Right now there is a lot of chatter about “hunkering down” as a means of dealing with the coronavirus. President Trump has discouraged any public gatherings of more than 10 people. San Francisco is ordering residents to stay home over the coronavirus. And many other cities and states are beginning to issue similar orders or recommendations in an attempt to “flatten the curve.”
And, based on all that I’ve personally read and looked into on this issue, this is probably the best method of dealing directly with the coronavirus.
Our National DNA
However, I am starting to get the feeling that, at least in America, such a public policy is not sustainable for very long. Such might work in countries like China, France, and Italy. But in America we have a different sort of national DNA.
Our national spirit is one that tends to lean heavily towards independence. We like to come and go as we please, without anyone telling us what to do. And even the biggest fans of “big government” still tend to show a general dislike of the government reaching into their daily lives.
We’ve been suspicious of government since our founding. It’s simply who we are. And as a people, we will not tolerate being told to stay inside all day. “Give me liberty or give me death!” is something our souls are all branded with.
It’s no wonder that along with supermarkets being wiped out of essentials as people stock up on food, that people have also been stocking up on guns and ammo. While some of those guns and ammo are undoubtedly for possible home invasion scenarios in which people anticipate fighting to the death over toilet paper, there is no doubt that people are growing concerned that the government is inching us along the path towards martial law.
While I don’t believe we’ll ever go that far, there is little doubt that many local governments will take a bit of a heavy handed approach to combating coronavirus. And in the end… people simply will not tolerate being caged up in their homes for very long.
I mean… this is America gosh darnnit! We are animated by a revolutionary spirit.
We might tolerate several weeks of hunkering down to fight coronavirus. But practicing social distancing beyond that will become unsustainable. Not only will we experience a general case of “stir craziness,” but eventually we’ll see our neighbors, friends, and families losing their jobs. Our favorite local bars, restaurants, and other establishments will begin to fail in mass. Churches will be forced to close. As a people, we’ll find such an existence insufferable.
A Decision Will Have To Be Made
As a friend of mine pointed out recently, what began as a merely “health crisis” will become a “humanitarian crisis.” As the wheels of our economy come to a grinding halt as a result of everyone staying inside and not spending money, we will feel compelled to respond. We’ll be compelled to go back to our normal ways of life.
At which point we’ll be forced to make some hard choices as Americans. Do we throw away our “way of life” and the ability for us to provide for our families in order to wage a war against the coronavirus? Or do we just accept coronavirus as a new risky part of life, in which during any given year 1.4% of all who get infected by the virus might die?
As I spoke about in a recent podcast, I believe whichever path we ultimately take, it’ll force us to embrace a “new normal.” The only question that remains to be solved is what will that new normal be?