In recent days we have seen the notion gaining traction among our betters that the Olds should get out there and die, already, so that we can kickstart the travel and hospitality sectors back into profitability. The rentier class, seeing their portfolios becoming flaccid, wonder why the proles shouldn’t flock back into the shops, theatres, restaurants, aircraft, cruise ships—don’t you people understand that this “social distancing” might tank the economy? How can you be so selfish? Passing strange how some of the same people who were howling ten years ago about Obamacare “death panels” now want Auntie and Gramps to step up to the plague so that we can all, or rather the survivors, get back to whatever it was we were doing at the turning of the year instead of paying attention to the news out of Wuhan Province. This is, incidentally, additional evidence for The First Law of Republican Politics: It’s Always Projection with These Guys. Several examples have been in the news lately—the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, for example, or television and radio dysfunctional personality Glenn Beck, both of who have declared their willingness to lay down their own lives (pardon me; I’m giggling)—but I want to preserve for posterity the text of a “tweet” put up there on shortly after midnight on 23 March by one Scott McMillan, an attorney in La Mesa down in SoCal, who describes his operation as “a results-oriented law firm.” Here’s the perfect distillation of this school of thought. He prudently excised the tweet once he came to in the morning, but unfortunately for many of us who have been briefly indiscreet online, screen captures are a thing, and I transcribe this from one of these:
The fundamental problem is whether we are going to tank the entire economy to save 2.5% of the population which is (1) generally expensive to maintain, and (2) not productive.
I’m guessing that from his clients’ perspectives, brother McMillan is also expensive to maintain, and we may wonder just what he produces, and how much of it, in the broader scheme of things. As a man in my latter sixties with one of those underlying medical issues (never you mind) I am unsympathetic to this take, and to the broader trend of thinking it represents (lunatic from the epidemiological and economic standpoints, but you can go elsewhere for more cogent arguments than I am disposed to marshal here), but I’m a fair-minded fellow. I’m going to attempt to run with what looks to be the emerging RWNJ consensus. Stay with me here.
Remember the notion that the Inuit used to dispatch their elderly out to sea on ice floes when they became too high-maintenance? Hold that thought. Then consider a trio of our present existential emergencies. You’ve got your economic crisis, your epidemiological crisis and, of course, your long-standing environmental crisis. Bummer, right? But that’s only because we’re thinking of them in isolation! Put them all together, and they spell…synergy.
Today we have (apparently) too many elders and (definitely) nothing like a sufficient number of hospital beds. But what do we have an abundance of? Ice floes! That’s right, thanks to anthropogenic climate change, the polar icecaps north and south are shedding zillions of these every week. There are more than enough (well, for domestic use, at least, and until next month’s butcher’s bill) to accommodate the surplus population of Wrinkled Americans. Load ’em up with seniors and tow them out to sea. Beds: abundant. Economy: booming. Polar bears: well-fed. This is synergy! Sometimes I amaze myself.
Go with the Floe, those of my fellow Boomers who subscribe to this model. I’ll be there onshore to push you off with an extra-long pole, the better to observe social distancing. I’ll see you on the other side, provided distressed marine predators haven’t made a meal of you first.