Critical Thought at a Critical Time
I am going to beg you to think critically for just a few minutes here. Of course, that is the goal every time a political writer toils, but on this subject critical thought has been missing across the board for two months. One of the most socially crippling aspects of the COVID-19 fiasco has been that the talking heads on TV and elsewhere have long since run out of things to talk about. So they started making things up to say and then sought out commentators to advance the fantasies. I’ll give you a couple examples. We all knew we had a pandemic on our hands as of late February. The newsies knew it too. But an official pandemic has set parameters to meet before being declared. The most important of which is how many countries are impacted. Once that threshold is met pointy-headed committees like the World Health Organization (WHO) declare the “pandemic”. On that day all the news cycles were reporting the declaration as if it were more alarming than what we were already dealing with. And they succeeded in convincing YOU that this was important. That was just the newsies keeping the chatter alive and trying to keep your eyes locked on their outlet. If you are living through an epidemic it means NOTHING to you if officials call it an epidemic or a pandemic. To you it is the same thing. Also, an illness is not made more dangerous by calling it a pandemic. It’s still the same germ. If a malady that made everyone’s eyes watery for two days swept the nation, you’d have an epidemic. If it crossed enough borders, you’d have a pandemic. The latter designation does not make watery eyes more scary or important. But the newsies gasped and convinced most of you that My god, it’s worse than we thought! It’s a PANDEMIC!!!
Will we ever be the same?!?!
For the last week we have listened to the talking heads breathlessly trying to define a new normal. I have watched as they repeatedly asked guests whether we will emerge from this event unable to relate to each other as we have in the past. Tell me, Mister Pretend Expert, will we ever be able to gather in restaurants or at sporting events again? Will we ever hug grandma without KILLING her? Blah, blah, blah. Sadly, while human nature will win out as it ALWAYS does, I suspect the jackasses in the media may well have created a vast new cadre of “germaphobes” that never would have existed without their Chicken Little commentary. In today’s me-me-me society we will face a few years of some people thinking they have a moral right to scold or even attack people who will be trying to go about their normal business. You’ll also see people trying to sue any venue they can blame in the event they contract Corona. Jackpot justice just opened a whole, new market sector.
If you are a woodworker you will not want the quarantine end. Just kidding...sort of.
Happy Break Over!
Ruining your health AND your 401K
The Mao Microbe experience has shown, even more than the housing crash, how easy it is to convince people to do or accept stupid things without so much as a whimper. As I said previously, far more than the realities of the pandemic, market makers are reacting to how WE are REACTING, and a great deal to the STUPID things being said by the talking heads. If we had kept our wits about us from the outset, if the media had not filled every news cycle with ONLY news about the virus, the markets would have surely gone down, but likely not nearly as much. But markets are now driven by computers programmed to cull headlines, key phrases and even images to trigger trades. Every time the market bakes in a new reality and appears to stabilize or even go up a bit, some empty-headed hand-wringer finds a new way of restating how the world is about to end. Computers and the more weak-kneed investors then react to the new pithy phrases being generated and prices drop again. Believe me or don’t. It’s your 401K.
Cleaning ourselves into a future sickbed
Not 30 minutes has gone by in the last month where you haven’t been admonished to use hand sanitizer. This situation is not what hand sanitizer was designed for. The stuff MAY kill the Red Death that you MIGHT have gotten from the grocery store cart. But it WILL kill healthy microbes that you need to sustain good health. We may find that some of those very microbes would have helped protect us from things like…the Red Death. Don’t take my word for it. Look it up. Hand sanitizer was designed to clean your hands OCCASSIONALLY when soap and water are not available. By using the stuff several times a day you are likely damaging your overall immune system. More on that in a bit. The answer to protecting yourself at the stores [including the liquor store…isn’t that a riot?] is latex or nitrile gloves. Hell, house cleaning gloves would do fine too. When you get home chuck them or clean them with a diluted bleach rinse and use them again. But quit trying to sterilize your fingers every half hour!
More on immunity
I will make this one guarantee. You will be exposed to COVID-19, period. Sooner or later, whether you actually get sick or not, you WILL contract the virus. There is no way around it. No matter how cautious you are, you will be directly exposed. Think about that in this context. Part of maintaining our immunities is constant exposure to microbes, both familiar and unfamiliar. The familiar would be what we experience every day with coworkers, social groups and family. Take away that exposure, even for a short time and we start to lose some of our tribal immunities. Just how much diminished this will be is incalculable. But shutting ourselves away FOR MONTHS we will absolutely test whatever that value may be. My money is on far more bad than good. As for the unfamiliar… by building and maintaining our ammo belt of immunities, we keep ourselves healthier overall and are thereby better equipped to face unfamiliar microbes. This improves our chances of not being sickened by the unfamiliar or not being as seriously sickened. It doesn’t work with all germs, but we all know that trying to live a sterile life WILL make you sick. Playing in the dirt is generally healthier. Further, going to work, maybe going bowling or playing basketball, going for a swim at the YMCA may be the only activity some of us get. Many of us live on the ragged edge of fitness. I know I do. It is a lead-pipe-cinch that we can’t go on sitting at home. When the ruling class mandates, or when reasonable people just tire of the drama, we will return to society. The longer it takes, the more weakened we will all be in facing this “Xi TB” along with the Flu, colds, sinus problems, stomach viruses, etc., once we emerge from our hibernation. 90% of you were better off facing the virus a month ago than you are right now. There will be a treatment protocol for the Red Death quite soon. A vaccine will follow in record time. But we can’t wait that long before accepting the risk and getting back to real life. I say that as a member of the at risk population. Call your boss. Say you are ready to get back in the fight. If you are a boss trust your employees to look after their own interests as you will yours.
Politicians will continue to carpet bomb us with shit money, giving you the illusion that you are “getting” something. What you are getting is a further devaluation of your economy. By helping you get to the other end of this thing with no gaps [done because they know few of you saved a dime for a rainy day] they have simply piled on more debt and worthless cash, all of which will have to be flushed out of the system. And how will they do that later? Why, more give-aways and more government programs, of course. Our response to the housing crash was the worst precedent we ever set for dealing with nation-wide challenges. It would not have happened if the voting public had the first notion as to how stupid the mass bailouts were. And here we are again.
In a year or two, hospitals will have truckloads of ventilators in storage. Smart bean counters will tell administrators they need to sell them off to other hospitals and other countries at pennies on the dollar because storing them is wasteful. Mark my words. This WILL happen. You will watch it happen or not even notice. Then the first hospital caught flat-footed in a large scale emergency will be crying to mommy government to bail them out again. Socialized medicine crackpots will say, "See? This is why we need mommy government to pay for EVERYTHING."
Venues that try to open with what TV idiots are calling the new normal; social distaining, hyper cleaning and the like, will go under. The ones who just open their doors and say come on in will be just fine.
And so will we…for the most part.