So the numbers. Like I said, next to nobody reads this and my opinions will change nothing, and getting in all the links to sources is annoying. So I’m not doing that. Instead I’ll tell you the numbers and you can contradict me if you think I’m wrong. I’ll update accordingly.
Now, NJ today: I said this earlier, but it bears repeating. For the third day in a row since testing increased, positive cases jumped (of course), but the death rate dropped again -we are now below 1%, at .9.
So here’s another reason I’m not worried: Trump’s response is dead on. Seriously dead on. He is doing almost exactly what I would do. This is fantastic news.
Every single word of that sentence is completely correct and exactly what I’ve been saying all along. What do you do after the fifteen day period you explicitly put in place to monitor things carefully and decide what to do?
YOU MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHAT TO DO.
And THEN Trump points out all of the issues with the numbers – the clustering in certain areas, how it isn’t spreading at nearly the same rate in other areas, how even states can’t be looked as an aggregate when only certain sections are showing large outbreaks – and really, how can I ask for a better response?
Not that you’d know by the media.
“Malcolm, how do you define panic anyway?”
What the media is doing.
I am also in the rare position where I’m strongly disagreeing with fellow folks in the right wing. Take Brian Niemeier’s post. He says this:
But yesterday, Trump posted a tweet that many interpret as as signaling a loss of resolve on the President’s part. Market-worshiping bowtieCons were ecstatic at the prospect of direct human sacrifice to Mammon. Their elation is understandable. Normally, only Moloch worshipers get that kind of action.
Trump’s reticence is also easy to understand. Much like James T. Kirk, Trump is a guy who never believed in the no-win scenario. His style has always been to dive into the maelstrom and grab the best deal that bubbles to the surface–all the while keeping his options open in case a better deal emerges. He knows that chaos can be good for business.
That’s why Corona-chan has him at a disadvantage. She offers no good outcomes.
Keep in mind – I LIKE Brian. I agree with him at least 90% of the time. He is a fellow Catholic and brother in Christ. I have no quarrel with him.
I also find this so stunningly wrong, and unintentionally insulting, I am honestly kind of dumbfounded.
So Trump’s tweet says, quite reasonably, that the cure shouldn’t do more harm than the problem. This is so obvious as to be practically self-evident. He also says he will make a decision at the end of the fifteen day period, which is literally exactly what he said all along.
So how can anybody possibly interpret this tweet as a “loss of resolve” unless one was intentionally misrepresenting him – much as the media does every day?
So apparently, the people who were “ecstatic” about this were “market-worshipping bowtieCons”.
This is a stunningly tone deaf thing to say. You know who’s happy with it? The people who are currently out of work, and the small businesses on the verge of bankruptcy. I’m certainly happy about it, because I was working multiple jobs and now I am working one, and it is not in my field. All of my careful plans are suddenly up in smoke. I will have no health insurance by June and the only way for me to get it with the schools down is to work full time at Wal-Mart. And THERE’S a job that pays well, right?
You know who else is happy with it? People who are stuck in lockdown despite being in areas nowhere near the center of the action. They’re also happy with it.
And the only people Mr. Niemeier notices who are “Happy with it” are market-worshipping bowtieCons” who want to sacrifice people to Mammon. This is straight nonsense.
He continues with this:
Trump’s choices right now are:
- Enforce the several-week lock down urged by medical experts, and tank the economy.
- Loosen containment guidelines, get a Spanish Flu style multi-wave plague, and tank the economy.
Squaring that circle is tricky, but not impossible if your moral compass is calibrated right. You take option 1, save as many lives as possible, and brace for the consequences.
Bonus: If you want to know who is a) innumerate and b) ruled by greed, take note of who’s embracing option 2.
This is, once again, straight nonsense. First off, we have absolutely no reason, none, to think that this is going to be a “Spanish Flu style multi-wave plague”. I’m pretty sure not even the majority of the gloom-and-doomers think this.
…And that’s it. That’s really the only response needed. Nobody is embracing option 2 because they don’t care about deaths, or at least not most. They are because the vast majority of those deaths are probably not going to happen, and pretending they will is going to hurt people a lot more than what amounts to a bad flu season in certain areas.
