We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, May 14. 2020
Mike "Mish" Shedlock provides a good review of the debate between what Sweden has done vs the rest of the world.
There are many reasons, all legitimately different from cultural and societal considerations, why Sweden would be successful with their approach. But that doesn't mean every culture is unable to utilize variations on it to make it work for them. He swung, and missed, on that point.
The primary discussion point is "what is a life worth?"
There is a cost, or a value, to every life. It will vary based on relationships, love, and commonality. However, productivity of each life must also be considered. Losing a farmer and his family, so a farm that feeds 10,000 people goes abandoned, is far more damaging to society than losing the same number of people in a nursing home. Losing 20 doctors treating the virus is more damaging than losing 20 people who build apps. These are just simple facts of life. It's hard to swallow, and it's not something we want to consider, but it is very true.
Nobody wants to see anyone die, and as a country we've directed resources to saving as many as we can through pharma and academic research. In addition, we've implemented social distancing, masks, and a variety of other methods to reduce or limit spread.
All of this adds up to one thing. Reopening is the only option. Nobody knows enough about the virus to categorically state when we will, or how we will, be 'safe'. But 'safety' is no longer the primary issue we should be considering. Whether we like it or not, we are far past that point. Now we're talking about simple long-term survival.
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We don't do anything as "safe as possible". If we did the speed limit would be 25 MPH. People are going to die whether we open the economy or not.
Also, would politely disagree with Bulldog's "The primary discussion point is 'what is a life worth?'"
A human life is priceless, so that's a straw argument. The point actually is whether individual people (or their families) are responsible for protecting their own at-risk lives, or whether we are all responsible for them collectively.
I would offer that it's the former. If my 80 y/o mom lived at home, it would be my job to telecommute to protect her. Imposing my responsibility on all the rest of you is just wrong.
So the issue is individual responsibility versus the State unfairly distributing responsibility across everyone.
My sister is a health economist.
In the big econometric forecasting models that she uses in her work, a human life is valued at one million dollars.
The shibboleth that each life is priceless makes no more sense than the idea of putting different values on life; although I do believe that reference was meant to imply there is relative value to society; and not in an ethical or moral sense.
Life is finite. We know that. We also know that the duration of any particular life is a unique circumstance. For some reason our society has come to think that a prolonged life is a good life; and a necessity. This leads sometimes to bizarre, and very expensive, efforts to prolong life beyond reason. That, of course, is spurious.
Trump has called this a war against an unseen enemy. He is right in one respect, at least. As in war, costs must be weighed. Risks must be balanced against their value. Lives are sacrificed for the common good. There is no discussion here, or anywhere, about consciously sacrificing lives; but, it is absolutely true that every option involves risks. That fact must be accepted.
I am approaching my 85th birthday. I am enjoying my life because I am independent and active. If that changes, so will my attitude. But, I know that I have received full value, and now each day is a bonus. I do not want policy decisions that would protect me, but are detrimental to the community as a whole.
I do not believe for a second that Cuomo believes that "one life saved is worth it"-- this, coming from the guy who lit the Freedom Tower pink to celebrate late term abortions? Ha, pass.
I'm 100% in the reopen-the-economy camp. I tried to have a discussion about this with a coworker recently (and I'm already reticent about sharing my views with coworkers as a non-leftist working in Big Tech) and I tried to explain that people's freedom choose what's best for their own economic and physical well-being should be protected legally across the country (and immune to cultural shaming, which really gets my goat). She said that she didn't trust people to do what was necessary and was in favor of forced closures, because "people shouldn't be allowed to make the choice to hurt other people." I gave up on the conversation then and there.
At this point, I'm working from home until at least September and my company isn't going to require any employees to return to an office before 2021 ("at the earliest"). I'm young and extremely healthy, so I honestly would prefer to be inoculated, let the virus run its course if I get the shitty version of it, and self-sequester for a month. Not only would I increase herd immunity by building antibodies, but then I can donate plasma to people who need it and get back to my life. Two birds, one virus.
Good news about lockdown and working remotely is that you're not in constant proximity to coworkers who don't trust other people and favor forced closures. Maybe when the All Clear is sounded, folks like that could just stay home, safely away from the rest of us?
All well and good- and I agree - but no one - NO ONE is saying what “all clear” looks like. So none of those powers that have usurped Their power has to admit they reached the end of their emergency super powers. No one admits that there’s a limit and that’s just wrong.
haha yes, that is true-- they keep talking about the future of work from home and I believe plans to make that a permanent option are in the works, and many of my coworkers will happily do that more often.
