The War Analogy Revisited

If you were facing a necessary and inescapable war, one which would unavoidably result in significant loss of life on your side, which of the following strategies would you choose?

(1) Pursue a short war with a decisive win, resigning oneself to heavy losses early in the name of getting the worst of it over with and proceeding to the victory parade as quickly as possible. (The D-Day Scenario.)

(2) Try to manage and defer one’s losses by pursuing a prolonged, exclusively defensive war with a slow but steady flow of casualties spread out over many months or years — probably leading to far more in total than the losses incurred all at once in Scenario 1 — and resulting in what could only be called a defeat, though perhaps without any outright surrender declaration being issued. (The Vietnam Scenario.)

(3) Surrender to the enemy up front and beg for mercy, hoping to be spared a certain number of deaths merely by refusing to put up any resistance. (The White Flag Scenario.)

Under attack from a coronavirus that, as it seems so far, lacks the firepower to win a direct confrontation against any civilization willing to face it down with a reasonable measure of courage and common sense, almost the entire advanced world has responded with approaches located somewhere along a continuum between Scenario 2 and Scenario 3. Those countries, most obviously Italy, Spain, France, and the United States, opting for universal lockdowns, and thereby sacrificing both all principles of liberty and all hope of economic stability, are firmly on the side of Scenario 3. 

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