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COVID-19 was an epidemic. But is it anymore? What characterizes an epidemic is its growth and effect. It moves quickly through a population affecting a disproportionate number of individuals and is of public concern because of the impact that that number of illnesses on society as a whole.
Early on we knew little of what was going to happen and scenes from China and Italy genuinely panicked us all. The media, fresh off its disappointment over the failure to remove Trump and the termination of that drama quickly picked up the epidemic as its means of driving views and clicks. First, we had the drama of disease growth. And even though the clinical approach to treatment was basically the same regardless of the cause of respiratory distress, the first cudgel with which to beat upon Trump was the lack of testing to confirm that these cases were in fact caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Once the testing was ramped up it confirmed that there was a fast-moving virus loose in the country. This became the headline as we watched the “new cases” scoreboard totals mount.
The next thing was pressure for a strong governmental response. Like bowling pins toppling, state after state-imposed restrictions on liberty and the economy. The story was that response, not the disease itself. Initially deaths did not mount quickly enough to satisfy the media and, ironically, it was only with the heavy hand of government in place that the death toll rose significantly. Turns out a lot of people died because of government rules, e.g., mandating sick people be put back in nursing homes. The tension between a President abiding by the federal scheme set out in the Constitution and the governors of Blue States made for a delicious storyline as everything from personal protection equipment, to ventilators, to hospital ships, to potential therapies for COVID-19, was mined for drama.
And then, when victory over the disease was in sight, the story shifted to the dangers of reopening the economy. Never mind that the data was moving in the right direction, except for that reliable alarm bell: new cases. Hospitalizations were down, incremental death was slowing. The only drama for the news was to pit the people restive with loss of liberty against the local government and fearful people. All that was going nicely until a new story arose: The riots!
The media characterize it as “protesting” but the re-opening protests did not involve looting, arson, and murder of law enforcement. Nevertheless, re-opening protests were bad because they threatened to spread disease. But the riots are good because America is racist; businesses flattened by the epidemic-induced economic shutdown and now damaged and emptied of inventory did not deserve to re-open anyway. But somehow the shibboleth of social distancing that characterized the good people who cared about their neighbors when the story was the epidemic, can now be ignored. No danger here, the media said.
So is there an epidemic anymore?
Yes. It is not the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is the disrespect for human liberty and property, the uneven application of law. It is the Progressive Virus that has infected too much of our culture and institutions. It whispers in the ear to inflame grievance and to justify demands for unequal treatment under the law. It victimizes people by robbing them of their name — their special and unique identifier — and substituting it with a government-approved designation as part of a group. They are to be treated as a group, both for good or ill, and denied their G-d given individual rights. They are to be dependent upon government patronage in every aspect of their life. Some will learn the game and play it so well that for a time they can be part of the slaveholders and not the slaves.
Progressivism gains its adherents through the belief that they will be the slave holders and not the slaves, just as lotteries pull in marks with the promise of riches that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of math should know is elusive. Although few get the grand prize, the lesser prizes are sufficient in number to extend Progressive power. And that combination of frequent although lesser payouts keep people in the game. Just like a slot machine, payouts timed to keep focus on the game and off of the environment around them. And so it is that the Progressive Virus enslaves us all.
Personally, I prefer SARS-CoV-2. I’ll take my chances. Just let me be me, and free.
[Note 1: I will be arbitrarily ending the daily COVID-19 posts on Day 150. It is clear now more than ever that this is not a public health crisis, it is a public policy crisis dressed in whatever garb best suits those that promote government control over our lives. That will be the constant battle of the remainder of my life. But it has nothing to do with the disease we labeled COVID-19.]
[Note 2: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]Published in