Right-Wing Ghouls With Graduate Degrees Take on the Pandemic - 2020-03-25
Many of Trump's most craven allies have embraced the idea of consigning a few million Americans to death in order to rescue the economy. As ever with Trump, it seems likely he picked the idea up from one of his brigade of psychopaths, amplified it, and thus ensured that every other goblin in Trumpworld would toe this line. This is how you get right-wing radio hosts like Jesse Kelly tweeting little bits of meaningless faux-patriotic bravado: "If given the choice between dying and plunging the country I love into a Great Depression, I'd happily die."
But beyond this grimy passel of hucksters and third-rate Hannity knockoffs, there has been a small number of conservative experts and thinkers—that is, people with graduate degrees—who have dutifully trotted out ersatz intellectual defenses of "reopening America." The conservative Hoover Institution has been a locus for much of this work. In a post for National Review, Hoover fellow Victor Davis Hanson lamented that "those who advise caution out of fears of an economic meltdown will never be able to quantify the greater number of fatalities from a depression than from an infection," and that these poor folks are "more likely to be damned as putting money over lives, even if they are more worried about lives than money in the event that a severe recession follows."
Hanson described the ideal scenario—the "golden mean" between preserving the economy and saving lives—as "a nearly normal economy as tens of millions are tested and those who test positive and their contacts are quarantined, isolated, or restricted in their activities," but said that "no one knows when this golden mean should be enacted." Putting aside how this "nearly normal economy" could be achieved, this implies that there are tens of millions of tests sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting to be deployed and not that America's testing infrastructure remains woefully behind those of nations like South Korea, which acted far before it was too late. Perhaps by "should be enacted," he really meant "when this will be achievable," in which case it seems obvious that keeping the country locked down as far as possible until we can have some idea who actually has the disease is the only way to avoid spreading it further.