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Coronavirus, open for business

Protestors took to the streets in a number of US cities over the weekend and on Monday with one message: reopen non-essential business and return to normal! Some protestors suggested that they were "liberators" acting on behalf of everyone's freedom. Most protests were organised by pro-gun groups.


A friend of a friend commented on Facebook that the cure shouldn't be worse than the disease, a refrain we heard early on from 45 himself. In a plea posted on my friend's Facebook page, this friend of a friend said that he had to return to work to provide for his family, that he would never allow his wife to work, and that he alone had to save his family from poverty, from becoming homeless, and-perhaps worst of all-from going hungry.


Here's a truism: everyone would like to return to normal. In fact, I don't think it's far-fetched to say that we want the world to return to the way things were before the pandemic. Only an ignoramus would believe otherwise.


Here's another truism: we want to protect ourselves and our family from harm. Also, we would do anything to insure the safety, health, and happiness of our family. And, of course, we would prefer to preserve that safety, health, and happiness without giving up any of our liberties.


So, what's with the friend of a friend? Well, there are any number of responses to his emotional outburst on Facebook. First, let's consider the question why the friend of a friend hadn't thought about protecting his family before the onset of the pandemic. Obviously, he had a paying job before the pandemic, and he had responsibilities to his family beforehand. Why, all of a sudden, has it become a crisis to get back to work? A likely reason is his irresponsible behaviour up-to-the-time-of-the-pandemic. He failed to put a sufficient amount of savings away to prepare for a short-term catastrophe, such as losing his job. Starting there, we begin to see the error of this person's ways.


Second, by staying home and by steering clear of his job, he's likely already keeping his family safe. Anytime one travels out of the house to the grocery store, to work, or to pick up a coffee, in a pandemic you're jeopardising the health of your family. The virus is not contained, and we do not have a clear-cut understanding of transmission. Because of these factors, it turns out that you're preserving and protecting your family.


Finally, we have to move away from the view that returning to work will save us. It will not. That message is one that business leaders have brainwashed us into believing. They have made us believe that we cannot do anything without the help of business. They have made us believe that if we do not contribute to society by working in a factory or an office building, that we are a problem, a scourge upon society. They have made us believe that the profiteers whose sole purpose is to remove money for our pockets to put into their own is best. They have made us believe that more government and oversight is the problem and they alone will protect us. They have made us believe that private industry will be enable us to make break-throughs in healthcare and environmental sciences to avoid climate change and to preserve our wellness. These, of course, are all lies businesses have brainwashed us into believing.


Only now have we begun to challenge the brainwashing, except my friend of a friend who still cannot distinguish between the protectors of society and those people who would just as well see any person suffer for the sake of making one more dollar.

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