Cartoons and humour writings can get away with hinting at glaring flaws without getting anyone too upset, but it is often a productive exercise to view such pieces in a serious manner. How much solid truth is there, buried in the light presentation.
The post WW1 time period in the United States was an illustrative gold mine for anyone interested in the dynamics of human action and government. In 1923, Calvin Coolidge became president due to the unexpected death of the flamboyant Warren Harding. Coolidge was opposed to any government involvement in the affairs of citizens that was not absolutely necessary. He was a unique man who seemed to be there to serve and not to grandstand and profit. During his tenure the nation boomed creatively and economically and government and taxes diminished. It was a unique period of time. Herbert Hoover took over just before the stock market crashed and the depression began. Hoover tended to try to keep government small but Franklin Roosevelt destroyed Hoover in the 1933 election with promises of government aid and intervention. Who was right and who was wrong? Some blamed Coolidge for his hands off approach - some felt that Roosevelt added the "great" to "depression". The debate continues to this day. It was a definite shift toward government taking responsibility away from the individual and many feel the move signalled the beginning of a trend that would see no end. At least no positive end.
Calvin Coolidge died of a heart attack just prior to Roosevelt's first election victory. The writing was on the wall and shortly before his death, Coolidge confided in a friend that "I feel I no longer fit with these times." If we could somehow bring Coolidge back to life and show him the current dynamics, he would likely have a second heart attack!
A Coolidge quote follows: "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of face within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgments requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity."
The difficulty with baby sitting adults and looking after their "needs" is that once the process begins, the pressure, in a democracy, to continue and to continually up the scale is relentless. And eventually the game tops out with lots of iffy moments as the summit is approached.
The Covid crisis and the associated economic gymnastics are linked to history. The mess we are in has roots that go back generations - likely many generations. I do not think there is any quick fix but at least appreciating what is going on can let leaders avoid making moves that aggravate the situation further.
Do you think a leader who feels that the earth is flat as opposed to a globe is in a position to make wise decisions? In many situations the basic error in understanding will have no effect but in some situations, being out of touch with reality will result in decisions and actions that prove to be disastrous. National defence and global trade are sure going to be impacted.
I like the term, and feel it is highly relevant to the Covid situation and feel too, that it was relevant to the 1918 influenza epidemic - the term being "sustainable biological equilibrium". The earth is big and old and whether you think it is a brilliantly designed and interconnected multi-system marvel or whether you have the faith to think that multi-system complexities can "happen", what is in everyone's face is that it is here and we are here and humans have been here for a long time, despite ongoing disease presence. For some reason, proven by the hard logic of human experience, no disease, old or new, has come close to wiping everyone out. But when people blunder - for example living in filth and rodents - things like the Black Death can sure do a number. Just like cancer curing smoking, biologic equilibrium is always achieved. The tides come in and go out and kings are powerless to interfere.
Time and chance is real but it seems to be a minor player versus cause and effect. And human minds, if they are used, can handle what gets thrown at them with remarkable effectiveness. But if the herd becomes used to having individual thinking blanked out and taken over by an outside party be it a dictator or a democratic government authority, trouble is in the pipeline.
On this website I plug the concept that viral diseases are an indicator of deeper failings. The concept of seeing the virus as THE enemy, I feel is like a detective picking on 3 clues, ignoring 10 other clues, and nailing a suspect for a crime - only to find out that a terrible mistake has been made. Oops, we have overlooked a few details! And for various underlying reasons, the "kill the virus" mentality has swept the world and the "government will look after us" mentality is in lock step.
Do we have flat earthers calling the shots? The hard logic of experience will eventually give us the answer. But the pity is that the world is big and populated and incredibly inter-connected and highly dependent on the Big Economic System that is currently in place, working, just to keep stability as well as keeping starvation at bay. And when stability disappears, there are competing power blocks and plenty of dictator personalities that thrive in chaos and lots of super weapons for them to brandish. And the Covid lockdowns show that the masses are easy to spook and control!
It is a time when it will be helpful to have mature and wise and sober leaders who are not prone to hopping on "one trick pony" fad thinking and launching on an associated personal glory trip.
The following mini article from one of Rex Murphy's books is funny - and deals with what can be seen as a highly developed difficulty in our society. Covid 19 may have quite a bit of biological equalizing to do before we bottom out at a sustainable state. Unfortunately "old man world" already has some underlying economic and social health problems and it seems Covid is deadly for individuals with these characteristics.