The Personal Website of Mark W. Dawson
His Articles, Observations, Thoughts, Meanderings,
some would say Wisdom (and some would say not).
The Chinese Coronavirus pandemic is upon us. Its direct impacts are starting to be fully felt. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans, will become infected, and thousands, if not tens of thousands of Americans will die as a result of complications from this infection. Most of these deaths will happen to elderly Americans, but some deaths will be Americans of other ages. It is a tragedy for those that die and the families of those who have died. Extraordinary measures have been undertaken to reduce these infections and deaths. Extraordinary measures in the shutting down of businesses and restricting commerce, self-quarantine, or shelter-in-place of individuals and families, along with other governmental orders and restrictions on the American people and businesses.
However, these extraordinary measures are beginning to have deleterious effects on all Americans. Many businesses are closing, and many Americans are becoming unemployed. Commercial activities are decreasing, which will lead to many more businesses closing, and many more Americans becoming unemployed. We have already seen a large collapse of the stock market, which affects not only companies but ordinary Americans. The investment and retirement portfolios of middle Americans have significantly reduced in value, making middle Americans poorer. The elderly living off these portfolios has fewer financial means to support their retirement. Soon, many Americans will not be able to pay their mortgages or rents, pay their taxes, and they will have insufficient monies to purchase the necessities of life. Americans will have less money to purchase electricity, water, sewer, fuel, cell phones, cable television, medications, and other consumables. Food, clothing, and shelter will become scarcer and/or more expensive as fewer companies mean less production and scarcity of these items, leading to higher prices. The supply chain for both the production and distribution for these necessities may become crippled, leading to the scarcity of these items. Inflation may rear its ugly head and reduce the purchasing power of all Americans. Healthcare will also become scarcer and more expensive, and health insurance companies may falter, reduce their benefit payments, or perhaps go out of business. Banks, financial institutions, and other insurance companies will also be affected and may not be able to survive, leading to more deleterious effects.
The economy will shrink, and we will be in a deep recession, and perhaps a depression, for some time to come. It will take even more time to recover to our current level of prosperity. During this recession or depression, many Americans will suffer deeply, and some may even die as a consequence of this recession or depression. We may also see the impacts on society that we saw during the Great Depression prior to World War II. This will be a tragedy for all Americans.
And no governmental actions will be effective to change this outcome. Our economy is too large and interrelated for the government to have any significant impacts. Even a government takeover of segments of the economy will not work, and most likely make the situation worse. The monies being spent by the government to support Americans and American businesses must come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the Americans and American businesses still working. Increases in taxes or deficit spending for these support expenditures burden the taxpayers and depress the economy. Increases of the debt will further burden future Americans and American businesses and depress the economy. To believe that we can have these extraordinary measures and maintain a strong economy and our way of life is wishful thinking. Wishful thinking that will have severe negative impacts on all Americans. The hubris of governmental leaders who believe that they can correct or control this situation is astounding.
We are, therefore, at a point where we need to make an important decision that will affect all Americans. Do we continue these extraordinary measures and risk a recession or depression, or do we suspend the extraordinary measures and incur more infections and deaths of Americans as a result of the Chinese Coronavirus? This is the great moral dilemma that we face. A moral dilemma that must be resolved by the will and sacrifice of the American people.
I am reminded of another moral dilemma that we faced during World War II. The first was the moral dilemma of the NAZI bombing of the English city of Coventry. British intelligence had stolen a NAZI Enigma ciphering machine and were able to break the codes and determine NAZI military operations. They learned that the NAZI's were going to carpet bomb Coventry killing many hundreds of civilians. If they evacuated Coventry, the NAZI's would have suspected the British had broken their encrypted communications, which would have led them to change their codes. This change of codes would have prolonged World War II and led to many more deaths and perhaps a different outcome of the war. The question was to keep this code-breaking a secret, thus leading to the deaths of many civilians in Coventry, or to save the civilian lives by evacuating Coventry and potentially leading to a longer war and more war deaths? There is a picture of Winston Churchill walking through the rubble of Coventry after he kept this secret and allowed the deaths of the civilians in Coventry. A look of horror is upon his face. Not only the horror of the deaths of the civilians but the horror that he decided to sacrifice the lives of the civilians to reduce future deaths and hasten the end of World War II in Europe by sacrificing those civilians in Coventry.
There was also the moral dilemma of the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan during World War II. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians died as a result of these bombings, but millions of Japanese and Americans' lives were saved by the quick end of World War II in the Pacific.
Therefore, we need to decide if we should continue with the extraordinary measures to save some American lives, or should we suspend the extraordinary measures to potentially save many more American lives, our economic prosperity, and our way of life? We must remember that we will all eventually die. The only question is when, how, and where we will die. The Chinese Coronavirus is one of the answers to how, the when and where answer to this question is dependent upon the circumstances of the American infected by the Chinese Coronavirus.
As for me, I am a senior citizen who has had frequent respiratory problems in my life, and as such, I am at a higher risk of infection and death than most Americans. I say this not for your sympathy, but to help you understand my position on this moral dilemma. I believe that we need to suspend these extraordinary measures that affect all Americans and allow all Americans to continue with their normal lives. Precautions should be taken to reduce the possibility of infection, but not so onerous precautions as to negatively impact the lives of all Americans.
If I should die as a result of this suspension, then it is a sacrifice I will make for all Americans. Just as armed service people and first responders have sacrificed their lives to protect Americans and the American way of life, I too will make this sacrifice. It is time for American leadership to fully explain this moral dilemma and its ramifications and repercussions to the American people, and then ask for the sacrifice of a few Americans to preserve many Americans. May God bless us all, and may God keep all those who have sacrificed their lives in his bosom, and may all Americans remember their sacrifice.
One of the things we have learned from the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic is how the global economy has made us interdependent of the actions of other governments. We have also learned how dependent we are on other countries for the necessities of life. The actions or inactions of other governments exposes the world to health, economic, and safety risks that have far-ranging ramifications and repercussions not only on our country but for all countries. If China had been more forthcoming and responded to the Coronavirus more quickly than perhaps its negative health and economic impacts could have been abated. We may never know for sure, but the available evidence indicates that this is probably true.
This question is what we should do in the future to avoid this situation? The answer is that any country that wishes to participate in the global economy must act in a more global manner. They must assure that the health, safety, and human rights of their citizens are protected (at a minimum the human rights as espoused in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution), their internal economy is stable, and the safety of their exports is assured. The must be quickly forthcoming to any events in their country that could potentially affect other countries, and that these events are disclosed to the world. They must cooperate with other countries to mitigate these effects to assure the stability of the global economy, health concerns, and the safety of their exports is assured for all the peoples across the globe. If they respond that these are internal affairs of their country and of no concern of other counties, then they should no longer be participants in the global economy because if you are internal, then you cannot be global.
As to what each country should do, the answer is easier. Do not extensively trade with those countries that will not cooperate in assuring that the health, safety, and human rights of their citizens are protected, their internal economy is unstable, and the safety of their exports is not assured. This may have a negative impact on your economy, but the risks to your economy and your people are far greater, as the Chinese Coronavirus has demonstrated.
