Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Final Solution: Easy Rider

It is very hard to tell another person what to do. If it is someone close to you, they'll feel you're being controlling, even when the advice is merited. If it is a stranger, it is going to be deemed none of your business. And reasoning doesn’t help. Daniel Kahneman in books like Thinking Fast and Slow has demonstrated that emotion can triumph over reason in basic decision making. During the current pandemic there's been violent pushback by some people when they’re told to wear masks, even in stores where there are signs up warning that a mask is required for entry. Americans in particular prize their independence and often buckle when told to buckle their seatbelts, even though they may be perfectly aware of the consequences. If the coronavirus is carried by aerosols as well as droplets, there’s good evidence to support the idea that a face covering will protect others as well as yourself and yet, despite tipping his hat to the need for masks, the president has repeatedly averred that there’s some degree of choice involved. It’s apparently a badge of honor to do without one at certain gatherings. Perhaps now that he's been felled by the virus, he will come to his senses.  It’s estimated that the Sturgis motorcycle rally left 250,000 new cases of coronavirus in its aftermath ("250,000 COVID-19 infections from Sturgis? 'Made up numbers' S.D governor says," NBC, 9/9/20). What will be the tally after last week's gathering in the Rose Garden?  Driving a Harley on the open road is one of the great symbols of the freedom. Remember Easy Rider? Even the most rational of individuals who are not QAnon conspiracy believers and who buy the science still get sloppy when it comes to following guidelines like maintaining social distance. They want to see their friends and earn a few bucks and even find love—all of which would make a lot of sense if there wasn’t a pandemic that’s already killed upwards of 200,000 Americans which is a greater figure than all the Viet Nam War, the War in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf War, the Korean War and the war Iraq combined ("200,00 people have died from Covid-19 in the U.S. That's more than than the U.S. battle deaths from 5 wars combined,CNN, 9/22/20)

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