Exactly How Much Are We “All In This Together”? The Golden Rule Vs. “Look Out For #1”

Well it’s 4:30 am again, and once more an issue encountered right before bedtime has pushed me into insomnia.

I wish I could blame Philip Galanes, as it was a question in his advice column Social Q’s that got my ethics alarms ringing, but I should have been thinking about this one as soon as the pandemic response entered the social isolation phase. It’s not only a difficult ethics issue but an important and a classic one.

In “The Diary of Anne Frank,” we learned that the four member Frank family hid from the Nazis in a two floor secret annex in  Otto Frank’s office building. Soon after going into hiding, the group almost doubled with the addition of three members of the van Pels family, and still later, a dentist, Fritz Pfeffer, called Albert Dussel in the diary, was admitted to the group. Pfeffer was a stranger to the Franks, but the family dentist of Otto Frank’s employee Miep Gies (the heroic caretaker of the Franks and their secret ally)  and the van Pels. Adding Pfeffer strained the food supply and the living arrangements as well as increasing the risk to all, but nonetheless, the group accepted him.

An inquirer asked Galanes,

A couple of weeks ago, before Covid-19 exploded in New York, a close friend asked if she and her husband could leave Manhattan and stay with us at our home in Bergen County, N.J. It was a tough question to have asked of me, but I decided it was the right thing to do. I told my friend they could come. For other reasons, they didn’t. Now, she’s asked again. They’re really scared! I’m not sure what to do. My husband has asthma, they would have to share a bathroom with my cranky 19-year-old son, and I am helping my elderly mother who lives nearby (contact-free). Any advice?

His advice was to keep her out, and to expect the friends to be hurt by the decision.

There are missing details here, like the size of the house, which could make a huge difference in assessing risk. Some might ask other questions, like “Exactly how good a friend is this?” That would lead inexorably to other questions: “Would the answer be the same if it was a relative? An ex- lover? How about someone to whom the questioner owed a debt of gratitude? What if she offered to pay a lot of money? Would the same answer be as justified if the couple want to send  only their child? Two children?

Shouldn’t the answer be the same no matter who the human beings begging for help are?

Sure, the threat posed by Nazis and their final solution was greater and more terrifying, but that’s #22 on the Rationalizations List: “It’s not the worst thing.” If someone is trapped in a human Petri dish like New York during a contagion, there is sufficient reason for fear to justify a plea for help.

Many fictional stories involve variations on this ethics conflict, notably recent Netflix film “The Bird Box,” in which some unexplained things made people become suicidal and homicidal  when they were seen. A  group in lockdown in a house is faced with deciding whether to allow desperate individuals banging on the door, pleading to be allowed in and swearing that they are uninfected to join their group, knowing that there is a risk that the suicide or murder urge has already been planted. “The Walking Dead” has also explored this problem multiple times. In that zombie apocalypse show, admitting others to a safely isolated group usually works out badly, which doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t the most ethical course.

The Golden Rule is awfully unforgiving here: wouldn’t you want and expect your friend to take you in if you were desperate and felt your life was at stake? Kant would ask if you would make rejecting such a request a universal principle–would you? The problem points to a utilitarian balancing of risks and outcomes as the most ethical solution, but that process is so polluted by unavoidable biases that any decision could be easily challenged and rebutted.

In addition, we can be sure that consequentialism will raise its stupid head one way or another. In the Social Q’s example, let’s say the inquirer’s family says no and the couple eventually catch the virus and die. In the alternative, let’s hypothesize that they allow the couple to move in, take all possible precautions, and the asthma-inflicted father becomes infected and dies.

Worse still, what  if the couple is accepted and moves in, and then beloved family members in New Orleans make the same request? Do you turn them down? Do you throw the first couple out? Can you throw the first couple out?

There is no absolute, ethically-unassailable answer to the question posed to Gallanes, or the issue faced by the inquirer. But if the consensus answer is “Sorry, family comes first, your problem is not my problem, and you can’t make it my problem,” then stop mouthing the slogan (and yes, I am sick of hearing it, and this problem is one reason why) “We’re all in this together.” We’re not, if the prevailing ethical standard is “Everyone for themselves!”

