Imagine you were a screenwriter and you went to a Hollywood studio to pitch your movie idea about a coronavirus pandemic that threatens the world. You wouldn’t be able to sell the concept. Because the studio exec would tell you that your script was so implausible, that only the most dim-witted moviegoer would believe such a preposterous plot. Think of the outline you would present…
The main action would take place in the United States, supposedly the most sophisticated and advanced nation on earth in terms of defense readiness. First, you’d set the stage, showing earlier administrations discussing potential virus and biohazard threats, and shrugging off any serious preparedness measures like stocking up on emergency medical supplies or ensuring they could be produced domestically. Each president would kick the can down the road to the next one. This would be a good start, and the soundtrack would include some low levels of slightly menacing music…
Then in 2016, for the inciting incident, you would have a new administration elected. The new group would pride themselves as mavericks and outsiders, sent to Washington D.C. to blow up the status quo and drain the swamp. They would read memos and advice prepared by the outgoing administration and make theatrical displays of tossing them into the garbage cans and paper shredders. The soundtrack music turns a little more ominous…
Cue the subplot about the new president squeaking in through the electoral college while losing the popular vote, fueling his insecurity, making him determined to besmirch the accomplishments of his predecessor. Then you cut to a budget meeting and the president completely eliminates the office set up by his forerunner for pandemic prevention. The story is starting to take shape and the tension builds.
The scene cuts away to a lab in Wuhan China, where they are doing research on bat coronaviruses, until one of the scientists – patient zero – gets sick. But of course, they don’t know they’re sick, so you cut to a slow-mo montage where the scientist is shopping at a wet market, shaking hands, hugging and kissing everyone around them, blah, blah, blah...
Next we go back to the White House where the government is getting classified briefings about a potential virus threat in Wuhan China. We jump from meeting to meeting, show many department heads being advised of the danger, looking bored, checking their Facebook messages and watching TikTok videos.
Next you cut to a classified briefing scene, where the bipartisan leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives is receiving information on the threats. Several key members follow up a press conference assuring the citizens that everything is well. Then they call their brokers and start dumping stocks in airlines, cruise companies, and restaurant chains. They make new investments in companies that produce vaccines and manufacture personal protective equipment. Then the government decides to recall the intelligence employees they have stationed in…Wuhan China.
Now the studio execs start to get a little restless. This seems a little too convenient, a little too contrived. You beg them to stay with you, it gets better.
Next, of course, we show patient zero, flying to their vacation in the United States. Close up shots every time they touch a door handle, tray table, sharing their food with their traveling partner. Patient zero stops by a nursing home in Washington State, to visit their great grandmother. The music builds to a crescendo…
The studio execs express some skepticism with your script, because the citizens are seen frantically hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizers during the daytime hours, then run off to concerts, political rallies, and nightclubs with thousands of people in the evening time. You beseech them to stay with your evolving plot for the payoff…
Now we see the number one cable network running segment after segment, assuring people the virus is less dangerous than an average flu season. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the governor of a state, and the mayor of New York City, are going on tv and social media to publicly urge people to go out and support restaurants, shops, and clubs. The virus begins to spread exponentially. Nurses and doctors are sewing homemade face masks and wearing garbage bags and ponchos from SeaWorld while working with patients. In a press conference the president answers a question about the spread of the virus saying, “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done."
At what point do you think the studio head will tell you to get the fuck out, with your tissue paper thin plot line?
By this stage, the Predator vs. Alien script they have laying on their desk seems a lot more plausible than yours. In fact, by comparison, your script is starting to make Hot Tub Time Machine look like a documentary. You get booted from the meeting before you can even get to the best part, the money shot when…
The Governor of Georgia reopens businesses in the middle of the peak, regulating that the first ones opened must be tattoo parlors, barber shops, nail salons, and massage therapists – where social distancing is completely impossible. It would be like the Jaws script when the mayor of the town decides to keep the beaches open. Except in your script the beachgoers can only go swimming if they have a couple pork chops dangling from their swimsuits.