Let me tell you what life is like now, after you lose that person. If someone dies during the lockdown, you don't get to have a funeral or a memorial service. You are cautioned not to hug a grieving family member or friend. The person dealing with the loss gets no distractions. They can't go out to eat or to a movie to forget about the loss for a little bit. They are endlessly isolated. It is inhumane.
I lost my husband late January and was lucky enough to have his memorial service before the lockdown. I am usually a strong person but the constant isolation is taking a toll. Why is it that we worry so much about the effects of isolation on prisoners, but can't spare a minute to consider what we are doing to our citizens by isolating them now?
Truly sorry for your loss. Losing a spouse is very hard. Prayers for you, Teri.
I am very sorry for your loss.
I'm also aware of what losing someone is like during this period - I wrote about it not too long ago. No good method of sharing grief, no good method of mourning. Just loss, compounded by a sense of aloneness. It can be, briefly, broken with technology. Phone calls, video calls, etc. These are not the same.
Losing someone at ANY time is not good. Today the shut down can make it unbearable for some.
I too am sorry for your loss. Just know that you are not alone. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
"Nobody wants to see anyone die."
This was a well-written little essay. But I would like to clarify a point. When a person dies, we are not "losing" anyone. It's wrong to think of death as a loss to the community. Many people, as Bulldog has stated, are not valued at all. Personally, I don't value criminals, mexicans, blacks, homosexuals, the elderly, or people with tattoos on their face. If any member of those groups were to die, I wouldn't consider it a loss. On the contrary, I would consider in a gain. One less scumbag to worry about.
Our neighborhoods have been decimated by crime. People are starting to put three different locks on their front doors. But that's a mistake. The only way to fix the problem of dangerous neighborhoods, is to get rid of the dangerous people. And the only way to fix the problem of huge taxes, is to get rid of the elderly. We need low taxes, and neighborhoods which are so safe that children can play outside unsupervised.
Read this statement: "Safety is no longer the primary issue we should be considering". Safety is the most important issue that we should be considering. Everything which happens in our country is predicated on safety. Going to school, going to work, going downtown, going for a walk; everything. But nowadays, it's impossible to go anywhere without getting threatened by riff-raff. We need to clean-up the country until it sparkles and shines. And we don't need to "save" anyone, we need to enforce the rules. Bad people, and old people shouldn't be here at all.
Ron, it seems you are having a really bad day. You really should step back, take a deep breath and go for a long walk. I hope you feel better.
I think Ron is a troll who likes stirring up controversy. He is sitting in his underwear in his mothers basement and hasn't taken a bath in a week. He has never held a job longer than a month. His mom is on the verge of having him committed and therefore he is angry and strikes out blindly. Let's hope he gets some help.
That's an ad hominim attack. I'm a 57 year old retired English teacher, living near San Francisco. Questioning someone's character is a form of sophistry; it directs attention away from the issues. I simply believe that we need a lot more honesty about what it's going to take to restore this country to sanity. Young people should not be taxed to pay for the elderly. And criminals should not be housed at taxpayer expense. The total tax rate, including inflation, state, federal, and whatever; should be 10%. People are perfectly capable of running schools, libraries, police departments, and fire departments as volunteer organizations. And most medical care can be provided by cash clinics. Seeing a nurse for ten minutes shouldn't cost more than thirty dollars. And assisted suicide for the elderly should be free. Many people have a hard time understanding that you can't just take away somebody's paycheck. That's theft.
Yes it was an ad hominem attack which I very much enjoyed writing. By the way, as an English teacher you should have caught your misspelling of "ad hominim".
SO I have a question: If taxes are theft why are you in favor of a 10% theft? Asking for a friend.
So at what age will you "off" yourself to alleviate the younger generation from having to pay for you?
No-one is questioning your character Ron,
When you listed people that society wold be better off without based on their skin color, you revealed your total lack of character.
So, no question there.
Do you really believe that the difference between blacks and whites is their skin color? That's simply not true. Black neighborhoods, without exception are dirty and dangerous. And they are full of criminals who play loud music, smoke pot, and misbehave. Black HIV is out of control, it some places it's at fifty percent; and they want free medicine. The black children have all but destroyed our public schools, and now they are doing the same thing to our universities. Blacks are extremely violent, they love to assault white people, and you can see videos this every day. Gangs of black teenagers roam the streets at night, looking for people to mug. And black adults shoplift brazenly, they go into a store with a duffel bag and fill it up. Our foster care system is full of black babies which their mothers can't feed. So the taxpayer must pay for them. And our courts are flooded with "civil rights" lawsuits filed by black people who want "reparations". You can add to all of this the fact that black I.Q. is very low. Between 65 - 80 in most cases.