As too what the U.S.A. must do in the future is more complicated. We have seen how dependent we have become on the imports from China on the basic necessities of life, particularly in the health care industries. We must identify those products that are the basic necessities of life to assure that they are produced in the United States or by countries that are responsible trading partners. A responsible trading partner is one that assures that the health, safety, and human rights of their citizens are protected, their internal economy is stable, and the safety of their exports is assured and that they will not utilize trade in the basic necessities of life as political leverage to potentially harm another country. An inter-governmental forum (i.e., an Inter-Governmental Forum on Commerce “IGFC”) of those countries dedicate to these principles needs to be formulated that defines that upholds these principles, in which the participants engage in international trade under these principles. No significant international trade in the basic necessities of life would be allowed except by the members of this inter-governmental forum.
We, the people of the United States, must also require that more production of the basic necessities of life occur within the United States or by responsible trading partners. How this would be accomplished is more difficult. The first step is in identifying the basic necessities of life. The categories for this list, as a start, should be:
- Building Materials and Equipment
- Clothing Materials and Manufacturing
- Critical Minerals Extraction
- Electronics and Electrical Equipment
- Energy Mining and Production Equipment
- Farming, Farm Equipment, and Food Production
- Medications and Medical Equipment
After we identify all the categories and determine which products are necessities under these categories, we must determine how we can produce these products in the United States or safely and securely import these products from approved countries. In doing so, we must protect the supply lines for both the production and distribution of these products for all the countries involved in this commerce. If we can do this, then our necessities of life will be both protected and freely available through domestic production or responsible international trade.
While the Flu infects millions of people each year, can send hundreds of thousands of people to the hospital each year, and be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year, the seasonal effect of Flu is reasonably well understood and is planned for.
A comparison between the Flu and Coronavirus statistics is fraught with difficulties but does provide some context to our perspectives.
To be determined
The statistics for the Coronavirus are uncertain, as we have incomplete testing and reporting for the Coronavirus. This comparison also doesn't capture the potential for increased risks and heighten contagion of Coronavirus, nor the strain that the new Coronavirus is putting on hospitals. There are other statistical problems regarding the Coronavirus pandemic that calls into question their accuracy. For example, using fictitious numbers, assume that 100,000 people are tested positive for Coronavirus, of which 2,000 die as a result of Coronavirus complications. The death rate for the Coronavirus would then be 2%. The problem is in the statement “100,000 people are tested positive”. This is the number “tested”, but the actual number of people who have the Coronavirus is unknown. If the actual number were 1,000,000 infected, then the death rate would shrink to 0.2%. If the death rate were 2% and 100,000,000 million people were infected by Coronavirus, then we could expect total deaths of 2,000,000, but if the death rate was 0.2%, we could expect 200,000 total deaths. The difference between 2,000,000 and 200,000 deaths is significant and could alter our perceptions of the problems we face. There are also many other issues and concerns regarding the Coronavirus statistical models that cast doubts about their accuracy.
However, as to the Coronavirus projection models, we should remember George E. P. Box, one of the great statistical minds of the 20th century, as saying, “All models are wrong, some are useful.” Therefore, let us not presume the models are correct, but let us utilize the models to help in our planning and response to the Coronavirus.
The concern, if not panic by some, is the unknowns of Coronavirus. For the Flu, we have immunizations and treatments that are effective. For the Coronavirus, effective treatments are unknown or uncertain, and immunizations are not expected for many months and perhaps a year. With no way to medically treat or immunize ourselves, we are left with only being able to protect ourselves. Protection that is helpful but uncertain.
These statistics and projection models do not reflect the economic impacts of the Flu and Coronavirus. We, therefore, need to exercise sober judgments on how to protect and treat ourselves from Coronavirus. Protections that not only account for the medical health of our people but the economic health of our society. Precautions should be taken to reduce the possibility of infection, but not so onerous precautions to significantly and negatively impact the economic lives of all Americans.
An “Ethical Dilemma” or ethical paradox is a decision-making problem between two possible moral imperatives, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable nor preferable. The complexity arises out of the situational conflict in which choosing one solution would result in transgressing another solution, as sketched in my Article “Situational Ethics and Moral Dilemmas.” Sometimes called ethical paradoxes in moral philosophy, ethical dilemmas may be invoked to refute an ethical system or moral code, or to improve it so as to resolve the paradox. Sometimes, however, you must choose what you believe to be the lesser of two evils. This solution is most common in wartime decisions.
We are now in a wartime mode of decision making in regard to the Coronavirus pandemic. One solution is to take extraordinary measures, for whatever duration is necessary, to reduce the Coronavirus infections and deaths regardless of the economic impacts of these extraordinary measures. The other solution is to take only those measures to help reduce infections and deaths while not significantly impacting our economy. Either solution is an Ethical dilemma; 1) fewer infections and deaths and more recession or depression, or 2) more infections and deaths and less recession or depression.
My initial belief was that if we implemented the Coronavirus reduction extraordinary measures for more than a couple of weeks, it would initiate an economic recession that would last many months. More than a month of extraordinary measures could make this recession last a year or two years. Any more than six weeks of extraordinary measures would result in an economic depression of uncertain duration. With the current extension of the extraordinary measures to the end of April, we are at the tipping point between a recession and a depression. A depression that could last a few years or longer, depending on how long we continue to extend the extraordinary measures.
One of the difficulties in making our decisions is the statistical modeling problems regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, as I have written about in the section “03/27/20 2019-2020 USA Flu vs. Coronavirus Statistics as of March 27, 2020”. The issue that I have pointed out, and many other issues and concerns regarding the Coronavirus statistical models, cast doubts about the predictive accuracies of the Coronavirus statistical models. These doubts should give us pause for reconsiderations before we make any decisions. We need our political leaders, statisticians, and journalists to better understand and explain these statistical models to the American people so that the American people can make an informed decision.
The other difficulty is determining the economic impacts of continuing extraordinary measures. Our economy is too large and interrelated for anyone or any group, organization, or agency to be able to even roughly guess the impacts (the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the impacts), let alone statistically model the projected impacts. And no governmental actions will be effective to change this outcome. The hubris of anyone who believes that they can identify, correct, or control this situation is astounding.
And economic impacts are not about money, but the ability of people to lead a healthy, secure, and productive life that is determined by money. Recessions and depressions duration and depth are determined by human actions and reactions to their economic circumstances. And human behavior is often indeterminate and unexpected. Consequently, it is not possible to reliably statistically model a recession or depression until after the impacts are known (and credibly not even afterward).
As regards to statistical modeling, especially the models for the Coronavirus infection and deaths as well as its economic impacts, we should remember George E. P. Box, one of the great statistical minds of the 20th century, as saying, “All models are wrong, some are useful.” We, therefore, need to determine the useful models and utilize them to help resolve the ethical dilemma.
The question of how to proceed with the Coronavirus Pandemic then becomes, which is the lesser of two evils:
- Fewer infections and deaths and more recession or depression, or
- More infections and deaths and less recession or depression
It is not possible to have it both ways. To believe that we can have these extraordinary measures and maintain a strong economy and our way of life is wishful thinking. Wishful thinking that will have severe negative impacts on all Americans. We need to choose and to choose wisely which solution to implement.
Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, we have seen the Federal, State, and Local governments take extraordinary measures to curtail the spread of this virus and reduce the infections and deaths that the Coronavirus has inflicted. Shelter-In-Place, physical distancing restrictions, closing non-essential businesses, restricting gatherings of people, advisories or restrictions for travel, etc. are necessary to control the Coronavirus Pandemic. But these extraordinary measures have another thing in common, they are restrictions on our Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Justice for All, as well as violating our Human Rights, Constitutional Rights, and Civil Rights.
The question then is, what are our Liberties and our Freedoms and Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights under a National Emergency, and what are the restrictions and limitations on governmental actions during a National Emergency? We have had several precedents in our history, such as declared war and natural disasters, that can guide us but provide no definitive answers. Broad powers delegated to the President and Governors under Emergency Powers legislation have been invoked to justify these actions. These extraordinary measures are needful and necessary to assure the health and safety of all Americans. As to their legality, we should all remember:
"The Constitution is not a suicide pact"
is a phrase in American political and legal discourse. The phrase
expresses the belief that constitutional restrictions on
governmental power must be balanced against the need for survival of
the state and its people. It is most often attributed to Abraham
Lincoln, as a response to charges that he was violating the United
States Constitution by suspending habeas corpus during the American
Civil War. Although the phrase echoes statements made by Lincoln,
and although versions of the sentiment have been advanced at various
times in American history, the precise phrase "suicide pact" was
first used in this context by Justice Robert H. Jackson in his
dissenting opinion in Terminiello v. Chicago, a 1949 free speech
case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The phrase also appears in
the same context in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, a 1963 U.S. Supreme
Court decision written by Justice Arthur Goldberg.
- From the Wikipedia Article.
But we should also remember that “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We need to be assured that these extraordinary measures are temporary restrictions on our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights. We also need to be careful that these extraordinary measures do not become acceptable practices in non-extraordinary circumstances. We should also have Congressional authorization for these extraordinary measures, Congressional restrictions and limitations on these extraordinary measures, and a Congressional termination to these extraordinary measures. Congress is the voice of the people, and the voice of the people should be heard when we need to restrict our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights during a national emergency.
For Congress to meet and pass this declaration would pose a danger to them and their staff of contracting the Coronavirus. Precautions need to be implemented to reduce this possibility, but leadership often involves placing yourself in danger; political, economic, and physical danger. If you are unwilling to endanger yourself, then perhaps you should not be in a leadership position.
We also need to be concerned that we do not endanger our future Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights by encumbering ourselves with spending debts that will be passed on to future generations. After the Coronavirus Pandemic abates, we need to restructure our spending and taxing systems to not endanger our future. This will require massive spending cuts and shifts in taxation to accomplish this goal. Sacred Cows, Pork, and Earmarks spending needs to be reduced or eliminated. Spending priorities need to be established, and spending on lower priorities needs to be eliminated or reduced. Tax rates, tax deductions, and tax loopholes need to be targeted and adjusted or eliminated. Taxes may have to increase, but only after spending cuts are implemented. These massive spending cuts and shifts in taxation are also needful and necessary to reduce our present National Debt.
The 2020 Presidential and National elections are the proper means to discuss this restructuring. We should not allow our political candidates to ignore, obfuscate, nor dissemble about these spending cuts and shifts in taxation during this election. To do otherwise is to abdicate our duties and responsibilities as citizens and leaders of the current and future generations of Americans. Alas, I can hope this happens, but I do not expect it will happen, which is a sad commentary on our politics.
The blame game of politics has already begun even before the Coronavirus Pandemic has abated. There is a need to assign responsibility (but not blame) and accountability for what occurred at the start and during the Coronavirus Pandemic. And there is plenty of responsibility and accountability to go around. Most of the responsibility is from political decisions, some of it from business decisions, and all of it to those that allowed systemic problems to fester. Whether it was from lack of foresight, willful ignorance, increasing profits, or the lack of political courage to make tough decisions, mistakes have been made in the past and present. Some, if not much, of these mistakes were simply unavoidable. We need to learn from these problems and mistakes and not repeat them. But now is not the time for repercussions, but it is the time to join together to defeat the Coronavirus Pandemic. After the Coronavirus Pandemic has abated, we need to make a serious examination of what occurred and correct these problems. What we don’t need to do is exploit these problems for political advantage, as has been said:
“You never want a serious crisis to
go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it's an opportunity to
do things that you think you could not before.”
- Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of staff to President Obama in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008.
Rahm Emanuel was not the first to express this idea, as pointed out in a 2009 New York Times Magazine article. However this statement - which proposed a means the Obama administration could actually harness the chaos of the Financial Crisis of 2008 - became a frequently-repeated slogan for many economists, policymakers and business people who sought to change the world's financial and economic systems for what they thought was the best (but not always the best), with or without Congressional approval.
And the Coronavirus Pandemic is a serious crisis that should not go to waste. But the “go to waste” should not be in political agendas but in correcting the problems uncovered by the Coronavirus Pandemic and preparing to prevent these problems in the future. The problems such as I have pointed out in “03/24/20 Made in the U.S.A.” and “04/01/20 Liberty and Freedom in an Epidemic/Pandemic” sections of this article, and not for increased spending and taxes for non-related governmental and social policies.
The two trillion-dollar stimulus bill recently passed and signed in law by President Trump has many examples of governmental and social policies spending of non-related Coronavirus spending. Spending that will mean increased taxes and/or deficit spending, and therefore will increase our Nation Debt. It may also endanger the other problems, as I have pointed out in the “03/21/20 Pandemic Ramifications and Repercussions” section of this article.
An additional stimulus bill is being suggested that would “put America back to work,” which would include spending on infrastructure. Like most spending bills that Congress passes, it will be loaded with other spending and social policy changes. And work for work's sake is not necessarily a stimulus to the economy, and indeed, can have a negative impact on the economy. We should all remember the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which spent a combined one trillion dollars to stimulate the economy and save or create new jobs. Despite these stimuli spending, our economy performed sluggishly for the next eight years.
Government deficit and debt spending will have long-term negative repercussions on our economy and society. Negative repercussions that will be passed on to future generations. We must assure that the monies we spend are necessary and proper to abate and correct the Coronavirus Pandemic and its economic impacts, as well as prepare for future epidemics and pandemics. Any additional monies we spend to stimulate the economy should only be spent on projects that benefit all Americans of the present generations and that the benefits of the spending, but not the costs of the spending, can be passed on to future generations of Americans.
The political gamesmanship and blame game, the conspicuous partisan commentary, and the bias tactics of “Modern Journalism” do not help in resolving the problems, and they need to end (or at least be roundly condemned or criticized) until we get the Coronavirus Pandemic under control and develop the solutions for future disasters. And when we determine responsibility and accountability, we must remember in our determinations that:
“Perfection is reserved for
God; humans should strive to do their best.”
- Mark Dawson
If people have tried to do their best with their limited knowledge and experience, then we should temper our judgment of them. Responsibly and accountability need to be assigned and corrected, but judgment must be tempered with leniency as I have written in an article “Who are you to judge?”.
