Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Final Solution: Prisoner's Dilemma

Generally, the state of the world is that those who have been convicted of crimes are confined while the rest of the world are free to go about their business. One of the advantages of life in an authoritarian society is that the government has the ability to lock up everyone when necessary. Thus China was able to return to normalcy quicker than other societies because of the harshness of its crackdown. In a democratic society where individual rights are trumpeted it’s much more difficult to stop people from doing what they want. If someone is willing to risk their lives, even if it affects others, they are free to do it. Thus many affluent inhabitants of large cities like New York took off to their summer places when the pandemic stuck, often bringing the coronavirus with them and thereby incurring the wrath of local residents. "The Wealthy Flee Coronavirus. The Vacation Towns Respond: Stay Away," (NYT, 3/25/20) ran a Times headline. Of course, the issue is also epitomized by those who refuse to take measles vaccines on religious grounds. When a coronavirus vaccine is developed, there will undoubtedly be people who choose to exercise their right not to take it. Will, for instance, someone who practices Christian Science refuse inoculation on the grounds of religious freedom? Are those who decline vaccines like the conscientious objectors and pacifists during the Second World War, whose refusal to fight the Nazis rested on cherished beliefs? Still at no time have the lives of the innocent and those who are serving time in penitentiaries been so conjoined by disease. In fact those who live alone have been forced into the equivalent of solitary, in which their only contact with the outside world comes through the internet, the phone or Zoom.

Read "An Incident of Defenestration" by Francis Levy, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

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