Although global outbreaks of respiratory illnesses happen like clockwork every 2-4 years, it seems we learn little from one crisis to the next. Volatile money markets and toilet paper shortages highlight the way our society still overreacts to any sign of danger. The hysteria grows exponentially as it is fueled by social media, 24-hour cable news coverage, and, of course, politicians with microphones. However, below the surface, beneath all of the craziness, I think we can find a few raw truths that are worth your time. Let’s look at five things the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us about our society.
#1: We’re inherently selfish.
Very few concepts are universally true, but this is one exception. Across all cultures and throughout all of history, humankind has proved itself innately selfish. As Eric Wright said in The Closet Conservative podcast just this week, the very word “pandemic” breeds stress and fear. Add stress to any human system and that system will demand a response. The innate and selfish human response to scarcity, or even just the perception of scarcity, is to hoard goods for ones own benefit. Look no further than your local grocery store this week for evidence of human selfishness. No one “needs” to buy toilet paper, bottled water, or baby wipes in bulk – it’s not even logical – yet here we are. The virus does not create selfishness but it brings to light the selfishness inherent to our species.
#2: We’re undeniably dependent.
As a child, my perception of America was framed by brave frontiersmen like Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and Jeremiah Johnson; sadly, America has never been less fearless and independent than today. We now rely on social and governmental programs to simply function in daily life more so than at any point in our history. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to lead to school and daycare closures, we are going to see every day Americans struggle with their daily routines because their support systems have been taken away. God’s Plan “A” for society has always been for parents to feed, teach, and raise their own children. Now, perhaps therapeutically, families will be forced to fulfill the natural roles and care for their own children while we ride out the pandemic.
#3: We’re entirely unprepared
For decades, government regulations and hospital cost-cutting programs have backed the US healthcare system into such a corner that it is wholly and entirely unprepared to handle an epidemic with the potential this virus brings. We have a finite number of providers, testing kits, and treatment supplies which will all be stretched past their limits by this outbreak. The system is fragile at best during a good year but will utterly collapse if the virus lives up to its potential.
Hospitals remain open during flu outbreaks because their staff are mandatorily vaccinated. There is no vaccine at present for COVID-19. So as more and more providers are exposed to the virus, more and more will test positive and will be quarantined; which creates a snowballing staffing crisis and breeds more problems.
Hospitals are also not testing enough people who should be tested for COVID-19. First, because there are simply not enough test kits. Second, because in the healthcare field we are trained to not use supplies or not run tests unless they are absolutely necessary (because of the aforementioned cost-cutting), and unfortunately this mindset will carry over into the way we handle the coronavirus. For example, if a patient presents with pneumonia and is already on life support and receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics, then hospitals are very unlikely to test the patient for coronavirus if it will not change the course of their treatment. So, if one person can make the argument that a patient is at “low risk” for the infection, then they will not be tested. Judicious surveillance is not the priority but rather pragmatism. In their minds, why would we create havoc and quarantine half of a unit’s staff if we can treat the patient the same way without testing for the virus? Thus, the outbreak grows because so many cases will go undetected.
#4: We’ve misplaced our priorities
Immediately after the virus reached the US we began to argue about the political, economic, and social implications it might bring. Countless articles have saturated the internet about how the President is handling the situation, or about all the major sports cancellations, or how your 401(k) will be affected by the outbreak. The real cost of the epidemic, however, is the loss of human life. Whether 100 of our fellow Americans succumb to COVID-19 or 10,000, each life lost represents someone who has lost a parent, a sibling, or a child. We will live without sports, and Trump will fix the economy again, but some of us will slip out of this world and into the eternity because of this virus. We seem to care more about disrupted vacation plans than lives that have ended.
#5: We’re mortal
Most importantly, the virus is scary because it reminds us we are mortal. Vincible. Vulnerable. We can be overtaken by living creatures who are invisible to the eye and unprejudiced in their attacking. It is our sense of mortality that drives selfish buying habits, but also makes us re-examine our priorities. So, during this time you should ignore the media, support your family, and survey your spiritual life. Prepare, but do not panic. Clean your hands and calm your minds. We will all die eventually, but COVID-19 is not the apocalypse.
You can contact Dillon through the Liberty Loft website. If you like the content you find on the Liberty Loft, consider donating to support conservative speech.