The ages-old economic theory of “Supply and Demand” is highlighted in the current Coronavirus Pandemic. In a free-market economy, when supply is greater than demand prices fall, and manufacturing decreases. When demand is greater than supply, prices rise and manufacturing increases. When supply and demand are equal, prices and manufacturing remain steady. The way to judge supply and demand in a free market economy is to examine changes in prices. This is a basic tenant of economics. This is why price controls do not work to meet their intended purposes, and often price controls have a deleterious effect on Supply and Demand. With price controls, the suppliers have no way of knowing what the demand is, and no way of knowing how much to supply. Price controls also stifle innovation as there is no way to judge if your product is needed and if you can sustain your business. Consequently, price controls are also harmful to the public as the demand cannot be met, and prices cannot level off with demand.
Prior to the Coronavirus, Pandemic prices for ventilators or masks were steady, which indicated that the supply was meeting the demand. In the current Coronavirus Pandemic, the demand has increased dramatically, the prices have increased, and the supply has not been able to keep up with the demand. Why is there not a sufficient supply of ventilators or masks? The reason is that there was no demand for these items before the Coronavirus Pandemic. The supply was adequate to meet the demand before the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the demand is greater than the supply during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
You cannot simply need something and expect it to be supplied immediately or quickly. Manufacturers need to obtain the raw materials or parts beforehand, which the suppliers of these items need to ramp up to meet the manufacturers' demand. The manufacturers then need to set up a manufacturing process and begin production before they can supply anything. And this entire process takes some time to accomplish.
Career politicians, political commentators, journalists, and many academics usually have no direct knowledge and experience in manufacturing Supply and Demand. These same people who are informing us, or telling us how smart they are, or how they are moral they are, have never designed anything, engineered anything, build anything, assembled anything, or trucked anything except maybe some assembly required bookcase they bought at a store and drove home. They have no experience in manufacturing Supply and Demand, but they assume they are qualified to insist that ventilators or masks should as if by magic appear overnight. It is very easy to require something to be manufactured if you don’t have to do it yourself, but it is much more difficult to actually manufacture anything.
Redistributing the current supply means shortchanging some to supply others. This begs the question of ‘Which States should get an increase in the current supply and which States should have a reduction of the current supply?’. Who is wise enough to choose which people will benefit and which people will suffer? Try asking the Governors of New York, Michigan, and California how much they need and how much they are willing to give up to other States in the current supply of ventilators or masks.
And, no, Socialism will not solve this problem. Socialism does not respond to Supply and Demand, as the socialist decisions about Supply and Demand are dictated by bureaucrats and not the market. And who amongst us believes that a bureaucrat can predict the current and future market of anything? And Socialism cannot dictate an increase in manufacturing any better than Capitalism, and usually does a worse job of meeting demand. For those that disagree, I would suggest that they examine the history of the 20th-century economies of Socialists and Communists countries. You should also examine the consequences of price controls that occurred in the shortages of oil and gas that occurred in the late 1970s. None of this history paints a rosy picture, and none of this is a society in which we would want to live.
In the current Coronavirus Pandemic, we can learn much about Supply and Demand. As the demand for ventilators or masks has increased, manufactures are ramping up their production lines to meet this demand. I am not surprised that they are doing this, but I am surprised at how quickly they are doing this. I am amazed by the retooling of manufacturers who did not produce ventilators or masks to start producing these items, and the speed in which they are doing this. This speaks well of American manufacturers and points out the strengths of a free market economy of Supply and Demand. To interpose or control this process will only slow this process. To encourage this process will allow the suppliers to more quickly meet the demand. Just not immediately, as it is not possible to manufacture anything immediately. To say that the manufactures did not foresee the increased demand is very good 20/20 hindsight. Foresight is a lot more blurred than hindsight, and hindsight in this situation is only a good lesson to prepare for the future.
Addendum: I have just discovered that some American manufacturers and distributors of ventilators and masks are selling and shipping these products internationally. This is shameful on their part and needs to stop. Until American people’s needs are satisfied, there should be no shipments overseas. It is also my understanding that President Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act forbidding these shipments. This invocation should not have been necessary if these American manufacturers and distributors had a conscience. Shame on them, and I would support naming names for the American people to know who behaved shamefully. This, however, is not an indictment on all American businesses, especially those that stepped up or started production of these items, but only those American businesses that acted shamefully.
Irrational Times, Irrational People, and Irrational and/or Manipulative Politicians often lead to irrational governmental actions and social policies. And just as often, these actions and policies lead to the detriment of the people. Large scale irrationality led to The French Revolution which engendered the Reign of Terror, the Russian Revolution led to a repressive government, human rights violations, and mass starvation, and the Maoist Revolution led to the same results as the Russian Revolution. Italian Fascism and German Nazism were driven by irrational crowds, which led to massive human rights violations, and many smaller countries have also had their irrational crowd rule. All these large-scale irrational actions have resulted in violence, wars, and massive violations of human rights, as irrationality respects nobody and nothing, and will always end up poorly.
Smaller-scale irrationality often leads to governmental laws or actions which are detrimental or a violation of human rights. The United States has not immune to this type of smaller-scale irrationality. The history of 20th century America has had spurts of irrationality. Usually, such spurts calm down and we pursue more rational policies. The labor/management unrest of the early 20th century, the bigotry and suppression of Black Americans in the early 20th century, The Great Depression, the abuses of liberty and freedom of some peoples during World War I and II, and the reaction to the Vietnam War were often irrationally driven. But after these crises passed, we became more rationally driven. The exception to this history was the Civil Rights movement. It started and continued to be rationally base, with only a few instances or irrationality. However, in the late 20th and early 21st century, the Civil Rights movement has morphed into irrational charges of current systemic “Racism” in the United States.
However, in the late 20th and early 21st century, irrationality has become a political tactic. Mob actions and violence with calls for “Change” are often the catalysts for irrational governmental actions and social policies. Mobs that are not spontaneous but organized to agitate for change. Mob tactics that are utilized to inflame a situation rather than call attention to a situation. And politicians who advocate these changes utilize the mob actions, rather than rational considerations, to justify their plans for change. Things that were unobtainable in a rational political environment suddenly look possible in an irrational environment. Any negative situation or crisis that occurs is utilized to push for change that would not happen in a more rational environment. These tactics have been utilized mainly by one political party to advance their agenda – The Democrat Party – as demonstrated by the following quote by one of the Democrat leaders:
“You never want a serious crisis to
go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it's an opportunity to
do things that you think you could not before.”
- Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of staff to President Obama in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008.
The Democrat Party is a coalition of interest groups, interest groups advocating for change for the benefit of their members. The Democrat Party is organized to split America into interest groups, then appeal to these interest groups to obtain their votes and get elected. But this is done by the Democrats not so much as to advance the agenda of the interest groups but as means to Obtain and Retain Power for Democrats. A power that they can leverage to control Americans and American businesses. A power that can dictate what Americans can and cannot do. A power that is autocratic rather than the leadership of a free people. A power that infringes on the Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Justice for All.
