1. Why keep calling it the Wuhan virus? Because the largely successful news media and political correctness assault on the completely legitimate (and non-racist) label continues to bolster Chinese Communist propaganda and blame-shifting, and because the effort emerged as yet another use of Big Lie #4: “Trump Is A Racist/White Supremacist.”
As for me personally, I will keep using the term because I resent being told that what cannot possibly be racist is racist, especially when my capitulation enables similar political correctness bullying. See the Third Niggardly Principle.
2. Because it’s so darn difficult to maintain social distancing while playing tennis... About 200 yards from my home in Alexandria, Virginia, the public tennis courts have their nets removed by another proto-fascist. Yesterday, I saw two people playing on one of the courts using a self-rigged net. Good for them.
3. The problem is, you can’t force bank employees to come to work. Our bank, a large national chain, has all of its offices closed in this area, Banking is certainly an essential service, but the fact is that you can’t do banking completely remotely, though the bank is pretending you can. Its website asks for a social security number at the same time as scammers are sending out fake emails that lead you to an authentic-looking clone of the bank’s site so they can steal your personal data. Try to call to clarify or address any problem, and you get a message about how wait times are longer than usual. I’ll say they are: to try to get a fraudulent $4000 charge to our account cancelled, I had to wait for an hour and 40 minutes, then be transferred to wait another 35 minutes, then be cut off when a transfer failed.
Meanwhile, the bank’s on-hold music is played at an unbearable volume, and is an endless loop of some hellish arrangement of a melody that would have been rejected for a theme park ride. I am certain that the recording is designed to make you hang up, or, in the alternative, go crazy and run into the street naked. It is exactly like the deliberately uncomfortable seats and garish color schemes fast food outlets use to ensure you vacate the premises the second you finish eating. I swear that there cannot be a single person on the globe who would find this music anything but torture. The genre is “loud, abrasive, repetitious semi-music,” and there is no market for that. It makes hip-hop seem like Chopin.
Banks are essential, and rather than stopping stores from selling “non-essential” items, the government ought to require really essential services to have open outlets to serve depositors and bank customers experiencing their own emergencies. If a 7-11 clerk can come to work, so can a bank employee. Banks have my property within their control, and in exchange for the privilege, they are obligated to respond when I need service related to that money.
4. “The Ethicist” vs the pandemic., the real life ethicist who writes the Times magazine ethics advice column, confronted a question about a problem that I’m sure many thousands of Americans are wrestling with right now (including some members of my family.)
A woman’s roommate has continued to see her boyfriend while the two women are supposedly “sheltering.” He comes over to the apartment every day around dinnertime; they typically cook dinner in the kitchen, he stays over, then the next day, eats breakfast in the apartment. Then he goes home, where he lives with his roommates. “The roommates are continuing to see several friends,” the inquirer says. “I’m not confident that they’re all taking the proper precautions.”
The inquirer said that she gave her roommate four options:
- Her boyfriend moves in with us temporarily;
- She moves in with him temporarily;
- She goes home to her family’s house nearby and continues to do as she wishes or;
- She stays in our apartment and stops seeing her boyfriend in person until the pandemic dies down.
Her roommate rejected them all and insisted that it is her right to see her boyfriend. The Ethicist’s correspondent writes, “I believe it is my right to feel safe and healthy in my own home, and that that right should outweigh my roommate’s perceived right to do as she pleases.”
The Ethicist’s answer is excellent, while also demonstrating how ultimately unrealistic the “experts'” advice is, however accurate it might be. Here is a shortened version (but do read it all.)
…. Because love is, for many of us, a central source of meaning in our lives, we have to figure out how to balance it against other concerns and obligations. That, in essence, is the challenge facing your roommate and her boyfriend….When you are engaged in social distancing, you are doing two things, as you point out. One is merely prudent and self-interested: you are lowering the probability of your acquiring this disease. But the second thing you’re doing is conforming to a policy aimed at reducing the risks to all of us who have not yet been infected. This part of distancing is, in large part, altruistic…When a policy is working for the general good, we owe it to one another and to the community to do our fair share. …By defecting from the policy, your roommate is betraying not just you but also everybody who is sticking to it. She is also displaying a lack of respect for everyone who is benefiting from the lowered risk of infection.
… it doesn’t matter whether a specific violation of our public-health policy causes harm. Breaching it is reckless and antisocial….Your roommate, who objects to being “controlled,” is concerned with her autonomy. But she and her boyfriend are disregarding yours. As John Stuart Mill’s “harm principle” tells us, autonomy reaches its limits when an action is a threat to others. She needs to open her eyes.
I don’t know what agreement you’ll be able to reach, …[b]ut you need to agree on a serious commitment to safe practices. That means treating your roommate and her boyfriend as if they were infectious….Everyone in your household should sanitize all surfaces, tableware and cookware after each use and practice proper hand hygiene before putting things away. You should keep your foods and plates in separate cupboards and divide the space in the fridge, so you aren’t touching containers that have been used by them and, again, vice versa. If you share a bathroom, you’ll want to keep your toothpaste and toothbrush in your bedroom and ask them to do the same.And so on. Perhaps, after contemplating what is necessary to keep you safe from her decisions, your roommate will reconsider one of the more reasonable options you have already proposed. Love doesn’t have to be blind.