30 thoughts on “Exactly How Much Are We “All In This Together”? The Golden Rule Vs. “Look Out For #1”

  1. I’m not sure these situations are the same.

    In the case of the Franks, everyone in that annex didn’t just fear for their lives, their lives were in certain danger and they had nowhere else to go. The laws in force made it impossible for them to live in their own homes, make a living or to go out on the street without facing arrest, deportation and death. While I’m unclear as to the extent that these particular people knew what awaited them if they were discovered, it is certainly true that they were living under a regime that marked them all for death. After their arrest, every person in that annex died except for Mr. Frank.

    The virus is dangerous, yes. It does kill people of all ages, yes. Manhattan is a hotspot, yes. But there is no evidence that the would-be houseguests cannot live where they currently are. There’s nothing to indicate their landlord is evicting them or they are being foreclosed upon. There are plenty of people self-isolating in Manhattan and taking precautions when grocery shopping. It sounds like these folks just want to escape Manhattan to New Jersey where they feel that they are less exposed to the virus. Indianapolis is a hot spot, too, but I’m staying where I’m at, not asking my at-risk aunt and uncle who live in a big house in rural Indiana to take us in until it’s over.

    The timing is also a concern. In the beginning, it may not have been so risky to bring their friends to stay with them. By this time, the likelihood of their friends being exposed to the virus is very high and there is a good possibility that they will bring it into the house, endangering the asthmatic husband.

    Without more information, I really don’t know the right answer here.

  2. If you can afford to live in Manhattan you don’t need to impose on someone elsewhere. Rent a hotel room in Bergen County if you need to be close to Manhattan. This whole question makes no sense as Bergen County is just outside NY and almost equally as hot a spot as New York City.

    If they are scared of the virus I am sure a road trip is in order and the Motel 6’s across America will leave the light on for you. Just look for a place with few cases. I live in MD. a state with 6.8 million people. we have – last time I checked about 6800 cases. That is 1 in 1,000 people and out of every 100,000 citizens 2.5 have died from Covid-19. Lets compare that to so many other killers of people.

    I am with you Jack on this. I am hate hearing “we are all in this together”. But not for the same reasons. If we are honest it is not the death rate that bothers us it is the fact that someone else can infect you. This is how they have learned to control behavior in an historically free population. You cannot tell me not to smoke but if authorities say that my smoke is hurting someone else you can control smoking because you automatically get a larger population voting against the smaller smoker population. The concept of coffin nails did not magically spring up in the last decade. Everyone knew cigarettes were killers. But public health officials could not get legislation against smoking until the idea of second hand smoke became the rage. Then when the number of smokers reached a low enough level then the heavy hand of government came down on them. The Women’s Temperance League used the idea that alcohol affected third parties and not just the drinker to get the Volstead Act passed. They entire “we are in this together mantra” is a form of mind control. Do not question the authorities because we are all in this together. Get enough people in fear of their lives they will do as the experts tell them without question. Goebbels knew this and unleashed his campaign of fear against what he called a human virus.

    This morning on Fox Dr. Nicole Sapphire began talking about a promising new broad spectrum anti-viral. She was visibly ebullient over the prospect of this new drug and how it showed great promise in a small study of 53 patients. That’s right just 53 patients. Last week she was parroting Dr. Fauci’s position that the Hydroxychloroquine- ZPac combination was at best anecdotally supported but people should not consider it because of potential side effects. I bet no one will ask if she, Fauci or Birx have investments in these firms creating these new anti-viral medications.

    How many Doctors are diminishing the efficacy and safety ( creation of fear) of a known quantity that will be far less costly to produce and deliver in favor of a new much higher priced (read: big profit potential) drug that has less data supporting it? I am coming to the conclusion that health care (or the promise of it) will be the way our democratic republican form of government will evolve into an authoritarian technocratic one. Bill Gates suggested in a Ted Talk that we have a digital certificate about immunizations. When data collection and medicine collide they form an unholy alliance. When you add the law making power of government to that alliance we will become slaves.

    • Chris writes:

      They entire “we are in this together mantra” is a form of mind control. Do not question the authorities because we are all in this together. Get enough people in fear of their lives they will do as the experts tell them without question. Goebbels knew this and unleashed his campaign of fear against what he called a human virus.

      I hope you can forgive me for often commenting on your posts. One reason is that you bring up things that simply seem interesting to me. The other is that, under the pressure of the time, I have actually increased in the degree of evilness that afflicts me. I am not getting better people! I am getting worse. Oh well. A modification of the Julie Principle applied to Alizia.