The Democrats do this because they believe their agenda is what is best for America. However, if it is truly what is best for America, then they should be able to rationally explain their reasoning, garner the American peoples' support for their agenda, and pass rational laws and social policies. Most often, their agenda requires more governmental laws, rules, and regulations. More social policies and bureaucrats to enforce these laws, rules, and regulations and social policies, and, of course, more taxes to pay for these governmental activities. In doing so, they often do not account for the negative social and economic impacts of these items, nor do they account for “The Law of Unintended Consequences”. A Cost/Benefit economic and social analysis is often not done, or when it is done, it is done incompletely or incorrectly to skew the results in the Democrats' favor.
With the Coronavirus Pandemic, we have seen a different reaction. Perhaps because people are staying at home and contemplating the enormousness of this situation, or perhaps because irrational mobs cannot congregate and call for irrational governmental actions and social policies. Consequently, we are all behaving in a more rational manner (except for hoarding). Yet, current comments by Democrat party leaders reveal that they are planning to use the Coronavirus Pandemic crisis to advance their agenda. Rather than solve the current Coronavirus Pandemic crisis and utilize the knowledge and experience we have gained to prevent or alleviate future epidemics or pandemics, and to alleviate the economic hardships of Americans and American businesses as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic crisis, they are planning to utilize the crisis to advance their agenda. An agenda advancement that is unrelated to the current Coronavirus Pandemic crisis.
Given the Democrats' past actions, we can probably expect that when the current Coronavirus Pandemic crisis has passed we will see more non-spontaneous mob actions and violence with calls for “Change” to advance the Democrat Party agenda, rather than solve the Coronavirus Pandemic problems. Perhaps not, however, as the American people have had time to think and contemplate on these problems. Perhaps we can achieve a rational solution to these problems and avoid irrational responses. We best be sure that we arrive at rational solutions. Otherwise, we run the risk of transforming our society in a manner that will infringe on the Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Justice for All.
In my Coronavirus Chirp of “04/01/20 Liberty and Freedom in an Epidemic/Pandemic” I expressed concerns that our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights could be endangered by the actions needed to combat the Coronavirus Pandemic. The actions taken by the President, Governors, and Mayors to combat the Coronavirus Pandemic have increasingly been a violation of our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights, done to protect our lives, health, and safety. To justify these actions as necessary to protect Americans from the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic is a slippery-slope justification that would allow for any or all actions. But these actions have now become excessive, and we are sliding down this slippery slope. Many Governors and Mayors are even discussing extending these actions for many more months. However, these actions must end soon, and end before we become inured to the violations to our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights. We, the American people, must learn and accept the consequences of living with the Coronavirus. Consequences of increased infections and deaths as a result of the Coronavirus. For we can never completely defeat the Coronavirus, just as we never completely defeat influenza. The Coronavirus is now part of our human existence, and we must accept this as fact and live with this fact.
The damage done by the Coronavirus Pandemic is not only to our lives, health, and safety, but to our economy as a result of the actions of the President, Governors, and Mayors of this country to combat the Coronavirus. These actions must end and end quickly, and our economy must be restored as not to endanger our lives, health, and safety as a result of economic recession or depression. This restoration has also invoked consequences to our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights. The questions of who, what, when, were, and how to restore the economy has evoked a political contestation on restoring the economy. The questions of the proper Federal, Regional, State, or Local governmental actions to restore the economy is contentious. Indeed, the following quote highlights this contention:
"We don't have a king in this
country. We didn't want a king, so we have a Constitution and we
elect a president,"
- Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
Governor Cuomo should also remember that we elect Governors and Mayors in this country, and all the elected officials bear the responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, as well as their State Constitutions. They are not rulers of their fiefdoms, but leaders responsible to their citizens, as I have pointed out in my article “To Be Rulers or to Be Leaders”. They cannot take actions or make decrees directing the activities of the American people that are in violation of the United States Constitution or State Constitutions. They can only suggest activities of the American people, but not direct actions of the American people. This is a difference between being a ruler or being a leader. The American people are responsible for their actions, and the American people are responsible for restoring the economy. To do otherwise is only possible for a subjugated or subservient people.
Presidents, Governors, and Mayors must always be cognizant of our Freedoms and Liberties and take no actions that encroach on these Freedoms and Liberties. More specifically to the Coronavirus Pandemic and the economic recovery, they must remember the United States Constitution Amendments:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Amendment XIV Section 1”
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
If any of their directives or actions violate these Amendments, then such directives or actions are unconstitutional and must be challenged by the American people. Not only legal challenges that could take weeks, months, or years to resolve but also by defiance to such directives or actions. For defiance is an American birthright that preserves our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights. Mob violence is not an acceptable form of defiance, but disregarding such directives or actions is acceptable. If enough Americans disregard such directives or actions, they become unenforceable (after all, they cannot lock up or fine a massive number of people).
The Presidents, Governors, and Mayors must also remember that we have a hierarchical structure of government in the United States. A structure of Federal, State, and Local governance limited and enumerated in their Constitutions or Charters, and in decreasing hierarchy of authority, and increasing order of responsibility. When several Governors of regional areas of the United States discussed coordinating their responses for the economic recovery, they should be reminded that the United States Constitution makes no allowances for regional coordination, especially in the arena of interstate commerce. All actions regarding State coordination are the responsibility of the Federal government as express by laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. To do otherwise is to engage in Unconstitutional actions. These regional actions are also undemocratic, as they have no elective representatives to the regional authority responsive to the will of the people in these regions, and, therefore, no authority from the people of these regions to enforce these actions. To justify the regional actions as what is best for the people of these regions is to disregard our Liberties and Freedoms and our Human, Constitutional, and Civil Rights.
It is time for the American people to arise and demand that our Presidents, Governors, and Mayors act in a Constitution manner that preserves our "Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All" . To not do so is to become a subjugated or subservient people.
The economy of the United States is extremely complex. The Supply and Demand, the Manufacturing Processes (materials, production, distribution), the Agricultural process, the Pipeline flow of inputs and outputs for all these processes, and all the support services needed to keep the processes running are staggering and unplannable. All the preceding is but one part of the economy, and there are many other parts needed to keep the economy running. So many parts that are interrelated and in constant flux that it is impossible to understand or predict the economy of the United States. This is why economists and politicians have a dismal record in predicting or directing the economy. There is too little known, and too many unknowns, about the economic factors and their interrelationships for any one person or group of persons to understand or direct the economy. There is also “The Law of Unintended Consequences” when trying to direct an economy.
This can be seen in the history of the 20th century when governments tried to control the economies of their countries:
The five-year plans for the development of the national economy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR] consisted of a series of nationwide centralized economic plans in the Soviet Union, beginning in the late 1920s, and they were all total failures.
The Five-Year Plans are a series of social and economic development initiatives issued since 1953 in the People's Republic of China. Since 1949 the Communist Party of China has shaped the economy of China through the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and national congresses. The Party plays a leading role in establishing the foundations and principles of Chinese communism, mapping strategies for economic development, setting growth targets, and launching reforms. And all of these plans were total failures.
The Nazis of Germany, the Fascists of Italy, and the Imperialists of Japan, could only direct their economies by placing their countries on a war footing and aggression against other countries, which led to disastrous consequences for the rest of the world. The United States ended its Great Depression of the 1930s when it too went on a war footing to counter the Nazis, Fascists, and Imperialists. Prior to this occurrence, the economic recovery programs of the United States had very limited positive results.
