This article by Lyman Stone at The Dispatch is certainly interesting, and I think has strong persuasive elements. One has to get to paragraph 32 (I think. It begins “But while I think decadence is a possible explanation…”) to get to what I think is the strongest point, but the whole thing seems solid.
We have chosen the wrong extreme measures, he thinks. Because we are a wealthy nation, which can afford medical research and expects first-rate medical care, we have tried to dodge the proven solution to epidemics in hopes that something else, which doesn’t involve making people leave their homes, will work instead.
There is good discussion of masks and other related topics, all done in an efficient few paragraphs each. There is history going back to Leviticus and leprosy, and not just for decoration. There’s a lot of bang for your buck in this article.
Read that article first. My own thoughts are next and are less valuable.
I wonder, in that context, if the increase in home ownership over the last few generations, including the growth of suburbia and now exurbia, because of reliable auto performance and willingness to drive for many errands, has lead to a different way of looking at our right to get away from problems by moving farther out. “A man’s home is his castle” does not mean what it used to. In forcible* quarantine, no one is taking your house from you. You get it back when you get out of quarantine. This was understood in previous eras, but because it is lost now, as we are the ones that are more mobile and have a different attitude toward houses as places we can “get away” to, the rules of quarantine have been reversed. Now you have to stay home, rather than being taken out of your home. We feel differently about that than we did even fifty years ago. It is our era that is out of step with the others. The people from 1950 could completely understand what was done in 1850 or even 1150. We are the outsiders. Because we are rich and have actual health care beyond the rudimentary – a luxury unknown before about 1940 – and can live alone outside of the city, instead of being surrounded by servants and peasants who provided our needs, we have different expectations. Or you could be dirt poor and live in family units. There’s that. Yet even that often required significant contact with others to survive. “Livin’ off the land” was a Mother Earth News fantasy, and they found some people who actually came close. But there were always exceptions where the missus had a job in town.
I think this is worth sharing widely. Please consider that.
*The article explains how that does not have to mean “at gunpoint.” Yet as businesses are being shut down and the proprietors taken at away at gunpoint under our current system, would that be worse even if it were true? But you were supposed to have read the article before you got to that asterisk, so you knew that already. Or I caught you out.