Reply To: SARS cov2 and Covid 19

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Steph, thank you for persevering with discussion, as I requested. I regard “hit and run” commenting (for want of a less critical term) as detrimental to understanding; it creates merely an impression, which many people simply empathise with or react against, according to how they feel. Decent people’s feelings are generally good guides for their interpersonal behaviour, but unsuitable for assessing matters of fact, so I prefer, and recommend, assessing practical situations thoroughly by use of evidence, reason and rationality, such that we distil the best understanding we can of our actual situation, before using our emotional judgement to decide our course of action.

What I have to say next is critical of your approach to the predicament of the pandemic; I hope that this does not upset you too much. I contend that I am not “impossible to debate with”, but rather that there are parts of “the debate” – or more correctly, humanity’s actual predicament – that you have so far found too distressing to consider. I am not a doctor nor a hospital administrator, nor anyone else whose job it is to allocate finite resources in this crisis, but by accepting the facts of events so far I have come to understand what heart-wrenching decisions people in these positions are having to make. The faster SARS-CoV-2 is permitted to spread, the more sick people these decision-makers will have to abandon, casting them aside to spend their last days in a doomed, futile and increasingly desperate struggle for breath. This is not some nightmare conjured from my sadistic soul; if only it were so insubstantial! It is the unpleasant reality of how covid-19 kills; ask Dredd, who used to comment as Dr Edd, a doctor who has been treating covid-19 patients.

This is why I asked you the questions above. You didn’t attempt to answer any of them. Instead, you retreated to the domain of opinion, where our equality to the right of self-expression is widely but misleadingly believed to make wrong as good as right. To claim that the suffering I describe above won’t happen here is tantamount to claiming that it hasn’t happened already elsewhere. It is wishful thinking; it is to permit what we wish to override what we know. But to make ethical decisions, our emotional judgement must be based on reality rather than what we wish to be true. That is the meaning of being adult, and why we’d be wrong to foist such decisions onto children.
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Thank you for your personal account of your circumstances. I wrote you a long reply shortly after, but due to a technical problem it was lost upon posting, which greatly disheartened me at the time. I strongly approve of describing personal context around our political opinions; improving as many’s personal circumstances as much as possible should be the highest purpose of politics. I wish you the best for your treatment. I also hope, when your time comes, that the medics can ease your passage from this world as much as possible. I hope for you, as for everyone, that the facilities to do so are not overwhelmed by ill-informed choices made by the “government”. But sorry to say, it’s looking no better for that than it is for the climate and ecological emergency. Ultimately, our imagination, such a joy to us when we played make-believe as children and so vital to our creativity, is something that we need to learn to recognise and hold in context; while continuing to cherish it, we must vigilantly guard against lapses into self-deception. This difficult task calls for life-long self discipline.

“Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs.”

M Scott Peck, psychiatrist; The Road Less Travelled, 1978.