There used to be two types of people in this world. People that position the toilet paper facing forward… and people that put it facing backwards. For the record I face my toilet paper the correct way. I also note that my household is full of heathen savages that seem completely agnostic about about this fundamental principle that governs our civilization.
In any event, as of late, society has been further divided up into two castes Essential and Non-essential.
To my great chagrin I have been deemed by the powers that be as ‘non-essential’. Which obviously pisses me off. Especially since I identify as essential. I mean, there is even some empirical data to suggest that I should be, in the very least be allowed to dip my toe into the pool with the cool (essential) kids. But alas…
You know what happens when you segregate populations into cool and uncool? The maligned section wears black… and starts listening to heavy metal. In no time at all they’re getting piercings and tattoos and smoking and having unprotected sex and quoting lines for Chuck Palahniuk seminal work.
I mean I like doctors. And nurses. And the people who collect my garbage. (and probably all the other people that are allowed to earn money at the moment) But I don’t think it should be competition about who gets claim the ultimate kudos for defining (or defending) our civilization.
And yes, apparently this all a necessarily evil to save the world. Be good and do what we tell you to do. Otherwise people with guns will come and arrest you and stick you in a hole with murderers and rapists.
This whole corona thing has really blown in me into a deep philosophical funk. In the early stages, I must be honest, if you’d put me in the unenviable position of having to make a decision for other people I would have likely agreed with a hard lockdown as a viable solution. At least in the short-term. It made sense that this would buy some time for the ‘curve to flatten’ and the medical fraternity to prep for the coming of… at least one of the horsemen. Especially since we didn’t know anything about anything. Better to err on the side caution.
This took all my libertarian sensibilities and stabbed it right in its (black) heart. (let it not be said that I slavishly adhere to only a single dogma)
This plan however all pivoted one thing. Effective government and leadership.
Which… as has now been clearly illustrated, maybe half a dozen governments around the world got it (sorta) right.
And the rest have just fumbled it. Some of them really badly. (and will apparently continue to fumble it into the future)
So from today I’m back on my libertarian hobby horse with renewed vigor.
If you reduce libertarianism to a single tenant, ‘Don’t hurt other people and don’t take their stuff’ is, in my opinion, a pretty good one.
Small government or even true an-cap existence to work humans need to have discipline and a deep rooted sense of menschkeit. What this pandemic has highlighted, is that governments are, for the most part really useless. But also that people, are for the most part, really… *sigh* yeah, people suck.
I mean not all people. But there is definitely a solid minority of douchebags out there who refuse to consider that their actions might have serious and even deadly consequences for other people.
Picking on government is the easy part of this equation. To those that expected mammoth and hulking brute force machines run by the least capable people in our society to be able to just pivot on a dime and suddenly become this amazing paragon of excellence… I wish I lived in your crazy dream world. But I don’t. I live in a world we farm out our responsibility to each other (ie, not to hurt other people) to a nebulous ruling overlord class which tells us what to do, backed up by state agents authorized to use violence of action if we resist them.
Of course we could rely on everyone else to step up and take responsibility for themselves and to do the right thing. Only that doesn’t really seen to happen either… and maybe to imagine that one day it could is just pie in the sky thinking.
Maybe this is as good as its ever going to get? But I do I wonder if there was no one to tell us how to behave… if we would, spontaneously, just be more mindful of each other. Its obviously a difficult thing to test.