      American ‘togetherness’ was, from the start of it, an invention of propaganda. The first *wave* of it was during the fabricated WW1. It was at that point that a mass manipulation of the entire population became necessary, and as a result the propaganda-PR industry set itself to the task. These are facts. In order to mobilize a whole nation, filled with disparate peoples, it became necessary to create propaganda about equality and sameness and to associate all of that with a ‘greater good’ and with ‘good’ generally. In this sense the American-togetherness is a fairly obvious invention. I know that merely stating this is an unwelcome and even offensive intrusion. Yet it seems necessary at least insofar as it ties in to other views I have and points I make.

      So, one of the main issues that has recently come crashing into everyone’s view has been, quite exactly, the knowledge that, in truth, we are not together. We will, under certain exterior circumstances, be forced to act as if we are together (for example 9/11 seemed to have that artificial and non-durable effect), but a sense of ‘togetherness’, of genuine unity, of concordance of purpose, of shared destiny, or coincident objectives: come now, please! such does not exist.

      Get enough people in fear of their lives they will do as the experts tell them without question.

      Yes, that is true. If a fearful situation is exploited by players capable of duplicity and deviousness — it must be assumed that American business-interests, in collusion with government, do not fundamentally have people’s interests in mind, but have their own interests in mind, as they develop, perfect and present the false-image that they are *on our side*. This is a fundamental truth in our age it seems to me. And it is one that an agile intellect, an honest intellect, a wary and crafty person in times of deviousness, must hold to despite all the *trickery*.

      So, if it is possible to notice this deception & trickery now and in this instance, and if one takes the issue and problem seriously, how far can one go in one’s analysis and investigation? If it is true that WW1 was a contrived conflict, what then was its ‘real object’? Let us put aside all the notions of ‘idealism’ and focus more on how people actually make decisions in the real world. See, the ‘idealism’ is the product sold, the vehicle of trickery, but the result is that *mobilized mass* who then become organized, for business purposes essentially (if you really reduce it to the fundamentals), to set aside their own defined life-objects to serve national objectives that are not, not really, their own. Again, these are facts: accurate statements about real things. This is the kind of thing that would be talked about, freely and openly, in a genuinely intellectually free country. I suggest to you that, in truth, one is unfree to really examine things. Put another way it is made extremely difficult to have an open and far-ranging conversation because of all the *controls* that kick in. I am thinking specifically, and as a good example, of some who write here (on notable non-fan of Chomsky comes to mind!)

      Interesting is it not? that one only begins to ask questions when one noticed tyranny at one’s own door, when one’s own sovereignty is affected. But trust me when I say that I do not know how to act in relation to what I my self am saying. Maybe the best thing is not to resist the sort of controls that you, Chris, notice. Not to complain about them. But to accept them as a necessary aspect of American power and yes of hegemony. In the larger structure of geo-politics there are far larger battles being waged. Maybe it is best to, like the obedient Chinese communists, relent to serving power and to agree to sacrifice sovereignty because, at the end of the day, it is more likely that one and one’s family will eat.

      . . . and unleashed his campaign of fear against what he called a human virus.

      Hoo boy! You are really *going for it*. If one actually studies the events in Europe — those wars, those civil wars (as they have been said to be) — and if one actually can *see* what happened in Germany during the Reich, it was — that is, it began as — an expulsion. A desire to be rid of a people that began to be seen as *our misfortune* (that is how it was looked at them). A decision by the German state to expel out of it the unwelcome Jewish population that grew too strong. This is not in any sense complex. As Jewish population have done, and do, wherever they can. Now, our day came in America! America is *ours*. It is simply a fact of Jewish history. What happens now, well, that is another story.

      There have been dozens of such expulsions and they are not *new*. These are parts-and-parcels of Jewish fate and certainly a part of the diaspora experience. Jewish history, I often have reminded people, is not over. It is wise to keep this in mind as the events of history thicken and heat up.

      You could tie this together — if it were possible to get *topical* and to open every line of conversation, every topic for open conversation — to E Michael Jones’ view of ‘the Jewish revolutionary spirit’. Jews have been given, and have also come to serve, unique processes in Occidental history. These come about, according to Jones, because of the core rejection of Christian terms and metaphysics. Jews become, then, terrestrial agents opposed to Christian terms. This is, of course, the basis of Jewish assertion that Christianity is ‘essentially anti-Semitic’.

