Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pandemic Panic

Ian has found an interesting article with a rather heretical take on the dispensing of protective medicines (which are apparently in sort supply, and will stay in short supply, if the article is to be believed). The article first supposes that we are on the verge of a pandemic – which is a lie! Please pay attention – the forecast of a pandemic is a lie!

However, like the old game of “Lifeboat,” the article extrapolates that, if a pandemic were to hit, and given the sort supply of vaccine, the dispensing of medicines would have to take a route quite different from that to which we as a socialist society have become accustomed.

Any disease will first attack those most susceptible; and usually, those are the very young (whose immune systems are not yet built up) and the very old (whose immune systems have been used up through the decades). Common socialist sense tells us that we must first protect these targets-for-disease before we attend to our supposedly more healthy middle-aged (teens through fifties, I think) citizens.

And there we run into the brick wall of societal practicality: the middle-aged are the ones who are working, producing and selling, and purchasing -- stimulating the economy. It is these middle-agers who are keeping society alive with their labors and consumerism. The very young have not yet learned to become useful, and are actually a societal expense. The very old have outlived their useful time, and are also a societal expense.

Practicality, in times of shortage, tells us that we should protect those who have value, and are contributing to the welfare of society as a whole; we should allow the weaker, more vulnerable, less productive drains on available resources die off. If we can't protect all, then protect the strongest first.

A pandemic can be compared to a starvation winter for a cattle rancher who is short on feed. He knows that if he tries to save and feed the entire herd, he will lose them all and end up with nothing. So, in order to save a “seed base” upon which to build another herd, he will cull the weak, the very young, the very old – kill them off to save the food for the one who are strong enough to make it through a long, cold winter with very little food. The ones who live through the winter will then grow strong on new growth; and when they breed, they will pass that strength on through their genes, and the entire herd ends up benefiting in the long run.

But, you protest, we are not cattle! We are a civilized society! We do not kill off our young, our old, our weak! We take care of them! That’s what our taxes are for, and our health system. That’s what our Government is for! Our Government is not a cattle rancher!

Oh, really?


Blogger Dez said...

Yup, nature takes the practical route. The cariboo herd is improved, in the long run, when wolves kill the sick, infirm, elderly, and the young who can't keep up.

One would think that philosophy would prevail in the United States, where the rich prosper and the poor are left to die from lack of health care. Survival of the Fittest is big down here.

Just make the vaccination expensive. Those who can afford to pay the price (who pay the most in taxes) get vaccinations for themselves and their children, thus passing on their "richness" genes. The poor, who not only pay very little in taxes but actually constitute a burden on society, will not be able to buy the vaccine and will likely die.

Yeah. Gotta love this country.

There is evidence that Neanderthals cared for their sick and elderly, though they lived at the edge of continent-wide glaciers. Early Europeans recognized the value of having a village "wise person" - indeed, most "primitive" cultures teach the importance of listening to the wisdom of the elderly.

Homo Sapiens is the only animal that does not follow the Law of the Jungle - where the strong survive and the weak die. We have removed ourselves the natural world, no longer bound by its restrictions. Frail children grow up to head corporations. The infirm teach at Universities from their wheelchairs. The elderly lead nations.

More importantly, we are compassionate and caring enough to prevent those we love from being taken out with the morning trash. Many see that quality of humanity as a weakness, but I see it as our greatest strength - and we are stronger than those who lack it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:11:00 AM  

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