Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something

Have you ever seen those commercials where they list the side effects of a medicine and they are considerably worse than the issue the medicine is treating? Yeah, that’s us right now. Our society is falling in to the trap of the cure being worse than the disease, and in all honesty it shouldn’t be a surprise.

This has been a pattern within our culture for quite some time now, it doesn’t necessarily matter to people what the solution to an issue is so long as we’re attempting one. This is a personal pet peeve of mine to begin with so it’s likely something you have heard from me and will hear from me again and again. People get so concerned with needing to do something that they pay little attention to the fact that what they are doing is not helping and in most instances is making things worse.

You’ve seen it before, the hand wringing and cries of think of the children (or elderly, or animals, or the planet, etc…). It happens with gun control legislation pushes whenever someone shoots someone (outside of inner cities anyway), it happens with every single piece of climate legislation and it happened with Obamacare, just to name a few. People rush to act on a particular issue that they believe is cause for concern. Consequences be damned, at least they’re doing something.

The problem is at best these solutions fail to actually address the issue and at worst exacerbate it. Case in point: Coronavirus. Right now we are being bombarded with government oversteps that create issues far worse than even the most liberal of models for the disease itself could predict. Worse still, based on the fear that these government actions induce, especially when coupled with the media’s breathless coverage, people are changing their behaviors to help prevent the spread of the virus.

While flattening the curve is an arguable solution to begin with, the desire on the part of the average person to “do their part” has people acting in ways not just idiotic but actually counterproductive. In the rush to do something many companies are enacting policies to protect themselves and other people from the spread of the virus. The problem is that the things they’re doing are making it worse. Economic consequences aside, some of the procedures people are doing are downright dangerous. Because not only are they increasing people’s chances for spreading the disease, they’re actually making these same people feel safe.

To give you an example of what I’m talking about here is a situation that just happened to me. I needed to buy groceries because I was not really stocked up on a few items without dipping into some reserves I had set aside for if this situation gets really bad. Since it isn’t at that point yet, I decided to go out and buy food. However, I had been working and lost track of time until my stomach let me know it had been too long since my last meal. As I was now beginning to venture into “hangry” territory, I figured I would grab some fast food before getting real food. Yes, I know, not a great idea to begin with but hey it’s not an every meal situation so I said oh well and went to get a burger.

Here’s where the issue arises. After ordering I noticed that at the payment window they were not touching people’s payments but rather having people place their payment method into one of the empty containers that they use in the kitchen. Probably what holds the lettuce or something to that effect. Then the person working the payment window reaches into the container and gets the card or cash with a gloved hand. A glove that appears to never be changed. This gloved hand then touches all the payment station and your card or cash then places the card or change along with the receipt back into the container for you to grab.

When I pulled to the window, trying hard to sound like I wasn’t intentionally being a jerk I asked the question: “how does this help me? Everyone is touching it.”

Startled, the woman answered “it protects me”

Oh, so clearly this isn’t for the customers’ benefit. The manager who happened to be standing beside her and noticing my reaction to being told that they don’t care about the customer immediately chimed in with “it would if you had gloves on.”

I stared at her for a minute with a face that had to have been screaming “REALLY??” then finally held up my hands and said “I’m not wearing gloves”

To which she replied “it’s our policy”

Oh, wow, thank you, that clears it up. It’s our policy, I feel much better now.

I tried to reiterate that the issue was at the point of contact. I tried to explain that the cards, cash and receipt all lay flat within this small plastic bucket forcing every ungloved person to touch the surface of this container effectively turning it into a collection plate of contamination. I tried to explain that this was actually making things worse and potentially spreading contaminants to people. More so than if the cashier simply took the card directly. Again I was met with “it’s our policy.”

Which brings us back full circle to the heart of the issue. They don’t care what they’re doing just as long as they are doing. It’s a sadly common problem that seems to be getting worse as time goes on and problems intensify.

Worse still, there are those who will realize the validity of an argument that points out issue with their logic but dismiss it by saying “at least I’m trying.” Let’s look at this with an analogy: say you’re walking along and someone punches you in the face. Then, you punch the person who happened to be standing beside the person who hit you. Then I say “that’s not the one who hit you” and you reply “so, at least I did something.” See the problem here?

It doesn’t matter if you do something if you’re only doing it just to do it. If it doesn’t solve the issue at hand, then what did you really do? Nothing, all you really did was make things worse because even if it didn’t worsen the problem you directed energy at something that didn’t touch the problem at all. Every bit of energy that doesn’t actually solve the problem is wasted, and unfortunately that’s the best-case scenario.

Ironically, this is something government excels at. They create things like fiscal cliffs, then manage to kick the can down the road to avoid going over them and applaud themselves for managing to avoid the crisis they created. They caused the housing crisis through forcing themselves into the housing markets then slept through the whole thing collapsing. Then, they “solved” the problem by increasing burdensome regulations that don’t even address the issue that they created. They deplete stockpiles of resources, weaken national security, and promote open borders then claim they need to deprive you of your rights to manage a “global pandemic” that kills less people than the flu.

So far we’ve seen people having their personal property forcibly stolen by the government, pastors arrested for holding church services and restrictions on what people are allowed to buy within stores. On top of that, businesses are being forcibly closed, people are being physically restrained and quarantined to the point of police surrounding their homes and we have completely lost the right of assembly. Then, the icing on the cake, they’re going to redistribute a portion of your money back to you. Not all of it mind you, just some. Oh, and if you’re a business then that comes with restrictions on how it can be used.

I guess time will tell how it works out, but so far it isn’t looking great. Government authority seems to be growing exponentially as a result of this crisis and as history has shown us, once government gets a power it is unlikely to relinquish it. The leviathan has awakened and will continue on its gluttonous ways.

But hey, at least they’re doing something.