The history of the late 20th century in European countries that tried to be more socialistic by nationalizing some companies or economic sectors, or provided direction to other businesses, led to economic stagnation. Wage and Price controls all resulted in economic troubles. Their economies were stagnating, their peoples were suffering, and their hopes for a better future were dashed. It is only after they loosened the reigns on their economies that this situation changed for the better.
The history of government control of the economy of other non-European countries has all had the same results; stagnation, suffering, and despair. The hubris of a government that believes that they can direct or control an economy is astounding. And this government control is only possible by the subjugation or subservience of the people under economic control. Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Equal Justice for All are not possible in a managed economy.
Which leads us to the question of how to economically recover from the impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic? Plans have been put forth by President Trump, Governors, Mayors, and others for an economic recovery. But they are all plans that require governmental control of the recovery, and as we have seen governmental control rarely, if ever, works. Therefore, I expect that these plans will only have limited positive effects. The only way to fully recover is to set the American people free to do what they do best, which is the Freedom and Liberty to make their own decisions. Allow the American people to control their own economic, health, and safety decisions, which will result in the recovery and growth of the economy but at the cost of more Coronavirus infections and deaths. A cost that must be borne, as the Coronavirus is now part of the human existence that cannot be eliminated nor fully controlled. The government should provide health and safety information, but not directives, and perhaps assure personal protective materials for individuals or businesses are available to help reduce the impacts of the Coronavirus. Other than that, governments should assure that the Human Rights, Constitutional Rights, and Civil Rights, and the "Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All" is preserved.
In this time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, many people are looking to Science or God, and many times both, for answers and hope. Some believe that only science can provide answers or hope, while others believe that God is our only salvation. But it is too both Science and God that we must look to for both answers and hope.
I am a firm believer that science is the best way of explaining the physical properties and physical laws of the universe. I also am a firm believer that God created our universe and established its physical properties and physical laws. And I see no conflict between the views of Science and Religion. Science is the explanation of how God created the universe, and God is the explanation of why we have the physical properties and physical laws of the universe. Science cannot prove nor disprove the existence of God, as God is outside the realm of science.
I believe in science to answer scientific questions, And I believe in God to answer the questions that science cannot answer. There are questions that can be asked that science is incapable of answering. Those questions are best left to philosophers, ethicists and moralists, and theologians. Scientists are free to believe or not believe in God, as are all peoples, but scientists cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. To utilize science to answer the question of God is the misuse of science. All parties should recognize that the question of God is indeterminable and resides in the realm of belief. No party has a definitive answer to the question of God. Therefore, let us debate the question of God in an intelligent, reasonable, and respectful manner, and if we cannot agree, simply agree to disagree. Consequently, each party should not claim the truth of their beliefs as the truth may never be known.
Many scientists who argue against the existence of God do so on the basis that if science cannot explain something, then it must not have occurred. They also argue against the literal truth of the Bible, but I do not believe in the literal truth of the Bible but a moral, allegorical, or metaphorical truth of the Bible that science cannot address. Also, science cannot explain many things, most importantly the mysteries of the mind such as good from evil, right from wrong, truth from falsehood, creative from destructive, reasonable from emotional, love from hate, wisdom from folly, beauty from ugliness, and morality and ethics, etc., as well as many other questions, and science cannot explain God. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides, Spinoza, Locke, Descartes, Hume, and many other great Philosophers were not grounded in science but provided many great truths about human existence. As such, when a religious or philosophical person makes a claim about science, the claim should be subject to scientific scrutiny. When a scientific person makes a claim about religion or philosophy, the claim should be subject to religious or philosophical scrutiny.
I have written more extensively on this subject in my article “Science versus Religion”, and I would direct you to this article for more of my thoughts on this topic. So, as I leave this Chirp on the Coronavirus Pandemic I grasp my Bible and my Science books together and leave you with the words of one of the greatest scientists in history, and one of the greatest science popularizers of the last half of the 20th century.
"Science is not only compatible
with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."
- Carl Sagan
"Science without religion is
lame, religion without science is blind."
- Albert Einstein
I have written a Chirp “04/27/20 Bankruptcy of States” that has a tangential reference to the Coronavirus Pandemic. It addresses the responsibilities of the Federal government in assisting the States to pay for debts that occurred because of the Federal actions as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. I hope that you will take the time to read this Chirp, as well as my other Chirps.
Social Distancing, No Handshaking, Frequent Hand Washing, Sneezing into Your Elbow, and No Touching of the Face are difficult human actions to control and achieve. Millions of years of human evolution and social customs make changing these human interactions challenging to accomplish.
There are many other human actions that are spontaneous and are very difficult to consciously control. Such actions as; many types of sneezing, eye rubbing, headache rubbing, scratching facial itches, head-scratching, hair finger combing, nail-biting, and nose blowing, nose rubbing and nose picking, are all human reactions to human conditions. Other necessary actions are dental flossing and dental picking, and ear cleaning could also pose a risk. Hugs and kisses, either through friendship or romantic reasons, as well as physical intimacy of lovemaking, are other human interactions that are part of the human existence.
In addition, when we are tired of sleepy (or sleeping), it is difficult to control your automatic responses. Yet, now, we are being told that we should control these reactions to combat the Coronavirus. Handshaking is a voluntary activity that now poses a risk. Perhaps we should replace this social custom with a palm(s) to the upper chest with a slight forward movement of the upper body, which may be a suitable replacement for a handshake. Social Distancing is more difficult, especially in a work environment. So much of human communication is non-verbal and requires proximity to the other person. Too distant from another person reduces the effectiveness of communication, while too close increases the risk of infection. A middle way, balancing both risk and reward, needs to be adopted. Perhaps three feet, rather than six feet, might be more appropriate, especially as people learn to control their reactions. Masks and other personal protection may be needed in the workplace, but this should be decided by the employers and employees as governmental requirements are oppressive (see my previous Coronavirus Pandemic Chirps), and are usually inappropriate to individual workplace environments as one size does not fit all.
However, the other automatic responses are more difficult to control, and we may have no other means to satiate them. Therefore, when we don’t control these reactions, they pose a risk to ourselves and those around us. Then what are we to do when such things occur? In private, we need to chastise ourselves and retrain our reactions. In public, an apology for our reactions is necessary, and a gentle admonishment to others' reactions is acceptable. You should not make excuses for your reactions, but you should sincerely apologize for your reactions. Chastising others is not acceptable in public situations, as this exacerbates the situation and leaves hard feelings of those chastised. Consequently, you should remember, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
We are now getting past the Coronavirus Pandemic crisis period and into the Coronavirus Pandemic recovery period. You can tell the difference by the political rhetoric that politicians, leaders, commentators, and journalists have spoken or written. We can expect to see Congressional and Presidential Committees and Commissions examining the causes and actions regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic. We can also expect that many of these committees and commissions to focus on the past, and often look to place blame, the political blame game. And, as usual, they will be looking at actions with 20/20 hindsight, with little attention being paid to the circumstances at the time of the occurrence of these actions. It is much easier to say what we should have done than it is to determine if the actions were reasonable, given what we knew at the time when the actions occurred. These committees and commissions should, instead, be focused on what we should and should not do during future national emergencies.
