America’s Faulty Zero-Risk Premise

“The health, well-being and security of America’s 320 million citizens depends on a functioning economy.” [Fox Business article]

So true. Throughout this crisis so far, most of us demand that our leaders (now our rulers) focus ONLY on the eradication of a virus. We ask them to get us to a point (QUICKLY) where there’s near-zero risk of contracting anything, even something that — while worrisome, for sure — is usually not fatal or serious. In the process, we have shut down 21st Century human civilization as we know it. The streets of Manhattan are empty. The streets of Paris (so beautiful in the spring) are empty. Are we prepared to do that into the summer? For the rest of the year? Into next year? On our current (faulty) premise, we might have to do so.

We demand, usually without realizing it, near-zero risk. Of course, grocery stores are still open. Pharmacy stores are still open. We can’t obtain zero-risk if we keep those, and other places, open. We tolerate that. But we’ll tolerate little else. Gun stores are closed, in many places. We know how most germs are passed in gun stores!

The premise is that if nobody interacts with each other, the germs won’t spread. Clearly, that’s not working. The more we hunker down, the more the germs spread. The more alarmed most of us become, the more we hunker down. It’s a truly insane cycle. It can only end in suicide. Most of us will not commit suicide. But we may murder our economy, and our civilization, in the process. That’s just as bad.

You know a person is being irrational when two things are present. One, logical contradictions. Two, the absurd (even humorous) refusal to admit any contradictions. These two factors are how you know an individual is being irrational. It’s how you know when an entire society is irrational, as well.

Hopefully this will change … and soon. Hopefully reason will start to peek around the corner, and come out from the shadows. I’m not prescribing any particular policy. I don’t have the answer for you. NOR DOES ANYBODY ELSE. Reason does not usually dictate a one-size-fits-all policy. That’s the whole point! And like I said: We can’t come up with any viable answers without most of the facts we have not yet acquired.

We have to get away from the faulty near-zero-risk premise. We don’t have near-zero-risk, not even now. It’s a utopian illusion. Certainty is possible, but it’s not automatic. That’s the logical contradiction. We fool ourselves that we have something we do NOT have, and are not going to get. I haven’t (yet) heard anyone propose we shut down grocery stores and pharmacies too, and use the National Guard to ensure that not one single person leave his or her home — ever, for any reason. So how are we going to attain zero-risk? Or anything close to it?

Our leaders are hapless. Some of them are tyrannical. All of them are afraid. Fearful people — tyrants or not — cannot help you. You’re much better off on your own, even if you’re still afraid. To be fair, our rulers don’t have most of the necessary facts we need to know about coronavirus. It will take medical scientists and doctors/nurses many weeks, perhaps months, and maybe even years, to accumulate all the data necessary to achieve certainty. Keep in mind that the common cold and flu have not been eradicated, so we’re probably not going to eradicate coronavirus in a couple of more weeks. No matter how impressive Dr. Fauci might seem to you. So we’re asking these people to act on facts they don’t have, and could not possibly have yet. We might go through the summer and even into next year and not have all the facts.

Do REASON and rationality really tell us to hunker down — becoming poor, becoming slowly ever-more insane, even starving if necessary — to ensure near-ZERO risk of attaining the coronavirus? Is our risk tolerance that low? And must that OCD-level tolerance level be imposed from a central authority in our nation’s capital, or our state capitals? So far, it seems so.

Dr. Fauci keeps saying, “We’re not playing games here.” Nor are the 320 million Americans who used to have a means for making a living. The economy is not a game, either. At some point, we have to check our underlying premises and determine just how rational we’re thinking and acting.



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