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Corona / Covid-19 Virus - General Discussion

Silvaire wrote:

It was a radical viewpoint in the late 18th century, but actually as you may recall in direct opposition to British government ‘policy’ of that time, and still now.

Not at all. The British government at that time provided almost nothing for society and didn’t intend to. All it really provided was a legal system (with harsh punishment of property crimes to protect the incumbent wealthy/powerful) and (via global conquest) facilitated the efforts of enterprising individuals who wanted to become very wealthy. It didn’t even do infrastructure – when canals and later railways came along they were purely private enterprise.

You may oppose the actions of the British state then and now, but coincidentally the paragraph you wrote in post #222 almost perfectly describes the British state back then.

Silvaire wrote:

What a surprise the latter must be

Or not, as the case may be.

20-20 hindsight. Other major health crises have proved controllable by a concerted, centralised effort, e.g. mass vaccination for smallpox, or education in the case of HIV. Outside of the US and excluding fringe viewpoints in the rest of the world, the health of the population is generally considered a government matter and any government totally ignoring a pandemic can expect to be booted from office at the next election. I make no comment on whether that’s right or wrong, but it’s reality.


Graham wrote:

(The British government at that time) didn’t even do infrastructure – when canals and later railways came along they were purely private enterprise.

Well, not much has changed there

And obviously its not at all representative of the US, as the FAA role makes clear.

And that is the point. Disciplined, debated and (as a result) fairly consistent understanding of the governmental role, what it should and can do and what it shouldn’t and can’t do, has traditionally been a key item in making the US work for a huge, diverse population. The opposite is people looking to government to direct their lives and recycle their money to provide for them, and that doesn’t produce results in a diverse society, which is a pretty good description of the world looking forward, not backwards.

The UK is nowadays more diverse than most individual European nations, like a small version of Europe as a whole, and I think that’s the reason why UK looks less effective in its use of European style government in relation to the more typical monolithic Continental countries.

The COVID thing has been the most expensive, elaborate experiment in government public health orders in human history, involving months of quarantine for the healthy, ongoing travel restrictions plus substantial direction of the economy and employment. All based on very little science or data, for example the continued insistence that the disease is transmitted by touch when the facts indicate otherwise. Nothing I have seen leads me to believe that its been warranted or effective in relation to a much, much lighter touch approach that should have been taken. I think in time it will become obvious that while there is some role for government in an epidemic, I think mainly educational and advisory plus drug research, most of the unprecedented and heavy handed government takeover of our lives was a huge mistake.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 16 Sep 00:42

Couldn’t agree more.


@Silvaire, although I’m sure our political views otherwise differ greatly, to a large extent I agree with your views on government. However, government and society are not the same thing, although they are frequently viewed as if they were. While I oppose a strong state, I do support a strong society.

You have several times made statements which I can only interpret as meaning that you couldn’t care less about the Covid-19 pandemic as long as it doesn’t affect you personally, your family, friends or associates. I think this “every man for himself” attitude is what most Europeans find alien.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Fuji_Abound wrote:

Spock said something like the needs of the many outweigh the one. No unnecessary loss of life is consionable, and it seems to me, the more developed a nation believes it is, the more this becomes true

That name you mention has got interesting implications. How would the supposedly emotion free Vulcan society react to a threat like this? Clearly, it would have much less problems in the initial phases to accept facts over fiction, they are also incapable of making up the latter, so most probably they would have shut themselves down for a month or two and let the virus die out, without silly protests or without people disregarding the obvious rational approach in return of some temporary freedom. I’d think a Vulcan society would be vastly superior in reacting to a threat like that. They would not really have problems like misunderstanding any part of STAY HOME.

Humans on the other hand, will always seek their own advantage, will put themselves before others and often enough will go further than that to achieve their own ends. I guess this is what we have seen big time in this story here. Rational approaches have been kicked aside from scratch and replaced by all sorts of philosophical musings about freedom and liberties, as if a virus is capable of this kind of bargaining.

Silvaire wrote:

How does Switzerland compare with Italy on ‘the way things should be’ in society?

With regard to COVID or otherwise? Pre-Covid and outside Covid, Switzerland has one of the few if not the only direct democracy in the world. Therefore, it’s politics are largely guided by common consent or at the very least acceptance of a decision taken by the population in referendi and via initiatives. Therefore, it can be postulated that for a majority of the Swiss population, the majority of things are as that process has determined it should be. Obviously not perfect and with a huge influence of EU law we have taken over, but in general, the consent is there. Government in most democracies and even republics derives it’s power from the consent of the people or at least a majority. Where that is no longer the case and .where government will go against it’s own people constantly and consistently, it is fair to speak of a non-democratic order.

