The New Normal: Safetyism

A nation of pussies.

To grasp the urgency of lifting the ubiquitous economic shutdowns, visit New York City’s Central Park, ideally in the morning. At 5:45 am, it is occupied by maybe 100 runners and cyclists, spread over 843 acres. A large portion of these early-bird exercisers wear masks. Are they trying to protect anyone they might encounter from their own unsuspected coronavirus infection? Perhaps. But if you yourself run towards an oncoming runner on a vector that will keep you at least three yards away when you pass each other, he is likely to lunge sideways in terror if your face is not covered. The masked cyclists, who speed around the park’s inner road, apparently think that there are enough virus particles suspended in the billions of square feet of fresh air circulating across the park to enter their mucous membranes and to sicken them.

These are delusional beliefs, yet they demonstrate the degree of paranoia that has infected the population. Every day the lockdown continues, its implicit message that we are all going to die if we engage in normal life is reinforced. Polls show an increasing number of Americans opting to continue the economic quarantine indefinitely lest they be ‘unsafe’. The longer that belief is reinforced, the less likely it will be that consumers will patronize reopened restaurants or board airplanes in sufficient numbers to bring the economy back to life.

To cancel most of the country’s economy for a problem, however tragic, that is highly localized was a devastating policy blunder that must be immediately corrected. The lockdowns are taking a scythe to everything that makes human existence both possible and meaningful. Lives are being lost to the overreaction. Heart attack and stroke victims shrink from calling 911 lest they burden hospitals now dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 cases. Cancer victims have had their stem cell transplants put on hold; heart surgeries are being postponed indefinitely. The cancellation of ‘nonessential’ procedures has prevented the diagnosis of life-threatening diseases, writes a former chief of neuroradiology at the Stanford University Medical Center. Tumors and potentially deadly brain aneurysms are going undetected. Drug abuse deaths from economic despair and isolation may already be rising, as data out of Ohio suggests. The United Nations predicts tens of millions more lives globally stunted by extreme poverty and hundreds of thousands of childhood deaths.

US unemployment is at depression levels. Small businessmen who risked their savings and credit in the hope of creating a successful enterprise have had their efforts destroyed. Up to a third of local businesses may never reopen. The damage to supply chains grows deeper by the day. Farmers are plowing under cabbages and strawberries, pouring out milk, and destroying eggs because they have lost their markets. It is almost impossible to plan future production with demand so irrationally depressed. Retail sales registered their biggest monthly drop on record in March. Department stores and local newspapers may become relics.

Many cultural institutions — small theaters, regional orchestras, and opera companies — will never rise again. Demand for progressive causes such as public transit and dense, multi-unit housing will evaporate the longer that fear is stoked. Yet the safetyism rhetoric is unabating. ‘The vast majority of people want to feel safe,’ a doctor told MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle on April 23. ‘Hopefully people will turn to public health authorities and scientists for [safety] strategies.’ Those same authorities dole out positive reinforcement to keep the populace compliant. ‘Americans have done such a wonderful job’ of social distancing, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force director, encouragingly announced, ‘so we don’t want to jeopardize their efforts with a hasty reopening’, she added.

To be sure, a revolt is brewing against the idea that perfect safety is the precondition for social and economic life. Even residents of blue states are chafing under their mandates, provoking sniffy rebukes from their public health masters. But enough people have embraced fear to destroy the necessary demand side of an economic recovery. The lockdowns signal that it is not safe to shop, travel, or socialize — a message that in most places is false. The bans must be lifted, while protective efforts are targeted intensely at the vulnerable elderly. As a harbinger of liberation, any true public health expert would tell those Central Park joggers and those solo drivers in their cars to tear off their masks and breathe free.

It’s a sad commentary on our bizarre state of affairs that MacDonald’s perfectly reasonable, rational article could strike anybody as somehow “radical,” “extreme,” or “dangerous.” But you can be certain that it will.

29 thoughts on “The New Normal: Safetyism

  1. I can’t believe you even link that radical, Heather Mac Donald. If we listen to her we’ll live freely instead of dying in our caves. What kind of country would that be, where one can make their own decisions? Nope, can’t have that. Because Virus.

    Half of the few cases we have in North Carolina are in nursing homes or resident care facilities. And we are in lockdown. 306 deaths. Total. Including the 151 from the congregate living. And that communist governor extended the lockdown.

    Given the numbers, the fact that there is no stress on the hospital system – just the opposite, they may go out of business for a lack of business – and the numbers are flat lining on the downward trend – why is NC in lockdown?

    Because the commie governor is doing his best to destroy freedom and liberty in NC and across the nation.

        1. Right now, it shows 196 Congregate and 354 Total Deaths. Not sure where the lags are but that is 55% again.

  2. Now here in NC the Governor and Team are saying that reopening is predicated on daily new cases decreasing rather than merely flattening. Goal Posts raised and Moved Again.
    Meanwhile Spectrum News had a little corner window showing a NC Reopen Protest happening right now. Not sure where it is or anything about it and never heard about it or I might have joined. None of the other local channels are covering it.
    Unbelievable.

