Prudence in the Age of the Coronavirus or Just Politics Uber Alles?

Starvation

The purportedly mainstream media’s (MSM) political motivation for reporting makes wise decision making virtually impossible and renders wise decisions made (if any) invisible.  This is especially true today in the United States where everything on the MSM is reported in the context of returning the Deep State to unchallenged power and to replacing the unpredictability of the Trump administration with more reliably docile figureheads.  To be clear, I do not support most of the current administration’s policies nor do I advocate for its retention.  I will not be voting for Mr. Trump’s reelection, but I acknowledge that the Deep State alternative is even worse.  What we need is a paradigm shift away from both.

Currently, the world is facing an existential threat from the Covid 19 pandemic but, as a result of the utter lack of credibility in the MSM and the limitations on the free exchange of information now imposed by the major Internet platforms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc., as well as by the “shame your neighbor” tactics of strategic intolerance now sweeping the country, it is virtually impossible to accurately evaluate the options available to best confront any issue, including the Covid 19 crisis.  On the one hand there is the danger to life and health posited by exposure to the virus but on the other lies the danger of starvation and destruction of the economic system posed by overreaction.

Which is worse?  Is it a quantifiable matter?

It probably is.  How many lives will be lost on the short, intermediate and long terms based on the alternatives available?  However, the alternatives are not absolute.  They involve a range of options starting at one extreme with shutting down the entire world society to doing absolutely nothing on the other, and the best option is unclear, other than the reality that it is not at either extreme.  Opinions as to the best option are highly colored by perspective.  To those who have reasonable economic security, severe actions such as closing down society entirely may seem not only reasonable but essential.  However, for those around the world who live on what they earn that day, the perspective is totally different, mattering little if they die from the virus or from starvation.  To them, and they are the majority, the likelihood that between 3% and 4% of those reported as infected (not, of the total population) will die is much less of a danger than the probability that without income, they will all starve.

Because the MSM and opposition parties all over the world (opposition parties with drastically different philosophies and goals) all feel that regime change is what really matters, both economic devastation and widespread death as a result of the virus are merely collateral damage, thus, it is more important to impede the implementation of solutions than to permit opponents to receive credit for best efforts, whether or not successful.  MSM reporting is always on a tails-you-lose and heads-you-lose-as-well basis with respect to those in power.  Nowhere is that more true than in the United States and the United Kingdom.  Especially in the United States where the quest for power by the Democratic Party knows no bounds and no cost is too high, a quest that involves not only that political party but all elements of the Deep State, including the more reliable traditionalist wing of the GOP.

This morning, August 9, 2020, the president of the United States Federal Reserve proposed that the entire United States economy be shut down for six weeks as a means of fighting the Covid 19 virus, a suggestion applauded by the leadership of the Democratic Party who see that as guaranteeing electoral success this November (see “Fed’s Kashkari calls for 6-week economic shutdown to control coronavirus”).  That is a myopic perspective that ignores the plight of the less advantaged as much as French Queen Marie Antoinette purportedly did just prior to the French Revolution when she is rumored to have suggested that if the poor had no bread to eat, they should just settle for cake.  How many of us can afford not to feed our families for six weeks?  There is no easy solution but simplistic solutions are the worst and Mr. Kashkari’s solution is just that.  In fact, most of the solutions posited in the MSM are not only simplistic but all too frequently incoherent and contradictory.

In other historical periods, periods before polarization and Identity Politics and Shame your Neighbor became the norm, societies usually faced existential crises by setting their differences aside, at least temporarily, and confronting the crisis together, the vast majority applauding reasonable efforts at resolution even if they were not precisely those they themselves would have selected.  There are multiple workable solutions to most problems and the issue is usually which will be implemented.  Unfortunately, while multiple alternative solutions would probably make the Covid 19 crisis manageable, cooperation and understanding and rooting for success is not the case today with respect to our political leadership.  The important thing is to exacerbate things and deny one’s opponent any credit at all, and to Hell with the consequences.

This November we will again be going to the ballot boxes to cast our votes but we will be doing so virtually blind as the MSM and our other arbiters of information (think censors), rather than serving as democracy’s heart, the organ that pumps the blood of accurate and complete information to every cell, has spread the cancer of misinformation and divisiveness.  Wise electoral decisions are based, not on voting against something we have been driven like lemmings to fear, but on voting in favor of what we believe.  In voting for what we find good rather that in favor of lesser evils, an addiction we have too often been forced to accept.  Our electoral system is not bipolar as we have been persuaded to accept, but multipolar with numerous options, among them quite a few that are actually good (see, e.g., “Third party and independent candidates for the 2020 United States presidential election[1]) rather than mere purportedly lesser evils, lesser evils which almost always turn out to have been evil but not lesser.

Humans have evolved with respect to those aspects of our character which are positive by learning from our mistakes rather than by constantly repeating them and by exercising the quality of daring that permits us to undertake long term solutions by daring to assume risks and understanding that change requires a starting point, and the sooner that starting point is initiated the better.  If these times indeed pose existential threats, prudence in the age of the coronavirus requires that we reject the doctrine of politics uber alles and realize that it is way past time to find our courage.
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© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2020; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

[1] Wikipedia is not a reliable source s it is too easy to manipulate, but it is a good starting point for research.

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