Side note: Have you noticed how eerily this all matches to global warming predictions? Remember how the U.S.A.’s response wasn’t nearly strong enough and we were DOOOOOOMED. Remember that chart saying we would match Italy’s numbers if we didn’t DO SOMETHING, except apparently we didn’t do nearly enough? Remember how we didn’t even come close to matching the expected numbers anyway?
But be worried guys, it’s just two weeks away, TWO WEEKS, unless we DO SOMETHING. Or something like that, I dunno.
Let’s continue, however.
Side note: This wasn’t meant to be a fisk article, but Mr. Niemeier is a very good writer and he is articulating the consensus of a lot of people about as well as anybody could. So that makes it a useful article to respond to if I want to make my points.
Anyway, let’s move to the comments section. I wrote this:
I suggest you check out the blog of Dr. Briggs. Wmbriggs.com. Two weeks and evaluate to see if the impact is proportional to our actions is the 100% correct response.
This was Brian’s response:
I read Briggs back when Z-Man linked to him last week. Both he and you are falling for the heresy of proportionalism.
So what is that heresy? Let’s see:
In classical moral theology, the fonts of intention and moral object are not proportional; they do not tolerate any evil. But the third font of circumstances allows for a certain proportionalism, such that some bad consequences are tolerated if they are morally outweighed by the good consequences. The heresy of proportionalism occurs only when the other fonts of intention and/or moral object are considered to be proportional.
Quite a mouthful right there. Let’s try to break it down.
1. The intention is the intended end, or the end in view, or the goal or purpose for which the subject performs the act. The intention is a type of end chosen by the subject, the person who acts.
2. The font simply called ‘moral object’ is actually more complex: it consists of the objective act (what you have chosen to do) and its intrinsic ordering toward a proximate end, in terms of morality, called the moral object. In Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II called the objective act the ‘concrete act’ (what you have chosen to do). All knowingly chosen acts have an inherent moral meaning (an essential moral nature or moral ‘species’) that is determined by whether the chosen act is inherently ordered toward a good or evil proximate end (the moral object). And that is why intrinsically evil acts are called disordered acts; they are inherently ordered toward an evil end.
3. the circumstances of an act is evaluated based on the reasonably anticipated good and bad consequences according to their moral weight — evaluated in terms of the love of God and neighbor.
Let’s try to parse this out. Intention is the goal we are trying to achieve when we perform an act. The moral object is, essentially, whether or not the act is good or evil regardless of intent. And the circumstance is what we can reasonably conclude the consequences of the act will be, evaluated based on the principle of loving God and neighbor.
So we can say that the heresy of proportionalism is committed when one tolerates an evil goal (intention) or an evil action (moral object) when committing an act; occasionally we can tolerate evil consequences (circumstances) if we believe the good consequences will be greater.
So: Is Dr. Briggs committing the heresy of proportionalism when he says we are overreacting to the coronavirus and we shouldn’t shut down the economy to prevent the disease? Am I committing it when I agree with him?
Well, let’s see. What us our intention? To get the country running normally and not put millions of people out of work. So the intention is not evil.
What is the moral object? The moral object is lifting quarantines and other restrictions in areas where cases and deaths won’t occur at a rate higher than, say, a typical seasonal flu. Unless one were to say that letting the economy run normally in flu season is intrinsically immoral, you really can’t say the moral object is immoral. So the second condition necessary for the heresy does not exist.
And while deaths may possibly increase somewhat as a result of our actions the belief of Dr. Briggs and me is that putting millions of people back to work and allowing Churches, for example, among other things, to re-open is better for society than a massive shutdown over what amounts to a bad flu – that the long term effect on society of martial law lite is worse than the terrible and unfortunate deaths of people infected by the virus. In point of fact, most people would agree with me if it really was the equivalent of a bad flu season.
So nobody is committing the heresy of proportionalism. It is a non-starter and thus can be ignored.
Now, Mr. Niemeier has a background in theology, which is why we should take accusations of heresy by him quite seriously. Of course, I also have a background in Theology, so you should also take my responses seriously when you come to your own conclusions about our exchange.
Oh, but wait! A bunch of phones went offline in China. Why, I guess that must mean millions of people must have died – never mind that we aren’t remotely close to those sorts of numbers literally anywhere else in the world, Lombardy included.
Wash your hands. Don’t go inside restaurants. Wave instead of shake hands. Don’t sit too close to strangers, and wash up if you spent a few hours working in retail.
And also, relax.