  3. We would have been much better off letting businesses stay open and funneling money to certain sectors.
    If Unemployment rose 5%, give a 25% raise to benefits. If nursing home staff need to quarantine with their elderly, give them 50-100% extra pay for that time period. You could probably rotate staff as well with a reasonable testing system.
    Domestic Airlines actually seem to have people on flights if I watch the news.
    Give them subsidies for international.
    Restaurants could be open for dine in but at limited capacity, give them a subsidy.
    This mail out a check to everybody does nothing. they pay some bills or they stash it away “In case”.

    We no longer have any people who can think in an Emergency, even when the Emergency was only in Big Cities.

    1. We no longer have any people who can think in an Emergency, even when the Emergency was only in Big Cities.

      FIFY

  4. Small businessmen who risked their savings and credit in the hope of creating a successful enterprise have had their efforts destroyed.

    Haven’t you heard? Any small business which had to close down after having no customers for only a month or so was going to fail within a year anyway.

    I’ve noticed that the people who say that tend to be the same who scream the loudest when someone else says that those who die of the Chinese Flu were most likely going to die within a year anyway.

    (Contra my norm, I’m not in any way joking, exaggerating, or doing anything but relating the straight facts. I’ve seen several people make the first assertion. I’ve seen a lot of people object to the second assertion. And there is noticeable overlap between those two sets of people.)

    1. It’s not true in one respect.
      Slowing sales in a business are usually anticipated.
      No one expects the Grand Inquisition The GRAND SHUTDOWN.

    2. “I’ve noticed that the people who say that tend to be the same…”

      I’d say it’s a lot stronger than “tend”…

      This must be some newfangled practice of diplomacy 🙂

    3. Those same people were appalled when Crooked made her remarks about having to prop up every underfunded business and she couldn’t be held responsible for some Policy she was pushing that would bankrupt a lot of small and medium sized businesses.
      And THAT was merely adding some additional cost that drew off already thin Margins. This is a complete elimination of Revenue (or in some cases 80% of Revenue, like take out only restaurants can still at least sell something)

    4. Yeah, some people find the premature death of a person, perhaps a loved one, more unsettling than the premature death of a business.

      1. Hey I know, lets all stop driving because that will save 40K lives a year in the USA and 125million plus worldwide.

        You wouldn’t be opposed to a driving moratorium would you, flake? It would save a lot of premature deaths, deaths that are a lot more premature than those the china virus are killing.

        1. Barry, you keep assuming I approve of all the restrictions that have been imposed when I’ve never said any such thing. I only talk about what is, what people have to say about it and mention why I think people feel the way they do about aspects of the situation (hence my comment above). Nothing more.

          1. Bullshit. You were trying to insinuate Kenny cared less for other people, or even a family member, than a business.

            And of course you avoid the question: Are you for shutting down driving and saving lives? The 1.25 million that die each year on the highways? Or are their lives worthless?

  5. My “comment above” had nothing to do with Kenny. It was directed at SteveF’s comment higher up. Re shutting down driving, do I have to repeat that I’ve never endorsed the government measures being imposed. By the way, you’re great a squawking to us nobodies over and over again about how none of this was necessary and that the economy is being destroyed but I’ve never heard you say: and that’s exactly what I’ve been repeatedly saying to my state governor and other legislators. Also I note that you are proud of your neighbors in Gaston County who protested in Raleigh. But you didn’t go did you. You sit on the sidelines and do nothing but complain about things most people agree on . How very, very brave.

    1. Had I known I would have went.
      How do you know what Barry and i have said to our Legislators. How do you know what i might have given to the Open Up NC orgs that set up the Protests?
      now, excuse me, because my Dog Groomer has FINALLY been allowed to go back to work after 8 weeks and we need to take our dog there. luckily they work out of a private residence so their overhead was low.
      Why do you hate business people?
      OPEN THE ECONOMY!!

      1. I would know what you said to your Legislators because you would have posted their responses since those responses would have been fundamental to all you are trying to achieve. Nice try Kenny.

        1. They didn’t respond.
          Say Henry, I have an idea. Give me your retirement and bank account details and let me take your life savings away.
          Would you like that? I mean it’s not quite the same as dying.

    2. OK, Bullshit, you were trying to insinuate SteveF cared less for other people, or even a family member, than a business.

      And again, you avoid saying what you would do. You’re a coward. To answer will reveal you.

      What you hear me say has exactly zero to do with anything. You simply resort to personal attacks as soon as you’re exposed as a hypocritical coward.

      “But you didn’t go did you. You sit on the sidelines and do nothing but complain about things most people agree on . How very, very brave.”

      You don’t know where I’ve been, coward. And by the way, each comment of mine has my name on it. You can skip it if you don’t like the “squawking”.

      And just to be clear, neither I or Kenny ever said “none of this was necessary”. In fact both of us said NYC and the area should have been locked down, the retirement and nursing homes protected, while the rest of the country where there is no problem continues to work.

      And yes, we are destroying the economy for no reason. It isn’t going to kill the virus by destroying an economy.

      Quit being dishonest and pretending you don’t support the lockdown. That’s just an outright lie.

      Buzz off. You’re just a pathetic liar looking to start a fight.

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