      To understand Jews and Jewishness is very much beyond the scope of what is possible for 99% of those who write here. So, you live in a shadow-realm where you cannot in fact think about it. And yet, since 2000, your country has been severely affected by aspects of this ‘revolutionary spirit’ in the form of neo-conservatism (a Jewish movement essentially, that is if one understands Zionism to be Jewish). Christian Zionism has joined itself with Jewish Zionism in a very unlikely alliance.

      Hey, I am just pointing these things out! I set myself to bringing up those topics that are pushed underground . . . It’s an ooooolllddd habit.

      I have already investigated every.single.forbidden.topic so I recoil away from none of this. It simply doesn’t scare me. But what I notice is that *many people* are sooooooo careful to keep their conversation — the ideas they can entertain — within *established limits*.

      Look to the future. Be crafty and as fore-thinking as Odysseus. Don’t believe the hype. Look behind all narratives. Don’t self-deceive. A great battle is just beginning. Pay attention! Remember that in the final analysis: your soul is what is being fought over. Things are not what they seem and they are more than what they seem.

      • I’ll begin with, why do I bother? I always get the feeling that you don’t understand the concept that the “perfect is the enemy of the good”. Water is the essence of life but if consumed too rapidly in too large a quantity it will kill. The same is true of oxygen. You persistently lose the focus of my statement by discussing that the world is imperfect. Here is the reason: Man is imperfect. Because man is imperfect all his creations are subject to imperfections. If we lived in a perfect world their would be not reason to improve our understanding of things. They key to man’s continued existence is not to surrender his will to some power structure but to question that power structure and demand answers that man can choose to live with. Man has the choice.

        Get enough people in fear of their lives they will do as the experts tell them without question.

        Yes, that is true. If a fearful situation is exploited by players capable of duplicity and deviousness — it must be assumed that American business-interests, in collusion with government, do not fundamentally have people’s interests in mind, but have their own interests in mind, as they develop, perfect and present the false-image that they are *on our side*. This is a fundamental truth in our age it seems to me. And it is one that an agile intellect, an honest intellect, a wary and crafty person in times of deviousness, must hold to despite all the *trickery*.

        No shit Sherlock. Marketing 101 teaches that people will act out of fear of loss than of gain. Business does this all the time but business does not carry with it direct legislative power nor does it have the mantle of expertise that medical doctors and other PhD labeled experts use to control. Many great business failures resulted from FOLO – “fear of losing out”. Say it with me Folo sounds like follow. I’ll say it again, people who abdicate their responsibility to critically think about what is told to them are termed compliant workers. Those who don’t abdicate that responsibility are called citizens.

        Point 2
        If it is true that WW1 was a contrived conflict, what then was its ‘real object’? Who cares it happened in Europe and we were drawn into it. I stood on the bridge where the Archduke was assassinated why that started a war is of European concern not an American one. Does business profit in war? Of course it does. It also gets destroyed if one’s business is on the losing side.

        You said:
        “Interesting is it not? that one only begins to ask questions when one noticed tyranny at one’s own door, when one’s own sovereignty is affected. But trust me when I say that I do not know how to act in relation to what I my self am saying. Maybe the best thing is not to resist the sort of controls that you, Chris, notice. Not to complain about them. But to accept them as a necessary aspect of American power and yes of hegemony. In the larger structure of geo-politics there are far larger battles being waged. Maybe it is best to, like the obedient Chinese communists, relent to serving power and to agree to sacrifice sovereignty because, at the end of the day, it is more likely that one and one’s family will eat.”

        Again, your first sentence is not some great truth. People who are free to choose will focus on what benefits them. The problem is that every choice made is always based on imperfect information. No one can say if an investment choice will continue to give the same profits it does today. No one can say that I will what I think is a good deal today will be a good deal a week from now. No parent can say that giving every experiential opportunity to your kid will make your kid successful. We make decisions at the margin in the here and now. What I can say with fairly good certainty is that if I give up my autonomy and my ability to think creatively I will always be dependent and subservient to someone that chooses to rule. Whether I eat or not as a serf is at the discretion of another.

        You went to take a statement I made

        . . . and unleashed his campaign of fear against what he called a human virus.

        and stated

        “Hoo boy! You are really *going for it*. If one actually studies the events in Europe — those wars, those civil wars (as they have been said to be) — and if one actually can *see* what happened in Germany during the Reich, it was — that is, it began as — an expulsion. A desire to be rid of a people that began to be seen as *our misfortune* (that is how it was looked at them). A decision by the German state to expel out of it the unwelcome Jewish population that grew too strong. This is not in any sense complex. As Jewish population have done, and do, wherever they can. Now, our day came in America! America is *ours*. It is simply a fact of Jewish history. What happens now, well, that is another story.

