“Voluntary compliance is absolutely necessary”
Few things are sadder than watching previously reasonable people lose their marbles. America seems to have made this sort of transition its national pastime over the last few years, which is making life for my many American friends downright depressing of late.
For me, one of the most disturbing and disappointing instances of this psychological deterioration is the shift that has occurred at Patterico’s blog. The host and his partners have leapt on this media-manufactured virus hysteria with zeal, seeing it as grounds for attacking Trump. (It is, but not for the reasons they believe.) And in the process, as one does when motivated by single-minded hatred or personal indignation, they have gradually argued themselves far beyond the issue of Trump’s incompetence, and, for the sake of a twisted notion of internal consistency, they have talked themselves into complete and utter submission to the concept of totalitarianism as the right answer for this outbreak — and therefore, by implication, the right answer for any societal crisis, real or imagined.
I promised myself I wouldn’t waste anymore time over there, and I haven’t, but today I stupidly popped by to see how bad it has gotten. Pretty bad.
The most frequent contributor on the blog these days is one “Dana,” whose exclusive focus in recent weeks has been a litany of barely suppressed screams of terror over the possibility of contracting this “highly contagious virus” and dying from it, and pure hatred for every person who would dare to object to absolute government power, dare to question any “expert” who confirms her frightened bias, or dare to suggest that this virus outbreak is not the most serious crisis the universe has ever faced.
Dana’s newest piece is an attempted takedown of those protesters in various states who are daring to represent all three of those positions — and in public! A few representative samples are quoted below, along with my responses. A few is all I can take, and all I have time for, since I’m feeling increasingly ill these days — no not with that, but with the most severe case of what Nietzsche called “the after-dinner nausea.”
These Americans appear less concerned about a highly contagious virus tearing through the nation, and more focused on what they see as the heavy-handedness of government infringing on their civil liberties.
You mean they are more concerned about freedom than about their immediate physical safety? What could have gotten into their heads?
As we’ve discussed at length here, this is a matter of competing interests which need to be balanced: public health and re-opening the economy.
Are those the competing interests involved here? What happened to “what they see as the heavy-handedness of government infringing on their civil liberties”?
What’s caused further frustration, and this is somewhat understandable, is the inconsistency in restrictions. This has resulted in a dangerous risk of losing the voluntary compliance of these same people. And voluntary compliance is absolutely necessary to managing the virus, and ensuring a successful re-opening of the states.
Something has to be done about the dangerous risk of losing the “voluntary compliance” of people who are frustrated by the restrictions being imposed on their lives by their government. And this loss of “voluntary compliance” with the inconsistent government-imposed restrictions is dangerous, because after all, “voluntary compliance is absolutely necessary,” since without this voluntary compliance, it will be impossible to “ensure a successful re-opening of the states.”
What does “a successful re-opening of the states” mean? They were not “closed” by illness. They were closed by government. Successful re-opening would merely require removing the government restrictions, would it not? No, you see, because we are all supposed to be living in the illusion that the virus outbreak itself was so widespread and so serious in its effects that the world economy went into COVID-19 quarantine of its own accord. Sorry, my memory isn’t that poor. (But I’m sure I could get there, if I immersed myself in mass media propaganda, WHO fearmongering, and hatred for Donald Trump long enough.)
We are not being compelled to permanently modify our behaviors. We are being asked to temporarily modify our behavior in order to help prevent further transmission of a deadly virus which is highly contagious and has wreaked havoc across the nation in a very short period of time.
You are not being “compelled,” you are merely being “asked.” Really? Is that how this feels to you? Like a polite request from your government? And as for the idea that you are not being compelled to “permanently modify” your behavior, yes you most certainly, decisively are. You are being “asked” to swallow the principle – and to love it and defend it – that anytime your government claims to have identified a threat to the general welfare, based on any scant evidence and reasoning whatsoever, they have the authority to coercively shut down your entire society, cancel all your most fundamental constitutional rights, and compel (oops, I mean “ask for”) specific behavior that they have decided, on their own authority, is necessary to solve the alleged crisis they have created.
And it’s the sort of highly contagious virus that requires everyone to hold the line. Six feet apart and a mask when out in public. How is that a big deal? No matter what you think of government, or social distancing orders to help minimize the spread of the disease, let me ask you, why isn’t your family, or your neighbor worth the extra effort?
“No matter what you think of government, or social distancing orders….” That’s quite a “leave-aside” provision there, don’t you think? In other words, “If you care about your family, then why would you object to the government ordering you to behave as the government sees fit?” Gee, I don’t know…maybe because caring about my family has a deeper meaning for me than merely sacrificing anything and everything else in submission to some fantasy that Mother Government can protect them forever, so that no one ever dies. Maybe because for me, and a small minority of old-fashioned weirdos like me, life, including the life of my loved ones, is about more than physical survival at all costs.
Luckily, we happy few still remember our souls, since being a body is becoming a real pain in the neck of late – somewhat akin to the chafing caused by the endless rubbing of a heavy chain against your throat.