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Trump Toys with the "Let Them Die" Response to the Pandemic

edited March 24 in Off-Topic
A viewpoint from the other side of the aisle: https://thenation.com/article/politics/trump-fox-pandemic-nihilism/
The notion that the economy should take precedent over stopping the pandemic is a dangerously misguided one he and Fox are now hustling.

Comments

  • Such a move would thin out the herd of Trump supporters ...
  • That is for sure. Besides, they are the older demographic and many do not have healthcare coverage either.

    By destroying the Pandemic Task Force team in the WH, US reacted slow by several critical weeks in order to control the spread COVID-19.
    “It was heartbreaking to watch,” said Bao-Ping Zhu, a Chinese American who served in that role, which was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2007 and 2011. “If someone had been there, public health officials and governments across the world could have moved much faster.”

    Zhu and the other sources said the American expert, Dr. Linda Quick, was a trainer of Chinese field epidemiologists who were deployed to the epicenter of outbreaks to help track, investigate and contain diseases.

    As an American CDC employee, they said, Quick was in an ideal position to be the eyes and ears on the ground for the United States and other countries on the coronavirus outbreak, and might have alerted them to the growing threat weeks earlier.

    No other foreign disease experts were embedded to lead the program after Quick left in July, according to the sources. Zhu said an embedded expert can often get word of outbreaks early, after forming close relationships with Chinese counterparts.
    https://reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-china-cdc-exclusiv-idUSKBN21910S
  • edited March 24
    Interestingly, the Nation article addresses some of the libertarian arguments discussed on this board regarding the government "going too far" to stop the pandemic at the expense of the economy. It calls such arguments "therapeutic nihilism":
    The problem is that the political right, along with centrists like Blankfein, don’t want such a heavy intervention in the economy. As a result, they indulge in a truly grotesque display of self-interested reasoning and argue that there can be a quick and easy end to quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing campaigns.

    What they are arguing for goes beyond Social Darwinism and is, in fact, a kind of cult capitalism. The existing system is viewed as so sacred that it is worth sacrificing innumerable human lives to keep it going. Even nonrevolutionary changes to the system are anathema.

    Economics and medicine have always been intertwined, sometimes in strange ways. Under the surface of economic ideas, there are often metaphors taken from medicine and psychology: We talk about curing a depression, which can refer to both a person and an economy.

    There flourished in Vienna from 1850 to 1870 a school of medicine some historians have dubbed therapeutic nihilism. This school held that most medical interventions did more damage than good and advocated that doctors simply oversee the natural process of recovery. There was some logic to this: It was the era of quack remedies.

    Therapeutic nihilism had a curious afterlife. As William Johnson notes in The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938 (1972), therapeutic nihilism lived on even past the 1870s in the pessimism of many Austrian thinkers, ranging from Freud to Wittgenstein. Therapeutic nihilism was also an influence on the Austrian economics of Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek, the foundational thinkers of the modern libertarian right. In his book The Viennese Students of Civilization (2016), intellectual historian Erwin Dekker makes a compelling case that von Mises and Hayek’s opposition to government interventions in the economy was a manifestation of therapeutic nihilism.

    Von Mises and Hayek were major opponents of John Maynard Keynes, who believed that economic depressions shouldn’t just be allowed to run their course but could be shortened by active government measures.

    As in the great disputes between the Austrian school and the Keynesians, we now face a fundamental divide in both medicine and economics. Do we embrace therapeutic nihilism and just shrug our shoulders in the face of a pandemic, hoping that it will quickly extinguish itself? Or do we believe that human ingenuity and social cooperation can work together for solutions, ones that involve real sacrifices—but that can also help limit human misery?
  • I am not an expert on central european thought or medical history although I have read a lot more of the latter than most. I do know Hayek.

    I think it is a big stretch to link Vienna to Fox.

    I also think that the Republicans will try to blame Obama for Covid while claiming Trump did everything humanly possible to stop it, although the record clearly shows this is a lie.

    While they may think this alternative approach will work, even 600,000 dead in the next six months will be an overwhelming obstacle to his re election ( we lost 400,000 in four years in WW2) If it is 2 million mobs will pull him out of the WH

  • edited March 24
    @sma3
    I think it is a big stretch to link Vienna to Fox.
    https://mises.org/wire/government-no-match-coronavirus

    I don't. Now you could say that these Austrian economics organizations are intentionally abusing the original philosophy of the Australian school or misinterpreting it, but clearly today some of their members are on the same page as Fox, if not worse.
  • I'd like to think you're right @sma3 but so far it has been shown over, and over, and over, and nauseatingly over again that his followers and fellow party members will back him to the hilt no matter what. Meanwhile I'd also like to think that as grim reality sets in upon them they will begin to distance themselves instead of behaving like flies drawn to, well you know.
  • Trump is not "toying". He's already made up whatever he uses for a mind. Or perhaps in place of a mind he uses a video input from Fox.
  • I hope that people who are actually experts in the field, both within and outside of government, step up and call him out on this delusional perspective.
  • It seems to me that the federal government has really not done much of anything to promote "shelter in place" other than some half-hearted on-again / off-again dithering.

    Because of the vacuum at the top almost all of the action has been at the state level. I'm not sure how much influence Trump actually has with respect to the states. If he threatened to penalize the states in some way it might just start real trouble for him.
  • Katniss Everdeen: "I volunteer for tribute!"

    GOP: "I volunteer you as trade-off!"

    Remind me again which party was railing against alleged government 'death panels' when the last president was trying to save lives by bringing expanded health care to the country?

    Moreover, which aging GOP politician will volunteer first as tribute to save the economy? Who will have the intestinal courage to face what they’re asking others to face in the spirit of self-sacrifice for the country? Oh, right... the GOP doesn’t work that way.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a calculated cynicism behind the Trump-Fox view. After all, most of the likely deaths would be in blue states that tend to vote Democrat. In contrast, the red states that vote more Republican are more rural and could be less affected by CV19. That is big gamble, however.
  • It should be very interesting to see how all of those grandparents vote next time.
  • @tarwheel True about rural, but GOP voters are generally older and more at risk of dying from coronavirus and more vulnerable perhaps if they show up at work or the polls.
  • Howdy folks,

    Sort of an interesting way things are developing. Calls from the Trump foamers for Grannie to give herself up to save the economy. Calls from Trump to plan on churches everywhere filled on Easter.

    I hope and pray all the Trump foamers heed his words as the folks that are going to die because of this would have voted for Trump. Good lord, it's like Jim Jones and the Kool Aide kids.

    and so it goes,

    peace,

    rono

  • A friend (former priest) asked what the law would say if a senior citizen shot or retaliated against a youngster for deliberately coughing on them as has been reported is happening to some folks in Germany. He was wondering if a judge would interpret that as self-defense these days.

    Hell, there were idiot teens in NoVA in the next county over from me that were coughing on fresh produce in grocery stories thinking it was funny. Last i heard the other day, the cops are after them.

    Sigh.

  • rforno said:


    A friend (former priest) asked what the law would say if a senior citizen shot or retaliated against a youngster for deliberately coughing on them as has been reported is happening to some folks in Germany. He was wondering if a judge would interpret that as self-defense these days.

    Hell, there were idiot teens in NoVA in the next county over from me that were coughing on fresh produce in grocery stories thinking it was funny. Last i heard the other day, the cops are after them.

    Sigh.

    This is what America has become under Trump. We used to be just Ugly Americans now we're raising our children to murder and eat their parents.

    Rono
  • But maybe not for long. Us old farts have more experience doing stupid stuff.

    20-somethings and COVID-19
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