        If one studies economic history around that time one would know that the beginning in the late 1800’s Marxian theory was taking hold across Europe. It flourished Tsarist Russia, which was basically an agrarian society until industrialization, which ultimately led to the revolution. In the US we saw worker groups bombing factories and riots broke out. The Sherman anti-trust act was one of the first laws reducing the power of one and shifting the collective power of others to government to prevent a single person or group from being too powerful. Ironically, it was also use to keep labor from organizing. I could go into the Wobblies or the “Workers of the World” but that would be too much of a digression. The fact is that significant shifts of power were playing out across the globe with respect to the going from feudal Europe to an competitive industrial Europe. We stuck with capitalism but much of Europe was going hard socialist.

        The Reich did begin as an expulsion until they figured that they could not eliminate the problem through expulsion. That led to the final solution. Nonetheless by your own words, “A decision by the German state to expel out of it the unwelcome Jewish population that grew too strong”, the entire rationale is fear based. Too strong. What the hell does that mean? Were the Jews subjugating the pure Germans? Is that why the Night of Broken Glass took place. Or was it the Poles that were threatening Berchtesgaden which caused the German Socialist party to need to implement the lightning war. The answer is no. The National Socialists created fear that the German state would be gone forever because of the French demands at Versailles ending WWI. Goebbels took advantage of the global depression and laid the blame at the feet of the non-pure German specifically Jews. It was Goebbels that called them a virus that plagued the world. I used the term virus to draw that parallel.

        I am not sure what you mean when you say “Now, our day came in America! America is *ours*.” Who is meant by “our”. I know you claimed to have some Jewish lineage but it appears you are saying that we Jews have conquered (owns) America. I don’t think any particular religion has owns America. It sounds like something Goebbels would say to get the rabble roused.

        You said:
        “To understand Jews and Jewishness is very much beyond the scope of what is possible for 99% of those who write here. So, you live in a shadow-realm where you cannot in fact think about it. And yet, since 2000, your country has been severely affected by aspects of this ‘revolutionary spirit’ in the form of neo-conservatism (a Jewish movement essentially, that is if one understands Zionism to be Jewish). Christian Zionism has joined itself with Jewish Zionism in a very unlikely alliance.”

        You are terribly full of yourself and damn condescending. No one ever has your insight and prescience. Again, sounds reminiscent of Goebbels. He had all the answers too.

        Your last paragraph stated my original thesis to question that which is being fed to you. The difference is that I believe the BS is coming from power hungry “expert scientific government” folks not some religious of ethnic group. They have simply adapted Taylor’s Scientific Management theory and applied it to government. Have you ever wondered why business and government employ so many psychologists and organizational theorists.

        • You are terribly full of yourself and damn condescending. No one ever has your insight and prescience. Again, sounds reminiscent of Goebbels. He had all the answers too.

          It is a role that I have been given, and one that I have both accepted (“OK, I’ll play this rôle”) and one that I am trying to perfect. In this sense it is a game (in the sense of the ludic) that I play. If possible please remember how I have been seen, labeled and treated as a result of some of the things I say. So, please understand that instead of retreating backwards from labeling and insult, I advance forward with it proportionately. In forum environments rôles are often assigned by the *group*. As an example you could think about how leftists and progressives are defined & labeled.

          What I feel I am dealing with, and what I always make efforts to speak to, is a certain kind of American conservative closed-mindedness. I have stated this a dozen times. What you have been saying recently is surprising and even *shocking* to me because your critical position is unpatriotic within a context of people who seem, often, only to be able to see America through ultra-patriot’s lenses. And please excuse the fact that with my generalizing I necessarily commit an error: I am dealing with tendencies, and speaking to tendencies.

          You do not have enough information to understand what the ultimate object of Zionism is. And I do not think you actually know what Zionism is, nor what it has become. It is a virulent ideological position. To the degree that it has influenced American policies it has done tremendous harm. Not good. But harm. And it will continue to do this.

          Can you please tell me just why it is wrong for me to make this statement? To be a Jew is one thing. To live as an observant Jew is what I mean of course. It has a very noble dimension and I speak as a Sefardita. To get involved with Zionist machinations is a very very different thing. It deviates into very significant error. There is nothing immoral with what I say here. I admit it is a bold statement. But I make it, and I can back it up. To the degree that Zionism is operative in America, I and others who think as I do have every right to speak about it. It is that simple.

