an excuse that can be used to shut down any business at any time for any reason. Decades of scare tactics about “global warming” didn’t cause a general panic. But this virus with help from the MSM has, so watch for this tactic to be used against Republicans this November:

    “The Republican Party, led by Donald Trump, is responsible for the deaths of XYZ Americans. Had they implemented the laws and policies offered by the Democrats, many would still be alive.”

    Voters in blue states who don’t like having their businesses shut down and who question the open-ended lockdown policies should blame their governors at election time. The governors made the decisions. Trump didn’t do anything to their businesses.

    I speculate that voters will accept a short term lockdown but once the view takes hold that it’s gone on too long, support for lockdowns will erode daily. Then the governors will take notice and act. If they’re smart they’ll listen to the people. Or they could try to cancel their elections and stick around.

    • #28
  29. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl…
    @DrewInWisconsin

    It’s important to note that when you see photos or video on the news that’s trying to communicate the seriousness (and induce panic) you will always see the scariest, most frightening photos. You will be shown the most extreme images. And you will think this is what it’s like everywhere.

    That’s how news works.

    Image result for Camera showing guy standing in flood waters

    The camera always lies.

    If I want to tell you about panic buying and hoarding, I’m going to show you a picture of the emptiest store shelf I can find. You will not see the shelves that are half-full, three-quarters full, or completely full. I want to communicate drama, so I will show you the great big empty.

    I will not show you shoppers with a basket of groceries, or a cart half full of groceries, . . . I will show you shoppers toting three cart-loads out to their car.

    Understand when you watch the news, see photos or video, you are seeing only a tiny, tiny slice of what’s real.

    Went to Walmart this morning, and the parking lot was relatively empty. There weren’t a lot of shoppers. And the shelves weren’t nearly as empty as they were last week. Oh, some were still low, but the staff was stocking while I was there. There was PLENTY of toilet paper. And nothing I wanted to buy was gone.

    • #29
  30. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… (View Comment):
    Went to Walmart this morning, and the parking lot was relatively empty. There weren’t a lot of shoppers. And the shelves weren’t nearly as empty as they were last week. Oh, some were still low, but the staff was stocking while I was there. There was PLENTY of toilet paper. And nothing I wanted to buy was gone.

    In the last couple of days, my wife and I went to about six grocery stores before we were able to find ground beef.

    • #30