On Being Willing to Die for the Economy

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

A man crosses the street in a nearly empty Times Square, which is usually very crowded on a weekday morning, Monday, March 23, 2020 in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered most New Yorkers to stay home from work to slow the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

There’s a growing opinion, namely within the conservative community, that risking death in order to save the economy is a reasonable position to have. This is an opinion expressed by some of the elderly within the conservative community, including the likes of Fox News contributor Brit Hume, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Prager U’s Dennis Prager.

I’ve covered what kind of outrage this has awoken in people, especially the left. Many are currently labeling the right-wing in this country a “death cult” and, with seemingly no self-awareness, wishing that people like Hume and Prager would go out, contract the virus, and die.

(READ: Britt Hume Sends Left Into Wishing Him Dead After Saying He’d Be Willing to Risk Death to Help the Economy)

While you may find yourself in disagreement with Hume or Prager, the question about whether or not they’re entirely wrong or unreasonable should be considered.

Throughout our existence, self-sacrifice for our children and/or future generations has been a societal constant. It’s not just something we undertake out of altruism. It’s something that is deeply ingrained in our DNA. The desire to protect and provide for our children, grandchildren, and more is a natural action we take in order to ensure our bloodline continues in prosperity and thus ensure the propagation of our species.

It’s clear that the spread of a deadly virus can put that future in precarious positions and so many would argue that the risk should not be undertaken, and fair enough.

However, with the Wuhan Coronavirus, it’s clear that those truly in danger are a small few, namely the elderly who already suffer from various health complications. That’s at least the case here in America. This isn’t to discount others who suffer from health complications that would make them susceptible, but it’s clear the chief group who would suffer most are the elderly. Namely, elderly men.

And it’s elderly men who are primarily voicing the opinion that they’d rather risk death by the virus than watch as their children’s futures circle the drain as the economy crashes.

I would disagree wholeheartedly if Hume or Prager were out on the media circuit actively telling their fellow elders to stop hiding in their homes and start getting to work, sickness and death be damned, but I haven’t seen any interviews where they do this. Patrick speaks for himself, and Hume agreed that his position is entirely reasonable. Prager makes the argument that the sit, hide, and risk nothing mentality loses wars and we’re told we’re in one. None of these men actively ordered anyone to do anything. They spoke either as individuals or expressed an idea.

And given humanity’s penchant for risking it all to help future generations, I’m not sure I can call the position unreasonable as Hume said. You won’t find me encouraging anyone to sacrifice themselves in order to keep the economy going, but you will see me not judging anyone who chooses to do so harshly at all.

The truth is, our economy is in dire straits and Americans everywhere are losing their jobs, businesses, and more. Impoverished countries are rarely healthy ones and poverty comes with a massive amount of health risks. It’s clear that our elderly, who have lived through their fair share of national crises, see something that the rest of us possibly don’t see as clearly. Their willingness to get out and keep going despite the risks in order to save their family, their communities and their country is, frankly, very natural.

We definitely need to be careful about spreading this virus. It is dangerous to be sure. However, it’s clear that if we continue to imbibe this cure, it will become worse than the disease. What we’re doing is unsustainable by any metric. Trump’s Easter timeline should be a workable goal for any region or area that has little to no infection, while others that are more infected should be more flexible with its timeline as Coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested.

However, one thing should be made clear as more Americans choose to venture out to rebuild our economy, and that’s this isn’t about the economy.  The economy is a tool to make prosperity happen but at the end of the day, it’s just a tool. The real thing we’re protecting, the thing old men are volunteering to go out and risk death for, is our children’s future.


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