The “Reasonable Man” Standard, Revisited [UPDATED]

Just recently I had some fun with one of my nephews, who’s unexpectedly home for “Spring Break.”

Let’s take this Wuhan Flu thing seriously, I said.  But since that hits a little too close to home, let’s pretend it’s a zombie outbreak.  I want you to take it 100% seriously.  The zombie virus has made it to our shores.  It’s not too bad yet, but there’s definitely a walking dead situation.  So… what do you want the government to do?

Nephew of course starts rattling off all the Chuck Norris fantasies young college guys have.  Close the ports, call out the army, firebomb the streets wherever infected are sighted, yadda yadda. All of this is translated from the teenager, but you get the gist of it:

Me: Ok.  Now, since we’ve stipulated that we’re taking this 100% seriously: Do you really want to give the government the power to do all that?

Nephew: Of course!

Me: Ok.  Well then, do you really want to give Donald Trump the power to do that?

Nephew:  Oh my god no!!!  Orange Man bad!!!

Me: Now wait a minute, Nephew.  You just said you’re taking this 100% seriously.  You just said you want the government to have the power to set up flamethrower checkpoints on all major roads.  Well, who is the current head of the government?

Nephew: But…but…but…. Orange Man BAD!!!!

Me: Remember, Nephew, you promised to take this 100% seriously.  So are you seriously telling me that the first thing you’d do, in the event of the zombie outbreak, is call an emergency presidential election, in the hopes that someone — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, somebody — would win, so that the right kind of person could take all those measures you said were so very, very, very immediately necessary?

Nephew:  Uhhhh…. no, I guess not.

Me: So you do want to give Donald Trump that power, since he is, in fact, the current head of the United States government?

Nephew: Oh my god no! Orange Man BAAAAAAADDDD!!!!

Me: Well then I guess you’re just not serious about this zombie outbreak, are you?

Now of course my nephew, being a college kid with an American public school education under his belt, didn’t learn a damn thing.  But maybe the rest of us can.  What would a reasonable, prudent, serious government do to respond to the Wuhan Flu, if it were in fact as serious as it’s being made out to be?

Here again, since we’re all agitated about the way our completely sober-minded, totally objective, utterly nonpartisan media is covering Wuhan Flu, let’s think in zombie terms.  Closing the borders is a great idea, of course, to prevent further infestation from overseas, but we need containment measures inside the borders.  Canceling sporting events, closing college dorms, and the like are also good ideas…. but pretty far down the list from the one internal containment measure that really matters:

Shutting down the interstates.

Can you imagine the damage a single infected delivery driver could do?  Well, if you believe the news coming in from non-MSM channels, that’s exactly the case in Italy.  You’re stopping Mass at St. Peter’s during Easter (not that the goddamn godless commie who calls himself the “Pope” needed much of an excuse), but you’re letting delivery drivers zoom around on their appointed rounds?  With, like, no medical checks or anything?

But, of course, in that same comment thread, Pickle Rick alludes to the reason that would never, ever happen: stop the flow of “necessaries” into the ‘hood, even for a day, and every sizable American city goes up in flames.  And since that’s the Democrats’ key voting demographic…

Personally, I think this thing is way overblown.  As great as it is to blow off some psychic steam — since everyone on this side already acknowledges we’re living in The End Times — I recognize a gaslighting when I see a ridiculously inept one.  I’m not trying to say it’s nothing — it’s a legit public health crisis, and I wouldn’t wish even the regular flu on anyone — but whatever happens, if we survive it, the main takeaway from the Wuhan Flu will be the seemingly unfathomable depths of our own frivolity.  We are simply not a serious country.  We’re a circus, and the clowns are in charge.

UPDATE: Didn’t mean to step on Philmon’s post, below.  Please read that for an excellent take.




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9 thoughts on “The “Reasonable Man” Standard, Revisited [UPDATED]

  1. philmon

    That was a valuable exercise with your nephew. It probably won’t pay off today. But it’ll stick with him. Sometimes planting the seeds is all we can do.

    One day, when he’s more mature, it may sprout.

  2. philmon

    It *IS* overblown. Our focus should mainly be on protecting the vulnerable. It’d probably be good if we could minimize the spread until we get better testing, and before spring comes and fizzles the epidemic.

