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There are lots of arguments here about whether we really are exponential, or in a best-case or worst-case scenario. Passions are high. And in a month, everyone on this site will be exclaiming how they were right all along. I know, because I am quite sure I will be one of them. Just wanted to get that out there. Indeed, I want it on record that I am the first to announce that I was right. So there.
Every so often we have an argument between dark-age religious fanatics and enlightened atheists, in which the enlightened explain that humanism and love of life do not require any religious text, that principles of decent society are in fact essentially obvious to any decent person.
My answer, speaking without permission on behalf of the great unwashed, is that in times of normality, good people are found everywhere. It is in times of crisis that you need a touchstone text, a document that reminds us of the lines between civilization and barbarism. Those who lack a touchstone find themselves able to justify anything in the moment.
This entire Lung Pao Sicken (WuFlu/Kung Flu/CCP Virus) panic is doing a similar thing, but in peculiar ways. Instead of dividing between the believers and the unbelievers, or even the stupid and the smart, it is opening a chasm between the Collective and the Contrarians.
The Collective are, of course, everyone who, if not quite planning to die themselves, think we need to plan for the Worst Case, and act accordingly. That is still most people out there. I wish it was not. To me, the Collective find themselves able to justify invasions of privacy and freedoms that anyone would have rejected just a few weeks ago. Even the Constitution is no longer a touchstone.
The Contrarians are those who may not be sure of much, but we are sure that most people are wrong most of the time. Contrarians almost reflexively think that this whole situation stinks to high heaven. To us, “Everyone thinks” is invariably a mob mentality, like Climate Change or Eugenics in its day. To at least some of us (after all, some Contrarians don’t even agree with me!), this whole thing is a media plot to bump Trump, or Make the Media Relevant Again, or launch massive government invasions of our rights and liberties.
Until we have the benefit of hindsight, we won’t know who was right. And, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, each of us will righteously proclaim our wisdom a month from now, whatever happens between now and then! You can be quite sure that I will do it again.Published in