You could never sell this ridiculous, contrived, implausible script.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because of inaction from previous administrations, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because President Trump was delusional and failed to take it seriously, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because the Democrats were looking to score political points, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because congressional leaders in both parties kept quiet while they adjusted their stock portfolios first, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because the media created unnecessary hysteria, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because the media underplayed the severity of the situation, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because the media spread misinformation, and gave a platform to people spreading dangerous ideas, you’re right.
- If you think this crisis was made worse because the CDC, Department of Defense, and Homeland Security handled things incompetently, you’re right.
Whatever political axe you have to grind, you’re justified. You have every right to feel frustrated, vulnerable, and betrayed. I feel the same way. But it always comes down to the two primary choices: You can be a victim, or you can be a victor. But you have to choose one.
If you desire to be a victor in all this, you’re going to have to start using more discernment in who you listen to and what you believe. Your brother-in-law who is a nurse is not qualified to properly assess a pandemic. Your sister who is a brilliant brain surgeon is not qualified to properly assess a pandemic. Campaign staff and political consultants appearing on television are not qualified to properly assess a pandemic.
Politicians with reelection campaigns are going to have confirmation bias, whether purposely or unconsciously. People who stand to benefit financially from different scenarios are going to have confirmation bias, whether purposely or unconsciously. Media outlets that rely on clickbait for their business model are going to have confirmation bias, whether purposely or unconsciously.
Use your mind. Question premises. Dig deeper. Look after you own loved ones, and don't outsource their security to anyone else.
Don’t overreact and disregard all institutions. Be skeptical not cynical, and evaluate the source. Please. Think for yourself.
I'm with you almost all the way, Randy Sage (not a typo). I'm having a struggle with "don't disregard all institutions." I won't disregard them, but my experience has shown me that all institutions suffer from, and eventually succumb to, the insidious bureaucracy virus. It compromises intelligence, saps morale, and drains courage from the veins of all who play the bureaucratic game. Is that why Howard Roark blew up the building he designed and John Galt and his Atlas cohorts shrugged the world off their shoulders and regrouped to form a better world? Perhaps. I don't have the answers. But many new exciting questions fire into my mind every day now. Keep your torch burning bright, and if they don't like it, floor the pedal in a bright yellow Viper and leave 'em in the dust.
This pandemic has really called humanity to "critical thinking 10.0".
I wonder what is a right thing to do in such situations and precisely, how much power governments should have at all during such times especially taking into consideration that lots of things were screwed up in numerous ways by them all around the world (so that they showed their incompetence) and a big (maybe even the biggest) part of the harm is their massive deadly unneccessary regulations. Should governments have power to shut down businesses by force or is it up to business owners? And if, on which terms and in which situations it is a right thing to do so? Doesn't the forceful shutting down violate business owners' rights? Because these people are left without fairly earned profit and in some cases even without means to survival. How far should governments go? And what about ethics and efficiency of let's say spying on citizens? In my country (Russia) in Moscow government spying is officially legalised (he just needed a proper excuse) but it doesn't seem to help. A huge chunk of privacy is gone, though. In my area most of places are shut down for about a month or more (can't say how much time precisely because I've lost a feeling of time during many weeks of self-isolation) but out of 3.18 millions of citizens of my region only 115 were diagnosed with the virus. However, many businesses are hurt severely, some of them are already gone forever, some of them haven't yet but will hardly recover. Quality of the people's lives dropped significantly with many complaining about violations of freedom, illegitimacy of measures forced by the government and increasing problems with health. No need mentioning everyone's panic. I've heard things like "millions/dozens of millions/hundreds of millions will die due to the pandemic" so many times. So what is it? Where's the truth? I've been playing a moderate libertarian card for years but now questioning all my beliefs once again with renewed information I hate to admit that I'm just lost and not sure about anything anymore. I'd like to see places open but am afraid of many more deaths, then I think about less freedom and worse quality of life, then about potentially much scarier scenarios and so on and so on and so on. If only I had answers...
P.S. My condolences on your deceased friend
This is about the coming NEW WORLD ORDER.. It's beyond the left vs right paradigm... Time for some Red Pill truth..
1). YouTube documentary - Out Of Shadows
2). Read William Cooper - Behold a Pale Horse
It's one on the road...
Thanks and take care,