Most EU countries and most others too are representative democracies or republics, where the only influence people have is via elections. In between that, governments are relatively free in their decisions and up to an extent do not have to care about the consent until it is time for re-election. Consequently, a radicalisation in politics in recent years have lead to massive divisions in many countries, where ruling parties and opposition parties start to talk of each others as enemies rather than fellow citizens with different ideas.That imho is a threat to democracy and it is also a threat in situations such as the current one.

With regards to Italy, they reacted much more fierce than Switzerland and have achieved a relatively low rate of new infections, with rather harsh reactions to individual outbreaks. I have not really followed their recent development, but I hear from people living there. The success/failure rate can easily be determined by the numbers per 100k inhabitants, which in many countries are the indicators whether a population is considered to be at risk or not.

With regards to the Covid situation I think it is fair to say that all governments worldwide did not deal with it very well initially. Some found a modus operandi to keep the virus in check, with more or less restrictions, others are still blundering around trying to keep the streets quiet while not overwhelming their hospitals and keeping the economy alive. All of them missed the initial train which could have stopped the pandemic in its initial stages by nipping it in the buds and getting the whole thing done in 2 to 3 months. Now it is no longer a question of eradicating the virus, that train has left the station, but of somehow containing it until elusive vaccines are available. However, there again the Vulcan / Human effect may play havoc with that too, as there will be a significant number of people who will refuse the vaccines because they “contain chips by Bill Gates” or by “deep government” or what ever.

Personally I see the current situation where every country cooks their own soup rather more damaging both to health and to the economy than if there was a general consent over larger communities of countries as for instance Europe as a whole how to deal with quarantine, testing and travel. The hodge podge approach we have now only fuels incertitude and consequent damage to interests, as basically nothing can be planned ahead for more than a couple of days. E.g testing on entry and basing quarantine on tests done at entry would massively relieve the travel industry as opposed to blanket quarantine. e.g. following up a standardized lockdown and isolation practice on community or county level rather than locking down whole states or countries.

Another problem is the constant flow of half-baked “information” which often enough can be called fake news or at least doubtful sales pitches. The constant contradiction between scientists and the insistence of some who obviously publish b.s. drive the population in more and more incertitude, which again is a threat to the democratic process as it promotes people with “solutions”, e.g. populists e.t.c.

LSZH, Switzerland

Silvaire wrote:

All based on very little science or data, for example the continued insistence that the disease is transmitted by touch when the facts indicate otherwise.

Interesting. What evidence do you have that it isnt? Or are you suggesting there is no evidence one way or the other.

Mooney_Driver wrote:

All of them missed the initial train which could have stopped the pandemic in its initial stages by nipping it in the buds and getting the whole thing done in 2 to 3 months.

Full eradication of the virus by full lockdown would mean no hospitals, no food, no electricity. Simply not possible.

EIWT, Ireland

zuutroy wrote:

Full eradication of the virus by full lockdown would mean no hospitals, no food, no electricity. Simply not possible.

I don’t think that is true though. We got very close to it in Ireland after our initial lockdown. At one point there were only about 300 people in the whole country with it.

What would have been needed was a much more robust test and trace system to chase down the remaining unidentified cases, and some sort of inward quarantine to stop new unidentified cases coming in and infecting the population.

The two big elephants in the room for that was

a) the border with Northern Ireland. NI was not going to follow the same path. That would have meant having quarantine on the ROI/NI border. Politically, that would have been near impossible, at least if it was going to be tight.
b) as an island with one of the most open economies in the world, we need international connectivity. A strict quarantine would have totally shut down the aviation industry and I’m not sure the government had the stomach to bail them out and would have a big fear that the connectivity would not return later.

But we got very close to irradiation, and NI got very close too.

If it was done Europe wide, it might have been successful.

But I agree with Mooney Driver on this, that that boat has sailed. It would be very difficult to get the same population compliance again, unless there was a very clear path to a better future.

I think we’re left with a strategy that helps to keep the numbers lowish until a vaccine comes along.

EIWT Weston

Don’t know whether this Non PC link will still work by the time it’s clicked on.

Egnm, United Kingdom

I think Ireland has a low population density, and probably a lot less foreign (holidays, and Alpine skiing) travel distributed throughout the population. That helps a lot.

I agree about the vaccine being the only realistic endgame.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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