Ready for another rendition of the “no one could have known” routine made famous by all the self-proclaimed liberals who shamelessly went along with the Neo-Cons planned and lie-supported destruction of the Middle East nearly two decades ago?
As in “no one could have known” that by shutting down life as we know it to focus obsessively on a virus mostly affecting what is still a relatively small number of people at the end of their lives (yes, oh squeamish ones we must summon the courage to talk about Quality Adjusted Life Years when making public policy) we probably would:
1. Cause economic devastation and hence excess deaths, suicides, divorces depressions in much larger numbers than those killed by the virus.
2. Provide an already monopolistic and predatory online retailing establishment with competitive advantages in terms of capital reserves and market share that will make it virtually impossible at any time in the near or medium future for the country’s and the world’s small and even medium-sized businesses to ever catch up to them. And that this will plunge huge sectors of the world-wide economy into serf-like ruin, with all that this portends in terms of additional death and human suffering.
3. Cause greatly increased misery and countless additional deaths in the so-called Global South where many people, rightly or wrongly, depend on the consumption patterns of us relatively fortunate sit-at-homers to make it through the week.
4. Destroy much of what was attractive about urban life as we know it and lead to a real estate collapse of extraordinary proportions, turning even our few remaining showplace cities into crime-ridden reserves of ever more desperate people.
5. Force state and local governments, already struggling before the crisis, and unable to print at money at will like the Feds, to cut their already insufficient budgets at a time when their broke and stressed constituents need those services more than ever.
6. Push “smart” monitoring of our lives, already intolerable for anyone still clinging to memories of freedom in the pre-September 11th world, to the point where most people will no longer understand what people used to know as privacy, intimacy or the simple dignity of being left alone.
7. Train of a generation of children to be fearful and distrustful of others from day one, and to view bending to diktats “to keep them safe”, (no matter how empirically dubious the actual threat to them might be), rather than the courageous pursuit of joy and human fullness, as the key goal in life.