Blacks are stupid, mean, and essentially untrainable. Maybe that's why so many blacks refuse to work.
Blacks are a scourge. They destroy everything they touch. The crime, the drugs, the loud music. Nobody wants black people around. In my opinion, America will never be safe as long as black people are living here.
Here's the thing: It is likely based on the evidence not just here and America but in Africa and other countries that either a genetic or some deeply ingrained social structure is responsible for blacks being on the wrong side of every measure of human activity except arguably sports. Even those who could never even say out loud what I just wrote would silently acknowledge that it is true. About 80% of all murders in the U.S. are committed by blacks along with most of the other crimes. You could go on and on listing the statistical data that clearly shows some genetic or other problem
BUT, none of that changes the fact that they are here, there and everywhere and we must deal with it. Not by blatant racism or hate and anger but in a way that creates more fairness and perhaps can help them to succeed and escape their apparent genetic "disability". Name calling is not only ineffective but demonstrably counter productive. Knowing this and knowing that it is obvious to everyone then people who still choose to belittle and use disparaging terms are suspect of choosing to intentionally cause chaos.
Actually, I never said some lives have no value. While you may not value the lives of some in lock-up, I'd venture a guess their families still hold a great value for them. That's why I mentioned things like love and connectedness as conferring value. It's not a dollar figure, but it's something.
As for safety being the most important thing, Mike Rowe did a very nice piece about that recently, and I'll try to link to it in a separate post. "Safety Third" he called it. Not that safety isn't important, but that if "Safety First" is the main focus, you wind up losing much in not only life - but even safety, in many cases.
It's an interesting point of view, and it's worth considering. I'm not saying we shouldn't consider safety. Of course we should.
But what, EXACTLY, is the safety you're referring to? Safety of income? That's my #1 priority right now. Safety of health? Probably #2.
I have to admit I do not feel threatened - ever - not even today, by disease or virus or even criminal activity. The idea that it is my #1 concern is about as foreign to me as anything from the moon landing in my backyard. I have many more concerns. The national government certainly can't provide any kind of 'safety' in any form beyond a ready military presence. Outside of that, it's crazy to think of safety as a 'national concern', at least in the fashion our media is treating Covid.
Life, every life, has a value. As you point out, some (mass murderers) may have a net negative societal value. But to those that love the individual, the value may be much higher than zero. We can't make a strict judgement on on either individual or societal value - but we MUST try to balance them in the equation.
Phil, Jr. mentions below (in comment 5) that this is about "what is life worth?" In a sense, it is. I'm not making a statement that I know what it's worth. I am making a statement that we can't provide the kind of safety from this virus that makes the other losses we're incurring worthwhile.
A good friend of mine lost a family member (very aged) to Covid and was upset about my POV. I grieved for the loss, but pointed out that life continues whether the death was from Covid, car accident, or old age. We can complain about the method of how life ended - in some cases, people are even pointing fingers and trying to place blame (ill-considered, from my POV). But we can't paint our entire society into our own little box of grieving.
His response was "what if it was you or someone in your family?"
Well, I had Covid. If I died, I died. Not much I can say about that. It was a potential outcome. If a family member died, I'd probably say the same thing. Sad, but true. You have to maintain a balance regarding life and death. Death comes for us all. We just don't know the particulars, so it's up to us to keep ourselves safe - we certainly can't (and shouldn't) put the burden on everyone else.
I read a book entitled "Who Owns Death" by Jay Lifton.
What's bizarre about the book is the fact that the author completely ignores the issues which are most relevant to killing. There is no discussion about the benefits to the patient of euthanasia; in order to relieve suffering. And there is no discussion of the cost to the taxpayer of operating thousands of prisons and nursing homes. And there is no discussion of the danger of allowing millions of street people to destroy our cities. There is no discussion of the cost of providing medical care to the elderly. And there is no discussion of how much money it will cost to fund endless care; and endless incarnation.
In other words, the book was propaganda. We have a huge state apparatus which parasitically lives on the paychecks of working people. Payroll taxes are sky high (40% and climbing) and they will go even higher, because there are so many people which the government has to feed, house, imprison, treat, and support. It's just a scam. The State apparatus isn't entitled to one penny. If a man wants to give money to charity, that's his business alone. But we've been conditioned to believe that if we don't pay high taxes for all of this high-minded "life saving" then we are bad people.
