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It’s the Spending, Stupid

Is Questioning Our Medical Masters About The Draconian Coronavirus Response A ‘Moral Crime’?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

In a powerful monologue questioning the wisdom of these draconian, economy-killing shutdowns, Fox News host Tucker Carlson noted the tendency of our “opinion making class” to portray those who express concern about the U.S. economy as being guilty of a “kind of moral crime.”


“Our leaders still seem far more afraid of a virus that probably kills fewer than 1 percent of those infected than the prospect of a third of all Americans losing their jobs,” Carlson said Thursday night. “We don’t judge anyone for that … Still, this is a moment, it will pass. A year from now, what will seem scarier? The Chinese coronavirus or the economic devastation it wrought?”

Among those guilty of this so-called “moral crime” was Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who as an older American expressed his personal desire to take the risk of going back to work so his grandchildren could “live in the America” he has. “Almost immediately the media outrage machine began belching smoke and making loud noises,” Carlson said of the media’s reaction to Patrick, “as if he was trying to kill the elderly to boost Exxon share prices.”

Another scandalous ‘moral’ thought-criminal was Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who last week wrote that people should “evaluate the total societal cost of this awful disease and try to put things into perspective.”

“Imagine the potential psychological and human toll if this shutdown continues indefinitely, unemployment reaches 20% or higher, as some now predict, and we sink into a deep recession or depression,” Johnson wrote in an op-ed that drew the ire of plenty of Twitter blue-check elites: “Your death is an acceptable loss for Ron Johnson's 401(k), according to Ron Johnson -- who is not volunteering in hospitals without a mask,” wrote Walter Schaub. HuffPost reporter Arthur Delaney accused the senator of “downplaying death” because he called it "an unavoidable part of life." (It’s not?)


But here’s what Johnson wrote: “Every premature death is a tragedy but death is an unavoidable part of life. 2.8-M die each year. 61K deaths in the 2018 flu season. Can you imagine the panic if those statistics were attributed to a new virus and reported nonstop?”

In other words, when it comes to saving lives, it’s always more complicated than the Twitter blue-check masters-of-morality would have us believe. Some variation of ‘every death is one too many’ is the virtuous thing to say, and we’ve heard it a lot lately when it comes to coronavirus, especially when pretty much anyone in the medical field is interviewed on television. Thus, any state-enforced action, no matter how draconian, is deemed justifiable because it could ‘save a life’ from coronavirus. “Could,” because we can’t possibly know for sure how effective, say, not allowing people to get their pets groomed or keep their cleaning appointments with their dentists would be in stopping the spread. Everyone agrees that *something* had to be done, of course. The question is, did that *something* have to go as far as it has gone and continues to go? And why on earth does asking it make one somehow a ‘moral monster’?

During the aforementioned segment, Carlson played a clip from Dr. Anthony Fauci that gave some, uh, insight on when this current shutdown madness might end: “When it goes down to essentially no new cases, no deaths.” Soooo, when might that be, good doctor? A month from now? Six months from now? He doesn’t know, and neither does anyone else. Is half of America going bankrupt - and all the suffering and deaths that would eventually entail - an acceptable cost to bring the coronavirus case count to zero?


For some inexplicable reason, we’ve turned over decision-making in this country to healthcare professionals whose single, solitary goal is to save *every* possible life from coronavirus and only coronavirus. In theory and absent all other considerations it’s an admirable goal, but its implementation is far from the “first, do no harm” of the Hippocratic Oath, mainly because of the actual *doing harm* involved in putting the lives of present and future coronavirus victims over everyone else’s.

As I write this, coronavirus cases have topped 1 million globally and are approaching 350,000 in the U.S. Assuming most who have reportedly died from COVID-19 wouldn’t have also died from the cold, the flu, or any other virus that attacked their already compromised immune systems (Yes, I think that’s a stretch because the vast majority of deaths have had some sort of underlying health condition), the disease has claimed almost 70,000 worldwide and is approaching 10,000 in this country. That number will be larger when this goes online, possibly much larger. Still, as Johnson touched on, it likely won’t be as large as the 125,000 globally who have died from seasonal flu so far this year, or the 440,000 dead from HIV/AIDs, or 260,000 from malaria, or the 280,000 suicides, or the 220,000 who have died globally from water-related diseases which are entirely preventable. And how about the more than 2.1 million lost cancer victims, or the 350,000 we lost from deadly car accidents?


While this virus percentage-wise could probably end up being somewhat more deadly than the seasonal flu, it still seems staggeringly incapable of justifying the overbearing, hysterical global response thus far.

Continuing the theme on Friday night, Tucker criticized the wisdom of putting medical professionals like Dr. Fauci essentially in charge of the economy. Tens of millions unemployed is a “far bigger disaster than the virus itself, by any measure,” the Fox News host contended. “Tony Fauci, decent as he may be, can’t see that, because he doesn’t think it’s his job to see it. But even a doctor should be able to think beyond the models. Our response to coronavirus could turn this into a far poorer nation. Poor countries are unhealthy countries, always and everywhere. In poor countries, people die of treatable diseases. In poor countries, people are far more vulnerable to obscure viruses, like the one we are fighting now. You want to keep Americans from dying before their time? Then don’t impoverish them.”

This, from someone who was truly the tip of the spear for the idea of taking coronavirus seriously from the start. Yes, everyone agrees that certain measures had to be taken, but if we end up continuing to let the ‘cure’ be worse than the disease ever would have been, millions upon millions of newly poverty-stricken Americans will look back and wonder if it all was worth it.


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