        • You persistently lose the focus of my statement by discussing that the world is imperfect. Here is the reason: Man is imperfect. Because man is imperfect all his creations are subject to imperfections. If we lived in a perfect world their would be not reason to improve our understanding of things. They key to man’s continued existence is not to surrender his will to some power structure but to question that power structure and demand answers that man can choose to live with. Man has the choice.

          The video that you posted contains a thoroughly radical perspective. It directly indicates the degree to which private corporate business interests, in collusion with government, have usurped and are usurping sovereignty of persons at fundamental levels.

          A conversation about ‘the imperfections of the world’ is irrelevant. The question, the issue, is to *see the world we live in* here & now. To be able to decipher what is going on.

          What interests me in your perspective is how it contrasts with the gullible perspective that most on this list have: the patriotic ‘conservatives’ who cannot critique their own country and what has been done to it.

          You say that one needs “to question that power structure and demand answers that man can choose to live with. Man has the choice”. That is all well and good. I am communicating, here, largely with people who have closed interpretive systems. They can *see* the evil and the bad ‘out there’ and ‘over there’ but they cannot see how these things have become systemic and, to that degree, lost or corrupted.

          Again, your video interests me because it clearly delineates extremely real and extremely important issues of constitutional breaches (to say the least) and indicates a corruption that veers toward the demoniac.

          That’s all Chris. I am interested in highlighting that perspective (those perspectives) and please note that as one involved in the Dissident Right I am aware of the war that is just now gaining strength to fight those who have dissident perspectives. Therefore, all those things are important to me. All these things need to be brought out into the open and discussed: seen & understood.

          • Esteemed colleague! Since you seem to be going to the far ends of imagined universes chasing the wildest of all wild conspiracy theories . . . 🙂 . . . I thought you would appreciate what this fellow has to say. I do not sponsor his ideas, or share them necessarily, but there does seem to be more than meets the eye in this strangest of strange times.

  3. Agree on the Manhattan issue. If a person can afford to live in Manhattan, one assumes they can get the “hell out of Dodge” and find a nice hotel/motel away from the City. Are they practicing social distancing? A fair question for the friend being asked for help.

    As for me, we have a 12-room house that could easily be divided into sectors that would protect us (homeowners) from guests. On that basis, with certain information and certain conditions, I would consider it. But the key is: with certain information (on the would-be guests) and certain conditions. I wouldn’t want my home to become a general refuge (word gets out) — golden rule or not… And if one follows the golden rule completely, do they have to be good friends, or just strangers in need? See above.

    • If someone’s asthmatic in the house, the answer should be “no.” That’s the kind of person who’s at risk with this flu.

      We’re not all in this together. The advertising writers are, but the rest of us are not.

    • I’d reserve the house for family (and the three friends I can name who are considered family). Everyone else is out of luck on taking shelter with me.

  4. A friend recently shared an article from Vox arguing that social distancing should be viewed not as an act of personal protection, but an act of solidarity. Since it was Vox, they felt this should be a philosophical change among the public.

    I responded:
    “”Solidarity” seems like a weird word here on the east coast where state boarders now require papers, especially anyone percieved as fleeing NYC, and the eastern shore of MD is angrily demanding the Bay Bridge be closed against the DC area. It’s been interesting seeing this kind of intense local tribalism take hold in real time, and I think a lot of people have formed very strong ideas about who the “we” that’s in this together is. That might be good enough to promote social distancing, but I don’t think this is going the philosophical direction Vox writers hope it is.”

    For point of reference, I’ve joined a local facebook group for information about the virus on Delmarva, and it instantly was overtaken by the biggest bunch of authortarian witch-hunting busybodies I’ve ever seen outside of the ultra-woke far left: everything should be shut down, even grocery stores; anyone buying more TP than they would is hoarding; everyone has enough groceries now so grocery stores should shut down for two weeks; anyone out of their house with more than one person must not be out for essentials; andone with out of state tags needs to GO HOME (especially funny because the reason it’s a group for Delmarva is that we all act as one community in working and shopping and socializing across the MD/DE and MD/VA boarders.)

    The “we” who are in this together has become a smaller and smaller group, subject to more and more suspicion and policing… I’d be tempted to take on friends from NYC just to piss them off, except that I’m hoping that if we can isolate enough we can spend some time with my mom and stepdad who have underlying conditions in the next few days.

