Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Larger Picture

During his monologue on January 21 (beginning at 2:31 of the video below), Bill Maher (at 2:31 of the video below) had remarked

I don't want to live in your paranoid world anymore, your masked, paranoid world. You know, you go out, it's silly now, you have to have a card, you have to have a booster, they scan your head like you're a cashier and I'm a bunch of bananas. I'm not bananas, you are.

These restrictions do exist but in very few jurisdictions outside of California and New York . Given Maher's persistent depiction of the Democratic left as elitist, it is an egregious oversight to regard as oppressive restrictions largely relegated to selected places on the coasts while the vast majority of the country is more relaxed or libertine.

Inasmuch as there now are well over 2,000 deaths a day in the USA from Covid-19- the most in eleven months- Maher's consistent, continuing condemnation of restrictions is at best ill-timed.

His obsession with precautions toward a coronavirus imposed or suggested by government(s) may bleed over into a more serious misunderstanding, dangerous at any juncture, about policy. At 27:41 of the video below from 1/28, Maher can be seen contending

It starts to.... it starts to look like every other government program. And what is the common thread of government programs?...

They never end, exactly.

Whatever Maher's opinion about restrictions to curtail Covid-19, he either does not understand the nature of government programs which "never end" or he is lapsing into dangerous libertarianism. (Forgive the redundancy.)

Those government programs which never end are entitlement programs. They are comprised of the non-contributory programs of "welfare programs such as SNAP (food stamps) or Pell Grants" and of the contributory programs of Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance. The former have been controversial for decades, but are necessary; the latter have not been controversial the past few decades, but are necessary.

Coronaviruses come and, hopefully, go. None of us alive today ever has been confronted with such a pandemic and our understanding, and opinions of, the crisis are evolving and continue to evolve.

However, government programs which "never end" are the backbone of our commitment to one another.  The complaints about them, in a society welcoming free expression, are acceptable, but they are an attack upon a cornerstone of the social contract we Americans have with ourselves.

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