The real bad people are the Soviet Careerists in Washington, who are trying to steal everyone's money. It's a shakedown.
I don't disagree with much of that.
I'd point out only that your broad brush of which groups have no value indicates some questionable ethics, but to each his own. I believe every life has a value, and like anything else that value will vary from person to person and group to group.
At a base societal level, all lives are worth some large sum of money. The societal value will rise or decline based on your decisions, actions, productivity, care, etc.
The costs to society are not usually something I spend a lot of time thinking about. It certainly is something that concerns me when my tax monies are spent on things which I believe others should be covering for themselves - but for now, it's a losing proposition. The time will come when these costs WILL need to be considered more closely, and the individual responsibilities WILL have to be considered more carefully than they are now.
In the meantime, there is a large group of people who believe the Treasury printing green slips of paper will keep us all happy while we 'shelter in place' and see businesses collapse. Eventually reality will set in...
Re: the first paragraph-- if that's really how you feel, Ron, then you're on the same level as Cuomo in a different vein, and you embody exactly what the left has tried to paint the non-left as. Going to take a leaf out of DS's book though and chalk that up to a bad day, which I also hope gets better for you.
I strongly sympathize with your safety concerns, as crime is also up in my area. It will get better, this will pass... hang in there!
Bulldog-- glad you're doing better, and again, well said.
"Personally, I don't value ...mexicans, blacks, ..., the elderly, or people with tattoos ... If any member of those groups were to die, I wouldn't consider it a loss. On the contrary, I would consider in a gain. One less scumbag"
That is fucktarded.
And so is this: Hope you're next on the virus hit list. You'll love every one of your last few days. And just think, no more Mexicans or Blacks to deal with.
Re: The primary discussion point is "what is a life worth?"
It would be nice if they actually discussed this. Unfortunately, the closer you get to Washington, the less they actually have a clue of what a life is, much less what it might be worth, whether to another life, to a business enterprise, to a society, and so forth. Instead, they see the world only as sets of statistical people, or more in keeping with today's lexicon, disposable collectives, to be bargained away as needed for whatever deal happens to suit their immediate purpose.
This is what they didn't get about 2016: flyover country got weary of being bypassed, manufacturing workers got weary of being lectured about magic wands, people just trying to pay their bills got weary of hearing about structural unemployment thresholds. They stopped getting mad about it and decided to try to get even, since it seemed they had nothing to lose. The Washington Establishment hasn't forgiven them for it, and never will.
A couple of days ago, a friend of mine reminded me of the polio pandemic that very much framed the first decade or so of my life. I'm beginning to realise this had a far greater influence on my perspective than I'd realised. What's a life worth? Well, for starters, it's worth taking a calculated risk, if for no other reason than for the sake of those who would have liked the chance and never got it.
" I'm beginning to realise this had a far greater influence on my perspective than I'd realised. What's a life worth? Well, for starters, it's worth taking a calculated risk, if for no other reason than for the sake of those who would have liked the chance and never got it."
This is exactly what I believe. My in-laws, in FL, went out to dinner recently. My wife and BiL got upset with them. They simply said life is worth living, so you may as well enjoy it. At 83, I have to say that's a healthy attitude to have. I'm 58, and I believe it's my attitude now - and will always be that way.
Risk carries reward. It also carries risk. If all you do is worry about the risk, you never reap the reward.
We nuclear engineers got ourselves ensnared in that argument back in the 70s re nuclear power plant safety.
Moralistic hysteria beats cool logic every day.
Because 10k predicatable deaths from mining related diseases spread over years is more acceptable to everyone else than 10k deaths in a week from an unpredictable nuclear power accident.
Well stated Bulldog. I think we've now come to the point of "open or die." What all the frightened and deluded folks don't seem to get is the virus is rapidly becoming the least of our problems.
As the goalposts keep getting moved we are not only destroying the economy, we are destroying the fabric of society. When will it ever be safe enough? How messed up will we be even if some miracle vaccine appears after months of stunted social intercourse, where we can't even hug family members who live apart?
I just hope and pray that when temps get into the 80's and the pain of this farce weighs heavy enough on our souls that we'll finally shed the kabuki and boldly shake hands again ... maybe even hug a friend?
Hear hear!! Bulldog.
One could have, and many did try to make the same case three months ago. However, the public was panicked by the media, and when the media turned the cameras on the pols and thrust a microphone in their faces, they felt compelled to "do something."
