Coronavirus Overreaction: Ruling Class Hypocrisy And Absolutism
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In my podcast, I talk about  "the absurd over-reaction" to coronavirus . Let me enlarge on that.

You all know about the reaction, whether or not you agree with me that it's been an over-reaction. You know about the lockdowns and quarantines, the shuttering of restaurants, bars, and gyms. You've probably seen some of the protests against it all, like the big one in New York City's Staten Island midweek.

You've also seen the hypocrisy of our ruling class on flagrant display:

  • Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done, maskless, at a salon that was supposed to be closed.

  • Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, maskless, attending a birthday party at a pricey restaurant.

  • Michael Hancock, Mayor of Denver (right) the day before Thanksgiving gave a public address to the people of that city urging them to stay home and greet family by Zoom for the holiday. Less than an hour later, he got on a plane and flew to Mississippi to spend the holiday with his wife and daughter, presumably maskless.

  • Lori Lightfoot, Mayor of Chicago, attended a crowded street party to celebrate Joe Biden's apparent victory. That was November 7th. A week later she shut down the whole city and told Chicagoans to cancel their Thanksgiving plans. She did wear a mask some of the time at the street party, but dropped it when yelling into a bullhorn.

  • Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin, Texas, posted a video message to inhabitants of Austin November 9th saying, quote: "We need to stay home if you can … We need to keep the numbers down." It turned out he recorded that message while on vacation in Mexico, whither he had flown on a private jet.

    Two days before flying to Mexico Adler had hosted a wedding and reception in Austin for his daughter and 20 guests—ten more than were allowed under his own city guidelines.

  • Just one more, though I could fill the whole podcast with these. This is Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York. November 18th Cuomo told reporters that, quote: "My personal advice is you don't have family gatherings—even for Thanksgiving." Next day, the 19th, he advised New Yorkers that: "This year, if you love someone, it is better and safer to stay away."

    But then, the following Monday, Cuomo told a radio interview: "The story is, my mom is going to come up and two of my girls."

    To the Governor's credit, after a fuss in the local media, he canceled the dinner. Although perhaps he flew to Mississippi to join Mayor Hancock and his family, I don't know

I know how I feel about these hypocrite politicians. I'm just having trouble imagining what you think of them if you are the owner of a small business you spent years building up, that has now been put out of business by their crazy regulations.

Isn't it all necessary, though? Wouldn't a lot more people die without those regulations? How do I feel about the possibility that I might be one of them? Or someone I love?

This is where I find myself thinking something's wrong with our deepest instincts. There is a point of balance to be found between carefree carry-on-as-normal and control-freak absolutism. We have not found that point.

Take traffic fatalities as a comparison. The U.S.A. suffers around 35,000 traffic fatalities a year. Every one is of course a heartbreaking tragedy to wives, husbands, parents, children, lovers and friends. Couldn't we get the number down somewhat?

Sure we could. We could go for control-freak absolutism: implement a nationwide no-exceptions speed limit of fifteen miles per hour. That's four times faster than walking: should be fast enough for anybody. Traffic fatalities would drop to a few hundred a year.

So why don't we do this, and spare ourselves those tens of thousands of tragedies? Because Americans wouldn't stand for it. The economy would be crippled: businesses can't move goods at fifteen miles an hour. Even just ordinary citizens would be up in arms: "What, I have to spend four hours driving to check on my granny sixty miles away?"

Sure, we take sensible measures to reduce the toll: speed limits, vehicle inspections, seat-belt laws. In the final analysis, though, we accept that normal life includes some number of deaths, possibly deaths of ourselves or our loved ones. We like normal life, even if it costs many deaths. We don't like control-freak absolutism, even if it saves many lives. We have found the point of balance.

In the case of the coronavirus, we haven't. Instead of seeking for it in a reasonable way, we have defaulted to control-freak absolutism, along with all those displays of hypocrisy from the absolutists.

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