    It’ll be back next winter, and most people won’t be vaccinated for it until sometime NEXT YEAR … because one won’t likely be available for the general public until about the end of next year’s flu season.

    But we’ll see. We’ve got people working on this. And we’ll know a lot more about it by that time for better risk assessment.

    So far, I think the only thing that REALLY sets it apart from the regular flues is it seems to be a bit more contagious. Otherwise, it pretty much does the same thing to people the flu does.

  3. Frip

    Interesting how hard it is to find out how long your Covid19 illness lasts. I finally found 2 sources that mention it.

    Women’s Health: “How long the symptoms last depends on the severity of the case. With more mild cases (meaning that symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu), people tend to get better on their own in 10 to 14 days. [If it travles to lungs and you get pneumonia, longer].

    Harvard: “It depends on how sick you get. Those with mild cases appear to recover within one to two weeks. With severe cases, recovery can take six weeks or more.”

    I also did a lot of surfing about what exactly “airborne” means, and if Covid19 is meaningfully airborne transmitted. All sources spout the common “sneeze/cough” thing. But I want to know if the virus can hang out in the air of a bar, bookstore, theatre, restaurant, classroom, etc. Like measles virus can.

    I found a recent long article about it on Wired. I’ll save you the trouble. Experts disagree. No one really knows. But yeah, probably Covid19 is truly airborne contageious. Meaning it doesn’t just require you being in the line of fire of someone’s sneeze or cough.

    Like I said, the lady who wrote it is super wordy (but then, Wired is for people who want to get into the nitty-gritty of things, so I understand).

    Anyway, it’s worth looking at because it’s got a neat video of how air/breath moves when two people are talking to each other.

    Scroll down a bit to see it. Interesting, unnerving. Yeah, so keep a good six feet distance when you talk to people for now.

    1. WOPR

      I think the reaction from authorities stems from a few things. They seem to have trouble locking down exactly how the disease is acting. Second, China tanked their economy and went into full mobilization over this. Finally, it seems to be highly contagious. Add in that each host it jumps means another chance for a worse mutation, and you have highly paranoid officials.

      I think everyone believes China accidentally released something from their lab.

  4. Frip

    If you’ve ever talked to someone with really bad breath, and you step back a bit, and can still smell their breath as they talk, you’ll know how airborne stuff can reach you simply through breath. The dude’s bad breath is invisible odor molecules from him that have lodged in your nose.

  5. philmon

    No doubt viruses can remain airborne… they’re smaller than dust. And dust can hang in the air quite a while.

    I remember a Learning Channel program on our immune system — it was pretty good. The illustrative animations combined with the narrative were quite fascinating. I found something a little more accessible (and somewhat entertaining) to kids — but also good enough for adults. Pretty cool. Especially if your kid (or you) likes video games.

    Part 1:
    Part 2:
    Part 3:

  6. contrariandutchman

    Over here the medical system is starting to get strained and the government just announced that nearly all activity (schools, courts, restaurants, bars, you name it) is to be closed down effective tomorrow. (and the past few days have seen supermarkets stripped bare by panic buying)

    Certainly looks like a real crisis, one that will reflect very poorly on the established powers and their love of globalism and open borders.

    Since I gather that several of th fourteen readers are in high-risk age categories I suggest caution. It would be unbecoming to leave our host with a readerhsip in single digits.

    1. Maus

      Indeed. It is difficult to know what the real situation actually is. OTOH, there has been exactly ONE case of COVID-19 in my city of 100,000; a cruise ship returnee. OTOH, I am a fat, old diabetic; so this virus is particularly worrisome to someone like me. Yesterday, I did two things: 1) left the house for the first time since last Sunday to shop mid-morning at the grocery store. I now am provisioned for at least two weeks. 2) Calculated the hit to my net worth from the economic impact of the virus. As near as I can tell, about ten percent of my wealth has been immolated in the past few weeks. As a retiree, there will be no “buying the dip” or dollar cost averaging. If this panic-driven economic meltdown is ultimately revealed to have been unnecessary, I shall be mightily pissed as I choke down rice and beans instead of a juicy rib eye steak. Still, as Marcus Aurelius might counsel, there’s no point dwelling on matters beyond my control. So instead, I shall say to Sev and the Fourteen Readers, as a good Roman ought, “Si valetis, valeo.”

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