  5. I say the first duty here is to the family. And the friends in this scenario should accept it. Also, why aren’t they moving out with their families?

    Also, even in the worst case scenarios I’ve seen people with the economic means (and it appears these guys have them) could get enough supplies for a three week quarantine – minus toilet paper – when the thing started ramping up. Heck, I haven’t seen enough shortages *during* the quarantine thatyou couldn’t get basic supplies for a month. Risk one outing (with only one person) and grab enough provisions for the next three weeks, probably less risky than going to the friends’ place.

    I suspect the requesters will want to live their lives unaffected (“What do you mean I can’t go to my morning stroll and stop to pick up coffee on the way back?”) and want to move to a lower risk area where they can keep their current living standards instead of hunkering down as they should.

  6. I’m really growing to detest the sappy ‘we’re all in this together’ BS. The people in these ads are healthy and some celebs who have way more options and resources available. So these people are not very convincing. I thoroughly agree we need morale boosting, and that would be much better served by laying off the divisive stuff of social issues. ‘We’re all in this together’ doesn’t sound very comforting when you hear it hundreds of times a day, but don’t see very many give more than lip service. I’d rather people skip trite phrases if they aren’t willing to help that elderly neighbor who needs groceries, drop off a craft set or diapers to a frazzled at home parent. All these people are beating empty promises.

    • “We’re all in this together” I hear, as I sit in my house, alone, bored and lonely. The two kids I love(d) most in the world (he asked me to be the best man at his wedding) won’t come over, won’t call, won’t initiate a text. When this is over, it is possible we are going to have a brief, possibly loud discussion, and a parting of the ways. Maybe not…we’ll see.

    • I am really, really tired of what has seemed like an endless series of emails from every credit card company, just about every supplier I do business with, anyone I’ve ever ordered something from, everyone whose mailing list I am on — all saying “we’re all in this together, we’re concerned about you, and we’re changing our ways to cope with this crisis”, etc, ad nauseum.

      Grocery store, sure, they need to tell you what’s being done and what they’re changing. I all these essentially empty gesture of concern soon just blend together. I had 1 (one) credit card email to say they are offering to let you skip your monthly payments for April and May. That’s actually something that might help people out — especially if you don’t know whether you’ll have a job in April and May. I won’t forget them.

      The rest — if you are not doing something, don’t pollute my ears. Sheesh.

      • Oh and now I get an alert that JP Morgan Chase is raising their requirements for writing new mortgages. Yep, let’s not have the riff raff being able to refinance right now. We’re all in this together, but some of us are more together than others……..

        • Actually, that might not be totally their fault. My husband works for a company that processes the requests for various verifications for lenders, specifically in a department dedicated to requests to the IRS to verify income for mortages. My husband is still at work, the mortgage companies can send him the information and he’ll get it all ready to go, but the IRS department that fills the requests is closed. They stopped filling requests around the last week of March, and there’s no word on when they’ll start up again.

          So, it might be that some banks are only processing mortgages they can approve according to their policies without IRS verification.

          • Oh sure, you’re going to be reasonable when I was just wanting to scream at the sky.

            You actually make a valid point, although I don’t think it applies in this instance — the tone of the article indicated they were just tightening their lending standards.

            And, by the way, I work at a tax preparation firm. We can actually verify — with proper authorization — what we filed on a person’s tax return. Of course it’s not official government speak (which they typically won’t stand behind anyways). Just a thought.

  7. Beating this epidemic relies on everybody using social isolation when away from home by not coming within six feet of anyone else except others living in the same bubble, that is people (usually a family or close friends) living together. As anyone who is asymptomatic can be infectious for nearly two weeks and they may pass the virus on to others in their bubble who may then pass it on to others each bubble needs to be separate from other bubbles for a minimum of four weeks.
    Anyone wanting to change bubbles partway through any lockdown severely compromises the whole concept of social distancing which is vital to stop the virus so no the only proper thing they can say is “NO”.

  8. Whenever we encounter an ethical conflict, we need to take a look at the bigger picture, figure out what the most ethically effective way to deal with the relevant liabilities is, and then scale that principle back down to the current situation.

    If we ever encounter a situation where people really do need to seek shelter, each family should ask itself, who do I most want to offer shelter if they need it? Those people get first choice. If they pass, then the family reaches out to the next group they care about. And so on. People can’t just wait for situations to happen to them; they need to ask themselves the hard questions about who they prioritize and why.