Give the forthcoming Presidential election we can expect these committees and commissions to become very politicized. A politicization that will not be helpful for the future, but harmful to the political personages involved in making the decisions. When these committees and commissions are formed and begin their investigations, it is important that they not become kangaroo courts. This would require impartial membership and rules of procedures that would allow all sides to express their viewpoints. We should remember that what has been done is done, and recriminations should be utilized to guide us in future actions for national emergencies and not for the blame game. Some blame needs to be allocated to those who reacted inappropriately. However, the primary purpose of the blame should be to ascertain how we could have better reacted rather than to score political points.
As such, the currently formed House Committee to Investigate the Coronavirus Response is populated and structured more like a kangaroo court rather than an investigative committee. It should be disbanded and reformulated along bi-partisan lines. It should also investigate the overreactions and infringements of our Constitutional Rights that were perpetuated by some State and Local government authorities. The infringements of our Constitutional Rights are as important as the abatement of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It should also examine the impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic and our responses in the deaths from suicide, stress, drug and alcohol abuse, physical abuse, or those who had serious pre-existing medical conditions but were scared away from doctors’ offices, hospitals, and life-saving treatment.
We also need to address Legal Tort reform as businesses start to reopen. If businesses are liable for any or all Coronavirus infections as a result of their operations, they will be hampered in their actions. A hampering that will slow down, and possibly stall, the economic recovery from the Coronavirus Pandemic lockdowns. Willful misconduct by businesses that endanger their employees or customers should not be tolerated, but unintentional actions need to be immune from legal actions. Otherwise, businesses will become embroiled in legal actions that could ruin them, not to mention the overburdening of our legal system as a result of increased legal suits as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
We also need to be careful that we do not overreach on the economic and social corrections needed to recover from the Coronavirus Pandemic. This is not the time to expand government or institute social policy goals. Focus, instead, on what is required to recover from the impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic. We also need to focus on the national debt and its reduction, a debt that ballooned as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic spending. For the increased national debt may have a greater impact than the Coronavirus Pandemic, an impact that could negatively harm future generations of Americans.
All of these issues, including my Coronavirus Pandemic Chirp “03/24/20 Made in the U.S.A.”, and more, needs to be examined so that we are better prepared in the future for any national emergency that may arise.
Many have called for continued stay-at-home and business lockdowns and “Wait Until It’s Safe” to remove these restrictions. We should remember that we live in an unsafe world, and no human activities would occur if we “Wait Until It’s Safe.” It is unsafe to get out of bed in the morning, it is unsafe to travel to and from work, and there is unsafeness in the workplace and in the home. It is possible to be infected, injured, or die in any human activity. Automobiles and trucks have accidents, trains crash and derail, airplanes have accidents and crash, and boats and ships collide or sink. On the other extreme, a meteor could strike the earth, a massive Coronal Mass Ejection could strike the Earth and fry all electrical and electronic equipment, a massive Volcano could erupt and make unhabitable large portions of the Earth, or an immense Earthquake could occur that would have devastating impacts. All these things, and much more, make for an unsafe world.
Some unsafe events we have no control over, while some unsafe events we can influence and mitigate the impacts. However, we live in an unsafe world, and there is nothing we could do if we "Wait Until It's Safe". We accept the risks, try to mitigate the risks, and we go on with our lives. And so, it must be with the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Coronavirus is now part of our world, just as influenza and other infectious disease are part of our world, and we must learn to live with it. We must accept this, mitigate the risks, and continue with our lives. To "Wait Until It's Safe" would require that we wait for a long time, an exceedingly long time, or forever. If we “Wait Until It’s Safe”, we will destroy the economy, disrupt the supply chain required to provide the essentials of life, and destitute a large percent of our population. Deaths, diseases, starvation, homelessness, poverty, and more are unintended consequences of "Wait Until It's Safe".
It is time to stop "Wait Until It's Safe" and get on with our lives. You should do what you can to protect yourself and others from contracting or spreading the Coronavirus, but you need to live your life as well. Therefore, you must accept the risks, try to mitigate the risks and go on with your life. Let us hear no more of "Wait Until It's Safe".
The question of sovereignty within the United States has become paramount during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Is it the President, or the Governors, or the local officials? The answer is neither of these people, but the people themselves that are sovereign over any government official!
It has been truly said that “First Came Rights, and Then Comes Government” as espoused in our “Declaration of Independence”. The American Revolution was fought over this principle, and the entire Declaration espoused this principle. Our forefathers were terribly aware that governments were often oppressive to the Natural Rights of the people, and the people need to be wary of government actions and to protect their rights against governmental incursions of our Natural Rights. The instituted the “The United States Constitution” to formulate a government that places the sovereignty with the people and to prevent governmental incursions on our Natural Rights. They also passed the “Bill of Rights” and the “Other Amendments” to further protect our National Rights. They expected the people to utilize their Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All to retain their Natural Rights and resist governmental incursion on these Natural Rights.
You cannot pass a law, nor implement any rules or regulations, that is a restriction or constriction of our Natural Rights. Any governmental authority cannot enforce any restrictions or constrictions on our Natural Rights. Consequently, no President, or Governor, or local official cannot arbitrarily place any rules or regulations upon the Natural Rights of the people. For governmental authorities to institute any actions, they must pass laws that enable these actions. Laws that must not infringe on our Natural Rights and that must be constitutional. Any rules or regulations that do not meet these criteria can be ignored or resisted by the people. For if government officials have no legal authority for their actions, there is no legal duty for the people to obey these actions.
As the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution state:
Amendment IX (9): Rights retained by the people:
“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Amendment X (10): Powers retained by the states and the people:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Consequently, the people are sovereign, and they retain their Natural Rights and have no duty to obey any rules or regulations that infringe on our Natural Rights. The Congress of the United States, and the State Legislators, have not passed any laws, nor has the judiciary of the United States or the individual states reviewed such laws for the constitutionality of such laws for much of the actions of the President, or Governors, or local officials. The broad and sweeping powers that the President, or Governor, or local officials have claimed under the banner of a National Emergency do not negate nor infringe on our Natural or Constitutional rights. Some limited authority of limited duration may be necessary to overcome a national emergency. But such actions must be narrowly defined and of short duration or they are infringements on our Natural Rights.
For those that would respond that most of the people support these actions, I would retort that the majority does not get to impose its will on the minority, for that is antithetical to Natural and Constitutional Rights. I would also remind you that during the American Revolution, John Adams, one of the leading proponents of the Declaration of Independence, a founder of the Constitution, and the second President of the United States, said about majority support. When asked how many of the colonists supported the American Revolution, he stated that about one-third supported it, one-third opposed it, and one-third had no opinion on it. Clearly not a majority in support of the American Revolution. Should we have not fought the American Revolution as it did not have majority support? Absolutely not – as revolutions are often fought by a minority that feels oppressed by the majority. So, it should be for those that are resisting governmental actions to combat the Coronavirus Pandemic. They are standing up for our Natural and Constitutional rights, and although they may be in the minority, they are also right to stand up for our Natural and Constitutional Rights.
