We need to also avoid uncritical dualities and Manichaean styled juxtapositions such as those “good” people who care about the health of the people more than economy and those “bad” people who only care about the economy and are insensitive to the health care needs of the most vulnerable. As Ramin Mazaheri, writes, “Mary Waitress has no income, no job, no health care and a mortgage, condo dues, two kids in day care, an underemployed ex-husband, a Mom in a nursing home and a government which couldn’t have cared less about any of that. Where has your conscience been for poor paycheck-to-paycheck Mary, I fairly ask?”
To the extent that we can avoid Draconian restrictions of movement that severely frustrate economic vitality, we should. I liked Mazaheri’s analysis primarily because he invites us to consider the broader horizon of our world. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise"
While I do not claim to have the answers, I am using my time to research and reflect. And yes, all of us should observe social distancing, handwashing, and follow public health measures as I continue to do. But that does not mean a suspension of our critical faculties. As I posted in an earlier post, nationalizing the banks is a good start following the end of this crisis. While I do not agree with every prescription offered by Mazaheri, I am completely on board with many of his ideas moving ahead including “ending banker rule, move on to ending lawyer-bureaucracy, go on lockdown only to have a massive national discussion (on the value of civil liberties) and ensuring that these are foundational values in any policy direction, access to timely health care, informed responses based on a considered view of available data), etc.