Jun. 3, 2020

I am tired of being manipulated

   I am impatient with the dithering of our political class. Isolation and social distancing are proven enemies of older Canadians. Without social contact, camaraderie, and engagement our mental and physical health deteriorates and our lives are that much shorter. Isolated seniors have higher medical intervention needs.

     Where were the health and political leaders herding us into isolation during the 1981 HIV/AIDS epidemic, SARS in 2003-04, H1N1 in 2009-10 and MERS in 2012? Quarantine has been around for centuries. Isolating ill people to prevent the spread of disease is not new.

     We had not heard of quarantining an entire population prior to China’s action in Wuhan province. We were astonished to see millions confined to their homes and felt it could only happen in a totalitarian state. Just three months later Canada was doing the same thing. Who was behind this drastic change in how to deal with an epidemic?

     Politicians maintained that isolation was the only way to combat coronavirus and made decisions that have affected all of us drastically. Measures included a decision to cancel about 250,000 scheduled surgeries and medical procedures to increase emergency room capacity. People had been told that these procedures were required and were suddenly dumped as trash. Failing to treat people we know need medical attention to make room for people not yet ill is insane.

     Politicians insist that distancing will be required practice for years to come. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1981-85 was worse and kills about double current coronavirus deaths each year despite major advances in AIDS treatments. In the 1980s those who worked with HIV infected people had no protection against AIDS. Coronavirus is not unique in the risks it presents.

     The threatened wave of coronavirus infections never materialized. Our health care systems were not overwhelmed. Trading dubious protection against coronavirus for the loss of income, financial instability and destruction of our economy is a poor bargain we were not allowed to consider and approve. That is unforgivable in a democratic nation.

     COVID-19 reporting is deceptive. On May 30, we had 35,014 active cases, 48,103 people who had recovered and 7,073 deaths. Recoveries exceed active cases. Of cases where we know the outcome (48,103 + 7,073 =) 55,176 - 87.2% recovered. If we exclude the 5,579 personal care facility deaths where lack of manpower and equipment, neglect, and failure to treat played major roles, the recovery rate is over 97%.

     It was quickly apparent that millions had no income. Jobs vanished. Business owners were left with debts and no income. The federal and provincial governments started interim wage and income replacement plans to put the economy on life support, but that effort is not sustainable even to year end. The economic crisis was generated by the coronavirus response. We managed to turn one crisis into two. Politicians tell us they are going to reopen society very carefully to keep us all safe from a fresh virus outbreak. Their claims to protecting the people are nonsense; in the century and a half since Confederation, governments have never been motivated to protect the public from anything.

     We can make decisions to protect ourselves. Most will take a cautious approach and see what happens to infection rates before committing to expanded social interactions. The ridiculous rules in effect for operations and social distancing are just an extension of the quarantine.      

      The medical and political establishments are not going to turn us into something we know to be wrong. We have deep commitments to spouse, family, tribe, and community. We hug our family and friends to strengthen our bond and shake hands to seal a deal or show we bear no malice. Those habits ingrained over centuries should not be given up because some official thinks we should.

     Democracies dominate the world because they do not suppress the freedoms of their citizens. We cannot thrive in a world where our natural instincts are suppressed and our curiosity, ability to adapt, inventiveness and capacity to love and be loved are throttled. We are humans with all of the failings and greatness embodied therein. We are not specimens to be studied, analyzed, and mutated into something different.

     Governments do not create wealth; they squander it. It takes a free economy with minimal and justifiable government regulation to produce wealth and the economic growth required to protect our social safety net. The traditional approach to redistribution of wealth has failed. When entrepreneurs and investors find too large a proportion of the wealth they generate confiscated through taxation, they stop producing. Investors have fled Canada due to mismanagement that passes for governance.

     Without that wealth generation, our social safety net is doomed. Government wealth redistribution floats like a ship’s anchor. The government reduces tax income through operating costs and reduces the benefits it disburses though more operating costs. This cycle of diminishing returns dooms our future. Growing governments are self-defeating as operating costs are a growing portion of income.