We have persevered with these restrictions and constrictions of our Natural and Constitutional Rights to fight the Coronavirus Pandemic for well over month for the good of all. However, allowing the government to decide what is good for all can lead us down the slippery slope of permanent restrictions on the Natural Rights of the people. Therefore, it is time to reaffirm our Natural Rights, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and the limited powers of government as espoused in the Federal and State Constitutions. To not do so is to endanger our Natural and Constitutional Rights in the future and empower governmental authorities to be sovereign over the people.
In my writings, I often reference Natural Rights and Human Rights, and occasionally reference Fundamental Rights. But the question is, what are the differences between these rights? Natural Rights and Human Rights are different terms for the same thing. Fundamental Rights are those Natural Rights and Human Rights that are enumerated in our Constitution, as constituted mainly in the Bill of Rights -- the first ten amendments, and the 14th amendment to the Constitution. Natural Rights were mostly utilized by our Founding Fathers and several generations prior and preceding them. Gradually the term Human Rights superseded the term Natural Rights. Fundamental Rights is the term utilized in our Judicial system to reference Human Rights enshrined in our Constitution. However, our Human Rights are not limited to our Fundamental Rights, as the 9th Amendment to the Constitution makes abundantly clear.
Natural Rights and Human Rights are integral to each person, and they are too numerous to list. The anti-slavery crusader Lysander Spooner would explain it thusly: “A man’s natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber, ... or by millions, calling themselves a government.”
Natural rights collectively constitute the moral ability and sovereign authority of every human being to make personal choices, if these personal choices do infringe on the Human Rights of others. And these Human Rights are free from government interference or government permission. They are essential to assuring our Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All.
Occasionally, Human Rights need to be curtailed in an emergency, but their curtailment must be limited in scope and of short duration. This curtailment must cease as quickly as possible, and the people harmed by such curtailment must be indemnified for the harm caused by the curtailment. To not do so is to allow for the infringement of Human Rights for specious reasons. It is a Human Right for the people to protest these curtailments and seek to redress these curtailments. To prohibit these protests is to institute tyrannical rule over the people. We also should always remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Let us, therefore, be incredibly careful and circumspect when we think about curtailing Human Rights.
For more on these Fundamental Rights in regard to the Coronavirus Pandemic, I would direct you to the “U.S. Constitution shredded by dangerous elected officials” by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano.
Is might right, or is might just the power to do what you will? Might is never right but might be necessary when utilized for a just purpose. In a time of crisis, it may be necessary for might to establish order and to save lives, but might should always be tempered by mercy. For if it is not tempered, it becomes repressive and a violation of human rights.
Might is necessary for the enforcement, prosecution, and incarceration of criminal actions. However, the utilization of might is only justified when just laws are being implemented, and only when the might is applied justly.
For non-criminal actions, the application of might is almost always wrong, but there are shades of grey for this application of might. This is elucidative in the actions we have taken to curb the Coronavirus Pandemic. The government has applied its might to combat the Coronavirus Pandemic, but this might have caused much harm to many people. Is the application of this might justified in this case, or has the might been unjustly applied?
How much harm can the government inflict upon the people to combat a national emergency? Has the application of governmental might been necessary and evenhanded? Is the harm inflicted on the people greater than the harm of the emergency? Is the government responsible for indemnifying the people harmed by its actions? How much might should the government have to intervene in the personal and economic affairs of the people? What are the limits of government might and the natural rights of the people? These questions and answers of governmental might during the Coronavirus Pandemic will be debated for decades to come.
We should learn the lessons of the Coronavirus Pandemic and apply these lessons to future governmental actions. And the voice of the people, not just politicians, governmental officials, and the judiciary need to be involved in this debate. The people need to speak out and direct their elected and appointed officials to give prominence to the people’s concerns, and not just governmental concerns. And the people need to be concerned that “Freedoms, Liberties, Equalities, and Equal Justice for All” is the foremost criterion when we formulate answers.
Once again, we are utilizing statistics improperly regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic. With the relaxation of the extraordinary measures to control the Coronavirus and the increase in social contacts, we have seen an increase in the number of people who have contracted the Coronavirus. We have also seen an increase because of more testing for the Coronavirus. All these increases are a result of more testing and social contacts. The question is, are these increases a result of greater contagion or more testing results? The answer is both, but it is not possible to separate these increases into the categories of contagion or testing results. And it may not be necessary to do so.
The increase in the number of people who have contracted the Coronavirus is not an important statistic. The important statistic is the increases in the number of sick people, the number of people who are hospitalized, and the increase in the number of deaths because of the Coronavirus. These increases show the current impact of the Coronavirus on Americans. While we have seen an increase in sickness, hospitalization, and deaths, are these increases significant to the public state of health in America? While these increases are significant to those who have suffered from sickness, hospitalizations, and deaths from the Coronavirus, do these increases pose a significant impact on the health services for Americans? Will these increases cause safety and economic harm to Americans? And should we wait to open America until we have a vaccine or cure for the Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus will continue to have an impact on Americans, even after a vaccine or cure is developed. This is the nature of viruses, and nothing we do will change this fact. The question we need to ask ourselves is, are these increases an acceptable risk as counterbalanced to the harm of the continued extraordinary measures to control the Coronavirus? We face risks every day of harms, deaths, and diseases in our commonplace lives. Should the Coronavirus risk be part of these everyday risks, and should we accept these risks and carry on with our lives? And what reasonable and prudent measures should we take to reduce the Coronavirus risks after we carry on with our lives?
These are the questions that we need to answer to decide on how we should go forward with our Coronavirus comeback. As for myself, I have put the fear of the Coronavirus aside, and I believe that it is time that we accept these risks, take reasonable and prudent precautions, and carry on with our lives.
There are many lessons that can be learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic and our response to it. Some of the most important are:
- Scientists can be wrong, scientists can be political, scientists
can be corrupted, and scientists can lie. Science can get it
wrong, and sometimes science should fear to tread where angels
would never go.
- Statistics and probabilities can be manipulated to a
predetermined outcome, especially if politics or money is
involved, and therefore you should always be wary of statistics
and probabilities. And remember:
"All models are wrong, some are useful."
- George E. P. Box, one of the great statistical minds of the 20th century
- When relying on experts to formulate governmental policies, you
should always remember that:
"Experts ought to be on tap and not on top."
- Irish editor and writer George William Russell
- Many politicians and special interests groups will use any
excuse to accrue more power to themselves and government at the
expense of individual Freedom and Liberty, as the following quote
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that [is] it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before.”
- Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of staff to President Obama, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2008.
- The American people can be bamboozled, the American people can
be driven by fear, and the American people will band together to
combat a common threat. However, the American people will not do
so for long without reasserting their Liberties and Freedoms.
- Whenever the government becomes involved in directing private
commerce, it will not end well for the businesses, the consumers,
and the general public.
- Our economy is complex and interrelated, and government actions
and reactions will always have unintended consequences to the
- Whenever the government makes decisions about public health, you should be very concerned about your personal health.
These lessons learned are not only applicable to the COVID-19 Pandemic but to all government actions. Let us not forget what has happened and the lessons we have learned, for if we do forget the lessons learned, then:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana
Please note that with this Chirp, I am ending posts on this Coronavirus Pandemic webpage that examined some of these lessons.