We didn’t really prepare for this emergency. In fact, we didn’t even really react to this emergency (we were kinda busy at the time with a gimpy knee). If we have done anything in the way of responding to Covid-19 it has been to ‘keep doing what we were doing’.
Mind you, I contend that no one can actually prepare for a catastrophic emergency situation anyway because – by definition – that emergency is a surprise. Ergo: little or inadequate preparation can to be expected – at least at the personal level.
To be truthful, we kinda think we are somewhat prepared. A bit. You know, being OTG and all? Couple of cases of refried beans. Extra coffee. Bag o’ rice. More toothpaste than God! But we are – if judging from others – woefully ill-equipped in the toilet paper department. And there is no such thing as having enough wine and scotch. So, our main fear is eventually being dirty-bummed and sober – with a dry cough. Maybe attacked by Otters. It’s gonna be hell!
Anyway, that is not really the point. This is: C-19 is yet another wake-up call. You are very much on your own. We pay the government to (in theory) protect us and keep us safe. Of course, we pay them mostly to keep us safe from them but the protection racket is the protection racket and that is all government really is – at the core of it’s business is the protection racket. “Oh, you have to pay us money. We’ll buy guns and hire soldiers and police to keep the bad guys away from you. If the bad guys never come, consider us doing our job well. We’ll protect you from the other ‘gang’ with their territory just over the border. Oh yeah, pay us more and more…the danger is getting worse and worse!”
And, when there is – actually – a real and present danger, the government always seems to respond poorly. They are always protecting us using lessons from the last invasion. The next one is always new and different. The truth is they are not really very good at providing protection in any way. Their main response to provision of anything is compensation. “Ooohhhh….that river flooded your neighbourhood! We’ll get you some money!”
The government’s main response to danger is to let it happen and then pay compensation.
They call the money quantum. In court, money is quantum. In the courts – and with regard to contract and tort law – the means by which the victim (who has lost something) is ‘made whole again’ – is with money. “Lost a leg due to negligence? Here’s some money? Lost family members? Here’s money.
“And it works to some extent in criminal law as well. Been bad to others? Pay us a lot of money?”
So, we, the hoi polloi, pay money (taxes) for some indefinable form of general protection and rarely get it. Why is that? Are they all crooks? Well, yes. Of course they are. But that is not the real reason. The real reason is that all emergencies are surprises! Even the smartest doctors didn’t know which epidemic was next coming down the pike. No one saw HIV-Aids, Sars or Mers either. They knew something infectious this way would come but they didn’t know what. What could they have done?
Answer: there is a lot they could have done but not after-the-fact. Our governments are not pro-active, they are reactive. Like the police, they only seem to show up AFTER the the incident to collect information. They are NOT leaders.
Put another way: will anyone be surprised if the Red River floods Manitoba again? Or that an oil pipeline or tanker causes a spill? A terrorist incident will happen? That more people will become homeless? That tornadoes and hurricanes will cause havoc? Think we’ll discover more pollution? More endangered species? Does anyone really think this is the only pandemic we’ll ever see?
Of course, Trump made matters worse by disbanding the special department established for just such a pandemic purpose but, really, government moves slowly at best. In the wrong direction as well, as a rule. They stumble. They trip. They fall. They make matters worse (often as not) as has been demonstrated in the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. Eventually they get out of the way and the locals put things back to together (see Katrina. See Puerto Rico). Government is a heavy-handed, deaf, dumb and blind one-trick pony. And the one trick is to cut a cheque. They eventually just give people money.
“So, Dave…, what are you saying?”
I am saying that C-19 is gonna be your struggle. Only yours. Don’t get it. Don’t share it if you do get it. Take care of yourself. And do not go anywhere near a hospital if you can avoid it. The government is not going to take care of you.
I am also saying, ‘the only thing your government will do for you, is to spend the money they took from you in the first place’. And, in a corrupt/capitalistic system like ours, the money will go to the rich, the elite, industry and enforcement. Maybe a few ventilators. If there is any way in which you can dip into that pool of compensation, you might think to try. I wouldn’t bother. It is like joining the bastards and, in that sense, I’d prefer to stay at least two kilometers away. They are a dirty, virulent bunch.