The ineptitude and the resulting economic catastrophe, compounded by more ineptitude, boggles my feeble mind.
One can only hope our ruling masters feel the pressure to reopen the economy sooner rather than later.
Horowitz: One chart exposes the lie behind universal lockdowns
As you can see, the death rate doesn’t even climb above .1% until you reach over 70, with a steep and dangerous growth of risk over 75 and 80. However, it’s important to remember that even those death rates might need to be cut in half for those outside nursing homes, given that half the deaths in most countries are in senior care facilities.
Why has our government not put out a similar chart? How many Americans even know that children have near-zero threat and anyone under 60 has next to no risk of dying from the virus? Even those between 60 and 69 are at much lower risk than anything the government has suggested and that the level of panic indicates.
. . . The virus lopsidedly targets people with particular underlying conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. It is simply criminal that, with the tens of billions of dollars in “emergency” funding, the CDC has not conducted or published the results of a survey of 20,000 or so Americans to determine the exact number of infections and the fatality rate broken down by each health and age status. To most Americans, based on what the government and media have been putting out, it’s all the same and even babies will all die, as if there is a 50% fatality rate. Most people I know think their infants are in danger from COVID-19, even though the threat of flu and SIDS is much more pervasive in infants than that of coronavirus.
Infinte, in "the value of life is infinite," means that you can't calculate with it, not that it's big.
Literally not having boundaries. If they meant big, they would have used magnus.
I posted the following on Facebook the other day...
"I'm 2/3 of the way through my free (although they'd, rightly, appreciate donations to help cover costs) Hillsdale College course on the Constitution.
Wow...I thought I knew a lot about our founding and history. I didn't. You don't know much until you dig into the Federalist Papers, letters to and from the founders, and other foundational documents about the issues surrounding the creation of the first ever, and most successful government of its kind, based on free people consenting to government to protect their God-given, innate freedoms.
I'm past the part on how the US missed in some cases, and got right in others, the issue of slavery. Again, reading the thoughts of the times, in documents from those times, helps develop an understanding, whether or not you agree (and with John C. Calhoun, I vehemently don't) with those views. But, you can read their thoughts and gain an understanding of their world views. We're no smarter than our predecessors; we just know things they don't, and vice versa. I can use Excel better than they could harness a team of horses to a carriage, and vice versa.
I'm writing because I've reached the part about the progressive era, when pundits concluded the Constitution was archaic and those everlasting truths about God-given individual rights, were right for the late 18th century, but, hey, we've progressed, and those foundational "truths" are ephemeral.
Instead society trumps the individual.
Those [progressive] views, rightly or wrongly, derived in large part from Darwin, and later, Einstein. What's right for society is more important than what happens to a person, was the new, improved, and evolved view. See Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dewey. As I've said before about teams, I've only seen individuals get promoted, never a team. Much of their thinking came from Germany in the late 19th century. Not the US. Certainly not from the founders and Lincoln.
The progressive view is about society; so if this segment of society has to fail, lose their livelihoods, or "tragically" perish for the betterment of others/society, so be it.
The monstrosity of that position seems in play today. Let's kill the unborn and elderly we don't want. Because society (and the "earth") is more important. More recently, let's isolate and consolidate the elderly, frail, and perhaps, in some unfortunates' minds, useless, in nursing homes in close quarters where diseases can easily spread, keep families with a variety of ages and susceptibilities together, condemn isolated surfers, gardeners, walkers, and motor-boaters, and allow people to congregate in grocery stores. Could we have had more disjointed, ill-founded, unscientific, response to Covid-19?
Especially when responses largely reflect worse case scenarios, versus responding to local conditions.
We're all persons, individually created and loved by God, not some bee or ant, living only to sacrifice its existence for society (and some self-elected elite) to die with our families, livelihoods, and lives on the altar of society, so our "elite" betters can continue the all important society, living in their mansions with expensive ice cream, while millions upon millions are unemployed and choosing between food, electricity, and rent or violating edicts and working."
We need to ease the quarantines starting now, because the cure is worse than the disease.
I'm 1/3 of the way through the first lesson of the Hillsdale College course on the Constitution. :) It's my second Hillsdale course and I plan to take more.
A book you might find interesting is Vindicating the Founders,Thomas G. West. I have learned a lot from it as to the mindset of The Founders.
It's a part of the world we live in now. A part of us. It's not going away. We've learned to live with worse things. We have to learn to live with this...