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Reblogged:A Bigger Threat Than COVID-19 Is Already Here

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Brian Phillips of the Texas Institute for Property Rights directly addresses a concern I have had ever since it became clear that we were heading for a global pandemic:

high_school.jpg
A teacher fell ill with the virus at work -- so they closed the entire system? (Image by Atlantacitizen, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
If government officials can confine -- i.e., quarantine -- individuals because they allegedly pose a threat to the "public health," then what is to stop those officials from confining anyone they deem a threat to "the public"? In principle, there is nothing to stop government officials from confining those who advocate ideas that they consider threatening.

If government officials can ban large gatherings in order to prevent the spread of a disease, what is to stop them from banning large gatherings to prevent the spread of ideas? In principle, there is nothing to stop them.

Governments often use crises, whether real or imagined, as a justification to expand their powers and control over the citizenry. And the citizenry often welcomes those measures because "something" is being done. [bold added]
This is a good, succinct, outline of why the government running this show is a bad idea -- even if some of the measures are what the public would (or should) voluntarily do out of self-preservation when left fully free to do so.

Take school closings, a measure some areas have already implemented, and which are being bandied about in my part of Florida. Set aside for the moment the propriety of the government running the education and medical sectors, and consider some of the arguments in a New York Times editorial against school closures as a measure of slowing the outbreak, so as to avoid straining hospital capacity when vulnerable patients begin falling ill. (What that capacity might have been -- or how rapidly it could be expanded -- in a free market is worth consideration.)

Jennifer Nuzzo of Johns Hopkins first notes that, "there is no clear evidence that such measures will slow this outbreak." She then outlines a few of the harmful consequences closings will visit on a public already dealing with the epidemic in other ways:
If schools close, child care programs will likely close too and working parents may have to stay home to watch their children. Health care and critical infrastructure workers would not be able to do their jobs for the same reason. Those parents may not be paid, which would be a tremendous hardship...
Nuzzo then outlines many knock-on effects of such closures, many due to the fact that the government has already assumed so many other responsibilities it also should not have.

The government should not be running the educational or medical sectors, but it is. And there is a range of things the government can do about the epidemic: from helping, by somewhat emulating what a freer, stronger medical sector would have done, anyway -- all the way to greatly compounding our troubles. It angers me to know that some government official can force so many of us to face weeks or months of tending to children -- instead of more productive pursuits -- just so he can say he "did something."

The fact that the government is so powerful, and politicians are so prone to responding to the loudest, most ignorant and most panic-driven demands, I don't see how our plans over the next few months aren't wildly disrupted. And I frankly have a hard time seeing how we won't end up in a deep recession when all is said and done. On top of that, we stand to have had some very bad precedents set for even more intrusive government in the future.

Brian Phillips indicates why it is immoral for the government to run our everyday lives. COVID-19 may show us on our own hides why it is also impractical for it to do so -- whether we need that lesson or not.

-- CAV

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As long as these measures are "justified" by appealing to such vague, collectivized concepts as the public health and the common good, there is no way to avoid containment of an epidemic being used as a precedent for containment of ideas.

But what if we argue on the basis that spreading an epidemic is physical force, but spreading ideas is not? 

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In the event that a carrier is identified, confining them to a specified location by force may be necessary, as one case has been reported about a Kentucky man.

Ideas have to be accepted. Buying into "public heath" or "the common good" is a failure to require enough clarity in order to discriminate such crucial differences.

 

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1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

In the event that a carrier is identified, confining them to a specified location by force may be necessary, as one case has been reported about a Kentucky man.

That is justifiable as a form of "self defense". It is not an initiation of force.

Furthermore, boycotting, staying away from an interaction, is not initiating force either (although some seem to claim that it is).

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The justification for the retaliation via governmental force is that the individual diagnosed with Covid-19  has refused to self-quarantine.

A criminal is restrained by force from wandering among the non-criminals.

Contrast the previous from the following:

A Covid-19 diagnosed individual is being restrained by force from wandering among those displaying no symptoms.

 

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1 hour ago, dream_weaver said:

The justification for the retaliation via governmental force is that the individual diagnosed with Covid-19  has refused to self-quarantine.

Yes, and the virus within this person is an indiscriminate lethal weapon. From a broad philosophical point of view, that is initiating force. In this social context it does not matter if this threat from the person is intentional or not. The force used is in retalation to the threat.

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Henry Ford and Beaumont have Michigan's first same-day coronavirus tests

Henry Ford and Beaumont health systems have developed same-day COVID-19 tests, which are believed to be the first of what could be several hospital-based tests in the state.

The Henry Ford lab began testing about 30 patients Monday, and within a month expects to test up to 1,000 specimens daily, Henry Ford officials told reporters.

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I know I first heard of this in January. Initially took the numbers down and derived my own stats. Of course, that just crunches on what was provided and turned out to be a rather false sense of security.

China shuts all 16 temporary coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan

In a dramatic sign that the coronavirus crisis is improving in China, the last two of 16 temporary hospitals in the epicenter city of Wuhan have been shut down, according to a report.

Looking back in life, snowstorms, power outages doesn't prepare of an event of this type. And while a snowstorm may generate a run one supplies at the store, there is a sense of comfort that comes from the knowledge that the roads are usually cleared within a week.

The city is still locked down, and I don't have enough data to do much with other than to put a set of dates to it. My notes from Jan. 26, cited first reported Dec 31, 2019. It is now mid-March. and Wuhan's numbers are declining for the time being.

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"The Pandemic and the Economy"

The show went on about 15 minutes extra and opted out of the same style Q & A done in the "How To Think about Coronavirus and Our Society's Response" show.

If ;these need to be put under another thread, depending on the conversation, right now it is still relevant to Gus Von Horn blog's post.

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I'm surprised this is the main topic being discussed on this site right now. Thank you to the posters who posted the videos in the thread.

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It will probably be on YouTube shortly afterward.

“THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT DURING A HEALTH CRISIS”
Wednesday, March 25, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern / 11:00 a.m. Pacific

Governments are taking unprecedented measures to restrict travel and shut down businesses in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Politicians are justifying these measures by invoking emergency, even wartime, powers. What is the proper role of government during a health crisis like this one? What values should guide us in thinking about proper policy in regard to life and death issues, especially in an individualistic society?

Join us for another special episode of Philosophy for Living on Earth to get clarity on these questions. Onkar Ghate and Gregory Salmieri will join us and add their perspective.

To join us live, click here at 2:00 p.m. ET / 11:00 a.m. PT. Or, go to https://zoom.us/join and use Meeting ID: 812-506-718.

To join by phone, dial +1 (646) 876-9923 and use Meeting ID: 812-506-718.

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