I did an unusually long deconstruction of an offensive and thoroughly revolting New York Times editorial by Charlie Warzel titled “Open States, Lots of Guns. America Is Paying a Heavy Price for Freedom,” or in my print edition, “Will We Get Used To The Dying?”
It was so bad—and also so representative of the current media propaganda making the unsustainable case that advocating an end to the lockdown before the U.S. economy is indistinguishable from that of Togo is selfish and irrational—that the piece was ripe for additional censure. Glenn Logan, as usual, did a superb job in this, his Comment of the Day on the post, “Prelude To ‘The Pandemic Creates A Classic And Difficult Ethics Conflict, But The Resolution Is Clear, Part II’”:
Let me give your fisking a some additional fodder:
“The coronavirus scenario I can’t stop thinking about is the one where we simply get used to all the dying.”
Like with the flu, or with suicide, or with automobile accidents? Yes, I suppose your thinking is correct.
You: “How old is Warzel, 15? We accept the mortality of modern life, just as our ancestors accepted the mortality of their own periods.”
Mortality is a fact of the human condition, although Warzel seems blissfully unaware of that. Being born a human is an absolute guarantee of mortality. Hell, being born an organic organism on planet Earth is a guarantee of mortality. While the current level of excess mortality is unusual in the West for the last half-century or so, it is by no means unprecedented, percentage of the population-wise, in modern history. It certainly isn’t unprecedented in other areas of the world in very recent history.
Yet somehow humanity got through those others, and “got used to it.”
“The day I read Mr. Nelson’s tweet, 1,723 Americans were reported to have died from the virus. And yet their collective passing was hardly mourned. After all, how to distinguish those souls from the 2,097 who perished the day before or the 1,558 who died the day after?”
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t try to distinguish “souls” from each other. That’s God’s job, not mine. Is Warzel comparing himself to God, or does he imagine it is the job of humanity to mourn every stranger who passes from a natural process like a disease?
Good heavens, he would have to be God to have that kind of empathetic capacity. Would Dark Helmet have mourned Lone Star’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate?
“Such loss of life is hard to comprehend when it’s not happening in front of your own two eyes.”
What’s to comprehend, dude? People die. My mother-in-law died the other day from natural causes. It was easy to comprehend. We’ve had over 250 people in Kentucky die purportedly from the virus. I’ve had no problem comprehending that, nor the 1-3000 that die daily in the USA under current conditions.
It’s called a “plague.” These events have happened throughout history, and almost always more severe than what is likely with this one.
“There’s also a national precedent for Mr. Nelson’s hypothetical: America’s response to gun violence and school shootings.”
Heh. I’m going to posit one of these things is not like the other.
“As a country, we seem resigned to preventable firearm deaths. Each year, 36,000 Americans are killed by guns — roughly 100 per day, most from suicide, according to data from the Giffords Law Center.There are occasional marches and protests but mostly we continue on with our lives.”
Help me out — 36,000+ people die on the highways every year. Those are totally preventable.
But just like the freedom to keep and bear arms, the freedom to utilize vehicular transport is an American tradition. The only real difference is that it’s a) a much younger tradition and b)protected explicitly by the Bill of Rights.
“The federal government could have moved swiftly like some in Europe to “freeze” the economy and commit to paying at least part of workers’ salaries if their companies don’t lay them off.”
You: “Hey, it’s only [other people’s] money!”
There, fixed that for you.
I guess he thinks we’ll never run out of other people’s money.
“As in the gun control debate, public opinion, public health and the public good seem poised to lose out to a select set of personal freedoms. But it’s a child’s two-dimensional view of freedom — one where any suggestion of collective duty and responsibility for others become the chains of tyranny.“
Who gets to say what is the “public good?” You? I think not. Tyranny doesn’t look like people taking care of themselves — it looks like people being forced to “take care” of strangers by surrendering their liberty. The colonists felt so strongly about these “liberty” things that they fought a revolution against their former government and formed an independent country.
When did we decide that those founders were wrong, that individual liberty must give way to submission to the collective will? I don’t recall deciding that.
“This idea of freedom is also an excuse to serve one’s self before others and a shield to hide from responsibility.”
The idea of freedom is a responsibility, not an excuse to provide for oneself and to allow others the same opportunity. The concept of charity, community and commerce drive some, but not all, free persons to provide for others that which they are unable to provide for themselves, either as charity or for compensation. That is true freedom, and something Wazel either doesn’t understand or doesn’t prefer.
In this narrow worldview, freedom has a price, in the form of an “acceptable” number of human lives lost. It’s a price that will be calculated and then set by a select few. The rest of us merely pay it.
The millions that fought in many wars over the history of this country to preserve the freedom that allows Mr. Warzel to write his poison are the price we paid, in blood and treasure. This plague will exact a toll which, in absolute plague terms may be less if we continue to hide in our homes, but will pale next to the depredations of hunger, despair, and chaos which will flow from a a collapsed economy.
I say participating in the self-destruction of the country by hiding like cowards from the virus is a poor substitute for bravely going forth and knowingly risking our lives to return to a semblance of normality. Our predecessors in the Greatest Generation would expect no less.