    Having done that, everyone should prepare themselves to help in other ways, to offset the help they can’t offer through the space of their home. These ethical situations don’t take place in a vacuum. There are plenty of options for people to help in various ways and coordinate to make sure people get what they need even if it’s from someone they didn’t know. Benefactors can go shopping, donate money or food, organize, offer listening ears, et cetera. It’s amazing what people can do for each other when they put their minds to it.

    Meanwhile, the virtue society needs to practice for dealing with the liability of dealing with disaster is “exposure”. One connotation of exposure is that when a group experiences a small crisis in relatively controlled circumstances, society as a whole can help out and learn from it more easily. Society is vaccinated, so to speak, against a larger version of the disaster once they know how it works–provided, that is, they take advantage of that knowledge.

    However, it’s not necessary to actually experience a disaster in order to achieve exposure. If you identify the weakest points in your civilization’s infrastructure, you can set up backup measures and contingencies without knowing what could disable the main systems. That’s something I notice is conspicuously absent from modern society. Communities collectively fail to discuss crises or prepare for them by investing in strategic resources and training. Who here has ever done an emergency drill in their own home? /keeps appendages lowered

    Granted, I’m not the best person to help directly with the liability of disaster (unpredicted physical obstacles). I specialize in dealing with the liability of stagnation (limitations on thinking), which in this case means that try to get people to start thinking about how to deal with all the liabilities, and how to teach the skills and design institutions for actually doing that effectively.

      • Concur. Both with the original comment, and Jack’s assessment.

        Meanwhile – I’m out of protective masks. I bought 200 to give to neighbours back in November/December.

        After the bushfires – worse than I’d predicted – and the smoke emergency – 30 killed in Canberra, COVID has so far killed 2, with new infections zero for a few days now – most were gone. The Government released a large fraction of our National Pandemic Stockpile to vulnerable groups, but 5 million masks doesn’t cover 25 million people when half are exposed to toxic smoke in 5-10 times hazardous levels. The hundred I gave to the local pharmacy doubled their stock to give out to the aged, the pregnant , and the homeless. The rest I had given out on our street.

        The Government refilled the stockpile quickly, then added twice as much, to 75 million. It has since been doubled again, with another batch of 54 million coming in last week on top of that, to deal with the pandemic. None too soon, hospitals need them.

        The US, with 14 times the population, had only 13 million in stock. Over 100 million had been given out dealing with 3 different pandemics in the previous administration, Zika alone took 50 million.

        For some reason, restocks stopped after 2016. The branch of the national security council responsible was dissolved, its functions reassigned to another branch that didn’t see it as a priority, 2/3 of its personnel leaving.

        I didn’t trust my own government to be as competent as it has turned out to be. Not nearly as much as it could be, but definitely better than I had hoped, far, far better than I expected.

        It’s up to everyone to be a “prepper” to some extent. Not just for themselves, but for others, to the limit of their financial ability. In a perfect world, this prepping would be done by a competent government through taxes. In a perfect world, delivery would be by flying pigs, more common than competent governments.

        • Thanks, both of you! I agree, based on what we’ve seen of government competence, I think the government should aim to make it easier for people to look out for themselves and each other, and the responsibility will be on people to take advantage of that. Right now, in the process of trying to do everything for people, the government only inhibits them from taking responsibility.

  9. 14 days strict no-one leaves the house quarantine. Then let them in.
    Where I live, this would be illegal.
    I acknowledge that with inhabitants in vulnerable categories, it would be unwise.

    But not very unwise if the 14 day quarantine is adhered to. An acceptable risk, even miniscule.

    More wise would be to leave a minimum number of people with the vulnerable group to csre for them, and the rest break up into small groups and live elsewhere.

  10. This brings back memories of 1979 when one of my cousins and her family (husband and daughter) came to stay at our house for a few weeks during the Three Mile Island incident.

    I know it’s not the same thing in many many ways, but it was a clear memory of a time when my parents taught 10-year-old me a big ethical lesson about the importance of helping people. (Some other relatives who lived in the area also similarly stayed with other aunts and uncles.)

    So I’m pretty sure my first impulse would be to allow the people to come and stay. I have (some) extra space, and I’m reasonably confident that both my wife and I are healthy enough that we would recover if infected.

    –Dwayne

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