Williams’ rant wanders among old issues

http://digitaledition.pilotonline.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=483c657d-9414-4bfd-ab50-155cd1cddf89

He goes from the efforts at diversity in COVID research, to “safe places”, to cost/benefit analysis.

What is the problem with bringing in young and diverse talent to aid in virus research. If not now, when? Let’s get people interested in epidemiology early since this is the real threat, not nuclear war.

Yes, “safe places” have a bad rep. I can’t disagree that “everyone gets a trophy” coupled with “I can’t handle challenges to my thinking” leads to mindsets that cannot handle criticism or think outside of the kennel.

Geez, the 5mph car rule to save lives pops up again. The facts are that because of relentless pressure from consumer advocates and government, our cars are much safer now than ever before. The result of not just accepting that cars are deadly but commerce is overriding.

Finally, Williams laments the curtailing of our freedoms by bureaucrats and politicians. As far as I know, the emergency laws that allowed shutdowns and other restriction are not new. They just never had a deadly contagion to deal with at this scale. We were unprepared, had no vaccine or any effective treatments. What other solutions were there other than shutdown, slow the spread and try to ramp up as we learned more about the disease.

And we had a small minority of funded protesters who demanded freedoms to infect if they so pleased. Encouraged, no less, by our own president to #LIBERATE.

To borrow from a popular meme:

8 thoughts on “Williams’ rant wanders among old issues

  1. Williams does seem to ramble a bit in this one, but the points, individually, are all valid.

    At a time like this, we want the A-Team working in virology, do we really want the scientists distracted keeping an unqualified diversity token from messing things up? Thank goodness this is limited to grant based university research and the private sector labs are still merit based.

    Likewise, we do the next generation no good by training them to be wusses. Live calls for hard decisions, how will future leaders who can’t tolerate being contradicted on their beliefs?

    The 5mph analogy is just another expression of the broken window fallacy. When we look only at the visible benefits and ignore the less visible costs, we make bad decisions. We can’t be reminded of that too often, because our politicians keep indulging in that fallacy, to our detriment.

    I do agree that endorsing irresponsible behavior on the pretense of defending Liberty is foolish. I have lost a lot of friends in the last few weeks making that point to the local Tea Party groups and Libertarian affiliates. Most agree but a few don’t understand the difference between responsible Liberty, which carries duties to others, and behaving like spoiled narcissistic children.

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  2. I read Williams’ observations not as “wandering,” but as leading to his conclusion that we’ve given too much power to politicians and bureaucrats. His theme is that we are loosing our freedoms for intellectually shallow reasons, such as:

    • Diversity is inherently good
    • Free speech causes mental illness

    • Lives must be saved at all costs

    I agree with him.

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    1. “Lives must be saved at all costs“

      I find it ironic that the right complains about the high cost to benefit of saving lives in the actions taken to slow the spread of COVID19.

      Apply the same economic logic to abortion, which is the predominant reason for the procedure at the individual level, and suddenly it becomes every fertilized egg must be saved at all costs.

      The “right to life in the womb” is no more sacred than a grandmother’s in her latter years.

      I agree on the “safe place” issue. It is a stretch that free speech causes mental illness. Makes an easy bumper sticker, though.

      Diversity is inherently good. A simple example of the fragility of monocultural farming that requires massive chemical applications to protect the species. Diversity would do the same at much less cost and damage to the environment.

      As people intermarry, and various ethnicities work and play together, the cultural differences fade. The benefit is that it will bring fresh ideas and viewpoints we might not otherwise consider. For most of our history, women have been relegated to restricted roles and occupations. Since we have loosened the restrictions, legally and culturally, we have now tapped the other 1/2 of our population into significant, contributing roles.

      The same applies to ethnic, racial and religious inclusions.

      IMHO

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The life in the womb has 90 years ahead of it if the 85 yo grandma has 5. To claim that my life is of equal value as my grandson’s is ludicrous. We all know that inherently, which is why you see parents laying down their lives in defense of their children. The child’s remaining years and life are worth more.

        As to diversity, piffle.

        Evolution has worked just fine for a billion years, but diversity for its own sake is a foolish detour we took over the last 20 years or so. There is no inherent value in diversity. There is value in recognizing diversity and in accepting that there are different talents that contribute to the whole, but that does not mean that we need diversity in brain surgery, or music, or athletics or any other specific field.

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        1. Nice comparison with 85 v fetus. Try 50 v fertilized egg.

          But more importantly who gets to decide which older citizen is worth less than a fetus? An accomplished and still contributing senior is a known quantity. A fetus could be a serial killer.

          There have been plenty of brilliant people who lived to ripe older ages too. How about a 50, 60 or even 70 year old scientist on the cusp of a vaccine. “Say your prayers ole buddy, we have a fetus to save.”

          If economics is going to drive who lives and who doesn’t as we open the nation, then it is pretty hypocritical to deny abortion to a woman who can’t afford a child. Money is money. A child brought into the world with no assets is a drag on the economy. So is the effect of saving a person over 50 or 60 or so according to Republicans in the case of this pandemic.

          IMHO

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          1. You’re the one who raised the issue of the life in the womb, but the real question is are young lives of greater value than the elderly. So,leave out the abortion issue and just go with the very young.

            The question is to whom?

            From the standpoint of society as a whole, you get really far out on a slippery slope. Are all babies of equal value? Is Bill gates baby of the same potential benefit to society as that of a crack addict single mother? Do you really want to go there?

            My grandchild’s life is of greater value to me than my own. But that of a random 7 year old? It shouldn’t make a difference, but it does.

            We don’t want to think about that kind of choice, but in fact we make them every day. Our preference to ‘Buy American’ or to refuse to do business with companies that use ‘sweatshop labor’ mean poor for children somewhere will die of poverty.

            So, how do we assign value to individual lives?

            For me, it’s my children and grandchildren’s lives first, mine next, those who contribute to improving my life and that of my progeny after that and then everyone else.

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          2. I was poking some holes in Republican thinking.

            Leave out the womb, and I see your point. I don’t disagree about your individual choices.

            The decision to open the economy with “collateral damage” is not an individual choice, however. It is a collective one that decided the economic damage is not worth saving lives after a certain point.

            The bottom line is: are we ok with that?

            And if so, can we do the same in other circumstances. The 1918 flu was more fatal for the younger folks. So would we be so cavalier about needing a good economy over the lives of 20 and 30 year olds?

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  3. I find the diversity argument extremely shallow. While it is good that different cultures/races may share the same interests, it is not good to shun proven talent just so you can place a minority or race in a limited seat program at the expense of another. That chaps my behind and William’s too.

    The rest of it all made perfect sense as analogies of bureaucracy not taking into account cost/benefit analysis. Case in point is what’s good for NYC is not so good for the entire state. Same in Va. Stop approaching things as a “one size fits all” while complaining about virus response/mitigation and then complaining about the economy when complete shutdown ideas like yours is the “best approach”.

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